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Series / McGee and Me!

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Pictured: McGee. Not Pictured: Me.

McGee and Me! is a Christian direct-to-video and book series created by Ken C. Johnson and Bill Myers and produced by the American Christian advocacy group Focus on the Family, who also created Adventures in Odyssey.

The series follows the life of 11-year-old Nicholas Martin as he adjusts to life in a new neighborhood with help from his family and friends, learning life lessons along the way.

Oh, and his best friend is a six-inch-tall cartoon character of his creation: The eponymous McGee, who also frequently helps Nicholas with his problems (or at least tries to), often goes off on his own adventures (either within Nicholas's sketchpad or in the real world), or learns a lesson himself.

The series spanned a total of twelve episodes from 1989 to 1995. The first episode was aired on ABC in 1992 as a pilot for a potential broadcast run, but the network never picked it up. The series was also nominated for a handful of awards during its run, including one for "Outstanding Youth Mini-Video Series" by the Young Artist Awards for 1992-1993.


McGee and Me! provides examples of:

  • Acquired Situational Narcissism: Nicholas when he gets chosen to appear on a Double Dare (1986)-like show called "Trash TV" and is congratulated by everyone at school. Fame gets to his head, and soon he's treating his friends and family (including McGee) like crap. In the end, he gets a big helping of humble pie (along with many other flavors of pie) when his opponent wipes the floor with him on the show.
  • Adaptation Expansion: Some of the books included sub-plots involving other characters or more McGee scenes that couldn't fit within a thirty-minute TV episode.
  • Aloof Big Sister: Nicholas's older sister Sarah at times.
  • An Aesop: One is typically learned by Nicholas and/or another character by the end of the story.
  • Anime Hair: McGee
  • Annoying Younger Sibling: Nicholas sometimes acts like this towards his older sister, Sarah. Their younger sibling, Jamie, on the other hand, is a relatively well-behaved kid who looks up to them both; that said, when she's sick in "Beauty in the Least", she's quite annoying with her demands to pretty much everyone.
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  • Art Initiates Life: McGee comes to life after being drawn by Nicholas.
  • As the Good Book Says...: Every episode opens with Nicholas reading a passage from The Bible (which McGee acts out in Nick's imagination) that is supposed to relate to the episode in some way.
  • Baseball Episode: "Take Me Out of the Ball Game". Nick seems to take trust of the members of the rival baseball team, but must learn that the only word he needs to trust is that of God.
  • Big Storm Episode: "Twister & Shout". When Nick's parents go away for the weekend and he and his sister remain at home, a storm comes through bringing with it a tornado. The group must learn to have faith that God is watching out for them.
  • Bowdlerise:
    • Similar to when VeggieTales aired on NBC more than a decade later, some of the more explicitly Christian content was edited out during the series' pilot run on ABC.
    • Also similarly to VeggieTales, the series itself tones down some of the more violent or otherwise questionable aspects of the Biblical tales McGee acts out.
  • Brain with a Manual Control: The episode "Do the Bright Thing" has McGee showing off the inside of Nick's mind to the viewer, which contains a master control that shows Nick's thought processes as he makes decisions through a normal day of his life.
  • Broken Aesop: "The Not-So-Great Escape" aims to teach a straightforward Kids Shouldn't Watch Horror Films moral, but it fails to actually explain it beyond being correct solely because Nick's parents say so, and pretty much just ends up making them look unnecessarily harsh and emotionally cruel towards their son by punishing him for doing something that he didn't know was wrong because they completely refused his requests for it to be explained to him. At the end they do present the angle that Nick has perverted his thoughts by "seeing things he cannot unsee", but Nick was never really traumatized by the film (he just didn't like it and felt like sneaking out to see it wasn't worth it), and the idea falls apart when you consider that he can't control being exposed to violent or traumatic things in real life. Even if they had explained this to him at the beginning, the moral lesson is still completely bungled.
  • The Bully: Derrick Cryder. He eventually becomes nicer by the end of "Twas The Fight Before Christmas".
  • Can't Get Away with Nuthin': In "The Not-So-Great Escape", Nicholas gets grounded after complaining that his parents won't let him see a horror movie. Nicholas and Louis come up with a plan for him to sneak out of the house so they can see the movie, and Nicholas arranges for a recording of himself to play if anyone knocks on the door. But the family finds out that he's escaped and see a newspaper ad for the movie by the tape player, and Nicholas ends up not enjoying the movie. He comes home to a lecture from his parents about why they forbid him to see it in the first place, and give him a load of extra chores as punishment for defying them.
  • Cerebus Rollercoaster: Despite being a relatively mundane Slice of Life series, some episodes could get very serious, such as:
    • "The Big Lie" wherein Nicholas's exxageration about an his encounter with an old man who lives in a very old house, done to try and make himself look cool in front of his new peers, leads to bullies laying waste to said old man's house in a Played for Drama fashion.
    • "Twister And Shout" where Nicholas, his sisters, and Louis are at home while their parents are out of town, and a tornado begins heading in their direction.
    • "Twas The Fight Before Christmas": Nicholas learns that Derrick is frequently a victim of domestic abuse by his alcoholic father.
    • "In the Nick of Time" starts off comical but ends up having scenes with Renee and Phillip having heart-to-hearts with their dads and Nick having to overcome his fears about mountain-climbing to save his badly injured dad.
    • "The Blunder Years" starts with Nick's antics about trying to get accepted by the cool kids being funny, if considered ill-advised by McGee, but they escalate into him breaking off his friendship with McGee (after having damaged his relationship with most of his other friends), insulting his parents and standing by when the cool kids' leader decides to have a laugh by scribbling insults on Phillip's locker.
    • "Beauty in the Least" is initially about the antics of Nick's Funny Foreigner pen pal Eli and his father and how much trouble they cause for the Martin family but eventually features Nick feeling guilty about his telling Louis about his frustrations apparently having driven Eli and his father from the house entirely.
  • Christmas Episode: "'Twas the Fight Before Christmas" takes place on Christmas Eve and is about Nicholas making friends with a new boy, who turns out he comes from a troubled family.
  • Cloud Cuckoo Lander: McGee most definitely.
  • Complexity Addiction: Nick has a tendency towards this, especially with his gadgets. The one from the Title Sequence? All it does is run a pencil sharpener.
  • Do Not Do This Cool Thing: invoked The entire premise of "The Not-So-Great Escape", when Nick sneaks out to see a new horror movie all of his friends are going to see against his parents' wishes. However, Nick seemingly doesn't like the film like he thought he would, and his parents double down on their punishment for him when he gets home. Nick dutifully accepts this and vows not to let himself be exposed to such things again.
  • Et Tu, Brute?: Phillip's reaction in "The Blunder Years" when one of the cool kids Nick had been hanging with scribbles "geek" on Phillip's locker and Nick does nothing and says nothing.
  • Gadgeteer Genius: When not drawing, Nicholas tinkers with machines and has invented things such as whistle-activated lights and Rube Goldberg-esque devices, one of which is shown in the show's Title Sequence.
  • Good Is Not Nice: Mildly; post Heel–Face Turn Derrick clearly still intimidates the other characters, indicating that he hasn't gone totally soft; notably Nick's new Jerkass "cool" friends won't dare cross him.
  • Green-Eyed Monster: In "Back to the Drawing Board", Nicholas has a bout with jealousy when a new kid named Todd arrives at school, wows everyone with his drawings of a robot he calls Jawbreaker, and even makes fun of McGee when he is shown to him. Nicholas nearly gives up drawing altogether until he gets a pep-talk from his grandmother, and in the end, both Nick and Todd (as well as McGee and Jawbreaker) begin to be more civil to each other.
  • Heel Realization: Nick suffers this in "Beauty in the Least" when he realizes A) that his pen pal heard him complaining to Louis about how annoying having said pen pal around is and B) that the pencil cup Nick had previously discarded had been made out of the model ship the pen pal had built.
  • Instant Thunder: Averted in the "Twister and Shout" episode: Nick explains how counting the seconds works to McGee, but only counts one second before the thunder booms loudly, showing how close the storm is.
  • Journey to the Center of the Mind: A lot of "Do The Bright Thing" takes place within Nicholas's head.
  • Karma Houdini: Although Louis' parents did allow him to see the horror movie in "The Not-So-Great Escape", he doesn't get punished for helping Nicholas sneak out of the house while grounded and see the movie his parents had forbidden him to see, which they also managed to get in despite being too young by claiming the adult who just paid was Nicholas' dad (yet they still pay themselves), and Louis clearly enjoys the movie more than Nicholas does.
  • Kids Shouldn't Watch Horror Films: Nicholas wants to see a new horror movie, a sequel to a movie that his parents previously wouldn't let him see. He thinks he should see it since he is a little older now, but they still won't allow him to see the movie, and ground him when he argues about it. Louis helps Nicholas sneak out to see the movie, but while Louis enjoys it, Nicholas ends up not enjoying the movie, and his parents give him a talk about it after they find out.
  • Maybe Magic, Maybe Mundane: Not unlike Hobbes, we have McGee himself. Is he a real being or just a figment of Nicholas's imagination? Evidence for either possibility exists, as McGee often interacts with real life objects, can apparently be seen by animals such as a raccoon and the family dog, Whatever (who he threatens with a cartoon bomb at one point), and has his own adventures separate from Nicholas. On the other hand, McGee is never seen by any other humans other than Nicholas and disappears whenever another person walks in.
  • Mr. Imagination: Nicholas.
  • Off to See the Wizard: The "Twister and Shout" episode parodied this in the animated segments.
  • Parents as People: In "In the Nick of Time", Phillip's prankster father's antics are not only unamusing to his son but are sometimes deeply hurtful (such as when he convinces Nick and Phillip that there's a bear stalking them); it's so bad that when the man tells Phillip that when he accidentally confronted a bear in the woods, he thought about how much he'd miss his family, Phillip responds with "So you do love us?" Let me repeat that, the pranks had legitimately convinced Phillip that his father didn't love him.
    • The same episode features Renee reuniting with her divorced father (Renee lives with her mother) who spends the whole episode trying to give her advice about the roller coaster that's the teen years, much to her annoyance since she just wants to spend time with him (and it doesn't help that mountain climbing wouldn't have been her first choice for a vacation anyway). Finally she tells him to stop and he starts going on about how he's going to get so little time with her and there's so much he wants to teach her; she replies "Daddy, you don't have to spend so much time teaching me about all of the 'don't's because you spend so much time teaching me all the right 'do's."
  • Roger Rabbit Effect: McGee in the live-action neighborhood with Nicholas and other live action people. The tables were turned with Nicholas in animated worlds during Dream Sequences, such as the animated Hollywoodland dream in "A Star In The Breaking".
  • Rube Goldberg Device: Nick's pencil sharpener, as shown in the opening credits.
  • Shout-Out: Many of the episode titles are puns on existing books, movies, and whatnot, such as Skate Expectations, The Blunder Years, and Do The Bright Thing. The animated McGee sequences likewise pave the way for numerous Shout Outs, such as a Wizard Of Oz parody sequence in "Twister And Shout".
  • Suspiciously Similar Substitute: Jordan in the final three episodes (The New Adventures) is a replacement for Nick's friend Louis. In fact, the two characters were played by real-life brothers Sonny and Brent Kelly. Despite Louis' absence, Nick does briefly speak to him on the phone in the final episode. In a possible example of Lampshade Hanging, Nick ends their conversation with "sorry about the mix-up."
  • Time Skip: The final three episodes, made after a brief hiatus, had everyone (except McGee) about 2-3 years older than before.
  • What the Hell, Hero?: A surprisingly gentle one of a reformed Derrick in "The Blunder Years", telling Nick that he's too good and too smart to hang out with the "cool" kids.