Kids’ shows run the gamut from simple, mind-numbing garbage to seriously high-brow stuff that aims as much at the parents’ funny bones as it does the kids’. Phineas and Ferb takes the latter situation to an odd point by splitting the cartoon down the middle with half of each episode catering to either parents or their children. For the kids in the audience, the adventures of the titular characters includes stuff like translating the language of animals or helping Santa save Christmas and the show’s bright colors and over the top line delivery gives them all the prompting for laughter necessary to make the show an enjoyable one. Then you have the portion of the show angled at the parents, wherein the two brothers’ pet platypus Perry foils the plan of the crazy, evil mad scientist Doofenshmirtz who delivers dialogue far above the heads of the young ones but in such a way that he sounds goofy, and so they laugh.
The main episode of this DVD release sees Doofenshmirtz attempting to create a “naughty” cloud that will put every kid in Phineas and Ferb’s town on the naughty list, preventing Santa from bringing them any gifts. While Phineas and Ferb tackle the issue with a few of their friends using the fun gadgets at the brothers’ disposal, Perry sits bound in a string of Christmas lights as Doofenshmirtz attempts to find some reason to hate Christmas, the only holiday he really doesn’t have a reason to want to destroy. As he looks for it, a horde of carolers burst in and refuse to go away until they receive their fair payment of figgy pudding, as the popular “We Wish You a Merry Christmas” demands. It’s a fun Christmas special that has the right “believe in Santa” fun and messages of selflessness.
The disc also has four additional episodes: “Interview with a Platypus” wherein the boys invent a machine that can translate the sounds of animals into human speech; “Oh, There You Are, Perry” when Perry gets reassigned to another family to fight a new villain, and the boys do their best to find him; “Chez Platypus” which shows the brothers opening up a high end restaurant which their sister then desperately wants to get reservations in; “Perry Lays an Egg” sees the brothers’ sister donning a platypus outfit to care for the egg to see what will come out. Finally, there’s yet another episode in the extras, “Doof Side of the Moon”.
Phineas and Ferb tops the list of children’s animated cartoons currently on television in terms of cleverness. It’s not quite the Pinky and the Brain for a new generation, but it’s a great start and closer than anything else I’ve seen right now. The colorful animation and imaginative storylines will keep the kids busy and the adults can revel in jokes about aneurysms as the kids just let them fly right over their heads.
DVD Bonus Features
On top of the copious Easter Eggs littered throughout the DVD’s main menu (clicking on them causes characters from the show to pop up and say something funny), the extras have plenty to offer the kids. First off, an animated burning fireplace burns for about 27 minutes with characters from the show dropping by to say hello. There’s a jukebox feature for kids to listen to the songs from the show and a version of the “Christmas Vacation” episode with sing-along words along the bottom. The “Letters to Santa” featurette lets you click on the face of the characters in the “Christmas Vacation” episode and read the letters they sent to Santa. Finally, the last featurette sees the show’s creators talking about the music in the show.
Phineas and Ferb releases deserve to be purchased, but obviously a full season or series release would be the best value for a consumer. Six episodes on a disc (assuming you count the one included in the extras) makes this a pretty good deal by bite-sized release standards, so ultimately it’s a toss-up for you to decide between these single serving DVDs or holding out for something more substantial.
"Phineas and Ferb: A Very Perry Christmas" is on sale October 5, 2010 and is not rated. Children & Family, Comedy. Directed by Dan Povenmire, Zac Moncrief, Robert Hughes. Written by Dan Povenmire, Jeff 'Swampy' Marsh, Martin Olson. Starring Ashley Tisdale, Caroline Rhea, Dan Povenmire, Dee Bradley Baker, Thomas Sangster, Vincent Martella, Alyson Stoner.