Beloved as Marvel’s animated X-Men cartoon from the 1990s continues to be, we’ve long since looked back on the classic series and recognized how, in the grand scheme of things, traditionally powerful characters like Storm, Rogue, and Jean Grey were done few favors in terms of depicting them at the top of their games. Jean, in particular, was constantly exhausted—something we can all relate to right now.
It feels safe to assume that when the animated series first aired, Jean and the other X-Women’s penchant for fainting had less to do with any specific plot at hand, and more to do with the fact that it created excuses for male characters to catch them. With Jean’s Phoenix arc being such an established part of her Marvel Comics lore, her constantly falling out of the sky or passing out simply for using the tiniest bit of her powers always felt off in the animated series. But rewatching in 2021, it’s hard not to empathize with Jean and her constant exhaustion, especially given just what sort of madness she was dealing with at the time.