“Fun and Games”
Written by Robert N. Skir and Marty Isenberg
Directed by Kazuhide Tomonaga
“Fun and Games”, the third episode of Superman: The Animated Series follows in a path similar to that of Batman: The Animated Series, but departs in one significant way; nearly every episode of Superman is direct and features a major villain from the comics whereas many episodes of Batman were characterized with a little more originality in story telling. I love Superman: The Animated Series and it’s my choice over Batman: The Animated Series. Yet, there is nothing that will keep me from denying the brilliance of Batman: TAS, along with the longevity of its run and of how many episodes are regarded as true animation classics. However, Alan Burnett, Paul Dini, and Bruce Timm produced a faithful series for the Man of Steel and because of not only their respect to the same approach to each iconic character, but a challenge to always create true moving art, Superman: The Animated Series holds up in a remarkable way.
The Toyman is the featured villain in “Fun and Games” and in rewatching this episode, especially after watching The Toyman episode of Supergirl a few weeks back, it’s amazing to see how much of an impact Superman: The Animated Series has had on the character’s mythos. CBS’ Supergirl stars Jeremy Jordan as Winslow Schott Jr. and Henry Czerny played his father, The Toyman, in the episode “Childish Things.” When Jordan was originally cast, it was puzzling that we’d be getting Winslow Schott as an employee of CatCo and friend/possible lover of Kara Danvers/Supergirl (Melissa Benoist). Fans were left wondering if maybe his unrequited love and possible obsession with Supergirl would eventually lead him to becoming The Toyman, but veteran actor Henry Czerny was eventually cast as Schott Sr. aka The Toyman. But, in watching Superman: The Animated Series “Fun and Games” episode, something very interesting is revealed. We’re led to believe that Winslow Schott is The Toyman, but near the end, it’s revealed that Schott died in prison and that his son, Schott Jr., is The Toyman! Could it still be possible that Jeremy Jordan will eventually become The Toyman?
Robert N. Skir and Marty Isenberg’s script for “Fun and Games” is, no pun intended, a lot of fun. It’s Superman! It should be after all. Superman: The Animated Series is known for three things, 1) It’s big, bright, and colorful in a way that’s supposed to capture the hopefulness and optimism of his world; 2) Superman gets beaten up… a lot! The producers wanted to limit his powers so the audience could believe he could be killed; and 3) Superman: The Animated Series was one of the last shows to depict guns in animation and one of the first series to kill off a major character. More on that later in the series.
With all that said, Skir and Isenberg deliver the first major episode to feature Tim Daly as Superman from beginning to end. He saves and then apprehends thugs working for Bruno Manheim, the leader of Intergang, and he gets knocked around by The Toyman and his toys. At the end of “Fun and Games”, Superman rescues a captured Lois Lane, saves Bruno Manheim from impending death, and outflies an explosion. All in a day’s work!
Superman: The Animated Series is one of the best Superman productions and it has an undeniable appeal. Even if you aren’t the biggest fan of the Man of Steel, it’s hard to walk away not loving the granddaddy of all super heroes. The voice cast, always excellent, captures the voices of these enduring characters and I stand by Tim Daly being the best Superman! Also, the series features a marvelous score. I have the album set and it’s available on La-La-Land Records.
“Fun and Games” gets five stars. Stay tuned for more Superman: The Animated Series and be sure to check out my review of “The Last Son of Krypton” Parts I, II, and III.