At least 60% of my childhood was made up of cartoons. I can still quote certain episodes of Spongebob and Dexter’s Lab with 100% accuracy. Actually, plenty more shows than that, but those two seem to stick out.
Many people have forgotten about “Ozzy and Drix”, the serialized follow-up to “Osmosis Jones”, but I haven’t. Well, I mostly have, but there is one episode which stuck out to me so much when I was in middle school that I remember it to this day.
“Ozzy and Drix”, for those unfamiliar with the “Osmosis Jones” universe, is about a white blood cell and a cold pill who work together as private investigators in an adolescent boy’s body. It’s sort of clever, but ultimately forgettable.
Anyway, I remembered there being an episode about Jones being stranded outside of his home body, and ending up in the body of a young girl. Throughout this episode, he would turn pink (from blue) and start “acting like a girl”, and the conflict came once he realized he would become a permanently female cell if he didn’t make his way back to his own body in time.
I found the episode, titled “Out of Body Experience”. It ended up being a two-parter, and I forced my way through all 50 or so minutes of it. My God, what a weird experience.
First of all, I immediately remembered that I wanted to be the girl in the episode. Repression is a crazy thing, because I know I never consciously acknowledged that feeling, but I definitely remember exactly what it felt like a decade and a half later.
More importantly, though, this episode was a shocking look at how far we have come as far as sexuality and gender are concerned. People lament the “good ole days” when people could say whatever horrible thing they wanted without fear of harassment, but my God that was the most misogynistic thing I have ever watched. First off, Jones exhibits all of the tired old tropes of both the “flamboyant gay man” and the “weak woman”. In every scene, if he’s not looking at himself in a mirror, he is crying. There is also a scene where he needs to ride a motorcycle for some reason while in (literal) girl-mode, and he just weeps and cries about how he can’t. Literally, the only person this episode is not designed to offend is a straight cisgender male.
Mostly, though, I just remember how that episode made me feel all those years ago: straight up confusion about why Jones would want to stay in the girl body, and a deep sadness I was unable to express about not being afforded the same choice to do so myself.