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Western Animation / Teacher's Pet

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Teacher's Pet was a Disney animated television series that ran from 2000 to 2002 and concluded in 2004 with a theatrical movie. Best remembered for Nathan Lane's voice in the starring role and the distinct animation design by famed illustrator Gary Baseman of Cranium fame.

The story follows a nerdy nine year old boy named Leonard Helperman and his pet dog Spot. Spot is so interested in Leonard's life as a human that one day he follows him to school, puts on human clothes, and joins his class under the name Scott Leadready II. His disguise amazingly fools everybody, but Leonard eventually discovers the truth. While initially shocked by this, he reluctantly allows Scott to continue the charade. Scott comes up with amazing plans that sometimes inadvertently get Leonard punished, blamed, and/or beat up. Other characters include Mrs. Helperman (who is not only Leonard's mother, but his teacher as well), Mr. Jolly (the Helpermans' sensitive cat), Pretty Boy (the Helpermans' abrasive bird), and Leonard's various classmates (such as Leslie, his love interest, and Ian, the resident gross kid).


In the movie, when Spot finds out that a mad scientist can turn animals into humans, he sees this as a chance to become a real boy. Joined by Leonard, Mr. Jolly, Pretty Boy, and Ian, they are off to see him. Spot becomes a man (he forgot about dog years), but its not what he thought after all. Other major events are included in the movie including, Spot ending his identity as Scott for a while, Ian finding out about Scott being a dog, and Jolly losing his fear of the outside.

Not to be confused with Hot for Student.


This show and film provides examples of:

  • Animation Bump: In the Toon City episodes. The Movie, also animated by Toon City, has even better animation than the show.
  • Anthropomorphic Zig-Zag: Spot's entire schtick. He would act like a dog at home, but would dress like a kid and go to school like a human.
  • Art Evolution: The artwork became sharper and the colors became more vibrant mid-season one.
  • Artistic License – Animal Care: In episode one, Leonard feeds Scott a grape as an example of 'some things only humans can do' (with the gag being that Scott can't chew it properly because it's small and round). In real life, grapes and raisins contain a substance that can cause acute kidney failure in dogs, though the exact cause is not well understood.
  • Berserk Button: Leonard really hates being called "tubby" and goes psycho when he's called that and attacks the person who called him that.
    • Do NOT call Ivan Krank "Daddy." Don't call him a "Wacko" either.
  • Beware the Nice Ones: Mary Lou may act all Tastes Like Diabetes most of the time, but even she has limits to how nice she can be. Sometimes she'll shift into a Stepford Smiler before she finally has enough, though she doesn't necessarily go berserk.
  • Big "NO!": Leonard reacts this way when he finds out Scott is actually his dog in the first episode.
  • Cats Are Mean: Mr. Jolly completely averts this, but Stricker’s cat Talulah plays this as straight as possible.
  • Chekhov's Gun: The nickel that Scott receives in exchange for Krank's use of him as a test subject in the movie.
  • Christmas Episode: Two, actually. "A Dog for All Seasons" from season one, and "The Blight Before Christmas" from season two (Which, oddly, didn't air anywhere near Christmas).
  • Crack Defeat: In the first episode, both Leonard and Scott lose the class election to Ian, the gross kid.
  • Darker and Edgier: The movie crosses into this territory at times. It's not as dark and edgy as other examples, but it can be at times compared to the TV series.
  • Dark Horse Victory: During the election for class president, Ian, the weird kid that everyone is openly disgusted by, wins, surprising the other two candidates, Leonard and Scott.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Spot/Scott, and Pretty Boy (who is not as much as the former)
  • Demoted to Extra: All of Leonard and Scott's classmates in the move except Ian, who turns out to be Dr. Krank's nephew.
  • Disappeared Dad: Leonard's dad. His disappearance is never brought up in the series, leaving fans to question if he died or got divorced from Leonard's mom before the events of the series.
  • Disney Acid Sequence: Several, but one particular one in the movie stands out thanks to the Lampshade Hanging that immediately follows it.
    (song ends, Leonard and Mrs. Helperman are stripped down to their undergarments and left standing in the middle of a parking lot)
    Mrs. Helperman: Well, that was strange.
  • Dub Name Change: In the Swedish dub, Spot's name is changed to "Pax" (While his aliases, "Scott", becomes "Max"), and Jolly's name is changed to "Figaro".
  • Eat the Camera: At the end of the opening song of The Movie, "I Gotta Be a Boy," Spot/Scott runs towards the camera and does this.
  • Embarrassing Relative Teacher: Leonard has his mother as one of his teachers, which of course causes him no end of embarrassment.
  • Ending Fatigue: Parodied/Lampshaded In-Universe in one of the closing songs in the movie.
    A friend needs a friend... (With the characters walking in the rain under an umbrella)
    A road needs a bend... (With a car driving down a bendy road)
    A film needs an end! (With the characters sitting over animation tables, ready to pass out.)
  • Finale Movie: The movie serves as a conclusion to the series and has Spot consult a Mad Scientist to fulfill his desire to become a boy, although it was originally going to end on a less final note with Spot giving up trying to literally transform into a human, but still maintaining his "Scott" identity. The finished movie gives no indication that he'll do anything other than be a regular dog.
  • Fun with Acronyms: The Movie has two different things with the same acronym N.E.A.T.O. The first is when Principal Strickler announces that Ms. Helperman has won the NEATO (National Excellent American Teacher's Organization) award, that sets off the plot of the movie. Dr. Ivan Krank's animal transformation machine has the very same acronym, but it stands for something else entirely.
    Dr. Ivan Krank: Let the Neuro Exchange Animal Transformation Operation, or NEATO for short—not to be confused with that stupid teacher award—begin!
  • Gender-Blender Name: Fred Bitters, the new girl and bully introduced in "Attack of the 50 Inch Girl". Scott lampshades this, saying that it's "a very unusual name for a girl".
  • Glamorous Single Mother: Subverted with Mary Lou—the single mom aspect isn't really touched upon.
  • Groin Attack: In the first episode, "Muttamorphosis", Scott collides groin-first into a fire hydrant on his way to school for the first time.
  • Guess Who I'm Marrying?: In the movie, Spot's plan to stay with Leonard as a human man is to marry Mary Lou. Leonard is not happy with this idea.
  • Halloween Episode: Two of them. "Costume Pity Party" from season one and "The Tale of the Tell-Tale Taffy" from season two.
  • Intellectual Animal: Scott/Spot obviously, the talking dog who is able to disguise himself as a human and quickly rise to the top of the class both socially and academically.
  • Joker Jury: In one episode, Leonard imagined himself being put on trial in front of a judge and jury who, for some reason, all resemble Ian Waszlewzki, the class slob.
  • Lamarck Was Right: The episode, "Don't Count Your Chickies Before They Hatch" has Leonard and Scott looking after some chicken eggs. When they have to leave, Mr. Jolly decides to warm the eggs like a hen. At the end of the episode, the eggs hatch, and while most of the chicks chirp like normal chicks, one of them meows.
  • Last of His Kind: Averted. At of the time of its production, the movie was considered the last traditionally hand drawn non-digital animated movie.
  • Leaning on the Fourth Wall: "Pet Project" (the second episode) opens with Leonard saying he had a horrible dream about Scott disguising himself as a boy to go to school and being better than him at everything. Scott tells him That Was Not a Dream and that it was instead last week.
  • Line-of-Sight Alias: Scott sees a Leadready Number Two Pencil to create his last name.
  • Lovable Alpha Bitch: Leslie's best friend, Younghee Mandlebom. She's usually mean to Leonard but, but even at her meanest, she never does any bodily harm to Leonard and is shown to actually care for him on numerous occasions.
  • Mirror Routine: Leonard and Spot, both dressed up as Mrs. Leadready, do this in "Being Mrs. Leadready".
  • Mood Whiplash: The movie can go from funny to heartwarming and then to tear jerking at the drop of a hat.
  • The Movie: Surprising for a show that lasted only 39 episodes.
  • Mystery Meat: In the comic, Leonard (his owner), in a hurry, accidentally feeds Spot a can of corned beef hash instead of his regular dogfood. Later, dressed as "Scott" in the School cafeteria, Spot finds out the mystery meat tastes just like his dogfood and concludes that the school is putting dogfood in their recipes, which starts a school riot. During a talk-in with Principal Strickler, the principal demands to know whether Spot has actually eaten dog food before. Fearing this could blow his cover, Spot agrees with Strickler to eat a large plate of their mystery meat and confirm to the students it's dogfood free. Much to the Principal and lunchlady's surprise, Spot ends up enjoying the experience (he's a dog after all). Overall, most of the cafeteria's recipes are made of turkey.
  • Number of the Beast: In the movie, Spot and Leonard search for Dr. Ivan Krank and his address is 666 Acko Way.
  • Only in Florida: From the movie, Dr. Ivan Krank lives in Florida ("Where the coo-coo nuts grow", as Barry Anger puts it).
  • The Pigpen: Ian Wazselewski; the other kids don't call him "Eew-an" for nothing.
  • Precocious Crush: In one episode, a kindergartener gets one of these first for Leonard and later (due to her rather short attention span) for Scott.
  • Pretending to Be One's Own Relative: In one episode, Spot has to dress up as Scott's mother for a meeting with Scott's teacher. He then has to switch between being the two characters when they are both invited to the teacher's house for dinner.
  • Roger Rabbit Effect: Spot/Scott appeared in the 2000 opening for One Saturday Morning, interacting with live action kids in a live action park (Along with the cast of The Weekenders, Recess, and in 2001, Lloyd in Space).
  • Sanity Slippage: Mary Lou starts to lose it after she proposes creating a new holiday play that will incorporate all the winter holidays alongside Christmas. She gradually becomes cranky and snappish as every idea she comes up with or gets suggested has already been done, and eventually has a Nightmare Sequence where her Christmas ornaments come to life and start mocking her for thinking she could replace "A Christmasy Christmas in Christmastown."
  • Second Episode Morning: In the second episode of the show, Leonard awakes from a Catapult Nightmare and tells Spot all about it.
    Leonard: Oh my gosh. Spot! I-I just had the weirdest dream. Y-You came to school dressed like a kid, a-and you were the smartest guy in class and a great athlete and everybody liked you, but you were my dog! And if anyone found out, I'd never live it down!
    Spot: wasn't a dream, Leonard. That was last week.
    Leonard: No way!
    Spot: Way, Leonard.
    Leonard: W-What about the part where I had no pants on and I was being chased by a man in a gorilla suit?
    Spot: All right, that was a dream. Ooo, you're a very complex boy.
  • Sensitive Guy and Manly Man: Leonard (Sensitive Guy) and Spot/Scott (Manly Man). Also, there's Mr. Jolly (Sensitive Guy) and Pretty Boy (Manly Man).
  • Short-Runner: Unfortunately, as it was a clever show and many critics loved it. It was only cancelled due to Disney retooling One Saturday Morning into ABC Kids.
  • Shout-Out: The Movie features lots of references to other Disney films, specifically Pinocchio.
    • A board game called "Cranium: Disney Edition", on the other hand is actually a Shout Out to this show, as the original version prominently featured characters drawn by Gary Baseman.
  • Slumber Party: Ian invites Scott and Leonard to one. Also, Leonard and Scott infiltrated Leslie's slumber party to get knowledge of what girls like from boys.
  • Smart Animal, Average Human: Spot, the intelligent talking blue dog and his average owner Leonard.
  • Spoiled Sweet: Leslie. Even though she is very rich and spoiled, she is really kind and friendly, she treats others nicely especially Leonard by who they are and not by their appearances or looks. She and her parents (who are very doting and wealthy) also live in a regular house, strangely.
  • The Scapegoat: Leonard is always blamed, punished, and/or beat up for things that are really Spot/Scott's fault. Though to be fair, Spot/Scott never does it intentionally or out of maliciousness.
  • Shout-Out: The part of the title sequence where Leonard briefly changes into a monster ("Why can't I be a normal boy like any other?") was a reference to the ending of the Betty Boop short Betty Boop, M.D.
  • Sue Donym: Sort of. Spot blurts out his real name, but Mrs. Helperman mishears it as "Scott" and he decides that, yes, that sounds like a perfectly normal name for a human boy (and basically says so in as many words).
  • Surprise Party: The episode "Party Animals" has one being thrown for Leonard on his tenth birthday. However, since he accidentally finds out beforehand, he has to figure out how to convincingly feign being surprised.
  • Teachers out of School: As the title implies, the teacher is Scott's owner and Leonard's mother, which means they see their teacher out of school all the time.
  • Trans Nature: A dog who wants to be a boy (Mainly in the movie). In the show, he merely just wants to go to school to learn, so he disguises himself as a boy.
  • Vocal Evolution: Leonard's voice got a little lower as the show went on, as he was voiced by an actual kid. His voice actor, Shaun Fleming, was twelve when production began in 1999 and was sixteen when production on the movie was completed in 2003.
  • You Gotta Have Blue Hair: Leslie's hair is a dark blue shade, and Emma has robin's egg blue hair.
    • Applies to the animals as well: Spot is primarily blue, and Talullah is mainly pink.


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