"Superman's Pal" is the eighth episode of the third season of Superman: The Animated Series, and the 49th of the overall series. It depicts the problems Jimmy faces when Angela Chen dubs him "Superman's Pal" on TV. Now people are flooding to him asking for favors and looking for the chance to meet Superman. When Jimmy realizes that this can help him gather the attention of a girl he's interested in, he soon finds that she's allied with one of Superman's deadliest enemies.
It's another day in the Daily Planet and the new intern Tina walks around with her excessive jewelry clanking. Jimmy watches her with desire and tells Clark that though he has asked her out she's rejected him twice. A TV newscast shows that there's a car chase just outside the building and Jimmy goes to take pictures, while Clark sneaks off to become Superman.
Superman easily apprehends the fleeing truck, but Angela Chen tells her pilot to get lower, as she "wants a better shot". Her helicopter crashes into another, causing it to crash into a bridge. Superman manages to get the helicopter to safety, but the bridge starts to collapse. Superman tells Jimmy to get the crew out of the helicopter while he fixes the bridge. After the chaos is over, Superman refuses to give Angela a statement and thanks Jimmy for his help. Angela, looking to cover for her lost footage, asks Jimmy for an interview. He politely refuses, claiming he wouldn't be comfortable, nor would really call himself a close friend of Superman.
Later, a newscast shows Angela interviewing Jimmy. However, the interview has been edited so that when Angela asks about Jimmy's relationship to Superman, it appears that he's saying that he and Superman are friends. Angela then claims that Jimmy is Superman's pal. Tina then follows after Jimmy and asks him out, much to his delight. Shortly afterward, people start to call Jimmy "Superman's pal", and he is given a free meal at a fancy restaurant. Jimmy talks to Tina about Superman and takes credit for a lot of things he didn't do. While Jimmy talks, he discovers the downside of being called Superman's pal. A group of thugs recognize him and attack to get back at Superman. Tina calls for Superman's help and he comes to save Jimmy. Superman tells Tina that he does see him as a friend, but Jimmy should clear up the "pal stuff".
The next day, Jimmy tries to get Angela to take back the story, but she refuses. People start to ask Jimmy for favors, such as giving Superman a thank-you note, inviting him to a party, getting him to do commercials, asking him to attend charity dinners, and having people turn down their music. He is also chased by a large group of girls who are more interested in meeting Superman than Jimmy himself. Tina shows up and helps Jimmy escape.
Tina takes Jimmy to a junkyard where she reveals her real love: Metallo, who is angry with her for bringing him Jimmy rather than Lois. Tina assures him that Jimmy's just as good. Jimmy tries to escape in Tina's car, but the keys are gone and she uses a magnet to drop him into the car masher. The masher is activated, but the car is crushed only enough to trap Jimmy inside, not to hurt him.
Clark overhears a distress call from Tina and heads off to the junkyard. Jimmy tries to warn Superman, but it's too late. Metallo ambushes Superman and pummels him. Jimmy manages to escape the car and confronts Tina, but her fighting skills are much greater than his. However, Jimmy manages to lock her in a closet and activates the magnet, capturing Metallo and dropping him into the masher. Metallo manages to escape and fights Superman some more, but Jimmy manages to get Metallo to fall in. The masher is activated and Superman keeps Metallo inside.
At first, it seems that Metallo has been defeated, but he soon emerges unscathed and hits Superman with Kryptonite rays. Jimmy picks up a car battery and hurls the acid at Metallo. While Metallo's body is unharmed, the Kryptonite falls out of his chest and he falls in after it, but does not re-emerge.
Later, Superman counsels Jimmy and then gives him a watch that can release a distress signal should he ever get into trouble again.
- Angela Chen puts her own spin on several of Jimmy's past encounters with Superman:
- She credits him with saving Superman from the Parasite, in "Feeding Time", which is true; and from Luminus, in "Solar Power", which is not.
- She also mentions him going undercover to crack Intergang's connection to Apokolips in "Little Girl Lost, Part I", but inaccurately states that Jimmy did so at Superman's request.
- In Justice League, "Only A Dream, Part II", Superman has a nightmare that his powers grow beyond his control and people are now fleeing from him in terror, except his "pal", Jimmy.
- Jimmy uses the signal watch in "A Fish Story" when a ship he is on is attacked by a killer whale. He still has it in the Justice League Unlimited episode "Question Authority", when Huntress kidnaps him and uses it to summon Superman for a private meeting.
Home video releases
- Superman: The Animated Series, Volume Three (DVD)
- Superman: The Complete Animated Series (DVD)
- Superman Super-Villains: Metallo (DVD)
- There are a few moments where Jimmy Olsen's eyebrows change from black to orange.
- When Jimmy listens to the man telling him about a time when Superman saved him from a sinking boat, his irises go invisible, revealing the background of buildings behind him as he walks.
- When Superman flies out the window of Perry White's office, it can be seen that when Lois Lane holds up her skirt so that her underwear cann't be seen, her skirt goes through her hands.
- Final appearance of Metallo in the series. He reappears in the Justice League episode "Hereafter" and Justice League Unlimited episode "Chaos at the Earth's Core".
- Jimmy does have a Superman Signal watch in the comics. In the Silver Age, it was a gift from Superman. However, in the Post-Crisis comics, he made it himself rather than Superman giving it to him.
- "Superman's Pal" was a series of Olsen-centric comics during the Silver Age. Several of them featured Olsen gaining superpowers.
- Bruce Timm has referred to this episode as one of the worst of the series (and of the entire DCAU), most notably on the third DVD collection of the series, albeit with a quick compliment to David Kaufman on his performance as Jimmy.
- The musical score used during Jimmy's montage is reused from The New Batman Adventures episode "Joker's Millions", when the Joker had a similar montage.
|Tim Daly||Superman/Clark Kent|
|Dana Delany||Lois Lane|
|David Kaufman||Jimmy Olsen|
|Lauren Tom||Angela Chen|
|Larry Cedar||Restaurant Owner|
|David Walsh||Captain Croissant|
|John Mariano||Short Order Cook|
|Charles Rocket||Used Car Salesman|
|Melissa Disney||College Girl|
Lois: (After her skirt is caught by the wind) I've gotta start wearing pants.