BESIDES 'MAD MEN," THIS IS THE SMARTEST SHOW ON TELEVISION @ 15 October 2010 12:50 PM
The creators of Phineas and Ferb have exactly what I always expected from watching the show --  a lot of creative freedom. The show started quietly and gained its audience on its own, not because of a business plan, but because they were largely left to make a funny, smart show.



This new DVD contains the recent PHINEAS AND FERB CHRISTMAS VACATION episode plus four more: Interview with a Platypus; Oh There You Are, Perry; Chez Platypus and Perry Lays an Egg. All are great examples of how this series weaves its storylines with grace and panache, loaded with lots of quick asides in the spirit of other great comedy cartoons like Bugs Bunny and Bullwinkle.

There's an extra episode in the Bonus Features called "Doof Side of the Moon" preceeded by a 12-minute feature about how the creative team writes and performs their original songs and how one of their favorite episodes "Spongebob"veteran Dan Povenmire,  comedy writer/performer Martin Olson, Jon Colton Barry (son of legendary songwriter Jeff Barry) and Jeff "Swampy Marsh" whose is the grandson of bandleader Les Brown.

I mention the musical connections especially because Phineas and Ferb is very music-generated and again, not just by committee-engineered pop tunes by by comic effect, from rock to big band, Broadway to Bollywood. Many of the songs written for the show have been released on CD, including a new holiday favorites album. Most of the music and songs came from the above team, with the able help of musical director Danny Jacob.

The interactive menu is really interactive, not just called by that heavily-used term. Clicking various objects results in quick appearances by characters. One in particular takes you to a video in which the show staff conspire to cover a co-workers office with post-it notes.

You can tell from the bonus features on the new PHINEAS AND FERB: A VERY PERRY CHRISTMAS DVD that the creative forces behind the show are relatively free of the interfering words: "Well, I don't get that joke and neither do my associates, so the whole world won't so therefore kill it dead and let me watch is fester, rot and bleach in the sun." Well, maybe not in those words, but I can just imagine how a song like "Squirrels in my Pants" might die in a corporate approval process.

Let's hope the recent phenomenal success of Phineas and Ferb continues to thrive in relative autonomy. But somehow even if it does happen to a degree, we can probably look forward to a sly spoof of the internal ordeal, so veiled it may pass over the tops of the Herman Miller head rests.




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