Thursday, April 8, 2010

What I learned from Phineas and Ferb...

A recent blog from Bob Mayer told us how to simplify our writing. He related writing to Chef Ramsay's approach to making restaurants not only work but being truly successful. Slim down the choices and do them well; get really good at one genre and be THAT person that's known for doing it the best.
Phineas and Ferb have taken this theory and ran with it for a couple of seasons now. sheer brilliance in my humble television watching opinion. It's actually one of the few TV programs that I can stand. The writers have pared it down to bare essentials and made it incredibly formulaic.
Basically, every episode runs like this:
Phineas runs into a situation and says "I know what we're going to do today!" They then build a machine or some other science experiment and perform some unbelievable feat to accomplish it. Someone asks, "Where's Perry?" It cuts to their platypus who is really a secret agent and he fights Doctor Duffenschmertz in some ridiculous battle for the freedom of the Tri-State area. The boys and their duck-faced mammalian companion cross paths but they never figure out his secret. All the while their sister Candice tries to bust them for having the specific adventure. She's always denied the justice she seeks though.
The plot is always the same, the dialogue is very similar for every episode with catchphrases why is this even good? Simple, for one: people don't know what they like, they like what they know. It sounds terrible but it's true. Second: the situation is different as well as the setting making the twists incredibly uncanny and specialized for each episode. A basic formula/bracket and all the details are filled in making the writing very streamlined. This is not to say that it sucks because frankly I think it's hilarious!
"Specialize, do that one thing and do it better than anyone else."

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