Whatever Happened to Robot Jones is an obscure cartoon released during the early 2000s on Cartoon Network. Yet despite it's familiar premise, the show executes it in an exceptional and unique way. That said, it has a major flaw that holds it back from being one of Cartoon Network's best shows.
Created by Greg Miller, the show's premise is nothing we haven't seen from television/film before. A sentient being with a boyish personality living in a small town was a popular premise even when this show came out. The most obvious example being Short Circuit as it both follow a robot trying to understand human standards and practices. However Robot Jones takes its premise and turns it into a fun slice of life show that surprisingly teaches good lessons.
Set in a world where humans and sentient robots exist, Robot Jones follows story of a young robot who goes to school, hangs out with friends, struggles with human standards and faces off against an array of villains. Each episode follows a familiar plot line involving the life of a child and has Robot experience them in his naive robotic way. This often leads to some funny moments, genuine moments of character development and impressive visuals.
Speaking of which the animation in this show is exceptionally well crafted, going for a neat throwback to Schoolhouse Rock and Peanuts with rough colors and popping onomonopia. The character designs are all unique with the humans having more rounded shapes and the robots being more blocky and sharp. The backgrounds also look very detailed and the school itself feels big and lived in.
The characters themselves are all relatable and entertaining in their own right. Starting with the title character, Robot Jones is a naive little machine, but maintains a childlike innocence and by the end we root for him to succeed in his adventures. Cubey, Socks and Mitch are all fun boys and good friends to Robot, helping him understand human practices through their juvenile lenses. Mr. Madman definitely lives up to his name as he hates Robot so much he'll go insane just to get him in trouble. Then theirs the Yogman brothers who realish in being downright evil little devils. They come up with very creative and dastartly schemes to beat Robot and even win in one episode (which is unfortunate for our hero).
I also really like the voice acting in this show. Robot's text-to-speech voice was very unique and it's too bad the network didn't like it. Though Bobby Block still gives a good performance to Robot, bringing in a childlike innocence to this machine. Kyle Sullivan, Myles Jeffrey and Gary LeRoi Gray all give solid performances as Socks, Cubey and Mitch respectively, making them all sound like the types of friends I had in middle school. The veteran voice actors, such as Jeff Bennet, Grey DeLisle and Rip Taylor all bring their A game and provide memorable performances as the adults of the shows. But the true standouts of the cast are Josh Peck and Austin Stout as the Yogman brothers. These two sound like they were having a blast playing these dastardly devils and Josh Peck in particular sounds unrecognizable with his more raspy voice here.
The one character in the entire show I don't like though is Shannon, the love interest Robot falls for because she has braces and a prosthetic leg. She is rude, selfish, ungrateful and uncaring. She chastises him for being nervous when he tries to ask her to the dance in Embarrassment, she frequently calls him a dork and a weirdo every time he tries being nice to her and she made him self-destruct in Rules of Dating. But the worst thing she did was say he got her shirt dirty after he saved her life from a bear in Summer Camp. *inhales* HE JUST SAVED YOUR LIFE!!! I don't care how much you don't like him, the fact that he went out of his way to save you from becoming a wild animal's dinner should at least be worthy of some freaking gratitude! Oh boo hoo! Your shirt got a little dirt on it. GET OVER IT!! I wholeheartedly believe Robot deserves better than you, you stupid, miserable, ungrateful brat!
All and all, Whatever Happened to Robot Jones is a good show with a major flaw that holds it back from being great. It's good creative visuals, fun characters, solid voice acting and clever writing, plus some genuinely funny moments. And yet, Shannon single handly brings this show down with her very unlikable personality. Since Cartoon Network has no plans to release this on home media, let alone HBO Max, the best way to watch it is on a Google Drive backed up by BigFatRobot2002. Look it up on Lost Media Wiki.