Phineas and Ferb
Phineas and Ferb is an American animated musical-comedy television series created by Dan Povenmire and Jeff "Swampy" Marsh for Disney Channel and Disney XD. Produced by Disney Television Animation, the series was originally broadcast as a one-episode preview on August 17, 2007, and again previewed on September 28, 2007, the series officially premiered on February 1, 2008, on Disney Channel, running until June 12, 2015.
|Phineas and Ferb|
|Created by||Dan Povenmire Jeff "Swampy" Marsh|
|No. of seasons||4|
|No. of episodes||129|
|Original release||August 17th 2007 –|
June 12th 2015
|Followed by||Milo Murphy's Law|
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The program follows Phineas Flynn and his stepbrother Ferb Fletcher, who are between eight and ten years old, on summer vacation. Every day, the boys embark on some grand new project; these are usually unrealistic given the protagonists' ages (and are sometimes downright physically impossible), which annoys their controlling older sister Candace, who frequently tries to reveal their shenanigans to her and Phineas' mother, Linda Flynn-Fletcher, and less frequently to Ferb's father, Lawrence Fletcher. The series follows a standard plot system; running gags occur in every episode, and the subplot almost always features Phineas and Ferb's pet platypus Perry the Platypus working as a spy (named "Agent P") for OWCA (the Organization Without a Cool Acronym) to defeat the latest scheme of Dr. Heinz Doofenshmirtz, a mad scientist driven largely by a need to assert his evilness (although he is not especially evil and has a good heart in some situations). The two plots intersect at the end to erase all traces of the boys' project just before Candace can show it to their mother. This usually leaves Candace very frustrated.
Povenmire and Marsh had previously worked together on Fox's The Simpsons and Nickelodeon's Rocko's Modern Life. The creators also voice two of the main B-plot characters, Dr. Doofenshmirtz and Major Monogram. Phineas and Ferb was conceived after Povenmire sketched a triangular boy – the prototype for Phineas – in a restaurant. Povenmire and Marsh developed the series concept together and pitched it to networks for 16 years before securing a run on Disney Channel.
The show follows the adventures of stepbrothers Phineas Flynn and Ferb Fletcher, who live in the fictional city of Danville in an unspecified tri-state area, as they seek ways to occupy their time during their summer vacation. Often these adventures involve elaborate, life-sized and ostensibly dangerous construction projects. Phineas' older sister Candace Flynn has two obsessions: exposing Phineas and Ferb's schemes and ideas, and winning the attention of a boy named Jeremy. Meanwhile, the boys' pet platypus Perry, acts as a secret agent for an all-animal government organization called the O.W.C.A. ("Organization Without a Cool Acronym"), fighting Dr. Heinz Doofenshmirtz.
Much of the series' humor relies on running gags used in almost every episode, with slight variation. Most episodes follow a pattern:
- Some incident gives Phineas an idea for a project, and he announces, "Hey, Ferb, I know what we're gonna do today!"
- Meanwhile, Perry slips away, using one of many hidden tunnels, to a secret underground base. Phineas (or occasionally another character) remarks, "Hey, where's Perry?"
- Major Monogram briefs Perry (whom he calls "Agent P") on his mission; this sometimes amounts to nothing more than "Doctor Doofenshmirtz is up to something; find out what it is, and put a stop to it!"
- Candace sees what the boys are doing, and resolves to "bust" them (i.e., expose the project to her mother to get the boys in trouble).
- Perry breaks into the skyscraper office of Doofenshmirtz Evil Inc. (complete with its own easy-listening jingle, and variations depending on location and time). Doofenshmirtz traps Perry and explains his current evil plan. Perry escapes the trap and they battle.
- Phineas and Ferb complete their project.
- Mom gets home and Candace thinks that, at last, Mom will see what the boys have been up to and believe her, but just as Mom is about to step into the back yard, all evidence vanishes, usually as a side effect of Doofenshmirtz's device.
- Doofenshmirtz, foiled again, cries out, "Curse you, Perry the Platypus!"
Other running gags:
- An adult asks Phineas if he is rather young to be performing some complex activities; he usually responds, "Yes, yes, I am," although the adult never tries to stop the boys from their fun, and Phineas usually has all legal clearance for his ideas to be executed, including building permits.
- Doofenshmirtz's names for his contraptions all have the same suffix of "-inator," as in Shrinkinator, Giant Dog Biscuit-inator, Eradicate Rodney's-inator, etc. Eventually he starts calling them "inators" as a generic term.
- Ferb rarely speaks more than once in an episode.
- Isabella, who has a crush on Phineas, comes into the backyard and asks, "Whatcha doin'?" in a distinctive singsong tone. She dislikes when other characters (besides Phineas) say the line. For example, in "Suddenly Suzy", after both Suzy and Candace speak the line, Isabella grumbles "Uh, hello!?" and "Do I even need to be here?" in response.
Certain aspects of the show's humor are aimed at adults, including its frequent pop-culture references. Co-creator Dan Povenmire, who had previously worked on Family Guy, sought to create a less raunchy show that would make similar use of comic timing, metahumor, humorous blank stares, wordplay and breaking the fourth wall. Povenmire describes the show as a combination of Family Guy and SpongeBob SquarePants. Co-creator Jeff "Swampy" Marsh has said that the show was not created exclusively for children; he simply did not exclude them as an audience.
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The series' main characters live in a blended family, a premise that the creators considered underused in children's programming and that reflected Marsh's own upbringing. Marsh considers explaining the family background "not important to the kids' lives. They are a great blended family and that's all we need to know." The choice of a platypus as the boys' pet was similarly inspired by media underuse, as well as to exploit the animal's striking appearance. Povenmire and Marsh wanted to select an uncommon species, an animal that kids could not "pick out at a pet store and beg [their parents] for." The platypus also gives them freedom to "make stuff up" since "no one knows very much about them." Choosing a platypus also allowed them to own that "mental real estate," so that if someone thinks of the word "platypus," they will associate it with Agent P, just as an ogre is now commonly associated with Shrek.
Marsh called the characters "cool, edgy and clever without ... being mean-spirited." Animation director Rob Hughes is said to have noted that "in all the other shows every character is either stupid or a jerk, but there are no stupid characters or jerks in this one."
The series is known for some of its memorable songs that appear in almost every episode since the first-season "Flop Starz". Disney's executives particularly enjoyed the episode's song "Gitchee, Gitchee Goo" and requested that a song appear in each subsequent episode. The music earned the series a total of four Emmy nominations: in 2008 for the main title theme and for the song "I Ain't Got Rhythm" from the episode "Dude, We're Getting the Band Back Together," and in 2010 for the song "Come Home Perry" from the episode "Oh, There You Are, Perry, Phineas and Ferb follows structural conventions that Povenmire and Marsh developed while writing Rocko's Modern Life, whereby each episode features "a song or a musical number, plus a big action/chase scene." Both creators had musical backgrounds, as Povenmire performed rock and roll in his college years and Marsh's grandfather was the bandleader Les Brown.
The songs span many genres, from 16th-century madrigals to Broadway show tunes. Each is written in an intensive session during episode production; a concept, score and lyrics are developed quickly. Together, Marsh and Povenmire can "write a song about almost anything" within one hour. After they finish writing their songs, Povenmire and Marsh sing them over the answering machine of series composer Danny Jacob on Friday nights. By the following Monday, the song is fully produced.
The title sequence music, originally named "Today Is Gonna Be a Great Day" and performed by the American group Bowling for Soup, was nominated for an Emmy award in 2008. The creators originally wrote a slower number more in keeping with a "classic Disney song," but the network felt that changes were needed to especially appeal to children and commissioned the rock version that made the final cut.
A Season 2 clip show broadcast in October 2009 focused on the show's music, featuring a viewer-voted list of the top ten songs from the series; the end result was the "Phineas and Ferb's Musical Cliptastic Countdown."
This clip show spawned a sequel called the "Phineas and Ferb Musical Cliptastic Countdown Hosted by Kelly Osbourne," which aired on June 28, 2013. Osbourne hosted the special in live form, while Dr. Doofenshmirtz and Major Monogram were animated.
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