Id in cartoon?

Sigmund Freud became famous in part thanks to his theory of the psyche and one of its component the id. But of course, understanding it is no easy task. Me in particular, I find reading his essays and books about the id really hard to comprehend the concept. So I decided to instead use a different method, one that has always been successful at teaching me new things: cartoons.

To me, Phineas and Ferb is more than just a regular cartoon made for children to laugh. It contains, to my surprise, quite a large amount of references and allusions to real-life events and studies, demonstrated in humorous ways that allow me to be entertained and learn new things at the same time. And the episode “Monster from the Id” finally answers my prayers when I want to study Freud.

The id is described as “the unorganized part of the personality structure that contains a human’s basic, instinctual drives” (all credits go to Wikipedia for that). Therefore, what would the id of Candace be if she has one? I was surprised, actually, to find out that it is a monstrous, hideous-looking version of herself who hunts Phineas- and Ferb-head gazelles in her subconscious. After all, Candace has always been obsessed with busting Phineas and Ferb ever since the show began, so by the definition above that can be qualified as a drive for her id. Baljeet’s interpretation of the id also fits perfectly to the way Freud described it, in a simpler way of course, for children and me to understand. The song in the episode even mentions “repression” – another Freudian concept – and “psyche” – the very first time I heard of it. And Buford’s last line “I don’t care what Freud said about your selfish need for satisfaction” wraps the episode up beautifully with what I later came to learn as the “pleasure principle”. I never thought I would say this, but thanks to a cartoon, I finally understood Freud.

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