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August 22nd, 2010

TV Series Review - Phineas & Ferb

(Through my time of woe with surgery, I did visit some old friends and discovered new ones. This is one of the new ones!)

Phineas and Ferb

Staring: Vincent Martella, Thomas Sangster, Ashley Tisdale, Dan Povenmire, Jeff 'Swampy' Marsh, Dee Bradley Baker, Caroline Rhea, Alyson Stoner, Mitchell Musso, Maulik Pancholy, and more!

Premise: It's summer and Phineas and Ferb are trying to make the most of it and entertain themselves and their friends, while their older sister Candace is involved in teenage angst, pursuing her one true love, and also trying to bust her brothers and getting her parents to see that they're always up to incredible antics. Beneath all this are the adventures of their pet, Perry the Platipus (or Agent P), who is working with a secret organization to protect the Tri State Area from the evil machinations of Dr. Doofenschmirtz! Let the fun begin!

Review: Back when Disney first advertised this show it didn't grab me. Bad marketing perhaps? For this show is just too much fun to be missed! And it must be watched more than once before you see the evil genius behind it. Kid shows can be formulaic and these guys grabbed that fact and took it to the far edges of the universe then ran wild with it! Its very formulaic format is its greatest charm and you learn to anticipate certain bits and have even more fun when the creators then turn them upside down. It's also a multi layered show with two to three plots running and always somehow intersecting. Let me try to explain...

Everyday Phineas and Ferb come up with something to do that day (building rockets, running a rodeo, helping a friend with a science project). Each day their older sister Candace finds out about what they're working on and tries to get their Mom to come see it so they can be "busted". Perry, the pet platypus, has a secret identity. As Agent P, he daily gets a call from his superior Major Monogram and sent after Dr. Heinz Doofenshmirtz to stop whatever evil plot the doctor is concocting that day. And somehow, by the end of the episode, Doofenschmirtz is thwarted and all evidence of what the brothers were up to disappears before Candace can get a parental unit to see it. (Mind you, Phineas and Ferb are aware of how their efforts seem to just disappear once they're done, but they don't worry about it as it keeps them from having to do cleanup. (Don't look a gift horse in the mouth!) Heh heh).

The creators bust buns. Imagine having to be fresh with the same formula time after time? But they are. Better yet, they are SF fans too. So all sorts of SF/Fantasy bits from movies and shows will make appearances. Fantastic Journey, Star Wars, Lords of the Ring, The Time Machine, Godzilla, and more. (Being a big geek of the genres this is AWESOME as far as I am concerned!)

The music is fantastic on this show as well. Kids get exposed to a huge variation of music genres in the show: Disco, Country, Musicals, Jazz, Rap, Jamaican, Blues, JPop, Indian, Alternative, and more. It's a great way to expose kids to the different music styles so they don't get in a rut. The lyrics on these songs are a hoot too! My favorites are Agent P's theme (including the one that goes 'Perry, Perry the Teenage Girl' - you have to see the episode to understand. Heh heh. Body Swap) and "BUSTED" followed closely by "There's a Squirrel in My Pants" (Don't ask! Must be seen to be believed! lol).

Even better, several of the characters have theme music. Candace's is a variation on the Wicked Witch theme from Wizard of Oz. Perry's (Agent P's) is very reminiscent of 60's Spy themes (think Secret Agent Man) (and one bit they do which is totally awesome is every once in a while when Agent P is slowed by a ray or is shown old or who knows what, the theme slows or speeds up to keep pace with that reality (love it!)). Phineas and Ferb have a 'we're building' theme. And Dr. Doofenshmirtz has a very preppy, upbeat theme (almost bubbly!) which will change with his location. Normally it is "Doofenshmirtz Evil Incorporated" for his main building, but the vocals will change if he's in a dirigible, suburban home, warehouse, underwater hideout, etc. Too cute!

Oh, and the end credits must always be watched! They will either expand on a song, recap it, have a new song (Perry the Teenage Girl!), or actually have added scenes/story for the episode.

Everything about this show screams 'labor of love'. Which just makes me love it all the more.

Phrases or recurring items to look for in each episode:

"What are we going to do today?"
"Where's Perry?" (Near beginning)
"There you are Perry." (Towards the end)
"Whatcha doing?" (Isabela can get very testy if anyone but her gets to say this! Heh)
"Curse you, Perry the Platypus!"
"-inator" (All of Dr D's inventions have 'inator' in the name. Everything sounds more evil with 'inator' as part of the name, right? Hubby wants a N8TR license plate like the Evil Invention Prize Belt.
"Take over/destroy/change the whole of the Tri-State Area!" Doofenshmirtz is very local in his thinking regarding his evil plots. :P
Floating Baby Head (No, I have NO idea what that's about. But it keeps showing up!)
Talking Zebra who calls Candace Kevin when she thinks she's dreaming.
Wife complaining to Husband about a failed venture or not doing something, then plop, invention of the day solves his issue and makes her look stupid. heh.

And yes! They have a soundtrack out! And it is the BOMB! (I want more! I want the themes for the others! (They do give us Agent P! Yes!) Come on Disney, give me!) Heh.

If you love fun, if you love summer, songs, wit, invention, adventure, you will love this show! (I'm hoping they will one day tell us Ferb's full first name (I am voting for Ferbisher - very British and what not.):P

Rating: 5 out of 5!



Gloria Oliver
Unveiling the Fantastic
www.gloriaoliver.com

Novels


JEWEL OF THE GODS

(2015) Fantasy

The King is Dead! Long Live the Undead King!


Excerpt:
"What are you implying?"

The magister glided forward and scrunched down beside him.

"That in order to bathe, you must first actually get into the bath."





INNER DEMONS

(2014) Urban Fantasy

It took everything from her, except revenge!


Excerpt:
The muscles in my right arm jerked from tension as I tried to make it move and it resisted. A shrill scream inside my head insisted I didn't want to do this. That if I did, there'd be no way to take it back. "I...I'm afraid."



THE PRICE OF MERCY

(2011) Young Adult – Fantasy

Which is worse…the monster without or within?


Excerpt:

Home—family—the two things he would never have, the two things forever denied him…because of her.

Anger welled inside him, the heat of it suffusing him to the core, gurgling with seething emotions the total opposite of the coolness splashing down from the fountain nearby. Before he realized what he was doing, Jarrin stepped inside the gazebo.




CROSS-EYED DRAGON TROUBLES
(2007) Young Adult – Fantasy
“Harry Potter meets Dragon Riders of Pern”

Excerpt:

“Do you need any help?” she asked. “Just tell me what you want me to do. If you prefer, I’m sure I can round up at least a few people to come over and give you a hand.”

Kel slowly shook his head. “It’s all right. Thanks anyway.” His voice lowered to where she almost couldn’t hear it. “This is all part of my punishment.’

She frowned, not understanding what he meant. “Punishment?”

Kel cocked his head in Clarence’s direction. In a flash, she understood. None of this was an accident. Clarence had landed there deliberately, hoping to make Kel pay for all he went through in the past month. She shook her head, not wanting to believe this, but what the dragon said next took any doubts right out of her head.



WILLING SACRIFICE
(2008) Young Adult – Fantasy
“To save the world she must DIE! Or must she?”

Excerpt:

Panic and fear filled with utter helplessness made her dizzy. She knew what would be done with her, she knew what they planned. But there was nothing she could do to stop any of it.

Sharp gasps echoed in her ears as she felt the room’s cold air caress the Eye.

“You were right. She is the one.”



IN THE SERVICE OF SAMURAI
(2002) Adult/YA – Japanese Fantasy Adventure
“The Last Samurai meets Pirates of the Caribbean”

Excerpt:

Laying the blade on the floor before him, Toshi parted his kimono until his stomach lay exposed. He tucked his sleeves beneath his legs to hold him upright if he should falter. Ignoring Asano, he took up the blade. His shoulder flared with pain and he tried not to flinch, as he grabbed the blade with both hands. He turned the wakizashi until its sharp point was aimed at his belly, the residence of his soul.



VASSAL OF EL
(2004) Adult/YA – Fantasy Mystery
“He tried to forget his past, but his past wouldn’t forget him”

Excerpt:

Torren took a step back a sudden shudder racking through him. It was as if he’d never left, as if the boy he’d been would be coming back-though the one who’d loved this room and all these things was long, long dead. That boy died when he’d watched his father’s blood pour forth from his mouth, the end of a sword protruding from his abdomen. That boy died when he survived while everyone else lay dead.

Info, sample chapters, and free reads at www.gloriaoliver.com

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