Follow TV Tropes


Western Animation / Teacher's Pet

Go To

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:

  • Academic Alpha Bitch: Younghee as seen in You Can't Bite City Hall and some other episodes.
  • Adorably Precocious Child: Spot gives vibes of this at times in this Scott persona. Also Leonard.
  • Adorkable: Leonard
  • Affectionate Parody: The movie is from Disney (albeit not part of the Disney Animated Canon due to being produced by Disney Television Animation), and wastes no time in parodying the studio's most beloved early works.
  • Amazing Technicolor Population: Along with...
  • Amazing Technicolor Wildlife: Spot is blue, Tallulah is pink, etc.
  • Animation Bump: In the Toon City episodes. The Movie also 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.
  • Assumed Win: Ian, surprising Leonard and Scott.
  • Award-Bait Song: "A Boy Needs a Dog" from The Movie.
  • Balloon Belly: Both Leonard and Spot in "Never Take Candy From a Kindergartener"
    • Leslie in "Movin' On Pup"
    • Also happens to Spot/Scott again in "Don't it Make My Brown Eyes Green" and "To Bee or Not to Bee"
  • Baseball Episode: "Take Me Out of the Ball Game"
  • 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 Damn Movie: the movie
  • Big "NO!": Leonard reacts this way when he finds out Scott is actually his dog in the first episode.
  • Birthday Episode: "Party Animals", where Leonard turns ten.
  • Body Wipe: about twice Jolly and Pretty Boy's petsitter Ms. Boogin
  • Butt-Monkey: Leonard is often, but not always, this.
  • Camp Straight: Mr. Jolly
  • Cats Are Mean: Mr. Jolly completely averts this, but 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.
  • Childhood Friend Romance: Leonard Helperman and Leslie Dunking
  • 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).
  • Clark Kenting: Spot/Scott. This is lampshaded by the creator for a special feature on the movie's DVD.
  • Close on Title: The Movie does this.
  • Crack Defeat: In the first episode, both Leonard and Scott lose the class election to Ian, the gross kid.
  • Cute Little Fangs: Jolly has these.
  • 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.
  • Demoted to Extra: All of Leonard and Scott's classmates in the move except Ian, who turns out to be Dr. Krank's nephew.
  • Deranged Animation: Oh hell yes.
  • 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.
  • Disney Death: Happens to Spot in The Movie.
  • Dub Name Change: In the Swedish dub, Spott'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.
  • 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.)
  • Extreme Omnivore: Ian
  • Eye Pop: Frequently
  • Fat Best Friend: Mr. Jolly is this to Pretty Boy (Of the unsorted variety)
    • Leonard is type B to Scott
  • Fat Cat: Mr. Jolly
  • 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 is also 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!
  • Getting Crap Past the Radar: In "Th]e Grass Seed is Always Greener", Pretty Boy comes down with Pre-Migrational Syndrome. The initials? PMS.
    • In "Never Take Candy From a Kindergartener", Emma develops crushes on whichever boys can build the highest block tower.
    • In the movie, when Mary Lou invites Manly Manning in for "coffee." It turns out she really did mean coffee.
    • In "Taint Valentine's Day", when the girls ask why Scott wrote all the valentines for Leonard so he would feel better about himself, Scott notes it's because he loves him. He then explains how close they are as friends (And also since Leonard is his master), but it almost sounded like something else.
  • Glamorous Single Mother: Subverted with Mary Lou- the single mom aspect isn't really touched upon.
  • Grand Finale: The movie, 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.
  • Gross-Out Show: At least given the character of Ian.
  • 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.
  • Heterosexual Life-Partners: Pretty Boy and Mr. Jolly.
  • I Just Want to Be Normal: Both Leonard and Scott
  • Intellectual Animal: Scott/Spot obviously.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Pretty Boy. Younghee as well.
  • Joker Jury: One episode Leonard Helperman imagine himself being put on trial in front of a judge and jury who all for some reason resemble Ian Waszlewzki, the class slob.
  • Lamarck Was Right: One episode 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.
  • Large Ham: Spot/Scott and Mr. Jolly
  • 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.
  • Line-of-Sight Name: 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 cares for him lots of times. She doesn't want him to get hurt, killed, or for him to die.
  • Lovable Coward: Mr. Jolly
  • Massive Multiplayer Ensemble Number: "I'm Moving On" from the movie.
  • Money Song: "Take the Money and Run" from the movie.
  • 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.
  • Nice Hat: Scott's Beanie.
  • 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.
  • Prime Time Cartoon: Post Channel Hop.
  • 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).
  • Sapient Pet: Spot
  • Saturday Morning Cartoon: Initially during its time on ABC.
  • 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.
  • Spaghetti Kiss: Referenced, but not actually done in one episode.
  • Speech Impediment: Mr. Jolly speaks with a lisp.
  • Spoiled Brat: Chelsea, Kelsey, and Younghee.
  • 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.
  • Thick-Line Animation: In some of the Toon City episodes.
  • This Looks Like a Job for Aquaman: In the movie, Mr. Jolly doesn't do anything productive in the adventure until Dr. Krank is turned into a mouse.
  • Those Two Guys: Pretty Boy and Mr. Jolly
    • Also Chelsey and Kelsey and Dennis and Adele in The Movie.
  • 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.
  • Valentine's Day Episodes: "Taint Valentine's Day"
  • Villain Song: "I, Ivan Krank" from The Movie.
  • Vocal Evolution: Leonard's voice got a little lower as the show went on, as he was voiced by a real 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)
  • Wham Episode: The Movie could qualify as this for the series.
  • 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.