American Dragon: Jake Long features one of the coolest animated appearances of The Jersey Devil. Season 1 Episode 12 “The Lost Weekend,”aired in 2005. Unfortunately, The Disney Channel cancelled American Dragon: Jake Long in 2007, but the episodes are available on iTunes. The animated Jersey Devil looked less threatening than usual, but still as ominous as it can get for a cartoon geared toward young kids.
Jake is a teenage skater kid from New York City who has the ability to turn into a dragon to fight evil creatures. I’ve seen the show before on Toon Disney, but never watched a complete episode until now. I was surprised by how much fun ‘The Lost Weekend” was. It brought me back to the days of watching cartoons on Saturday mornings as a kid. Much of the dialogue was cheesy, but I can’t expect Tarantino here.
Jakes dad Jonathan was a leader of the Cougar Cubs, and he wants to relive some of those times by bringing Jake and his 2 friends camping in the woods of New Jersey. Punning it up with word play like tents and tense, Jonathan was the classic goofy dad who has no idea that he’s in a family of dragons.
There are some moments where the show is clever and other times its totally cliche. For instance, in a joke that was probably lost on the youthful demographic, Jake tells his dad that he doesn’t want to take part in singing during the car trip because “public domain songs make me nauseous.” Jake fears he’d embarrass his friends if he did, but they joined in and belted out the songs with Jakes dad. Jake’s friend Spud is basically the Jeff Spicoli of the crew. In a most stonerrific scene, we see Spud trying his best to muster up the will power to deny himself another S’more, but he gives up and shoves it down the hatch anyway.
Their other friend, Trixie, is completely annoying. Her whiny voice grated on me the entire show, especially when she attempted rapping. It didn’t help that she uttered stereotypical lines like “home girls don’t hold it” after finding out there is no bathroom in the woods.
A bunch of fairies summon Jake in hopes he can help defend their village. Once every hundred years “a great evil” appears from the woods and terrorizes their land for 7 straight nights. That great evil they referred to was The Jersey Devil! The stars also tell them that a great hero will show up to defeat the great evil.
The face off between The Jersey Devil vs. Jake Long ruins Jakes fathers camping trip that he was so excited about. Jake and the fairies fortify the village with traps Kevin McCallister style, while Trixie and Spud actually get the true camping experience with Jakes dad. Even after hearing Trixie deliver antiquated phrases like “this breakfast is OFF THE CHAIN,” I still enjoyed it. I’ll go so far as to say that I was even moderately entertained by the ridiculous subplot involving Jakes mom and sister mistakenly going to a weight loss camp rather than a spa. There are worse ways to spend time with the Jersey Devil, and we’ll be taking a look at them in future posts!