Western Animation: Fillmore!
is an animated television series, running from September 2002 to January, 2004 for a total of 26 episodes. An animated homage
to 1970s Cop 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. 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.
- Absurdly Spacious Sewer: The setting of one of many chase scenes.
- Adults Are Useless: Rarely will they give Fillmore the benefit of the doubt.
- Affably Evil / Faux Affably Evil: Arthur Stanley of "Play On, Maestro, Play On." For the most part he's the first trope, but he's the second trope when pretending to side with the Safety Patrol.
- Alas, Poor Villain: The in-universe reaction to the fall of Robert Chestnut in "Links in a Chain of Honor". "Poor Rombo. Poor, poor Rombo..."
- Ambiguously Gay
- 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 Now for Someone Completely Different: In "Masterstroke of Malevolence" it's the only episode in which the culprit is an adult who has no ties to the school
- And Then What?: Used against the culprit in "Play on Maestro, Play on."
- Appeal to Obscurity: "Who's Charles Laskey?" (Also a Genius Bonus)
- Arson Murder And Life Saving: Frequently played straight and sometimes inverted.
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.
- Pretty Fly for a White Guy: Checkmatey, X Middle School's rapping chess grandmaster in "Of Slain Kings on Checkered Fields".
- The Profiler: Frank Bishop, Fillmore's old partner in "The Shreds Fell Like Snowflakes". He is called back to duty to profile the mysterious Shredder who shredding various students' pet projects.
- Recurring Extra: The show had a large cast of background characters with certain ones showing up in multiple episodes. Most of them would end up as suspects, victims etc in specific episodes.
- Rube Goldberg Device: Part of the villain's signature in "Play On, Maestro! Play On!"
- 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.
- Ship Tease: Between Fillmore and Penny in "Immune To All But Justice" until the end.
- Shout-Out: The show often included homages to other stories that probably went over the heads of a lot of the younger audience members.
- 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
- Stealth Pun
- 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."
- "Strangers on a Train"-Plot Murder: "A Dark Score Evened", only without the murder.
- 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.
- Villainous Crossdresser: Parnassus in "Ingrid Third: Public Enemy #1".
- Villain with Good Publicity: Derrick Minna, A.K.A. Stingray.
- 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.
- Well-Intentioned Extremist: Some of the criminals from time to time.
- Whole Plot Reference: "A Cold Day at X", "Two Wheels, Full Throttle, No Brakes", "Immune to All But Justice" and "To Mar A Stall" are essentially kid-friendly versions of Die Hard, Gone in Sixty Seconds (2000), Lethal Weapon 2 and The Silence of the Lambs respectively.
- Wondrous Ladies Room:
- "To Mar a Stall"
- Additionally in the episode featuring the "bully payback squad."
"It's clean. The girl's bathroom is clean! Why is the boy's room such a pit?! It smells like lavender in here. I love lavender!" Beat
"I'll be outside."
- X Meets Y: It's "Recess" Meets "CSI: Miami"
- Yellow Sash of Power: It's orange.