Fillmore! is an animated television series, running from September 2002 to January, 2004. A total of 26 episodes. An animated homage to 1970sCop Shows, produced by Disney for ABC Kids and then briefly shown in reruns on Toon Disney, this show features safety officers Cornelius Fillmore and Ingrid Third cracking cases around middle school in the style of 1970s Cop Shows. Many episodes also parodied various films and television series including The Silence of the Lambs.It was cancelled before its time, for one of the very reasons that made it so good: the entire premise rests on smartly parodying a genre that children wouldn't be familiar with. Like Freakazoid! before it, the watching demographics skewed older than desired, and the rest is history.
Fillmore! provides examples of the following tropes:
Aborted Arc: Parnassus is clearly set up as Fillmore and Ingrid's Arch-Enemy in "Ingrid Third: Public Enemy #1", but he never shows up again.
Absurdly Powerful Student Council: The safety patrol has the power to arrest and punish students, although they are inevitably called out on its failures and actions, and are almost always in danger of being dissolved by Principal Folsom.
Nelson Kelloch, Checkmatey's opponent in "Of Slain Kings on Checkered Fields", likes a boy band called the Dancey Lads, makes collages of them from magazines in his spare time, and claims he wouldn't give up playing chess for anything "save maybe front-row tickets to Dancey Lads."
In the same episode, Checkmatey has a crowd of screaming fangirls who find him cute... and one fanboy.
O'Farrell, who sometimes shows a penchant for rather girly things and acts effeminate. In "Red Robins Don't Fly," he also begs to be sent undercover as a member of the Red Robins. He bought the wig and everything, and wears the whole outfit during a staff meeting.
And Then What?: Used against the culprit in "Play on Maestro, Play on."
Vallejo: Principal Folsom isn't sure whether to give you guys a commendation or to give you detention. On the one hand, you put Stainless away. But on the other hand, you destroyed an entire shipment of brushed steel stalls, you ruined a month's supply of macaroni, and you allowed the most notorious graffiti vandal in the history of the school to escape.
The Atoner: Fillmore used to be a deliquent. Now he's on the Safety Patrol.
Audience Surrogate: Being the new girl, Ingrid fills this role for most episodes. However, Fillmore became this trope when he visited his old partner Wayne in Tennessee in "South of Friendship, North of Honor".
Author Appeal: Nearly every cake mentioned in the show has buttercream frosting.
Author Tract: The episode, "Test of the Tested" featured the students taking a standardized exam known as "The S.A.T.T.Y.9". One of the recurring dialogues of the episode is that standardized tests are not only ineffective, but are damaging and counterproductive for more creative children and for others who do not test well. Although the points about "bad test-takers" are actually pretty valid, the constant reiteration of the observation reaches Author Tract levels when pretty much every child who takes the test either gripes about how pointless it is, or, the children who actually want to take the test are depicted as rather neurotic overachievers. This might be a result of kids generally disliking tests and willing to agree with whatever gives the results less dominance over their future and the neurotic overachievers just being what they are as part of their charcter.
Notably Ingrid, who is the smartest girl in school, was shown to not really care about the test, whereas the other "good test takers" were all obnoxious stereotypes of The Smart Guy who used words like "Machiavellian" and "reprobate" to describe the person who stole the tests and cried about them being lost to the point of needing a counselor who says things like "they may have stolen your answer sheet, but they didn't steal the answers" while Ingrid cringes. On the other hand, the last may have just been the show turning yet another thing into Serious Business for the kids. There's also the fact that Ingrid mentions that those who wanted to take the test should not have had that denied them.
The Bad Guy Wins: Discussed at the end of "Test of the Tested" where while they got the tests back, the perp got what they wanted too: Elliot got the attention of his crush, who protested against the test and was flattered.
Fillmore and (especially) Ingrid have their moments too.
Deliberately Cute Child: Invoked by Ingrid in order to charm a shopkeeper who had just closed his shop for the day to open it for her so she could ask questions pertinent to the case.
Ingrid: I'm going to put on my 'cute face' It won't be pretty.
Demonic Dummy: A toned-down children's version of the split personality variant happens in "Foes Never Forget."
O'Farrell once suggested this of a "clobber goblin" toy, but Ingrid shut the idea down by pointing out they can only walk two steps before falling over.
Die Hard At X: "A Cold Day at X". Fillmore is trapped inside the school during a blizzard nad has to stop a gang of students who break in planning to steal the answer key to an upcoming test.
Diplomatic Impunity: With a Canadian diplomat's son and his counterfeit baseball card ring. Justified in that this isn't an actual universal rule, this was just something Principal Folsom decided on her own because she really didn't want a diplomatic incident after the last one.
Disaster Dominoes: The destruction of the train convention in "Next Stop: Armageddon". One model train goes off the track, shattering the model cliff face and derailing the second one on that display, which flings a carriage across the room to hit the Martian-themed track. This sets off the working rocket they had included for some reason, sending the circus display's Ferris wheel spinning into the hot dog cart, knocking it over and spilling water across the floor. People start slipping on the water and knocking over tables with more trains and dioramas on them, and everything ends up in pieces.
Disproportionate Retribution: The culprit of "Field Trip of the Just" gets one of the harsher punishments in the series, despite being one of the more sympathetic culprits. On the other hand, the crime of the episode (poisoning a beloved lab pet to where people didn't know if it would recover) was also one of the more serious crimes.
Principal Folsom also frequently threatens the Safety Patrol with this kind of thing (like shipping them to Kazakhstan) but naturally never does any of them. She's offended when Fillmore alluded to a punishment she gave that wasn't as harsh as it could have been
The Red Robins are all but called a gang, only it's candy sales instead of drugs.
Double Standard: Invoked in "To Mar a Stall". While visiting Randal the Vandal in detention, Ingrid and Fillmore and asked to surrender any writing utensils. The guard gets pushy with Ingrid asking if she has any lipstick or eyeliner. Irritated, Fillmore pipes in that he doesn't have any either.
E = MC Hammer In episode 9, Fillmore and Ingrid visit a pre-algebra class, after the teacher pulls up a screen, there are several problems displayed n the board, none of them are pre algebra problems, such as "x-y=16" which has infinite solutions and other complex, multi-variable solutions that would be WAY to complex problems for a middle school pre-algebra class
Easter Egg: Though never spoken in series, the First name of the X middle school principal is shown on the door in the pilot episode Dawn S. Folsom
Some common landmarks: Corn maze, large compost piles, full-size theater, at least two floors, a basement, easy roof access, a lake with dock, an RC track, an events hall, a greenhouse, an huge pool, a bachi ball stadium, multi-room safety-patrol HQ, a hallway accessible sauna, and an orchard. And that's not counting the classrooms.
Engineered Public Confession: In "South of Friendship, North of Honor", where Fillmore taunts the southern chief commissioner into a full confession, not realizing that Wayne Ligget was holding a microphone that broadcast his confession to the whole school.
Works against them in "This Savior, a Snitch" since Augie needed a helmet and got the leader of one side in a mock war's to use (it was the only one that fit his head). Cue he other side trying to pummel them with custard (which Augie is allergic to).
In one episode, a perp hijacks an old-fashioned pennyfarthing bicycle and puts on what appears to be a wooden bike helmet.
Fast Roping: Done at the end of "Immune To All But Justice" by the Safety Patrol.
Felony Misdemeanor: A lot of the "crimes" in the show are pretty overblown, as one would expect from a parody of cop shows set in a school. Like virtual pet-napping. Or stealing tartar sauce packets from the cafeteria.
Which makes some of the more serious crimes (poisoning of a beloved lab pet, the bully hunter's later methods, someone trying to ruin Vallejo's career as commissioner, stealing all the books in the library) all the more shocking.
One of Fillmore's past crimes that really was shocking was crushing the school mini golf team's spirits and taking all their clubs and trophies for not letting a delinquent like him try out. Naturally this one was later righted.
Five Hour Class Week: The kids at X don't seem to spend too much time in class. That or there's extremely long periods between classes and during lunch and the kids all stay after school for various clubs and such.
Fillmore and Ingrid visited the Smoit casino midday and there were plenty of kids there, implying either a generous lunch period or a whole lot of class cutting.
On the other hand, almost every episode has someone late to a class or a club as an excuse.
Five-Token Band: You may have noticed the black protagonist, Latino chief, Asian (officially Japanese-American) forensics whiz and Italian-American...whatever it is Anza does.
Gamer Chick: Ingrid is shown to be one in "Play On Maestro, Play On". She also remote controls a robo fighter from home in another episode to help Fillmore.
Geographic Flexibility: According to The Other Wiki, X Middle School is located in Minnesota, but the accents, ethnicities, and climates are diverse enough to the point where it could be located almost anywhere.
Girl Scouts Are Evil: In "Red Robins Don't Fly", the Red Robins - X Middle School's version of the Girl Scouts - are running a protection racket.
Green Around the Gills: O'Farrell in "Next Stop, Armageddon." When he sees the sight of a model train wreck, a shade of green appears on each of his cheeks, as he gets the urge to throw up and heads for the restroom.
Groupie Brigade: Checkmatey has one in "Of Slain Kings on Checkered Fields."
Quite a few club leaders have this as well, like the head of the train club.
He Who Fights Monsters: The Bully Get Back crew. They start with harmless stunts like throwing paper balls and pouring liquid on people bur they cross the line when they try to paper mache one of their victims and threaten to destroy a multi-thousand dollar computer network over a confiscated modem.
Hero Stole My Bike: Occasionally scooters, rolling chairs, a golf cart, pogo sticks, and even a floor waxer.
Heroes Want Redheads: The closest thing Fillmore has to a love interest is the redheaded Penny Madrid. Averted when he rejects her.
I Never Said It Was Poison: This is how Fillmore discovers that Penny Madrid, a temporary love interest, was the one who stole the Cal Ripken baseball cards. How does Fillmore figure that out? After he's already caught the baseball-card-counterfeiting villain of that episode, he isn't satisfied, and he tells Penny that there are lots of baseball cards that are still missing. Penny tries to comfort Fillmore by telling him not to worry, the missing Cal Ripken cards will turn up sooner or later. But wait, how did Penny know they were Cal Ripken cards? Fillmore didn't even tell Penny what team the player belonged to, much less which specific player it was!
In the Hood: Hooded sweatshirts are probably the most common means of identity concealment for wrongdoers in the series.
Kick the Son of a Bitch: While in-episode Ingrid terrorizing Jamie was seen as a sign of her possible Becoming the Mask to get in with the Red Robins and was played as a Kick the Dog moment, that victim later was found to be the mastermind behind a major lunch-stealing ring and almost got Fillmore expelled, making the scene more than a little satisfying on re-watch.
Kid Detective: A rare example of kid detectives acting like police investigators (thanks to the premise) rather than private investigators.
In "The Shreds Fell Like Snowflakes", the hall monitors find that someone has been shredding other students' important papers. From the angle of the shreds, they determine which hand the shredder used to place the papers in. Turns out, it was all of the victims, working together to frame a non-existent shredder.
Also in "To Mar A Stall" Fillmore and Third figure out that the person who had defaced the bathrooms had to be left-handed because of the way their letters overlapped. The girl who did it was mad that they weren't using the stainless-steel she'd argued for over 50 times.
Also Checkmatey in "Of Slain Kings on Checkered Fields."
Principal Folsom has very hammy dialog.
Last Name Basis: All of the Patrollers; Ingrid is the only one consistently called by her first name. Made into a joke in one episode, where when Folsom announced Vallejo's reappointment to Jr. Commissioner of the Safety Patrol, the microphone squeaked when she said his first name.
O'Farrell: Would you please stop referring to me in the third person? I'm standing right here!
Location Theme Naming: Most of the characters' last names are streets in San Francisco. Given that many of the streets themselves are surnames in the first place, the character's names usually sound quite normal.
This is a pun/Shout-Out in its own right, since The Streets Of San Francisco is the archetype of the genre that Fillmore! so lovingly parodies, complete with the Quinn Martin-esque announcements ("Today's Episode: 'Immune To All But Justice'!") - and the Quinn Martin-esque episode titles (put the likes of "Next Stop, Armageddon" and "The Nineteenth Hole Is A Shallow Grave" in amongst the likes of "Image In A Cracked Mirror" and "Wind It Up And It Betrays You" and it would be hard for non-buffs to tell which were from the cartoon and which weren'tnote the latter two were from Barnaby Jones and The FBI, if you're wondering). Incidentally, The Streets Of San Francisco really did do an episode called "School Of Fear."
Lost in the Maize: "Two Wheels, Full Throttle, No Brakes". Of course X Middle School has its own corn maze. Why wouldn't it?
Mauve Shirt: Many of the minor Safety Patrollers count, even though the cast remains consistent throughout the series. O'Farrell is the photographer, Tehama the forensics, and Anza usually follows up on leads Fillmore and Ingrid don't have time for.
Mundane Made Awesome: The show ran on it. Special mention goes to Check Matey, the hip-hop spouting, fangirl-atracting chess player.
Mustache Vandalism: This is the 'crime' committed in "Masterstroke of Malevolence". Fillmore and Third must discover the identity of the vandal before the ink dries so the restorer can identify the brand of marker used and save the portrait.
Not So Different: Malika and Ingrid. Malika was even once a Safety Patrol member sent to infiltrate the Red Robins.
However, Ingrid ultimately makes a different choice than Malika did. Ingrid is tempted as Malika was, but ultimately Ingrid completes her assignment.
No Hugging, No Kissing: Well, not completely. There's plenty of crushes and hugging among the secondary and one-off characters, but not between the main cast and there's no kissing other than Fillmore's old partner receiving a chaste congratulatory kiss on the cheek from a classmate after he gets promoted to School Patrol Sheriff.
A lot of the villains were motivated by crushes, including in "Test of the Tested" and the girl who poisoned a beloved lab spider because she thought her crush disliked taking care of it (he actually loved it).
Non-Giving-Up School Guy: Truant Officer Langley Turk in "Field Trip of the Just". He plunges all the way into Inspector Javert territory, hunting Fillmore all the across the city and ignoring the fact that Fillmore had a note form the prinicipal permitting him to be out of school; having decided on the basis of Fillmore's old record that it must be a forgery.
No Periods, Period: Subtly averted: in a scene in "To Mar A Stall", you can clearly see a tampon container inside a girl's bathroom stall.
Obfuscating Disability: More than once, actually. Appears in both "Play On, Maestro, Play On" and "The Currency of Doubt."
Officer Ohara: O'Farrell is a kilt-wearing ginger security member. Now, make an educated guess.
The Password Is Always Swordfish: According to "Two Wheels, Full Throttle, No Brakes", 9 out of 10 kids use their birthday as their bicycle lock combination. It turns into a Chekhov's Gun since it later allows Fillmore to use Vallejo's bike in the chase scene.
Perverse Sexual Lust: The teacher in "Masterstroke of Malevolence" is revealed very early on to be crushing on the subject of the painting "The Lobstermen At Port". One of the art museum personnel turns up really quickly, bearing an extremely awkward expression, to get her to stop, presumably to spare everyone the need for Brain Bleach.
Photographic Memory: Ingrid can't forget anything. While this is useful for investigations sometimes it backfires...
Ingrid: I didn't need that in my photographic memory.
Platonic Life Partners: Throughout the whole series there was never even a single hint that Fillmore and Ingrid wanted to be more than friends.
Serious Business: This is really the main trope that fuels the humor for the show. Even though the cast is made up of kids in school clubs, they treat their hobbies as seriously as any character on Law & Order.
Scout Out: The Red Robins are a Scout Out version of the Girl Scouts in "Red Robbins Don't Fly", who are running a protection racket.
Shaggy Dog Story: For the culprit who poisoned the lab spider in "Field Trip of the Just" since she thought it would make her crush happy since he always complained about taking care of it for the teacher while he actually loved it and just complained for the sake of keeping up his rep. When she finds out, she's horrified.
There's also a Pokémon reference in the early Season 1 episode "Test of the Tested" when Fillmore and Ingrid are chasing after Augie Samson and they run through a cheer practice. The cheer director remarks that the pyramid the cheerleaders make is "as solid as a Geodude using its Harden attack".
In one episode, Fillmore and Ingrid interrogated the son of a Canadian diplomat, who rubbed Fillmore the wrong way. On his way out, Fillmore "accidentally" knocks over a bottle of maple syrup, spilling it over the floor, then said, "Oh, I'm sorry. Did I do that?" In another episode, Fillmore "accidentally" ruins another rude suspect's souffle by popping an inflated paper bag, then stating the same line.
If loving Checkmatey is a crime, then I plead guilty in the first degree!
Principal Fulsom also says Checkmatey "can make those bishops dance like Britney with a boa."
Ingrid says she has an eggplant that looks like FredDurst
In the episode "Test of the Tested," a panicked student barges into a crime scene and starts a round of incoherent complaining before Fillmore silences him with a splash of water. Fillmore then reveals this student's name to be "Willie" in an offhand comment. Coupled with the fact that this kid ran in from the swimming pool, and was still in full swim attire (plus a cow inflatable), you could say he was a "wet willie."
Straw Fan: "The Unseen Reflection" has three different straw fangirls.
Straw Man Has A Point: In the episode "A Dark Score Evened", concerning a group of vigilantes targeting bullies, the head of the fashion department was given her "I'm a jerk" characterization by tearing up her assistant's fashion design and yelling at her. Here's the thing: while she could've been nicer about it, that design really WAS an abomination. Pay attention: the outfit was Capri pants and a halter top... FOR MEN. That assistant is completely insane for thinking that was a good idea.
Similarly, Fulsom was right to call out the protesting girl for being too disruptive, especially when her protest (that time) was demanding the entire cafeteria go vegetarian at a public middle school. Fulsom also agreed that while the girl had a right to free speech, she did not have the right when it disrupted the rest of the school (the girl was yelling very loudly and marching in a crowded hallway).
"The Unseen Reflection" had one of the aforementioned fangirls calling out an apathetic author for not even trying to deliver a quality story in regards to her latest book, which was awful both in terms of the plot and the grammar, and the author herself stated she wrote the entire thing on a plane trip to Milan and that she felt the girls were "taking it too seriously" (despite allowing an intense fan contest for who got the first copy of the book). The girls then point out that she should have more respect for her fans.
In "To Mar a Stall" a girl points out that if Fulsom had just listened to her and ordered stainless steel, this tagging wouldn't even be possible. It's underminded when we find out she's the tagger in the first place.
When it's pointed out to the last bully by the Bully Payback Squad that being a geek in no way stops him from being a bully, since he still used his authority over others to make them feel small...which they are called out on for doing the exact same thing a second later.
They Just Didn't Care: In-universe example: In "The Unseen Reflection," it's revealed that the author of the Vampirita novels is fed up with her series and is implied to only be continuing it either for the money, or because of her contract with her publishers. This apathy shows in that her latest entry in the series is completely horrible, and a fan's heartbreak after getting their hands an advance copy is what sets off the plot for the episode.
Third-Person Person: Derrick Minna in "Two Wheels, Full Throttle, No Brakes." He is constantly referring to himself as 'Derrick Minna', especially in his press conferences.
In "A Forgotten Yesterday", flush appears on an angry Peabody's cheeks after he's insulted by Vallejo.
Troperiffic: Concerning Cop Shows, at least, to the point that one can predict the entire episode from the basic premise.
Trademark Favorite Food: Vallejo loves his hot cocoa, and can also usually be seen with some canned pasta on his desk in most episodes.
Turn in Your Badge: In "A Forgotten Yesterday", Fillmore is suspended from the Safety Patrol when a cache of bootleg hall passes is found in his deask.
Vehicular Sabotage: While working a case to recover a binder full of term papers, Fillmore had the brake lines in his bicycle replaced with ketchup and mustard dispensers.
Vomiting Cop: O'Farrell in "Next Stop, Armageddon". When he sees the sight of a model train wreck, he gets the urge to throw up and heads for the restroom.
Way Past the Expiration Date: The end of one episode had all the safety patrollers hanging out at Ingrid's house. O'Farrel is eating raw cookie dough out of a carton that the others remark is decades old. Ingrid goes on to recite the ingredients from memory and reassures him that the dough contains enough preservatives "to outlast the Sphinx".
Wunza Plot: Like many police procedural tropes which are used in the series, Ingrid and Fillmore's partnership works on the principle that one's a smarter than average social outcast with a photographic memory and the other's a reformed juvenile delinquent.