That’s the Spirit / The Curse of Candace

Today we have the Phineas and Ferb Halloween special. “Phineas and Ferb” is a cartoon brought to you by the guys who created Rocko’s Modern Life. The title characters are step-brothers. Phineas decides at the beginning of summer to not let the whole summer break go by with them just sitting around, doing nothing, and resolves to do something every day. The “something” usually involves some huge activity or machinery that even an adult couldn’t possibly put together in the short time it takes on the show, such as the time they rose to fame and then became has-been superstars; designed, produced, and released a fashion line; wrote, animated, and produced a cartoon special that was released in a movie theater they also built; and decided to have the “longest day ever” by leaving their home town in the morning, traveling eastward across the entire world, and making it back to their hometown by sundown of what was technically the same day they left.

They also have a pet platypus who’s actually a secret agent who mainly fights with the evil Dr. Doofenshmirtz, who… well, mainly he wants to talk over the Tri-County area, but he has a lot of other “evil” schemes, like the time he stole all the mascots from a burger chain because he hated that chain’s advertising jingle.

Maybe it sounds kind of stupid the way I described it, but it’s actually a fantastic show. In fact, in all my internet wanderings over the last few years, I have seen exactly 2 people who watched this show and didn’t like it, one of whom didn’t seem to understand what was going on in the show at all (they seemed to think all the kids were nefariously trying to get away with the worst things imaginable, when in fact they’ve been more than happy to share what they’re up to with their parents, but it never works out; they also ask their parents permission for things when they need to, even though their mom usually thinks they’re playing a game or they mean their toy car or something).

Anyway, I’ve mentioned before how cartoons sometimes have that problem, where no one ever ages and the whole show is supposed to take place over one year’s time or so, but sometimes they have multiple holiday episodes (Hey Arnold has at least three episodes that mention the start of Spring Break, despite it having one episode per holiday). Phineas and Ferb has a bigger problem, in that the whole show takes place over the 104 days of summer vacation. But the creators have gotten around that by either 1) having an episode that takes place during the summer break that just involves someone telling a scary story, or making winter in July (S’Winter), or 2) having a holiday special that explicitly states it doesn’t take place during the summer.

Simple.

I’ve rattled on way too much. Here’s “That’s the Spirit”, the first half of the episode.

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Candace, the older sister, is taking Phineas, Ferb, and Perry the platypus trick-or-treating. The people at the house we see them at ask her where her costume is. She is not amused. She tells the boys that once she’s finished with them, she’s off to her boyfriend’s house.  Then they run into the other main members of their little gang, Baljeet, who’s dressed as a daisy, Buford, who…. I think is a pirate, and Isabella, who says she isn’t wearing a costume (she’s dressed as a fairy princess), but admits she got it at the mall when Phineas doesn’t really react to that semi-flirtatious statement.

Then they run into this house.

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Phineas doesn’t remember seeing it in the neighborhood before, and then a boy pops out of the bushes. His name is Russell – russell/rustle, like the leaves, as Isabella points out. He says the house is haunted, so the kids decide to go in and bust some ghosts. Candace doesn’t want them gong off-track, so she can leave sooner, but goes in after them since she’s responsible for them.  They enter the house, and the lights go out! This is the third review in a row where the lights have gone out at some point.

Perry the platypus escapes to his secret base, where he gets instructions to… find out what’s going on, and put a stop to it. Which is pretty much all he ever gets in terms of instructions. This time, apparently there’s grass missing everywhere. Which is weird. Although not really all that odd at the end of October.

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Back at the haunted house, Russell guides the kids into the area that has the most ghostly activity. Baljeet, who’s a total nerd, says there’s no such thing as ghosts, and, by using his EMF detector (many ghost hunters say that a paranormal presence can cause the levels of EMFs to spike above normal; also if you have old pipes or wiring in your home, that can cause your EMF levels to rise, and can actually explain some paranormal phenomena that some people would associate with a bad spirit, like scratches/rashes, nausea, whatever), can tell there’s a normal level of radiation in the room, except when he puts his detector above his head and it spikes pretty badly. Phineas is getting a reading in the 70s on his EMF meter, and comments that he doesn’t remember even putting an option for a two-digit setting on it to begin with (a reading below 3 is average and normal, a reading of 5 is abnormal and indicates a risk of getting cancer, unless it’s just because you’re standing close to an appliance, so having a score of 77… if this were real life I think all the kids would’ve been dead by this point, even if it the high EMF levels were being caused by ghosts).

Then, a pumpkin man chases after the kids.

I'm not sure if it's supposed to be a sight gag, that there's all those black shapes towards the bottom of the screen, which are presumably dark because they're so close to us as viewers, but the rat that's even closer is clearly defined.
I’m not sure if it’s supposed to be a sight gag, that there’s all those black shapes towards the bottom of the screen, which are presumably dark because they’re so close to us as viewers, but the rat that’s even closer is clearly defined.

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Russell insists “it’s totally like this all the time!”

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Perry enters Dr. Doofenshmirtz’s lair/apartment, to find him chained to the wall. He explains “it all started a few days ago when I declared war on grass.” Long story short, he was bitten by a werecow and now turns into a cow every night.

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Cowfenshmirtz then escapes his chains and runs all over the city, to a song which has a chorus including the words “werecow on the rampage.”

Back at the haunted house, the kids are still running from Jack, the Pumpkin King. Then Russell casually mentions that sometimes the floor gives out, and they plummet through a spontaneous hole into a space that is too large to be under the house. And, ghosts.

There were a lot of ghosts outside of this screencap.
There were a lot of ghosts outside of this screencap.

One of them says “I’m not a ghoooost. I’m a sheeet… THAT LIIIIIVES!!”

Pumpkin guy continues pursuing them, and they continue running. They then find a swamp full of zombies.

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There’s a news report about the lack of grass being caused by a werecow, and the newsanchor tells people to stay inside. Instead, people decide to pull out their pitchforks and torches and pursue the cow. Man, not enough people today just have flaming torches in their back pockets.

The kids are finally cornered by the pumpkin king. There’s nowhere to run, nowhere to hide. Phineas stops being scared for a second and wonders, if the pumpkin guy is a ghost, and he has a pumpkin for a head, what did that make him when he was alive? Ferb says it’s unlikely he was a vegetable-human hybrid, and throws a skull at the pumpkin, knocking it off, to reveal…

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He was a robot the whole time!

It turns out that Russell, and his parents, Waylan and Mona, put together the whole thing, and artificially influenced the levels of EMF detected by the… EMF detector by putting high-frequency transmitters all over the house. The kids are impressed, and Phineas asks if they maybe have one more trick left? Waylan is about to say no, when Doofenshmirtz werecow bursts through the side of the house, pursued by an angry mob covered in flour (from them running through a cooking class earlier). Phineas is happy with this, and everyone leaves, with Rustle, Wailin’, and Moaner seeing them off.

Phineas tells Ferb that for a minute there, he really did believe in ghosts. He looks back at the house, and – gasp – it’s gone!

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Nah, turns out it was… inflatable, and the family is packing it up for the year (which explains why Phineas didn’t remember ever seeing the house earlier).

Phineas then asks “Isn’t this the moment in one of these things where someone really turns into a ghost?”, almost as if he’s seen the last few episodes I reviewed on this blog. Phineas and Ferb turn to stare at the family, who stare back. After a few seconds, Russell gets annoyed and tells them “That’s it!” and Phineas is like “Oh, okay” and the episode ends.

So there was no “it turns out there was a ghost after all!” plot twist, but Doofenshmirtz is still cursed to be a werecow forever, apparently.

“The Curse of Candace” begins with what turns out to be a movie. A werewolf and a blonde girl are pursuing a vampire.

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The werewolf’s name is Michael, and is voiced by Michael J. Fox.

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Am I the only one who thought this movie was terrible?
“…Hey, weren’t you just wearing a shirt?!” – the offscreen vampire

The blonde girl is named Kristin, and is voiced by Anna Paquin, while the vampire’s named Jared and is voiced by Stephen Moyer.

This was one of 4 PG-rated images from TrueBlood I found online.
This was one of 4 PG-rated images from TrueBlood I found online.

phineasferb13Kristin is obviously a reference to Kristin Stewart, who played Bella in the Twilight movies (or at least I’m assuming it’s a reference to that), and I’m assuming Michael is just referencing Michael J. Fox, but I don’t know what Jared is referencing. There is a Jarrod Meistle who writes children’s books about a vampire named Victor, but… I don’t know.

Candace and her friend Stacy are viewing the movie, which they declare “best movie ever.

I don't know if the New Zealand poster is a reference to the Lord of the Rings franchise being filmed there, or if it's supposed to mimicking travel posters found in a travel agent's office.
I don’t know if the New Zealand poster is a reference to the Lord of the Rings franchise being filmed there, or if it’s supposed to mimicking travel posters found in a travel agent’s office. Or I guess it could just be a movie about New Zealand.

Candace walks into a cage housing a bat in the theater, and the bat gets caught in her hair as Stacy asks one of the movie theater employees why they have a live bat.

At the Flynn-Fletcher household, Phineas and Ferb are discussing how “It does seem like more than 104 days,” a reference to there being so many episodes in the series. Their mom is going out somewhere, and their dad is inside, watching a scary movie marathon, if they need anything.

There’s a quick cut to Mr. Flynn-Fletcher inside, as he comments “This isn’t much of a horror movie! Where are all the rock-n-roll musical numbers?

phineasferb16This is what I call a great joke. If you don’t get the reference, it’s a funny enough line on its own. Why would there be rock-n-roll musical numbers in a horror movie? How silly. Then, if you’re a little older and have heard of The Rocky Horror Show (or The Rocky Horror Picture Show), you’d understand the line is a reference to that, probably. Then there’s yet another layer to this joke once you know that Mr. Flynn-Fletcher is voiced by Richard O’Brien, who wrote The Rocky Horror Show and starred as Riff-Raff in the movie.

So that’s four references so far that relate to other roles the voice actors have had.

At the secret base, Major Monogram’s mission for Perry is this: Dr. Doofenshmirtz announced he will no longer try to take over the world/whatever, and he made this announcement in the strangest way possible – he wrote a letter and sent it in an envelope. And it’s scented. So Perry has to go see what’s up.

Perry arrives, and Doof is surprised to see them, so he reads his letter. It turns out his letter said something like “I know Major Monogram is going to ignore this letter and that is why you’re now trapped.” Come to think of it, the letter did seem to still be in an envelope when Monogram and Carl the intern showed it to Perry… how did they know Doof was saying he was retiring from evildoing? Did it say on the envelope?

So, Perry apparently stopped and is now stuck on the stickiest surface known to man – a floor tile from the local movie theater!

phineasferb17Meanwhile, Candace and Stacy are walking home. Stacy says it’s sure lucky it wasn’t a vampire bat that got stuck in Candace’s hair earlier. Candace is like “Haha… yeah.” Candace heads into the backyard, with just enough time left over for her to bust Phineas and Ferb (it’s her goal this summer to get them in trouble for… whatever they do). The backyard is empty, however, except for a set of barbells, a light, and a mirror.

Candace wonders what the barbells are doing back there and picks them up, with absolutely no effort. This strikes her as odd, and she says it’s almost like she has vampire superstrength. She takes a few steps to the right/her left, and floats into the air. The power of flight! Then she lands in front of the mirror, and… no reflection! That could only mean…

The show flashes back to two minutes earlier. Phineas and Ferb have put together four things at the request of their friends. There’s a super grow light to help Isabella’s plant, a set of barbells that aren’t heavy, or something, for Baljeet, anti-gravity sensors are in the lawn so Buford can experience flight, and the mirror has a projection rig in it so Irving (a nerdy fan of Phineas and Ferb’s) can be invisible.

Back to present time, Candace worries that she must be a vampire, when the grow light shines on her for no reason. It’s a bright, intense light, one that would hurt anyone’s face, but she feels like it must be the sun that’s harming her because she’s a vampire, forgetting the fact that she walked all the way from the movie theater to her house without the bright summer sun harming her at all.

phineasferb18Back with Perry and Doof, Perry just jumps to attack Doof, even with his feet still stuck to the floor tile. They fight, like they always do, and Doof is defeated.

Candace runs around the town, looking for Phineas and Ferb to get them to change her back into a human. Eventually she ends up back at home, and tells Phineas all the strange things that indicate she is now a vampire. Phineas asks if she was in the backyard when she discovered she was a vampire, and when she says yes, he chuckles and tells her no, no, she’s not a vampire. He pulls her dark cloak and sunglasses off to show her how the sun won’t harm her.

Then she dissolves into a pile of ash.

phineasferb19And that’s the end.

I like how the first half of this episode ends with “isn’t this normally where something supernatural happens?” and then nothing does, and then the second half actually does end with something supernatural, that actually either contradicts the rest of the series or must be the last episode, since Candace pretty much died onscreen. You know, for kids!

Well, Happy Halloween, everybody! I actually meant this ‘cap to go up on the 30th, with some big conclusion on the 31st, but I got sidetracked, and then my 31st was just AWFUL, so it’s technically still Halloween where I am, but most of you won’t see this until November 1. So… Happy All Saint’s Day! 😀

I’m hoping to work far enough ahead of December to have my Christmas Movie Madness done in time so there won’t be like 4 reviews for it or something. In the meantime, back to Boy Meets World!

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