a touch of Shakespeare in Phineas and Ferb
Phineas and Ferb is very much of a craze to kids nowadays, actually even adults enjoy watching this cartoon series. And I have to admit that I am one of those kids/adults who truly love watching this very famous cartoon series in Disney channel.
The story is all about two brothers, Phineas and Ferb, who are spending their summer vacation inventing machines and other stuff just for the fun of it. I think I don’t need to elaborate on that anymore because pretty much everyone knows what Phineas and Ferb are always up to and how everything goes in every episode.
Well, looking closely at this show, you will notice that the creators didn’t only want the children to know more about science and having fun, I guess they also want the children to appreciate bits of literature in this show. From time to time, you will hear the characters in this show quoting lines from different famous writers, and one of them is Shakespeare.
And here are some of the episodes of Phineas and Ferb where you can see Shakespeare being quoted by the characters. They are not full length lines from Shakespeare’s plays, but just tidbits of them. And they are easily recognized because the lines used were the famous ones.
1. “The Lizard Whisperer”
Ferb: Give up? Give up? The day may come when we’ll give up on fruitless searches after a mere eleven minutes, but that day is not today! The day may come when our favorite reptile may be lost from our memories and his enduring love of mushrooms forgotten, but that day is not today! Today we search! We will search for him in the streets, we will search for him in the trenches, we will search for him in the alleys and the mini-malls and the cul-de-sacs of this fair land. We will search for him in the multilevel car parks and municipal recreation facilities. And we few. We happy few. We small band of brothers — and girl from across the street. We shall not cease ’til he is found!
~ Ferb’s rousing speech contains references to the speech Aragorn gives to the men of Rohan and Gondor right before the final battle of The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King, a 1940 speech by Winston Churchill, and the famous speech from Shakespeare’s Henry V. It also contains a self-referential joke relating to the fact that each Phineas and Ferb cartoon is 11 minutes long.
2. “What Do It Do?”
Phineas: Friends, Bullies, Irving, at 0900 hours aUCO, or “Unidentified Crashing Object”, landed in out front yard. We’ve reversed engineered a piece-by-piece duplicate of the strange object. We’ve called you here to help us discover what this object is and how it works.
Julius Caesar (the play by William Shakespeare)
Phineas addresses Isabella, Buford, Baljeet, and Irving as “Friends, Bullies, Irving” similar to “Friends, Romans, Countrymen” from Mark Antony’s speech.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X7mUAPzT_y4 (6:10 – 6:15)
3. “Hide and Seek”
Irving: Where’s Perry? Wait! Wait! I can do better! Where’s Perry? Where is Perry? Wherefore art thou Perry? I wonder where that Perry went. Ooh! Where is that platypus? Where the P-man at?
Romeo and Juliet
The line “Wherefore art thou, Perry?” is an allusion to the famous Romeo and Juliet balcony scene.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g3z7K5u944w (1:20 – 1:27)
4. “One Good Scare Ought To Do It”
Macbeth – When Buford washes his hands, saying “Wash away the horror,” this is a reference to Act V of Shakespeare’s Macbeth, where a sleepwalking Lady Macbeth desperately washes her hands, trying to rid herself of Duncan’s blood.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Zwlrc1d-Lyk (4:48 – 4:55)
5. “Summer Belongs To You”
Mom: Basically, if you’re in charge, you won’t need to call at all. You see, if the boys are doing something bust-worthy, that means you’re not doing your job, and you would be in trouble, too.
Candace: Whoa, heavy. So if I bust my brothers, I bust myself?
Dad: Ah, there’s the rub….right next to the pair o’ ducks! I’m also packing this book of puns.
“Ah, there’s the rub” is a famous line from Shakespeare’s Hamlet, specifically the “To Be or Not To Be” speech
“To die, to sleep;
To sleep: perchance to dream: aye, there’s the rub;
For in that sleep of death what dreams may come,
When we have shuffled off this mortal coil,
Must give us pause”
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oLltXG9ui5c (2:52 – 3:00)
I’m glad that creators of this cartoon series are trying to add some lines from Shakespeare and other famous writers to help the kids recognize them. But I think, only adults who are still watching the show can notice these little things in Phineas and Ferb. So, next time you watch this cartoon series, be attentive. You might hear another line from Shakespeare! 🙂