Follow TV Tropes


Series / Teen Angel

Go To
Teen Angel was a 1997 Fantastic Comedy that aired on the TGIF block on ABC. The show began with the high school boy Steve daring his friend Marty to eat a eight-month-old hamburger from under his bed. Not to be called a chicken, Marty does and then dies. Marty hangs around Steve as a sort of dim-witted guardian angel for him. Marty helps Steve conquer his fear of talking to girls, failing tests, and being unpopular throughout the series.

The show was played alongside Sabrina the Teenage Witch in an attempt to gain more views, but failed due to low ratings. It was killed off after 17 episodes. Not to be confused with the short-lived 1989 Disney Channel series.

Teen Angel provides examples of:

  • All Guys Want Cheerleaders: Steve gets a crush on Jessica Fishman, a popular cheerleader. He winds up dating her for most of the series. Granted, the series lasted 17 episodes...
  • Anyone Remember Pogs?: One episode had Marty go back in time to try to prevent his death. When his past self demands proof he's from the future, he says "I know this may be a little hard to believe...but the Macarena is just a phase," followed by his past self bemoaning his huge investment in "Planet Macarena" stock (which he later plans to sell and invest in Tony Danza T-shirts instead).
  • Arson, Murder, and Jaywalking: At the end of one episode, Marty and Rod list many of the world’s toughest questions:
    Marty: Is dissection right or wrong?
    Rod: What's the meaning of life?
    Marty: Why do bad things happen to good people?
    Rod: Why do black olives come in cans, but green ones in glass jars?
    Marty: [answering] So you can see if they're stuffed with peppers or cheese.
  • Butterfly of Doom: The plot of the "Back to DePolo" episode.
  • Chuck Cunningham Syndrome: "Grumpy Young Men" made light of the abrupt cast changes, with Judy said to have left to work on a biosphere project, leading to Casey and Grandpa Jerry moving in. Afterwards, though, the show generally acts like Judy was never there in the first place. "Back to DePolo" sees Marty go back in time to a point when Judy still lived in the house, but Casey and Grandpa Jerry are around instead of her.
  • Colour-Coded for Your Convenience: If someone's dressed in all white, then they're dead. Subverted with any figures from history, as they don't dress in white.
  • Cross Through: With Sabrina the Teenage Witch. Salem ate a magic time ball that sent each of the shows in the TGIF line-up into a past decade. Teen Angel got 1976, as well as more of an appearance by Sabrina and Salem (the other shows in the line-up got a couple of cameos).
  • Divine Race Lift: Rod - semi-deity and cousin of the real God - was the floating head of Ron Glass. In one episode he also played the Devil's cousin Neville.
  • Face Death with Dignity: Sort of. In "Back to DePolo", Marty decides to fix his mistake. He goes back to the night of his death, possesses himself, bites into the burger, and as the death sequence commences, Marty casually chews and waits patiently, even checking his watch briefly.
  • Forgot About His Powers: "Feather's Day" reveals that Marty's feathers grant wishes. Nobody thinks of using Marty's remaining feathers to wish for the stolen one back and the wishing ability is never mentioned in later episodes.
  • Free the Frogs: An incredibly bizarre twist on this — the characters give their frog human intelligence and the ability to talk and he becomes a member of their clique.
  • Going Postal: Marty explains in "Grumpy Young Men" the status quo change and introduces viewers to Steve's dad. Afterwards, he says that Aunt Pam is still in the cast, due to everyone's shared fear of firing someone who works for the Post Office.
  • Holiday Episode: Played with. While they're rarely the subject of the story, many episodes took place around holidays. "I Love Nitzke" was a Halloween story. "Feather's Day" was a Thanksgiving story, "Living Doll" was a Christmas story, and "Look Ma, No Face" was a St. Valentine's episode. While some were thematically appropriate, the holidays themselves were often only brought up in the Couch Gag or The Stinger.
  • Incredibly Lame Pun: And how. In one episode, Marty makes a pun about the Grim Reaper and his sibling being the "Brothers Grimm". Cue the audience booing so loudly that it makes the actor wince briefly.
  • Just Friends: To Marty's frustration, Sabrina Spellman only sees him as this. None of Marty's attempts to woo or impress her get him anywhere.
  • King of All Cosmos: God has a unique intermediary to mortals: his cousin Rod, the giant, disembodied head of actor Ron Glass. Rod admits to being responsible for the Black Plague, The Chevy Chase Show, and killer bees (though at first they weren't called 'killer bees' they were called 'Fun Flies.' Then they started killing people.) His arch-nemesis is the Devil's cousin Neville.
  • Limited Wardrobe: Marty has two outfits, and they're technically the same one since it's what he was wearing when he died. After he died, his clothes changed to completely white.
  • Mood Whiplash: This line during the bullfrog episode.
    Steve: There go my two BEST friends (Angel Marty and the Talking Bullfrog)... I really should get out more.
  • Never Say "Die": Inverted; Marty is clearly shown to die in the first episode, and is referred to as dead throughout the series. Angels are meant to be primordial beings that predate humans, not spirits of the dead. It is somewhat implied, however, that Marty is made an angel as a special punishment, rather than it being the natural order of things, although there is still the plot hole of Steve not having a guardian angel until his teenage years.
  • New Powers as the Plot Demands: Marty's feathers suddenly granting wishes.
  • No Fourth Wall: Prior to the opening credits of the episode "Grumpy Young Men", Marty explained the absence of Steve's mother by remarking that "the actress who played the mother has left the show" before going onto explain the introduction as Steve's father & grandfather to the cast. There's other moments, but that's the most glaring.
  • Noodle Incident: Whatever happened to that not-so-plastic elf in Santa’s Village? Poor little guy.
  • Put on a Bus: To explain Judy's absence, Marty tells viewers in "Grumpy Young Men" that she's taken a position on a biosphere project.
  • Series Continuity Error: When Marty eats the Death Burger, Steve is living with his mother. A few episodes later, after Steve's mother leaves and his father and grandfather arrive, Marty travels back in time and tries to stop himself from eating it, and the whole cast ends up dying, including Steve's father and grandfather, but his mother is nowhere to be seen.
  • Shout-Out: A ghost named Marty helps out the life of his best friend with his supernatural powers, anyone?
  • Smoke Out: Subverted—Marty creates smoke but is left standing in the room. Then, in front of the person he wants to escape from, walks into a closet.
  • Stern Teacher: Mr Nitzke.
    Steve: I said I didn't fail. I missed the exam because I had a personal problem.
    Mr Nitzke: Well, now I'm your personal problem.
  • Tempting Fate: Marty's last living words before he takes a bite of the burger that kills him:
    Marty: It's not like it's gonna kill me.
  • This Is Going to Be Huge: Marty had made a huge investment in "Planet Macarena" stock.
  • Way Past the Expiration Date: Marty dies and becomes the title character after eating an eight-month-old hamburger found under Steve's bed.
  • Writers Cannot Do Math: Everyone says that Death Burger was six months old, but Steve says that the present month is June and the burger has a Halloween wrapper. Since Halloween is in October, the burger would be eight months old.
  • You Can See Me?: Happen frequently with Marty when he becomes an angel.
    • Marty had this reaction when he met an old lady who could see him because she was soon to die.
    • Steve's Grandpa could see Marty too (he could see all angels as well as Rod, due to a near-death experience), but he was introduced after the initial instance so nothing happened with it.
    • Sabrina Spellman could also see Marty, on account of being a witch.
    • The final episode had Marty realising if he picked up a ball or wore a hat, then people who couldn't see him normally would see the floating object. He then put on extensive make-up & a different set of clothes in order to go on a date with a girl he had a crush on before he died.