Age Recommendation: All ages
Genre: Humor cartoon
Subject Matter: Family, adventure, teamwork, friendship, comedy
Phineas & Ferb is one of those cartoons that has a huge adult following, and there's good reason behind that. It airs on Disney and DisneyXD channels, as well as having several DVD releases, including a full-length feature film. There was even an on-going nationwide tour of "Perry the PlatyBus". If you haven't heard of them yet, may I suggest emerging from your rock-adjacent dwelling and clicking on the tube, because to put it bluntly: you're missing out. Big time. In fact, I've never met a parent who told me they didn't like this show, and it's usually the first one people mention when I ask what cartoons they enjoy watching with their kids.
The show features brothers Phineas and Ferb Fletcher who have their entire summer vacation in front of them and want to make the most out of every single day. They come up with hair-brained schemes ("Let's build a water park in our backyard!") and wacky inventions ("let's invent something to translate what animals are saying!") with seemingly unlimited funds and knowledge of physics and electromechanical engineering. In fact, when asked if he is perhaps too young to be doing or buying the things he does (usually by delivery people who are tasked with bringing their purchases of materials for crazy hair-brained schemes), Phineas usually replies, "Yeah, probably."
Their older sister Candace is always witness to their craziness, and is bound and determined to tattle on her younger siblings to their ever-disbelieving mother. However, she never succeeds, and the Fletcher parents are none the wiser to their sons' mischief. Poor Candace suffers from some emotional ticks afterwards, and is always labeled as a fibber by her parents.
Coupled with the crazy brothers' antics, their pet platypus Perry leads a double life as a Secret Agent, Agent P, who is constantly saving the Tri-State area from the clutches of the wannabe-evil villain Dr. Doofenschmirtz and his evil company, Doofenschmirtz Evil Incorporated (which has a rather catchy theme song that plays every time it's mentioned in the show). In this parent's opinion, it's Dr. Doofenschmirtz who provides the bulk of the adult-pleasing comedy. He's bumbling yet witty, and always has an "-inator" invention that doesn't quite have all the kinks worked out, which he's quick to point out when they fail miserably. He also has a budding-evil daughter, Vanessa, who displays average teenage angst at her father's poor attempts at evil domination as well as his attempts at repairing his broken relationship with her.
The list of running gags in this show is quite impressive for such a young cartoon. I've already mentioned one, Phineas always being asked if he's too young to be doing the things he does. Other gags include someone asking, "hey, where's Perry?" before we flash to Perry's secret hideout where he receives his secret agent missions. This is usually followed by, "oh, there you are Perry!" when he re-emerges as a plain old platypus. Phineas and Ferb's antics are always magically erased mere seconds before Candace is able to lure a doubting parent to see what she knows will get her brothers in trouble. Perhaps fans of Kevin Smith's works will equate Ferb's perpetual silence with that of Silent Bob; his silence is only broken when he has something particularly profound to say.
Kids will enjoy the antics of Phineas, Ferb, and Candace, as well as the action packed Perry the Platypus segments. Heck, a platypus doing karate moves is likely to make anyone happy regardless of age. Kids will also probably love to rock out to the fantastic soundtrack that accompanies the show, as each episode usually features a jamming montage of some sort. Parents will probably like the music too; the opening theme song is by the popular alternative-punk rock band Bowling For Soup, after all. The subtle jokes in Dr. Doofenschmirtz's speeches are more for the adults too. I promise, you're not going to hate this one.
In conclusion, I have three words: secret agent platypus. Need I really say more?