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Western Animation / Jay Jay the Jet Plane

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Where imagination takes flight!note 
The sun is rising high up over Tarrytown
Friends taking off and friends touching down
That's where you'll find that one of a kind
Jay Jay
Jay Jay the Jet Plane
"That's me!"

Jay Jay the Jet Plane is an American CGI/live-action children's television series based at the fictional Tarrytown Airport. It has 73 episodes and it is aimed at ages 2-6. It is centered around a fleet of talking air vehicles that live in the fictional city of Tarrytown. The episodes are commonly distributed in pairs, with one header sequence and one end credits for each pair, and each pair is 25 minutes long. Each episode contains one or more songs; each song tends to occur in one episode. Produced by John Semper, the series is intended to be educational and teach life and sometimes moral lessons to children (and sometimes also to parents).

The series was originally done with model in 1994 through 1996, but switched to CGI and live action green screen in 1998. It kept going until 2005/2006 when the series suddenly stopped, even though there were plans for a movie. It remained silent until recently in 2021 when Trilogy Animation Group (The same people that animated The VeggieTales Show) announced that they're working on a new reboot.


Jay Jay the Jet Plane provides examples of:

  • Accidental Misnaming: Happens a lot throughout "I'm Swamped"; since Jay Jay isn't familiar with the word "Okefenokee" and often mispronounces it or uses near-sounding words.
  • All Just a Dream:
    • The events of "Jay Jay Meets the Cloud King" turned out to be a dream Jay Jay had when he apparently seemed to doze off a bit when cloud watching.
    • "A Trip to Skylandia" was all Jay Jay's dream from when he got knocked out from the wind spout.
  • Alphabetical Theme Naming: The young planes all have two-syllable names and end with the letter y. Half averted when Lina was introduced, whose name ends with a. Jay Jay's name is the only one that has two words, one for each syllable, and the only name that doesn't have an ē sound at the end.
  • An Aesop: Every episode has one.
  • And I Must Scream: In "Tracy's Sonic Boom", Tracy tries to lay low while practicing to do one of Savannah's sonic booms but goes out of control with the wind and crashes at Tarrytown National Park. To make matters worse, her radio breaks, resulting in her unable to signal Brenda or her friends for help, nor alert them where she is. Fortunately, Savannah was the only one who could find her.
  • Advertisement:
  • Are We There Yet?: The title and premise of an episode.
  • Art Evolution:
    • The animation is noticeably faster and brighter in the PBS Kids-produced episodes.
    • The "Jay Jay's Mysteries" miniseries is much more fluid than the original show, and Jay Jay is able to emote more than he originally did and move more agile.
  • Artistic License – Physics: The series is the king of this trope. Looks like the head writer was asleep in Physics class.
    • An episode had Snuffy going to school. Why?
    • Another episode had Revvin' Evan fly away on a hot air balloon. In real life, the balloon wouldn't be able to take off because of Revvin' Evan's weight.
    • Another had the characters building a snowman. And a couple others had Big Jake digging holes.
    • The series really should be called Just Plane Wrong: The Cartoon.
  • As the Good Book Says...: In the Christian dub, the narrator often phrases such as "and the Bible says" or "as what the Bible tells us".
  • Big Damn Heroes:
    • Oscar showing up with King in "Dog Gone Doggy", having taken him to the park because he was lonely.
    • Savannah in "Tracy's Sonic Boom", as she's the only one who finds her crashed and uses her sonic boom to rescue her.
  • Bowdlerise: Since the words "Gosh", "Gee" and "Heck" are euphemisms for the words "God" and "Hell" respectively, the Christian dubs often replace these words with "Hey", "Oh" or "Well", sometimes they are completely edited out.
    • For example, when Oscar says "Well, by golly gosh" in "Picture Day", it is changed to "Well, spin my prop" in the Christian dub.
  • Clip Show/Whole Episode Flashback: "Snuffy Seasons" has the kids reminiscing of their adventures as they teach Snuffy about the seasons.
  • Cheerful Child: The child planes, but mostly Jay Jay.
  • Christmas Episode: The 2-part episode "Jay Jay's Christmas Adventure".
  • Chroma Key: Used for the humans.
  • Creative Closing Credits: The original closing credits featured a background of Jay Jay flying through the air. When the show aired on PBS Kids, the credits now featured still frames of night scenes from certain episodes.
  • Dance Party Ending: Happens at the end of "Herky Jerky".
  • Disney Acid Sequence:
    • Tracy's song "Candy Crazy" in "Tracy's Candy Catastrophe".
    • Slightly varied in "Color Me a Rainbow" from "Snuffy's Rainbow" the sky changes colors depending which is named off. A rainbow also shines behind Jay Jay and Snuffy and follows their direction.
  • Distaff Counterpart: Tracy to Jay Jay, and Tuffy to Revvin' Evan.
  • Does This Remind You of Anything?: In "The Buddy System" after Jay Jay returns from a delivery freezing cold, he points out if he doesn't get inside, he'll "turn into an icicle". This is probably a kid-friendly meaning to the death from coldness disease, Hypothermia.
  • Dogfaces: One of the planes has a face that looks like that of a dogface.
  • "Do It Yourself" Theme Tune: While the theme song to the actual series is sung by Parachute Express, the theme song to the miniseries "Jay Jay's Mysteries" is sung by Jay Jay himself.
  • Driven to Suicide: Mary Kay Bergman, Jay Jay's original voice actress, killed herself in 1999. For years, she had suffered from depression and anxiety disorder because some of her voice-over sessions hadn't gone well.
  • Early-Installment Weirdness:
    • Believe it or not, there were actually 12 episodes of the series released direct-to-video between 1994-1996. Known as the "pilot episodes", these episodes differed greatly in that rather than using CGI, all characters were models a la Thomas & Friends. There were also no live human characters (they, too, were models), none of the planes had moving faces, and all dialogue and narration was done by a narrator, rather than having a narrator and individual voice actors for each character. Also, in the first four model episodes, Jay Jay was reddish-brown. He was painted blue later due to his rudder being damaged by a hail storm, and they were out of his normal colored paint.
    • The animation seemed a bit brighter and more Off-Model in the early episodes.
  • Earn Your Happy Ending: Is the case of various episodes.
  • Economy Cast: There are eight animated characters (nine after Tuffy joined, ten when Lina joins), but only three voice actors (four following Lina's introduction).
  • Edutainment Show: Designed to teach moral lessons to viewers.
  • Episode Title Card: Each episode begins with a title card with a freeze-frame shot of Jay Jay flying.
  • Every Episode Ending: Episodes end with the narrator (sometimes a character) announcing the lesson of the episode.
  • Evolving Credits:
    • In the first few episodes of the model series, the opening had Jay Jay reddish-brown. From "Old Oscar Leads the Parade" onward, he's painted blue.
    • At the end of the original intro, Jay Jay flies upward, spirals around, then flies into a cloud which reveals the show’s logo. When the show moved to PBS Kids, the end of the intro changed to Jay Jay flying upward through a cloud, then he slings downward and flies through a cloud towards the camera, revealing the logo, with the addition of a rainbow behind such. Interestingly, reruns of the Learning Channel episodes on PBS Kids used the second opening.
  • Expressive Wings: Jay Jay's wings go up whenever he gets excited, and down whenever he's saddened.
  • Fake Interactivity: Brenda talks to the audience about various topics during the "Think About" moments.
  • First Day of School Episode: The appropriately titled "Snuffy's 1st Day of School".
  • Free-Range Children: The child planes can fly on their own whenever they want, especially when it comes to deliveries.
  • Glasgow Grin: Parodied; in "I Love Your Funny Face", Jay Jay gets polished up and makes a funny face to win the Funny Face game against Tracy and Herky, but due to not listening to Brenda's advice, the polish dries and his face freezes that way for the rest of the episode.
  • "I Am" Song: Revvin' Evan has his own theme tune, "I'm Revvin', Revvin' Evan", sung whenever he appears.
  • I Can't Dance: Herky admits this in "Herky Jerky" and tries to learn how to.
  • Idiosyncratic Episode Naming: The episodes of the "Jay Jay's Mysteries" miniseries all use the title "The Mystery of (noun.)".
  • I Just Want to Be Special:
    • Snuffy in "Picture Day".
    • Jay Jay in the appropriately-titled "Something Special".
    • Tracy in "Plane of a Different Color".
  • "I Want" Song:
    • "In The Record Book" from "Super Sonic Jay Jay" is a variation, as Jay Jay points out he wants to be in the record book for the "Fastest Flight".
    • Snuffy's song "Bubble Gum Friend" in "Missing You" shows that he wants Big Jake with him after he leaves.
    • Heavily represented with Jay Jay's song "A Special Something" in the episode "Something Special", with Jay Jay hoping that he has something unique to him.
    • Tracy has the song "My Baby Tree" in "Tracy's Tree" as she vows to take care of baby tree "Ficus" and raise it as her own.
    • "I Wanna Be With You" from "Spending Time With Big Jake" expresses the relationship of Jay Jay and Big Jake as well as the feeling of how the former would rater spend quiet time with the latter.
  • The Kiddie Ride
  • Medium Blending:
    • The model series is a mixture of models with cartoon effects.
    • The 1998 version has the vehicles in CGI-animated, while the humans and most of the backgrounds are live-action.
  • Midas Touch: Tracy has a dream where everything she touches turns into candy.
  • Motion Capture: The vehicles' faces are animated using this; the voice actors had reflective spots on their faces while dialogue was recorded, then their face movement was transitioned to animation.
  • The Musical: Every episode features a song.
  • Musical Chores:
    • "Santa's Little Helpers" from part two of "Jay Jay's Christmas Adventure" has Jay Jay and Tracy singing as they help Santa.
    • In "Problem in Pangabula", Jay Jay, Snuffy and Tracy sing "Clean It Up" as they remove the trash from the river to save the Sparkleberry Tree.
  • Musical World Hypotheses: A mixture of the Alternate Universe and Diegetic types. Normally, when the moment is right, the gang breaks out into a song that fits the situation, or for fun. Other episodes have them rehearsing a song, or performing it for someone.
  • Narrator
  • Nightmare Sequence: One episode has Tracy dreaming about a candy-themed version of the setting, but her wheels stick to the ground since the airway pavement was made of candy, ending the sequence
  • Ooh, Me Accent's Slipping:
    • Herky sometimes loses his avoler trill during songs.
    • During the song "That's What Makes The World Go Round", Evan almost completely loses his tough, raspy voice.
    • Jay Jay and Herky sometimes seem to slip into each other's voices as a flub (which lampshades both are voiced by the same person).
    • Jay Jay almost slips into Revvin' Evan's voice while singing "I'm a Speedy Guy".
  • Only Six Faces: Jay Jay and Tracy have similar facemolds, as do Herky and Revvin' Evan.
  • Pep-Talk Song:
    • Big Jake's song "You Are Unique" from "Hide and Seek".
    • "Watch and Listen", by Jay Jay and Tracy, in "Big Jake's Team".
    • "You Can Count On Me" in "Dog Gone Doggy" has Jay Jay singing to Brenda's dog that he promised to watch him and hopes he'll listen to him.
    • "You Can Do It" from the mystery miniseries.
  • Pink Girl, Blue Boy: Jay Jay and Tracy; the former is blue while the latter is pink, which lampshades their genders. Also, Jay Jay's wheels are black, while Tracy's are white.
  • Pre Cap: The PBS Kids broadcasts of each episode begin with a brief 30-second teaser of what's going to happen on the show.
  • Religious Edutainment: Despite not a Christian series, the episodes were later re-dubbed with a special Christian theme on the Tommy Nelson VHS. The story is unchanged, but the dialogue was altered to make mentions to religious nature throughout.
  • Road Trip Plot: The premise of "Are We There Yet?" plays this straight.
  • Roger Rabbit Effect: The live-action human characters.
  • Same Language Dub: The regular version released by TLC and later PBS Kids, and a separate religious dub released by Tommy Nelson.
  • Sequel Episode:
    • "Tuffy's Trip to Pangabula" is immediately followed by "Tuffy's Adventure In Pangabula".
    • The 2-part episode "Jay Jay's Christmas Adventure", which has the kids prepare for the holiday in the first part and helping Santa in the second.
    • The Musical Episode "Concert Day at Tarrytown Airport" has its events continued in "Snuffy's Favorite Color", where Snuffy is still trying to guess what his favorite color is.
  • Series Continuity Error: Normally a flight to Pangabula Island takes just a few minutes, but in "Are We There, Yet?", it's much farther away and takes over a day to fly there.
  • "Setting Off" Song:
    • "Okefenokee" from "I'm Swamped".
    • "Going There With You" from "Tuffy's Trip to Pangabula".
  • Ship Tease:
    • Though not specifically stated, it's implied Jay Jay has a crush on Tracy in several ways. Once he floated so close to her he almost touched her wing, but Herky tells him to give her some room.
      • More hints of their relationship are shown through the songs "Together is a Better Way to Be" and "Santa's Little Helpers"; the former is about their friendship for each other, and they sway back and forth throughout, while the latter has them staring lovingly at each other. In addition, they're constantly smiling at each other throughout the course of both songs.
    • The episode "The Great Tarrytown Blackout" may imply Herky is crushing on Tracy as well.
  • Shout-Out:
    • Basically, the entire show seems to be an aerial counterpart to Thomas & Friends; the vehicles have human faces on their front, making them sentient, and they interact with humans. They also get into problems which are solved through learning moral lessons.
    • In "Super Sonic Jay Jay", Herky does a Catchphrase shout-out to Superman at one point.
    • The "Clean It Up" song in "Problem In Pangabula" is directly to the tune of Bob Marley's "Stir It Up" - the title is even a play on said song.
    • "Goin' To The Ocean" from "Snuffy Discovers The Ocean" is similar to "Under The Sea" from The Little Mermaid.
  • Sick Episode: The episode "Upsy Downosis" has Herky dealing with a cold that causes him to fly upside down.
  • Sixth Ranger: Tuffy, who joins the main cast in the third season.
  • Stock Footage: The flying scenes typically use the same sky with moving clouds, shown at different angles and speeds accordingly.
  • Strictly Formula:
    • Episodes generally follow a similar format.
      • The planes are going about their lives, then encounter something that has to do with the episode's topic. They work to solve a problem they encounter, and the episode ends with the lesson they learned. Every episode also contains a song which focuses on the episode's main subject, or has to do with a major point in the episode.
    • During television airings, the show follows this format:
      • The episode begins with a Cold Open, where the narrator introduces the two stories that will play (similar to a "Today on" format). After this, the theme song plays.
      • The first story is shown.
      • The first story is often followed by a mid segment, "Favorite Songs from Jay Jay the Jet Plane", where Brenda shows a music video of a song from a separate episode.
      • The second story is shown.
      • Sometimes after the second story, another "Favorite Songs" segment is featured.
      • The episode concludes with a series of educational "Think About" moments, where Brenda shares various topics with the viewer.
  • Sudden Name Change: The deaf librarian is named Miss Jones, but in her second appearance, her name is somehow changed to Miss Lee.
  • Take Our Word for It: Every time an airplane eats something, takes on fuel, is loaded or unpacked or Brenda goes in them or makes a repair, either their back is turned or the camera cuts to someone else or skips to the next scene. This is due to the use of facial tracking animation and the early days of CGI.
  • That Reminds Me of a Song:
    • In "Snuffy's Snowman", when Snuffy doesn't know how to make a snowman, Jay Jay tells him, "Watch closely, and you'll find out." Cue the building-a-snowman song.
    • In "Snuffy's First Day of School", Tracy tells Snuffy "listen" before she and Jay Jay sing about his new school.
    • Jay Jay also tells Snuffy to listen before singing about the seasons in "Snuffy's Seasons".
    • Jay Jay tells Snuffy to listen to him again in "Upside Down Waterfall" before singing about the laws of nature.
    • In "Snuffy Discovers the Ocean", shortly before singing his ocean song, Jay Jay tells Snuffy, "Wait'll ya hear this."
    • For "Snuffy's Rainbow", Jay Jay suggests singing a song about colors would get the rainbow Snuffy's chasing to come to him. It works.
  • Thanksgiving Episode: "Snuffy's Thanksgiving"
  • Three Shorts:
    • Two side-by-side segments, using "Think About It" moments at the end before the credits.
    • The "Favorite Songs" sketch shown on PBS Kids broadcasts is in the B of the ABA format.
  • Title Sequence Replacement: Repeats of episodes from the TLC era on PBS Kids have the updated theme song and end credits in place of the original.
  • Visual Pun: In "Jay Jay's Bad Dream", Jay Jay sings, "Sometimes I hide my feelings and just wing it" while letting his wings flap a bit.
  • Vocal Evolution: After the characters got a new design for PBS Kids, their voices changed as well, with Jay Jay's voice becoming slightly more strained with no rasp, and Tracy's voice slightly higher in one step.
  • What Happened to the Mouse?:
    • In "Tracy's Sonic Boom", Jay Jay, Snuffy and Herky are not seen again after they report they hadn't found Tracy.
    • In "Evan Gets His Wings", when Jay Jay sees Revvin' Evan, on a balloon, float away uncontrollably, he goes off to get help, but is not seen again for the rest of the episode.
    • A similar role is given to Jay Jay in "The Great Tarrytown Blackout", where his role is somewhat brief. He disappears after the opening scene, and is not even present in the blackout, with his role being given to Big Jake.
  • What the Hell, Hero?: Jay Jay gives one to Snuffy in "Snuffy and the Colors of Fall" after he realizes he dropped paint all over the hills.
  • Where the Hell Is Springfield?: It's unspecified where Tarrytown exists.
    • There is an actual "Tarrytown" in New York.
  • Whole Episode Flashback: "Snuffy's Seasons" has the kids reminiscing as they teach Stuffy about the seasons.
  • You Are Better Than You Think You Are: Basically Big Jake's message to Snuffy in "Hide and Seek".
  • Youthful Freckles: Jay Jay has these.