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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?

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This episode contains examples of:

  • Accidental Truth: Angela Chen comes up with the story about Jimmy being Superman's friend purely because she couldn't convince Superman to give her a statement about the rescue but saw him thank Jimmy by name. To Jimmy's surprise, she turns out to have hit on the truth.
  • All Girls Want Bad Boys: Jimmy's crush Tina turns out to be involved with Metallo.
  • 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 aftery Jimmy in retaliation.
  • Big Brother Mentor: Superman/Clark Kent to Jimmy.
  • Bitch in Sheep's Clothing:
    • Tina. At the office, she looks like an attractive ditzy teenage girl. She's actually a hard-hitting manipulator who even Metallo calls cold.
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    • Also, Angela Chen. Up until this point in the series, she was simply the other journalist in town, the one who's not quite as competent as Lois or Clark. However, in this episode she suckers Jimmy into an interview he didn't want and uses Manipulative Editing to change his words into the exact opposite of what he meant. Aside from being a very unethical thing for a reporter to do, it also nearly gets Jimmy killed. Twice. Worse, when he tries to tell her that she has put his life in danger, she laughs him off.
  • 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.
  • 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.
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  • 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).
  • 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: Jimmy has a crush on Tina, who doesn't want his 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!"
  • No Sympathy: Jimmy begs Angela to take back the story, telling her it's already almost gotten him killed. She only scoffs at his lack of gratitude for the publicity and rolls her car window back up.
  • 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, who acts like a ditzy intern while playing double agent for Metallo the entire episode.
  • Off-Model:
    • There are a few moments where Jimmy Olsen's eyebrows change from black to orange.
    • When Jimmy listens to the man telling him about a time when Superman saved him from a sinking boat, his irises go invisible, revealing the background of buildings behind him as he walks.
  • Oh, Crap!: Metallo has a short moment of dismay when he realizes that Jimmy Olsen has just removed his Kryptonite power source with battery acid. He has time for a brief shriek before he collapses.
  • Quote Mine: Angela Chen does this to Jimmy Olsen. The poor kid suspects nothing, but the next morning the manipulated 'interview' finds its way onto TV.
  • Recycled Soundtrack: The musical score used during Jimmy's montage is reused from "Joker's Millions", when the Joker had a similar montage.
  • 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.
  • Rewatch Bonus:
    • A lot of Tina's part in the episode takes on a different meaning after the reveal.
      • Originally the viewer attributes Tina suddenly developing an interest in Jimmy after the news story airs to simple social climbing. It turns out she just considered him easier to lure to her boyfriend's place than Lois.
      • When a group of thugs attack during their date, Tina starts screaming for Superman. On the first watch, it comes across as a reasonable reaction given what Jimmy told her, but later it turns out she implemented the whole thing as a test to make sure Superman would come when she and Metallo used Jimmy as a hostage.
    • Downplayed; Superman's comment to Jimmy when he tells him to get the story revoked also takes on a slightly different meaning after the end. Originally, the viewer (along with Jimmy) might interpret his calling the situation a mess and warning the young reporter he can't be around every time as an expression of the burden Angela's story put on the hero. After Superman reveals he does care about Jimmy in that way, it comes off more personally.
  • Shooting Superman: When Superman turns up to save Jimmy from getting mauled by a gang of thugs, one of them tries to hit the hero 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, leading to yet another humiliating loss for the android.
  • 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 (though it's very likely she got arrested).
  • You Are Better Than You Think You Are: When Jimmy originally tells Clark he (Jimmy) is a nobody, Clark tells him that "you're selling yourself short", but the crashing helicopter distracts both their attentions from the pep talk. At the end, Superman drops by to break his teenage coworker 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.

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