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"Mxyzpixilated"

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Superman: TAS episode
Mxyzptlk
"Mxyzpixilated"
Airdate: September 20, 1997 (USA)
Production Number: 021
Airdate Order: 21
Animation Services by: Koko/Dong Yang
Written by: Paul Dini
Directed by: Dan Riba
Episode images (2)

"Mxyzpixilated" is the twenty-first episode of Superman: The Animated Series. It depicts the appearance of Mr. Mxyzptlk in Metropolis. Superman suddenly finds himself getting tormented by an imp with powers so great they can only be called magic. When the imp gives Superman a rule for his leaving for 90 days, Superman manages to beat him at every turn.

Plot

It's another typical day in Metropolis with Superman flying overhead. Suddenly, there's trouble as an odd little man walks through the middle of traffic calling for someone named McGurk and causing traffic trouble. An armored truck speeds towards him. Superman swoops down and tries to hold back the truck but it suddenly turns into bubbles. Superman ends up on the street and looks at the little man who is also made of bubbles. The man mocks him and pops. Everything seems okay, so Superman leaves.

Later, Clark sits at his desk at the Daily Planet and notices Jimmy chuckling at a newspaper. Clark inquires as to what's so funny and Jimmy shows him a comic strip entitled "Mr. Mxyzptlk" starring the very same man Superman saw in the streets earlier that day. Clark tries to read the name as Miks-il-plik but the character jumps out of the newspaper and corrects him by saying it's Mix-Yeez-Spit-Lick. He then asks about McGurk. Clark grabs at him but the man turns into a newspaper. He asks Lois if she saw the weird man but she only dismisses this as a delusion.

Lois and Clark go to the art museum to work cover the opening and soon hear Mr. Mxyzptlk calling McGurk once again. He shows up and causes a stir amongst the guests. Clark tries to confront him but is unsuccessful. The curator decides to continue and shows the newest piece of their exhibit: Auguste Rodin's famous statue The Thinker. Mr. Mxyzptlk identifies the statue as McGurk and calls for it to come. The statue comes to life and walks away with him much to the surprise of the guests. Clark has had quite enough and slips away. He then confronts Mr. Mxyzptlk but the statue attacks him. Superman fights back and punches the head off the statue. The next thing he knows, the guests are in shock that Superman just knocked off the head of an ordinary statue. They are apparently unaware of the statue ever coming to life and Superman can only sheepishly claim it was "the little man".

Superman goes to see his parents Jonathan and Martha Kent and tells them about it. They assure him that there's nothing wrong and it's just "a brilliant god-like being from a dimension twice removed from ours is testing his powers". Shortly afterward, they start acting like, then turn into chickens. Mr. Mxyzptlk appears and turns them into ducks, then ostriches and finally into fierce alien creatures. Superman traps the two and insists they be turned back. Mr. Mxyzptlk turns them into a parody of "American Gothic" and explains that he's been tormenting humans for centuries. When Superman showed up he found a source of fun and claims he only wants to play a few games. Superman insists that a game must have rules so Mr. Mxyzptlk makes the rule that if he reveals his name backwards he'll leave for three months. Superman tricks him into saying his name backwards: Kyltpzyxm. Things go back to normal and his parents have no idea what happened.

Mr. Mxyzptlk shows up in another three months and is easily sent back before he can do anything. He shows up in yet another three months and once again gets sent back this time spelling his name backwards.

Back in the fifth dimension, Mr. Mxyzptlk angrily complains about how Superman beat him again. His wife Gsptlsnz (Gez-pit-lez-nez) tries unsuccessfully to dissuade him from obsessing over Superman. She suggests Mr. Mxyzptlk kill Superman before he can win. This starts Mr. Mxyzptlk on a three month task of creating a battle suit all the while ignoring his wife. At last, he leaves with the new suit built but is sent back in less than five seconds.

Another three months pass and Clark moans over the impending visit of the imp. Soon after, Lois is turned into a horse. The entire staff is turned into animals with Jimmy being turned into a turtle and Perry into a walrus (other animals include a penguin, a pig, a poodle, a stork, a chimpanzee, a goat, a bear, a kangaroo and a frog). Mr. Mxyzptlk shows up and feeds Lois a carrot. Superman asks what he needs to do to get rid of him forever. Mr. Mxyzptlk says that Superman will have to get him to reveal his name backwards twice in a row. Superman refuses as he's tired of it and has decided to quit. Mr. Mxyzptlk threatens to leave Superman's friends as they are, and also to tell the world that Superman is Clark Kent but this comes to naught.

Superman goes flying but Mr. Mxyzptlk follows after him claiming he can't be out flown. Superman continues on but Mr. Mxyzptlk turns into a plane and starts firing at him. Superman is somewhat hurt by the bullets but manages to grab the lid off of a water tower and deflects Mr. Mxyzptlk's bullets back at him. Now angered Mr. Mxyzptlk turns into "the ultimate smart bomb" which has a kryptonite warhead. Superman starts to fly erratically trying to escape but to no avail. Mr. Mxyzptlk eventually catches up with Superman and knocks him down. The imp basks in his victory but soon finds that he was tricked into skywriting his name backwards twice in a row. He's then banished from the third dimension and everything goes back to normal.

In spite of Superman's seemingly permanent victory, Mr. Mxyzptlk still obsesses over him and vows to one day return. Gsptlsnz suggests that he find another way to pass the time, and gives him a huge smooch. Smiling, Mr. Mxyzptlk proceeds to have himself a good time with his wife.

Background information

Home video releases

Production inconsistencies

  • In the animal scene in the Daily Planet, it changes from day to night to day again between three shots.
  • When Superman tricks Mxyzptlk for the third time with the proof-reading, the third word of the first line spells "CITRIMES", while its true spelling should be "CRIMES" (effectively "C(IT)RIMES"). However, Mxyzptlk apparently does not bother to correct this mistake all too thoroughly. For if he did, the resultant spelling of his name would have proven invalid to send him home, because his name does not contain the letter "I" from the "IT" that Superman inserted into the word.

Trivia

  • Mr. Mxyzptlk calling McGurk is a tribute to the very first comic story of Mr. Mxyzptlk. His design was based on the character's Golden Age version.
  • The strip "Mr. Mxyzptlk" is said to be written by Siegel and Shuster. This is a tribute to Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster, the creators of Superman. All the other strips are homages as well:
  • Miks-il-plik is the pronunciation of "Mxyzptlk" used in Super Friends.
  • This episode takes place over a period of one year and 2 days, the second longest time period of any episode of the series.
  • This episode marks the first appearance of Streaky, who became Streaky the Supercat in the Golden Age comics and in the unconnected animated series Krypto the Superdog. However, he never gains powers in this show but Mxyzptlk uses his powers to make Streaky fly around the kitchen.
  • According to the commentary on the DVD, this is the favorite episode of Paul Dini. Dini brings up the character in most of the DVD commentaries.
  • Bruce Timm and Paul Dini revealed in their DVD commentary that they had hoped to bring Mr. Mxyzptlk back for an episode of Justice League but they never did because they could not conceive of a sufficiently good story for him.
  • Jimmy turning into a turtle refers to an old alter ego of his in the comics, Turtle Boy.
  • Clark is shaving during one of Mr. Mxyzptlk's appearances, indicating that his hair is not invulnerable to the same degree as the rest of him (similarly, in "Solar Power", he appears frustrated when he cuts himself shaving, something he is not normally used to).

Cast

Actor Role
Tim Daly Superman/Clark Kent
Dana Delany Lois Lane
David Kaufman Jimmy Olsen
Shelley Fabares Martha Kent
Mike Farrell Jonathan Kent
Tress MacNeille Curator
Frank Welker Evil Creatures
Gilbert Gottfried Mr. Mxyzptlk
Sandra Bernhard Gsptlsnz

Uncredited appearances

Quotes

Superman: I can't even say your name forward, how am I supposed to say it backward?
Mr. Mxyzptlk: No, dope! You don't have to say it backwards! You've got to get me to say it!
Superman: Say what?
Mr. Mxyzptlk: KLTPZYXM!! Gosh, you're thick! Now for the last time... Aw nuts!


Superman: Oh, it's you again, Mr. Kltpzyxm.
Mr. Mxyzptlk: NOT Kltpzyxm - Mxyzptlk! Now the first thing I'm gonna do is... Aw nuts!


Clark: Look, little guy, I'm tired of this. If it's a fight you want...
Mr. Mxyzptlk: Oh, it is, it is!
Clark: Fine. First let me proofread this article, and I'll meet you on the roof in twenty minutes.
Mr. Mxyzptlk: No stalling! I'll edit the rag for you.
(He looks over the article then quickly crosses out the incorrect letters)
Mr. Mxyzptlk: There. Hey, what? No! (vanishes)


Mr. Mxyzptlk: Bye, Gspy, don't wait up! (vanishes to Earth)
Gsptlsnz: Five, four, three...
Mr. Mxyzptlk: (reappears) Nuts! Nuts! NUTS! Not one word!


Lois: (notices a penguin waddle by her desk) Was that a penguin?
Clark: I'm afraid so.
(Lois transforms into a horse)
Clark: Here we go.


Mr. Mxyzptlk: Hey! Hey! You can't just walk out! If you do, your friends will stay mindless beasts!
Superman: They don't seem to mind.


Mr. Mxyzptlk: (In writing over his head) ¡*%#!


Mr. Mxyzptlk: I won! I won! Ah ha ha ha! In your face, Superman!
Superman: No, loser, in yours!
Mr. Mxyzptlk: Oh... Shoot my monkey.
("Kltpzyxm" has been skywritten backwards twice)
Mr. Mxyzptlk: I skywrote my own name! Backwards!
Superman: Twice.
Mr. Mxyzptlk: You were just toying with me! Even from the start!
Superman: Pretty much, yeah.
Mr. Mxyzptlk: Never had you fooled for a second?
Superman: Sorry.
Mr. Mxyzptlk: You are the superior being after all!
Superman: Well...
Mr. Mxyzptlk: And now I'm gone... Gone forever!
(He disappears)
Superman: Whew!



Previously produced episode:
"Identity Crisis"
Episodes of
Superman: The Animated Series
Next produced episode:
"Speed Demons"
Previously aired episode:
"Target"
Next aired episode:
"Action Figures"

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