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The parents' guide to what's in this TV show.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that there's little cause for concern in Phineas and Ferb, a fun-filled -- if slightly exaggerated -- cartoon for grade-schoolers. Kids will certainly enjoy the characters' over-the-top antics and adventures, and (aside from said antics possibly inspiring grandiose ideas), there's not much to worry about when it comes to messages. The sister character is a bit of a stereotype who nags, whines, and is obsessed with her boyfriend, but that's not the show's focus. Mild peril is played for humor, and allusions are made to youthful crushes, but little of this content will be new to kids, and most are likely to overlook it when there's so much other fun stuff going on.
What's the story?
Young stepbrothers Phineas Flynn (voiced by Vincent Martella) and Ferb Fletcher (Thomas Sangster) want to make the most of their summer vacation, packing in as much action and adventure as they can in PHINEAS AND FERB. Each day, the two schemers set to work on oversized plans for visions like backyard surfing, personal theme park rides, and overnight musical fame. They're accompanied by the family's pet platypus, Perry (Dee Bradley Baker), whose placid nature hides a top-secret identity and a mission to save the world from the evil Dr. Doofenshmirtz (Dan Povenmire). Despite their parents'; oblivion, the boys' antics don't escape the watchful eye of their older sister, Candace (Ashley Tisdale), who gets positively giddy about the chance to prove once and for all that they're up to no good.
Is it any good?
This fun-filled cartoon is sure to win over young fans with its exaggerated sense of adventure and the comical pairing of stepbrothers. Boisterous Phineas and his mostly silent partner in crime, Ferb, who nonetheless proves his worth as his stepbrother's go-to engineering guru are an entertaining duo. Kids will enjoy letting their imaginations run wild with the characters' zany schemes almost as much as slightly older viewers (and even parents) will appreciate the show's wit and clever humor.
Add to that the unlikely plot twists -- which ensure that the boys' work remains under wraps -- and Perry's continued ability to outwit the humans around him, and it's easy to like this fast-paced cartoon. Parents can rest assured that while there's little attempt to teach obvious lessons here, Phineas and Ferb is as innocuous as the premise is fun, making it a fine choice for grade-school viewers.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about the role that exaggeration plays in comedy. Do storylines seem funnier when they're taken to extremes -- as in the case of Phineas and Ferb's many oversized schemes?
Do you think plots based on exaggeration can ever impact viewers (particularly young ones) in a negative way? If so, how?
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