This X-Men Villain Is a Parody of TV Executives

Movies


The Big Picture

  • Mojo’s concept parodies TV executives focused on ratings over quality.
  • Mojo was a recurring villain in
    X-Men:
    The Animated Series
    with meta commentaries.
  • In
    X-Men ’97
    , Mojo evolves into the video game industry, retaining ’90s aesthetics.


Episode 4 of X-Men ’97, titled “Motendo/Lifedeath – Part 1,” was the kind of fun that only a 1990s-inspired cartoon could bring, featuring the return of one of X-Men: The Animated Series‘ wackiest villains, Mojo (David Errigo Jr.). For Jubilee’s (Holly Chou) 18th birthday, he pulls her and Sunspot (Gui Agustini) into a wild adventure inside a videogame, and they have to figure out how to beat the game in order to return to the real world. As trippy and quirky as Mojo is, though, he is a parody of a very real—and rather troublesome—part of the entertainment industry, making him one of the best meta-commentaries in the X-Men series.


X-Men ’97

A band of mutants use their uncanny gifts to protect a world that hates and fears them; they’re challenged like never before, forced to face a dangerous and unexpected new future.

Release Date
March 20, 2024

Cast
Jennifer Hale , Cal Dodd , Chris Potter , Catherine Disher , Adrian Hough , Ray Chase , Lenore Zann

Seasons
2

Number of Episodes
10

Streaming Service(s)
Disney+

Franchise(s)
X-Men


Mojo Is a Parody of TV Executives in the X-Men Comics and Series

Mojo was originally created by writer, Ann Nocenti, and artist, Art Adams, in the 1980s for the Longshot comics. He’s the ruler of a parallel dimension called Mojoverse, where beings are addicted to watching television, with Mojo ruling the realm by creating action-packed shows and programs. In the original comics, he gets Longshot (voiced by Rod Wilson in X-Men: The Animated Series) to star, since Longshot’s abilities consist of being extremely lucky, so he can pull off every stunt imaginable. As a character, though, Mojo is one of the sharpest commentaries that the X-Men comics and series have on the entertainment industry.


Mojo’s entire concept is a parody of television executives: people who are concerned solely with numbers and ratings instead of the quality of the programming. Many executives have been known to interfere with television out of concern for ratings, like when Bob Iger ordered the reveal of Laura Palmer’s (Sheryl Lee) killer in Twin Peaks just because he was impatient, and made the whole series terrible afterward. Mojo works the same way, disregarding essential concepts such as plot and narrative and focusing instead on action, pay-off, and shock because it draws bigger numbers and, therefore, makes more money—or, in his case, power. If a show isn’t giving good ratings, he freaks out, cancels the entire thing, and gets something else in its place, which is usually not all that different from the canceled show. He even comes up with parodies of shows like, I Dream of Jeannie, but makes it action-based because he thinks that it’s better. Longshot is usually the star, but Mojo also poaches beings from other dimensions, using the X-Men as some of his favorite subjects.


His appearance is important to understand the concept behind him. Mojo is an alien of a species known as “the Spineless Ones,” who can’t move by themselves and need to either be carried or use technology. He is large, his hair is made of power wires, and he wears an apparatus that keeps his eyes open at all times, like the ones used to torture Alex DeLarge (Malcolm McDowell) in A Clockwork Orange. The message behind his looks is that we consume the content he creates, but don’t like to see who’s really behind it, as he is a very disturbing sight, like greed personified.

Mojo Was a Recurring Villain in ‘X-Men: The Animated Series’


Mojo’s greatest appearances weren’t in the comics, but in his favorite medium: television. Mojo (Peter Wildman) became a recurring villain in X-Men: The Animated Series, and his debut is one of the wildest episodes in the series. In “Mojovision,” he kidnaps the X-Men after having a falling out with his greatest star, Longshot. Following this, he uses the televisions in the real world to kidnap Cyclops (Norm Spencer), Jean Grey (Catherine Disher), Wolverine (Cal Dodd), Storm (Alison Sealy-Smith), Beast (George Buza), and Rogue (Lenore Zann), taking them to Mojoverse.

The team is then separated into pairs, with Cyclops and Storm starring in a Miami Vice spoof called, Miami Mutants, as Rogue and Beast star in a sci-fi show. Jean Grey and Wolverine are in an I Dream of Jeannie parody called, I Dream of Jean. Despite their quirky premises, all three shows are focused only on action and zero plot, making the ratings rise to “numbers mathematicians never heard of,” according to Mojo. However, Longshot gets jealous of the attention and teams up with Mojo’s programmer, Spiral (Cynthia Belliveau), to sabotage the broadcast. Everyone in the audience immediately loses interest and starts reading books, which is unacceptable to Mojo. Spiral then frees the X-Men and sends them back to their own dimension.


Related

Who Is the Adversary From ‘X-Men ’97’?

Wait, who’s the evil bird?

In another episode, “Longshot,” the titular hero tries to escape Mojoverse onto Earth, but is chased by Mojo and Major Domo (Wildman). He is rescued by Wolverine and Jubilee (Alyson Court), but a huge skirmish ensues and, in the end, Longshot and Mojo decide to continue their skirmish back in Mojoverse. Whenever Mojo shows up, though, a ton of references and meta-commentaries are made, like how he pokes fun at Wolverine’s crush on Jean Grey and how he thinks that action gets the audience’s attention.

Mojo’s Role in ‘X-Men ‘97’ Is a Natural Evolution of His Plot in ‘X-Men: The Animated Series’


If in X-Men: The Animated Series, Mojo was a TV producer, in X-Men ’97, he took things a step further and expanded his business into video games. Jubilee gets a Motendo (“Mojo” + “Nintendo”) console, which looks exactly like the Super Nintendo from the early 1990s. The cartridge inserted is even a nod to the X-Men: Mutant Apocalypse SNES game, but, fortunately, Jubilee doesn’t have to blow on it for it to work (the struggle was real). As soon as she and Sunspot start playing, they’re transported into Mojoverse, but this time, only Spiral is there to help Mojo.

The transition to videogames is another element in Mojo’s parody of entertainment executives. Nowadays, every big franchise attempts to establish multiverses and shared narratives across different media, including cinema, television, video games. Of course, Mojo also wants to ride this wave to tighten his grip on the citizens of Mojoverse. The aesthetics of his video game are brought directly from the ’90s, emulating the classic “beat ’em up” mechanics that had players walking forward and defeating enemies as they appeared. Even the classic 1992 X-Men arcade shows up once the older Jubilee reveals herself, too. The whole thing is a solid adventure that uses 1990s gaming aesthetics to the max, turning the plot itself into a game that the heroic duo must play to survive.


There are also nods to televison from the 1990s when Mojo mentions that the X-Men are outdated. He jokes, using shows like, Who’s the Boss?, about the team’s change of command after Professor X (Ross Marquand) left Magneto (Matthew Waterson) as the new leader. He also used A Different World to poke fun at the new team, as well as Divorce Court to make fun of Cyclops’ (Ray Chase) now-different relationship with Jean Grey (Jennifer Hale). While the episode is surely a growth opportunity for Jubilee and Sunspot, it’s Mojo’s shenanigans that steal the show.

X-Men ’97 is available to watch on Disney+ in the U.S.

Watch on Disney+



Source

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *