×
Cookies help us deliver our Services. By using our Services, you agree to our use of cookies. Learn More.

Things only adults notice in Jimmy Neutron

Spawned from the success of the 2001 film Jimmy Neutron: Boy Genius, the television series, The Adventures of Jimmy Neutron, Boy Genius, premiered the following year on Nickelodeon. The series follows 11-year-old Jimmy as he invents gadgets and gizmos that cause problems as often as they solve them. With his friends Sheen and Carl at his side along with his robot dog Goddard, Jimmy finds himself in a slew of wacky science-induced scenarios.

Though the series is all in good fun, some strangely dark and unsettling undertones lurk below the surface. In a show filled with extraterrestrial life, mutant monsters, and evil geniuses, there are also some other more mundane oddities. For instance, Jimmy's dad is oddly fixated on ducks, and Jimmy's mom is quick to remark that her husband needs therapy. While kids watching the show were busy imagining their own reality-bending inventions or otherworldly adventures, the show looks a bit different from an adult's perspective. Here are things only adults notice when watching The Adventures of Jimmy Neutron, Boy Genius.

Bolbi is a weird combination of Eastern-European stereotypes

The strangest character in Jimmy Neutron is probably Bolbi Stroganovsky, Retroville's foreign exchange student. According to the show's lore, Bolbi comes from the fictionalized country of Backhairistan as opposed to any real location. Bolbi's character is effectively a hodgepodge of various Eastern-European stereotypes. For example, he's a big fan of kabobs and has an over-the-top Eastern-European accent, making him seem more exotic to American students. 

Bolbi's classmates view him and his habits as odd and even a bit annoying at times, which can be uncomfortable to watch. Bolbi is perceived as weird because he is foreign, and his culture is purposefully kept ambiguous for comedic effect. Slightly more troubling is the episode "Win, Lose and Kaboom," in which Bolbi accidentally accompanies Jimmy and his friends on an adventure where the gang is part of an intergalactic game show that determines the fate of the Earth. In the episode, Bolbi is regarded as an "unknown species," further mystifying his cultural identity.

Jimmy's dad once tortured an entire town

Testing out his new invention by pranking Cindy and Libby, Jimmy reveals his Time Replay Remote, a device that allows its user to rewind reality. While this can be used to force Cindy and Libby to repeatedly blow smoothies out of their noses, Jimmy's device does have more practical uses, such as rewinding time just before an inconvenient fall or life-threatening event.

Once Hugh gets his hands on the Time Replay Remote, he starts off by accidentally sending Jimmy and his pals back in time 200 million years. He then embarks on a mission to have as much chaotic fun as possible. At the Candy Bar, Hugh sits for hours eating food and using the device to regurgitate it, thus disgusting the other customers. He later skydives without a parachute but rewinds time just before he hits the ground, positioning himself safely back in the plane. He even uses the device to force his wife back in time before she can stop him from further annoying the townspeople with his antics.

Hugh finally causes so much commotion that an angry mob forms on his front lawn, demanding that he cease all of his time-altering activity. It is here we learn the most horrifying of his crimes: He forced a mother to give birth to her child over and over. When given a chance, Hugh Neutron chooses to alter time to torture his neighbors for no other reason than childish curiosity.

Jimmy and his friends' parents don't seem to care about their kids' constant imperilment

While there is no definitive, one-size-fits-all approach to parenting, the parents of Jimmy, Carl, and Sheen all seem to be extremely hands-off. Maybe it's a side effect of having an elementary school kid who can harness radioactive energy sources like tritium in his backyard clubhouse. Still, it seems like Hugh and Judy Neutron allow their son to imperil himself (and others) regularly. 

Though many of their allowances seem to be born out of them not understanding what their child is doing, one significant factor for the Neutrons is that they want to support their son and his curiosity. Letting Jimmy tinker with toasters to make a window-washing robot seems harmless enough, but allowing him to build and pilot his own atomic-powered rocket ship? That's a bit excessive.

One would think that the parents of Jimmy's friends would be more concerned about their children's' safety too. Especially Carl's parents, who shelter their son and greatly value his fragile health. Taking rides on rockets seems risky for a family that seems like they'd take issue with Carl playing contact sports. Considering all of the inventions that have gone horribly wrong, it's a wonder that there aren't stricter guidelines for Jimmy and his friends to follow. It just seems like without more explicit boundaries, something terrible is more than likely to happen to Jimmy and his friends sooner or later.

Jimmy regularly creates and destroys sentient life

Throughout the series, Jimmy is shown to imbue his creations with a sophisticated intelligence that rivals human intellect. But the show tends to brush aside the philosophical question of what it would mean to destroy such intelligence. 

In addition to his many gadgets, Jimmy creates a series of robots and organic creations that usually complicates each episode. For instance, he makes a few sentient nanobots, a series of clones, his dog Goddard, and even a little brother. While he doesn't destroy any of these specific creations, he isn't as sentimental about some other designs. He uses gum to destroy a robot salesman he built to help him win a school contest. One of his machines creates a sentient pizza that Jimmy and his friends have no problem disintegrating. In another episode, he makes a robot to emulate his own mother but doesn't seem concerned when his mother destroys her robotic likeness.

But none of these come close to matching the scale of Jimmy's most destructive feat: annihilating a replica of the Earth complete with a duplicate of every single person. Granted, they were all evil clones that would destroy his own world, so it's not as if Jimmy Just became a planet destroyer for no reason. However, their destruction was a dark direction for the show to take.

An alien impregnates Carl in an uncomfortable place

The season 3 episode "Who's Your Mommy" is arguably one of the series' most strange. Jimmy, Sheen, and Carl travel to Planet Schmengy and try to get a sample of an odd material found stuck to a cave wall. Carl takes a knife to what looks like an egg pod from Alien when it suddenly opens and a gray crab-looking creature affixes itself to Carl's mouth. Once they all hightail back to Jimmy's lab, it becomes clear that the alien has decided to use Carl's body as an incubator. 

This horrifying occurrence becomes evident to everyone in Retroville once Carl's "pregnancy" begins to show. As the episode goes on, Carl's butt gets bigger and bigger while also glowing purple. Carl also develops strange cravings and mood swings. The whole ordeal seems to play with the trope of aliens abducting people and probing them in similarly uncomfortable places. Considering Carl is an actual child, and the town is actively celebrating his alien spawn's upcoming birth rather than being utterly terrified, the episode is a bit surreal. However, the happy ending keeps the episode's narrative fresh and lighthearted enough to avoid censors. Even so, Carl's pregnancy is without a doubt one of the most uncomfortable moments in Jimmy Neutron.

Jimmy doesn't seem to care about ethics

The show's whole premise is that Jimmy is a genius, but one thing he decidedly hasn't figured out is a set of ethical standards that he can hold himself to as he explores the unknown. Throughout the series, Jimmy engages in many unethical practices and doesn't receive a lot of pushback.

One of the top offenses is Jimmy's constant use of his friends as test subjects for his experiments. When making Brobot, Jimmy even speculates that he'd be able to use his new creation as a guinea pig for experiments too dangerous for Carl, showing that he is aware that he exposes his friends to unnecessary risk. In addition to experimenting with his friends, Jimmy frequently disregards his subjects' consent (and frequently the lack thereof), such as when he pranks Cindy.

A few times, Jimmy's misadventures feature quite a few questionable choices from the boy genius. He hypnotizes his parents to get them to buy him a new chemistry set. Jimmy also partially destroys artifacts and some of the interior walls of the tomb of Queen Hazabataslapya, showing disregard for ancient relics. One of the most egregious inventions is Jimmy's automated version of McSpanky's. Jimmy attaches a molten cheese gun to the restaurant's bottom and programs its computer to make McSpanky's into a monopoly by melting all competing establishments. If Jimmy doesn't want to end up on trial as an adult, he should probably take a few ethics classes.

An old lady uses mass media to control the masses

Jimmy Neutron features multiple examples of mass media being utilized to control the masses, specifically to create a forcibly happy dystopia. The first occasion happens in the episode "One of Us" when Sheen comes up to Jimmy and Carl, telling them to watch a new television program called The Happy Show Show. But Sheen's demeanor is noticeably off, overly cheerful and placid. It soon becomes clear that the whole town is being hypnotized into only being happy and trying to compel everyone else to watch The Happy Show Show. Soon, everyone has watched the show and is trying to get Jimmy to follow suit.

The culprit is the show's star, Grandma Taters, who apparently wants the world to be happy. Jimmy and Cindy team up and undo all the mind control, but the theme of Retroville residents getting riled up due to what they watch on television is explored again in the episode "Lady Sings the News." In addition to serving as a warning about how television can skew someone's outlook on life, "One of Us" tackles the issue of focusing on just being happy. Instead of pretending like everything is okay and making society into a weird version of We Happy Few, the assertion is made that it's normal to externalize feelings like anger and sadness.

Carl is weirdly attracted to Jimmy's mom

Carl Wheezer is anything but a casanova. Given his allergies, fascination with llamas, and his chronically injured scapulas, he's not exactly popular with the ladies. Despite his status as a loser, Carl still has a fascination with girls. Usually, his love interests don't last beyond a single episode, like when he asks the others if they think that, in a certain light, Miss Fowl is attractive (or at least that seems to be the implication before he gets cut off) or his Swedish pen pal Elke. However, the one character who has endured as a target for Carl's affection is Jimmy's mom. 

In the episode "Love Potion 976/J," Carl takes his pursuit of reciprocal affection to a whole new level. While under the effects of a potent pheromone concoction, Carl tries to serenade Judy Neutron and even dresses up as an Italian organ grinder while Jimmy's parents are on a Valentine's Day date. Carl sics a monkey on Hugh, who is dragged away into nearby bushes and attacked. All the while, Carl tries to conspire with an unwilling Judy to get rid of Hugh so they can finally be together.

Usually, Carl is a shy, lovable, but awkward lad. However, when it comes to Judy, he's apparently willing to go to some drastic means to get rid of Hugh. It's pretty safe to say that Carl's affection for Jimmy's mom is a bit more than an innocent childhood crush.

Jimmy has the power to create a god

In the episode "Sheen's Brain," Sheen learns he is in danger of failing a math test and getting held back a year in school. Jimmy and Carl decide to help him study, but Jimmy quickly decides that his friend is a lost cause. Instead, a simpler solution is to invent something to help Sheen pass his test. His resulting invention boosts a person's intelligence over the course of a few hours, which at first seems like the perfect solution to fix Sheen's situation. However, things start to go wrong when Sheen becomes so smart that he develops telekinetic powers.

When Jimmy tries to confront Sheen and turn him back into his old self, Sheen develops the ability to create balls of energy, change the weather, turn asphalt into quicksand, and even read minds. Though Sheen voluntarily puts on Jimmy's Brain Drain helmet to dispel his newfound abilities, his awesome powers are some of the most powerful exhibited by any character in the show's run. 

Had Sheen refused to use the Brain Drain Helmet, it's unlikely that Jimmy could have stopped him. Jimmy effectively created a being so powerful that it could have easily taken over the entire world — effectively turning Sheen into a god. The intellect-boosting device that was used on Sheen could easily be combined with Jimmy's Electro-Life, which brings back the dead to augment awesome powers with immortality.

Retroville lacks medical professionals

In the episode "Journey to the Center of Carl," Jimmy tests out an invention: the sick patch. When users wear the patch, they instantly become sick. Jimmy ingeniously uses this as a way to trick his parents into thinking he's actually ill so he can miss school. Of course, the sick patch becomes a hot commodity among the Retroville students, and everyone wants one for themselves. At first, missing school is a dream for the students, but after the sick patches suddenly dissolve into everyone's skin, the children of Retroville all fall truly ill with no way to reverse the effect themselves.

Aside from the journey into Carl's body to find a cure for the illness, the oddest part about the episode is the parent's reactions to their children being sick. Instead of taking them to a doctor, it seems like every adult relies on strange homeopathic solutions instead of modern medicine. Cindy's mom tries to cure her illness with acupuncture, Libby's mom stings her with a bee, Sheen's father pours pepper down his nose, and perhaps most concerning is Carl's father, who traps Carl inside a plastic bubble. Based on the amount of alternative medicine at play, it's questionable whether Retroville even has any doctors. For a show focused around a genius who revels in science, the focus on extreme examples of alternative medicine in Retroville is definitely surprising.

The N-Men are a reference to the Fantastic Four

In the infamous episode "The N Men," Jimmy, Sheen, Carl, Libby, and Cindy return from miniature golfing on Mercury and try to pass the time as they head home. Jimmy wanders away from the controls to arm wrestle Cindy, and the ship goes through a band of radiation which has some strange effects on the kids. When they crash land in Jimmy's front yard, they get out, and Sheen, Cindy, Libby, and Carl all demonstrate a range of flashy superpowers only to find that Jimmy's skin turns orange and his hair becomes green, much to his own chagrin. Due to his friends' teasing about his useless powers, Jimmy later turns against the others once his anger gives him super strength.

This closely mirrors the origins of Marvel's Fantastic Four and their dynamic with their chief comic villain, Doctor Doom. In the comics, Reed Richards, Ben Grimm, Susan Storm, and Johnny Storm all leave Earth, are hit by radiation and return to Earth with incredible powers, but a disfigured former friend, Victor Von Doom, grows bitter and turns against the others. Aside from the similar story, Libby also inherits the exact same power as Susan Storm, further cementing the N Men's clear creative debt to the Fantastic Four.

Jimmy's infinite supply of scientific materials appears out of nowhere

When looking at Jimmy's lab, one could easily conclude that the Neutron family is fabulously wealthy. However, this idea is explicitly thrown out the window in the episode "Time is Money." The episode begins with Jimmy lamenting the fact that his parents can't afford an encyclopedia set. After altering the timeline to make his family extravagantly wealthy, he learns that money isn't everything and reverts them back to normal. Aside from their brief moment of living large, the Neutrons can't typically afford an encyclopedia set. Yet somehow Jimmy can fund an entire laboratory filled to the brim with flashy, elaborately constructed inventions?

Aside from the outrageous electric bill the Neutrons must be paying to fund the lab, Jimmy's experiments can't be cheap to produce. He often dabbles with rare and dangerous material such as plutonium. He needs countless parts and materials to build his inventions. The lab's infrastructure surely wasn't constructed by Jimmy alone, so building the lab was probably no small charge either. Realistically, Jimmy's love of science would have probably bankrupted the Neutron family relatively quickly — that is, unless Jimmy is secretly selling some of his experiments on the side.