True, Phineas and Ferb is an animated show intended for kids. Also true: us big kids really like watching it too. Here’s why we don’t mind watching it when we happen to see it on Disney Channel.
It’s funny. Like actually funny, not just womp-womp characters falling down jokes and gross humor, but really good, clever stuff. Ongoing gags that have lasted since the first episode of the show—that level of funny.
Like the fact that Ferb doesn’t ever talk, but when he does, it’s a few words in an English accent. The strong, silent type.
Or the ongoing joke where someone asks Phineas “Aren’t you a little young to be doing ______” and he replies: “Yes. Yes I am” without fail, then just continues to build or do whatever it was that he’s too young to be doing.
And it’s good with the sarcasm and short sassy quips you don’t usually see in other series like this. It’s detailed and subtle, enough so that there is a P&F wiki that keeps track of all the minutia of the show’s many inside jokes.
The writers aren’t afraid to get weird. What is going on in this scene? Who knows. But that’s why it’s so good.
Plus there are lots of great subplots, like the Candace plot.
She tries to “bust” her brothers literally every episode, and we can relate to her frustration, but even more to her mom when she tells Candace to cool out. The “busting” even gets worked into slightly more meta plots, like when Candace knows that an episode will be solved as soon as she brings their mom around because it’s like an unwritten rule that the universe rights itself just in time to get Phineas and Ferb off the hook. Such clever writing. Plus, great performance by Ashley Tisdale.
The way they write about Candace’s obsession with her boyfriend Jeremy is also spot-on.
She’s such a cold-hearted buster when it comes to her brothers, but as soon as someone mentions Jeremy, she’s a puddle of smitten goo, perfectly capturing an early-teen crush. Okay, maybe even an earl adult crush.
Then there’s the Agent P. plot.
What other show has the main characters’ pet platypus live an alternate life as a secret agent? What other show gives the main characters a pet platypus? (Don’t ask the show creators what’s up with that–they will not tell you.) It’s so absurd that it’s absolutely perfect. And the sentence “he’s a semi-aquatic egg-laying mammal of action” just rolls off the tongue.
Finally, there is Dr. Doofensmirtz, the stand-in for all that it means to be an adult.
He’s the villain who always tries to takeover the world (in his case the Tri-State Area), who is ultimately foiled by the good guys. What makes Doof a goof so much of the time is often what makes adults adults: he says dorky things, he underestimates kids, he is ambitious for ambition’s sake, not to mention that he has really bad ideas but thinks they are brilliant. It’s so satisfying to see the arrogant Doof lose every week to a secret agent platypus and two imaginative kids–so refreshing, so much justice.
If you have never seen a moment of Phineas and Ferb and are not yet convinced that it’s for big kids too, then just watch this music video and see what we’re talking about. Or just trust us–we’ve seen quite a bit of Phineas and Ferb in our day, and we can assure you, it’s maybe even more fun for big kids to watch.