"Mxyzpixilated" is the eighth episode of the second season of Superman: The Animated Series, and the 21st of the overall 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.
It's another typical day in Metropolis with Superman flying overhead. Suddenly, an odd little man walks through the middle of traffic calling for someone named McGurk and causing 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 fine, 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 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 casually assure him that there's nothing wrong, but then 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 demands they be turned back. Mr. Mxyzptlk turns them into a parody of "American Gothic" and explains that he's been tormenting humans for centuries, before growing bored of it. When Superman showed up, however, he found in him a real challenge. When he 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 gets him reveals his name backwards, he'll leave for three months. Superman tricks him into saying his name backwards: Kyltpzyxm (kill-tip-zee-zim). Things go back to normal and his parents have no idea what happened.
Mr. Mxyzptlk shows up in another three months, but Clark easily tricks him and sends him back. He shows up in yet another three months and once again gets sent back, this time spelling his name backwards, allowing Clark to see what it is.
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 him. 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, followed by the entire staff turning into animals with Jimmy being turned into a turtle and Perry into a walrus, then the rest of staff turned into a variety of animals. Mr. Mxyzptlk shows up and feeds Lois a carrot. Clark asks what he needs to do to get rid of him forever. Mr. Mxyzptlk says that this time, Clark will have to get him to reveal his name backwards twice in a row. Clark, sick of these games, decides to quit. Mr. Mxyzptlk threatens to leave his 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 back to the fifth 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, but not before turning a statue of Superman into a cymbal-banging toy monkey.
Home video releases
- Superman: The Animated Series, Volume Two (DVD)
- Superman: The Complete Animated Series (DVD)
- Superman: Doomsday (2DVD, Blu-ray only)
- 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.
- 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:
- Dini the Meanie, while named after and starring Paul Dini, is based on Dennis the Menace and Calvin and Hobbes. "Bill Wemissu" is a reference to Bill Watterson, the creator of Calvin and Hobbes, who retired in 1995 (hence the "We Miss You").
- Gleen is based on Peanuts, starring Shane Glines and Glen Murakami.
- Dan Danger is based on Dick Tracy, starring Dan Riba.
- Zub Street is allegedly a piece of critique by Bruce Timm on the then-current drawing style of comics.
- Miks-il-plik is the pronunciation of "Mxyzptlk" used in Super Friends.
- When Mr. Mxyzptlk is explaining to Clark how his name is pronounced, he produces a record with the word "Yezz" on the cover, in a style similar to that of British progressive rock band Yes.
- This episode takes place over a period of one year and 2 days, the second longest time period of any episode of the series, behind "The Last Son of Krypton, Part II".
- 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.
- The music that plays during the montage of Mxyzptlk building his robot is a parody of Powerhouse, the instrumental composed by Raymond Scott and popularly known as the 'Assembly Line' theme in several classic Looney Tunes shorts.
- When Gsptlsnz tries posing for Mxy in different outfits, one of her poses is a reference to famous model Betty Grable and her iconic 'over-the-shoulder' pose that became a popular pin-up durin WWII.
- 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.
- Lois being transformed into a horse is a reference to an issue of Superman's Girlfriend Lois Lane in which she was transformed into a centaur, and then into a full horse by an evil wizard.
|Tim Daly||Superman/Clark Kent|
|Dana Delany||Lois Lane|
|David Kaufman||Jimmy Olsen|
|Shelley Fabares||Martha Kent|
|Mike Farrell||Jonathan Kent|
|Frank Welker||Evil Creatures|
|Gilbert Gottfried||Mr. Mxyzptlk|
Superman: A game has rules. Your stunts are just random idiocy.
Mr. Mxyzptlk: Hi guy! Your three months are up, and this time you're not gonna cheat me out of my fun!
Mr. Mxyzptlk: Ha-ha! You think you're pretty smart, don't you?
Lois: Don't you look happy. What's wrong? Bad news?