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Podcast / Jay & Miles X-Plain The X-Men

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Jay and Miles X-Plain the X-Men is a weekly podcast hosted by Jay Edidin (who you might also know as the guy behind Worst Muse) and Miles Stokes, covering the "ins, outs and retcons" of their favorite superhero Soap Opera, the X-Men.

Each episode sets out to explain the X-Men for listeners, usually covering a specific story arc in the team's extensive history, starting from their very first issue in 1963 onwards —- though they sometimes break from their usually scheduled programming with creator interviews, live episodes, and even some Tabletop RPG specials.

Some noted creators with experience writing X-Books who've appeared on the show include Ann Nocenti (Longshot), Greg Rucka (Cyclops), Si Spurrier (X-Men: Legacy), Greg Pak (X-Treme X-Men, Storm), Dennis Hopeless (X-Men: Season One, All-New X-Men), G. Willow Wilson (X-Men) and Chris Claremont.

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Jay and Miles have explained (and provided examples of) the following tropes:

  • Aerith and Bob: Miles is so disappointed that Bolivar Trask named his son Larry.
  • Alternate Character Interpretation: Par the course for two reviewers covering the histories of characters that have built up over fifty years of history, but there are a number of character perceptions they hold strong to throughout the series:
    • They agree with Kitty Pryde that Professor Xavier is a jerk!
  • Amicable Exes: After Jay and Miles' relationship ended in late 2016. Their breakup didn't influence the podcast one bit.
  • Ascended Fanon: Miles and Jay are both prone to adopting personal interpretations as canonical, although they are also very clear about the difference between that and actual canon.
  • Big "WHAT?!": Miles closes out every Cold Open (in which Jay describes a particularly convoluted X-Men story element) with one of these.
  • Born as an Adult: Stan Lee's inability to properly write dialog for teenagers spurs Jay and Miles to speculate on this.
  • Brief Accent Imitation: The second Giant-Size Special features Miles and guest host Tina pulling commendable impressions of Rogue and Wolverine respectively, right down to their signature Verbal Tics.
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  • Butt-Monkey: Jay and Miles often remark on how members of the Summers family tend to lead crappy lives.
  • Call-Back: In Episode 001 they mention how Jean is initially a Flat Character for being characterized soley as "the girl". Miles makes the same comment about her counterpart the Scarlet Witch being "the girl" of the Brotherhood of Evil Mutants. It isn't lost on them how both characters undergo massive development under later writers.
  • Canon Immigrant: As of the Secret Wars (2015) tie-in X-Men '92, versions of Jay and Miles exist in Battleworld, if not the Marvel Universe proper.
  • Cool Hat: X-Men villain’s (i.e. Magneto, Juggernaut, the Sentinels) tendency to have ridiculous Jack Kirby designed hats is mentioned at several points.
    Jay: “Yeah, all of the supervillains have the same haberdasher and he is [whispers] amazing.”
  • Crossover: Many storylines covered on the show feature these, crossing over with titles such as The Mighty Thor and Power Pack, among others.
    • A meta example: this show is one of the podcasts involved with the Secret Convergence On Infinite Podcasts crossover show.
  • Early Installment Weirdness:
    • It's pointed out in Episode 001 that Cyclops is initially called Slim Summers, with Stan Lee originally planning for this to be his canon name. He wouldn't receive the name Scott until issue #3.
    • Beast is also initially presented as pretty similar to the other guys in the first class, except his hands and feet are big. Interestingly, it's not until issue #3 that his Genius Bruiser characterization begins to sink in.
  • Flat Character: Part of the criticism of the Silver Age characterization is that unlike characters like Spider-Man the first class are basically all "Hey, they're teenagers and they have powers!" with no further development early on. Iceman fares a little better, but only because he's shown to be younger and more immature, basically making him a reverse-powered version of Johnny Storm. Jean fares the worst, much like the Invisible Girl and the Wasp in other Stan and Jack ensembles simply because her characterization is "the girl".
  • Flat "What": When rarely Jay is closing the cold open their "What?" tend to this type.
  • Happily Married: Jay and Miles were a married couple, which they've had to explicitly state to confused listeners on at least one occasion.
  • He-Man Woman Hater: Mastermind seems to be this from his very first appearance.
  • Homage: The podcast's official cover art —drawn by Ming Doyle— is an homage to the cover of X-Men #137.
  • Iconic Item: Jay is always seen wearing sunglasses in the Jay & Miles Review the X-Men video series.
  • Iconic Outfit: For the entire Silver Age team, the one and only Plaid Suit, which Jack Kirby seemed to pass around from character to character throughout his run.
  • Insistent Terminology: D'Ken is always referred to as "The Mad Emperor D'Ken" because he's so crazy that the qualifier is necessary.
  • Large Ham Announcer: Supporters of the show's Patreon account receive personalized spiels in the style of Apocalypse, an angry comic book narrator, et. al.
  • Narm Charm: It's pointed out in Episode 001 that Magneto's overall look is horrible, but it's such a mainstay and Magnus makes it work for himself so well that you can't help but respect him for sticking with it.
  • Nightmare Retardant: It's pointed out that Bolivar Trask's illustration of a mutant-ruled future loses some impact as the "horrifying creature" depicted looks like Kiff from Futurama.
  • "Not Making This Up" Disclaimer: The cold open of episode 96 presents the secret origins of the High Evolutionary as a game of madlibs and Jay feels the need to clarify in the episode proper that, yes, everything they said about him is canon.
  • Once an Episode: The Cold Open and listener questions, bookending the main discussion of each episode.
  • Purple Prose: Chris Claremont, one of the biggest Trope Codifiers of this, is often celebrated. Their opinion on Alan Moore's Captain Britain is that it passed purple right into ultra violet prose. And early 90s X-Factor made them wonder if Claremont and Louise Simonson had some sort of "purple off" going on those days.
  • Running Gag
    • Each episode's cold open involves the hosts talking about some point in the X-Men history in as confusing and convoluted a way as possible, to highlight why someone needs to X-Plain the X-Men
    • Starting from Episode 001, every writer's inability to understand how magnetism works is thoroughly mocked. It's mentioned in this episode alone that Magneto uses his control over magnetism to create force fields, hypnotize people and even astral project at different points. This same complaint comes up nearly every time Magneto uses his powers.
    • After his first several appearances identify Peter Corbeau as not only an Omnidisciplinary Scientist, but capable of swimming across an ocean by himself note , he is forever after referred to as Super Doctor Astronaut Peter Corbeau, and every year they give out awards named after him (the "Super Doctor Astronaut Peter Corbeau Awards for Excellence in X-Cellence").
    • Speaking of the award. Some of the categories are what you might expect (best X-Writer, best X-Artist, best ongoing X-Book, best X-Mini, and so forth), some are less so (like "Buried Treasure" for stories nobody remembers but are kinda fun), and some which are downright surreal ("Best Withering Sneers" later renamed as "Kristafer Anka Award for Best Withering Sneer in an X-Book" so someone else has a chance to win, or the "MetaCorbeau for Exemplary Use of Super Doctor Astronaut Peter Corbeau in a Comic Book").
    • Any mention of either Firestar or Emma Frost will eventually bring up the time Frost blew up Firestar's pony. (As they admit, she actually burned the building down with the horse still inside, but it's funnier to say that she blew it up.)
    • Miles takes every opportunity he can to talk about Black Tom Cassidy because he wields a shillelagh, a word Miles loves saying.
  • Shout-Out: Lest you think they're only interest is X-Men, Jay and Miles make sure to drop several pop culture references to better contextualize stories for listeners.
  • Something Completely Different: Various special episodes. Form an informal talk with assorted guests to a tabletop RPG session.
  • Stylistic Suck: Their physical awards have the distinct quality of "kindergarten craft hour". Like the one for guessing the Noodle Incident (the All-New, All-Different Marvel one about Cyclops) was a noodle necklace.
  • Take a Third Option: In their video reviews of the current X-Men titles ("Jay and Miles Review the X-Men") they'll occasionally, when the books were especially weak, give "Pick of the week..." to things not even remotely X-Men related. From the Siege tie-in of Secret Wars (2015) to the pizza they had for dinner.
  • Take That!:
  • This Is Your Premise on Drugs: Jay's personal interpretation of the High Evolutionary is that the High is intended to be descriptive.
  • What If?: Though not covered in full due to not being an X-Men title, the classic Marvel series is referenced several times with individual issues covered every once in awhile.
  • Xtreme Kool Letterz: The title of the podcast emulates the title of X-Treme X-Men, which utilizes this trope.

Alternative Title(s): Rachel And Miles X Plain The X Men

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