Western Animation: The PJs
"Once upon a time, in the projects..."The PJs (Short for "The Projects") is a Stop Motion television sitcom created by Eddie Murphy, Larry Wilmore, and Steve Tompkins, and produced for Imagine Television and Disney (through Touchstone Television). The show centers around Thurgood Stubbs (voiced by Murphy in the first two seasons, Phil Morris in the third season), the superintendent of a housing project in a fictional city modeled after Chicago. It is best remembered for its unique use of claymationnote when most animated primetime shows still relied on hand-drawn animation. Unfortunately, it consequently ended up going over budget a couple of times, which ended up leading to its cancelation.It lasted for two seasons on FOX, after which the show was canceled. Then, The WB swooped in and gave the show one more season before it was canceled for good.The third season of The PJs had a number of major changes in production, with the most notable being the recasting of Thurgood Stubbs due to Murphy leaving the series over contractual disputes, as well being involved in other projects at the time. Other notable changes include smaller production budget, outsourcing from Will Vinton Studios to Charged Productions, and Disney having no involvement in the third season, as they were uninterested in making a third season. As a consequence, the season was co-produced by The WB's production arm Warner Bros. Television in Disney's place. Contractual problems caused Warner Bros. to relinquish the rights to the third season to Disney following the show's cancellation. Disney now owns all rights to The PJs as well as any elements pertaining to it.Not to be confused with characters wearing PJs.
—Narrator in the opening sequence
This stop motion animated series provides examples of:
- 0% Approval Rating: Just about every adult in the projects sans Muriel hates Thurgood's guts.
- Big Eater: Juicy. In early episodes his mother has to affix a "Do Not Feed" sign on him when he goes out.
- Ironic, as both his parents are so fat they literally can't leave their apartment (though perhaps they were hoping he wouldn't reach their extreme state).
- Butt Monkey: Mr. Sanchez.
- Camp Gay: Tarnel
- Couch Gag: The subtitle for the HUD building changes with every appearance.
- Dagwood Sandwich: In the episode "A Hero Ain't Nothing But a Super" Thurgood contemplates eating one before compacting it to fit his mouth. But then he says. "Muriel, I think the mayonnaise has gone bad."
- Does Not Like Shoes: Haiti Lady is always barefoot.
- E = MC Hammer: Actually written by Thurgood in an attempt to prepare for school. His second attempt read, "E=McNuggets"
- The Faceless: The Corrupt Corporate Executive in "Miracle Cleaner On 134th Street".
- Also the recurring HUD-lady that is mean to Thurgood, but quite pleasant with Muriel.
- Fat Best Friend: Juicy.
- Getting Crap Past the Radar: Mrs. Avery having a stroke before she can reveal who receives the recently-vacant penthouse apartment. Her exclamation? "ShhhhhnnnnnnIT!"
- Golden Snitch: In the gumbo contest.
- Hollywood Voodoo: Haiti Lady. Whether or not her magic actually works varies by episode. It works fine for quick gags, but not when it could affect the plot.
- Limited Wardrobe
- Made of Iron: Mrs. Avery has a stroke at least Once an Episode, and is still kicking.
- Obstructive Bureaucrat: Thurgood can never get resources he wants/needs out of the lady behind the window at the HUD. She always ends sentences to him with "NEXT!" even if there’s nobody in line behind him. The HUD Lady, however, is much nicer to Muriel.
- Pretty Fly for a White Guy: Well, Jimmy's Asian. But he still fits the bill.
- Rewind, Replay, Repeat: In "Operation: Gumbo Drop", Thurgood discovers that Muriel taped over his "happy tape" to film a documentary about the projects. When he realizes that the footage contains Juicy making his own Gumbo (Thurgood's main conflict in the episode), he decides to take advantage of this and use the tape to study Juicy's cooking methods.
- Rouge Angles of Satin: In one episode, Thurgood reminds his friends that "there's no 'I' in 'friendship'".
- And in another he leaves a director a note that says he won't get his "flim" back.
- Rule of Three: Combined with Inherently Funny Words. Thurgood is working on a stand up act and the book he got on how to be funny says things in threes are funny, as well as words with a hard k (like knish, tukas, fakakta). He logically assumes then that the funniest thing ever is KKK.
- Sassy Black Woman: Every woman in the cast, most notably Muriel's sister and the lady at HUD.
- Scary Black Man: The street thugs who were frequent antagonists.
- Screw Politeness Im A Senior: Mrs. Avery.
- Shout-Out: Fry is shown as missing on a milk carton. This was a response to Futurama featuring the Title Card manhole cover.
- Small Name, Big Ego: Thurgood, from time to time.
- Sound Effect Bleep: With a truck backing up.
- When Elders Attack: Florence Normandy Avery has shown time and again why you shouldn’t mess with her. She even has a gun, which Thurgood finds out the hard way.
- Where the Hell Is Springfield?: It's never said what city they live in, all the police cars says Metro Police Department on them. The projects is modeled after Brewster-Douglas public housing projects in Detroit, and the city seems to be an Ambiguous mix of Detroit, Harlem, and Chicago. Mrs. Avery does mention Cook County in one episode, where Chicago is.