Detention (1999-2000) is one of the shortest-lived cartoons to ever come out of Warner Bros. Animation. Not only did it last for just 13 episodes, it wasn't a Spin-Off to an earlier production, nor was it ever picked up for cable reruns. And to pull insult to injury, it's been accused of ripping off Disney's Recess. In the end, though, it's still pretty much memorable.
Also, the show is now on iTunes since 2018, after years of unavailability.
The show centers on a group of preteen students at Benedict Arnold Middle School who engage in all sorts of wacky hijinks during their everyday lives; but try as they may, they simply cannot avoid being put in detention by the end of the school day. There, they are kept under the strict supervision of Eugenia P. Kisskillya, a former Marine Corps sergeant who is also the school's gym teacher.
The kids the show focuses on include:
- Shareena Wickett, a freely-thinking Goth-dressed girl who prefers to avoid the in-crowd and finds pleasure in the sublime.
- Emmitt Roswell, a blonde boy with born leadership abilities which are questioned by the fact that he believes that aliens exist and tries fruitlessly to make contact with them. Could also be considered a Agent Mulder and or a Conspiracy Theorist.
- Jim Kim, a shy kid who is a big fan of comic books (particularly DC Comics, which Warner Bros. owns), to the point that he brings them up in regular conversation and tends to think he has their abilities.
- Ramone "Gug" Gugleamo, a short but feisty Hispanic kid who, constantly being left out of competitive sports because of his size, likes to pick fights with people bigger than him.
- Duncan Bubble, a boy who never speaks, instead preferring to spell out his messages with his yo-yo.
- Orangejella and Lemonjella LaBelle, identical African-American sisters with high intellect and a habit of trying to one-up each other.
- Shelley Kelley, a perky girl who constantly kisses up to Kisskillya and as a result is seen as The Scrappy by the other kids.
This show contains examples of:
- Biting-the-Hand Humor: Dawson's Creek, a fellow show on The WB, gets parodied along with the network itself in one episode.
- Can't Get in Trouble for Nuthin': Shelley Kelley, despite the fact that she spends an entire episode trying.
- Cloud Cuckoolander: Jim.
- Daddy Didn't Show: The focus of one episode. Emmitt waits excitedly, all day, for his dad to show up and hang out with him. He never shows up.
- Dark Horse Victory: The twins get disqualified from the spelling bee in "The Man With the Golden Brain".
- Drill Sergeant Nasty: Kisskillya. She even calls the students "soldiers" or "privates".
- Duck!: In "Too Good to be Truant", Shareena and Shelley, skipping school, go to the mall. Shareena yells "Duck!" when she sees her mother at a clothing store and Shelley takes it to mean the store sells ducks.
- Egg Sitting: The "babies" are water balloons that cry at random — permanently if the parent doesn't switch it off in time. Shelley's the only one keen on the project, while most of the guys goof off or play recklessly with their babies. The girls fight back by adding enough water to double their size before handing the babies back. Shareena in particular had to watch the baby all weekend so Emmitt could go camping with his dad, but Mr. Roswell never showed. As a result, Emmitt isn't up for getting into mayhem with the other guys, who all wind up dropping their balloons, forcing three of the four families to do the project over.
- Five-Man Band:
- Go-Karting with Bowser: Shareena dreads having to go on a solo tour of Washington D.C. with Miss Kisskillyanote . She's pleasantly surprised when Kisskillya turns out to be a fun and engaging guide.
- Miss Kisskillya: Well, you can't judge an officer by her stripes.
- I Was Quite a Looker: Kisskillya, believe it or not. When the kids find a cave used by previous detention classes, we see an Evolution Line of her going from svelte and attractive, to... Kisskillya.
- Joins to Fit In: In one episode, Shelley plans to get landed in detention in a bid to get the rest of the class to accept her.
- Karma Houdini: In "Too Good to Be Truant", when Shareena and Shelley are caught playing truant, Kisskillya assumes that Shelley didn't do this voluntarily and only punishes Shareena (well, her and all of the other kids besides Shelley, because they were "holding back information"). Contrary to what you would expect in a kids' show, Shelley never admits her guilt, because she doesn't want to ruin her perfect attendance record.
- Meaningful Name: The surname of the student who believes aliens are real is Roswell.
- Poke the Poodle: In a decision to assert their free will, the gang sets a bet on who can stay out of detention the longest. Shelley gets in on the bet via the goal of doing something bad enough that she gets sent to detention. Unfortunately, her ideas of rule-breaking are skipping extra quickly in the halls and chewing gum. Kisskillya doesn't even notice.
- Shelley quotes Sally Brown's outburst from It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown after waiting for an alien on the school roof with Emmitt during the school dance. (Ironically, Warner Bros. now owns the video rights to the Peanuts cartoons.)
- Actor Allusion: While her VA wasn't Sally, she was Lucy.
- Duncan Bubble is named after the Duncan yo-yo company.
- While making fun of Jim's obsession with Batman, Kisskillya sarcastically says she'll "See [him] in Gotham City." This was Kids WB's Tagline for Batman: The Animated Series.
- When Shelley decides to tag along with Shareena playing hooky, she says the experience will be like Thelma & Louise. Also, Kisskillya's attempts in catching the truant students mirror that of Ed Rooney.
- Spelling Bee: In one episode, six of the kids aim to win a Get Out of Detention Free card. Shareena practices with morbid words, Shelley learns cheerful words, and the twins one-up each other with long words. During the bee, Shareena and Shelley fail to spell words from each other's practice books, Duncan's yo-yo string snaps trying to pronounce one letter too many, the twins get double-disqualified when one of them interrupts the other's spelling of "rivalry" and Gug wins by spelling a word that he heard the twins spell during practice.
- Work Off the Debt: Happens to Shareena and Shelley when they can't pay a coffee shop bill.
- Your Tomcat Is Pregnant: Shareena's pet pig was thought to be male until "he" gave birth to a litter of piglets.