“Jimmy Neutron: Boy Genius” – Out, Darn Spotlight EPISODE REVIEW
Written by Jambareeqi
When Lindbergh Elementary School decides to put on a stage production of “Macbeth in Space”, Jimmy shows no interest in taking part. However, once Jimbo’s crush Betty says she wants to try out for Lady Macbeth, the boy genius auditions for the play’s title role. Unfortunately, Jimmy loses the part to Nick, and is resigned to the job special effects. In a change of fate though, Nick injures himself in a skateboarding accident, and Jimmy is asked to take over as Macbeth instead.
This is honestly one of the funniest Jimmy Neutron episodes I’ve ever seen. The complete chaos of seeing all these eccentric students putting on a show, under the energetic directing guidance of the flamboyant Principal Willoughby, is what makes the comedy so inspired. Not only do egos clash, but the less talented kids prove that they don’t have acting chops, and Willoughby is struggling to be the ringmaster of this circus. Can these nutty pupils pull off a space opera twist on Shakespeare?
Of course, this episode’s major appeal for fans is the chance to see Jimmy kiss a girl he fancies. While Betty herself isn’t the most interesting love interest, it’s how she brings Jimmy – who usually isn’t interested in girls – to his knees. Jimmy’s dark side even comes out due to his resentment towards Nick, going as far as using his weather machine to stop Nick and Betty’s rehearsal kiss.
It’s also fascinating seeing the more introverted and science focused Jimmy attempting acting. Yes, he’s terrible at it, but I liked watching him try, because it pushed the boy genius out of his comfort zone. What makes this even funnier is that his dad offers to give acting tips, but clearly has no talent for performance arts either.
If I was to say what I love the most about this episode though, it’d have to be Jimmy’s special effects for the play. Jimbo’s inventions are usually reserved for experiments or personal conveniences, but here, he uses his techno wizardry to bring an entire sci-fi world to life for audiences, thus giving a small school performance some amazing production value. THIS is what makes “Out, Darn Spotlight” so unique compared to other school play cartoon episodes.
Unsurprisingly though, Jimmy’s weather machine malfunctions after Sheen misuses it. Jimbo’s inventions always backfire in this show, but the context of a school play re-frames the calamity in a different way this time. How? Because audiences can’t tell the difference between stage effects and a legitimately dangerous tornado! So Jimmy has to keep everyone safe, but at the cost of the play.
To conclude, “Out, Darn Spotlight” is an imaginative take on the school play narrative that we see in a lot of cartoons. The inclusion of Neutron’s gadgets brings a pizzazz to the play, but also a sense of exciting danger – because Jimmy clearly put authenticity before school safety! It’s also a rare opportunity to see Jimmy actively going after a girl; showing that he is growing up – something he expressed fear about in the pilot movie.