Point-Counterpoint: Jimbo vs. Skeet

Opinion | November 29, 2017

What is it exactly that distinguishes a mediocre work of art from a true masterpiece? What is it that makes DaVinci’s “Mona Lisa” captivate the viewer in a way that “Bold and Brash” simply fails to do? I, for one, believe that a real work of art must linger in the minds of the audience, that it must captivate the audience, that it must spur conversations where critics and laypersons can endlessly deliberate its meaning. On May 26th, 2004, such a masterpiece was born: season 2, episode 17 of The Adventures of Jimmy Neutron: Boy Genius, entitled “Men at Work.” It features the eponymous James “Jimmy” Neutron seeking gainful employment, given to him at the local McSpanky’s burger emporium. Jimmy and his boss, Skeet, have a difficult relationship. While the YouTube user SynthCool, a groundbreaking scholar on the subject, examined the Skeet character in some detail, the scholars C. Fulvela-Darns and S. Kemp-Walkerman decided to more closely examine the moral relationship between the two characters, rather than strictly the characters themselves. They came to differing conclusions, so they presented their findings to the reader to decide. This article was originally published in the journal Psychology of Hentai Today.


In Favor of Skeet

by Cohllin Fulvela-Darnes, Ph.D

Skeet is the clear moral victor in the battle of wills between Jimmy and himself. Jimmy’s refusal to accept Skeet’s ways, the ways that were so successful that they earned Skeet the coveted “Employee of the Month” award, eventually led to untold carnage.

The first major battle comes when Jimmy refuses to use the cash register to ring in guests’ food. Jimmy thinks he’s so fucking smart because he can add restaurant tax in his head. Not that impressive, IMO. In his arrogance Jimmy ignores several of the functions of the cash register. Jimmy is not handing customers receipts. What if there is dispute on an order? What if Jimmy is making incorrect calculations? What if McSpanky’s is audited and there is no record of what has been rung in? Jimmy is opening McSpanky’s up to some serious legal problems, though Retroville appears to be a libertarian paradise given the lax child labor laws and the fact that none of the boys are required to fill out the requisite employment forms – no I-9, no W-2, no proof of work eligibility whatsoever. What the fuck is up with that?

Ignoring the potential legal problems, Jimmy’s refusal to ring in food also has practical implications. The kitchen isn’t getting any dang tickets! While Carl and Sheen are skilled in the back of house, I can’t imagine they would be able to handle a lunch rush without any actual tickets to read, and certainly not well. Jimmy is also ignoring the inventory-taking role that cash registers serve by tracking the amount of product sold, a major point Synth makes. Carl could be stealing hamburger patties and nobody would know. Jimmy thinks he’s hot shit because he can add a few numbers together, but he is potentially doing severe damage to the business.

Skeet recognizes that Jimmy’s maverick ways won’t do, and moves him to mop duty, where Jimmy continues to be a friggin’ dick by calling salt “sodium chloride” which is not how normal people refer to salt. Synth refers to the abnormality of this, as have other scholars. But there’s a lot to unpack there. Doing this would likely make customers uncomfortable, and cause them to seek other eateries. Skeet orders Jimmy to refer to it as salt, but Jimmy refuses, leaving Skeet no choice but to demote Jimmy to a mere
sign spinner, saying only a set of predetermined lines so as to not drive away the clientele. Jimmy cannot handle being punished, despite his clear transgressions. Instead, he walks out.

Skeet would have been perfectly within reason to fire Jimmy for a host of reasons, including his blatant insubordination and his unauthorized exit from the workplace. However, Skeet, a union man, keeps Jimmy on. Skeet’s kindness and compassion are not rewarded. Jimmy invades McSpanky’s and creates a distasteful concept. The metallic interior is cold and off-putting. However, Jimmy’s efforts to remove any sense of intimacy from the dining experience is not the downfall of McSpanky’s.

No, that would come later. Due to the self-regulating customer satisfaction software dumb Jimmy makes to assure contentment, McSpanky’s somehow launches from the ground and literally wipe out the competition with some sort of molten attack. Clearly, this is Jimmy’s fault. Not only did he program the AI that the restaurant runs on, but he must have installed whatever allows McSpanky’s to levitate and fire this plasma cannon. Jimmy feigns surprise, but if we apply even a small amount of logic, Jimmy knew this was possible. Really, this is so bizarre a thing to happen that it’s hard to believe that Jimmy would have no idea it could happen. Bullshit, buddy. In his quest to humiliate Skeet, Jimmy has caused millions of dollars worth of property damage. The McSpanky’s business will surely be bankrupted many times over with all the lawsuits they will be involved in. Some might want to reward Jimmy when he later saves the day, but he should have been expected to fix the mess he created.

Skeet is certainly not perfect. For example, the restaurant is named McSpanky’s, but the mascot is a Scot. Sure, the Mc/Mac divide is not completely binary, but obviously Mc- registers as Irish while Mac- registers as Scottish to the general public. However, Skeet alway acts with honor and compassion, simply trying to do what is best for both McSpanky’s business and McSpanky’s customers. In contrast, Jimmy behaves as an arrogant, wretched villain. For this reason, I find it impossible to ever support Jimmy, and find Skeet to be the moral paragon.


In Defense of Jimbo

by Sanji Kemp-Walkerman, Ph.D

There is practically no debate whatsoever regarding the sheer holiness of this anime. However, there are a handful of critics who I believe have been led astray in their interpretation. In particular, it has come to my attention that C. Fulvela-Darns has written a treatise in which he claims that Skeet was justified in his feud with Jimmy. I simply cannot allow this preposterous “opinion” to be printed in such a prestigious journal. I write this response not only as an attempt to rectify his blasphemy and restore integrity to this magazine, but also because I feel a personal and moral obligation to speak out as a voice for justice, for humanity, and for Jimbo.

Fulvela-Darns claims that Jimmy is an “arrogant, wretched villain” for causing the McSpanky’s restaurant to destroy its competitors. Although it seems like Jimmy is the perpetrator behind this tragedy, he is but a mere victim. At first glance, it seems to be the case that Jimmy is at fault in this situation. However, in order to fully comprehend what happened on that fateful day, we must step back and critically examine the episode. In doing so, it becomes apparent that it was not Jimmy who is to blame, but capitalism itself.

The quarrel between Jimmy and Skeet begins at the cash register. Jimmy’s superior intellect is held back when Skeet demands that Jimmy “push the buttons with pictures of food on ‘em.” This alone presents a clear analogy to how the bourgeoisie prohibits the proletariat from ascending in class; Skeet sees Jimbo as a threat to his superior status as “employee of the month.” This notion is amplified by Jimmy’s suggestion that the slogan “Big McThanky’s from McSpanky’s!” be changed to the far more robust “Don’t
let our food be denied you, put our polyunsaturated fats and triglycerides inside you!” Upon this realization, Skeet promptly sneers, “I’ll tell you what I think,” after which it is revealed to the viewer that Jimmy has been demoted to mop duty. This is a clear indication that Skeet is willing to abuse his power in order to remain at the top.

In a meager attempt to defend Skeet in this situation, Fulvela-Darns and others have noted that “the cash register is used for inventory tracking.” But again, we can see that this argument is rooted in the same capitalist nonsense that exists throughout the episode. When the customer orders a Double McSpanky with fries and a Flurp, he wants a wholesome meal, made from nothing but the bounty of God’s great kingdom. By tracking the inventory, Skeet and countless other cashiers corrupt this process into nothing but soulless numbers and symbols. In this way, the customer forfeits a portion of his soul to feed the unrelenting
capitalist behemoth. When Jimbo tries to put a stop to this madness, he is punished for threatening Big Brother’s control over Retroville.

But the most important factor in Jimmy’s squabble with Skeet arrives moments later, during the infamous “sodium chloride” encounter. When Jimmy cleans up the salt, he refers to it by its chemical name – sodium chloride. For one thing, Skeet should already know what this means, given that he appears to be in his late teens or early twenties, and has presumably taken high school chemistry. Once again, Jimmy’s intelligence proves to be too much for Skeet to handle, and thus causes yet another demotion. Skeet’s behavior truly represents the great lengths that the ruling class will go to in order to repress any form of uprising. Skeet’s fear and envy towards Jimmy is contrasted with his approval towards Carl and Sheen, who obey Skeet’s commands and behave more like sheep than individuals. It is up to Jimbo to bring the values of Marxism to people like Carl and Sheen, so that they too may join in the coming revolution.

With all of this in mind, we turn to the climax of the episode, where McSpanky’s begins destroying other establishments, such as Taco Shack and Pizza Clown. After taking a closer look at the relationship between Jimmy and Skeet, it becomes apparent that Jimmy is merely a victim of the capitalist system put forth by Skeet himself. Jimmy’s modifications of McSpanky’s at first appear to be beneficial, but alas, what Jimmy did not realize was that he too had been corrupted by Skeet’s capitalism. As a result, Jimbo simply flew too close to the sun; and so did McSpanky’s.