Mill Creek Entertainment // 2005 // 652 Minutes // Not Rated
Reviewed by Judge Paul Pritchard (Retired) // March 6th, 2011
"If you were a booger, I'd pick you first."
Cartoons like Johnny Test rarely appealed to me as a child, and hold even lees appeal now. From the "zany" setup, which in truth is tragically formulaic in execution, to the jokes, which more often than not are way off target, this show really didn't connect. It's a perfect example of a show that thinks it is far funnier than it actually is, and there's nothing more nauseating than that. There's certainly promise in the series' concept. Johnny has identical twin sisters, Susan and Mary, who just happen to be geniuses. Each episode sees the twins use the fearless Johnny in one of their experiments. Aided by his anthropomorphic dog, Dukey, Johnny will often go on to use the abilities his sisters' experiments have granted him to save the day from one of the lame rogues' gallery.
With zero continuity noticeable, each episode plays as a standalone adventure, and the show is highly repetitive. Granted, not many viewers -- particularly adults -- will sit through more than a couple of episodes in one go. However, for the purposes of reviewing this release I subjected myself to a couple of marathon viewing sessions. Big mistake. I found myself repeatedly drifting even from an early stage, desperate to stay focused, but seemingly powerless to stop myself from finding anything else to do. I'm sure to an eight-year-old, Johnny Test is a far more agreeable proposition, but as I didn't have one around -- and didn't fancy making the local news for kidnapping one -- I can't verify that assumption.
Perhaps sitting through Johnny Test: The Complete First and Second Seasons would have been less grueling had the characters been more appealing. Constantly twisting a situation to his advantage, Johnny is a self-absorbed little so-and-so, who I'd sooner see fall foul of the bad guys than live to fight another day. The twins, Susan and Mary, who initially appear to be strong female characters, are quickly shown to be motivated purely by the crush they have on the boy next door. Dukey is as annoying a sidekick as you could ask for, leaving only Eugene "Bling-Bling Boy" Hamilton, Johnny's arch-enemy, to provoke any real interest from the viewer. Not really all that evil, Eugene runs his base of operations from his bedroom (where he is frequently interrupted by his mother), and is really only after a date with Susan, on whom he has a major crush. Other recurring characters include a pair of government agents who show particular interest in the tech Johnny appears to possess, but are really only there to provide comedic fodder for our hero.
Johnny Test has drawn comparisons to Dexter's Laboratory, but beyond the science geek angle, the two shows couldn't be more dissimilar. Where Dexter is a likeable lead, Johnny is not, and where Dexter frequently amuses, Johnny just bores. Going back to the show's zaniness: it appears the writers thought this sufficient enough to not bother with comprehensible plots. Events unfold with all the style and subtlety of an obese gentleman performing a cannonball from the high board at the local swimming baths.
Oh, and for anyone pulling their hair out, trying to figure out where they know the theme tune from, it's Green Day's "American Idiot" that has been butchered.
The full-frame transfer is less than stellar, but reflects the quality of the production, rather than any issues with the actual DVD. Colors lack vibrancy, and the picture is less than sharp. The stereo soundtrack fairs a little better. Accompanying the series are five "bonus episodes," which offer a taste of other titles. Included is one episode each from World of Quest, Super Duper Sumos, Gadget Boy, Nanoboy, and Potatoes and Dragons. Inserting the disc into a PC will reveal further DVD-ROM content, which includes a bookmark, recipe, and coloring-in pages. There's also a look at the Nintendo DS game.
Despite my numerous grievances, it must be said that, for the RRP, the twenty-six episodes here (not counting the additional five bonus episodes included) represent good value for money -- just as long as your kid is a fan of the show or other like-minded toons. Everyone else should avoid this like the plague.
Review content copyright © 2011 Paul Pritchard; Site layout and review format copyright © 1998 - 2015 HipClick Designs LLC
Scales of Justice
Studio: Mill Creek Entertainment
* Full Frame
* Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo (English)
Running Time: 652 Minutes
Release Year: 2005
MPAA Rating: Not Rated
* Bonus Episodes
* DVD-ROM Content
* Official Site