Snapshots of Jimmy Olsen #16: Justin Whalin

Source: Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of Superman seasons 2-4 (1994-97)
Type: TV
While we don't often think of bowtie-wearing Jimmy Olsen as a hep cat, he probably was, at least in his own series. It's just that his iconic look became more and more dated. Post-Crisis, Jimmy took a while to get fired up, but hey, he dated Cat Grant for a while. Rrrowwr! So in 1994, it seemed the right thing to do to cast a potential teen heart throb as the cub reporter on TV. Justin Whalin was meant to compete with Lois & Clark competitor SeaQuest's Jonathan Brandis, apparently. And so gone was the bowtie, in favor of flannel shirts, cowboy boots, and motorcycles. I dunno. Does he look a little like Wil Wheaton's cooler brother to anyone else?

Whalin had this to say about the character when he was cast: "In the comic books, Jimmy wasn't nerdy at all. He was out of reform school and an orphan. That's where I based him. He's more streetwise. He has to have that excited energy about some day wanting to become a reporter. He worships Perry, Lois and Clark. He's eager, but not nerdy." That's not a bad summation of the character, actually.

Of course, he wasn't the show's original Jimmy. That honor goes to sweater-vest wearing square Michael Landes. But that's a story for another day.


Anonymous said...

My friends and I called this "the evil Jimmy". We liked season one Jimmy a hell of a lot better: funny, self-effacing, the sort of guy who would probably dress as a woman if he had a good reason.

In other news, CAPTCHA has been really insufferable the past few days -- you'll correctly type a phrase and it says "nope, sorry, that's not it" and you know damn well you got it right. It may take a dozen tries before CAPTCHA approves. Probably it's got something to do with case sensitivity, where (for example) "s" and "S" are nearly impossible to distinguish because CAPTCHA is always distorting the size of letters, but nevertheless one is obligated to guess and guess correctly. Three ambiguously-cased letters and you've got a one in eight chance of guessing right.

Green Luthor said...

I liked the Landes Jimmy better, too. I dunno, he just seemed more natural, whereas Whalen just seemed to be trying too hard to be cool (and failing).

Of course, Landes also didn't go on to star in the horrendous "Dungeons & Dragons" movie, but that's neither here nor there...


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