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Western Animation / Pepper Ann

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From left to right: Nicky, Pepper Ann, and Milo.

Pepper Ann is a 1990s Disney-created Saturday Morning Cartoon that ran on ABC's One Saturday Morning block from 1997-2000. It centers on 12-year-old Pepper Ann "P.A." Pearson, her family, friends, and schoolmates. Pepper Ann's parents are divorced, and she lives with her mother and younger sister "Moose". Nicky, a smart and soft-spoken violinist, and Milo, an aspiring artist, are her two best friends with whom she goes through a humorous and entertaining series of junior high adventures wherein she faces obstacles, enemies, and choices, and comes out right in the end.

The show was aimed at young and tween girls, and thus features several strong female protagonists. Pepper Ann herself is sharp and spontaneous, with a vivid imagination. Various episodes feature elaborate fantasy sequences that help her sort out each episode's dilemma. Nicky is extremely mature; she is serious about school, her music, and her future, and is the only character to have a steady boyfriend. Pepper Ann's mother Lydia is hard-working but loving; some episodes deal frankly with the strain and challenges she faces as a single parent. And Moose, Pepper Ann's sister, is a confident tomboy.


Much of the action takes place at Hazelnut Middle School, where various cliques and characters, including Trinket, obligatory crush Craig Bean, and sometimes love-interest for Milo Gwen Mezzrow as well as a wacky cast of teachers and administrators. As is typical for a kids' show of its time, the episodes cover a wide variety of topics, from lighthearted plots like crushes, zits, and video games, to more serious issues of divorce and disappointment.

The series was adapted by Sue Rose, also known for creating the advertising mascot Fido Dido, and adapted from short comic strips she created and published intermittently in YM Magazine in the early 1990s.

Pepper Ann and her mother made a brief cameo appearance in the first episode of House of Mouse.


Tropes present include:

  • Academic Alpha Bitch: Alice Kane, who runs for class president against Pepper Ann, and rubs her high grades in her face.
  • Accidental Misnaming:
    • Everybody always gets Moose's best friend Crash's name wrong.
    • It comes to the point where Crash wears a shirt that says "My Name is Crash," which doesn't help anyone remember his name.
  • The Ace: Becky is portrayed as one, being ridiculously smart and also very good with sports. However, Becky mentions that Nicky is actually the stronger and more creative one. (Becky mentions that she can't even bench-press 15 pounds!) See Muscles Are Meaningless down below.
  • A-Cup Angst: "In Support Of", the episode where Pepper Ann thinks gym class wants her to get a sports bra.
  • Adaptation Decay: Taken to hilarious extremes In-Universe with Moose's favorite superheroine, Tundra Woman, in one episode.
  • Added Alliterative Appeal: Grampa Leo and Grandma Lilly. In an in-universe example, Grandma explains they were originally going to give all their children L names, but she was so hopped-up on epidurals she wrote the L backwards on Lanie's birth certificate, making her Janie. They would have changed it, but it would have taken too much paperwork.
  • All Love Is Unrequited: There is a Running Gag where Milo and Gwen can never seem to like each other at the same time.
  • Alpha Bitch: Alice and Trinket, though Trinket is more shallow than mean and several episodes reveal that Trinket has feelings.
  • Amazingly Embarrassing Parents: Lydia occasionally slips into this, but especially when she took Pepper Ann bra shopping.
  • Ambiguously Jewish: The Pearsons, until the Christmas Episode where Pepper Ann has to write a report on whether celebrating Christmas with her dad or Hanukkah with her mom is better.
    • If you want to get technical however, Pepper Ann would be considered Jewish. In the Jewish religion, if your mother is Jewish, you are considered Jewish.
  • Amicably Divorced: Pepper Ann's parents. Unlike most other shows that have divorced parents, Pepper Ann's parents didn't split up because they didn't get along; they split up because Chuck (Pepper Ann's father) works as a blimp driver and his job got in the way of being a full-time father.
  • Armor-Piercing Question: Pepper Ann uses this to get through to the other adults in "The Velvet Room."
    Pepper Ann: It's nice to have good things, but if you have to keep your loved ones from using them, what's the point??
  • Art Evolution: Starting in Season 2, the show transitioned from traditional cel animation to digital ink-and-paint animation. The color palette became brighter and more lively, and the outlines became thinner. However, the hand-painted backgrounds remained for the whole series. At the same time, the show itself became less "cartoony", decreasing the usage of visual gags and slapstick/physical humor. The animation style changed to fit this new direction, being less fluid, but more consistent and on-model.
    • 3 episodes in seasons 3 and 4 (which were originally produced as one, 26-episode "3rd season") were outsourced to a different, lesser-known animation studio that still used traditional cel animation, which also resulted in a brief return to the more cartoony animation style seen in the 1st season.
  • Bare Your Midriff:
    • Pepper Ann, slightly, due to how her shirt goes up in the middle.
    • Gwen Mezzrow is a straight example.
  • Big Beautiful Woman: Lydia has a rather curvy body size and is often attractively groomed. She even works at a clothing store where most of the clientele are full figured women who rely on her expertise to shop for outfits to make them attractive. During the brief time Lydia lost her job, the usual customers were all horrified at no longer having her help.
  • Black Bead Eyes: Most of the cast has them.
  • Catchphrase:
    • "My life is trash." (Said whenever Pepper Ann does something that makes her a social outcast, like admit that she bought pimple cream at Abe's Mall [a.k.a the "Abys Mall," as only freaks and geezers go to a place like that].)
    • "What's for dinner?" could count for Moose. She has said it more than once, and she rarely says anything else.
      • "Peppie, you're (scaring, hurting, etc.) me" could count for Moose.
    • Nicky has "absolutamente." Though she doesn't say it quite as constantly as a regular catchphrase, it does pop up from time to time.
  • Chick Magnet: Craig.
  • Clip Show: The episode "To Germany With Love" is a parody of these and is intentionally loaded with clips that make no sense unless you've seen the episodes they're from. It's shown as a video letter to Dieter's father in Germany.
  • Cloudcuckoolander: Milo
    • Brenda from "Old Best Friend"
  • Comic-Book Time: The series first aired in 1997 and it consistently took place in 1997, even when it aired in the new millennium.
  • Comically Missing the Point: The episode "In Support Of" is framed around Pepper Ann thinking her gym teacher means a bra when she speaks about "support". She just means a buddy to help her on the trampoline.
  • Continuity Nod: Quite a few. Among them, the Chess club researching Pepper Ann and finding school newspapers detailing her involvement with the soccer team, the football team, and a "bizarre trampoline incident."
  • Cool Teacher: Mr. Finky strives to be this.
  • Couch Gag: In the opening sequence, Pepper always finds something interesting under her desk (five dollars, a singing Dieter doll, the remote control, a mood ring, etc).
  • Crying Indian: Parodied in "Dances with Ignorance".
  • Deadpan Snarker: Depending on the episode, everyone from Pepper Ann, Nicky and Milo to Lydia has this role at some point or another.
  • Dean Bitterman: Principal Hickey in the early episodes.
  • Distant Finale: "The Finale" skips 15 years into the future to show what everyone will become after graduating middle school.
  • "Do It Yourself" Theme Tune: A fairly early Disney example, as Kathleen Willhoite (voice of the title character) also contributes the vocals - down to imitating a guitar riff.
  • Donut Mess with a Cop: Subverted with Uncle JoJo, who eats nothing but health food. Though he does sometimes eat donuts, they're fat-free donuts called Dough-Nots.
  • Dumb Blonde: Cissy Rooney
  • Early Installment Weirdness: For most of season 1, Nicky wasn't shown hanging out with Pepper Ann and Milo outside of school much, and many Season 1 episodes focus almost exclusively on Pepper Ann and Milo, with Nicky sometimes showing up for a bit. There was also a Running Gag with Nicky being picked up by her mom for some sort of after-school lesson or practice, right when Pepper Ann needed her help. Both aspects were dropped by Season 2, with the Running Gag re-appearing in the Season 5 episode "Two's Company" (an episode that involved Nicky and Milo hanging out without Pepper Ann), presumably as a development gag.
    • Speaking of which, Nicky and Milo are never seen hanging out without Pepper Ann in Season 1, and jokes in "Uniform, Uniformity" and "The Environ-Mentals" imply that Nicky thinks Milo is not hygienic.
  • Everyone Went to School Together: As seen in a flashback episode, it seems that everyone in Hazelnut Middle School was in the same kindergarten class.
  • Everytown, America: Hazelnut
  • The Fashionista: Lydia's an expert at helping moms and working women find outfits that make them look amazing. After she was fired from the clothing store, her boss lost most of his business because everyone only shopped there due to Lydia's skills at putting together attractive outfits.
  • "Fawlty Towers" Plot: "Crush and Burn" starts with Pepper Ann and Milo pretending to be dating in order to drive Gwen away from him. Thanks to the speed at which Gwen spreads the news, and Pepper Ann's attempts to tie up loose ends, the lie spirals way out of control, somehow involving Pepper Ann being raised by nuns, Trinket and Cissy volunteering at the soup kitchen, and Nicky practicing for a concert of autoharp (an instrument that, later turns out, she abhors).
  • Female Misogynist: In "The Sisterhood," Pepper Ann's grandma is shown to have very old fashioned views on a woman's role in life. Justified in that she most likely grew up in a time and place where women were seen as little more than mothers and housewives, and was too stuck in her ways to be more progressive.
  • Fiery Redhead: Pepper Ann, though she's more spacy and neurotic than fiery. In the uniform episode she admits that it's auburn, which other characters agree to once she tries to take credit for being the trope.
  • Fictional Video Game: Crunch Pod.
  • Flashback B-Plot: The final episode, "The Finale", takes place in the future, with the B-plot taking place 15 years prior in the in-series present.
  • Four-Fingered Hands: Possibly one of the few Western-animated cartoons to actually avert this trope, as everyone in the cast has five fingers on each hand.
  • "Freaky Friday" Flip: There was a Freaky Friday-style episode with Pepper Ann and Lydia switching personalities after the two of them argue over who has it tougher.
  • Free the Frogs: In "Carmello". Type 2.
  • Freudian Excuse: In one episode, a Parody Sue new girl is revealed to be a thief wanted by the police. When asked why, she gives a rather dark speech about how society warps individuals into criminals. Absolutely no one buys it, and the girl just admits she's a kleptomaniac.
  • Friendly Enemies: Janie and Margot in "The Sisterhood," until Janie realizes she doesn't have to pretend to like Margot just because she's a woman. A later episode reveals that Janie and Margot's animosity towards each other came from Janie thinking that Margot called Lydia stupid when she asked her for directions to a college class.
  • Funny Foreigner: Dieter Lederhosen, the happy German kid obsessed with food and trying to fit in with American culture.
  • Gag Boobs: Margot LaSandre.
  • Gainaxing: A little bit on Lydia near the end of "In Support Of" when showing she was also a late bloomer.
  • Genki Girl: Brenda, Pepper Ann's old camp friend, is loud and energetic and thoroughly exhausting to be around. She's voiced by the Western Animation queen of this trope, Tara Strong.
  • The Girl In The Mirror Talks Back: Pepper Ann's reflection has talked to Pepper Ann about her issues so many times, it might as well be its own character.
  • Girlish Pigtails: Gwen Mezzrow
  • Gossipy Hens: Tessa and Vanessa
  • Green Around the Gills: Nicky in "Quiz Bowl". She becomes ill, green-faced and runs off to throw up, when she gets stage fright on a quiz show.
  • "Groundhog Day" Loop: "T.G.I.F.," which involves Pepper Ann pretending to be sick to get out of taking a test. The repeating day finally stops when she takes the test. Unfortunately, the next morning looks like the day's still repeating (her neighbor yells at the paper boy, Lydia enters the room the same way she did before) and it causes Pepper Ann to snap. She then spends the entire day insulting people assuming it won't matter, and then wakes up to find everyone she insulted is super pissed at her. She spends the day making it up to everyone... and then learns this day is now repeating. The biggest hints that the first loop ended are that her one neighbor is no longer upset about losing his winning lottery ticket and none of her friends are at school.
  • Hair Color Dissonance: Milo claims that his hair is actually black, but just looks blue to everyone.
  • Hair Today, Gone Tomorrow: A variation. A flashback to Moose's birth shows Janie (who sports a bob in the present day) with magnificent Rapunzel Hair as she was a hippie at the time.
  • Hartman Hips: Pepper Ann's mom is a rare overweight example.
  • Her Boyfriend's Jacket: A memorable episode of Pepper Ann had the title character start wearing Milo's ever-present hat so it would look like they were dating, and to cope Milo started wearing continuously more ridiculous hats as the episode progressed.
  • Homage:
  • Hypocritical Humor: Pepper Ann's mother in "The Sisterhood" forces Pepper Ann to go to a women's bonding weekend seminar, talking about how her mother forced her to do all sorts of things she didn't want to and learn all sorts of skills that had no place in the real world (all the while making P.A. do stuff like chainsaw ice statues and participate in a mock women's rights protest)
  • Identical Stranger: In "Doppelganger Didi" Pepper Ann finds out she has a doppelganger named Didi who has a life identical to hers and is temporarily distressed over not being unique. In the end, it turns out that Didi's mother, sister, and aunt are also doppelgangers of Lydia, Moose, and Janie.
  • Imagine Spot: Loads. In fact, due to Pepper Ann not giving us a signal about having one like Doug, you can't tell if the surreal things that she witnesses are in fact either in her head or real - like the talking squirrel and bird in the first episode.
  • Important Haircut: Pepper Ann decides to dye her hair green to get people to notice her.
  • Instant Costume Change: Mick Snot is able to change in and out of his stage getup as fast as somebody can rapidly open and close a door. This is great for him when trying to hide that he looks and acts like a fussy old man in private, though it's not easy to do as he has to take a bath after changing several times in the span of a few seconds.
  • It's a Wonderful Plot: Done on Valentine's Day and set up more like A Christmas Carol rather than It's a Wonderful Life.
  • I Want My Friend to Be Happy: Nicky also has a crush on Craig Bean, but she's still willing to help Pepper Ann get with him.
  • I Want My Jet Pack: "The Finale" takes place in 2012. 2012's been and gone, and flying cars, teleportation and the holographic mail don't exist yet. Mark Hamill isn't President of the United States and Alex Trebek is dead. However, Nicky's comment about the local ice cream shop closing, Milo's comment about the arcade closing, and the outrageous price of pizza are pretty accurate.
  • Jedi Mind Trick: "Sani-Paper" has Nicky gesturing and going "These are not the students you're looking for" to the principal, who is then convinced to stop asking where Pepper Ann and Milo are.
  • Jewish Mother: Subverted with Lydia (who is Jewish — or at least, celebrates Jewish holidays to keep with tradition, but doesn't act like a stereotypical Jewish mom). Lydia's mom (Pepper Ann's grandmother), however, is a straight example.
  • Jitter Cam: While making a movie, Milo shakes the camera excessively during a scene of two characters sitting down to talk at a bowling alley. At first Pepper thinks there's something wrong with the VCR's tracking, only for Milo to inform her he did it intentionally for "realism".
  • Kent Brockman News: Sherrie Spleen, reporter for Channel 96 News. When she does not make exaggerated reports on bottles that fell off a shelf during an earthquake, she ridicules people for suggesting Evel Knievel for a new park statue.
  • Kids Shouldn't Watch Horror Films: Pepper Ann gets invited to a slumber party where they will be watching the R-rated film Gutter Clowns, which Lydia warns Pepper Ann against seeing. At first Pepper Ann tries to stop the girls at the party from watching the film but ends up watching it anyway and is terrified for the next few days. Nicky, however, is unfazed and finds the film funny rather than scary.
  • Kissing Warm-Up: Pepper Ann gets ready for Dieter's unsupervised party by warming up on her hand, a watermelon, and a pillow.
  • Late for School: If the opening is any indication (and the fact that her science teacher has pre-printed detention slips made exclusively for Pepper Ann's tardiness), Pepper Ann is late every day.
  • Last Disrespects: In one episode, P.A. is asked to give the eulogy at the funeral of a cranky neighbor no one liked. She's having a difficult time finding anything nice to say about her, but also realizes she can't just lie about her.
  • Leaning on the Fourth Wall: The opening, which includes such lines as "Did someone take my lunch?" (Pepper Ann had been rollerblading to school and somewhere between the shot where she goes the 'Wrong Way' and the shot where she emerges in front of school, the lunch bag she was carrying disappears).
  • Like a Surgeon: In "Manly Milo," Milo has an Imagine Spot about himself in an operating room with PA and Nikki as the doctors. Instead of performing surgery, though, they are trying to make him more stereotypically masculine.
    Pepper Ann: Clean socks?! How can he be a guy with clean socks?
  • Mama Bear: Lydia is hinted at having this side to her. One time, she physically threatens a waiter who is making her late for Pepper Ann's play.
  • Marshmallow Hell: In "In Support Of," Pepper Ann winds up in it for a second when she says she wants a bra and her mom hugs her.
    • In the Romeo & Juliet episode, Pepper Ann, Nicky, and Milo wind up in Ms. Stark's.
  • Meganekko: Pepper Ann's always lovable with glasses on.
    • Even her mom counts too.
  • Mixed Ancestry: Pepper Ann is Jewish on her mom's side of the family and Spanish, British, and Navajo Indian on her dad's side (though Pepper Ann's dad sounds like he has an Australian accent).
  • Monster Clown: Pepper Ann watches a film about these called Gutter Clowns.
  • Muscles Are Meaningless: Nicky Little is just as skinny as her two friends, but ridiculously strong. A childhood flashback shows that she was the local bully, overpowering a much larger kid who would normally be considered the bully.
  • Musical Episode: Parodied, with everything suddenly turning into a musical with Pepper Ann being the only one who notices everyone is bursting into song and dance spontaneously.
  • My Hair Came Out Green: Invoked. Pepper Ann decides to mix blonde hair dye with blue to make her hair green.
  • Never Speak Ill of the Dead: Invoked and discussed in "Spice of Life" (the episode where a mean old lady whom Pepper Ann hates dies, and Pepper Ann finds out that the mean old lady was the school secretary's mother).
  • New Transfer Student: Amber, the Locker Bandit.
  • Nightmare Fuel: An in-universe example that's Played for Laughs. Nicky and Becky are both terrified of swans, and neither of them remembers why. At the end of the episode, their mom throws a box of their old toys out... and inside is a swan that, when active, has glowing red eyes and says, "Swan wants to PLAAAAAAAYYYYY" in a very intentionally scary voice.
  • No Celebrities Were Harmed:
  • Noodle People: Every character. Even the overweight characters have skinny arms.
  • Noodle Implements: The one prank Pepper and Milo attempted to pull which got them, and Nicky (who was trying to stop them), sent to boot camp. We don't know what they were planning, but it involved the gym and basketballs, and somehow, they managed to convince Alex Trebek to help them out.
  • Off-Model: As previously mentioned under Art Evolution above, the 3 episodes animated by Hana Animation look rather different from the rest of the series. Art-wise, the characters are drawn slightly different, with Pepper Ann's hair looking more "compacted", and Milo's clothes being drawn baggier. Animation-wise, along with the use of cel animation vs. the series (post-Season 1) usual digital ink-and-paint, the characters are animated in a looser, bouncier style, with more exaggerated movements and facial expressions.
    • The Season 5 episode "Searching for Pepper Ann Pearson" was animated by the series' usual animation studio, Sunwoo Entertainment; however, it has many of the same qualities of the Hana episodes, albeit in a more subtle manner. Pepper Ann's face and hair are the main differences, as both are drawn in the same "compacted" way as in the Hana episodes, and P.A.'s hair is animated with more fluidity and movement than usual. There is also a quick inking error that results in Pepper Ann herself being briefly rendered in the Thick-Line Animation style.
  • Official Couple: Nicky and Stewart (until the finale).
  • Oktoberfest: The character Dieter Lederhosen fulfills just about every non-Nazi, non-Prussian, non-Kraftwerk German stereotype. So does his family, whose surname is indeed Lederhosen. And although he grew up in Hazelnut (as opposed to being on student exchange), he speaks with the typical accent.
  • One-Hit Wonder: invoked Pepper Ann became a famous pianist in spite of the fact she could only play "Greensleeves," and even then, could only do so because her keyboard had light-up keys to guide her.
  • One of the Boys: Moose
    • Also Pepper Ann, in an episode where she enters a beauty contest to prove her femininity.
  • One of the Girls: Milo is the guy in the main character's Two Girls and a Guy trio. He even has A Day in the Limelight where Pepper Ann and Nicky are busy, so he tries socializing with other guys (which it turns out he's quite awkward at — at least until he's able to explain that boys and girls are Not So Different).
  • Only Known by Their Nickname: Moose, a.k.a. Margaret Rose Pearson.
  • Only Sane Man: When she is not having her random outbursts, Nicky is close to being the only normal person in Hazelnut.
    • Maybe Moose as well.
  • Opening Shout-Out: In "Like Riding a Bike," which starts with Pepper Ann finding maracas under her desk and Dieter taking them back. Then in the next scene, Pepper Ann is explaining her conspiracy theory that Mr. Carter is somehow responsible for her being late for school every day, listing a number of things that make her late in the opening.
  • Pac Man Fever: Recurring arcade game Crunch Pod
  • Parental Bonus:
    • In the first episode, Pepper Ann goes into Abe's Mall (which features a big statue of Abe Lincoln out front) to buy some pimple cream. The names of various shops in the mall float behind her, including "John Wilkes Photo Booth," "Getty's Burgers," "Four Score and Seven Year Pets," and "Civil Wear."
    • Nearly everything the Jerkass Nietzsche Wannabe title character of the episode "Effie Shrugged" says is some kind of literary reference. As is the episode title itself, for those unaware...
    • In "Cold Feet" a flashback shows a pregnant young Grandma planning to leave for a flight with Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens and the The Big Bopper, but then she goes into labor before she can leave.
  • Peek-a-Bangs: Trinket (covers her right eye) and Nicky (covers whichever eye's furthest from the viewer).
  • Platonic Valentine: In the Bad Future seen during "A Valentine's Day Tune", two garbagemen give each other friendly valentines.
  • Poke the Poodle: Nicky's attempts at pranks in "Impractical Jokes".
  • Political Correctness Gone Mad: In "The Sisterhood", the "Adamant Eve" event Pepper Ann, her mom and her aunt attend is this. They even spell "women" as "womyn"! P.A.'s grandma lampshades this.
  • Poor Communication Kills:
    • Pepper Ann thinks this is the case in an episode where Trinket is transferring to a private school. She looks back on her previous interactions (which are actual clips from other episodes) and then starts to reinterpret them as if Trinket was making several cries for help. As Pepper Ann tries to aggressively bond with Trinket at a going-away party, Trinket gets fed up and calls her a freak.
    • In another episode, it turns out that the animosity between Lydia, Janie, and Margot started when they were in community college, after Margot made fun of Lydia for asking directions. Janie responded by viciously insulting Margot, and the three women have hated each other ever since. It later turned out Margot had no idea Lydia was talking to her while she was discussing with her friend a song including the lyrics "Stupid can't find her way." Margot didn't hear her because Lydia was talking into Margot's deaf ear.
  • Protagonist Title
  • Puppy Love: Pepper Ann's sister Moose has a crush on Sean, who is actually the son of Margot in "Moose In Love".
  • Rise of Zitboy: "Ziterella" has PA discovering her first pimple right before school pictures are to be taken.
  • Samus Is a Girl: There's a Running Gag where P.A.'s family thinks Moose, P.A.'s little sister, is a boy.
  • School Uniforms Are the New Black: In the school uniform episode, Pepper Ann managed to get the school uniforms banned from campus after some students complained about them. Despite this, the same students used these uniforms to look cool when outside of school.
  • Science Fair: An area of contention between Pepper Ann and Alice.
  • Series Continuity Error: The Pearsons are supposed to be Jewish, but sometimes non-kosher foods will show up on the table or in the fridge. Possibly this is a sign that Lydia really isn't that into her faith.
  • Shoulder Angels: Sort of. Pepper Ann often deals with situations by talking/arguing with her reflection, which can on any given day be her conscience and chide her for doing something wrong, be her anti-conscience and encourage her to not think about consequences, reassure her about something, express her doubts, or simply be her common sense, which loops back to being her conscience.
  • Shout-Out:
    • In "Career Daze", Nicky is put on wrapping meat on a conveyor belt - and it looks very much like the famous I Love Lucy scene with Lucy and Ethel trying to make chocolates at a factory.
    • "My Name is Crash" seen on Crash's T-Shirt in one episode is the opening line of the Senser song "Age of Panic".
    • Pepper Ann's Imagine Spot of her and Crash together in "Mash into Me" is a parody of Misery, complete with broken hands.
  • Sibling Rivalry: Between Nicky and Becky. Nicky is jealous that Becky has all sorts of athletic trophies and good-name stuff under her belt and her parents clearly favoured her whenever she was around. However, when she finally confronts Becky about this, Becky admits that Nicky is far more creative (being more musically inclined) and is far stronger than she is.
  • Slice of Life: Was made when this genre was starting to get popular.
  • Soap Punishment: In "The Way They Were" , 5-year-old Pepper Ann has a bar of soap stuffed into her mouth for saying "jerk", and is to stay in the bathroom to reflect on her own actions while her mom is still pregnant with her second child, who turns out to be Margaret Rose, or "Moose".
  • Spin the Bottle: Happens at Dieter's unsupervised birthday party, to Pepper Ann's chagrin. As it happens, Nicky is the only person to get spun (and subsequently smooched) before everyone decides that the game is boring and they would rather play video games.
  • Straw Fan: Averted. When Moose learns they're making a cartoon of her favorite comic book character, Tundra Woman, she's disgusted that they turned her from an Action Girl into a vapid Alpha Bitch obsessed with shopping who is now dating her archenemy. Moose starts a protest campaign and gathers together fans of all ages, including Mr. Hickey, who, rather then being stereotypes of the Basement-Dweller type, are all relatively normal men and women whose lives were changed and inspired by Tundra Woman's original influence. Unfortunately, when the producers decide to change the cartoon, they still don't stick to the source material and turn Tundra Woman into grunting cavewoman who graphically slaughters baby seals onscreen. Eventually, the show is just replaced with a cartoon about a skateboarding robot.
  • The Stoic: Moose Pearson and Craig Bean, though they've both had at least one Not So Stoic moment.
  • Suddenly SHOUTING!: Nicky is prone to this when she's provoked.
    "My eight hours of required sleep has been encroached upon, and that means momma's gettin crabby!"
  • Take Our Word for It: The art piece Milo made that was so horrifying it was never shown on screen. All we know about it is that involved someone with water skis going through their feet and scared Craig Bean so badly that he lost his voice screaming.
  • Theme Naming: Most towns and other places in the series are named after nuts.
  • ¡Three Amigos!: Pepper Ann, Milo and Nicky.
  • Tomboy and Girly Girl: Pepper Ann and Nicky.
  • Tomboyish Ponytail: The title character has one, and yes, she's a tomboy.
  • Took a Level in Dumbass: Pepper Ann once had a nightmare where everyone turned stupid while suffering feelings of inadequacy.
  • Took a Third Option: When it was time to elect a student body president, the campaign degraded into a mudslinging contest between P.A. and her rival Alice Kane. On the day the votes were counted, Principal Hickey noted that despite the revitalized participation of the students in this recent election, the winner was joke candidate Mark Hamill. When the girls demand a recount, Nicky reveals she was the reason why Hamill won by way of raising support for him behind the scenes. P.A. points out how Nicky had been complaining about no one taking elections seriously and how the candidates should focus on the issues, and Nicky counters with a speech about how she used her right to vote to form a protest campaign against P.A. and Alice Kane for the way they turned the election into a petty grudge match. Even Hickey agrees with Nicky and tells the girls they should be ashamed of themselves.
  • Too Old to Trick-or-Treat: In “A’Tween Halloween,” Pepper Ann tries to cancel her planned trick-or-treat outing with Milo when her classmates decide not to do so, thinking she's too old for this. The two friends wind up going anyway, and an ending montage reveals that their classmates secretly joined in.
  • Tough Act to Follow: In-universe, Pepper Ann received acclaim after writing a magazine article about the time she sneaked out to a party without her mother's permission, but ended up feeling alone and scared at the party (and guilty for deceiving her mom). Pepper Ann followed this up with a tribute to her mother, after learning she went through the same thing when she was younger, but this received hate from students who believe True Art Is Angsty.
  • Trees into Toothpicks "Sani-Paper" featured a field trip to the (supposedly) wasteful Sani-Paper company.
  • Unusual Euphemism: "Fuzzy", the name of an in-universe comic strip character, is used as an all-purpose euphemism.
  • Unwanted Assistance: Pepper Ann is chronically bad at helping people and giving advice. Lampshaded in "The Amazing Becky Little."
    Milo: How to put this... hmm... often-times when to attempt to help people they end up worse off than before you-
    Pepper Ann: Don't you think I know that?
  • Valley Girl: Cissy Rooney (only Cissy was voiced by Kath Soucie, not Gail Matthius)
  • Violent Glaswegian: Shelf McLain, the school bully. It apparently runs in the family.
  • Vocal Dissonance: Moose sounds like a teenage boy despite being an eight-or-nine-year-old girl.
  • Visit by Divorced Dad: Pepper Ann's parents may be divorced, but there are episodes where Pepper Ann's father visits.
  • Vocal Evolution: Everyone sounds different in the pilot, especially Nicky and P.A.'s mom. Nicky keeps this different for almost all of Season 1.
  • Voices Are Mental: A noteworthy rare aversion of this; when Pepper Ann and her mom swap minds, the voice actors do not trade jobs, but they do trade inflections and speech patterns.
  • Who Names Their Kid "Dude"?: Moose does have a real name (Margaret Rose), but there is no explanation for Pepper Ann and several other characters.
    • Allegedly, Pepper Ann's "real" name is Jennifer, but this is never spoken on the show, nor is it officially confirmed. It is only seen on some old Internet episode guide listings.
  • Why Did It Have to Be Snakes?: Nicky has a fear of swans, but runs into them on a frequent basis. It turns out her sister is scared of them as well, and it seems their phobia stems from a seemingly evil swan toy they used to have.
  • World of Snark: Depending on the episode, pretty nearly anyone could be sarcastic.
  • Written-In Absence: Milo was once absent for nearly an entire episode until he appeared at the end. He was at the local pizza place for three days waiting for Pepper Ann and Nicky, who apparently forgot they were supposed to meet him. He spent three days just eating sauce before showing up at school again.
  • Yet Another Christmas Carol: A variation is done for one episode with the focus being Valentine's Day rather then Christmas.
  • You Are Grounded: Happens to Pepper Ann twice. First time for sneaking out in the middle of the night to attend a party in "P.A.'s Life In A Nutshell" and second time for secretly letting Moose see Sean, who ends up injured, in "Moose In Love".
  • You Gotta Have Blue Hair: Averted, when Pepper Ann calls Milo out on dying his hair blue, he admits his hair is so incredibly naturally black, that it looks blue.
  • You Have to Believe Me!: In "Snot Your Mother's Music" Mick Snot stays with the Pearsons and every time Pepper Ann tries to show Nicky and Milo that Mick is staying with them they don't believe her, because he instantly switches between his stage outfit and his lame old man look depending who's looking.
  • Zeerust: The Grand Finale can be seen as this as it takes place in 2012, 15 years after the series began going by Comic-Book Time above.

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