Thursday, January 3, 2013

Day Three - Phineas and Ferb: Season 1, Episode 2, or "It's Gnomegeddon!"

There's just something about Phineas and Ferb that satisfies. Whether it's the infinite variation of creativity that both the boys and Doofenschmirtz come up with (for good or ill) or just the general vibe of the whole shebang, I don't know.

Episode 2 of the series is split between souping up Mom's car into an oversized RC racer and a backyard Beach Blanket Bingo which marks the second time in four segments where Candace actually doesn't want to bust her brothers for their antics since things are going so well for her. Essentially that means, at this point, she's batting .500 in the lovin' it/hatin' it department. I find it oddly significant, since it only happens a few times over the course of the series, that it occurred so often early in the series.

Still, part one (The Fast and the Phineas) is mostly just quaint. The boys trick out the station wagon and get entered into a race over at the Danville Speedway, which they can see over their backyard fence. The Fireside Girls return to help Isabella as her pit crew, establishing them as a background support staple for the boys and we also meet Isabella's mother for the first time, Mrs.Garcia-Shapiro.

While overall, the segment isn't a sterling example, it makes me happy thanks to little details like the Raiders of the Lost Ark reference during Perry and Doof's fight scene and the constant over-stereotyping of Mrs.Garcia-Shapiro and her blend of Hispanic and Jewish culture. It's not in poor taste or anything, at least, in my opinion, though it's really only a side note. The idea takes full flight in a later episode (Picture This if you're interested).

Where things really get interesting for me is the second episode, as it features the first really fleshed out musical segment. Backyard Beach isn't the best song of the series, though it certainly isn't the worst. Still, it's a shining example of the attitude the show tries to impress upon it's viewers overall.

Life... in addition to Youth and Summer... should be celebrated at every turn.

Often enough, when the boys are having fun, it's just them and their friends while they're being hounded by Candace. Lawn Gnome Beach Party Terror (as the episode is titled) is one of the occasional segments where pretty much the entirety of Danville (or, at least a small portion of it) gets involved in the fun. Local radio DJ's, actual Tiki dancers, even the infamous Buford (or "soon to be infamous" as this is his first appearance) are in on the fun. This is especially good for Candace, as Jeremy shows up to surf and instead chooses to dance with her during the musical segment.

In this segment we also meet Candace's friends Stacey, whom she is always calling to talk about the boys or Jeremy with and often guest stars, and Jenny, who shows up occasionally, but not nearly as often as Stacey. This is also Buford's first appearance. In these early episodes, he's often just a convenient foil or background character, though later on he becomes a friendly and enthusiastic regular who only occasionally bullies.

This is also the first time we have a backstory flashback for Heinz. A lot of his "evil" stems from the poor life he's led (or been forced to). Even so, the flashbacks are always just as ridiculous as the basic show itself and I can't help but grin as young Doof is forced to stand in as his family's lawn gnome and how his neighbor's son Kenny is forced to do the same as a lawn jockey. Good stuff that would really only be picked up on by the adults. 

Additionally, there are fun little details that make me smile, in a dark way. During episode one's rollercoaster leadup, a poor bird smacks into the ultra-high first rise and falls limp. Here, in Lawn Gnome Beach Party Terror, another (or perhaps the same one) goes up like a matchstick in the hot summer sun. A little bit of schadenfreude, yes, and fun, too, but not something I often expect to see in kids shows.

Overall, a solid episode with two fun segments that aren't the best the series has to offer, but still make me grin. Worth the watch, especially with folks who enjoy having a heart filled with lightness.

I'll try and tear myself away from the series on the morrow. As much as I like it, I don't want to get stuck in a rut. Onwards to a different corner of Netflix!

Until tomorrow, Potatoes~

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