Phineas and Ferb Dubbed
Continuing my train of thought concerning the animated summer adventures of the step brothers, Phineas and Ferb, comes this thought from when our daughter had to spend a week in the hospital (pneumonia). As I stayed with her, I watched a great deal of cartoons with her…when she wasn’t cleaning my clock at Mille Bornes.
Day 067 – September 27, 2011
I’m watching a great deal of Phineas and Ferb, which is fine with me because I love this show.
The show airing here in Peru is dubbed in Spanish, which is not that problematic for me because I have seen nearly all of the shows so I already know the plot and the dialogue.
For the new shows that I haven’t seen, I do feel bad that I am not able to catch all of the quick in-jokes that the writers put it into each show.
However, this posting is not so much about the language being used or how many lyrics of each episode’s song I miss, but is instead about the voices being used.
In a previous life, I worked in radio so I have a great affinity for people who can work magic solely with the power of their voice. Quintessential examples of these master vocal mages include Mel Blanc, Maurice LaMarche, and Gary Owens.
Voices are just as much (maybe even more) an important aspect of a cartoon as the animation and the writing. With that in mind, I feel that something in Phineas and Ferb was lost to me because the dubbed Spanish voices are not the same as the characters I heard in the States.
It is understandable that the vocal talent would not be the same as I’m sure the actors who voice Phineas, Ferb, Isabella, and Dr. Doofensmirtz don’t know Spanish. However, it is the flavor and timbre of the voices that also give the characters such depth. Save two examples, that depth is lost in the translation here.
Phineas Flynn, the brother with the triangle head, has a voice in Spanish that is more nasally and nerdy than his State-side counterpart, Vincent Martella. This is too bad because Phineas, down here, comes off as nerdy and asocial, which I am sure is not what the creators were going for.
Ferb Fletcher, the one with the green hair, is a boy of few words. However, when he does speak, it is with an English accent. Part of the joke of the show is that Ferb’s father is British. While the mother never seems to see Phineas and Ferb’s outlandish inventions, the father has and is unfazed by them. Not sure if that’s part of being British, but it is a fun bit of business in the show. In Peru, Ferb’s accent is lost. Sigh!
Another character whose accent is lost is Baljeet. He is an Indian boy who is considered to be the nerd of the neighborhood. Voiced by Maulik Pancholy, Baljeet does indeed have a slight Indian accent and has a good singing voice also as a few episodes have included Bollywood-esque musical numbers. However, as with Ferb, Baljeet’s accent – and his uniquness to the show – is gone when the show is dubbed in Spanish.
I could go on and on with Candace, Isabella, and Buford, but let’s move on.
The lone standout in the vocal category is Dr. Heinz Doofenshmirtz, a villain intent on taking over the Tri-State Area where the stories take place. Voiced by co-creator of the series, Dan Povenmire, Dr. Doofenshmirtz has a voice akin to an Eastern European Cold War-era spy with a sore throat. Povenmire gives his creation the right amount of menace, villany, and lunacy to a character who must do battle with a secret agent platypus every episode. In Peru, the Spanish vocal talent of Doofenshmirtz is a spot-on duplicate of Povenmire’s voice. I had to watch the credits at the end of the show here in the hospital to see if it actually was Povenmire doing the dubbed voice. This set of pipes belongs to German Fabregat.
Excellent job, Senor Fabregat!
Perry the Platypus (aka Agent P) is also a standout, but only because its voice is not dubbed. All Perry ever does is growl and the Spanish version simply keeps the same soundtrack.
Wow! 685 words all about my thoughts on the vocal renditions of Phineas and Ferb.
That may seem excessive, but don’t even get me started on what they do to SpongeBob SquarePants down here.