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'The Perry Files' is formulaic and funny

Published: Friday, July 6 2012 2:40 p.m. MDT

A scene from "Split Personality."

Disney

Last month, Disney opened "The Perry Files," giving "Phineas and Ferb" enthusiasts a DVD library of seven episodes, 14 high-tech summer hijinks and a whole lot of inventions that end with "inator."

"The Perry Files" DVD is a compilation of episodes from the second and third seasons of the Disney Channel animated series.

"Phineas and Ferb" follows two good-natured, uber-intelligent step brothers as they find over-the-top ways to spend their summer days, all while their older sister tries to unsuccessfully "bust" them. Meanwhile, their pet platypus, Perry, is actually a secret agent who thwarts the schemes of an evil scientist seeking to control the Tri-State Area with inventions like the de-volitionator, the metal unearthinator, the all-purposeinator and the least-likelyinator.

The series, like most cartoons, is formulaic, but also packed with subtle humor adults will appreciate and moved along by terrific original music.

And then there's the clever, stereotype-dodging characters, like the evil scientist who's really not that evil and the bully who's actually fairly cordial.

The DVD is billed as Perry's "most exciting adventures," but the selected episodes are standard "Phineas and Ferb" fare. In fact, one of the story lines barely features Perry at all.

But they're also hilarious.

One highlight is the "Brain Drain" episode, where the "evil" Dr. Doofenshmirtz has to pick up his daughter at a midday dance party. He ends up at a turntable, rapping about his platypus nemesis in front of his daughter's punk rock friends.

"I get it," one teen says. "A platypus is a metaphor for whatever's keeping you down."

You know, corporations, the government, teachers, society — all a platypus.

Kids may actually get their cues on what to laugh at from parents, who can find humor in references ranging from stretch marks to evolution to big box mind-control stores.

Values-conscious viewers could, however, do without the repeated references to "raves."

It's not original content, like "Phineas and Ferb: Across the 2nd Dimension." So for those with a Netflix account or a DVR that stockpiles episodes, "The Perry Files" may not offer much.

Still, the DVD is a good way to build a library of episodes. And the best feature is the accompanying digital copy, which allows you to download the episodes to iTunes or another media library and easily transfer to a mobile phone or tablet for "Phineas and Ferb" on the go.

"The Perry Files" episodes

No More Bunny Business/Spa Day

Split Personality/Brain Drain

Candace Disconnected/Magic carpet ride

Ask a Foolish Question/Misperceived Monotreme

Mommy Can You Hear Me?/Road Trip

Perry the Actorpus/Bullseye!

Escape from Phineas Tower/The Remains of the Platypus

Aaron Shill is the editor of Features and Mormon Times at the Deseret News.

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