Remember the days of Saturday morning cartoons? Nowadays, there are about half a dozen channels that crank out kid-friendly TV around the clock—and believe it or not, it’s not all garbage. Take Phineas and Ferb. This cartoon has been on television since 2008, and even has a feature length movie under its belt already. The secret to Phineas and Ferb’s success is that it’s fun to watch no matter your age. Here are four reasons this cartoon is for mystery and crime lovers—just in case you needed convincing.
1. The Perfect Bad Guy
Meet Dr. Heinz Doofenshmirtz, also known as Doof. In each episode, he has an evil, criminal plan to take over the world—or at least the tri-state area. As evil as his plans are, Dr. Doofenshmirtz is a villain with a soft side, and plenty of fun quotes to keep you laughing—like this one: “I created this for peaceful, cheese-loving purposes, but you have forced me to wield it in anger!” or “You see, back before I was evil, I was something a little less than evil: I was a bratwurst street vendor!” Doofenshmirtz is one of the best (albeit failing) bad guys on television today. His sad backstory in each episode is enough to tune in for.
2. A Secret Agent
To defeat a bad guy, you need a secret agent, and what better agent than Perry the Platypus. Perry is Phineas and Ferb’s pet, but transforms into Agent P for the OWCA (that’s the Organization Without a Cool Acronym, of course). He’s somewhat of a James Bond type, defeating evil with gadgets and great skill, only to return to his pet-status by the end of every episode. Somehow, Phineas and Ferb never catch on to Perry’s secret agent status—they only wonder every once in a while: “Where’s Perry?”
3. A Good Mystery
Phineas and Ferb always starts the same way: the two stepbrothers have a great, outlandish plan to have fun over the summer, but their sister Candice is determined to get them busted. Which of course she rarely manages to do, despite Phineas and Ferb’s over-the-top plans (like building a backyard beach or a time machine). The real crime and mystery isn’t this summer plan, however—it’s Doofenshmirtz’s evildoing and Agent P’s efforts to stop him.
4. Humor and Music
Somehow, the two plots—Phineas and Ferb’s summer plan and Doofenshmirtz’s evil plan—always intersect. Phineas and Ferb never get in trouble, and Doofenshmirtz still hasn’t taken over the world. But it sure is fun to watch the weird plot development, the jokes, and the little stabs at the conventions of mysteries and thrillers. Add to that the Emmy-nominated songs, and you’ll be wondering why you didn’t start watching sooner.
So what does the future hold for Phineas and Ferb? Its appeal with parents and kids has already garnered a musical, and a new movie is slated for release in the summer of 2013. You don’t need to be a ten-year-old kid to enjoy Phineas and Ferb—just watch the dry wit and little genre jabs that run through every episode for some adult appeal. So next time your kid sits down for some quality cartoon time, join in. Phineas and Ferb is perfect for mystery and crime fans of all ages.
F.T. Bradley’s debut Double Vision (Harper Children’s, October 2012) is the first in the MG mystery/thriller series featuring Linc Baker. Follow her blog YA Sleuth and Twitter @FTBradleyAuthor for YA and MG mystery news.
Read F.T. Bradley’s other Criminal Element posts.