Published on The Daily Femme – Thursday, Oct. 7, 2010
Contributed by Annamarya
If you’re not hip to it already, Disney XD’s Phineas and Ferb (created by Dan Povenmire and Jeff “Swampy” Marsh) is an animated comedy about two stepbrothers, Phineas Flynn & Ferb Flecther, who embark on over-the-top and amazingly creative projects each day of their summer vacation, annoying their 15-year-old sister, Candace Flynn, who spends her time trying to bust them. There’s also a sub-plot: they have a pet platypus, Perry, who’s also a secret agent fighting the evil scientist Dr. Heinz Doofenshmirtz. It’s an all-around fantastic show for kids—and kid-at-heart adults—that teaches you to be creative, imaginative and have fun with learning while featuring culturally-diverse characters and centering on an American-British blended family and their awesome pet. The family structure was chosen by the creators because it’s underrepresented in children’s media, and the platypus was chosen because of its “striking appearance and the lack of public knowledge of them.”
But that’s not the only reason why I consider this show as recommended viewing. I’ve watched almost every episode of Phineas and Ferb since first watching it this year and, with every one, I’m surprised, amazed, fascinated and delighted by its portrayal of my gender. While you have the typical love-struck, uptight teenage girl–the sister, Candace, who, by the way, loves wrestling video games, you also have her level-headed Japanese best friend, 16-year-old Stacy Hirano, who equally loves wrestling video games and is revealed to be the futurePresident of Uruguay in the “Phineas and Ferb’s Quantum Boogaloo” episode. You also have The Fireside Girls – a troop of 10 Girl Scout-like 10-year-olds led by Isabella Garcia-Shapiro, a Mexican-Jewish girl with a massive crush on Phineas. It’s the inclusion of The Fireside Girls that makes Phineas and Ferbsuch a pleasure to watch—and an absolute viewing must for young girls looking for intelligent role models (be it fictional) in their age range. Their skill set is vast and impressive—they know how to build everything from stages to time machines, work as a racetrack pit crew, run a business, decipher corporate paperwork, solve scientific formulas and so much more, all while ambitiously chasing and completing tasks for their next Fireside Girl patch. While these remarkable young ladies are often assisting the main characters with their inventions, they are never portrayed as just helpers—instead, they are always shown as an integral and equal part of the show, with some episodes focusing just on them. With The Fireside Girls, there is no limit to what they—and you—can do.
In a time when toys like these are targeted towards young girls, we need more shows like Phineas and Ferb to show them they can be anything they want to be, from president, to scientist, to architect to businessperson. And isn’t that the lesson we, as mentors, sisters, parents or guardians, want to teach?