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I first came across this show while I was channel surfing through the
cable program that I just recently received. Since I've only seen a
partial portion of the show, the plot and the concept were abstruse to
me. My first impression of "My Life as a Teenage Robot" was
indifference; I thought it was one of those shows that Nickelodeon
inserted just to fill in the gap for their TV schedule. However, I
discovered that my assumption had been wrong.
The subsequent week, I watched the show again and again and again.. I just totally became addicted to it! Rob Renzetti did a marvelous job(along with his other fine works such as "The PowerPuff Girls", "Dextor's Laboratory", and other Cartoon Network shows); I believe this is one of his greatest work ever. The story revolves around a semi-angst teenager, named Jenny, whose covetousness is to be accepted in her society. The only thing that's different from Jenny and everyones else is that... well she is a alien/monster fighting robot formally known as XJ-9. The repressive milieu which she resides in usually has her mother forbid her to do anything but save the world and go to school. The tasks that she must accomplish in order to save the world often hinders with her teenage life. She wants to become a real human and just enjoy her life like any other teen. This show's concept is similar to other films such as "Pinocchio", "Astro Boy", "A.I", etc. Just like those films, Jenny acquires knowledge as she gains experience even though Miss Wakeman clearly states that she would be a teenager forever, but metaphorically she is growing up.
Other characters include her next door neighbor and best friend, Brad. She admires Brad because she believes he represents the paradigm of all teenagers; being cool, popular, and acquiring stereotypical teenage quality. However, in veracity, Brad would rather go on adventures like what Jenny does everyday of her teenage life. There's also the mischievous Tuck, who is also known as Brad's brother. Of course and then there's Miss Wakeman, the mad scientist who created XJ-9. At first Miss Wakeman's perspective of XJ-9 was just merely an evil-fighting invention, but her perspective changes as she starts acknowledging Jenny as her daughter. The voice(along with the accent) of Miss Wakeman depicts her disposition perfectly! Also who can ever forget the Jenny-obsessed underdog whom everyone loves, Sheldon. His attempts to get Jenny's attention are just down-right hilarious!
The animation of this show is pretty much similar to Renzetti's other cartoons. The animation is drawn simply and the colors blend in with the environment. This show also has tons of cultural reference as well, including literal and pop culture. For example, in one of the episodes, they made an allusion to "Catcher in the Rye" and "The Boy who Cried Wolf". This show contains a variety of genres, tons of humor, plenty of action, and even a little romance and drama.
Even though I still haven't seen most of the other episodes, "My life as a Teenage Robot" is in one of my top TV shows list. In my notion, this show is much superior than the other flamboyant shows on Nick such as "Spogebob Squarepants" and "The Fairly Oddparents".(Although I have heard substantially positive comments about 'Invader Zim', I really can't compare it with other shows, since I have never seen it for myself) So don't feel reluctant to watch "My Life as a Teenage Robot", you'll be surprised on how much you'll be entertained. Hopefully the DVD will come out soon and that Nick won't cancel this outstanding cartoon.
So far, Nick's current line-up is pure horror (The Fairy Oddparents, As
Told By Ginger, All Grown Up) but only one of them makes an exception:
enters the Blue Girl, XJ-9 from the future! (or should I say
retro-future in this case!)
My Life As A Teenage Robot is a surprisingly good Nick Toon that tells the story of a girl robot who saves the day by fighting evil alien invaders and other menacing villains from all sides of the world and the universe (hey, that probably sounds like a Powerpuff Girl rip-off but Rob Renzetti, who creates this show, has also worked on several PPG episodes before, so I abide by that fact) while facing challenges as an ordinary teenager in real-life situations! And if you think the word 'teenager' will often lead to concussion that the show will feature head-banging rock songs and typical teenage punks, think again! TR's artwork and background designs are heavily inspired by classic cartoons of the 20s (think of it as an Oswald cartoon in its newer form), out-of-date anime and even classic buildings of the Golden Years while maintaining the very essence that makes every hit show (Samurai Jack, Foster's Home For Imaginary Friends, PPG) an instant classic.
But that's not all, folks! Every episode is as sweet as the rest, thanks to its inventive ideas, fluid animation (the best examples include Jenny's transformations and even in one scene where Jenny outfashions her rivals by revealing her fancy costumes, in which I personally think is the best I've seen in recent years), wonderful voice acting and colorful character personalities! The music is, unlike the usual pop songs that are often heard in teenage-themed shows like As Told By Ginger, surprisingly pleasant and is predominantly reminiscent to the ones heard in Tartakovsky/McCracken shows, in addition to the cool techno music.
To sum it up, MLAATR is cute, funny, unexpected and a real blast to watch from start to finish. It is hard to underestimate a Nick Toon like this one, especially when you have no idea what the Blue Girl has up her sleeves!
In 2004, I decided that I had it with Nickelodeon, so I retired myself
from watching it further. The reason? It's because ever since we
entered in the 21st century in 2000, Nick has usually released shows
with quality that ranged from mediocre (Danny Phantom, Jimmy Neutron,
As Told by Ginger, a lot of the Teenick shows, etc.) or very bad
(Butt-Ugly Martians, Chalkzone, and the extremely short-lived Action
League Now). Once in a blue moon, however, a decent, or even good, show
appears such as Fairly Oddparents and Invader Zim (I never loved Zim,
but at least it was better then some of the crap Nickelodeon viewers
get today. Shame on Nick for canceling it unfairly!). So when "My Life
as a Teenage Robot", or MLAATR for short, was first introduced in 2003,
I found myself enjoying much of what it had to offer.
The story involves a robot created by Dr. Wakeman to help protect earth from disaster and/or crime (yes, this concept has been used several times before), but this robot has the personality of a female teenager. So, while the robot's codename is XJ9, but the robot prefers to be called "Jenny." She's willing to do her job in keeping the world safe, but she also wants to live a normal teenage life in high school and hang out with friends. This is where she meets Brad and Tuck, two human brothers who live within Jenny's neighborhood. Brad is a fellow classmate of Jenny's in high school, while Tuck is more around elementary school aged. Brad tries to act cool and fit in with the crowd while Tuck is immature, silly and obnoxious at times. But hey, that's how brothers are with their different behaviors. They both eventually get along with Jenny very well. Later on in the series, Jenny meets more friends such as Sheldon, a nerdy geek who develops a crush on her, and some rivals like Brit and Tiff, AKA Krust Cousins, as well as villains that interrupt her daily life. And that's the basic plot of most episodes.
When it comes to the characters as I mentioned above, they all have a purpose and are pretty likable, except for Brit and Tiff, who always try to find ways to humiliate and hurt Jenny's feelings. Some of the episodes I've seen through the entire series were fairly enjoyable to watch. They were usually filled with interesting humorous bits, action-filled scenes, and even brief moments of suitable character development/drama. The comedy is sometimes a little childish, but it usually does not make you cringe and it sometimes can get a laugh out of everyone. The plots and themes presented in the show seem to capture many interests as well.
The animation style of MLAATR is pretty unique. It makes use of old-school character design elements from the 1930's, but makes them fresh and appealing with colorful technology we have today. The designs are always appealing to look at. Same can be said about the sound work. The music isn't too memorable, but it does get the job done with upbeat, catchy music for the standard scenes, and trance music for the fighting/action scenes. The voice acting this show has doesn't disappoint, and a few voices may sound familiar to cartoon fanatics. A shout out must be given to Janice Kawaye for her cute, appealing, and unique performance as Jenny.
I haven't really watched this show ever since I gave up on Nickelodeon in 2004. From time to time, I check in on the channel to see what they do these days. As of this writing in 2006, they haven't changed too much. There are a couple of new shows being made, but they don't look special to me (The upcoming Mr. Meaty, for instance, looks terrible and retarded). Unfortunately, it looks like Nickelodeon canceled MLAATR at some point. I'm somewhat disappointed in this. Viacom, the parent company of Nickelodeon, always seems to cancel their good shows prematurely if they do not create sky-high profits like Spongebob Squarepants does.
"My Life as a Teenage Robot" may not have the same level of appeal like the great Nicktoons of the 90's (Rocko's Modern Life, Doug, early Rugrats, Hey Arnold, Catdog, etc.) did, and there are a couple aspects of the overall show that I don't care much for, it was still enjoyable for what it was and I feel it's better then many of the Nickelodeon shows being aired today. I hope it gets a good DVD release someday.
Not only is this wonderful cartoon one of the classic superhero shows
that we all love, but it also explores the life of a teenage robot who,
like all of us, experiences the awkward situations that come along with
adolescence. A show that children and teenagers can truly identify
with, because they go through the same situations as the main
character, Jenny Wakeman, does every day.
Unfortunately however, this show is currently "offline" and only reruns are played on the Nicktoons network. This is believed to be due to ratings and reviews. However, no user rating will truly be correct if you aren't the intended demographic of the show, be your review positive or negative. This show was meant, like many other television cartoons out there, to bring smiles to children's faces, not adults or people who review things for a living. This show was funny, cute and was accompanied by morals and principles that brought fun and learning together, and Nicktoons's popularity has sunken greatly due to its removal of nice shows like this and has thus lost hundreds, even thousands of viewers. This is why Nicktoons should once again broadcast My Life as a Teenage Robot, and go for a fourth season, because this show wasn't meant for being submitted to the scrutinizing eye of reviewers, but to shine its light of knowledge and fun on the children and teenagers that enjoyed this cartoon before it was shut down.
This is one of my favorite shows on Nickelodeon. It's kind of a cross between Astroboy and Powerpuff Girls. It's funny, the animation is pretty good and Jenny (X-J9) is real pretty for a robot. Though the writing can use a little work here and there, it is still just on it's first season. If you've only seen it's "Oh Yeah cartoons" appearance, then you haven't really seen the show, It's REALLY IMPROVED! As hard as it is, don't label this as another cruddy Nicktoon. Though a lot of them are pretty lame, this one certainly is not. It's so good, I've already got all the episodes on tape. (But that's mostly because I like Jenny so much.) this at least deserves a chance.
There were a few BAD episodes in the 1st Season (like "This Time With
Feelings"): they were boring, non-sense and childish. The show was
literally 'jumping the sharks'.
Fortunately, during the 2nd Season the show gets *really* better. Episodes like "Future Shock", "Bradventure" and "Toying With Jenny" are (maybe) unoriginal, but very good. Plus: "Escape From Cluster Prime" is a great TV-Movie, well written and highly re-watchable.
Note: Also, in the 2nd Season, there are a few JennyxBrad moments ("Bradventure" and the TV-Movie): maybe in the upcoming 3rd Season Jenny & Brad will end up together...I hope!
Conclusions: "My Life as a Teenage Robot" is getting better, you should give it a chance...and, if you're a good person, you can try to save Jenny/Xj9 from the cancellation with petitions or sending E-mail to Nickelodeon.
I think this is a great show, they have a great stroy line, Rob Renzetti
does it again; they have a great voice over Ex. Janice Kawaye (Jenny -XJ9-
Wakeman) and Cree Summers (Tiff Crust).
The story is about a robot, Jenny (Janice Kawaye) who saves the town Tremorton, and the whole world, but would love to do more things more 'important' to her teenage robotic girl life; hang out with normal teenagers and have a normal teenage life. With her friends, Brad (Chad Doreck) and his hyperactive brother, Tuck (Audrey Wasilewski) Jenny is sure to have a crazy yet fun teenage robot life.
This is a great show with great animation and hysterical jokes. Kids and adolescent teens will love it. Period.
I've seen the pilot of this cartoon many times on Nick's cartoon anthology program, "Oh Yeah! Cartoons", and it has easily been my favorite from that show. I remember seeing that first six minute short about Jenny the teenage robot torn being the world saving failsafe her scientist mother created her as or her own desire to be a normal teenager and hang out with other kids, and thinking what a great series it would make. I'm more than ecstatic to learn that it will in fact be a series, and am greatly looking forward to it. The pilot episode had great animation and character design reminiscent of Cartoon Network's best work from a couple years ago, before then began producing shows with soulless digital painting techniques. I can only hope that the `Teenage Robot' creators stick to their great style.
I'd never really heard of My Life as a Teenage Robot, but it caught my
eye stumbling across channels one day. I stayed tuned as the episodes
kept rolling, and it struck me - this show is really good!
The plot's pretty simple - mad scientist Dr. Wakeman programmed XJ-9 to defend the Earth, but after being discovered by her human neighbors, Brad and Tuck, "Jenny" decides she'd much rather fit in with humans - but has to get over some of the social hurdles of being a 6 foot-tall, steel-plated, heavily armed war machine.
The show does really well with its premise. Even at their extremes, the characters are all likable, and have some great voice talent to back them up. The pacing is very relaxed, without a lot of the exhausting hyperactivity you see in a lot of newer shows.
The animation has a very traditional style. The characters are a mix of '60s Hanna-Barbera, Astro Boy, and Felix the Cat. The backgrounds look hand-painted with abstract Art Deco and Populuxe designs. And despite being a scifi-themed show, there's none of the conspicuous CGI common to classics Futurama and Invader Zim.
I was just getting started with this show when I found out it had been canceled for a couple of years, which is a shame because it still seemed to have a lot of energy in it. I'd call it an underrated classic for fans of scifi and animation, and probably good enough for Nick's intended audience, too.
What can I say. I'm a sucker for new ideas. My Life as a Teenage Robot
old school animation with Frederator's elete team of animators. I think
this show will be most liked upon fans of The Fairly Oddparents and those
who also liked Invader Zim.
Probably one of my favorite characters on the show would have to be Sheldon. While he is a geek, he tries hard to gain Jenny's attention. This is what makes the show worth watching.
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