Created by (but not directly based on the cartooning of) John Callahan, Pelswick was a show that was produced by Nelvana, and was shown on CBC Television and Nickelodeon starting in 2000 (it was originally aired alongside As Told by Ginger) , and ran for two seasons. The show was about Pelswick Eggert, a teenage boy who struggled with the average problems that teenagers have, such as trying to decide between impressing a girl and going with his gut feelings, and dealing with bullies, while also being in a wheelchair.In most episodes, Pelswick would have to learn An Aesop from his Guardian Angel, Mr. Jimmy. No matter what the Aesop was, Pelswick would usually not get it until the very end of the episode.In 2004, FUNimation decided that they wanted to release Pelswick on DVD, but were unable to because of the low fanbase.
This show contains examples of:
Accidental Aesop: In-universe: Mr. Jimmy did not intend the Aesop, "You are taking something that is not that bad and covering it up with a lot of things that are worse" in the dance episode; he just really wanted to cover his bald spot.
Adults Are Useless: The only adults of any prominence are the two old ladies caught up in their rivalry, the Cloudcuckoolander and overprotective vice principal, and the father caught up in political correctness. Oh, and the guardian angel, who despite his weirdness ends up being the wisest character on the show.
An Aesop: Pelswick has to learn one from Mr. Jimmy in every episode. The topics vary, but can cover a wide variety that are usually not brought up.
Alpha Bitch: Sandra is very snooty and competitive, although she's actually not as cool as she thinks she is.
Ambiguously Gay: Vice Principal Zeigler has a lot of stereotypical mannerisms, was at least as interested in going to the N*Talented concert as the middle-school girls and occasionally dresses up in a fairy costume. See G.I.R.L. for one of those examples.
Appeal To Authority: Zeigler suspends Pelswick in "Pelswick on a String" because Dr. Stevens wants to, but doesn't have the power to, and Zeigler was convinced he was an expert. He spends most of the episode blindly following everything Stevens says because of his expertise, and is rightly upset when he finds out Stevens' secret.
Zeigler: I wanted an expert, not an emu!
Armless Biped: The trading card character Armless Norman from the episode "Faceless Jeff."
Blatant Lies: In the episode, "Boyd, Here Comes the Flood," Gram-Gram makes up all sorts of farfetched stories about the flood but everyone believes her (except her family) because "she was there." Ace starts to catch wise eventually, at which point Pelswick helps with the lies.
Breaking the Fourth Wall: After being confused by his dad speaking words he doesn't even know, Pelwick adds that if he talks like that, "they're gonna need subtitles." Cue a shot of Pelswick "translating" Dad's language on a reality show.
Buccaneer Broadcaster: One episode focuses on Pelswick starting up a pirate radio station after his favorite station was bought out by a car salesman just to advertise his dealership. Pelswick's dad was a literal one during his youth, too.
Buffy Speak: Pelswick asks "what's Boyd doing with a raft and an auger? Or, as kids around the world know it, a 'drilly-thingy.'" This is later combined with Insistent Terminology when Pelswick refers to an auger as a "drilly-thingy" to Gram-Gram.
The Bully: Boyd and his two toadies seem to think of bullying as a passion and an obligation. In one episode, Boyd cuts bullying Melvin short so that he has time to bully Pelswick before he goes to the post office.
Cloudcuckoolander: Vice-Principal Zeigler is very airheaded and weird. He even has a Leitmotif that plays whenever he's being sufficiently nonsensical.
Cool Old Lady: Gram-Gram likes to make wisecracks and always wonders why no one has any fun, to the point that when she fills in as Pelswick's substitute teacher in history, she starts telling Blatant Lies to make it more interesting.
Critical Research Failure: In-universe in "Oh, Bully, Where Art Thou." Sandra and Julie are replanting a tree and Sandra says that the seed came from "the very orange that fell on Galileo's head." When Julie mentions that it was Newton and an apple, Sandra is offended.
Cryptic Conversation: Mr. Jimmy likes to give Pelswick advice on what to do, it's just that he never wants to do it in a straightforward manner. In one episode, he does... but since Pelswick is so used to these, he tries too hard to figure it out.
Dirty Old Woman: Gram-Gram spends a lot of her time fantasizing about being with younger men, even going against her preconceived notions that she didn't care about an athlete to chase after him because he was cute.
Disabled Means Helpless: The vast majority of the adults in the series seem to believe this. Pelswick naturally finds this treatment patronizing and annoying.
Disabled Snarker: Pelswick is generally snarky about everything and everyone, including himself. Given the weirdness he has to deal with regularly, it would be more surprising if he wasn't snarky, but he's portrayed as having an unusually positive attitude for this trope.
The Ditz: Goon is very slow-witted, to the point he has to be reminded at one point that stop signs don't turn green.
Don't You Dare Pity Me!: Pelswick hates it when other people express pity for him, mainly because he's completely self-sufficient and not nearly as much of a burden as people make him feel like. Their pity usually actually makes things worse for him, such as preventing him from going on a camping trip for little reason or getting his crush suspended. Somewhat ironically, when Boyd is temporarily confined to a wheelchair, Pelswick feels sorry for him, and this is Boyd's reaction too.
Drama Queen: Sandra reacts to everything in an over-the-top manner.
Dumbass DJ: When Pelswick starts his own pirate radio station and invites his friends to DJ with him, Goon naturally becomes this, cracking jokes about sidewalks.
"How come they call them sidewalks when they're in front of your house? And how come they call them sidewalks when you can run on them?"
Eccentric Mentor: To call Mr. Jimmy "eccentric" is an understatement, but he also always has the right advice to help Pelswick with his problems.
Erudite Stoner: Mr. Jimmy spends a lot of time acting like he's at a Grateful Dead concert... and is also the one to provide each episode's morals.
Fantastic Comedy: It's mostly realistic, except for Pelswick's guardian angel, Mr. Jimmy.
Fiery Redhead: Julie can have a short fuse, especially when her friends are being treated unfairly or when she's arguing with Sandra.
Funny Background Event: When Pelswick is shown working at the middle school radio station, you can see Vice-Principal Zeigler admiring an unhung bulletin board of socks.
G.I.R.L.: Pelswick's friends warn him about the dangers of online dating, and say that the "girl" could be a guy; in this particular case, Vice Principal Zeigler.
Honor Before Reason: Even when facing suspension, Julie does not disclose Pelswick's identity on his anonymously-submitted comic.
Hype Aversion: N*Talented is an in-universe example. None of the guys (except Zeigler) want to listen to the band, but when Julie finds out Pelswick lied about liking them to her, she makes him listen to them, and he finds out, to his horror, that he actually likes them!
Hypocrite: The puppet therapist Zeigler hires to help students talk through their inner feelings convinces Zeigler to suspend Pelswick for refusing to put his self-image puppet into a wheelchair, and then it turns out his self-image puppet is an emu.
Hypocritical Humor: Julie's official bio explains that "she hates all the cliques and popularity contests at school and seems to care mostly about her popularity and image."
I Thought It Meant: Played with, when Boyd's toady mistakes the word "popular" for "perpendicular".
Insistent Terminology: Ace corrects people often when they misuse words, use words that aren't specific enough ("actually, if it has strings, it's a marionette"), or even just define them improperly ("vanilla isn't plain ice cream, vanilla is a flavor").
Is This Thing On?: Vice Principal Zeigler tests his microphone in this manner, causing large amounts of feedback. The entire student body, yells "Yes, it's on!" in frustration while covering their ears.
It Tastes Like Feet: Pelswick's response to Kate's lethal cooking is that it tastes like a bathtub plug, which was later verified by Mr. Jimmy.
Jerkass: Boyd goes out of his way to pick on Pelswick for his disability, while simultaneously showing him the same level of condescension he hates from most others by refusing to attack him physically. He also likes to torment other students.
Laser-Guided Karma: Something bad usually happens to Boyd by the end of the episode after his general Jerkassery. The episode "Oh, Bully, Where Art Thou?" stands out for having Boyd temporarily in need of a wheelchair, which most of the students thought would be Pelswick's perfect chance for payback... but Pelswick can't bring himself to hit Boyd when he's down.
Obfuscating Disability: Inverted. When Pelswick goes on a date with a girl he meets online and finds out she loves to dance, he gets robotic legs in order to pretend to be able to walk (and dance). Hilarity Ensues. His sister Kate plays it straight in another episode where she pretends to be a blind blues singer.
Only Sane Man: Pelswick is the only sane person in his family (with the possible exception of baby brother Bobby who barely talks), but he doesn't play this role at school—Ace and/or Julie often have to be the voice of reason for him then.
Political Correctness Gone Mad: Played for laughs, usually, often through Pelswick's father Quentin, who always insists on being politically correct, even correcting Gram-Gram when she said "stewardess" and "flight attendant" were the same thing, because the latter was the "correct gender-sensitive term." Taken Up to Eleven in the episode "Hear No Evil, P.C. No Evil" with Quentin's girlfriend Spagna, who at the same time constantly patronizes and babies Pelswick for his disability, finally culminating in her referring to Pelswick as a "poor defenseless crippled child," at which point Quentin asks her to leave.
Power Trio: Pelswick the ego, Goon the id, and Ace the superego.
Self-Deprecation: Pelswick has been known to do this on occasion. One memorable self-deprecating joke he made was "Thanks for saving me a seat, but I brought my own!" Cue Sandra punching the chair over.
Shout Out: One of Boyd's nicknames for Pelswick is "Chairizard," a play on the Pokémon Charizard.
Sleepwalking: One episode features the dean at the university where Quentin works sleepwalking, sleep-driving, and sleep-pilfering important documents from work and hiding them in his shed. Not knowing where the files went, he fires Quentin because he was suspicious he'd stolen them, until Pelswick catches him.
Spirit Advisor: Only Pelswick can see Mr. Jimmy but he comes around to give him clues about the lessons he's supposed to learn.
Spoiled Sweet: Julie is pampered, but she's also an awesome friend to Pelswick.
Stop Helping Me!: Pelswick's reaction to Mr. Jimmy most of the time, at least in part because he usually has no idea what Jimmy is talking about. invoked
Sue Donym: In one episode, Sandra uses the pseudonym "Mandra Mottle" and surprisingly fools everyone. When Julie discovers Sandra's secret identity, she herself uses the pseudonym "Mulie Mockford."
That Poor Car: Gram Gram was said to snore so loud that it set off all the car alarms on the street.
Trap-Door Fail: The head of the radio station tries to drop Pelswick into a trap door, but because the trap door wasn't wheelchair-accessible, it ends up opening in the space underneath his seat between the wheels.
Vitriolic Best Buds: Julie and Sandra, both best friends and archrivals. Half the time they're having fun together and the other half they're screaming at each other.
You Were Trying Too Hard: In one episode, Mr. Jimmy advises Pelswick to "ask to see Dr. Stevens' puppet." Pelswick, so used to Cryptic Conversations, assumes that he has to solve a riddle. It's not until Kate mentions his puppet that Pelswick realizes that is literally what he was supposed to do. Apparently Mr. Jimmy did it out of kindness for Pelswick because he doesn't like the riddles, but it backfired because Mr. Jimmy neglected to tell him he was doing it.