Jay Jay the Jet Plane
"Anything that can be seen as redeemable about this show can only be seen that way if you're looking at this show through a child's lens. But I'm not looking at this show through a child's lens, I'm looking at it through a 17 1/2 year old lens, and this 17 year old isn't pleased. There's nothing here for teens or young adults like you and me. While this show isn't the worst I ever watched, it's still on my top 3. And I'm giving this show an easy diaper/10, interpret that as you will."— RemoteLogic
Jay Jay the Jet Plane is an American live-action/CGI-animated musical children's television series created by David and Deborah Michel. It has aired on The Learning Channel, PBS Kids, Qubo, and Smile.
The series has 62 episodes and is centered on a group of aircraft who live in the fictional city of Tarrytown. It is intended to be educational and to teach life and moral lessons to children. The episodes are commonly distributed in 25-minute-long (as without commercials) pairs, with one header sequence and one end credits for each pair. Each episode contains one or more songs. The theme song and the majority of the other songs were written by well-known children's singer/songwriter Stephen Michael Schwartz, and sung by his popular musical group, Parachute Express.
Recently in 2021, a reboot was announced with a different animation style, which will be produced by Trilogy Animation.
Tarrytown is full of fun for 6-year-old Jay Jay the Jet Plane. A happy little plane, he and his friends -- including pink and yellow plane Tracy, helicopter Herky, fire engine Revvin' Evan and tow truck Tuffy -- explore and buzz around the fantasy-inspired town. There are also some humans in Tarrytown, such as Brenda Blue, Mrs. Blue, Miss Jones and Easy O'Malley. Anything is possible, and excitement is just waiting for Jay Jay to discover it!
Why It Won't Make You Go on a Magical Flight
- The character designs for the planes and the other machines not only look horrible, but also lazy as they're basically planes with human faces on them. In addition, the designs look so creepy that they could very likely give kids nightmares.
- The designs try too hard to make it resemble the character designs from Thomas & Friends, which that show actually managed to work well with the designs due to Thomas & Friends taking a realistic approach (with the only exception being the All Engines Go! reboot), but with this show, it doesn't work well at all due to the character designs being a mix between a cartoony and realistic design, when it would have worked better to choose one or the other.
- The CGI animation is mediocre, lazy-looking and has aged like spoiled milk, that it even looks like something animated by Vídeo Brinquedo, Xing Xing Digital, or Spark Plug Entertainment. It doesn't help that this show has bad CGI mixed with live-action actors, making it look even worse.
- The lip-syncing for the planes characters is abysmal at best.
- A fair amount of bland and/or unlikable characters, with the only exceptions being Big Jake, Savannah and Revvin Evan.
- Jay Jay, the main character, has a very generic personality.
- Also, his voice (and singing voice) sounds awful.
- Herky the Helicopter is a poorly done comic relief. He's basically an offensive Indian stereotype, whose voice is as bad and annoying as Bubsy's.
- Snuffy has a horrendous voice, and he sounds like if a very sick child with a runny nose took the role of him. Furthermore, his design is terrible and looks like more a green giant flying mouse than an airplane.
- Tracy has a design that is recycled from Jay Jay's design being colored purplish pink, another sign of laziness. Not to mention, her personality is just as bad as Jay Jay's. Oh, and did we mention that she is also another racist stereotype, but Italian!?
- Old Oscar is a poorly written adult plane.
- Brenda Blue is also another poorly written character who just gets involved in the plane's actions.
- Revvin Evan’s cousin, Tuffy (a tow truck) is also a racist stereotype, she’s a racist Asian stereotype. Her voice is very annoying and talks and acts like a toddler, as well as having the worst design in the series.
- Jay Jay, the main character, has a very generic personality.
- Besides the unlikable characters, there are characters who are racist stereotypes, it’s unknown if this was intentional or unintentional but we're surprised the cancel culture hasn’t banned the show yet.
- As stated above, Herky is an Indian racist stereotype.
- As stated above, Tracy is an Italian racist stereotype.
- As stated above, Tuffy is an Asian racist stereotype and is the most offensive of all of them and was even panned by a parent on Commonsensemedia.
- As mentioned above, the voice acting is plain terrible. It's even more shocking that it has many talented voice actresses, like Debi Derryberry from Jimmy Neutron, Mary Kay Bergman from South Park, Sandy Fox from Sailor Moon, Gina Ribisi, Chuck Morgan and Michael Donovan.
- There are some pointless plots in some episodes that include:
- In "Big Jake's Birthday Surprise", there is a plot that reads, "It's Big Jake's birthday, and after E.Z. sends him to do a long delivery, Jay Jay and friends have to think of what to give him. When Jay Jay cannot think of a present, he turns to searching for something that will give him an idea."
- Another weak plot would be in the episode "Jay Jay's New Wheels". The plot reads, "One summer day, Jay Jay, Snuffy and Tracy were playing a game of Follow the Leader. First, they hop in a line, and Jay Jay stands on one-wheel, which Tracy can do but Snuffy can't. After Jay Jay spins around on one wheel, the other two comment on him being so good at doing tricks they can't do. Jay Jay is flattered and points out he couldn't have done it without his wheels."
- There are also a few overused pop culture references. For example, the plot of the episode, "A Trip to Skylandia", spoofs the plot of The Wizard of Oz.
- Most of the songs (especially the theme song) are cringeworthy and ear-grating, thanks to the terrible voice acting.
- Despite this, some of the songs have (rejected) tunes that look like they were stolen from songs from other shows.
- Even the background music is mediocre.
- It almost ended Mary Kay Bergman's career on a sour note, as she would only go on to have a few more roles before tragically killing herself in 1999.
- The pilot series is creepier and even worse than the CGI series.
- The Christian dub of the CGI series shoves religion down everyone's throats and is pointless.
- The miniseries, Jay Jay's Mysteries was a pointless and bland way to end the show.
- There are episodes featuring the planes with uncharacteristically human characteristics such as characters eating (an episode features Tracy gorging on candy and two episodes show Herky eating donuts and it’s treated like a drug addiction), Snuffy losing baby teeth, and indication that the planes age like humans (an episode revolving around Tracy giving up her security item, a blanket and it was explicitly stated that it was her baby blanket). While it shows creativity, it comes off as rather disturbing and it makes you question how the planes process food.
- The miniature sets the characters were placed onto actually look good.
- The international dubs, while not great, are, at least, not as bad as the original English dub.
- The Arabic dub was pretty-well received.
- It does teach some morals like how to help others, value your friends, love yourself, and facing your own shyness.
- The Tarrytown Airport concept is a very good inspiration and nice fictional place, even if its animation is dated by today's standards.
- The reboot is looking like an improvement, as it looks less uncanny and cleaner, along with better character designs. Note that the reboot series is being done by the same company that animated The VeggieTales Show, which is Trilogy Animation. The art style looks similar to Disney’s movie, Planes, and short film, Pedro.
- Big Jake, Savannah, and Revvin Evan are the only likable characters.
- Keep in mind that this show was originally well received during its time. It just didn't age well in modern times.
As mentioned earlier, the show was well-received during its time, but as time went on, reception became mixed-to-negative and currently has a 3.8/10 rating on IMDb.
- Aside from the poorly aged motion capture gaining infamy, Jay Jay was a popular character to use in animutations back when they were extremely popular, such as Neil Cicierega's animutation of the first ending for Pokémon (Japanese version).
- The show spawned the internet meme "Jay Jay Bombs Syria".
- Mary Kay Bergman died on November 11, 1999, at 38 years old, and was replaced by Debi Derryberry.