Western Animation: My Life as a Teenage Robot
of the show, saving some of the "regular" people.
"Five O'clock get a call to go blading at the skate park down by the mall" My Life as a Teenage Robot
"But my mom says I got to prevent hostile aliens from annihilating us all"
"With the strength of a million and seventy men I guess I really shouldn't complain"
"Still I wish I could go for a walk without rusting in the rain, It's enough to fry my brain"
"So welcome to my life (as a teenage robot)"
"The story of my life (as a teenage robot)"
"My teenage robot....LIFE!"
was an Animated Series
that premiered on Nickelodeon
in 2003 and had aired previously-unaired episodes on Nicktoons network from 2008 until 2009. It is the 18th show in Nickelodeon's popular Nicktoons
The show, which takes place Twenty Minutes into the Future
, revolved around a Robot Girl
named XJ9 (or simply Jenny Wakeman) who was designed in order to protect the Earth by a female scientist, but, after meeting her next door neighbor Brad and his little brother Tucker, decides she would rather live a normal adolescent life.
Jenny attempts to fit in at school, but usually fails, with hilarious results.
Her antics cause friction with her "mother" Nora Wakeman. Nora's strict treatment doesn't sit well with Jenny, either. Despite this, they care about each other, and eventually accept each other as mother and daughter.
Jenny must also fight various menaces
in the series, most notably The Cluster, a race of alien robots bent on conquering Earth, led by the evil Queen Vexus.
One of Jenny's friends, a nerd called Sheldon, has a crush on her, but she doesn't like him that way. He adopts the identity of a superhero robot himself (the Silver Shell) by wearing a suit of Powered Armor
, but must keep this a secret from Jenny and the rest.
My Life As A Teenage Robot contains examples of:
- A.I. Is a Crapshoot: Armagedroid was created to destroy and disarm all weapons. He just can't discern between friends and enemies.
- Aliens Speaking English: The Cluster and several other of the spacegoing creatures Jenny meets. But inverted in an episode where feline aliens only say "Meow" ...but Jenny, Brad and Tucker understand them.
- Angel Face, Demon Face: A rather extreme example in Todd, at the end of "A Robot For All Seasons". When he learns the true meaning of Christmas, his dour, dark face cracks and falls away revealing a smiling, rosy cheeked face.
- Badass Family: The Wakemans, obviously. Nora Wakeman is a Mad Scientist and a former officer of the Skyway Patrol, and can still hold her own in combat at an advanced age; Jenny is a ridiculously powerful crime-fighting robot; and Jenny's sisters (XJ 1 through 8) are single-purpose prototypes who are still pretty strong in their own right (plus, they kick major ass when they join forces).
- Batman Can Breathe in Space: Jenny, being a robot, is justified. Less justified is the first episode where she was able to rocket into space, blast away several meteors, get smacked around a bit, and reenter the atmosphere and return safely to Earth... with Tuck clinging onto her every step of the way. And he survived. And thought it was "Cool!" Don't even go into the facts about survival in space.
- Then there are the scenes where non-robotic characters seem to have no problem breathing in space (though it is Lampshaded very often).
- Berserk Button: Melody is very mild-mannered and excessively sweet. But don't tell her she's evil like her "father."
- Bullying a Dragon: Jenny is sweet, gentle, and kind. She wants to fit in with her peers, and is a generally good person. Her tormentors, however, don't ever seem to grasp that she's also a walking, talking, sapient weapons system capable of destroying entire space fleets on her own. As mentioned below, this requires a very special kind of stupidity.
- However, they're probably fine... given that she probably couldn't get away with using those weapons on even the meanest of bullies who was totally asking for it.
- Big in Japan: There's a lot of Doujinshi for Jenny in Japan.
- It's true in-universe, too.
- Bungling Inventor: Krakus, despite the fact that one of his inventions worked perfect in the episode he was introduced, it is clear from dialog that it is not a common occurrence.
- Call Back: "Minky Momo" (not to be confused with the magical princess of the same name) is an Ear Worm song that Brad sings at the beginning of "I was a Preschool Dropout", which he and Tuck later use to escape in Escape from Cluster Prime.
- Catch Phrase
- Chosen One: Jenny is thought of to be the 'chosen one' by tiny aliens in the episode "Teen Idol."
- Dark Reprise: The theme song's film reel disintegrates in Escape From Cluster Prime, which begins an orchestral arrangement of the song that isn't so cheery.
- Demonization: Deconstructed In-Universe: Queen Vexus of Cluster Prime demonizes XJ9, presenting her like an Always Chaotic Evil, horrible monster robot that wants to destroy her own kind in various propaganda videos showed to the robots. When XJ9 accidentally goes to Cluster Prime, all the robots see her for the cute, normal, heroic robot who wants to help and protect others. Even when someone recognizes her and the Robot police try to catch her, she is helped by her new friends. This leads to Queen Vexus’ downfall.
- There is also the fact that the propaganda doesn't bother showing her true appearance, allowing Jenny to remain Hidden in Plain Sight.
- Distressed Dude: You can bet that Brad and Tuck will usually be in danger if they are part of the focus of an episode. Sheldon can fall victim to this often as well, especially in his first appearance.
- Does Not Know Her Own Strength: Jenny has some initial problems fitting in due to this, but eventually gets used to her surroundings.
- At home, she seems to have either figured out how to lounge around without breaking stuff, or Dr. Wakeman has simply reinforced a lot of the house.
- Doppelgänger: A non-hostile example in Escape from Cluster Prime; the high school on Cluster Prime has robotic versions of Brad, Sheldon, and Tuck. "Drab" and "Shell" even share voice actors with their human counterparts, while "Tuff" is voiced by a deep-voiced man in contrast to Tuck's Audrey Wasilewski.
- Expy: Rob Renzetti freely admitted the series was based on Buffy the Vampire Slayer, and XJ-9 is a pretty clear expy of early (circa season 1) Buffy Summers. Likewise, Brad is pretty obviously Xander, and the Krust Kousins are Cordelia Chase and Harmony Kendall before they were de-clawed.
- Face-Heel Turn: Subverted in "Attack of the 5 1/2 Foot Geek". The Lonely Hearts Club Gang kidnaps Sheldon in a successful attempt to lure Jenny, who gets offended when they refer to him as her "boyfriend" and promptly chews Sheldon out for being a "crazy, loser, stalker geek." This obviously breaks Sheldon's heart, which so moves the gang that they set him loose and vow to even let him join them when he graduates. However, Sheldon instantly turns on the gang and frees Jenny.
- Fanservice: It's debatable, but the episode "Victim of Fashion" is rife of this...y'know, if you have a thing for catsuits, Victorian era dresses, sea life, and The Notorious BIG
- Fantasy Gun Control: In "Escape From Cluster Prime", Vexus is revealed to have disarmed the Cluster by removing microchips that would allow them to transform and keeping them in a vault.
- Flawed Prototype: Of a sort. XJs 1 through 8 are clearly not as complete as Jenny, although 'flawed' isn't really the right word here, as they all seem to be testbeds for various functions eventually incorporated into Jenny. (Dr. Wakeman herself describes them as "failed" and "incomplete" in successive sentences.) Armagedroid, on the other hand, is something of a Gone Horribly Right...
- Forgot About Her Weapon Systems: Jenny seems to forget about weapons and tools of hers that she's used in previous episodes if there's a chance they'll wrap up the plot in about two seconds.
- Gadgeteer Genius: Sheldon - nearly on par with Wakeman herself. Mog and some of the others are somewhere between Gadgeteer Genius and Mad Scientist.
- Played with, with Krakus. He has few problems with building his gadgets, but getting them to stay together, let alone work, is another story entirely...
- Gasshole: In the episode "Infectious Personality", Tuck develops a severe farting problem as a result of the space dust to the point where his body inflates with his own gas
- Giant Equals Invincible: Armegedroid. And a few others, but Armagedroid is really the only foe Jenny can't beat in a straight fight.
- Giant Spider: Jenny pretends to be one to scare Britt and Tiff in "Teenage Mutant Ninja Troubles."
- "Sibling Tsunami" starts with Jenny having just defeated one, using its severed head as a ventriliquist's dummy.
- God Guise: In one episode, Jenny is mistaken for a prophesied comet goddess by adorable tiny aliens.
- Goofy Print Underwear: Sheldon's undies in the episode "Saved By the Shell" has what appears to be a kitty-face on it.
- In the first episode, Jenny causes a baseball to fly so fast it rips off the clothes of everyone it passes, and every single person is wearing polka-dot boxers. Even birds.
- Green Thumb: Jenny's cousin, Glenn has this power. Being a swamp monster-like being, he's surprsingly good at fighting with plant powers when he has to (fake-)fight with Jenny to get their moms to stop bickering.
- Wisteria herself considering she made Glenn the same way Ms. Wakeman made Jenny.
- Hammerspace: Jenny can consistently store many, many more giant weapons inside her chassis than could conceivably fit.
- Held Back In School: Jenny is sent to kindergarten because because she is technically only 5 years old.
- Heel Face Door Slam: In their first appearance, Brit and Tiff actually defended Jenny when the police were planning on bringing her downtown after the science lab caught on fire (which they caused), as thanks for saving their lives. They actually wanted Jenny to start hanging out with them, until Brit shook Jenny's hand too hard and dislodged the hair pin Tiff shot into it. As the two were being led away by the police they blamed Jenny for it.
- Hero with Bad Publicity: Jenny in Escape From Cluster Prime, especially in said place, where she was framed for destroying special defense chips, although there was so much focus on an artist's interpretation, no one knew that Jenny was the enemy until a policeman recognized her.
- Hover Mecha: The Lancer in his Mobile-Suit Human.
- Human Pet: An evil robot bent on enslaving mankind suggests to Brad and Tucker that Jenny might want to keep them as pets.
- Humongous Mecha: Jenny briefly becomes one in 'Mind Over Matter', using a robot built out of her house.
- I Just Want to Be Normal: Jenny's got no chance or real desire to actually be human, but she does want to fit in - in fact, Dr. Wakeman seems to have designed her with this in mind.
- Incredibly Lame Fun: In one episode, a toy company CEO introduces a slide rule as his company's "latest toy".
Jenny: Uh, that's...
CEO: Exactly; it stinks!
- Knight of Cerebus: Armagedroid and Gigawatt both share this. Jenny couldn't defeat either of them directly - they curb-stomped her. Not to mention Gigawatt was just unnerving.
- The puppet Lil' Acorn trumps them all. Ignoring his backstory, he defeated Jenny with ease. And he's a PUPPET. He almost succeeded with his plan, too.
- Magical Girlfriend: The components of the fantasy are all there: Sheldon, the Nerd Loser Protagonist, falls in love with the Super Hero Robot Girl who saves him from bullies, and becomes her Dogged Nice Guy. Too bad she's not interested (although Word of God says that she would have become his girlfriend if the series had continued).
- Magic Skirt: Many times. Best example is the first episode. We see Jenny and Brad looking through a box, and her position clearly shows her in a way that she is showing what she has (if anything) to the world. Next shot of Tuck aiming at her shows differently, though the next shot goes back to the original position.
- A publicity picture shows Brad and Tuck going through Jenny's drawer and pulling out a pair of her steel panties.
- Meaningful Rename: XJ9 chose to rename herself Jenny, as part of her desire to be normal. Nora usually calls her the former, except during heartfelt moments.
- Mood Motif: The violin of tense suspense.
- Motherly Scientist: Dr. Wakeman; Jenny calls her "mom".
- My Nayme Is: Pteresa, who insists to everybody else that, "It's pronounced Teresa!" Only the Crust cousins seem to get it.
- Never Mess with Granny: The majority of Tremorton thinks Nora's a dotty old lady at best and a demented Mad Scientist at worst. But she was once Skyway Patrol, and the asskicking she did then she has not forgotten by the time Escape From Cluster Prime occurs.
- Oh, Crap: Jenny on occasion. One of the drawbacks of a near-human personality.
- Vexus at the end of Escape From Cluster Prime, when Vega and her friends give Cluster Prime back their golden chips.
- Older Than They Look: Sheldon after the episode Good Old Sheldon only LOOKS 15. He's now officially 105 years old. Holy cow.
- Jenny herself is technically 5 years old physically, but was being designed and built a good 11 years before that (so, 16, including a really long gestation period).
- Operation Jealousy: Sheldon tries this in "The Price of Love" by paying Pteresa to pretend to be his girlfriend, hoping this will make Jenny realize she loves him. The charade ends up costing him everything he owns, even his clothes. And the saddest part is that it actually kind of works! At the end of the episode, Jenny privately admits to herself that she’s missed having him around and that she might actually be interested in a Relationship Up Grade. Of course, her hearing’s been really messed up all episode, so when she goes to talk to Sheldon about it, she thinks she hears him say that he’s too good for her now, when really he was saying exactly the opposite. Cue her storming off in a huff.
- Paper-Thin Disguise: In "Dressed to Kill", monstrous alien warrior Smytus convinces several characters that he's a Ukrainian supermodel by putting on a wig.
- In "Escape From Cluster Prime", Jenny's superhero costume is the Cluster Prime flag and a pickelhaube.
- Pinocchio Syndrome: Averted with Jenny - she's perfectly fine with being a robot, but wants acceptance and assimilation... which sometimes means playing the trope straight.
- Power Fist: Dr. Wakeman gets a pair of power gloves in "Escape From Cluster Prime".
- The Presents Were Never from Santa: In "Bradventure", Jenny assists Brad in his escape from Dr. Locus in an attempt to make him feel epic and adventurous, but Brad isn't aware of this until he returns to rescue her. Subverted when he appears to do the same stunts again, unassisted, and carrying a 600-pound robot, but no one learns that Dr. Locus's creation, Melody, was helping him that time.
- Punch Clock Hero: Misty in "Mist Opportunities". Jenny herself will occasionally gripe about having to save the world on a regular basis (=less time for a social life), but is always on duty.
- Punch Clock Villain: The biker gang, who are only marauding dominatrices on the weekend, and work at an elementary school for the rest of the time.
- Race Against the Clock: "Historionics" has Jenny, Brad, Tuck and Sheldon race to get off of an island which can best be described Jurassic Park BUT WITH ROBOTS OF HISTORICAL FIGURES before Jenny's back-up battery runs out (due to her crash into the ocean ruining her main one). As if to acknowledge this, Jenny's eyes act as a battery meter during the proceedings.
- "The Reason You Suck" Speech: Jenny gives a brutal one about Sheldon when she has enough of people calling him her "boyfriend."
Jenny: He's not my boyfriend! I don't even know him! He's just some crazy, loser, stalker geek! He's not my boyfriend, he's not my friend, he's not my nothing!
- Red-Headed Hero: Sorta, when Jenny tries wearing a human suit (one that isn't terrifying to look at) she gets red pigtails... and a lot of attention.
- Reverse Polarity/Techno Babble: Parodied in "Escape From Cluster Prime". Completely subverted later on:
Sheldon: We don't have time for sci-fi brinkmanship! My Jenny needs me! * proceeds to hotwire a starship*
- Ridiculously Human Robot: Actually played with throughout the series. Jenny experiments with devices that make her more like a human (she's mostly cool with being a robot), including pleasure/pain sensors. But they're still working out the kinks.
- Robo Family: Jenny has several "sisters" who are actually failed/incomplete prototypes created by her inventor who have since been shut down and locked up in the basement.
- Robot Kid: Or teenager, whatever; a couple of her 'sisters' fit this better than she does.
- Running Gag: "Hey, look! It's snowing!"
- Safety Worst: Tuck is almost hit by a car. As a result he shuts himself away from the outside world Jenny tries to reassure him of his safety by showing him at a ripe old age through the "Future Scope", which leads him to believe he will live to old age no matter what, and spends the rest of the episode performing a number of life threatening stunts. He forgets that even if he lives he still could get badly damaged.
- She Cleans Up Nicely: Spoofed. When Jenny wants to get pretty for a party invite, she visits a garage and gets a full tune-up and new paint job. ...from a bunch of greasy gearheads, at that. The music and Jenny's reaction equate it to a spa day for a human girl.
- Ship Tease (despite being explicitly platonic, the writers gave Jenny and Brad a few scenes that had shippers squee-ing.)
- Shout-Out: Now has its own page!
- Shown Their Work Combined with Genius Bonus: While the episode “Puppet Bride” is a fairly faithful parody of the original Frankenstein book by Mary Shelley and it’s tropes (Parental Abandonment, Uncanny Valley, Calling the Old Man Out, Then Let Me Be Evil, You Need to Get Laid), the episode “Tuckered Out” is a parody of all the Lost in Imitation tropes about Frankenstein in the subsequent movies (The Igor, Mad Scientist, Lightning Can Do Anything:, etc).
- Sibling Team: XJ-9 and her prototypical "sisters", XJ Mark 1 through 8.
- Sibling Yin-Yang: Nora and Wisteria, science VS nature.
- Smug Super: The Teen Team. They don't like normal people because they've shunned them.
- Speak Now or Forever Hold Your Peace: Subverted in "Ball and Chain" - Jenny bangs on the window and calls Brad's name. Brad tells Jenny he doesn't want to be rescued and marries Tammy anyway. He justifiably begins to regret it because Tammy's species treats spouses as somewhere between slave and house pet and calls the marriage off at the reception, resulting in him needing to be rescued.
- Super Prototype: Zig Zagged, XJ8 is bigger and stronger than Jenny, despite being an earlier model, on the other hand, she's also more reliant on smashing than thinking and doesn't have fifty guns attached to 50 other guns stuffed in her.
- Super Strength: "The strength of a million-and-seventy men," if the theme song is to be taken literally.
- Surprisingly Good Japanese: Jenny is voiced by Janice Kawaye, who is Japanese-American.
- One episode has Jenny lost her Language OS Disc, forcing her to speak Japanese for almost the whole episode.
- Telescoping Robot: Jenny does this for comedy mostly, with a stretchy neck and even pigtail-antenna (plus "stretchy arms and extendo-fingers", to which an entire episode was devoted), but can use her body as a combination Green Lantern Ring and Shape Shifter.
- Quickly deconstructed as well, as she is unable to make her self smaller or thinner when the Krust cousins come up with a social situation requiring it. (She settles for completely removing all her external armor, and decides to never do it again.)
- Totally Radical: "Phat", "Crib", "Badonkadonk"....yeah, this show was definitely made in the early 2000s. And since the show is set in the future, in-universe it's way past its expiration date.
- The trope is lampshaded to hell and back in the episode "Queen Bee". First Brit and Tiff make fun of Jenny's outdated slag, prompting her to learn some from a slang phrasebook from 1984. Then Queen Vexus shows up talking like she's from the 1920's and is immediately discovered and beaten by Jenny as a result. Moments later Brit and Tiff are trying to teach her to fit in and manage to rattle off every bit of slang they've ever said in about three lines of dialogue. It's quite cringeworthy and hilarious.
- Too Dumb to Live: Tucker in "Indes-Tuck-tible," and Jenny's tormentors Brit and Tiff pretty much all the time. See the above entry for Bullying a Dragon, and note that more than once, their schemes have backfired with extremely severe consequences.
- Trailers Always Spoil: Semi-Averted for Escape from Cluster Prime, Vega, or basically any footage Jenny having fun in Cluster Prime, wasn't featured, but we did get to see a policeman taking off Jenny's superhero disguise, and all of Cluster Prime being alerted that Jenny was in their presence. To be honest though, we were expecting that to happen, so not a huge problem.
- Truly Single Parent: Dr. Wakeman, at least, tries to avoid this.
- Twenty Minutes into the Future: The set year is never explicitly stated, but one episode mentions that Jenny, being built only 5 years prior, missed Super Bowl C (100), which would be 2067 or later.
- Unusual Euphemism: "Thank [Steve] Jobs!" was used once.
- "By the Great Cluster Hives! It's XJ9!"
- Unusually Uninteresting Sight: The show is about a robot packed with a huge arsenal of incredibly destructive gadgets/weapons attending a local high school. Other people in the show very rarely find this concept, or even Jenny herself, odd, even though she appears to be the only one around.
- Urine Trouble: In "Trade Show Showdown", a robotic dog lifts its leg after it gets annoyed with Jenny deriding it for being a one trick
- Very Special Episode: "Victim of Fashion" has Jenny competing against Brit and Tiff to see who can be more fashionable. But when it comes to getting slim, being a robot her only option is having her armor and weapons removed leaving her body as just a robot skeleton, of course an obvious metaphor for anorexia. She's so weak that even the smallest member of the biker chicks gang kicks her butt easily.
- Villain with Good Publicity: Killgo—the cutest thing ever!
- Vexus in Queen Bee, even AFTER the school finds out that she's a villain. until Jenny mentions she's over 2000 years old.
- Visual Pun: While on Cluster Prime, Jenny feeds a robotic squirrel by unscrewing a bolt from her palm: literally, "feeding from the palm of her hand."
- Well-Intentioned Extremist: Armegedroid is on a mission to destroy all "weaponry" (and then presumably himself when he's done - maybe). Jenny doesn't have much of a problem with this, just that he's hurting people in the process.
- What Happened to the Exo-Skin?
- What the Hell, Hero?: Brad's response when Jenny wrongly tries to prove Melody is secretly evil. Also when she attacks one of two groups of alien visitors not realizing Beauty Is Bad.
- And in "Escape From Cluster Prime" when everybody in Tremerton, including Dr. Wakeman, calls her out for accidentally ruining a parade while stopping a bad guy. It sets off her leaving for Cluster Prime in the first place.
- Wingding Eyes: Wisteria's glasses turn into mod and psychadelic symbols sometimes.
- Younger Than They Look: Jenny looks and thinks like a teenager, but it's been pointed out she was born/made five years ago.
- Of course, one episode required her to return to kindergarten because she's technically five years old.
- ...which she escapes on a technicality because she was designed sixteen years previously.
- Your Brain Won't Be Much of a Meal: Trope Namer
- Zeerust: This show is deliberately drawn in a very old fashioned sixtes futuristic way.