- My Life as a Teenage Robot
My Life as a Teenage Robot
Genre Created by Rob Renzetti Voices of Janice Kawaye
Theme music composer Peter Lurye Composer(s) James L. Venable
Country of origin United States
No. of seasons 3 No. of episodes 40 (List of episodes) Production Running time 24 minutes Production company(s) Frederator Studios
Soup 2 nuts
Nickelodeon Animation Studios
Distributor MTV Networks (USA)
Nelvana Limited (non-USA)
Broadcast Original channel Nickelodeon Original run August 1, 2003– March 30, 2007
My Life as a Teenage Robot is an American animated television series, created by Rob Renzetti for Nickelodeon. The series follows the adventures of XJ-9, better known as Jenny Wakeman, a female robot designed to protect Earth, who is excessively addicted to teen-related activities, which are almost always interrupted by Nora Wakeman, her creator.
Of the three ideas Renzetti chose, he conceived the series unusually, and hired a small team to make "My Neighbor was a Teenage Robot", the short that the series originally came from the second season of Frederator's cartoon shorts incubator, Oh Yeah! Cartoons in 1999. The series, a Frederator Studios production executively produced by Renzetti and Fred Seibert, sparked deadline delays. Portions of the production and development on the series led to changing the designs of the characters from the short, including Tuck's baseball cap being removed. Eventually, several incarnations of the look of its design were made.
A background artist, a background designer, Alex Kirwan, and a few other people worked for the series. Apparently inspired by Otto Soglow's classic comic strip The Little King, the series shares the strip's trademark thin-line circular drawing style, exaggerated body forms, and abstract art-deco backgrounds.
Nickelodeon debuted the series by airing the first episode of My Life as a Teenage Robot on August 1, 2003 at 8:30 PM. Despite being released to critical success, the series was a ratings disappointment. After the series was cancelled, later episodes of the series were airing as "never before seen episodes" on Nicktoons Network since October 4, 2008. The series is distributed outside the United States by the Canadian animation studio, Nelvana Limited, and ended on May 2, 2009.
The first season is available on iTunes.
Robert Renzetti, an animator that was born in Chicago in 1968, struggled to fit in at art school for over a decade before conceiving My Life as a Teenage Robot. He met with Genndy Tartakovsky during that period. They worked with 5 episodes for Batman: The Animated Series after graduating. Following their floundering stay at Spain, they moved back to the United States for various Hanna–Barbera projects, such as 2 Stupid Dogs, Dexter's Laboratory, The Powerpuff Girls, and Samurai Jack the (latter which was one of the inspirations for Teenage Robot). In that case, Hanna-Barbera had left him out of contract, while developing the Mina and the Count shorts aired on Oh Yeah! Cartoons and What a Cartoon!, with a small team, which never developed into a television series, due to failure.
After Nickelodeon rejected the idea of a television series of the same name, Fred Seibert tasked Renzetti to write three different ideas. Renzetti approached children's story author team "Logreco and Cole" for help. He said to him if he did a similar show that lamented on the same concept, he may not be writing a screenplay about "a relationship between a teenage girl and a robot".
The one he chose had forced him to merge the two characters into what became the template of the protagonist while he was driving to a supermarket building using a car, searching for a number of white paper pieces to do so (this popped into his brain for a few minutes). This stiny received general acclaim from Frederator Studios, and was immediately conceived, working on "My Neighbor was a Teenage Robot", a short aired on Oh Yeah! (in December 1999). It took four weeks to create it with a small team, who were making another series of Mina and the Count shorts with him. A background artist, a background designer, Alex Kirwan, and a few other people worked for the series.
The protagonist, Jennifer "Jenny" Wakeman (XJ-9), was made as the Starfire-esque female superhero, who dislikes the job and wanted to be like a normal teenage girl (Some fans compare XJ-9 to the teenage output of Wonder Woman). Portions of the production and development on the series led to delays of its deadline, flanked by character designing conflicts from the short, including Tuck's baseball cap being removed. Eventually, several incarnations of the look of its design were made. One of the characters, XJ-9 was criticized by Renzetti for being "too hard" to draw, as he ended up sketching the final design of her; He preferred the original design over the final. Both Astro Boy, which Kirwan is a fan of, and the 1930s cartoons were influences, along with the inspiration by Otto Soglow's classic comic strip The Little King. The final visual design of the series was pitched to share the strip's trademark thin-line circular drawing style, exaggerated body forms, and abstract art deco backgrounds. Calls were made to all the actors from the pilot to be "recast for the series, except for the voice of Brad". Chad Doreck filled in the slot for the character.
Working on the third season took much longer and harder than the second, According to Rob Renzetti himself, during his interview on the Boing! podcast, process slowed down during 2008 when the "money was flowing", an artist got the job of the storyboard artist, 13 episodes were slated instead of 39, and "everything crashed" during that year, This was a result of the series not being picked up for a fourth season, so that production would be completely halted and wrapped. In May 2011 Nickelodeon announced that My Life as a Teenage robot have been in a consideration for a finish season 4, 5 and 6. The show is still in consideration. Due to the previous hard work they will announce if the show will be revamped.
The cartoon is often known for its title sequence. The introduction of almost of all the series' episodes was created during post-production.
While Jenny looks at a magazine in her room, she "gets a call to go blading at the skatepark down by the mall". She goes there but is interrupted by her mother, Nora Wakeman, who tells her about an alien invasion. She karate-kicks, lifts and racquet-strikes one of the invaders. She comes down to ground and poses victoriously. A bolt hits a nearby water tower, she is rusted by the water sprinkling from it, and is struck by second bolt. After she is struck, she turns her eyes to another invader and she flies up to drill and destroy it. She finally lands at the skatepark with the robot nearly crashing into her. The song appearing in the sequence, "My Life as a Teenage Robot", which was rumored to be written by various musicians, such as parody musician "Weird Al" Yankovic, was sung by Jennifer Karr.
XJ-9 ("Jenny" as she calls herself) is a highly sophisticated battle robot created by Dr. Nora Wakeman, but Jenny only wants to live the life of a normal teenage girl. Both live in the fictional futuristic town of Tremorton (a parody of Trenton, New Jersey), and live next door to her best friends Brad and Tuck Carbunkle. At school, she has an ongoing rivalry with the Crust Cousins, Brit and Tiff, the popular girls in school, and puts up with Sheldon, a somewhat stereotypical nerd who is completely obsessed with her (and robots in general). Adding to her trouble is that she is constantly being dogged by the all-robotic Cluster Empire, whose queen, Vexus, wants her to join their world of robots (by force if necessary). Despite it all, however, Jenny still struggles to maintain some semblance of a mostly-human life.
The series' themes focus on making lighthearted fun of typical teenage problems and other conventions of the teenage and superhero lives, mixed up with a combination of action, adventure, and comedy sequences. In total, 40 episodes are airing on the US television network Nicktoons, then known as Nicktoons Network at the time it aired the third season.
Overall, My Life as a Teenage Robot has over 30 characters, with the most featured being Jennifer "Jenny" Wakeman (XJ-9), Some of the cast are not heavily featured, some of them are. Jenny is the main protagonist and the "16-year-old robot" to which the title refers, a state-of-the-art gynoid automaton created by Dr. Noreen Wakeman five years prior to the series. When she was designed as a 16-year-old girl, and Earth's protector, armed to the teeth with a wide range of weapons, devices, and transformations, she desires to live the life of a normal teenager and often makes this desire quite apparent to her friends and creator. She was preceded in development by eight other models. In season one (1) the show entitled "Sibling Tsunami" introduced XJs 1-8.
Bradley Carbunkle is usually seen as outgoing and adventurous, and is the first actual friend Jenny ever made. He likes to think of himself as a "ladies' man", but he mostly fails to find a girlfriend, as seen when the local girls reject all his pick-up lines and it is rare for a girl to interest his request to be his girlfriend, but in more episodes, he begins to like Melody. Melody is introduced during season two (2) as the creation of Dr. Locus in "bradventure". Brad is ignorant of Melody's robotic state until "No Harmony with Melody" during season three (3). It is during "No Harmony with Melody" that Brad's feelings for Melody are made clear and Jenny Wakeman (XJ9) is quite jealous through out the episode. Tucker Cornelius Carbunkle is usually tagging along with both, but his aptitude for adventure is significantly less than Brad's. This can be chalked up to his many childish fears, among them the dark and giant wheels. Amid this, Tuck has since warmed up to Jenny as a friend. Though not as heavily featured as the rest of the main cast, Sheldon Oswald Lee arguably qualifies as a core member of the group. Sheldon is Jenny's self-proclaimed romantic admirer. However, no matter what he tries, Jenny still refuses his romantic advances, though she does care for him as a friend. There are rumors of Jenny and Sheldon as a couple have been discussed by Renzetti and his team. Jenny also has allies, such as Misty and Vega. Misty appears during season two (2) in "Teen Team Time" as part of a teenage super hero group that are just really teen aged mercenaries. Misty returns in "Teenage Mutant Ninja Trouble" toward the end of season two (2). Misty makes a third appearance during season three (3) in "Mist Opportunities". Vega is introduced as the daughter of Vexas at the start of season three (3) in "Escape from Cluster Prime". Dr. Noreen "Nora" Wakeman is an elderly spinster robotics scientist and the one who built Jenny, who often simply refers to her as "Mother" or "Mom". Though Nora does indeed like her "daughter", she would often stick into her personal life and is known to call on her at the most awkward moments. In one episode it is revealed that Dr. Wakeman has a sister "Wisteria" whom she argues with every time they meet. Aunt Wisteria believes in "fun, peace, and love" and has a strange ability to either accelerate plant life or control it. Wisteria is introduced during season three (3) in "Never say Uncle" with her son Glen.
Many antagonists in the series appear in one or more episodes. The most popular of them, Vexus, Smytus and Krackus, appeared the most, particularly "Designing Women", "Around the World in 80 Pieces", "Hostile Makeover", "Sister Sledgehammer", "Queen Bee" and "Trash Talk". Vexus is obsessed with the conquest of Earth, under the claim of "liberating robotkind" from the humans. About the only thing that matches her dreams of conquest is her controversial obsession with Jenny, whom she has continuously tried to induct into the Cluster with no lasting success. Smytus is an arrogant Cluster commander with an overinflated ego. In comparison to the manipulative Vexus, Smytus prefers action, and is always quick to jump into battle. Krackus is a Cluster inventor, who eventually is not good at inventing. Despite being skilled at putting a variety of devices together, he usually misses the necessary details needed for them to work (and keeping it together), which usually results in humiliating defeats for the Cluster.
Title Episodes "Pajama Party Prankapalooza" "Love 'Em or Leash 'Em", "Daydream Believer", "Pajama Party Prankapalooza", "A Pain in my Sidekick", "The Return of Raggedy Android", "Last Action Zero", "Sister Sledgehammer", "Around the World in Eighty Pieces", "Silbing Tsunami", "Call Hating" "Good Old Sheldon" "Good Old Sheldon", "Party Machine", "Teenage Mutant Ninja Troubles", "I Was a Preschool Dropout", "Designing Women", "Toying With Jenny", "Ball and Chain", and "Labor Day" "Turncoats" "Turncoats", "There's No Place Like Home School", "The Price of Love", "No Harmony with Melody", "Future Shock", "Dancing with my Shell", "Tuckered Out", and "Ear No Evil" "Pest Control" "Dressed to Kill", "Tradeshow Showdown", "The Boy Who Cried Robot", "Pest Control", "Hostile Makeover", "Raggedy Android", "Class Action", "See No Evil", "This Time With Feeling", and "Grid Iron Glory"
Broadcasting and other Appearances
Nickelodeon debuted the series by airing the first episode of My Life as a Teenage Robot on August 1, 2003 at 8:30 PM. My Life as a Teenage Robot was aired in repeats on The N on September 7, 2005. The show was a part of Nickelodeon's Saturday night programming block called SNICK on August 2, 2003 and briefly was a part of the TEENick lineup on January 2003 to April 2004. The first season ended on February 27, 2004 with "The Wonderful World of Wizzley / Call Haiting".
The second season, which was originally set to air on October 1, 2004, was pushed back to October 8, 2004 with the Christmas episode "A Robot for All Seasons". A new second season episode was not aired until January 24, 2005. After the airing of the infamous 48-minute Escape from Cluster Prime 2-part episode (which was emmy nominated in 2006), the show was canceled as Carlos Ramos left the project to focus on The X's.
The third season first aired in Asia starting on October 6, 2006, with "Weapons of Mass Distraction/There's No Place Like Home School". For those in North America watching on Nicktoons, the third season started on October 4, 2008 with the last episode of the third season airing on May 2, 2009. This marked the end of the series' 7-year run. The series has been rerun worldwide on various channels, such as Nicktoons, but there are rumors of a second full length feature film and a fourth season that are yet to be confirmed.
- ^ AWN. "Dr. Toon: Nuts and Bolts With Rob Renzetti | AWN | Animation World Network". AWN. http://www.awn.com/articles/drtoon/dr-toon-nuts-and-bolts-rob-renzetti/page/5%2C1. Retrieved 2011-09-21.
- ^ [dead link]
- ^ http://188.8.131.52/schedule/displaySeries.php?seriesID=309&networkID=19 Schedule for "My Life as a Teenage Robot" on Nicktoons
- ^ "Complete list if Prime-time Emmy nominations". Nytimes.com. 1969-12-31. http://www.nytimes.com/2006/07/06/arts/06iht-web.0706emlistA.2130838.html?_r=1. Retrieved 2011-09-21.
- ^ "Band Aids and Teenage Robots". Teenageroblog.blogspot.com. 2005-10-17. http://teenageroblog.blogspot.com/2005/10/band-aids-and-teenage-robots.html. Retrieved 2011-09-21.
- ^ "XJWriter is No More!". Teenageroblog.blogspot.com. 2005-10-25. http://teenageroblog.blogspot.com/2005/10/xjwriter-is-no-more.html. Retrieved 2011-09-21.
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