Thursday, January 28, 2010

New Cartoon

I'm a small child at heart. I love animated films, picture books, comics, and cartoons. Anything childlike or whimsical catches my attention. In my free time I read about children's book authors and gifted animators. So it would seem likely that I'd enjoy the Disney Channel. But up until recently I haven't. Too many live action dramas and musical series. Too many people, too adult. Not enough children's stuff. So when I happened to flip by a couple weeks ago, I was shocked to find a cartoon. I was even more shocked to find out that it is a Disney Original and that it happens to be great.

I'll admit it, I'm suddenly addicted to Disney's Phineas and Ferb. The story follows two half-brothers who fill each day of summer vacation with marvelous inventions and exciting adventures. They can build pretty much anything . They are dogged by their older sister who is constantly trying to get them in trouble. But somehow the evidence always manages to disappear (normally without the boys' help) before she can show their mother. In fact the boys want their parents to see what they are up to. Along with the boys' adventures there is the story of Perry, the family's pet platypus. Perry may seem like just an odd pet but he's actually a crime fighting platypus who's mission is to thwart the bumbling, mostly evil Dr. Doofenshmirtz.

Each 30 minute episode has two cartoons. And each cartoon has both the Phineas and Ferb storyline and the Perry the Platypus storyline. These typically intersect at the end of the cartoon in hilarious ways. I'll admit that while I enjoy the Phineas and Ferb segments, I adore the Perry the Platypus one. His interactions with Dr. Doofenshmirtz are witty and clever. I enjoyed one recently where Perry arrives at the Dr.'s office to be told that Doofenshmirtz was still in the planning phase. He can't thwart his evil plan yet because he hasn't even been able to write his evil monologue. So Doofenshmirtz offers Perry the chance to help him so that he can then be thwarted faster. We see them grocery shopping together to pick up all the necessary ingredients for the evil scheme. When they run into Perry's boss, there is a brief silence and then Doofenshmirtz simply says, "well that was awkward." Witty, hilarious, and a little offbeat.

The Phineas and Ferb sections have just as much wit and can be just as funny. The difference is that the storyline there takes itself more seriously. The actions aren't quite so tongue in cheek and there is a sweetness to many of the resolutions that doesn't occur on the Perry side. But it is always a wonder to see the fantastical inventions and where they take the boys. Each cartoon also has a musical bit. And the songs might have to be the best part of the shows. One of my favorites has to be a song (played in hip-hop style) about Candace (the boys' sister) getting squirrels in her pants (it's much more chaste than it sounds). Or the song that Dr. Doofenshmirtz sings about covering his perfect brother in pigeon poo. Hilarious and surprisingly catchy. If you get a moment check out Phineas and Ferb either at IMDB or at the Disney Channel site. Well worth some time. I don't remember the last time I enjoyed a new cartoon this much.


Keith said...

Ferb is voiced by Thomas Sangster, who played Simon (the oldest boy) in Nanny McPhee.

(I love Nanny McPhee.)

Cat B said...

I did not know that. I haven't seen Nanny McPhee yet but I do have it on my waiting to watch list. This will push it up the list a bit.

Ferb's got a great voice.