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DVD Review: Phineas and Ferb – The Fast and the Phineas

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In a day where it seems that anime and tiny teeny boppers live action shows are taking over the child-friendly airwaves, along comes Phineas and Ferb, a breath of fresh air in an otherwise dwindling market for worthwhile children’s programming.

Phineas and Ferb are brothers. They’re mission is to make the most of every summer vacation day. When I say make the most, I mean just that. The boys find mummies, build their own haunted houses complete with floating baby heads, and even become a one hit wonder band. The music intro before each episode explains exactly what these two are capable of.

Candace is their sister. She’s always trying to get the boys in trouble by telling on them. The boys also have a pet platypus named Perry. Perry is a mild-mannered platypus, whom no one suspects is a secret agent. But, Perry is an agent who is locked in an eternal battle with his nemesis, the evil Dr. Doofenshmirtz.

Each episode is 11 minutes long and packed full of action and pithy dialogue. The thing that makes this show so great is that the kids will love the bright animation and sometimes slapstick action and the adults will understand and laugh at all the hidden meanings. These are the kinds of cartoons I really enjoy. They don’t just keep it at a child's level of understanding but they let the adults enjoy the humor, too.

Take, for example, an episode called “It’s About Time.” Perry has been informed by Dr. Doofenshmirtz that he’s no longer needed to be his nemesis, because Dr. Doofenshmirtz has “found somebody else. Peter the panda.” The whole thing is treated like they are breaking up in some corny teenage love movie, and it’s all accompanied by a montage of Perry thinking back on all the evil things he stopped Doofenshmirtz from doing and being sad that he won’t be doing that anymore.

The show also has some wonderful musical numbers. It has actually been nominated for two Emmys, for Outstanding Original Music and Lyrics and Outstanding Original Main Title Theme Music. The music number called “Backyard Beach” was my favorite and can be found in the episode “Lawn Gnome Beach Party of Terror.”

The DVD

Phineas and Ferb: The Fast and the Phineas is a single-disc release and comes in a regular snap close case. The menus are fully animated, and even have some humor to them in the form of Candace saying, “Mom, Phineas and Ferb are trying to build a DVD menu.” Each episode is 11 minutes long and is packed together with another episode, back-to-back, making each of the five segments 22 minutes long.

There is an option to play all, or pick each episode individually. The only thing that was a little disappointing about this DVD is that it doesn’t contain anywhere near the number of episodes that have aired on the Disney Channel. I would love to own the whole season, but it seems that Disney just picked and chose which episodes they wanted to release. That or they’re going to release other DVDs later on in volumes.

Each episode is presented in its original full screen aspect ratio, the same way they were shown on TV. The quality looks great. I never saw the show on TV, but the quality of the animation on the DVD is clear and precise.

The Extras

The DVD is a little low on the extras, too. First the DVD has the show’s original pitch that was made to Disney by Dan Povenmire, who has also worked on Family Guy. The pitch consists of a little behind the scenes interview with Dan and co-creator Jeff “Swampy” Marsh. It also has the first original storyboard for the very first episode. It did annoy me a little that the episode they were talking about and showing the storyboard for isn’t even on this DVD.

The other extra is Phineas and Ferb’s Homade Tree Shade Arcade, a few simple arcade games with a Phineas and Ferb twist, like whack-a-lawn-gnome, that you play with your DVD remote. DVD games are somewhat amusing at best whatever DVD they’re on. Most of the time it’s hard to play games with a DVD remote, and here it isn’t any different.

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