The creators of Phineas and Ferb have exactly what I always expected from watching the show -- a lot of creative freedom. The show started quietly and gained its audience on its own, not because of a business plan, but because they were largely left to make a funny, smart show.
contains the recent PHINEAS AND FERB CHRISTMAS VACATION episode plus four more: Interview with a Platypus;
. All are great examples of how this series weaves its storylines with grace and panache, loaded with lots of quick asides in the spirit of other great comedy cartoons like Bugs Bunny and Bullwinkle.
There's an extra episode in the Bonus Features called "Doof Side of the Moon" preceeded by a 12-minute feature about how the creative team writes and performs their original songs and how one of their favorite episodes "Spongebob"veteran Dan Povenmire, comedy writer/performer Martin Olson, Jon Colton Barry (son of legendary songwriter Jeff Barry) and Jeff "Swampy Marsh" whose is the grandson of bandleader Les Brown.
I mention the musical connections especially because Phineas and Ferb is very music-generated and again, not just by committee-engineered pop tunes by by comic effect, from rock to big band, Broadway to Bollywood. Many of the songs written for the show have been released on CD, including a new holiday favorites album. Most of the music and songs came from the above team, with the able help of musical director Danny Jacob.
interactive, not just called by that heavily-used term. Clicking various objects results in quick appearances by characters. One in particular takes you to a video in which the show staff conspire to cover a co-workers office with post-it notes.
that the creative forces behind the show are relatively free of the
interfering words: "Well, I don't get that joke and neither do my
associates, so the whole world won't so therefore kill it dead and let
me watch is fester, rot and bleach in the sun." Well, maybe not in those
words, but I can just imagine how a song like "Squirrels in my Pants"
might die in a corporate approval process.
Let's hope the recent phenomenal success of Phineas and Ferb continues to thrive in relative autonomy. But somehow even if it does happen to a degree, we can probably look forward to a sly spoof of the internal ordeal, so veiled it may pass over the tops of the Herman Miller head rests.
WE ROCK, YOU ROCK, THEY ROCK, WE ALL ROCK
Posted on Sep 14 2010 by Greg
My kids and I get a kick out of how things are promoted and advertised, especially on TV. My wife and I are big on media literacy, since kids are exposed to advertising almost as soon as they're born.
Anyway, whenever a sequel to something approaches, the marketing department types tend to force "points" into things whether they fit or not. In the case of Camp Rock 2: The Final Jam
, their "strategy" was to make it clear that the second film is bigger and better. It's not exactly groundbreaking thinking, but you hear it all the time. So for the last several months Disney Channel has been having their stars tells us how this new Camp Rock
is "so much more (insert word here)." My kids laugh at this because of how it infers that that original is somehow inferior.
Of course, that's what advertising types must do -- always go for the new and improved. Curiously, Camp Rock 2
seemed to me to be better than the first film -- but not so to my kids.
I liked the big, exuberant musical numbers. Clearly this film feels the influence of past phenoms like High School Musical
. There's a lot more highly choreographed set pieces here and it's great stuff if you like MGM musicals and Annette
movies, which of course I do. The songs are more classic Hollywood "out of nowhere" than in the first film, where they were confined primarily to onstage settings.
My kids like musicals too, but they were missing the gentle, simple story of the first Camp Rock
. It was basically a cross between Cinderella (a prince seeking a voice rather than a shoe) and the Mickey Mouse Club
"Annette" serial (mean girl accuses nice girl of stealing).
The new movie really is bigger. All three Jonas Brothers
have key roles this time around, with the most endearing song sung by Nick. Daniel Fathers
as the camp leader is more of a plot focus also, as he competes with a rival camp led by an old rock rival (played by Daniel Kash
, an actor whom we were sure was related to Tony Shalhoub
in look and voice and still, we think, must be a distant cousin).
Therein may have been what lost my daughter in particular. The story was about ambition and business rather than boy meets girl -- or at least the romance took a backseat to the main plot. Don't get me wrong -- she likes the film and watched it again but prefers the first one.
The one thing we all agree on is the talent and likability of the star, Demi Lovato
. She had to carry the first film on her shoulders and delivers a strong presence and performance again. She has a Sally Field
quality and we hope she takes her life and career in the best possible dircctions. She's the real deal and we wish her well in the mine field of being a young star in show business.
The DVD does not offer more than a sing along (excuse me, a "rock along") option. The Blu-Ray disc also includes interviews.
LEAVE IT TO STU'S SHOW!
Posted on Jul 17 2010 by Greg
The big news this year isn't the "latest thing" in Hollywood, it's one of the greatest things in classic TV: Leave it to Beaver
The long awaited for complete series is finally on DVD. Only two seasons had been released for many years, but now Shout! Factory is issuing Season Three through Six individually, with One and Two to follow, as well as the new complete series deluxe boxed set.The Complete Series
box contains an bonus disc with the unaired pilot (which did not feature Tony Dow
or Hugh Beaumont
and included a young Harry Shearer
), a public service film, promos, a vintage board game and two new documentaries: one feature length that focuses on the principals and the show's history and another at featurette length about the supporting cast, particularly Eddie and Lumpy.
The feature video is documentary-style, fairly straightforward and benefits greatly from the presence of Barbara Billingsley
, Jerry Mathers
and Tony Dow, the latter two being involved behind the scenes as well (Mathers' brother Jimmy
The second video, produced and directed by Shostak, takes a more whimsical approach. What fan of "Leave it to Beaver" wouldn't want to see Ken "Eddie" Osmond
and Frank "Lumpy" Bank
give each other "the business?" If they just talked "straight" through, it would not have been as true to the two characters and the actors who, as evidenced on the "Stu's Show" interviews included on the individual discs.
The clips in this segment are exactly the best clips to showcase Eddie and Lumpy. To someone who loves the show, like I do, as soon as each clip came on I laughed, "Oh! I love that episode!" It struck just the right chords.
[Perhaps no other single broadcast has been able to contribute more material to a classic TV series DVD collection than Stu's Show on shokus internet radio. You can also hear Alan Young
and Connie Hines
, the latter in her last interview in the bonus features of Mister Ed
(Young on Season One; Young and Hines on Season Two).]
"Leave it to Beaver" is a landmark show in pop culture history, not because it broke new ground or was particularly innovative, but because it honed in on the life of kids, their relationships with adults and the odd moments of life that still and will always resound, regardless of changing styles and technical inroads.
If you remember it, revisit it afresh. If you have kids, by all means make it part of their lives too. If you don't have kids, it will strike a chord with the kid inside. There's something special about it.
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