Two Halloweens ago my sister and I dressed up as Phineas and Ferb from the acclaimed and famed Disney Channel hit television show Phineas and Ferb. I watch the show on Netflix at night when I have trouble sleeping. And probably the craziest of my nerdom is that I named my new car after the boys’ pet Platypus/secret agent, Perry the Platapus. Needless to say, I am a huge fan of the franchise. I also love zombie culture, including the comedy, Shaun of the Dead, starring comedian Simon Pegg. And so, when I heard that Simon Pegg was making a guest appearance Phineas and Ferb, I nearly peed my pants with excitement. But I did have one concern… how in the WORLD (even a post-apocalyptic one) do you make Simon Pegg appropriate for kids?
For those of you who don’t know about the best animated show for children on television right now, let me enlighten. Phineas and Ferb follows the lives of two young genius stepbrothers, named Phineas and Ferb, who decide every day to do something truly spectacular like build the world’s biggest roller coaster or take a bunch of cows to the moon to see what moon ice cream tastes like or build a time machine. The boys also have an older sister, Candace. And every episode, she feels the compelling need to “bust her brothers.” Lastly, the boys have a pet duck billed platypus, named Perry, who leads a double life as a secret agent, as Agent P. Agent P’s arch nemesis is Dr. Doofensmirtz, a parody of every evil villain ever known to man, with a lot of bumbling fool thrown added to the mix. Every episode there are several running gags: the boys figuring out what they are going to do for the day, Perry’s disappearance, Candace’s vow to bust her brothers, Dr. Doofensmirtz’s plan to take over the “Tri-State area,” and many more. The show is in a word, brilliant. It always lends itself to what I call “Muppet humor,” where it all stays child appropriate, but aims jokes at an older and smarter demographic. This episode was no exception to the rule.
This is a Halloween episode and usually on holiday specials, the episodes are longer. We get an hour for this little gem. We start the episode off with the boys making a machine to make their skin like rubber, so that they can bounce all over town. They bring their best friends along for the ride. This includes the bullying Buford, the nerdy Baljeet, and the insanely resourceful fireside girl, Isabella. Little do they know, that Dr. Doofensmirtz has been rigging up a contraption, or “Inator” as he likes to call his inventions, to make his brother, the mayor of Danville, repulsive, so that he can take over as Mayor. Something goes wrong, and instead Dr. Doofensmirtz creates an army of Zombie Doofensmirtz’s who can turn anyone else into a Doof-zombie with a touch. The kids, being the only ones left untouched, must save the world.
Although I found the episode to be a little too long, I thoroughly enjoyed it. Especially when it got to be more of an apocalyptic vibe as opposed to a normal day in Phineas and Ferb world. There were lots of delicious nuggets in there to make this episode kid friendly and nerd friendly as well.
Simon Pegg’s guest star was great. Again, I had no idea how it would turn out, considering he’s usually a little on the crass side. He and his best chum, Ed (voiced by the always hilarious Nick Frost), discuss the sheer absurdity that this zombie gene not only turns you into a Doof-zombie, but also turns your clothes into Doof-clothes. And if this zombie gene is truly infecting our clothes… does that mean that our clothes are alive? It’s just quick and intelligent enough to let all of the zombie nerds out there known that Phineas and Ferb not only “get you,” but want you to have a good time with this episode. Also guest starring in this episode is George Romero as a news reporter. THAT is how awesome this show is. They got the father of the modern zombie movie to guest star on an animated series.
The show was incredibly intense towards the end, and I found myself on the edge of my seat, wondering if the people of Danville would survive this zombie apocalypse. Oh, and the part that made me laugh out loud the hardest had to be when Buford ran into a crowd of zombies screaming, “Yippie Ki Yay, you Pharmasist Freaks!” and then Doofensmirtz did the exact same thing 10 minutes later. If you don’t know what joke I’m referring to, do yourself a favor and watch Die Hard on Basic Cable, and wait for the best dubbing you will ever see in your entire life!
Even if you’re not a cartoon fan, this episode is definitely worth a watch. I wish that more cartoons geared towards children would get smart and make programming for children that’s not talking down to them, but rather just talking to them in an appropriate manner. Make something that you would like to watch as well, not something that you THINK kids want to watch. Because we have to raise this generation right. They need to know from an early age how to survive a zombie apocalypse!