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File:Pepperanncast 5224.jpg


Pepper Ann is a 1990s Disney-created Saturday Morning Cartoon that ran on ABC's One Saturday Morning from 1997-2001. It centers on Pepper Ann, a 12-year-old girl and her other classmates. Her parents are divorced; she lives with her mother and younger sister "Moose." With her two best friends, Nicky and Milo, she goes through a reasonably plausible series of junior high adventures. The series was inspired by short multi-paneled comic strips about Pepper Ann, which appeared intermittently in magazines geared at tween girls.


Tropes present include:

  • The Ace: Becky is portrayed as one, being ridiculously smart and also very good with sports. however, Becky mentions that Nicky is actually the stronger and more creative one. (Becky mentions that she can't even bench-press 15 pounds!) See Fridge Brilliance down below.
  • Adaptation Decay: Taken to hilarious extremes In-Universe with Moose's favorite superheroine, Tundra Woman, in one episode.
    • Also with the character of Didi O' Shaughnessey, who is basically Pepper Ann after Executive Meddling.
  • Added Alliterative Appeal: Grampa Leo and Grandma Lilly. In an in-universe example, Grandma explains they were originally going to give all their children L names, but she was so hopped-up on epidurals she wrote the L backwards on Laney's birth certificate, making her Janey. They would have changed it, but it would have taken too much paperwork.
  • Adorkable: The title character.
  • Alpha Bitch: Alice and Trinket
  • Amazingly Embarrassing Parents: Lydia occasionally slips into this, but especially when she took Pepper Ann bra shopping.
  • Ambiguously Jewish: The Pearsons, until the Christmas Episode.
  • Amicably Divorced: Pepper Ann's parents. Unlike most other shows that have divorced parents, Pepper Ann's parents didn't split up because they didn't get along, they split up because Chuck (Pepper Ann's father) works as a blimp driver and his job got in the way of being a full-time father.
  • Art Evolution
  • Bare Your Midriff: Pepper Ann, slightly, due to how her shirt goes up in the middle.
    • Gwen Mezzrow is a straight example.
  • Black Bead Eyes
  • But Not Too Foreign: Pepper Ann is Jewish on her mom's side of the family and Spanish, British, and Navajo Indian on her dad's side (though Pepper Ann's dad sounds like he has an Australian accent).
  • Catch Phrase: "My life is trash."
    • "What's for dinner?" could count for Moose. She has said it more than once, and she rarely says anything else.
      • "Peppie, you're (scaring, hurting, etc.) me" could count for Moose.
    • Nicky has "absolutamente." Though she doesn't say it quite as constantly as the regular catchphrase it does pop up from time to time.
  • Chick Magnet: Craig
  • Clip Show: The episode "To Germany With Love" is about Dieter making a video for his dad in Germany about Hazelnut in a clipshow fashion.
  • Cloudcuckoolander: Milo
    • Brenda from "Old Best Friend"
  • Continuity Nod: Quite a few. Among them, the Chess club researching on Pepper Ann and finding school newspapers detailing her involvement with the soccer team, the football team, and a "bizarre trampoline incident" (see the Getting Crap Past the Radar entry for more details).
  • Cool Teacher: Mr. Finky strives to be this.
  • Couch Gag: In the opening sequence, Pepper always finds something interesting under her desk (five dollars, a singing Dieter doll, the remote control, a mood ring, etc).
  • Crying Indian: Parodied in "Dances with Ignorance".
  • Deadpan Snarker: Moose.
    • Depending on the episode, everyone from Pepper Ann, Nicky and Milo to Lydia has this role at some point or another.
  • Dean Bitterman: Principal Hickey, early on was like this.
  • Distant Finale: "The Finale" skips 15 years into the future to show what everyone will become after graduating middle school.
  • Do-It-Yourself Theme Tune: A fairly early Disney example, as Kathleen Willhoite (voice of the title character) also contributes the vocals.
  • Donut Mess with a Cop: Subverted with Uncle JoJo who eats nothing but health food. Though he does sometimes eat donuts, they're fat-free donuts called Dough-Nots.
  • Dumb Blonde: Cissy Rooney
  • Everyone Went to School Together: As seen in a flashback episode, it seems that everyone in Hazelnut Middle School was in the same kindergarten class.
  • Everytown, America: Hazelnut
  • Female Misogynist: In "The Sisterhood" Grandma Lillian is shown to have very old fashioned views on a woman's role in life.
  • Fiery Redhead: Pepper Ann
  • Fictional Video Game: Crunch Pod
  • Four-Fingered Hands: Averted.
  • Freaky Friday Flip: There was a Freaky Friday-style episode with Pepper Ann and Lydia switching personalities after the two of them argue over who has it tougher.
  • Friendly Enemies: Janie and Margot in "The Sisterhood" until Janie realises she doesn't have to pretend to like Margot just because she's a fellow woman.
  • Funny Afro: Several flashbacks show Lydia used to have one.
  • Funny Foreigner: Dieter Lederhosen, the happy German kid obsessed with food and trying to fit in with American culture.
  • Gag Boobs: Margot LaSandre.
  • Gainaxing: A little bit on Lydia near the end of "In Support Of" when showing she was also a late bloomer.
  • Getting Crap Past the Radar: The episode "In Support Of" where Pepper Ann thinks she needs a support bra for an upcoming trampoline lesson in gym class and ends up in trouble for flashing her class after Coach Doogan asks her where her support (as in "partner to spot the trampoline jumper") was.
    • From the same episode, Pepper Ann comes home from school and hears her mother shout, "Pepper Ann, do you want breasts?" Of course, two seconds later we find out she means "chicken breasts".
    • On the Quiz Bowl episode, Principal Hickey tells the Quiz Bowl team that the regular team captain Ms. Ford has been sent to the "I Can Shine" Rehabilitation Clinic, implying that Ms. Ford has a substance abuse problem.
      • Another episode has him explicitly tell the kids she "fell off the wagon."
    • In an episode in which Nicky starts acting like a Delinquent, Pepper Ann follows Nicky to the bathroom and is horrified to discover that she has taken up gum chewing.
    • Pepper Ann spends an episode freaking out about whether she's ready to have a First Kiss in a way that exactly mirrors the usual anxiety about one's first time doing something else.
    • In the episode "You Oughta Be in Musicals!," a police officer is seen releasing a hooker from handcuffs. Admittedly, she could easily be confused for an overdressed fashion victim, if not for the police officer exclaiming "Go free, you little vixen!"
    • This exchange from the episode where Nicky's big sister visits:

 Nicky: Now just let me get all of this off my chest so I can conquer my fear of swans, and...

Becky: What did you say?

Nicky: I know, I have no chest to speak of and you've been a...

Becky: No, after that. The swan part.

    • On the episode where Pepper Ann tries to get her dad to appear on a game show with her, Pepper Ann reads some of her dad's old love letters to her mom...all of which have the risque parts removed (including one letter in which everything is cut except for "Dear Lydia").
    • In the Romeo and Juliet episode, all of the girls are auditioning to be Juliet opposite Craig's Romeo. Then they show Dieter auditioning for Juliet. To top it off they have him use the line "What satisfaction canst thou have, tonight?"
  • Girlish Pigtails: Gwen Mezzrow
  • Gossipy Hens: Tessa and Vanessa
  • Green Around the Gills: Nicky in "Quiz Bowl". She becomes ill, green-faced and runs off to throw up, when she gets stage fright on a quiz show.
  • Groundhog Day Loop: "T.G.I.F."
  • Hartman Hips: Pepper Ann's mom is a rare overweight example.
  • Hey, It's That Voice!:
    • The cynical substitute teacher Ms. Bladdar is voiced by Bebe Neuwirth (who played Fraiser Crane's ex-wife on Cheers and Fraiser).
    • Milo Kamalani is voiced by Danny Cooksey, best remembered for playing Bobby Budnick on Salute Your Shorts and voicing Montana Max on Tiny Toon Adventures.
    • Rich Bitch Trinket is voiced by Jenna van Oy (Six from Blossom).
    • Coach Doogan is voiced by Kathy Najimy (Peggy Hill of King of the Hill)
    • The principal's voice is none other than Don Adams of Get Smart and Inspector Gadget fame
    • Chuck Pearson (Pepper Ann's father) is voiced by Maurice La Marche and apparently the one thing he and Don Adams have in common is that they both voiced Inspector Gadget With Maurice voicing Gadget when Don Adams wasn't available.
    • Moose is Spinelli...and Bobby Hill...and Otto Osworth...and a lot of other prepubescent boys (Adlon rarely, if ever, plays girls. If she does play girls, they're tomboys, like Moose and Spinelli).
    • Nicky's on/off boyfriend Stuart is Cam Clarke, Liquid Snake and the singing voice of Simba.
  • Hold Up Your Score
  • Homage: One subplot was one to 12 Angry Men, involving Pepper Ann's mother as a Rogue Juror.
    • There was the episode "Myself, My Mother," which is an homage to Freaky Friday.
  • Hypocritical Humor: Pepper Ann's mother in "The Sisterhood" forces Pepper Ann to go to a Woman's bonding weekend seminar, talking about how her mother forced her to do all sorts of things she didn't want to and learned all sorts of skills that had no place in the real world (all the while making her do stuff like chainsaw ice statues and participate in a mock women's rights protest)
  • Imagine Spot: Lots and lots. Let's just say Pepper Ann has a very... active imagination.
  • It's a Wonderful Plot: Done on Valentine's Day.
  • I Want My Friend to Be Happy: Nicky also has a crush on Craig Bean, but she's still willing to help Pepper Ann get with him.
  • Jewish Mother: Averted with Lydia, but played straight with her own mom.
  • Keep Circulating the Tapes: There have been no VHS or DVD releases of the show.
    • The closest we got was a storybook adaptation of "Old Best Friend". It was that bad.
  • Kids Shouldn't Watch Horror Films: Pepper Ann gets invited to a slumber party where they will be watching the R-rated film Gutter Clowns, which Lydia warns Pepper Ann against seeing. At first Pepper Ann tries to stop the girls at the party from watching the film but ends up watching it anyway and is terrified for the next few days.
  • Kissing Warm Up: Pepper Ann gets ready for Dieter's unsupervised party by warming up on her hand, a watermelon, and a pillow.
  • Late for School: If the opening is any indication (and the fact that her science teacher has preprinted detention slips made exclusively for Pepper Ann's tardiness), Pepper Ann is late every day.
  • Mama Bear: Lydia is hinted at having this side to her. One time, she physically threatens a waiter who is making her late for Pepper Ann's play.
  • Marshmallow Hell: In "In Support Of" Pepper Ann winds up in it for a second when she says she wants a bra and her mom hugs her.
    • In the Romeo & Juliet episode, Pepper Ann, Nicky, and Milo wind up in Ms. Stark's.
  • Muscles Are Meaningless: Nicky Little is just as skinny as her two friends, but ridiculously strong. A childhood flashback shows that she was the local bully, overpowering a much larger kid who would normally be considered the bully.
    • Fridge Brilliance: Nicky's bad at sports that require heavy amounts of running like soccer/football; yet Becky excelled at sports like Soccer/Football. Naturally, Nicky isn't very strong because many Soccer/Football athletes tend to be better runners.
  • Musical Episode: Parodied, with everything suddenly turning into a musical with Pepper Ann being the only one who notices everyone is bursting into song and dance spontaneously.
  • My Hair Came Out Green: Pepper Ann's hair turns green when she tries dyeing it blue.
  • My Name Is Not Durwood: Everybody always gets Moose's best friend Crash's name wrong.
    • It comes to the point where Crash wears a shirt that says "My Name is Crash," which doesn't help anyone remember his name.
  • Never Speak Ill of the Dead: Invoked and discussed in "Spice of Life".
  • New Transfer Student: Amber, the Locker Bandit.
  • Nightmare Fuel: An in-universe example that's Played for Laughs. Nicky and Becky are both terrified of swans, and none of them remembers why. At the end of the episode, their mom throws a box of their old toys out...and inside is a swan that, when active, has glowing red eyes and says, "Swan wants to PLAAAAAAAYYYYY" in a very intentionally scary voice.
  • No Celebrities Were Harmed: Pepper's mom marries Alex Trebek at the end of the series. Yes, really.
  • Noodle People: Every character. Even the overweight characters have skinny arms.
  • Official Couple: Nicky and Stewart (until the finale).
  • One of the Boys: Moose
    • Also Pepper Ann on an episode where Pepper Ann enters a beauty contest to prove her femininity.
  • Only Known by Their Nickname: Moose, a.k.a. Margaret Rose Pearson.
  • Only Sane Man: When she is not having her random outburts, Nicky is close to being the only Normal person in Hazelenut.
    • Maybe Moose as well.
  • Opening Shout-Out: In "Like Riding a Bike" which starts with Pepper Ann finding maracas under her desk and Dieter taking them back. Then in the next scene, Pepper Ann is explaining her conspiracy theory that Mr. Carter is somehow responsible for her being late for school every day, listing a number of things that make her late in the opening.
  • Pac-Man Fever: Recurring arcade game Crunch Pod
  • Parental Bonus: In the first episode Pepper Ann goes into Abe's Mall (which features a big statue of Abe Lincoln out front) to buy some pimple cream. The names of various shops in the mall float behind her, including "John Wilkes Photo Booth," "Getty's Burgers," "Four Score and Seven Year Pets," and "Civil Wear."
    • Nearly everything the Jerkass Nietzsche Wannabe title character of the episode "Effie Shrugged" says is some kind of literary reference.
    • In "Cold Feet" a flashback shows a pregnant young Grandma planning to leave for a flight with Buddy Holly, Richie Valens and the Big Bopper, but then she goes into labor before she can leave.
  • Poke the Poodle: Nicky's attempts at pranks in "Impractical Jokes".
  • Potty Failure: It's mentioned in The Way They Were that Nicky used to be a bedwetter.
  • Rise of Zitboy: "Ziterella"
  • Samus Is a Girl: Most of the family (and the viewers) thought Moose was a boy until the Thanksgiving episode.
  • School Uniforms Are the New Black: In the school uniform episode, Pepper Ann managed to get the school uniforms banned from campus after some students complained about them. Despite this, the same students used these uniforms to look cool when outside of school.
  • Science Fair: An area of contention between Pepper Ann and Alice.
  • Shallow Love Interest: Craig Bean to Pepper Ann.
  • Shoulder Angels: Sort of. Pepper Ann often deals with situations by talking/arguing to her reflection, which can on any given day be her conscience and chide her for doing something wrong, be her anti-conscience and encourage her to not think about consequences, reassure her about something, express her doubts, or simply be her common sense, which loops back to being her conscience.
  • Shout-Out: In "Career Daze", Nicky is put on wrapping meat on a conveyor belt - and it looks very much like the famous I Love Lucy scene with Lucy and Ethel trying to make chocolates at a factory.
  • Sibling Rivalry: Between Nicky and Becky. Nicky is jealous that Becky has all sorts of athletic trophies and good-name stuff under her belt and her parents clearly favoured her whenever she was around. However, when she finally confronts Becky about this, Becky admits that Nicky is far more creative (Being more musically inclined) and is far stronger than she is. Fridge Brilliance when you consider that even if Becky has athletic trophies; they're all for more agility-based sports.
  • Slice of Life: Was made when this genre was starting to get popular.
  • Spin the Bottle: Happens at Dieter's unsupervised birthday party, to Pepper Ann's chagrin. As it happens, Nicky is the only person to get spun (and subsequently smooched) before everyone decides that the game is boring and they decide to play video games.
  • Stop Helping Me!: Pepper Ann is chronically bad at helping people and giving advice. Lampshaded in "The Amazing Becky Little."

 Milo: "How to put this... hmm... often-times when to attempt to help people they end up worse off than before you-"

Pepper Ann: "Don't you think I know that?"

  • The Renaissance Age of Animation
  • The Stoic: Moose Pearson and Craig Bean, though they've both had at least one Not So Stoic moment.
  • Theme Naming: Most towns and other places in the series are named after nuts.
  • Three Amigos: Pepper Ann, Milo and Nicky.
  • Tomboy and Girly Girl: Pepper Ann and Nicky.
  • Tomboyish Ponytail: The title character has one, and yes, she's a tomboy.
  • Took a Level In Dumbass: Pepper Ann once had a nightmare where everyone turned stupid while suffering feelings of inadequacy.
  • Tsundere: Gwen Mezzrow acted this way towards Milo.
  • Unintentional Period Piece: Though it's aged better than other examples.
  • Unusual Euphemism: "Fuzzy", the name of an in-universe comic strip character, is used as an all-purpose euphemism.
  • Valley Girl: Cissy Rooney (only Cissy was voiced by Kath Soucie, not Gail Matthius)
  • Violent Glaswegian: Shelf McLain, the school bully. It apparently runs in the family.
  • Visit by Divorced Dad: Pepper Ann's parents may be divorced, but there are episodes where Pepper Ann's father visits.
  • Voices Are Mental: A noteworthy rare aversion of this; when Pepper Ann and her mom swap minds, the voice actors do not trade jobs, but they do trade inflections and speech patterns.
  • Who Names Their Kid "Dude"?: Moose does have a real name (Margaret Rose), but there is no explanation for Pepper Ann and several other characters.
    • Allegedly, Pepper Ann's "real" name is Jennifer, but this is never spoken on the show, nor is it officially confirmed. It is only seen on some old Internet episode guide listings.
  • Why Did It Have to Be Snakes?: Nicky has a fear of swans, but runs into them on a frequent basis.
  • Yamato Nadeshiko: Nicky Little is a lot more soft-spoken especially compared to her younger self, but still as tough as iron. Of course, she still shows streaks of...
    • Cute and Psycho: A running gag with Nicky is her short tempered personality. It becomes even more apparent when it's revealed she used to be a grade-school bully in The Way They Were.
  • You Have to Believe Me: In "Snot Your Mother's Music" Mick Snot stays with the Pearsons and every time Pepper Ann tries to show Nicky and Milo that Mick is staying with them they don't believe her, because he instantly switches between his stage outfit and his lame old man look depending who's looking.
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