Recap / Danny Phantom S 1 E 2 Parental Bonding

Danny has a huge crush on the most popular girl in Casper High, Paulina. He works up the courage to ask her to an upcoming school dance and she agrees after accepting an amulet that he brought to school. The problem is that the wearer of the amulet will turn into a dragon if anything upsets them. What's more is that Danny has to deal with his father chaperoning at the dance. How can he handle his date and keep his father from embarrassing him at the dance?

Tropes included:

  • Bait-and-Switch:
    Jazz: By the way, Danny, just so you know, I'm onto your little secret.
    Danny: Spit Take What?! W-what secret?!
    Jazz: The clumsiness, the nervousness... I can't believe I didn't figure it out before — you have a girlfriend!
  • Bishie Sparkle: Sam has this big time when Tucker first sees her in her dress for the dance.
  • Chekhov's Gunman: Tucker almost ends up going to the dance with some snobby girl named Valerie...
  • Early Installment Weirdness: Dash is twice shown hitting on Paulina, as if setting him up to be Danny's rival for her. Even though the two of them are often seen together throughout the show, Dash is never shown having any romantic attraction to Paulina after this episode.
    • In a similar vein, Tucker is floored when he sees Sam dressed up for the dance and is suddenly thrilled to take her. Many early fans assumed this was a Ship Tease or setting up a Love Triangle in the trio, but hints that Tucker might be attracted to Sam rarely came up in the future.
  • Everyone Can See It: Like Dash in the first episode, Paulina genuinely believed Danny and Sam were a couple.
    Sam: (highly amused) My boyfriend?! Hah! And they say pretty girls can't be funny! Danny is NOT my boyfriend.
    Paulina: (genuinely confused) He's not?
  • Fighting Your Friend: Danny is forced to fight Sam after Paulina unwittingly placed the amulet on her.
  • Gilligan Cut: Once he realizes Danny wants him to take Sam to the dance, Tucker insists, "No way. Forget it. Absolutely not. NO!" Cut to a possessed Tucker outside Sam's front door asking her to the dance.
  • Hair-Trigger Temper: The wearer of the amulet will turn into a ghost dragon if something angers them.
  • Laser-Guided Amnesia: Once a victim is back to normal, he/she won't remember being transformed into a ghost dragon.
  • New Super Power: Danny discovers his overshadowing ability in this episode.
  • No Antagonist: Everyone Danny fights in this episode is an innocent victim accidentally possessed by the amulet. There's no evil plot to thwart and no ghost or human enemy intentionally trying to accomplish anything or hurt anyone, just a mess to clean up caused by a magical object constantly falling into the wrong hands.
  • Operation: Jealousy: Paulina was never attracted to Danny at all — she just went to the dance with him because she thought doing so would hurt Sam, whom she wanted to get back at for insulting her.
  • Out-of-Character Moment: When she sees Paulina and Dash together at the dance after all the mayhem caused by the amulet, Sam's about to say something to them, but then decides, "Ah, who cares?" and decides to dance with Danny instead of getting on her usual soap box. (Needless to say, many fans appreciate this little scene and wish it wasn't out-of-character for her...)
  • Overprotective Dad: Paulina's father gives Danny an If You Ever Do Anything to Hurt Her... speech when he comes to pick her up to the dance.
  • Running Gag:
    • Danny possessing his father during the dance.
    • Mr. Lancer using outdated slang to fit in with his students.