(Re)Animations: Earthworm Jim (1995)

Before there was Freakazoid!, there was Earthwom “Muthaf*cking” Jim.

Whether he was just under-developed or simply under-appreciated, Doug TenNapel‘s EARTHWORM JIM is, to this day, one of the best concepts for a superhero – EVER. Long overdo for a comeback and fondly remembered as one of the better Genesis-era video game heroes, Earthwork Jim began life as a run-of-the-mill worm before being endowed with a super suit that transformed him into a cross between Jim Carrey and Bruce Campbell.

It was appropriate then, assuming that neither of these actors were available, that it would fall to Dan Castellaneta (Homer Simpson himself) to bring that persona to life when the character made his move to television in the mid-90s. A performance that could only be compared to Paul Rugg as Freakazoid!, which premiered the same month as Earthworm Jim in September 1995. And although Freakazoid!’s run lasted a year longer, I have to say the Earthwom Jim was by far the more entertaining of the two shows.

The reasoning behind the show’s cancellation was never revealed, as too often is the case, but there were two full seasons that aired. Each episode was chock full of absurd, surreal humor that went far enough beyond your typical “fart joke” to make it funny enough for both kids and adults. The only downside was that every storyline was more or less the same; each involving someone trying to either conquer the universe, steal Jim’s super suit, or kidnap Princess What’s-Her-Name. Of course, the diversity (and sheer insanity) of the cast kept things from getting too boring.

Unfortunately, very few copies of the series exist online (thanks to NBC Universal censorship) and the only legit DVD collection is for a Region outside the US. Hopefully someday the show will get the recognition it deserves, if even just a burn-on-demand option courtesy of Amazon.

Written by Rondal

Rondal is the Editor-in-Chief of Strange Kids Club and a creative instigator who tackles each day with Red Bull-induced enthusiasm and a mind for adventure. Rondal has written for other sites including Rue Morgue, Fuel Your Illustration and Bloodsprayer. His obsession with horror movies, 80s animation and action figures is considered unhealthy by medical professionals.

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  • Oh, I loved Earthworm Jim! There was some rumbling there for awhile that Jim was supposed to make a comeback with both a new game AND cartoon, but that’s all gone uneasily silent. 🙁

  • LaDracul

    Hmm, I don’t know about it being funnier than “Freakazoid”… It WAS funny, even had Andrea Martin in it as the villain… But the most recent example of Ten Napel’s humor I found was his version of “Rumpelstiltskin” which was in a collection called “Fractured Fables”. (Which had a very stupid girl getting help from an imp who wanted her baby…and then tries to trick her into taking it back due to the trouble he was having with the car seat… 🙂 )

    • Rondal

      It’s a close call, but I think (at least for me) having Castellaneta Earthworm Jim helped put it over the top.

      I’ll have to check out that ‘Rumpelstiltskin’ story… have you read his Ratfist webcomic at all?

      • LaDracul

        Actually, I have not…thanks for the recommendation. 🙂