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Western Animation / The Proud Family

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The Proud Family is an American animated comedy series created by Bruce W. Smith that aired on the Disney Channel from 2001 to 2005. The show is notable for being the first cartoon to feature an African-American family in the main role◊ , and was the first Disney Channel Original animated series, being created specifically for the channel rather than ABC's One Saturday Morning block or First-Run Syndication. It also has the distinction of being the first Disney series not produced by WDTA, being made instead at Smith's Jambalaya Studios.

The series centers the titular Proud family, with most plots focusing on Penny Proud (Kyla Pratt), the family's 14-year-old teenage daughter who often butts heads with her overprotective parents - manchild and failing snack food entrepreneur father Oscar (Tommy Davidson), and loving yet controlling breadwinner mother Trudy (Paula Jai Parker) - while trying to assert her independence. Other members of the family include one-year-old twin siblings, brother BeBe (Tara Strong) and sister CeCe (Tara Strong), and her paternal grandmother, "Suga Mama" (Jo Marie Payton).

While the show generally gave off a low-key vibe similar to most sitcoms while dealing with plots about peer pressure or racism, it wasn't afraid to get strange; the entire town in which Penny lived was ruled by a basketball-obsessed businessman named Wizard Kelly, and Penny and family occasionally encountered supernatural beings, such as an evil genie in the form of Today weatherman Al Roker.

Initially running for 52 episodes over the course of two seasons, the series ended with a Made-for-TV Movie entitled The Proud Family Movie. In it, Penny and the Proud Clan have to stop the evil scientist descendant of George Washington Carver from unleashing peanut humanoid clones upon the world. Like we said, the show could get weird.

Most of the show remained out of syndication for some time before being released on iTunes, then, in January 2020, on Disney's streaming service Disney+, and on DVD in March 2022.

In February 2021, Disney+ formally announced that Smith and the cast would reunite for a revival (this time, produced at Disney TVA), titled The Proud Family: Louder and Prouder. Premiering in February 2022, it picks up when Penny and her friends have started attending high school. Keke Palmer voices Penny's newest classmate, an adopted mixed-race Wise Beyond Their Years teenage activist named Maya Leibowitz-Jenkins.

Also has the "Just For Fun" Drinking Game.

This series provides examples of:

  • The Ace: Rene in the episode "There's Something About Rene..."
  • Actor Allusion: One episode involves Penny, voiced by Kyla Pratt, inexplicably finds herself able to talk to a tiger from a circus act in one episode. This references Pratt's role in Dr. Dolittle, which had a plot also involving an uncooperative tiger.
  • Actually Pretty Funny: In "Behind Family Lines", Oscar and Trudy's family have a football match, and Oscar describes how it was pretty funny when Suga Mama tackled Trudy's mother. Even Trudy's dad gets in and says "...Actually that was pretty funny."
  • Ambiguously Christian: In “The Camp, The Counselor, The Mole and The Rock”, Penny, her friends and family are shown to attend a church of unknown denomination, singing a hymn about praising God.
  • An Aesop:
    • "Culture Shock" is an episode about Penny living with a Pakistani family through a cultural exchange program. Though everyone thinks they're weird and Penny is initially rude, she eventually learns that the Zamin family is just like any other, explaining that it's unacceptable that their house was vandalized. It particularly stings when Oscar and Suga Mama refer to them as "those people", but Trudy is quick to quash their ignorance. During Penny's speech, it seems like she's talking to the actual viewers themselves and not just her friends and family. In other words, you can't judge people without getting to know them first.
      “Before I moved in with the Zamins, I thought like a lot of you guys — they’re weird, they’re different, they’re not like us. And I was right and the more I got to know them, the stranger they became. And before I knew it, they were exactly like my family — truly bizarre. But they’re exactly like all of our families; little brothers and sisters that get on your nerves, a father that’s too protective, a grandparent that sleeps in front of the TV and a mom that keeps everything together. And if you know that, you could never write on their door “go back to your country, America for Americans”, you just couldn’t do it.”
    • There are two episodes about not taking your heritage for granted and that there’s nothing wrong with taking pride in it. The first one, "Seven Days of Kwanzaa" focuses on Kwanzaa’s principles and the second, "I Had a Dream", is about Black History Month. Both episodes handled them pretty darn well.
    • "The Altos" feature Sticky hanging out with the titular bullies due to him being upset about his parents' divorce. As Oscar tells him, you shouldn't let divorce (or any traumatic experience) influence you to do bad things and that you should reach out to those who care about you for help in those tough times.
    • "Hip Hop Helicopter" has Penny and her friends wear black midriffs in order to feel "older". But Penny gradually realizes that like it or not, these new clothes command the wrong kind of attention from boys. She comes out of the experience learning how sacrificing one's modesty isn't worth getting attention from others, and you shouldn't try to "grow up" in a hurry.
  • All Just a Dream: The majority of the Black History Month episode "I Had a Dream".
  • Animated Outtakes: The Stinger on "The Legend of Johnny Lovely" is this.
  • Animated Actors: One episode ends with a blooper reel showing the animated characters as actor's playing the parts. Penny even has a dressing room drawn for her on the spot.
  • Animation Bump: The first three episodes have some awkward animation, with bad lip syncing and characters floating around sometimes. The fourth episode's animation is noticably more fluid and the words match lip movement. It doesn't even stay consistent from this point. For example, compare the animation from the episode "I Had A Dream" to the next episode ''"I Love You Penny Proud. The former has the standard animation the series has had, while the animation in the latter is noticably different.
  • Anticipatory Lipstick: Dijonay puts on lipstick in attempts to kiss Sticky in the episodes "Surf and Turf" and "Rumors" but he runs away from her before she can.
  • Applied Phlebotinum: Oscar's Proud Snax, in the later seasons.
    • It Runs on Nonsensoleum: Oscar is capable of lighting a fire without using matches or any other kind of lighter, because (as Suga Mama always says) his ankles are so rusty he can start a fire with them. This is demonstrated in "Camping Trip", where circumstances have forced Oscar and Felix to separate from the rest of their camping entourage and scale a mountain to find help after a flash flood occurs.
  • Arson, Murder, and Jaywalking: In one episode:
    Oscar: You cant hurt anything that old! Suga Mama survived some of the greatest disasters in the history of mankind: The Hindenburg, the Titanic, that meteor that took out the dinosaurs and 30 years of "The Jefferson's" reruns.
  • Art Shift: "She Drives Me Crazy" is animated in Flash (as are all the other episodes handled by Liquid Animation), while the rest of the series is done traditionally.
  • Asian Store-Owner: In "E-Z Jackster", Mr. Min, the owner of the record store, is a really angry guy who yells at Mega for not buying anything. He's furious when the titular piracy site puts his store out of business.
  • Attack Animal: Especially in "Hooray for Iesha", when the police dogs try to attack Penny and her friends.
  • Audible Gleam: The glow-in-the-dark Thingy dolls in "Ain’t Nothing Like the Real Thingy, Baby".
  • Aw, Look! They Really Do Love Each Other: Oscar and Trudy may get into disagreements with each other, but there are a few scenes that show they do love each other deep down.
  • Being Evil Sucks: Penny finds this out the hard way when she decides to make it big by performing a Face–Heel Turn and then publishing a tell-all about being a bad girl – she alienates everyone, disappoints her teacher to the point of tears, and gets sent to boot camp. She escapes, but the Gross Sisters won't shelter her, she misses her family (who she knows won't take her back), and she has nowhere else to go, so she decides to reform and get back to normal life.
  • Big Damn Heroes: In the Halloween episode, Penny does this three times. The first time was saving the town from a meteor. The second time was her saving her family from the ghost that haunted her house and family.
  • Bilingual Bonus: LaCienega's in Spanish is "the bog/swamp".
  • Bittersweet Ending: Penny befriends a Muslim girl whose family is every bit as dysfunctional-yet-loving as hers. However, their house is vandalized, complete with graffiti saying "Go back home, towelheads!" (changed to "Go back to your country!" in reruns) Although Penny delivers a moving anti-racism speech at a school assembly, the vandals are never caught.
  • Bolt of Divine Retribution: In "The Camp, the Counselor, the Mole and the Rock", Oscar inadvertently volunteers to fund the church $2,000 but is struck by lightning when he smugly refuses to do so.
  • Boot Camp Episode: In "Pulp Boot Camp", Penny becomes a bad girl and is sent to a boot camp style reformatory.
  • Bowdlerization: In the aforementioned episode about Islamophobia, the spray-painted message was changed to "Go back to your country!"
  • Broken Aesop: In "A Star Is Scorned" Penny goes solo after the success of LDPZ, and ends up ditching her friends, only for her to learn that fame means nothing without her friends. This wouldn't be a problem if it wasn't for the fact that Penny's friends have been shown to be backstabbers and just as opportunistic, if not more, than Penny ever was. Hell, even Sugar Mama points this out by calling the friends Penny has as fake.
  • Bully Magnet
    • This becomes Deconstruction with Michael. He was a target of bullying due to him being Camp Straight. He ends up getting fed up and rages at his tormentors.
    • Averted with Oscar, as he is just a victim of slapstick and bad luck. You would think Oscar was this in his middle and high school days, but he was the bully.
  • Butt-Monkey: Oscar, bar none. He takes the most punishment in the show next to his daughter Penny.
  • By the Lights of Their Eyes: The moment Penny turns out the lights in "Ain’t Nothing Like the Real Thingy, Baby".
  • Cassandra Truth: Oscar is always telling the truth about the talking baby...but nobody believes him.
  • Catchphrase:
    • Oscar usually shouts "Trudy!" when he's about to endure some slapstick.
    • Oscar and Felix's joyous exclamation: "Yeah–yeah!"
    • Peabo likes to ask Oscar "Remember what happened last time?"
  • Celebrity Star: Al Roker, Lou Rawls and Smokey Robinson and several others make appearances as themselves. Roker appears in two episodes.
  • Christmas Episode: It was about Christmas AND Kwanzaa!
  • Chronic Backstabbing Disorder: Penny's friends. This is primarily done with Dijonay, while LaCienaga doesn't acknowledge her as a friend (hence it not counting) and Zoey ends up going with the majority due to her nature.
  • Comic-Book Time: Penny and her friends are fourteen and in middle school during the series.
  • Company Cross References: One of many, many Disney cross-references. In one of the earlier episodes, Oscar explains that an incident with a fish at a restaurant left him so scared of fish that he had to watch The Little Mermaid (1989) with his hands covering his eyes.
  • Couch Gag: During most episodes' Title Sequence, Oscar opens and closes the door on Penny's friends, one or two other people relevant to the episode, and then Suga Mama, who opens the door and forces her way in anyways.
  • Credit Card Plot: Penny gets a credit card and it talks to her. And it's voiced by Steve Harvey!
  • Crossover: With Lilo & Stitch: The Series.
  • Curse Cut Short: The episode where Penny joins the football team opens with Penny and her friends scoring a touchdown against a group of boys.
    Cheerleaders: We're girls! We're bad! We kicked those brothers'- *roll opening credits*
  • Deadpan Snarker: The majority of the cast, but Papi is a standout.
  • Depending on the Writer: LaCienega is often portrayed as an Alpha Bitch towards Penny...but there are also quite a few times where she's warm and friendly towards her. Likewise, Dijonay's own jerkass behaviour depends strongly on the writer.
  • Didn't Think This Through:
    • In "Tween Town," Penny makes a wish to Jackass Genie Al Roker that the adults would disappear out of frustration of getting grounded for lying about attending a teen nightclub (as well as being forced into becoming a servant in her house). The tweens are having a blast without the adults, but in the long run they face the repercussions of their absent parents, as some of them have to take the jobs of adults and have to deal with President Scooter’s taxes.
    • In the episode "Adventures in Bebe Sitting," Dijonay, Lacienega, Zoey, and the Chang Triplets are at the "3rd Storee" concert (they bought their tickets from the Gross Sisters). They proceed to show the security guard the tickets, only for him to tell the trio they are fake, and as a result, the trio are shortly thrown out of the concert. Seconds later, the Chang Triplets are also thrown out for having fake tickets as well.
  • Digital Piracy Is Evil: Illegal file-sharing is an addiction, kids!
  • Does Not Like Spam: One thing everyone, even the nicest characters shown, can agree on is that Oscar's Proud Snacks are utterly disgusting
  • Does This Remind You of Anything?:
    • "Who You Callin' a Sissy?": Michael gets called a sissy. He has a rather harsh coach dad who's obviously ashamed of how his son acts and doesn't want to be acknowledged as Michael's dad in public.
    • "The Legend of Johnny Lovely" features a mysterious boy named Johnny Lovely, who teaches all the kids to be kind and love one another. The authority figures promptly run him out of town, but he leaves behind his message in a book.
    • The Kwanzaa Episode, "Seven Days of Kwanzaa", featured a homeless couple named Joseph and Margaret. Although Joseph is an out-of-work construction foreman who proves he's good at construction when he puts together the twins' new jungle gym.
  • Double Standard: Violence, Child on Adult: In "Ain’t Nothing Like the Real Thingy, Baby", a group of toddlers beat up Oscar and nobody tries to call for help. Imagine the reactions if many adults ganged up on an infant.
  • Downer Ending: A lot of episodes had pretty depressing endings. Such as when the songs available for downloading on the Internet wind up making a man's CD store close down, and it ends with him sobbing while closing up for good. Or when Suga Mama finds out the man she was going to marry had Alzheimer's and was taken away from her.
  • Droppedin Speech Clip: In "I Had a Dream", Penny is thrust back to 1955 and recites Martin Luther King's "I have a dream" speech to quell an anti-integration protest. During that moment, audio of Dr. King himself giving the speech plays at the same time Penny says the same lines.
  • Early-Bird Cameo: Thingy makes an appearance in "A Hero for Halloween" as BeBe and CeCe's Halloween costumes before being officially introduced in the next episode, "Ain't Nothing Like the Real Thingy, Baby".
  • Election Day Episode: In "Election", Penny makes a campaign to win an election as student body president running against Wizard Kelly's son. Penny has some difficulty in the campaign (such as being three points behind... undecided) in which one of her friends (who is also working on her campaign) went so far as to orchestrate a Watergate-style break-in.
  • El Spanish "-o": Boulevardez is definitely not an accurate Spanish surname. It’s basically Boulevard with “-ez” added to the end just for the sake of the street name puns.
  • Even Evil Has Loved Ones: The Gross Sisters do care for each other.
  • Even Evil Has Standards: The Gross Sisters refuse to house Penny after she escapes from boot camp, figuring that while they're bullies, the fact that Penny was sent to boot camp makes her a hardened thug.
  • Everybody Cries: In "Tween Town", all the kids do this when Penny wished every parent in the neighborhood away and they all miss having them around.
  • Everyone Hates Fruit Cakes: In "Seven Days of Kwanzaa", the homeless family the Prouds invite for Christmas give the familly a fruit cake. Even Uncle Bobby, who says he actually likes fruit cake, doesn't want it and kicks it onto the front lawn, where it sinks under the ground. At the end of the episode, it shows a fruit tree sprouted out from the fruitcake. The homeless family are revealed to be spirits, which implies the fruit cake itself was magical and intentionally shared so it would get tossed out so it could then flourish.
  • "Everybody Laughs" Ending: The episode "A Star is Scorned" ends with Trudy, Oscar, & Suga Mama laughing.
  • Everything Sounds Sexier In Spanish: LaCienega's grandfather, Papi, would insult Suga Mama in Spanish as she unwittingly swooned to his every word.
  • Exact Words: In the episode “Hip Hop Helicopter,” Dijonay brags about how cool her cousin Bethany is. Then when Bethany gives them a ride and drops them off randomly on a sidewalk, Penny asks Dijonay why Bethany dropped them off randomly if she was “cool.” Dijonay just retorts “she’s cool, we’re not.”
  • The Faceless: "Wizard" Kelly is never shown from the neck up.
  • Fancy Camping: Oscar takes his family out camping using a fairly state-of-the-art RV, but their rich neighbors, the Boulevardezes, use a massive collapsible mansion.
  • Four-Girl Ensemble: Vain Alpha Bitch LaCienega (a sexy one), loud and aggressively flirtatious Sassy Black Girl Dijonay (a tomboyish one), sweet and impressionable Shrinking Violet Zoey (a sweet-naive one), who's constantly caving into peer pressure by the aforementioned girls, and Penny, the caring and polite Nice Girl title character who tries to keep the peace.
  • Friction Burn: Oscar sets his hand on fire while trying to snap. A few seconds prior, a kid warned him about trying to snap because his skin was so dry.
    • Similar, while in the middle of a Macho Disaster Expedition he remembers how his mother always said his ankles were ashy they could start a fire, so he tries it—and it works!
  • Fun with Subtitles: In "Spelling Bee", Oscar physically messes with his own onscreen subtitles.
  • Funny Background Event: In "The Legend of Johnny Lovely", while Penny and Trudy are in the house discussing Penny being a debutante, just behind Penny is the window where Suga Mama can be seen fighting against the strong wind.
  • Halloween Episode: "A Hero for Halloween" – slightly unusual in that it doubled as a Superhero Episode.
  • Historical Longevity Joke: Oscar claims that Suga Mama survived the meteor that wiped out the dinosaurs.
  • Honest John's Dealership: The Gross Sisters specialize in these kinds of schemes.
  • Hostility on the Set: An In-Universe example happens in the episode “Hooray for Iesha” when Ishea’s actress is rude and nasty to not only Penny, but the other actors.
  • Hypocritical Humor: Nubia always mentions the size of Penny's forehead yet her forehead is twice as big.
  • I Ate WHAT?!: One episode involves Suga Mama's lemon squares becoming massively popular to the point of ending up on Oprah. This is the part where the whole world discovers that when she says she "puts her foot in it", she means it literally. As in sticks her foot in the batter. The audience promptly starts hacking.
  • I Feel Guilty; You Take It: LaCienega and Agatha enter an American Idol-style Music Reality Show, sponsored by Wizard Kelly, LaCienega, being prettier than Agatha, wins due to a fix by Wizard Kelly, "You see, pretty sells and ugly repels, money that is." Penny finds out and tells LaCienega that if she doesn't make things right, she'll have bad karma. LaCienega gives the prize to Agatha, who, in turn, shares it with her citing fairness.
  • Inelegant Blubbering: LaCienega, especially in "Culture Shock" with she switches homes with the Gross sisters.
  • Improvised Lockpick: In "Thelma and Luis", when Suga Mama and Penny rescue Papi from an okra farm masquerading as a retirement home, they find him in a locked cell. Dijonay fails to unlock the cell with her hairpin so Suga Mama uses her long toenail to pick the lock of the cell.
  • Informed Kindness: Dijonay reunites with her old friend LaCienega for the first time in years. Dijonay tells her current best friend Penny that LaCienega is the best person ever, but LaCienega only proceeds to do nothing but selfishly disrespect Penny. Penny calls Dijonay out on her judgement saying that it's possible her old friend has changed, but Dijonay doesn't see any of it.
  • Ink-Suit Actor: Some of characters look a great deal like their voice actors, Oscar in particular.
  • Insane Troll Logic: Oscar tries to tell Penny that she can't date until after she's married. This means she'll have to marry someone without dating them first, and will only be allowed to do so afterwards.
  • I Was Quite a Looker: Suga Mama. She returns to this after dieting for her wedding, looking as she did 50 years ago but with white hair and glasses. Once she eats real food again, however, she returns to her normal shape.
  • Kent Brockman News: Marsha Mitsubishi.
  • Laser-Guided Karma: A nice example happens to Dijonay. In "Adventures in BeBe-Sitting", she ditches Penny to babysit her brothers and sisters while she leaves for a concert. However, the security sees she has fake tickets the Gross sisters gave her earlier, and when Penny arrives in a limo by the same band who's playing at the concert, she gets in for free along with LaCienega, Zoey and the Chang Triplets... except Dijonay, who her siblings and Penny say they don't know. Subverted in that she takes her back, but only to be the person that Penny can't trust.
  • Last-Second Photo Failure: The title sequence ends with the Prouds taking a family picture with a timer. When the photo is taken, Sugar Mama's dog Puff is biting Oscar in the ear, while CeCe is making a face.
  • Last-Second Word Swap: This happens once with Dijonay, in "Poetic Justice", when Penny encourages her to use cheerleading chants to help her get started writing spoken word poetry.
    Dijonay: Rip rip ree! Kick 'em in the knee! Rip rip rass! Kick 'em in the- (Beat, realizes what comes next) ...other knee.
  • Limited Wardrobe: Pretty much everyone on this show, except for the few occasions where they dress up.
    • Lampshaded in one episode, the girls rip off their normal outfits and have new ones underneath, but Penny still has her usual outfit underneath. She then tries a couple more times, with the same results, until she ends up quickly ripping off a lot of the same outfit until she finally gets to the new one. The Credit Card Plot episode even made fun of this where her mother bought her a bunch of copies of the same outfit.
  • Literal Genie: Al Roker. Yes, that Al Roker. However, the wishes he grants Penny always blow up in her face.
  • Lovable Alpha Bitch: While LaCienega was originally a full-fledged Alpha Bitch in the Pilot Episode and antagonized Penny, by the second episode she's part of the group rounding out the Four-Girl Ensemble. Occasionally they'll acknowledge that they're not really friends, Depending on the Writer.
  • Makeover Montage: "Makeover"; where Olay, the biggest of the Gross Sisters, gets a makeover and becomes popular.
  • Mistaken For Destitute: "Seven Days of Kwanzaa" has Oscar and Penny getting drenched in mud while looking for an actual (maybe) homeless family at the local shelter. The desk lady condescendingly assumes them to be homeless, even accusing Oscar of making Penny lie when she protests.
  • Mistaken for Racist: In "Romeo Must Wed", Penny developed a crush on Kwok while rehearsing for their school's production of Romeo & Juliet. After a while, Kwok's parents, the Wongs, politely asked Oscar and Trudy that they not allow Penny and Kwok to see each other anymore. While Trudy remained civil in her inquiry, Oscar immediately jumped to conclusions, thinking that the Wongs didn't approve of their son having a relationship with Penny because she wasn't "good enough" for them. This prompted both Oscar and Mr. Wong to imply the other was a racist. It turns out the real reason was that Kwok had an arranged bride, who was coming to town for a visit.
  • Named After Somebody Famous: Peabo, named after American R&B and soul singer-songwriter Peabo Bryson.
    • Also, three guesses who Bebe and Cece were named after...
  • New Transfer Student: The Russian Sergei, to whom Zoey is attracted.
  • Nice Mean And In Between:
    • The Proud adults gives us:
      • Nice: Trudy. She's the more sensible and rational member of the family who serves as a Reasonable Authority Figure.
      • Mean: Oscar. He's always ill-tempered and hammy when he doesn't get what he wants.
      • In-between: Suga Mama. She's a Cool Old Lady who as quite the attitude, but shows her soft side time to time.
    • For Penny's girlfriends, we have:
      • Nice: Zoey. She's the klutzy Nervous Wreck who's often positive about everything.
      • Mean: LaCienega. She's often bossy and stuck-up and wants things done the way they want, though she shows her soft side when needed.
      • In-between: Dijonay. She's a Sassy Black Woman who always thinks cool, but isn't as klutzy and more assertive.
  • No Ending: Near the end of "She Drives Me Crazy", Suga Mama gets in another car accident and is suddenly sitting at home watching TV after losing her license again.
  • Once Done, Never Forgotten: Oscar will never live down losing the basketball match to Wizard Kelly.
  • Operation: Jealousy: Dijonay tries this in "Surf and Turf" by dating Duke to make Sticky jealous.
  • Parental Favoritism: Suga Mama likes her older son, Bobby, more than she does Oscar.
  • Pest Episode: In "Don't Leave Home Without It", the B-story involves Oscar trying to get rid of a mouse in their home. Instead of paying an exterminator to get rid of the mouse, he and Felix try to do it themselves, but it doesn't end well and they ended up spending more money than what the exterminator offered.
  • Pet the Dog: The Gross Sisters in "The Party". They don't show up to torment Penny even further about how almost nobody is at her party and is instead at Lacieniga's. They legitimately came to have fun and act polite. They don't ask Penny for anything at the party. Similarly, they're shown that they care for each other.
  • Post-Treatment Lollipop: Played with; when the family takes the babies to get their shots, Doctor Payne receives them with lollipops. When Oscar asks about the shots, the doctor explains that the lollipops ARE the shots. He then take notice that Oscar himself is missing a shot, but as an adult he doesn't get a lollipop substitute.
  • Pretty in Mink: Penny's aunt Diana is always seen wearing a fancy green fur coat. Even when playing football.
  • Prince and Pauper: In "Monkey Business", Mariah Carey's pet monkey, François, and Oscar's Mr. Chips had this forced onto each other when Oscar, while distracted by Carey's presence at the vet's office, threw an injured Mr. Chips into a sick room that was already occupied by Carey's monkey (who was sick due to eating Proud Snacks). Things go uphill for Mr. Chips (who is mistaken by Carey for her pet), and downhill for her pet, with the latter experiencing something close to slave labor regarding meals, and later having its piano playing skills exploited for cash. Things end up back to normal after the pet finds Mr. Chips and takes back his identity forcefully and returns to his rightful owner, and Chips to his.
  • Punny Names: You’ve got Dijonay (a play on Djionnaise), LaCienega, Felix, and Sunshine Boulevardez (after famous streets in Los Angeles), and Sticky Webb.
  • Rage Against the Author: Penny performs this at the end of the Hilarious Outtakes reel in "The Legend of Johnny Lovely", when she yells at Bruce Smith to draw her a dressing room, where she can go sulk. He draws a trailer for her, only for her to demand a bigger dressing room. Bruce draws one big enough to fill a one-story building, which Penny promptly skates inside.
  • Reality Is Unrealistic: There was actually some debate because Papi looked "too white" to be Hispanic. It's no secret LaCienega counts as Hispanic (she and Sunset are darker skinned than Felix, who's tan) but some assumed that Felix was half Hispanic, and that his mom was. However, it's fully possible for Papi to be white but still be Hispanic, there are plenty of Hispanics who can be considered white. Heck, just look at Guillermo del Toro.
  • Remember the New Guy?: Recurring characters Peabo, Duke and Miss Hightower materialize out of nowhere and are already friendly with the main cast on their first appearances in "Poetic Justice", "Camping Trip" and "The Legend of Johnny Lovely".
  • Right for the Wrong Reasons: Oscar was proven to be right about Clarance being the wrong suitor for Suga Mama. He was right for the wrong reasons because it turned out that Clarance had Alzheimer’s, not because he was a Gold Digger.
  • Running Gag:
    • Oscar's "rivalry" with the talking baby.
    • Whenever the family get invited to a party, Oscar isn't included on the list.
    • It's not frequent but every so often, Trudy will be making a delicacy and a nearby loud noise will deflate it.
    • People trying Oscar's Proud Snax and reacting with disgust.
    • Anytime Oscar asks his family/friends if anyone wants to try his snacks and they run away.
  • Screw Politeness, I'm a Senior!: Suga Mama and Papi. Oh boy are they this trope!
  • Secret Ingredient: Suga Mama's cooking is so delicious because she put her foot in it. Normally this is just a turn of phrase, but she meant it literally, and revealed it on a national TV show which caused everyone to get sick.
  • Series Continuity Error: In "Love Thy Neighbor", LaCienega has big feet that she's embarrassed about, but other times she's shown bareboot her feet are normal size.
  • Shaking the Rump: While driving, Penny talks about practicing her Beyoncé dance and proceeds to rub and wiggle her butt up against her window while driving. We even hear people honking at her!
  • She Cleans Up Nicely: Olei, who in better clothing also appears thinner as well.
  • Shockingly Expensive Bill: In "Wedding Bell Blues," Oscar is shocked when Wizard Kelly bills him $6,000.00 for Suga Mama's wedding. In response, Wizard Kelly tells him that it was the wrong bill and gives Oscar the bill with the right amount: $75,000.00. This leads to Oscar fainting.
  • Shoe Size Angst: The episode "Love Thy Neighbor" reveals that LaCienega has huge, flipper-like feet, a hereditary trait from her father's side. She is deeply ashamed of them, especially when they get her kicked out of Wizard Kelly's beauty pageant, but she learns to accept them after a pep talk from Oscar.
  • Shout-Out:
    • Oscar and Trudy have an extended Shaft conversation in "Bring It On". Minor references come to it throughout the first season.
    • Wizard Kelly's name is undeniably a reference to NBA legend Magic Johnson.
    • LaCienega Boulevardez. Named after a street in what is often called the Studio Zone in L.A. Her mother is named Sunset.
    • Penny's brother and sister are named after sibling gospel duo BeBe and CeCe Winans.
      • BeBe may very well be a Shout-Out to Bébé's Kids, Smith's previous project. LaCienega refers to BeBe and CeCe as such in "Puff's Magic Adventure".
    • Oscar and Felix? It can't be a coincidence.
    • LaCienega's grandfather, Papi, is an obvious Expy of The Joker. To be specific, the one played by Cesar Romero on the 1960s Adam West Batman show.
    • Penny name-drops Kim Possible in "The Legend of Johnny Lovely".
    • The middle school the kids attend is named for the first (and so far, only) African-American NASCAR driver.
    • The family's favorite shows, Everybody Loves Iesha and My Momma and Me are shout-outs to Moesha and The Parkers. Suga Mama even references the No Ending of Moesha by asking about the little brother who was kidnapped.
    • Penny also refers to Dr. Dolittle. Her voice actress, Kyla Pratt, played the famous doctor's daughter in the modern film version that also inherited his gift in a later sequel.
    • "She's Got Game": Zoey's lawyer aunt is named Gloria Cochran, nods to Gloria Steinem and Johnnie Cochran.
    • "Tween Town" has Al Roker acting a lot like the Wicked Witch of the West.
    • Sticky gets involved in one-time appearing gang of thieves called the Altos.
  • Shrinking Violet: The principal, like Hooks, can be very loud.
  • Slobs vs. Snobs: "Behind Family Lines" essentially becomes this between Trudy's (snobs) and Oscar's (slobs) families.
  • Spelling Bee: When Wizard Kelly launches a spelling bee competition, Oscar forces Penny to train and makes her enter the competition so that he can re-live his glory days all over again, but the son of a contestant who lost to Oscar in a spelling bee that happened years ago made other ways to win the competition.
  • Stock Audio Clip: Many of the characters' grunts, screams and laughs, including most of Papi's laughs, are made up of audio clips that keep getting reused in many episodes.
  • Stock Footage:
    • "Camping Trip": Trudy bakes a cake which falls flat because Oscar yells out her name. This same clip has been reused in several episodes, an example being "There's Something About Rene" where after the clip is used, she's baking a different cake! It occurs in the series in general also where a clip in one episode is reused again seconds later.
    • "Don't Leave Home Without It": When Trudy calls Penny downstairs, a reused clip of Penny walking downstairs from "E-Z Jackster" is used.
  • Straw Misogynist: Coach Collins has shades of this. He had issues with Penny wanting to join the football team because of her gender. Also, in the episode "Twins to Tweens," he even replaced Penny with her magically aged teenaged brother BeBe because he was not only as good as Penny, but because he was a boy.
  • Super-Speed: Downplayed, but it's not unusual to see characters run like heck when the situation demands it, and they will typically clear large distances between seconds and minutes.
  • Surprisingly Realistic Outcome:
    • In "E-Z Jackster", Penny is used as a pawn by new boy Mega to infect the whole world with Mega’s music-sharing website. Everybody ends up using the website to download music illegally. These results in Penny being under arrest and record sales going down drastically. The local record store also goes out of business, and the manager ends up firing Penny and Dijonay as a result for their actions.
    • In “Crouching Trudy, Hidden Penny", the kids training at the advanced karate school are promised that they will earn a black belt in one day. When Penny thinks of transferring to that program, Trudy becomes suspicious of it, and wonders how someone can earn a black belt on one day. Trudy then rightly refuses to allow Penny to take the courses and makes her stay at her present karate school. It turns out that at the advanced karate school, the students are taught trends that usually appear in martial arts films. These includes doing mid air action poses, breaking already-broken wooden boards, and faking hits on someone. This “training” doesn't make them black belts as shown in the end when they hilariously lose the karate competition against Penny and the other karate students who actually took the time to learn and practice their skills. Moral of the episode: people don’t become pros at certain hobbies overnight, and constant practicing and dedication to hobbies is what will get you to be a pro at them.
    • A Played for Laughs example is in "Wedding Bell Blues", when Suga Mama signs up for a quick weight loss program with Dr. Payne in preparation for her wedding with Clarence. Suga Mama does end up losing the weight and looks like a completely different person. Then after the wedding (well, Suga Mama didn't get married due to Clarence having Alzheimer's), she takes a small bite of the wedding cake, only to instantly gain back the weight she lost. Moral: Going on crash diets & exercise plans usually backfire on you (your metabolism comes to a halt) in the long run.
  • Take That!:
    • In "One in a Million", Oscar wants to get a one way ticket to "a place nobody goes or likes to visit" which turns out to be Cleveland.
    • The episode "I Had a Dream" has Oscar disappointed that Black History Month is on the shortest month of the year.
  • Talking Animal: The white rabbit that shows up very near the end of "Psycho Duck" says one line in response to Trudy's "cute harmless little bunny" line.
  • Temporary Love Interest: Kwok, the Asian boy that Penny dates in "Romeo Must Wed". It ends with the two getting together, but by the next season their relationship is never referenced again even though Kwok makes occasional appearances.
  • The Ahnold: a recurring archetype whenever a strong man in a minor role show up, usually with jobs like bodyguard and security.
  • Theme Naming: Dijonay and her siblings are all named after spices, though it doesn't even strike you as odd at first if you've heard the off-the-wall names some urban Black parents (or even white parents, think of Sage, Pepper, Ginger or Basil) give their children.
  • Toothy Bird: Chester the duck in "Psycho Duck" has sharp teeth.
  • Tyop on the Cover: In "The Good, the Bad, the Ugly", Alicia Keys is credited as "Alicia Keyes".
  • The Unfair Sex: Oscar. Big Time. Part of it is a result of Oscar being the shows Butt-Monkey, but 9 times out of 10, any conflict between Oscar and Trudy always have Oscar at fault, and the other time it'll still paint Oscar as the bad guy.
  • Verbal Tic:
    • Bobby, y'all!
    • Wizard Kelly.
    • And Sir Paid-A-Lot, Dawg!
  • Vitriolic Best Buds: Penny and Lacienga. Even though Lacienga can be rude and condescending towards Penny, both girls know that when things hit the fan they can always count on each other.
  • Unrequited Love: Dijonay/Sticky.
  • The Voiceless: Two of the Gross sisters (Olei, the biggest one and Gina, the smallest one) never speak. Nubia, the middle one, does all of their talking.
    • Although they are actually able to sing...and very well at that.
  • Volumetric Mouth: Happens almost every time a character yells loudly.
  • We Want Our Jerk Back!: In one episode, LaCienega is humiliated because of the cruel jokes aimed at her feet, and Penny misses how much of a jerk LaCienega used to be.
  • Wild Teen Party: Penny has a sleepover that quickly turns into this when LaCienega calls everyone from their middle school.
  • World of Snark: Almost every character in the show is varying levels of sassy smart-aleck, and always seems to have a quip or comeback at the ready, especially Oscar and Suga Mama.
  • World of Weirdness: This setting is really really weird. Some episodes appear to set it in a bit more normal setting, but others (especially the camping episode) have this set in some kind of really really weird place. (Oscar and Felix even get taken to a nest by a pterodactyl!)


Video Example(s):


Kyla Pratt's Proud Family Rap

Penny Proud voiced by (then teenager) Kyla Pratt

How well does it match the trope?

5 (4 votes)

Example of:

Main / ChildrenVoicingChildren

Media sources: