Talkin’ Nerdy: The Plight of Lila Test
Hello and welcome to a new segment on Twinsanity: Talkin’ Nerdy, where we take a cartoon character or trope and devote far too much attention to it. Why do we do this? Because we’re huge geeks. Why else?
Today I’m going to discuss the situation concerning one of the supporting characters on Cartoon Network’s Johnny Test, a series that’s like a zombie that refuses to stay dead. Now, I’ve already stated my opinions on JT in an article during the early days of Twinsanity (back when it was still called Astral City) titled “What’s Eating Johnny Test”, and anyone who remembers that article already knows how I feel about the show; I think that Test is a better idea than a show and I think that Johnny himself is the worst part of his own show because he’s a selfish jerky Bart Simpson wanna be. No, I won’t be talking about how much I think that Johnny sucks. Rather, I’ll be talking about his mother, Lila.
Lila is one of my favorite characters on JT, and I dislike how sometimes the writers seem as though they forget that she exists at all. I get that Lila is the “super busy” mom and that the Test house is role reversed (I actually like this idea, in fact) and that it’s the mom, rather than the dad who has the job and who works during the day, therefore sometimes the writers can use her being at work as an excuse for her to not be at home, and I’m OK with that. My problem is the other times where logically, Lila should be around, but will still be inexplicably absent. For example, in the episodes “Johnny’s Sleepover”, “Johnny’s Big Snow Job”, “Johnny’s Trophy Case”, “Johnny Germ Fighter” and “Outdoor Johnny”, Lila doesn’t appear, or even get a casual mention, which annoys me greatly. Lila never appears on screen in season 1’s “Saturday Night’s all Right for Johnny”, but she was mentioned a few times, particularly in Hugh’s love speech to Johnny, indicating that she was indeed home, just off camera. She’s not present at the Porkbelly World Record ceremony in “Johnny’s World Record” and she’s even a no-show at Johnny’s going away party in “99 Deeds for Johnny Test”. It makes it look like she doesn’t give a frag. Basically, it’s as though Johnny Test‘s writers made Lila a workaholic so they can say that they have a mom in the Test family without actually having her there most of the time.
The biggest blunder of all has to be the half hour 3rd season finale “JX5”. In this story, Darth Vegan and his forces invade the planet Earth. The invasion is broadcast on live TV and there still no sign or mention of Lila whatsoever! Where the heck was Lila during all of this? There’s no way that Lila was just having a normal day at work when the entire flipping planet was facing imminent doom! The invasion had nationwide news coverage, fer cryin’ out loud! If just once, Johnny or 1 of the Twins had mentioned their mom just once instead of temporarily forgetting that they even have a mom, then I might have cut this episode some slack, but as since “JX5” almost seemed like it was intended as a possible series finale and the writers managed to find parts so many other supporting and recurring characters (including a plot hiccup where Hugh gets frozen by Brain Freezer and then he never shows up again nor is he even referred to by anyone else for the rest of the episode, thus leaving us to wonder for months whether or not he was murdered*), for Lila not to make a single appearance or even get a mention by anyone was unforgivably lazy.
I’m not suggesting that Test‘s writers change the shows’ focus and make it Lila’s show or anything, but Lila is a member of the Test family and she does live in the same house as Johnny, the Twins, Dukey and Hugh. It would just be nice if they would acknowledge the character’s existence more than once in a while. She doesn’t have to be prominently featured in every story. She doesn’t even have to have dialogue in all of her appearances. Just have here there sitting around or doing something so that the character’s existence can be acknowledged. But I’d rather Lila be there and not do much than not be there at all. I’d just prefer it if the character would show up, even in brief cameos, than not show up at all.
*It was just like in the 3rd season finale of The Powerpuff Girls titled “Slumbering With the Enemy” where Mojo Jojo steals a conveniently placed bottle of “Antidote X” from Professor Utonium’s lab (begging the question of why the Prof should happen to have that in the house) and takes away the girls’ powers and then they don’t get them back at the end of the episode, so for the next 3 months, we were left wondering what was going to happen to the PPGs and then the new season starts with no mention of the previous episode’s events. It’e like that. I’m just saying that it can bug a guy.