Finding Phineas and Ferb
tucked among horrific shows like Wizards of Waverly Place
and Hannah Montana
is a little like finding the savior of humanity in Nazareth: No good thing is supposed to come from Disney television. But there it is, an 11-minute show packed with intersecting plot lines, adventure in suburbia, intrigue and a pet platypus doubling as a super agent. It's the only show that all three kids (ages four, eight and 10) plus both parents actually like (my wife is the lone hold-out on The Simpsons
). And here are five reasons why:
1. The theme song
Officially named one of the 12 Best TV Theme Songs from Current Shows by no less an authorative a source than, well, me, Phinneas and Ferb's title sequence end's with their sister Candace complaining, "Mom, Phineas and Ferb are making a title sequence."
2. The unbridled enthusiasm of Phineas
Ferb, I know what we're going to do today," Phineas says each show
before launching into his latest ambitious plan to pass the summer
days, whether it's building a giant tree house that transforms into a
giant robot or filming a movie or creating a time machine. And even
though the stepbrothers' grand plans escape the attention of their
parents and drive Candace nuts, Phineas and Ferb remain completely
guileless, telling their disbelieving mom and dad what they've
accomplished and always looking out for Candace. Unlike most Disney
shows, the siblings have a deep-seated affection for one another and
for their parents.
3. The dry wit of Ferb
Ferb gets about one line per episode, but it's always a doozy. And he's still got his English father's accent.
4. The evil schemes of Dr. Heinz Doofenshmirtz
Heinz Doofenshmirtz is the sole proprietor of Doofenshmirtz Evil
Incorporated. His dastardly schemes involving awesomely designated
devices of pure evil (the the Ugly-Inator, Age-Acclerator-Inator) are
thwarted by Perry, Phinneas and Ferb's pet platypus who doubles as
Agent P. The subtleties of the relationship are pitch-perfect. When
Perry busts in on Doofenshmirtz when his blind date is about to arrive,
Perry accomodates his rival by pretending to be his pet ("She doesn't
know I have a nemesis"). Around the 10-minute mark, both plotlines come
back together as something the boys are doing affects Doofenshmirtz's
plans or Doofenshmirtz's machines stop Candace from busting her
5. The humor
Creators Dan Povenmire and Jeff "Swampy" Marsh met while working on The Simpsons. Povenmire later worked on Family Guy, and the cleverness of both shows—and particularly the pacing of Family Guy—has wore off on both, making it one of the smartest shows on TV for people of any age.