Western Animation: The Life and Times of Juniper Lee

You can't stop the girl!

A Cartoon Network original series created by Judd Winick, cartoonist (who created the comic strip Frumpy The Clown and the comic book Barry Ween Boy Genius) and alumnus of The Real World. It ran from 2005 to 2007, with a total of three seasons.

Juniper Lee (June for short) is a Chinese-American girl who also happens to be heir to the title of Te Xuan Ze. Basically, that means she has the ability to see the members of a society of monsters living invisibly among humans, low-level super-strength and agility, and the responsibility of keeping the peace among said monsters and maintaining the Masquerade when necessary.

As is always the case, being the Te Xuan Ze comes with all the other headaches and responsibilities of being a pre-teen girl. Fortunately, she has the help of her kindly grandmother (the former Te Xuan Ze), a snarky talking pug named Monroe, and her plucky kid brother Ray-Ray.


Tropes:

  • Abusive Parents: Monroe's father Williams, especially during the Easter episode.
  • Action Girl
  • Adults Are Useless: Mostly...
  • Affably Evil: WAY more frequent than you can imagine.
  • All Part of the Show: In It Takes A Pillage June, Ray Ray and Monroe hijack a tour boat to chase after their viking possessed friends. June manages to convince the tourist that the chase, bombardment and sinking of their ship is part of the tour.
  • Aloof Big Brother: Dennis. He gets better though.
  • Alpha Bitch: Melissa O'Malley, the school diva.
  • Annoying Younger Sibling: Ray-Ray, and how.
  • Arson, Murder, and Jaywalking:
    June: All right! I have fought a small army of hillbilly demons, punched my way through 200 feet of concrete, and I lost my favorite pair of earrings!
  • Attack of the 50-Foot Whatever:This happens quite frequently on the show.
  • Badass Adorable: Juniper, for certain. Lila also easily qualifies.
  • Batman Cold Open: Some of the early episodes.
  • Between My Legs: In episode 1.
  • Bilingual Bonus: Auntie Roo's flying fish and Ophelia in There's No Mitzvah Like Snow Mitzvah
  • Bigfoot, Sasquatch and Yeti: Lila is a smart, young girl sasquatch. By contrast, adult male sasquatches are incredibly dim (if harmless).
  • Blessed with Suck: As the Te Xuan Ze, June is physically incapable of leaving her hometown...
  • Blonde, Brunette, Redhead: Thor's Valkyries.
  • Brick Joke: In the Cold Open of "Not in My Backyard", Ray Ray lets loose some monkeys, who then free an oversized chicken. This is then forgot about until near the end of the episode, when June and Ray Ray fly on said chicken en route to defeating the episode's Big Bad.
  • Captivity Harmonica: Played by the koala in "The Great Escape". The zookeeper tells him to stop.
  • The Cast Show Off: This show really put Lara Jill Miller through her paces, in both shouting tone and singing.
  • Chain of Deals: "It's the Great Pumpkin, Juniper Lee".
  • Compulsory School Age: Happens to Jasmine, who experiences Fountain of Youth syndrome for one episode.
  • Contagious Powers: The main reason Ray Ray can see monsters. During an attack by some monsters just as June was coming into her powers, they try to suck it out of her. However Ray Ray interrupted the transfer and some of June's power got implanted in him.
  • Cut Short: The final episode ends with Juniper on her way home, happily jumping superhumanly high in the process, unaware that Jody is watching her. The series ends before this can be resolved.
    • What's more, Jody carrying a book on how to spot magical creatures. So...yeah.
  • Cute Bruiser: Both Juniper and Lila easily qualify as this.
  • Doting Grandparent: Jasmine Lee to both June and Ray Ray.
  • Emergency Transformation: Ray Ray in one episode when he permanently transforms his original body into a T-Rex. June and Monroe have to make a golem body and transfer his soul into it.
  • Expecting Someone Taller
  • Expository Theme Tune: "In a World full of monsters and demons / June is the only one who sees them..."
  • Extreme Omnivore: In "Not in My Backyard", June has to watch a harmless-looking creature called a Batoot. Turns out it's also a bottomless pit.
  • Follow the Leader: Averted. A teenager is given awesome magic powers brought through their bloodline, is taught by their grandparent, has a younger sibling who affiliates with said magic powers, and a talking dog. Also, the bloodline containing the superpowers is one of Chinese descent. Both shows rotted in Development Hell for years, with the creators of each blissfully unaware of the others existence during production according to interviews.
    • More likely this to the show Kim Possible, as it shares some of the humor and the High School Action Girl motif with it.
    • In a nice bit of irony though, both show were victims of network meddling (when this show hit its third season, CN didn't bother to promote the new episodes. Not even getting the dignity of ending on TV in the states.) and ran for three seasons.
  • Funny Background Event: Many background references to the creator:
    • In the second episodes, one of the gravestones in the cemetery reads "J. Winick".
    • In "Enter Sandman", each door leading into a person's dreams has that person's name on it. One unentered door is labeled "Judd".
  • Game Show Appearance: In "New Trickster in Town", the god Loki puts June on a show called Let's Save Humanity. Round 1 has a Calvinball-esque question of "Banana" with an answer of "Richard Nixon"; Round 2 offers her "Multiple choice" or "Molten pit of eternal torment". She picks "Multiple choice", which leads to a Let's Make a Deal-alike. Door #1 has a box full of Wicked Weasels; Door #2, a lifetime supply of deviled ham; and Door #3, a werewolf-like creature. It's then interrupted when Ray-Ray has a moment of competence.
  • Gonna Need More X: In "Welcome Bat Otter", the fear of bat otters made some magical creatures hide inside a cave. Seeing the size of some of the magical creatures seeking shelter made her believe a bigger cave would be needed.
  • Goth: Ophelia.
  • Guarding The Portal
  • I Just Want to Be Normal
  • I Just Want to Be Special: Ray-Ray occasionally.
  • Interspecies Romance: Ray-Ray has a crush on Lila.
  • Invisible to Normals: All the monsters. (But not the sasquatches, as they are not technically magical.)
  • Jerkass: Dennis sometimes.
  • Left Hanging: See Cut Short, not that the last episode doesn't feel like a finale and it was obvious the writers left that in there in case they got another season. But yeah...
  • Knight Templar: A secret government Men In Black organization known as H.A.M. is out to get all monsters, bad or otherwise.
  • Lighter and Softer: Two episodes were adapted from the more adult Barry Ween.
  • Limited Wardrobe: Lampshaded.
    Ray-Ray: (when Ashley compliments his shirt) Dude, I am never taking this off!
    Monroe: I hate to break this to you, lad, but you never do. You're like Charlie Brown.
  • Masquerade
  • Mineral MacGuffin: The three Touchstones of the finale episode are this.
  • Missed the Call: Juniper's dad was originally supposed to be the next Te Xuan Ze, but it skipped and passed on to her instead.
  • Mix-and-Match Critters: One episode centers around a bat-otter.
  • Monster Is a Mommy: The episode "Meet The Parent" has a giant, stone-eating monster terrorizing the town looking for its baby, which, due to June getting sprayed with said baby's scent, it thinks is June.
  • Multicolored Hair: The pink streak running down June's otherwise raven hair. It originally was a Skunk Stripe, and it's justified because it's the mark of her powers as Te Xuan Ze.
  • Nineties Anti-Hero: One episode has one as a Refugee from TV Land, named "Boomfist". Master of the Family-Unfriendly Aesop, but not really that bad at the whole hero thing.
  • The Obi-Wan: Grandmother.
  • Only Sane Woman: Lila among the sasquatches.
  • Our Monsters Are Different: As shown in the first episode, leprechauns are really tall.
  • Plucky Comic Relief: Roger.
  • Pop-Star Composer: Stewart Copeland of The Police wrote the theme song.
  • Reluctant Hero: June displayed this trait right from the first episode, and seeing as she's the youngest Te Xuan Ze in history, you can't exactly blame her.
  • Right Behind Me:
    June: I mean, there is no question that Marcus is a ninth-degree babe with the great hair and the cute smile, but that doesn't change the fact that he's standing right behind me, right?
  • Rock Trio: The band formed by June (guitar), Dennis (bass), and Ray Ray (drums), aka Short Angry Freuds.
  • Shout-Out:
    • The puzzle chimes from Wheel of Fortune are used in a mock game show in "New Trickster in Town".
    • When bidding farewell to the Batoot at the end of "Not in My Backyard", Ray Ray says, "Be good."
    • While she is grounded, Juniper watches a show on TV and shouts, "Go get 'em, Bubbles!!"
  • The Snark Knight: Ophelia.
  • Squashed Flat: Just once in the Halloween special.
  • Talking Animal: Monroe.
  • Tempting Fate: In "Not in My Backyard", June starts yelling at the Batoot after it eats every item in the basement. Monroe warns her not to upset him, because doing so will bring more bad luck. She, of course, asks how much worse it can get.
    • The episode with the tarbok weed problem also had her Tempting Fate and Monroe cautioning her against that.
  • The Unfavourite: Loki is revealed to be this to Thor in "New Trickster in Town".
  • Vague Age: Averted; she is stated to be 11 in "Enter Sandman".
  • Valley Girl: Ophelia would occasionally slip into valley girl mode when excited over a girly interest, such as boy bands.
  • Van Helsing Hate Crime: H.A.M (Humans Against Magic), an organization dedicated to wiping out all and anything monsters and magic related. This includes humans that help them i.e: Juniper.
  • Voices Are Mental: Referenced in "I've Got You under My Skin" where June has to magically change the voices of Ray Ray and Monroe when they are diguised as her and Ray Ray, respectively.
  • Wake Up, Go to School, Save the World
  • We Are Experiencing Technical Difficulties: Occurs to a news anchor in "New Trickster in Town".
  • We Can Rebuild Him: Ray-Ray's soul now occupies a replica of his original body, after he became a huge monster and could not be turned back.
  • Wham Episode: "Dog Show Afternoon" becomes this at the end where it's revealed that the Te Xuan Ze is physically incapable of ever leaving Orchid Bay until they have a descendant that can take their place. Poor June looks so heartbroken when Ah-Mah tells her the bad news.
  • Whatever Happened To The Mouse? Whatever happened to those clones of June's friends? We see Ophelia's clone shopping at the same music store as the original but what happened to the others?
    • Also, the turtle in "Little Big Mah" that was used to defeat the villain. The energy-syphoning Darnock demon sucked up all those turtle years but where did the turtle itself go? Not to mention, it wasn't even a random turtle, but one that Ray Ray was supposed to return to a friend during the episode. It's never mentioned again.
  • Witch with a Capital B: June feels this way about Ashley after she turns into a Pretty Freeloader.
    June: If she drools on my pillow, she's gunna one dead Witch.
  • World of Snark: June and Monroe are the two biggest, but just about everyone gets their turn.
  • Writer on Board: Not as blatant as some of Winick's other works, but still obvious.
  • You Can See Me?: A variation of it in "Adventures in Babysitting":
    Juniper: You can talk!?
    Monroe: You can hear me???
    Juniper: (After an exposition talk by Monroe) Are you scottish?
  • You Fight Like a Cow: On occasion.
  • You Just Ruined the Shot: "Star Quality"
  • Your Worst Nightmare: In "Enter Sandman", June's is revealed to be forgetting her lines in the school play. Fortunately, she's Genre Savvy enough not to be fazed by it (her first clue being that Ophelia's playing the Tin Man).

Alternative Title(s):

The Life And Times Of Juniper Lee