Saturday, August 4, 2012

Saturday Morning's Forgotten Heroes: Jenny Wakeman, aka XJ-9 (My Life as a Teenage Robot)(2003)

This is not your average high school student. Not even close.

You see, Jenny Wakeman is a robot, and makes no secret about that. All she wants is to live the life of a normal teenage girl. However, she's also tasked to defend the Earth from an alien invasion. In a nutshell, that explains Nickelodeon's My Life as a Teenage Robot, which bounced from primetime (airing as part of the Snick Saturday night block) to airing on Saturday mornings and weekdays during its 4 year run.

Jenny, or XJ-9, is loaded with weapons for defensive purposes, but she also has emotions and feelings like most girls. That leads to her being courted by best pal Brad Carbuckle and nerdy Sheldon, who openly admits his feelings for Jenny. From what I could gather, I'd imagined that Jenny & Brad were meant to be together, but creator Rob Renzetti was never given the chance to resolve this plot thread, as Nick pulled the plug in 2007, consigning reruns to the little-seen Nicktoons channel. Today, you'd be hard pressed to convince the suits to bring Jenny back, especially with the series' 10th anniversary next year.

What might've killed the show, more than anything, would be Nick's insistence on airing the series on weekdays when it didn't have enough episodes to justify it, a common, and altogether annoying, trend with Nick and its rival networks, persistent in shoving the current "hits" down the viewers' throats ad nauseum. Some people just don't learn.

As we'll see, Jenny has dreams like everyone else, as demonstrated in the episode, "Stage Fright".

Rating: A-.

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