- “Far be it to cast aspersions on jumping and/or ducking, but I think you can improve this.”
- ―Phineas Flynn
"Gaming the System" is an episode of Phineas and Ferb.
Phineas and Ferb accidentally trap Candace in a video game and have to help her out so that she can get ready for the cotillion. Meanwhile, Perry has to stop Doofenshmirtz from zapping men into wearing ball gowns with the Ballgowninator.
Phineas and Ferb are hanging out with Buford, Baljeet, and Isabella outside their house. Buford is playing a game called "Jump N' Duck", where all you have to do to beat the game is to jump and duck. Phineas thinks the game is cool and sees Buford's head as the main character in the game. Buford takes a picture of Phineas on the console and his head appears inside the game.
Meanwhile, Candace is on the phone with Stacy happily explaining to her that Jeremy is taking her to the summer cotillion, which Candace then explains is a real word that means "a dance" Then Candace thinks of something: "Two somethings, actually And one of them is pointy." She then leaves her room for a little "preemptive busting".
Phineas, Buford, and Baljeet are debating the merits of the video games, and as Phineas is starting to suggest some improvements, Candace comes over and ask what they're doing. Seeing Phineas playing a regular video game, she is surprised at "how normal" that is and comments about how they could possibly get sucked into a video game, then she goes back to the house to get ready. Inspired by Candace's word, Phineas decides what they're going to do today. Then he wonders where Perry is.
Perry is in his lair receiving his mission briefing from Major Monogram, who tells him that they've been monitoring Doofenshmirtz's internet activity. First, Agent P is getting a vase this Christmas. Second, Doof has been doing a lot of research into the molecular structures of such fabrics as Taffeta, Satin and "most ominous of all", Velour, which greatly disturbs the Major.
Soon, Phineas is introducing "the all new & improved Jump and Duck, the world's first truly immersive video game experience". He tells Ferb to throw the switch, which causes the power to go out right when Candace is drying her hair. As Phineas is explaining how they enter the game, Candace comes outside in just a towel and hair curlers to complain. Ferb flips a circuit breaker restoring power that turns on the digitizer while Candace is in front of it, sucking her into the video game which she is not prepared for.
Meanwhile, She is blow-drying her hair when the power goes out from Phineas and Ferb's gaming system. Candace goes downstairs to interfere but accidentally walks in front of the scanner and programs herself into the game. Phineas and Ferb watch her for a few minutes and figure out that she can't beat the game by herself, so they program themselves into the game to help her beat it.
Perry goes over to the Doofenshmirtz Evil Incorporated building and finds out that Doofenshmirtz has created a ray gun called a Ballgowninator to turn everyone in the Tri-state area girly so that he could look the manliest of them all by comparison. (In Doofenshmirtz's childhood, his mother was expecting a daughter and was knitting a bunch of dresses, but a son was born instead and young Doofenshmirtz was forced to wear dresses, making himself humiliated in front of his classmates). He tests out his invention on Perry, who is immediately dressed in a blue ball gown with severely limits his ability to fight. Once Perry is suspended by some mechanical claws, Doofenshmirtz decides that the platypus gets the idea and cancels a big explanatory musical number.
Phineas tries to explain to Candace how to get to the next level(s), as he and Ferb don't do cheat codes, but just moving around in the game is too difficult for her. He and Ferb then head to the digitizer to put themselves into the game. Candace gets chased by mad fruits and uses her blowdryer as an effective weapon against them, leading her to say that they should've named it "Jump, Duck and Blow." From then on she has a much better time running and zapping numerous digital creatures while Phineas and Ferb, who just materialized, follow the digital carnage she leaves behind while their friends sing Let's Go Digital.
Doofenshmirtz pilots his blimp from the top of his building with Perry the Platypus still suspended by metal claws. Doofenshmirtz decides to stop trying to compliment Agent P on his involuntary dress. Perry soon turns the tables on the scientist, who winds up hanging on to the dress while dangling over the side of the blimp.
When Phineas and Ferb get to the final level, they come across a gigantic version of Buford that is the final level's boss. As it grabs the two of them, Candace shouts at Giant Buford to let them go, which he does before he knocks her down causing her blowdryer to fall off a cliff. When health bar suddenly appears (dangerously low), she grabs it and hits the giant upside the head, knocking him backward and causing him to step on Phineas and Ferb as he falls off the cliff. Candace rushes to Phineas and Ferb's side and breaks down, thinking that they are dead. They disappear and reappear behind her, stating that they have four lives left. Candace gets mad because she thought they had died, but she has defeated the final level.
The three of them suddenly materialize in the backyard, but the game is not over yet. The last level is also in the real world, and Giant Buford is back and twice as strong. He chases after them after stomping on the game screen and the original Buford. Just as he has the three of them cornered, Isabella yells at him to create a diversion. Phineas yells at Isabella to stop, but when Giant Buford walks over to Isabella, she takes a picture of him with the digitizer and zaps him back into the game.
By this time, Doofenshmirtz has gotten back into the blimp and into a struggle with Perry, then get zapped by the Ballgowninator, thus wearing a seafoam green dress as a result. They continue to struggle and the ray gun goes off again.
Candace hears Jeremy arrive to pick her up, and she's worried that she isn't even ready yet. The last Ballgowninator beam hits Phineas, Ferb, and Isabella, dressing them all up in ball gowns. The ray gun gets broken in the struggle, and then Perry pops the blimp with a pin before jumping off, causing it to careen wildly about while Doofenshmirtz curses the Platypus. Perry drops down to the ground behind the kids and his dress slips off, landing directly on Candace just before her date enter the yard. Jeremy states that he thinks Candace is beautiful, and that everyone else looks beautiful too despite being obviously weirded out by Phineas and Ferb in gowns. The couple then goes off to the cotillion, almost discussing the meaning of the word.
In the end credits, Doofenshmirtz lands in the Summer Cotillion and the host accidentally crowns him queen. Doofenshmirtz is both honored and humiliated so he says "Thank you and curse you."
- Vincent Martella as Phineas
- Ashley Tisdale as Candace
- Thomas Sangster as Ferb
- Alyson Stoner as Isabella
- Dan Povenmire as Dr. Doofenshmirtz
- Jeff "Swampy" Marsh as Major Monogram, Additional Voices
- Dee Bradley Baker as Perry
- Bobby Gaylor as Buford, Additional Voices
- Maulik Pancholy as Baljeet
- Mitchel Musso as Jeremy
- Additional voices: Corey Burton, Kari Wahlgren
- On the game console, it is shown to have four colored buttons. But when Phineas said "Ferb, I know what we're gonna do today!", there were only three buttons.
- When Candace leaves with Jeremy at the end, she is only in the dress without additional clothing (due to time cuts). This issue was not explained or repeated afterwards.
- When Heinz Doofenshmirtz traps Perry in a dress, a small tune similar to the song "Beauty and the Beast" from the Disney movie of the same name played. However, the first and second tones are switched.
- Monogram tells Perry what he's getting for Christmas from Doofenshmirtz (a vase), and this is in fact true. Doofenshmirtz gives Perry a vase in "Phineas and Ferb Christmas Vacation!".
- Major Monogram says that "the most ominous of all" is velour and the molecular structure of the velour [shown on monitor] is in the form of a sad face.
- Heinz Doofenshmirtz wears his watch on his right hand, thus making him left handed. He also holds his weapon in his left hand. In other episodes, he has his watch on his left hand.
- This is the first episode of Season 2 where Linda does not appear in.
- The gag with Doofenshmirtz checking his watch to make sure Perry is too late is recycled from a joke used in the Original Pitch.
- Candace's new hairdo from the end of "Got Game?" reappears when she slips into the ballgown.
- There are several allusions made to popular video games:
- The coin-grab sound effect from Super Mario Bros. plays when the characters generate in the video game, and the clothes the character wears in the normal version of jump and duck looks just like Mario's clothes.
- Candace getting "digitized" into the game world is parallel to the process shown in Tron.
- The sound effect from Pac-Man when the ghosts eyes float when Pac-Man eats them plays when Candace zaps the bad guys with her hair blower in the video game.
- Candace riding the birds to reach a cliff is a similar mechanic with the Storks from Yoshi's Island.
- The scene where Buford is showing Phineas, Ferb, and Baljeet a picture of his head in a pixel body based on Nintendo Entertainment System graphics. Also, the code Buford puts in to show Phineas' head in the video game may be a reference to the overly long passwords or cheat codes (like the Konami Code) in some NES games.
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