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Western Animation / Braceface

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Braceface! (My life is complicated)
Boyfriend! (Don't wanna talk about it)
I'll work it out in the end!
Theme Song

Braceface is an animated Canadian Series from Nelvana that was created by Melissa Clark (previously a writer for Rolie Polie Olie) for Teletoon. The show follows the exploits of Sharon Spitz (voiced in the first two seasons by Alicia Silverstone, who was also an executive producer on the show), an average eighth grader (later ninth grader when she starts high school) who at the start of the series is forced to get braces for her teeth. Typical of teenage life, she worries about how this will affect her usual status amongst her peers as she goes through her daily life.

The show, when first advertised, put much emphasis on Sharon's braces, as they were affected during a lightning storm while being fitted onto her mouth. Every now and then they would occasionally affect the environment around her (lockers, water fountains, radios, etc). As the show went on, this focus was dropped for the usual slice of life and "teenage issues" stories (though it does occasionally pop up).


The series lasted from June, 2001 to August 2005. A total of 78 episodes in roughly three seasons. Only the first two aired in the US starting on ABC Family (though promoted during the dying days of Fox Family), then moving to Disney Channel before being dropped. The entirety of the show can be viewed nowadays on the Tubi TV app.note 

Now has a character sheet and a Wiki.


Braceface provides examples of:

  • All Just a Dream: A rather ludicrous episode in which Sharon dreams that her dad becomes romantically involved with Nina's mom.
  • Alpha Bitch:
    • Nina Harper's kind of a Downplayed Example—she's as just rich, popular and nasty as any proper example of this trope, but averts Popular Is Dumb in that she's actually one of top students in her grade (she often brags about being a straight-A student). Also, some episodes have shown Nina's nicer side, implying that she's not as bad as she seems. Plus, on top of all that, it seems that Nina's mean and sour disposition stems mostly from her Amazingly Embarrassing Parents hardly ever spending time with her (or paying any real attention to her) as well as her accusing Sharon of wrecking her beloved fashion dolls when they were little kids (though in the third season, both Nina and Sharon discover that the true culprit was Nina's cousin, and Nina realizes that she's wasted so many years being mean to Sharon for nothing).
    • Evie from the high school episodes, who makes Nina seem sweet-natured by compared. She torments poor Sharon for being paired up with Dion as a mentor.
  • Always Camp: Dion, the fashion designing college student and Sharon's mentor.
  • Amazingly Embarrassing Parents: Sharon's dad when she discovers that he's taken a job as a minstrel at a medieval-themed restaurant. Nina's parents also seem to be this to a certain extent, such as Mr. Harper calling his daughter "Popo" as a pet name (and apparently being either unaware or simply ignoring the fact that she finds the nickname embarrassing).
    • Also, Mr. Spitz is shown to be rather fond of Nina while Mr. and Mrs. Harper are shown to be very fond Sharon, and all three parents assume that Sharon and Nina are still friends, apparently not knowing that the girls stopped being friends when they were around 7 or 8.
  • Amicably Divorced: Sharon's parents got divorced when she was around 6 or 7—"friends" might be a bit of stretch, but they're shown to still get along pretty well.
  • Artistic License – Biology: In "Vegging Out" Sharon becomes anemic due to a lack of iron in her blood and the doctor suggests that she might have to stop her vegetarian diet in order to get her iron level back up. First of all, no doctor treating someone with such a severe case would say "just eat meat" in order to get better. One would most likely supply their patient with iron supplement pills or suggest finding ways to get more iron in their diet (for example, Sharon manages to stay vegetarian thanks to her mom finding iron-rich vegetarian recipes and helping her make sure she’s still getting proper nutrients in her diet). Along with this, once someone becomes vegetarian their body eventually stops producing the enzymes needed to properly digest meat, so in Sharon's case eating an entire cheeseburger or hot dog (like she tried to do and what Cody tricked her to do) would make them violently ill.
  • Author Tract: Alicia Silverstone, one of the executive producers and Sharon's voice actress for the first two seasons, is both a vegetarian and an animal-rights activist. Sharon is a vegetarian and an animal right activist and there are several episodes that focuses on that.
  • Bare Your Midriff: Almost every female character, although Sharon and Maria both eventually received changes to their default outfits and no longer did this.
  • Be Yourself: Plenty of episodes showcasing this.
  • Beta Bitch: Subverted with Alyson—while she was friends with Nina for a large part of the show, she was never truly cruel or mean-spirited; she just did whatever Nina told her to do because, like a lot of teenagers, she just wanted to fit in and be noticed. Eventually, after Alyson and Conner discover they have feelings for each other and start dating, Nina forces Alyson to choose between her and Conner, with Alyson performing a Heel–Face Turn by ultimately choosing Conner (and by extension, Conner's friends) over Nina.
  • Blonde, Brunette, Redhead: Sharon (blonde), Maria (brunette), and Nina (redhead).
  • Braces of Orthodontic Overkill: Downplayed; Sharon got off relatively easy with her braces despite the side effects they bring.
  • Breast Expansion: The episode "Busted" had Sharon buy a pump water bra to give her more prominent breasts and enjoys all the attention she gets and that more people are treating her like an adult. Thanks to her braces, it didn't end well. She ends up overdoing it, with humiliating results. First getting laughed at by the same people she was trying to impress, and then her boobs... pop.
  • Buxom Is Better: The episode "Busted" subverts this. After an initial thrill at all the extra attention her new fuller figure is receiving, Sharon learns that her more mature look comes with its own unique set of problems, such as attracting the "wrong" guys.
  • Celebrity Toons: Wouldn't have been noticed if Alicia Silverstone didn't voice and promote the show.
  • Chew-Out Fake-Out: In "Dissection Connection", after Sharon and Tally are caught freeing the live frogs in the pond and then get suspended for it, Helen reprimands Sharon for stealing school property. She then reveals that she's actually more furious at the school for refusing to respect Sharon's uncomfortableness with doing real frog dissections and didn't consider the alternatives she suggested to get the passing Biology grade (such as the computer program or a plastic frog model), so she puts an angry phone call into the principal's office about it. By the end of the episode, the school decided that while they won't stop real dissections, they'll buy some computer dissection programs for those uncomfortable with it starting with the next school year. And Sharon still ends up suspended for stealing the frogs.
  • Circle of Shame: In the episode "The Worst First Date Ever. Period.", Sharon walks into the school gym and everyone laughs at her, complete with a big red P on her head. It turns out to be an imagination.
  • Clip Show: "My Big Fat Braceface Life" where Sharon recounts the highs and lows that braces have played in her social life - with Alden front and center in her story.
  • Convenience Store Gift Shopping: In the Christmas episode, Nina's revealed to be Sharon's Secret Santa and gives her a large gift basket as her present—the contents of the basket include mini shampoo bottles (like what you find in a hotel), a car calendar (Nina's dad owns a car dealership) and a little blue kitten toy which turns out to be the thing Maria gave to Nina for the Secret Santa-gift exchange the previous year.
  • Cool Loser: Brock (at least at the start) and to a lesser extent, Sharon. Justified in Sharon's case, since Nina was out to get her, and probably turned the school against her.
  • Cover Innocent Eyes and Ears: When Sharon accidentally came across a pornographic website, she covered the eyes of the cat sitting on her lap.
  • Crazy Cat Lady: Subverted with Miranda in "23's a Crowd." She has 23 cats, but she's not crazy. Just lonely and a little eccentric.
  • Deus Angst Machina: Sharon's braces would often kick in at the worst possible time.
    • Deus ex Machina: And on other occasions, they did save her a couple of times.
  • Disproportionate Retribution: Nina's Alpha Bitchiness to Sharon was started when, while playing together at Nina's house, Nina saw that someone had decapitated all of Nina's beloved fashion dolls—Nina, despite never having any actual evidence to prove it, assumed Sharon was the one who did it and ultimately ended their friendship. It's not until more than halfway through the third/final season of the show that it's revealed that the true culprit behind it was Nina's jerkass cousin Petra, who rather casually admits to it when she's visiting her cousin and her family.
  • Easily Forgiven:
    • Alyson. Many early episodes did show that she was nicer than Nina, and Sharon and Maria initially did not want to trust her, but they are all buddies the episode after she breaks off from Nina.
    • Sharon conspires to break up Griffin and Nina on the belief that the latter is just toying with the former (not to mention the irritation of having to interact with Nina in her life outside of school). Upon seeing how hard both take the break-up, Sharon confesses what she did and gets yelled at. Griffin admits he can still forgive Sharon for all this, as they are practically family, but Nina naturally doesn't (which Sharon admits is actually fair for once).
  • Early Installment Weirdness: The first season which made it seem like the show was going to be more about Sharon and the oddball powers from her braces.
  • Eat the Evidence: In "Act Your Age" Sharon doesn't want Alden and Brock to know she's dating a much younger boy, so when she sees his birthday cake is in the shape of his age, she changes the 13 into a P for Pablo and eats what is left over.
  • Embarrassing Tattoo: An episode has Sharon going behind her mom's back to get a Chinese character tattoo that allegedly means "freedom" (but actually means "grapefruit"). In that same episode, Sharon's mom reveals that when she was young (possibly around Sharon's age), she got a tattoo of her disco ball done on her rear end, but she later had it removed when she realized it looked more like a golf ball than a disco ball.
  • First Kiss: Sharon and Alden share theirs. It's not romantic at all; they don't "aim" properly when they go in and have to fumble their way through it.
  • First Period Panic: When Sharon starts menstruating, she passes out from the sight of the blood. She gets her first period while on her first date with Alden. It ends in embarrassment for both, not necessarily because it was her first period, but because she was unlucky enough to have painful menstrual cramps, leading Alden to think it was appendicitis and call 911. Then at the hospital, when the nurse mistakenly gives Alden a bag of sanitary napkins (thinking he's Sharon's brother), Sharon grabs it from him and causes them to fly all over the waiting room (one even falls in a man's glass of water, absorbing all its content). She's embarrassed by Alden and her brothers finding out (it is Josh, her younger brother, who quite loudly tells their mom), and by her mom making a big deal about how she's "a woman now", it's said quite clearly her mom had told her in detail about menstruation and that it was going to happen sooner rather than later (she was just taken unaware by her cramps).
  • Foreshadowing: In several episodes late in the show's third season, Alden is uncharacteristically rude and unfriendly towards Sharon's love interests. Thus it's no surprise when he admits he still has feelings for her in the series finale.
  • Former Friend of Alpha Bitch: Sharon and Nina. See above, next to Disproportionate Retribution, for the explanation.
  • Four-Fingered Hands: As well as four toed feet.
  • Free the Frogs: In the episode Dissection Connection. It might have been Sharon protesting seeing as she's an animal lover and a vegetarian so at least it's consistent. This one also hand waved the fact that the frogs are supposed to be delivered pre-killed by showing the teacher complaining to the delivery guy about the mix-up that resulted in live ones being delivered.
  • Fur and Loathing: An episode deals with a short tiff between Sharon and Maria when the former plans to participate in a fashion show wearing fur clothes. In the end, Sharon decides to accept Maria's decision, whereas Maria has switched out all the real fur for fake fur.
  • Granola Girl: Hannah, the girlfriend of Sharon's older brother, Adam—she's a vegetarian and loves yoga, and Sharon seems to see her as like an older sister.
  • Grey-and-Gray Morality: In "Vegging Out" Sharon is diagnosed with anemia and her new friend Cody cures her by tricking her into eating normal hot dogs he claims are vegetarian.
  • Harmful to Minors: In "Mommy Nearest" when Sharon accidentally comes across a pornographic website she covers her cat's eyes. Later when Sharon's mom looks through her browsing history she puts a parental lock on the internet.
  • He Who Fights Monsters: When Nina pulls a stunt to humiliate Sharon and Maria for "brainwashing" her former friend Alyson, the girls use their new "friend" (and her backstage pass) to retaliate against Nina at her dance recital. But the revenge work too well and Sharon and Maria realize that they've sunk even lower than their nemesis.
  • Heel–Face Turn:
    • Alyson, Nina's friend, when she realizes that she has feelings for Connor and Nina makes her choose between her or him (and, by extension, his friends).
    • Nina herself in the end once the truth of the doll incident is known.
  • The Internet Is for Porn: In "Mommy Nearest", Sharon did a search for Red Riding Hood and accidentally came across some Red Riding Hood-themed porn.
  • iSophagus: In the first season, Sharon's braces had the power to play music and electromagnetically control metal. Sadly, the premise was dropped beginning in season two.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: There are a few moments where Nina drops her Alpha Bitch attitude and shows some genuine kindness.
    • Sharon herself is a typical bratty teenager who is prone to making selfish mistakes, but she is mostly a good person.
  • Hot for Teacher: Maria in the episode titled "Teacher's Pet" until Sharon points out that students can't date their teachers. Rather noticeably it's one of the few kid's shows where someone points out that a teacher-student relationship would be illegal.
  • Innocently Insensitive: Sharon's grandpa in "Grey Matters", who believes in racist stereotypes and tells racist jokes around Sharon's friends, although he doesn't know that he's offending anyone and is clearly a Nice Guy with no ill-intentions. It's stated later in the episode that his beliefs are simply out of ignorance rather than malice.
  • Kindly Vet: In one episode, Sharon did work experience at an animal hospital and broke down in tears when a rabbit she tried to help save didn't make it.
  • Know-Nothing Know-It-All: Sharon, especially when it comes to activism. She is very stubborn in insisting that her reasons are the right one and can never see things from the other person's POV most of the time. Though its this attitude that powers most of the conflicts she gets into. More often then not she has to learn the hard way you can't always get what you want.
  • Last-Minute Hookup: Sharon and Alden's breakup spans most of the second season and almost the entire third season—they end up getting back together in the series after realizing that they still have feelings for each other.
  • Leaning on the Fourth Wall: The group plays a trivia game in "The Loooong Weekend" and one of the questions pertains to a show about a blonde high schooler and her circle of friends navigating teenage life. Alden and Brock are certain they know this name of the show, but it's on the tip of their tongues.
  • Lightning Can Do Anything: Having her braces put in during a lightning storm did something to Sharon's braces so they have unpredictable and sometimes bizarre effects on things around her. Hilarity Ensues.
  • Limited Wardrobe: Downplayed; They have different outfits for the summer and winter and their outfits changed after the first season, but otherwise they wear the same clothes.
  • Male Gaze: There's a lot of odd shots of bare or socked feet in this show.
  • Magic Realism: Apart from the strange things the braces do, the series is a standard slice of life.
  • Middle Child Syndrome: Sharon's the middle child and only daughter of three kids.
  • "Miss X" Pun: "Miss Understanding," the school newspaper's advice column in the Braceface episode of the same name.
  • Modesty Towel: Both girls and boys wears this in few episodes. In an episode Sharon scares Connor with a rubber cockroach causing him to drop his towel.
  • Naïve Everygirl: Sharon wants everything a teenage girl wants: to be popular, get good grades, hang out with friends, and have a boyfriend. She sometimes does get into trouble and messes up like every other teen, but she always learns from her mistakes and sets things right in the end, no matter what the situation.
  • Official Couple: Sharon and Alden. They're both so obviously attracted to each other that the show gets them together midway through the first season. Then they have a Second-Act Breakup and finally get back together with a Last-Minute Hookup.
  • Once an Episode: Sharon's braces acting up and causing trouble; although this was reduced as of season two.
  • Picture Day: It's set during the school years; no surprise this pops up. Naturally Sharon's braces broke the camera.
  • Pool Scene: Has a couple. Examples include "The Coolest", "Up in Smoke", "Second Thoughts", and an episode with Sharon, her friends, and her class fighting British rival girls to win back the school pool.
  • Powers in the First Episode: Sharon gets her braces in the series premiere, and receives its electromagnetic abilities in turn.
  • Promise Me You Won't X: "Leap of Faith" (last episode), "promise me you won't panic" (or "freak out", or something similar) when Alden tells Brock he's got feelings for Sharon again.
  • Protagonist Title: The title refers to Sharon.
  • Pubescent Braces: The source of the show's title and Sharon's Embarrassing Nickname.
  • Racist Grandma: The episode "Grey Matters", which featured Sharon's Grandpa. However, unlike some other examples, he isn't a hateful man in the slightest. He's actually quite a nice guy. However, he believes in several racial stereotypes (Arabs having harems, Asians being bad drivers), and jokes around about this with Sharon's friend Maria and her boyfriend, who are Asian and Arabian. Her boyfriend playfully runs with it, while Maria is offended. It's implied that he gets over it by the end of the episode.
  • Second-Act Breakup: Second season, between Sharon and Alden. They get better by the end of the series.
  • Secret Santa: Sharon pulls Nina's name, and is morally torn between actually getting her a present and not getting her anything at all.
  • Sitting on the Roof: Sharon does this occasionally.
  • Slice of Life
  • Sock Slide Rink: In "Funny Business", Sharon decides to try her hand again at Ballet, having dropped it when she was little, and participates in a beginner class. Not having a leotard or ballet shoes (since it was an impromptu decision to join in as she's was visiting the rec center where the classes were held), she tries to get by by taking off her shoes and doing the exercises in her socks. Slipping up a few times since, well, ballet shoes have soles at the bottom to prevent this, socks don't.
  • Soapbox Sadie: Sharon, not just with animal rights and vegetarianism either. There was an episode where she started a rock band in an attempt to prove that she wasn't as girlie as everyone thought she was.
  • Space Whale Aesop: A few episodes here and there.
  • Squeamish About Slaughter: Sharon becomes a vegetarian and animal-rights activist after Alden gets her a part-time job at his uncle's meat-packing plant and she discovers she doesn't like the idea of animals being turned into food.
  • Stepford Smiler: Nina, she makes a big deal how popular she is. But in truth due to her mean spirited nature and the fact her parents are constantly busy, is actually quite lonely. Gets especially noticeable after Alyson leaves her.
  • Surprisingly Realistic Outcome: In "Clean Slate", Nina finally realises that the incident that caused her to break off her friendship with Sharon was actually caused by her Jerkass cousin, and decides to rekindle their friendship. While Sharon is initially glad that she and Nina are no longer enemies, she realises that they have become very different people since they were first friends, and barely have anything in common. Not only that, but Nina is just as mean to everyone else as she once was to Sharon, which Sharon is deeply unnerved by. Their friendship ultimately breaks apart once more because of these factors.
  • ¡Three Amigos!: Sharon, Maria, and Connor.
  • Token Minority Couple: Brock (only black character) and Maria (half-Chinese and half-Italian).
  • True Blue Femininity: Sharon usually wears a light blue shirt and dark blue pants.
  • Twofer Token Minority: Maria Wong, who's half-Chinese through her dad's side and half-Italian through her mom's side.
  • Two Girls and a Guy: Sharon, Maria and Connor initially comprise the main trio until Alyson enters the group.
  • Uncanny Valley Makeup: Nina in one example but there are instances where Sharon goes overboard on the makeup.
  • Verbal Tic: Alyson has to include the word "totally" in every other sentence.
  • Very Special Episode: A few, most notably the "smoking" episode and the episode in which Maria dates an abusive Arab guy, but thinks Sharon hates him because she has a grandfather who's racist and, by proxy, is a racist herself.
  • Visit by Divorced Dad: Richard, Helen Spitz's ex-husband and father of Sharon and brothers, appears occasionally. In an episode Sharon has to deal with her conflicting feelings over her Mom's new boyfriend at the same time as welcoming a visit from her own Dad. Sharon attempt to re-unite her parents after seven years of divorce, but she fails and has to finally face reality.
  • We Used to Be Friends: Sharon and Nina were friends as little kids, but they stopped hanging out when they were in 2nd-grade after Nina accused Sharon of decapitating her beloved fashion dolls.
  • We Will Not Use Photoshop in the Future: One episode has Nina discrediting Sharon and Maria with a slideshow of doctored photos including Sharon picking her nose and Maria scratching her butt. Unless you hired Industrial Light & Magic, edits like that would not be possible in real life.
  • What the Hell, Hero?: One episode has Sharon and Maria getting back at Nina by sabotaging her performance in a show, but realize they went too far when she is more humiliated than they intended, even putting her at a risk of falling from her swing onto the stage from a great height. They also took advantage of Alyson's trust in them to go through with it.
  • Wham Episode: "Dear Alden": Sharon and Alden break up.
  • Wham Line: After the infamous doll incident gets referenced early into "Clean Slate", we get this bombshell from Nina’s cousin.
    Petra: When did you finally figure out I was the one who did it?
  • Wild Teen Party: In the promptly named episode "Home Alone". Though in an aversion it's not Sharon who threw it, but her brothers who take advantage of the fact their babysitter had to leave them due to a family emergancy. Sharon tries to be the responsible one doing the chores and whatnot. The one time she does try to loosen up and relax is when her mom not surprisingly comes back early from her vacation. Though her brothers get her off the hook by taking responsibility for the party, the most punishment Sharon gets is not getting the desired curfew extension she wanted.
  • Younger Than They Look: Adam, Sharon's older brother, who's only seventeen but looks like he's in his twenties due to a growth spurt.


Video Example(s):


Braceface [Sharon Crashes and Adam Blamed]

Edited clips from Braceface, Ep 12 - Driving Miss Sharon. Feeling inadequate due to Adam getting his license, Sharon takes her mom's car for a spin when her braces inadvertingly activate the engine. However on the way back the house, she gets into an accident and before she has the chance to fess up, Adam is blamed by their mother since, well, who else could drive her car?

How well does it match the trope?

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