This Animated Series on the Disney Channel is the first on cable TV to feature an African-American family. It aired on the Disney Channel from 2001-2005. Penny Proud is 14 years old, but her parents, Oscar and Trudy, still treat her like a little girl. Also living with Penny are her twin siblings, BeBe and CeCe, and her paternal grandmother, "Suga Mama".Reruns can be seen Saturdays on the music channel Centric, and very occasionally, on Disney, where it originated.
Abusive Parents: Suga Mama, to Oscar. But deep down she loves him, enough to help him in a wrestling match.
The Ace: Renee in the episode "There's Something About Renee..."
Actor Allusion: One episode has Penny communicating with a tiger similar to Dr Dolittle. Her voice actress Kyla Pratt played the daughter of the famous doctor in the modern film version, who also inherited his gift in a later sequel.
Actually Pretty Funny: In-universe example. In "Behind Family Lines", Oscar and Trudy's family have a football match, and Oscar describes how it was pretty funny when Suga Mama tackled Trudy's mother. Even Trudy's dad gets in and says "...Actually that was pretty funny."
Being Evil Sucks: Penny finds this out the hard way when she decides to make it big by performing a Face Heel Turn and then publishing a tell-all about being a bad girl - she alienates everyone, disappoints her teacher to the point of tears, and gets sent to boot camp. She escapes, but the Gross Sisters won't shelter her, she misses her family (who she knows won't take her back), and she has nowhere else to go, so she decides to reform and get back to normal life.
Butt Monkey: Things never seem to go Oscar's way, although sometimes he does deserve the bad stuff that happens to him. A recurring example of this is that when ever the family gets invited to anything, he isn't included. In "Wedding Bell Blues," for instance, Oscar is the only one who doesn't trust Sugar Mama's new boyfriend, and everyone gives him grief over it. But for once, Oscar turns out to be right, for a totally different reason.
Chronic Backstabbing Disorder: Penny's friends. This is primarily done with Dijonay, while LaCienaga doesn't acknowledge her as a friend (hence it not counting) and Zoey ends up going with the majority due to her nature.
Couch Gag: During the Title Sequence in most episodes, Oscar opens and closes the door on Penny's friends, one or two other people who will appear in the episode, and then Suga Mama, who opens the door and forces her way in anyways.
Depending on the Writer: Lacinega is sometimes a normal Alpha Bitch towards Penny...but there are other times where she's actually friendly to her. Likewise, Dijonay's own jerkass behaviour depends strongly on the writer.
Does This Remind You of Anything?: The episode where Michael gets called a sissy. He has a rather harsh coach dad who's obviously ashamed of how his son acts and doesn't want to be acknowledge as Michael's dad in public.
Another episode features a mysterious boy named Johnny Lovely, who teaches all the kids to be kind and love one another. The authority figures promptly run him out of town, but he leaves behind his message in a book.
Downer Ending: A lot of episodes had pretty depressing endings. Such as when the songs available for downloading on the Internet wind up making a man's CD store close down, and it ends with him sobbing while closing up for good. Or when Suga Mama finds out the man she was going to marry had Alzheimer's and was taken away from her.
Even Evil Has Standards: The Gross Sisters refuse to house Penny after she escapes from boot camp, figuring that while they're bullies, the fact that Penny was sent to boot camp makes her a hardened thug.
In The Movie, the villain clones Suga Mama with a Spanish peanut and she learns to speak Spanish. When LaCienega's grandfather insults her, the clone tells him to shut up. Ironically, while he still thinks she's ugly, he starts hitting on the clone, who rejects him.
Expy: Some of the characters resemble those in Bebe's Kids, which Bruce Smith previously animated.
Nubia Gross resembles LaShawn.
Sticky resembles Khalil.
The Red-Nosed Baby resembles and sounds like Peewee.
Also, anyone else think that some of the animators for this show later worked on Princess And The Frog? Dr. Facilier and Mama Odie bear a resemblence to Oscar and Suga Mama, respectively.
Extraverted Nerd: Myron. Suga Mama calls him "Urkel" at one point, a reference to another Extraverted Nerd, Steve Urkel of Family Matters. note Makes sense since she was voiced by the actress who played Harriet, the one who was supposed to be the focus of the show.
Dijonay especially but Penny's other friends at times as well. Even Zoey.
In one episode Penny becomes a famous singer leaving her friends behind. Wizard Kelly pays a bunch of kids to be her fake friends but when Penny admits she misses her old friends Sugar Mama tells her she's better off with out them, especially Dijonay. "Especially that Dijonay girl, she's faker than your fake friends"
Fat Bastard: Subverted big time with Penny's "date" Carlos, a very fat boy she reluctantly pairs with in the amusement park after her friends pair up with their more attractive partners. Much to her surprise, Carlos proves to be a kind and intelligent individual who actually rescues Penny's siblings, BeBe and CeCe, from a speeding roller coaster. To drive the point home, it's revealed her friends' partners ditched them for prettier girls after getting wet in a water ride.
Similar, while in the middle of a Macho Disaster Expedition he remember how his mother always said his ankles were ashy they could start a fire, so he tries it—and it works!
Getting Crap Past the Radar: They managed to have some pretty serious stuff into a children's cartoon. Such as an episode where Penny believes her dad is having an affair, or when Oscar flat-out accuses a man of being a gigolonote a male prostitute or live-in lover.
This remains one of the few Disney cartoons ever to use the word "pimp".
Hypocritical Humor: Nubia always mentions the size of Penny's forehead yet her forehead is twice as big.
I Ate What?: One episode involves Suga Mama's lemon squares becoming massively popular to the point of ending up on Oprah. This is the part where the whole world discovers that when she says she "puts her foot in it," she means it literally. As in sticks her foot in the batter. The audience promptly starts hacking.
I Feel Guilty, You Take It: LaCienega and Agatha enter an American Idol-style Music Reality Show, sponsored by Wizard Kelly, LaCienega, being prettier than Agatha, wins due to a fix by Wizard Kelly, "Beauty sells, Ugly Repels, y'all" Penny finds out and tells LaCienega that if she doesn't make things right, she'll have bad Karma. LaCienega gives the prize to Agatha, who, in turn, shares it with her citing fairness.
Jerkass: For a family friendly show, there are a lot of unlikeable characters here.
Too many to count in this show, every character has their jerkass moments, heck even sweet Zoey and the wonderful Mama-Trudy. Dijonay really takes the cake: she constantly uses Penny, and ditches her at the drop of a hat, yet when Penny does something wrong in the friendship, then Penny is a flat outhorriblefriend. Sometimes Dijonay even gets away with her jerkass-ness. Normally, a girl with Sass is awesome... but Dijonay averts that concept most definitely!
Laser-Guided Karma: A nice example happens to Dijonay. She ditches Penny to babysit her brothers and sisters while she leaves for a concert. However, the security sees she has fake tickets the Gross sisters gave her earlier, and when Penny arrives in a limo by the same band who's playing at the concert, she gets in for free along with Lacienega, Zoey, and the Chang Triplets... except Dijonay, who her siblings and Penny say they don't know. Subverted in that she takes her back, but only to be the person that Penny can't trust.
Dijonay: Rip rip ree! Kick 'em in the knee! Rip rip rass! Kick 'em in the- (beat, realizes what comes next) ...other knee.
Limited Wardrobe: pretty much everyone on this show, except for the few occasions where they dress up.
Lampshade in one episode, the girls rip off their normal outfits and have new ones underneath, but Penny still has herusual outfit underneath. She then trys a couple more times, with the same results, until she ends up quickly ripping off a lot of the same outfit until she finally gets to the new one. The Credit Card Plot episode even made fun of this where her mother bought her a bunch of copies of the same outfit.
Literal Genie: Al Roker. Yes, that Al Roker. However, the wishes he grants Penny always blow up in her face.
Mistaken for Racist: In the episode "Romeo Must Wed", Penny developed a crush on Kwok while rehearsing for their school's production of Romeo & Juliet. After a while, Kwok's parents, the Wongs, politely asked Oscar and Trudy that they not allow Penny and Kwok to see each other anymore. While Trudy remained civil in her inquiry, Oscar immediately jumped to conclusions, thinking that the Wongs didn't approve of their son having a relationship with Penny because she wasn't "good enough" for them. This prompted both Oscar and Mr. Wong to imply the other was a racist. It turns out the real reason was that Kwok had an arranged bride, who was coming to town for a visit.
Off Model: When she's wearing shoes, LaCienega's feet are about the same size as the other girls', but when she's shown barefoot in "Love Thy Neighbor" her feet are huge. This is actually invoked, as she was wearing the shoes to hide her feet.
One of Penny's classmates during "I Had a Dream" changes races constantly. It is particularly jarring as it happens during part of the episode that takes place in 1955, and the students are still separated by race in the classroom. So the switches make it seems that a black student is sitting among the the white students when it is previously stated (and seen) everyone is separated.
There is one where Papi is deliberately animated Off Model, when an actor was put in place of the real Papi to provide the illusion of a resort. Suga Mama immediately notices that Papi's feet aren't ridiculously huge.
Operation Jealousy: Dijonay tries this in the episode "Surf n Turf" by dating duke to make Sticky jealous.
Pet the Dog: The Gross sisters in "The Party". They don't show up to torment Penny even further...they legitimately came to have fun and act like very nice people. They don't ask Penny for anything. Similarly, they're shown that they care for each other.
Positive Discrimination: Averted. Not only are the Prouds just as insane as any other animated family, but there's also an episode where Penny dates a seemingly angelic boy in a wheelchair, only to realize he's a total prick who uses his disability to get his way.
Pretty in Mink: Penny's aunt Diana is always seen wearing a fancy green fur coat. Even when playing football.
Prince and Pauper: In the episode "Monkey Business," Mariah Carey's pet monkey, François, and Oscar's Mr. Chips had this forced onto each other when Oscar, while distracted by Carey's presence at the vet's office, threw an injured Mr. Chips into a sick room that was already occupied by Carey's monkey (who was sick due to eating Proud Snacks). Things go uphill for Mr. Chips (who is mistaken by Carey for her pet), and downhill for her pet, with the latter experiencing something close to slave labor regarding meals, and later having its piano playing skills exploited for cash. Things end up back to normal after the pet finds Mr. Chips and takes back his identity forcefully and returns to his rightful owner, and Chips to his.
Reality Is Unrealistic: There was actually some debate because Papi looked "too white" to be hispanic. It's no secret LaCieniga counts as hispanic (She and her mom are darker skinned than Felix, who's tan) but some assumed that Felix was half hispanic, and that his mom was. However, it's fully possible for Papi to be white but still be hispanic, there are plenty of hispanics who can be considered white. Heck, just look at Guillermo Del Toro.
Secret Ingredient: Suga Mama's cooking is so delicious because she put her foot in it. Normally this is just a turn of phrase, but she meant it literally, and revealed it on a national TV show which caused everyone to get sick.
The middle school the kids attend is named for the first (and so far, only) African-American NASCAR driver.
The family's favorite shows, "Everybody Loves Iesha" and "My Momma and Me" are shout outs to "Moesha" and "The Parkers." Suga Mama even references the No Ending of "Moesha" by asking about the little brother who was kidnapped.
Temporary Love Interest: Kwok, the Asian boy that Penny dates in one episode, even though it ends with the two getting together, he is never seen or referred to again afterwards.
Theme Naming: Dijonay and her siblings are all named after spices, though it doesn't even strike you as odd at first if you've heard the off-the-wall names some urban black parents (or even white parents, think of Sage, Pepper, or Basil) give their children.
The Unfair Sex: Oscar. Big Time. Part of it is a result of Oscar being the shows Butt Monkey, but 9 times out of 10, any conflict between Oscar and Trudy always have Oscar at fault, and the other time it'll still paint Oscar as the bad guy.
The Voiceless: Two of the Gross sisters (Olay, the biggest one and Gina, the smallest one) never speak. Nubia, the middle one, does all of their talking.
Although they are actually able to sing...and very well at that.
We Want Our Jerk Back: In one episode, Lacienega is humiliated because of the cruel jokes aimed at her feet, and Penny misses how much of a jerk Lacienega used to be.
Wild Teen Party: Penny has a sleepover that quickly turns into this when LaCieniga calls everyone from their middle school.
With Friends Like These: Seriously, Penny's friends are extremely quick to abandon one of their own at the drop of a hat. One episode was particularly vicious about this when Dijonay tricks Penny into babysitting her numerous siblings, then runs off to a concert with the other girls and lies to them about it, she gets her Laser-Guided Karma towards the end of the episode, though.
World Of Weirdness: This setting is really really weird. Some episodes appear to set it in a bit more normal setting, but others (especially the camping episode) have this set in some kind of really really weird place. (Oscar and Felix even get taken to a nest by a pterodactyl!)
Write What You Know: Creator Bruce W. Smith based Oscar and Penny on his own experiences as a father.