By Jeremy G. Butler (Author Page, Twitter Page, Facebook Page)
What I’m Thankful For:
Phineas & Ferb.
My daughter watches a lot of Disney Channel. Too much? Nah, but enough to get on my nerves, at least. However, she’s slowly broadening her horizons and letting her tastes and sensibilities expand, so I’ll indulge her 8-year-old fancies. What makes this easier is that, in the midst of the veritable sea of shallow, laugh-tracked tweener bullshit, there’s a show like Phineas & Ferb to inject a bit of imagination, originality and plain, old-fashioned quality into the lineup.
Just a quick breakdown for the uninitiated – Phineas & Ferb are a pair of step-brothers who spend every day, all day doing stuff. Outlandish, amazing, larger-than-life stuff – most of it based around building and engineering. Roller coasters to the moon, tree-houses that transform into combat-bots and battle each other in the back yard, time machines and monster trucks. They start a detective agency, a fashion line, a toy company and a 5-star restaurant. It’s a celebration of imagination and joy.
But that’s not all! It’s also chock-full of references to virtually every single genre of movie and television, from film noir to horror to romance to sci-fi to James Bond spy stuff to adventure. One episode is spent channeling practically every single cop show ever aired on television, culminating in a David Caruso sunglasses gag which, I’ll admit, is generally overused, but it was a refreshing change of pace to see it used in a television show aimed for the single-digit crowd.
And then there’s the music. The show hinges on it and uses it in incredible, educational and sometimes brilliant ways. The kiddo actually came to me and asked me what syncopation was after hearing about it on Phineas & Ferb. Granted, it would have been an extra plus for the show had THEY explained it, but the fact that they just throw it out there and get the kiddos interested in things like that is pretty commendable. And the theme song, ignoring the fact that it’s performed by Bowling for Soup, is pretty damned magical on its own.
I’m not-so-secretly awaiting the day that my offspring outgrows TDC, but until she does I’m thankful that we have a show like Phineas & Ferb to make that wait a lot more bearable.