The Life and Times of Juniper Lee
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|The Life and Times of Juniper Lee|
|Created by||Judd Winick|
|Directed by||Frank Squillace|
|Theme music composer||Stewart Copeland|
|Opening theme||"You Can't Stop the Girl"|
|Country of origin||United States|
|No. of seasons||3|
|No. of episodes||40 (list of episodes)|
|Executive producer(s)||Judd Winick|
|Running time||22 minutes|
|Production company(s)||Cartoon Network Studios|
|Original network||Cartoon Network|
|Original release||May 30, 2005– April 9, 2007|
The Life and Times of Juniper Lee is an American animated television series, created by former MTV reality star Judd Winick and produced by Cartoon Network Studios. It premiered on Cartoon Network on May 30, 2005, and ended its run on April 9, 2007. The show currently reruns on Boing in Nigeria, South Africa and France and Boomerang in Thailand.
The series centers on the life of a preteen girl named Juniper Lee, who lives in Orchid Bay City. Based on Winick's adopted hometown of San Francisco, California, the city is a hub for magical activity and is filled with various monsters and demons, both good and evil. The magic and human worlds have been separated by a magical barrier, known as "The Veil," which prevents ordinary humans from seeing any magic-related events or the creatures related to them. Juniper has recently been made the new Te Xuan Ze, the protector and the keeper of the balance between the human and magic worlds. To accomplish her task, she has been magically enhanced, making her far stronger and faster than ordinary humans. She can also use various kinds of magic to assist her. Maintaining the balance often interferes with her personal life, including her schoolwork and her social life, but she always manages to keep everything flowing. The show has a fairly campy and lighthearted take on the genre, often makes fun of itself, and rarely seems to take itself seriously.
Interviewer: We've touched on just about everything else, so hit us with the high concept. Sum up the show for us… Judd: I’m sounding like a broken record, but it's kind of like Buffy the Vampire Slayer meets The Simpsons. That's the simplest way to put it. At the end of the day, it's about a little girl who fights monsters. There's a rather massive backstory to the whole thing, which really provides a spine to build from. I've only tapped into it a little in the show, but for me, knowing it's there is important. The show needs a spine, and needs a place to work from...
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Juniper "June" Lee
Juniper Lee (voiced by Lara Jill Miller) is the main character of the series. This 11-year-old Chinese-American short tempered girl lives in Orchid Bay City, and is the current Te Xuan Ze. Juniper is relatively uneducated in the world of magic, mostly relying on brute force, a real talent for insults, and the advice of her grandmother, Ah-Mah, and her enchanted dog, Monroe, to defeat her foes. She has long black hair, and after she inherits the powers of the Te Xuan Ze, a lock of hair on the left side changes to pure white from root to end (Juniper's grandmother Jasmine, the former Te Xuan Ze, has the same stripe in her hair) and Juniper later dyes this reddish-pink. The juniper flower symbolizes protection, referring to Juniper's role as the Te Xuan Ze, protecting others. She wishes to go to astronaut camp, but cannot because she can't leave Orchid Bay City while she is the Te Xuan Ze until another member of her family is chosen. She's also hoping for a breathtaking romance with her close friend Marcus Conner.
Jasmine Lee, or "Ah-Mah" (Chinese: 阿嬤; pinyin: Ā-mā; literally: "grandma", voiced by Amy Hill) as Juniper calls her, is Juniper's grandmother, and the previous Te Xuan Ze. Many in the magical world consider her to be the greatest Te Xuan Ze ever. Calm and deliberate in most respects but crude and tough when she needs to be, the 69-year-old gives June advice on dealing with the magical community and their expectations of her, and assists her when she is in serious trouble. As of the "Monster Con" episode, Ah-Mah was shown to still possess a significant amount of magically-enhanced speed and strength, though her stamina and durability are severely diminished (in comparison to her granddaughter who has superhuman strength) to the point of being unable to stand unassisted after two to three minutes of combat (this is because of her old age). This supports her assertion in the first episode - that it was no longer her place to act as Te Xuan Ze - and is pragmatic, in the sense that it prevents June from shirking her responsibilities. In "Little Big Mah", she claims that she knows about 26 different styles of hand-to-hand combat, and that she hasn't been to China for 40 years (as Roxanne: "I haven't been to China in 40 years! Uh, I mean weeks. For weeks."). Younger Jasmine is depicted with a purple streak in her hair, instead of the usual magenta Te Xuan Ze streak.
Ray Ray Lee
Ray Ray Lee (voiced by Kath Soucie) is Juniper's hyperactive 8-year-old dimwitted little brother. Like Juniper, Ray Ray can see through the magic barrier, though this is not a naturally-occurring ability. In the episodes after "Star Quality", he is occasionally seen watching monster TV. When Juniper first gained her powers, a group of demons attempted to drain her powers. Ray Ray unwittingly intervened, causing some of her powers to transfer to him, as seen in "Adventures in Babysitting". Whether or not he'll gain other powers similar to hers remains to be seen, as Ah-Mah has implied that he may over time.
He is hyperactive and careless, has crazy hair, and often gets himself into trouble when dealing with the magic world. Ray Ray is often over-eager in regards to the magic world, finding every single event involving it, no matter how bad or ominous, to be "cooool." A recurring joke about him is that asks if he has ever run out of energy, where someone would say, "but there's always a first time." He also has a sibling rivalry relationship with Juniper, although it is often seen that he cares for her deeply. Since episode "Feets too big", he has a crush on Lila, the Sasquatch. In the episodes after "O Brother, What Art Thou?", Ray Ray is a homunculus, his mind having been transferred to an artificial body after accidentally mutating his original body into a massive dinosaur by ingesting the growth potion that was supposed to make a giant grow back to his proper size. In "Meet the Parent", Monroe states that Ray Ray has a bladder control problem, though this has never been confirmed, save in "The World According to LARP" when Juniper said that he wet his pants on the jungle gym once, and again in "Dream Date" where he has trouble making it to the bathroom after drinking punch. Since he is very young still, it is probable he will outgrow these tendencies. In "Te Xuan Me", where after Juniper was erased from knowledge he took up being the Te Xuan Ze, and being particularly skilled at his position, even earning Monroe's praise. However, after everything was set back to normal, Ray Ray started to study in magic spells as a way to help his sister in future battles.
Monroe Connery Boyd Carlyle McGregor Scott V (Monroe for short, voiced by Carlos Alazraqui) is an enchanted pug that speaks with a Scottish accent. He is quite educated in the world of magic, having been alive for several centuries and assisting each Te Xuan Ze for nearly that entire time. Despite his knowledge, his ability to actually use magic or magical devices is fairly limited, due to his lack of grasping hands or opposable thumbs (according to Ray Ray, he uses this as an excuse for everything). Monroe has been magically enhanced, allowing him to be understood by those who can see through the magic barrier. Anyone else listening to him will only hear barking. He is also lactose intolerant.
Dennis Lee (voiced by Alexander Polinsky) is Juniper's grumpy, cynical older brother who does not take June or Ray Ray seriously and usually calls them names. He loves manga and video games and does not like anyone touching his stuff. In "Not in my Backyard", it is revealed that Dennis never gives June a turn in his video games (he says if monkeys fly out of his butt, she will have a turn, which will never happen). Also, when he saw that Ray-Ray got one of his comics books, he didn't like it at all. In "The World According to L.A.R.P.", he's been known to take stuff out of June's room, which annoys her. In "Sealed With a Fist", Dennis has grown to trust June after they work together with Boomfist and the heroic team of H.A.T.E. (Heroes Against Terrible Evildoers) to defeat the villainous team of L.O.V.E. (League of Villainous Evildoers).
Jody Irwin (voiced by Colleen O'Shaughnessey) is Juniper's best friend and usually the happiest of the group. She tries her best to cheer the group, even in the most ridiculous of ways. June tries her best not to disappoint Jody, but, being Te Xuan Ze, she ends up doing so but Jody forgives her.
Ophelia Ramírez (voiced by Candi Milo) is one of Juniper's friends. She is a gothic, grouchy, cynical girl with pinkish-purple colored hair and Hispanic descendancy. She doesn't like a lot of stuff and especially hates Roger (in fact, at some nights, Ophelia has nightmares that she's dating Roger). When she is in charge, she wants everything done perfectly and usually has Roger doing something ridiculous.
Roger Radcliffe (voiced by Tara Strong) is one of Juniper's friends and the school's clown, he wears a gangsta rapper costume, is a Brit raised in America and constantly asks Ophelia to go on a date, which she refuses. He's been known to imitate really famous people or songs in the most crude and ridiculous of ways, as in "Enter Sandman" when he was doing arm farts to New World Symphony No. 9, and in "It's the Great Pumpkin, Juniper Lee" where he was dressed up as a combination of a werewolf, a robot, and Abraham Lincoln. His family is eventually revealed to be wealthy, but he has never even come close to becoming spoiled due to his cheerful personality.
Awards and nominations
- Brady, Matt (2005-05-27). "JUDD WINICK TALKS JUNIPER LEE". Newsarama. Archived from the original on September 29, 2007. Retrieved 2007-03-14.
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