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Recap / Superman The Animated Series S 3 E 8 Supermans Pal

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Jimmy Olsen is having a bad week. Lois is sidelining him in favor of a new intern. Tina, the girl he likes, won't give him the time of day. He's having an all-around crisis of confidence. Then Jimmy gets a thank-you from the Man of Steel himself for his help in rescuing civilians on a breaking bridge, and everything changes. When Angela Chen can't get an interview from Superman on his latest rescue, she resorts to creating a story about Jimmy Olsen's relationship to the Man of Steel. Unfortunately, she blows the whole thing out of proportion. Although initially embarrassed, Jimmy comes to enjoy the perks of his new celebrity, until the downsides start rolling in — criminals threaten him and people hound him for favors he can't give. Then the worst happens — Jimmy finds himself kidnapped by Metallo as bait for Superman. Can a photographer save a superhero?


This episode contains examples of:

  • All Girls Want Bad Boys: You don't get much more this way than dating a supervillain.
  • Animesque: The animation and art style look noticeably more animesque than the other episodes due to the fact that it was provided with animation services from different studios.
  • Avenging the Villain: A thug whose friend was arrested by Superman goes after Jimmy in retaliation.
  • Big Brother Mentor: Superman/Clark Kent to Jimmy.
  • Bitch in Sheep's Clothing: Tina. At the office, she looks like a pretty, ditzy teenage girl. She's actually a hard-hitting manipulator who even Metallo calls cold.
  • Call-Back: Angela Chen mentions the events of "Feeding Time", "Solar Power", and "Little Girl Lost" during her televised 'interview' - but she doesn't get all of it correct.
  • Car Fu: Superman to Metallo. The android is unimpressed.
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  • Celebrity Is Overrated: Jimmy begins to get over his humiliation at the wildly exaggerated interview when it turns out that being known as "Superman's Pal" gets him a lot of benefits. Unfortunately, he ultimately finds out that it's not all it's cracked up to be, because with it comes people asking him to use his relationship with Superman to help them out in various ways and people on the criminal circuit harassing him because of his connection to Superman. It doesn't help that (as far as he knows) what he's famous for is a total lie.
  • Celebrity Lie: A played-with variation; Jimmy's reputation as "Superman's Pal" isn't due to him, but to Angela Chen; he's originally embarrassed and only starts going along with it later when he realizes the perks of the reputation. Then, at the end, Superman reveals he does see Jimmy as a close friend (although perhaps not quite as much as Angela implied).
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  • Continuity Nod: Superman is also presumably referencing the events of "Feeding Time" when he credits Jimmy with "sav[ing his] life again."
  • A Day in the Limelight: The episode focuses heavily on Jimmy Olsen.
  • Deadly Dodging: Jimmy moves a chair so that Metallo's assistant kicks it instead of hitting him again.
  • Did Not Get the Girl: But given that she's a frigid supervillain fan girl, Jimmy didn't appear too disappointed.
  • Didn't See That Coming: Metallo's plan was thwarted because he didn't consider if the hostage might try to help his intended victim.
  • Distressed Dude -> Defiant Captive: After failing to escape, Jimmy doesn't do much until Superman shows up to rescue him and Metallo tries to kill him. Then he breaks out of the car compactor and grabs Metallo with the car magnet.
  • Down in the Dumps: Superman and Jimmy Olsen fight Metallo in a junkyard.
  • Dude, Where's My Respect?: Lois, upon Angela reporting on Jimmy Olsen, "Superman's Pal".
    Lois: First, Superman saved us from Luminus and not the other way around. And second, what am I, chopped liver?!
    Clark: Aww, I'm sure Superman likes you too Lois.
  • Endangering News Broadcast: Angela Chen makes the friendship between Superman and Jimmy Olsen public, thereby causing (seemingly) random thugs and one of Metallo's agents to target Jimmy.
    Jimmy: You gotta take back that story. I was almost killed last night!
  • Friendship Moment: between Superman and Jimmy at the end of the episode. The hero reassures his young colleague that he's done well and gives him the famous signal watch in case he's ever in trouble.
  • Getting Crap Past the Radar: Lois is talking to Perry near an open window. During that time, Superman flies outside. Obviously, the flying causes air to blow and Lois talks about how she has to stop wearing skirts. So Perry likely got a view of Lois' intimates.
  • Groupie Brigade: "Superman's Pal" has to outrun a mob of lovestruck teenage girls.
  • Hand Behind Head: Jimmy does the "uncomfortable" variant when Angela Chen pumps him for information about his relationship with Superman.
  • Heroic Bystander: in the beginning of the episode, Jimmy drags an unconscious man out of a crashed helicopter. At the end, he saves the Man of Steel himself.
  • Hopeless Suitor: Tina doesn't want Jimmy's attention, until the news story airs.
  • I Just Want to Be Special: Jimmy, if his conversation with Clark is any indication. He calls himself "just a nobody".
  • Improvised Weapon: The Man of Steel uses cars; Jimmy uses a battery leaking acid.
  • Love-Interest Traitor: Tina. Jimmy discovers that she is working with Metallo and only wants him as bait for Superman. The last we see of her is him locking her in a closet before going off to help the superhero.
  • Lured into a Trap: Superman, who arrives to rescue Jimmy and Tina, only to find Metallo waiting for him.
  • Manipulative Editing: When Angela interviews Jimmy, his side of the conversation goes like this: "I don't think I'd be real comfortable with [giving an interview]...It's not like I'd call us pals or anything." When it airs, however, it's been edited to "Real comfortable, I'd call us pals."
  • Montage: Everyone asking Jimmy for favors from Superman.
  • Mythology Gag:
    • At the end of the episode, Superman gives Jimmy a signal watch which he can use to contact him if he's ever in trouble and needs help. Jimmy's signal watch was a major part of the comics. His joke "Just don't wear it out" could also count because of Jimmy sometimes calling Superman for trivial things.
    • The title itself references the Silver Age comic book Superman's Pal, Jimmy Olsen.
  • Never Say "Die":
    • Played straight when the lead thug tells Jimmy he's going to "put [him] in the morgue."
    • Averted later with one of Jimmy's lines: "How could you help him? He's killing Superman!"
  • Now, Let Me Carry You: Zig-Zagged. Superman and Jimmy protect each other during the fight, but ultimately Jimmy takes out Metallo to save Superman, reversing the usual situation.
  • Obfuscating Stupidity: Tina.
  • Recycled Soundtrack: This was one of the complaints about the episode.
  • Rescue Reversal: Superman flies into Metallo's trap trying to rescue Jimmy and Jimmy winds up having to save him.
  • The Reveal: Tina is Metallo's girlfriend and she only pretended to like Jimmy so that she could trap him as bait for the Man of Steel. Originally, Metallo sent her to get Lois but that didn't work out.
  • Revenge by Proxy: The leader of a group of thugs gloats that he's going to kill Superman's pal in revenge for Superman sending his to prison. Turns out, he was part of a test on Tina's part to make sure that Jimmy would make an effective hostage.
  • Shooting Superman: When Superman turns up to save Jimmy from getting mauled by a gang of thugs, one of them tries to hit him with a metal bar. Superman lampshades this:
    "You're kidding, right?"
  • Sitting on the Roof: Jimmy stands on the Planet's roof kicking himself over his part in the episode's conflict until Superman shows up to give a You Are Better Than You Think You Are speech.
  • Smug Snake: Metallo believes a superhero who is vulnerable to his power source and a teenager cannot possibly defeat him.
  • Waif-Fu: In spite of her slenderer build, Tina lands some pretty good hits on Jimmy before he turns the tables.
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: We never find out what happened to Tina after Jimmy locked her in the closet. But it's very likely she got arrested.
  • You Are Better Than You Think You Are: First Clark tells Jimmy that "you're selling yourself short", then Superman drops by to break him out of his slump.
    Superman: Still kicking yourself?
    Jimmy: Why shouldn't I? I messed things up big time.
    Superman: You lived up to your press, Jimmy. You saved my life again.


Example of: