“He would rather laugh than fight, it’s wrong or right, you gotta like him Jaaaaaaaackieeeee Chaaaaan! Where’s the Talisman? You gotta find it now, you always do somehow!”
I’ve been humming the Jackie Chan Adventures theme song for years, but only in doing research for this article did I discover that it was performed by Wheatus. In a lot of ways, that all tracks.
This show is about growing up. You’ve got Uncle, Jackie, and Jade, three generations of the Chan family trying to figure out how to find the talismans and defeat the Dark Hand. They only really fail when they don’t listen to each other, when they miscommunicate (the moral of the story, former kids). In a sea of generic Fox Kids animation, Jackie and company were facing off against the zaniest villains from the worlds of both magic and technology. Remember how they used to hang out with a secret agent and fight super-powered ninjas? Except because it was animated, the real Jackie Chan didn’t break any bones? The best of both worlds, ladies and gentlefolk.
Speaking of the real Jackie Chan, he would show up at the end of the episodes to answer fan questions, usually while practicing martial arts. Why is this great? Because Jackie is the most adorable person in the world, and he wants kids to grow up strong and wise. Hopefully we did.
Also, Tohru. Remember Tohru? He started as “the big henchman”, and went on to become an integral part of the Chan clan’s continuing fight against ignorance, egomania, and all out evil. That’s some next level Green Ranger stuff right there, except the Green Ranger never had body image issues.
The show became a little repetitive in later seasons, but was always enjoyable. Tell me right now you don’t remember Uncle hitting his nephew in the head and yelling “Jackiiiiiiie!” That’s high level slapstick! With magic! And the best part is, Jackie just wants to figure out the problem and get home, so you know how dedicated he is given that there are ninety five episodes. Ninety five. Ninety. Five.
One more thing… the bad guy, Shendu, was genuinely scary. Like, a circle of gold commanding an evil army until it can become an unstoppable dragon god type thing? How could a lovable oaf and his family defeat that?
Well, as Uncle would say, “magic must defeat magic”.