A new year
Having spent most of the weekend on the bonus issue, I needed a little bit of a break before I was ready to start work on this one. The voting results and the birthdays lists should be updated tomorrow. In case you're wondering, we'll keep the winter skin up until about the 16th, which happens to be when the next newsletter comes out.
One of my goals for this year, which I mentioned last time, is to start working on the newsletters earlier so they can be published on schedule. And like I mentioned last time, I need help with articles and ideas. Whatever you feel like contributing will help, whether it's a one-time column or cartoon or something that you'd like to do on a more frequent basis. The more you help, the less you have to read of me yammering.
On that note, I want to thank Ryan Stoppable for his article. We know that Phineas and Ferb is a good show. Now we have the numbers to back it up, which helps confirm to the Disney executives that same positive spirit.
Another goal I have is to get back to contributing new pages for the wiki. I've been doing maintenance for too long. We're behind on adding things to the Merchandise Portal. Pretty much everything I've reviewed in this newsletter needs to go in there. I would also like to have pages for each Big Idea and each of Doofenshmirtz's Inators. A few people have been working on episode transcripts, but there's more that needs to be done.
I will probably create a blog so we can discuss things like this, but in the meantime, if you come up with an idea, we have a Feature request page. Ideas entered through there go into the Wiki enhancement requests category.
No merchandise review this time
I held one item back last time because I wanted to review it alongside some similar items. I've found a couple places that have them available online, so I should be able to order them this week and review them in the next issue. I have two episode reviews in this newsletter to make up for it.
Odds 'n' Ends
The Numbers Game: 2011 Year In Review-inator
by Ryan Stoppable
2011 came in showing lots of promise for big things, but did it live up to the lofty expectations? With the pages having flown off of another calendar, it's time to take a look back at the past year in the world of Phineas and Ferb with the 3rd Annual The Numbers Game Year In Review-inator.
There can only be one place to start any discussion of the year, and that's with Phineas and Ferb The Movie: Across the 2nd Dimension. The series' first Disney Channel Original Movie premiered on August 5 to a whopping 7.642 million viewers, becoming the most watched program across all kid-targeted cable channels for the year:
1. Phineas and Ferb The Movie: Across the 2nd Dimension, August 5, 7.642 million
2. iCarly "iOMG", April 9, 7.355 million
3. iCarly/Victorious "iParty with Victorious", June 11, 7.316 million
4. 2011 Kids' Choice Awards, April 2, 7.287 million
5. The Suite Life on Deck "Twister, Part 3", January 16, 7.109 million
As is to be expected with ratings of that magnitude, Across the 2nd Dimension's success cut across age brackets, ranking on the year as TV's No. 1 scripted program in Kids 2-11 and 6-11 and Disney Channel's No. 1 rated broadcast among Tweens 9-14, and even drawing TV's highest rating on the evening among Adults 18-49. With a week's worth recorded viewing factored in, the movie premiere drew over 10 million viewers, making it cable television's No. 1 rated movie of the year.
As a whole, TV ratings were strongest during the summer months as the excitement around the movie brought the community to a fever pitch. "My Fair Goalie" paced 2011's collection of new episodes as 4.65 million viewers saw it on September 9, a series high for a regular episode. "Bad Hair Day / Meatloaf Surprise" took second with 4.37 million viewers on June 24, drawing the series' highest numbers of the year in the target 6-11 age group; in fact, it was the No. 2 animated program of the year behind only Across the 2nd Dimension. Checking into the third spot with 4.29 million viewers was "Phineas and Ferb Interrupted / A Real Boy" from July 15. In all, 2011 premieres account for 5 of the top 8 most watched new episodes in series history.
In addition to the show itself, several pieces of merchandise found success in 2011 as well. The show's third soundtrack CD, "Across the 1st and 2nd Dimensions" peaked at a series-best No. 57 on the Billboard 200 album chart. Despite its August release, it also reached the 2011 yearly Kids Albums chart at No. 24, where it was joined by the 2009 "Phineas and Ferb" at No. 18. Not to be left out, last year's "Holiday Favorites" soundtrack made its first appearance in the Billboard 200, peaking at No. 126 a few weeks ago. In addition, the Across the 2nd Dimension video game is estimated to have sold about 650,000 copies worldwide across its three platforms since its August release, bringing total sales of Phineas and Ferb video games to an estimated 2.5 million units.
In 2012, Phineas and Ferb is set to become the longest-running Disney Channel Original Series of all time. The year looks to be headlined by the "World Without a Platypus" event in the summer, and should also feature several other highly-anticipated episodes including the long-awaited "Meapless in Seattle". The fun begins January 13 with the Time Shift Weekend - four new episodes in four nights - and I, for one, am ready for the start of another great year for Phineas and Ferb.
Retro Review: The Unfair Science Fair pair
We're just starting a new year, so it's time to take a look back at the end of Phineas and Ferb's first year.
Season 1 had had a few episodes that took up the entire half hour, but "Unfair Science Fair" was the first time a shorter episode tied directly into another episode, aptly titled "Unfair Science Fair Redux (Another Story)". The next would be "Bubble Boys" and "Isabella and the Temple of Sap". Both of these pairs revisit the same story from a different viewpoint.
"Unfair Science Pair" opens with Baljeet freaking out about his grades. We got a hint of how important grades are to him back in "Raging Bully", but this episode hammers it home, even if Baljeet himself doesn't know which end of a hammer to hold. But he does know how to sing a great song. Phineas joins in, and there's a few moments where you can kind of hear him straining a little to match the style of the song.
During this season, we also saw Candace's relationship with Jeremy start out, but she begins going a bit overboard by fumbling her way through explaining watching him with binoculars from just a few feet away. When she gets the chance to work with him, an accident during the job competition turns into a food fight and they both lose the job.
Dr. Doofenshmirtz gives us another example of how he just can't let the past go and how he needs to prove himself as an adult. How he ends up losing to a baking soda volcano in a poetry reading, I don't know, and neither does he. Hence, the need to best it as an adult with his own, even bigger, baking soda volcano.
As the episode ends, it briefly recalls Baljeet's song and sets up the follow-up episode.
The follow-up episode, "Redux", uses Baljeet's introduction to his song as the launching point to shift over to Candace's viewpoint. As usual, she takes something and blows it out of proportion. In this case, it's a simple instance of not being able to talk to her friends, followed by a desperate search for somebody, anybody, to talk to.
That leads her back to Baljeet's house where she discovers what he and her brothers have been working on, and it's just the thing she's been looking for. In a moment, she's on Mars, making new friends to replace the ones she thinks she's lost.
Back on Earth, Agent P and Dr. Doofenshmirtz show us another facet of their "frienemy" relationship when they go out shopping together for the supplies Doofenshmirtz needs for his latest scheme. At the grocery store, they literally bump into Major Monogram and Carl. That awkward moment is matched when Candace learns that her new friends are a little too needy and she has to escape back to Earth.
Dr. Doofenshmirtz closes out the episode by setting up what we saw at the beginning of the half hour, followed by showing what happened to him when he visited Mars. Naturally, his old nemesis is there, and this time, it's not Agent P.
If you've read anything about the history of the show, you'll remember that it got turned down by a lot of TV executives because they thought the series was too complex. As you can see, the "Unfair Science Fair pair" shows that yes, the interwoven storylines take a bit more effort to set up, but they're worth it.
Retro Review: Getting away from it all
In this review, let's take a look at two more Season 1 episodes.
"Out of Toon" starts off with Lawrence introducing the boys to his favorite kids program, The Pinhead Pierre Show! They enjoy it as much as he does, which inspires them to make their own cartoon. Their animation studio pokes fun at the real animation process and the bit where the robot falls off the chair is something that actually happened in one of Dan and Swampy's story development sessions.
Another bit of the behind the scenes interactions is played out in Agent P's mission briefing. The lines for Major Monogram and Carl are the only ones that are recorded together, since they interact directly with each other. The rest of the actors record their lines separately. But whether together or separately, everyone does a great job on the show.
There are some other gems in this episode: Isabella shows that's she's possessive of her catch phrase, Buford shows he's capable of profound thoughts, Baljeet shows a little of a dark side that leaves everyone stunned, and Linda anticipates her daughter's "psychotic rant". I believe this is also the first episode where Doofenshmirtz makes an Inator by mistake.
"Hail Doofania!" is an exercise in role reversal. In it, Phineas and Ferb drift into Dr. Doofenshmirtz territory when they attempt to help Isabella fulfill a desire, right down to calling their Big Idea the "Rainbow-inator". Candace and Vanessa learn how difficult their lives are when they are not wearing the right set of clothes. And Norm gets both the "What'cha doin'?" and the "too young" lines.
I think the highlight of the episode is Agent P's battle with the doorway to his lair. For as capable as he is, a protective cone gets the better of him and he spends the day futilely trying to get through the door. Phineas comes to his rescue and removes the cone, which also gives Phineas the chance to do another of Doofenshmirtz's bit, the "curse you" line.
For the doctor himself, he had been trying to get away from his annoying brother by building his own country, complete with its own anthemn. During this time, Vanessa takes over Candace's role in trying to bust her dad, and it's Phineas and Ferb's invention that cleans up's Doofenshmirtz's invention.
Both episodes do a good job of giving some attention to characters beyond what we typically see. "Doofania" also demonstrates how interconnected the lives of the characters are, but they don't realize it.
That wraps up another "Retro Review". Look for more of them in upcoming newsletters.
| Coming in two weeks:
- Hands-on with the new merchandise, part 38
- Recent episodes review
- Other articles to be determined (submissions wanted - send to RRabbit42 or use the Newsletter submissions page)
Got a question or comment about this issue? Leave a message on this issue's Discussion page.