"He's cool, he's hot, like a frozen sun He's young, he's fast, he's the Chosen One People,we're not braggin' He's the American Dragon!"
— Opening theme song
American Dragon: Jake Long (2005-2007) was a Disney Channel cartoon about a young teenager growing up in a world full of weird goings-on.OK, so that's almost all Disney Channel cartoons. More specifically, Jake Long is the "American Dragon", a cocky, brash youngster with the power to shapeshift into his reptilian alter-ego, serving as a sort of superhero for the magical creatures that live in secret (Harry-Potter-style) in the human world.Each episode is usually focused on completing a task brought on by his supernatural responsibility, and the conflict it brings with his personal life at school. His grandfather, who also has dragon powers, serves as his mentor and teacher. The series makes extensive use of fantasy and folklore creatures the world over, often with subtle twists for comedy purposes.The biggest running plot lines are Jake's budding crush/romance with a girl named Rose, and his battles with a shadowy villain named The Huntsman and his sidekick Thorn Huntsgirl, leaders of The Huntsclan.Other recurring antagonists include Professor Rotwood, a German PhD who was discredited as a scientist for believing in the supernatural, and was forced to become a junior high school teacher (who, ironically, sees many of the supernatural events that happen around Jake) and Eli Excelsior Pandarus, a celebrity wizard and mystical equivalent to a Corrupt Corporate Executive, and Dark Dragon, reportedly the only of his kind to ever go bad.The show's second season comes with a major overhaul of the design and style of the series, spearheaded by producer Steve Loter (also of Kim Possible). As of the end of season one, Rose now knows Jake's identity, but her real loyalty is still a matter of debate. As of the end of season two, Rose and Jake share a kiss and Jake's father finds out the family secret.The series was canceled in fall 2007 after a run of 52 episodes. A similar premise exists in the Cartoon Network show The Life and Times of Juniper Lee.
Achilles' Heel: Sphinx Hair for dragons. Usually, it is only used to force dragons back into their human forms, but the episode "Bite Father, Bite Son" suggests that Sphinx Hair is far more dangerous than that, and might even be fatal if dragons are exposed to it for too long.
An Aesop: "The Doppleganger Gang" highlights the importance of time management.
Annoying Younger Sibling: Haley. However, she does get a bit of character development. By the end of the second season, she and Jake are on more understanding terms.
Art Evolution: A permanent redesign of the characters and style starting in season 2, reminiscent of The Proud Family. Though a rather jarring one too as most of the characters shifted heights out of the blue (Chang whose human form was miniature like Grandpa in the first season and suddenly human height in the second) or appearance that put a bit more emphasis on their personality (The Oracle Twins, Pandarus, etc). To say the least it was rather polarizing to the fans of the show considering this is all still one big continuity.
Baby Talk: Rose mocks Jake in this way in "Ski Trip".
Rose: Aww, is the big, bad blizzard wind too much for your wittle dwagon fire?
Back from the Dead: One episode focuses on The Huntsman trying to resurrect Huntsclan soldiers that have passed away with a magical beetle. When Jake makes it so that The Huntsman can't finish the spell, the hunters die once again. Done again with Jake's blood resurrecting The Dark Dragon.
Badass Normal: Rose. Pretty much the entire Huntsclan, really, but when a fourteen-year-old girl built like a drinking straw is fighting huge firebreathing dragons to a standstill know you don't want to get on her bad side.
The Bad Guy Wins: "Being Human". Sure, Jake is safe and Chang and Bananas B get trapped in a cave, but they still succeed in their goal of resurrecting The Dark Dragon.
Beware of the Nice Ones: Jake's father and the Tooth Fairy. The first, when he sees his son in danger, gave a run for their money to the Strigoi and pushed the Jersey's Devil off a cliff, the second, in Hong Kong Knights, killed the Dark Dragon for ruining her dress by throwing i-beams at him with a crane.
Fu Dog: Hey there, kids. If you haven't guessed by now, this is the American Dragon Hokey Holiday Special. Like all holiday specials, it's about family, togetherness—blah, blah, blah and all that other sappy garbage. Alright, let's get on with the main titles before I hurl egg nog all over the snow right here.
Brick Joke: At the beginning of "Bring It On", Professor Rotwood was escorting students through the museum when he accidentally broke a statue. He quickly told the students they saw nothing. Neither him nor the incident have been mentioned again until the end credits, when he phoned his mother for bail money because he was arrested for it.
Chekhov's Gun: The photo of Jake and Rose at the school dance from the episode "Dragon Breath". In the series finale, it restores Rose's memories of her relationship with Jake and her life in the Huntsclan.
The Chosen Many: Jake is one of many dragons from all around the world, giving a new meaning to "American Dragon".
I also seem to recall that during a meet up with the rest of the dragons, Jake even got a bunch of crap for the position of American Dragon being brand new.
Cut Lex Luthor a Check: A crazy dogcatcher once captured Fu and tried to turn him and many other dogs into dog food. When she was about to make Fu into dog food, Fu revealed to her that he could talk out of desperataion, hoping she would let him live in order to try and make money off him. But because she's crazy she doesn't care that he can talk and just carries on with her original plan.
Did Not Die That Way: in the second season, Rose was convinced by the Huntsman that her parents had died when she was a baby, but in the episode "Dreamscape", it was revealed that she was actually taken from them by the Huntsclan.
Dinosaurs Are Dragons: Jake's magic-hunting teacher Mr..(I mean Prof.) Rotwood had the theory that dragons were evolutions of the dinosaurs. Being the American Dragon, Jake knew this was a bunch of hooey.
Faking the Dead: How Jake escapes the Huntsclan Academy after he is captured.
Fantastic Racism: The Huntsclan's hatred for dragons and other magical creatures. Likewise, The Dark Dragon and Chang's hatred for humans.
Family-Friendly Firearms: The Huntsclan use energy-shooting melee weapons that are designed to not look anything like real weapons. (This aspect is reduced in the season two overhaul)
Family-Unfriendly Death: Although the show abides by the law known as Never Say "Die", that doesn't mean that a magical creature's animated guts raining down on Jake and Haley after bursting is family friendly.
Food Chain of Evil: While dragons aren't any more evil than a human being, the series does have the Stragori, vampires that only feed on dragon blood.
At the end of a Season 1 episode, when the Nix had been defeated, Jake thought all sucked spirits returned to their respective bodies but it was revealed that Trixie and Spud ended up in each other's bodies. It's unclear how they returned to their respective bodies, if they remember it or if they were the only ones to face a body swap back then.
Frozen Face: In the vampire episode, Spud tries his best to make the son of a prominent restaurant critic laugh while working at his mother's restaurant, and is horrified when the kid literally doesn't bat an eyelash at his antics. He finds out the next day that the kid had just come from the dentist and his facial muscles were numbed up so he couldn't smile, but he told his dad (the critic) that he had had "the best day ever", which got Spud's restaurant a glowing review.
Genius Ditz: Jake's friend Spud is something of a computer savant, even though he acts more like The Stoner skate rat than a classic nerd.
Although Spud has gone on record to say he invokes this trope. An example is when Jake asked him to ace a test for him, he stopped goofing off, took Jake's test, answered EVERY question right then went back to goofing.
" know, all work and no play is just as bad as all play and no work. I wanna be the middle ground."
Happily Ever After: YMMV, as although Rose remembers her memories with Jake and she kisses him in front of his whole family, Jake must leave for New York while Rose stays in Hong Kong, not that a long distance relationship is impossible.
Heel-Face Turn: Rose. Although he was never evil, Fu Dog also qualifies.
Hermetic Magic: Most types, but mostly Fu Dog's alchemy and the dragons' inherent gifts.
Jive Turkey: Jake's street lingo gets pretty thick in the first season, though it's toned down in the second.
As a nice touch, it gets thickest just when he's about to screw up because of his own overconfidence. When he starts taking things seriously and gets things done, his dialogue tones down accordingly.
This is supposedly a reference to first or second generation Asian Americans embracing US culture. His alternative is to act like Grandpa.
It also gets a Lampshade Hanging in "Switcheroo" when Haley calls it "unbearable hip-hop slang from five years ago".
Kick Me Prank: "Family Business" had Fu Dog try to pull this trick on Marty, only for it fail and for him to notice that he had a sign on his back that read, "Kick Me Harder"
Last Minute Hookup: Jake and Rose. They were together in Season 2 for a little while before Jake's Grandpa told Rose to break up with Jake if she really cares about him. They get back together in the finale.
Left Hanging: While The Huntsclan and The Dark Dragon are permanently defeated, it is obvious that "Hong Kong Longs" was not a planned finale. The fate of Jake and Rose's relationship is left ambiguous, Chang was spared so she could make a comeback, Rose's twin was never seen (a plot point specifically mentioned to have been planned for Season 3), and for pretty much every question that was answered by the end of the final episode, a new question only rose to take its place.
Meaningful Name: Long = Dragon in Chinese. (Amusingly, it's his Anglo father's side of the family. Sure, he once claimed to also be of Chinese descent but, his basis for such a claim are questionable not only for the fact he doesn't look Asian)
Fred Nerk, the Australian Dragon. "Fred Nerk" is a placeholder name used by Australians just like "John Doe" is used by Americans.
Military Brat: Trixie. Her father is an air force officer stationed in Greenland.
Prophecy Twist: Two (actually more if you bother to keep count) prophecies were twisted in "Body Guard Duty". The first one stated Trixie and Spud would "tie the knot", much to Trixie's horror. The second was that Jake would be hit by a boulder and it didn't help that the prophecy specified how fast the boulder would be. At Ogre Bowl, an ogre threw a boulder that hit Jake at the specified speed, thus fulfilling the prophecy. However, Jake was flying at a slightly slower speed and it didn't hurt him. At the end of the episode, Spud's shoe was untied and Trixie tied it, meaning the prediction about them tying the knot wasn't about marriage.
In a smaller scale, it was predicted to a nerd somebody would take the last pudding at the cafeteria from him (which didn't surprise him). It was Jake who did it to offer it to Rose. Also, it was predicted chocolate would be spilled at Spud's milk. Trying to defy the prophecy, he took his milk outside the school, where it was unlikely to happen, and a truckload of chocolate crashed, spilling some of its contents into Spud's milk.
Psycho Ex-Girlfriend: Chang and Jake's grandpa used to be an item, based on a horrifying photo of them from the age of disco.
Pungeon Master: Fu Dog is so fond of puns that in episodes like "The Egg" and "Dragon Summit", this is more or less all he does.
Selective Obliviousness: Both Jake and Rose suffer from this during their Dating Catwoman phase (before they learn each others' identities), in spite of so much glaring evidence that even secondary characters are getting wary.
Shout-Out: Haley is named after after Eminem's daughter Halie Jade.
The Power of Love: Jake and Rose. Jake wished that Rose was never taken by the Huntsclan, but then she remembers everything when she sees the photo of her and Jake from a dance. The reason is The Power of Love.
Toilet Humor: A lot of reviewers complained about the prominence of fart jokes in the pilot. What most of them don't know is that Disney mandated them because of a spectacularly bad test episode (that wasn't even written by the series writers!) which only drew laughs from said fart joke.
Token Trio: A bit of a departure from the norm, but it still fits.
So much so that he purposely sabotages himself to have his dragon chi removed for a week to enjoy his middle school graduation. His over-achieving sister is stuck with the burden and she starts falling at the seams. She defends her brother's choice when Lao Shi finds out by listing the difficulties of being the American Dragon before delving into the personal problems it caused Jake (namely not able to relate to his dad that much and losing Rose twice. All in all, he's handling this job hell of a lot better than could realistically be expected.
Wok Fu: In one episode, Jake and Haley in dragon form fight against a trio of demons released on Chinese New Year. One of the places they fight the demons is in a Chinese restaurant, albeit for only a few seconds.