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Jonny 2x4

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Johnny
Jonathan "Jonny
2x4" Underwood  is a typical nuisance, Jonny has a huge, bald head, which is often the butt of many jokes and repeatedly gets caught in branches when climbing trees. He talks a lot, and frequently gets on the other kids' nerves and is a big annoyance. He is rarely seen without his imaginary friend, a board with drawn-on eyes and a mouth, named Plank.

Jonny seems kind, innocent and gullible, and often forgives people no matter what they do. He does not seem to mind the antics of the Eds, as he befriends them and sometimes even enjoys them.

He probably gets his nickname "Jonny 2x4" from Plank, who happens to be a 2x4 piece of wood. He has one of the cul-de-sac's darker skin tones alongside Rolf, and is always seen with a white T-shirt, jeans, and sandals.

Personality

First things first then - how did Jonny ever come by that "2x4" nickname that Eddy so loves to stick him with? Well naturally, that's due to his wooden buddy, a "2x4" - that is four inches by two inches - is a common size in which timber is sold. A "four by two" is a timber batten, in other words, a plank!

Most of the time the cul-de-sac kids - especially the Eds - seem to think that dreamy little Jonny's on another planet all of his own. Actually though, Planet Jonny is probably more like a binary star system (yeesh, are we getting technical or what?) than a single heavenly body, for Jonny & Plank are a game of two inseparable halves, happily revolving around one another in their own private orbits, wearing those maddeningly secretive little exchanging plots, seemingly locked away in universe all of their own and yet still managing to be in the know about everything going on around them in the cul-de-sac without actually appearing to be in touch with reality at all! Some trick, huh?

Yes, Jonny is one spaced-out little kid and because of this you'd think he wouldn't have a clue as to what's going on in the wide world about him but contrary to his head in the clouds attitude, he's got his finger firmly on the pulse of Peach Creek street life.

Now to say that Jonny is curious would be something of an understatement, he's into everything and he pops up in all sorts of places where he's really not supposed to be - which tends to upset Eddy, especially if one of these places is his secret scam cash-outta Rolf village (see Season 3's "Wish You Were Ed").

Jonny doesn't just bug the Eds exclusively though, instead he prefers to spread his unique talents around and is more than willing to take a shot at annoying the other kids too although admittedly this is a lot more dangerous, especially if he's rash enough to take on Sarah. Look at the outcome of Season 4's "Here's Mud in Your Ed" for example, in which Jonny and Jimmy's squabble over a sandbox shovel leads to the uber-defensive Sarah throwing Plank into a puddle. From there on, in it can only get worse - and it does - quickly degenerating into a no holds barred brawl.

As so shrewdly perceived by Eddy and illustrated in Season 2's "Shoo Ed", as well as Sarah, Kevin with his naturally short fuse makes an ideal target for Jonny's "in yer face" brand of attack, in fact Jonny's so annoying with his not letting up and giving the older boy a break that Kevin's actually willing to pay someone else to try and get shot of him. Rolf though, seems curiously immune to Jonny and even the combined attack of boundless questioning, relentless poking and anchovy breath can't phase him. Perhaps all those hours as head of the Urban Rangers group (which includes Jonny, Plank and Jimmy) have paid off.

In addition to his ability to annoy the pants off of everyone, little Jonny has another trick up his sleeve, namely the ability to utterly freak out Ed. This doesn't happen all the time of course but when it does you have to feel sorry for both of them. Ed because although he thrives on a diet of B movies and comics, Jonny plainly has him scared & Jonny because the poor happy-go-lucky little kid's just plain perplexed at Ed's uncharacteristic attitude. There again if he'd been privy to Ed's dream where Jonny was Mom (see Season 3's "Rock-a-Bye Ed") maybe he'd see it Ed's way.

On the whole, Jonny seems to lead a very happy-go-lucky existence and his approach to everyday life is very much 'roll with it.' He's game for most things, easily amused, easy to please, always ready to join in with the others and obviously never expecting it to rain if his ever-present sandal-style footwear is anything to go by. In fact his whole nature seems very much geared towards something of an "alternative" and very natural lifestyle and although of course we don't ever get to see his parents, it seems apparent by Jonny's love of all things to do with trees and regular naps out in the open he's something of a nature boy. Tack on a willingness to be bribed for a handful of granola, vast knowledge of wall weasels and a yearning to hear of silver hammers and octopuses gardens and you begin to see an almost rather a hippie influence.

True to his sunny disposition, Jonny's usually happy to talk to and help anyone and everyone - including the the Eds but of course he's not so generous when Plank's well being is in jeopardy - then he gets mad! Look at the way he goes after the Kankers when they steal his beloved chum and May subjects him to the indignation of being relegated to a common back-scratcher (Seasons 2's "Home Cooked Eds").

Life is generally bright and breezy for Jonny, but occasionally a cloud looms on his horizon, usually in the shape of a falling out or misunderstanding with his best buddy for even the best of friends - real or imaginary - can have a disagreement. On Season 2's "Dear Ed" it even happens when Jonny & Plank have a tiff and go their separate ways, Plank winds up with Jimmy while Jonny is unsuccessfully paired off with a series of Plank-a-likes ranging from the secretly psychopathic Bob the traffic cone through to Salty the seaboot and a whole range of furniture & kitchen utensils hastily adorned with that blank Plank stare. But despite Eddy's best efforts and scheming, you can see it's not going to work. Only Plank is Plank and Jonny misses his wooden buddy just too much - it's only a matter of time before the pair are reunited and all is forgiven. Some things are just meant to be. In fact, just to prove how "meant to be" it is Jonny's not just got Plank on board, he's got Plank's whole family there too, and in Season 4's "Postcards from the Ed" we get to meet Mom & Dad as well as a motley assortment of relatives who come seeking justice.

Above all else and much like Ed, Jonny is a dreamer, his outsized head teems with wondrous thoughts and ideas and with Plank to back him up he can be anyone, although most of all he loves to be the hero. He saves the day "just like Errol Flynn" in Season 1's "Avast Ye Eds", and as Captain Melonhead he saves the kids cash from scheming arch nemesis Professor Scam (Eddy of course.) But it doesn't stop there of course and together Jonny and Plank blaze a trail of glory together as they liberate Rolf's chickens, save Jimmy from the Kankers and get the better of those pesky Ed-Boys by turning the tables on their theme park scam. Apparently Plank also tells a pretty mean joke too, so it's a pity only Jonny can hear him.

It has to be said though that sometimes Jonny's imagination works to his disadvantage, for one thing he's younger than the Eds and like Jimmy, not very streetwise. Thus, he's the ideal ever-gullible target for you-know-who because despite the 'avoid the Eds' warnings that seem to pop into his head from Plank's blank face, like it or not poor Jonny has sucker written all over him. Let's hope his 2x4 nickname isn't working against him as there is an old saying y'know 'as thick as two short planks'… lets hope Eddy hasn't cottoned on to that one, poor Jonny's too nice to be taken for too many of his rides.

Of course the biggest component and the major player in the theater that is Jonny's fantasy world is Plank. Jonny though, would surely argue that Plank is real and not imaginary - after all he denies all knowledge of what an imaginary friend really is (Season 2's "Who Let the Ed In?") It has to be said too, that as far as imaginary friends go, Plank has got one heck of a developed personality compared to most, through Jonny the manipulative board can air his thoughts and dish out the insults with gusto. Jonny seems to say out loud when Plank is supposedly speaking to him such as "What's that plank?". Strangely enough, when the Eds wrecked Jonny's house, Plank supposedly told Jonny of it even though Jonny didn't see it happen. Certainly there's some form of communication going on there, though whether it's actually coming from Plank himself or from some subliminal little valve inside Jonny's own noggin is debatable.Mind you, some of the stuff that comes out - especially the ideas and the shrewd, acerbic observations - make you wonder if they truly are from Plank because surely they're just too polished and un-Jonny like to have come from a spaced-out little kid like him, so either as he says Plank is real or else Jonny's got everyone fooled. Take your pick.

So there's Jonny and Plank, a pigeon-pair if ever there was one, whose weird relationship continues to intrigue and perplex. Perhaps what we like best about the whole Jonny / Plank combo is how refreshing their relationship is. It doesn't operate on the usual 'imaginary friend scale whereby Jonny would use Plank to gain an extra turn at games, to get another slice of the pie, to say he doesn't want to go to bed yet and so on, but instead there's positive altruism afoot and herein lies Jonny 2X4's true charm. When Kevin gives Jonny an extra jawbreaker - one for him and one for Plank - he's probably expecting Jonny to scoff them both but he doesn't, instead preferring to rope the extra candy to Plank's face so that he can enjoy his share while Jonny eats only his own.

To someone like Eddy, it must be beyond comprehension that Jonny doesn't carry Plank around to gain advantage over the others but instead is much more likely to get ripped off by them on Plank's behalf! Eddy's not complaining though for if he has a scam cooking then the chances are that Jonny will be one of the first to get hooked and taken in, he's even naïve enough to get suckered into such low minded schemes as being asked to pay a double entrance fee, one for him and one for Plank! Mind you this isn't always successful, as Plank can be pretty sharp when it comes to dealing with Eddy.

So, who's in control? Jonny may live in Cloud Cuckoo land but the board is on the ball, and in that blank façade lie hints of a sharper mind whirring away behind the silence. So maybe it's Plank who's controlling Jonny and not the other way around, although you have to agree that Plank doesn't seem like the kind of mug to be taken in by Eddy's talk and we're sure you wouldn't catch him paying twice to get into anything ... so is Jonny in charge or is this just Plank's malicious sense of humor coming to the fore, pulling Jonny's strings like he's a helpless puppet? It's definitely odd and we don't have the answer, there's probably an X File on the pair of them somewhere - it's three nuts in one shell, Plank! Spooky.

[*= All credit goes to Edtropolis.com]

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