Tag Archives: Danny Phantom

Manipulation and Morals: Danny and Vlad as Foils in Danny Phantom

Standard

In literature, foiling what happens when a character contrasts another (usually the protagonist) in order to highlight an attribute that character shares. If you went through Danny Phantom, I’m sure you could find a lot of characters that foil one another, but there is none more poignant than the way that Vlad Masters foils Danny Phantom. Vlad foils Danny in two important ways: he highlights Danny’s manipulative streak, and Danny’s heroics/morals. Let’s dig into why that’s important.

We’ll start with a similarity both Danny and Vlad share: a manipulative streak.

Manipulation

“Using your opponent’s weaknesses against him – I am teaching you something after all.”

-Vlad Masters in Bitter Reunions

From his introduction, it’s clear that Vlad Masters is a chess master of epic proportions. Who else arranges a high school reunion so that he can win back the woman he feels was “stolen from him” and murder his best friend all in one go? He manipulates Danny on a regular basis – and from the start of the show, in fact. Remember those ecto-pusses that show up in the first few minutes of the pilot, when Danny’s father is talking to him and his friends about ghosts?

If you don’t, here’s a picture for clarification:

danny phantom the ectoplasm ghosts

What you might not remember is that Vlad sent those, to test Jack’s skills in ghost hunting – which led to him discovering Danny’s existence:

DANNY: Skulker? The ectopusses? I don’t understand!

VLAD: Of course not! You’re, what, fourteen? Too young to drive and not in college yet! I sent those ghosts, and others, to test your father’s skills. Imagine my surprise when I find *you*; the second ghost hybrid his foolishness created! (Bitter Reunions Transcript)

The dialogue implies that Vlad knew about Danny before he arrived at the manor, and there’s a familiarity in his dialogue when they first fight (“Danny Phantom, right?”) that suggests he has continued to send ghosts to test not Jack, but Danny. Considering this is 7 episodes in, a lot of Danny’s early ghost encounters are likely Vlad-generated, which means he’s been manipulating Danny since the beginning in a way. That’s creepy.

malfoy scream reaction

Vlad’s chess master antics continue throughout the show. He gives Valerie ghost-hunting gear in Shades of Gray as a means to cause Danny trouble – and later uses her to his advantage to get a hold of Danny’s DNA to clone him. In Maternal Instincts, he arranges a fake scientific convention, and then crashes Danny and Maddie’s plan, stranding them in the woods with him to get his hands on them. Reign Storm is essentially a master game of manipulation, where he uses both Valerie and Danny to manipulate his way out of the mess he’s made by angering the Ghost King – he gives Valerie a ring he stole so that she’ll be targeted instead of him, and ends up getting Danny to imprison the Ghost King for him. Danny almost loses his life in the process. There are probably like a million more examples I could give, but I think these two encompass how manipulative Vlad can be, and how he’s willing to use people and situations to get what he wants.

So you’re thinking: “Okay Mel, we get it, Vlad is a stinky manipulative cheesehead. But how does Danny fit into this? Isn’t he the hero?”

Well yes, Danny is the hero. But Danny is just as manipulative and underhanded as Vlad, and what’s telling is that Danny’s most manipulative moments come out when he’s in direct combat with Vlad. Vlad even comments on this on multiple occasions, such as this one:

danny phantom vlad points out their similiarities

Take Bitter Reunions, for example. Vlad has overshadowed Danny’s father, and later tries to kidnap Danny’s mother. Danny realizes that the only way he’s going to get Vlad to scram is to threaten something Vlad values, which leads to this lovely exchange:

DANNY: (as Jack) How’s it going, V-man?

VLAD: (mocking) Ooo, you overshadowed Jack. Ooh, I’m so scared. Now what’s next? A card trick?

DANNY: (as Jack) Listen to me. I swear I’ll walk out of my dad right now and expose us both, unless you agree to a truce.

VLAD: …You’re bluffing.

DANNY: (as Jack) No I’m not! My parents will accept me, no matter what. But if I expose *you*…Well, heh, what would my *mom* think of you?

Vlad makes a face at the thought of that. Danny sets Vlad down.

DANNY: (as Jack) You’ll be miserable and alone for the rest of your life, unless you call a truce.

VLAD: (amused) Using your opponents weaknesses against him. I am teaching you something after all. Very well. Truce. (Bitter Reunions Transcript)

This is especially wonderful because earlier in the scene, Vlad gives Danny the idea inadvertedly when he tells Danny that he would never expose him, because exposing Vlad would mean exposing Danny’s own powers. Danny challenges his assumptions with his ploy, and while he impresses Vlad (which I don’t think he intended to do), it shows Danny’s character. He’s being manipulative, but also honest. He knows that his parents would be more likely to accept him, because even though they’re a bit extreme, they love him unconditionally. He would reveal his existence to them in a second if it saved them from Vlad, because he knows it would be worth the risk. Danny’s trust in people is something that Vlad doesn’t share. That trust and faith in the people he cares about strengthens Danny and weakens Vlad.

Another great example (and one of my favorites) is in Maternal Instincts. Vlad spends a lot of this episode getting the upper hand: luring Danny and his mother right where he wants them, zapping Danny clear of his powers long enough to scare him and stop him from interfering in his plans, and seems to be (in his mind) nearing victory. However, Danny takes a lesson from Vlad.

Earlier in the episode, Vlad takes great pleasure in bragging about one of his inventions, the Plasmius Maximus, which can incapacitate ghost powers for about four hours at a time. He demonstrates by using it on Danny and then sending wild ghost creatures after him.

danny phantom vlad and plasmius maximus

Vlad brags a little too soon, because Danny proceeds to pull a similar ploy on him later on, with an invention of his mom’s called the Specter Deflector:

Danny: But first– [going to the clock, he pushes the hands so it looks like it’s 15 until 12:00, then approaches Vlad, still reading his book.] Hey, um, Uncle Vlad?

Vlad: Oh, please, Daniel, don’t try to butter me up. Especially with your powers shorted out [glancing at the clock] for another fifteen minutes. You’re barely a threat to me with them. Without them? [Laughs, then his eyes gleam red] Well I wouldn’t need fifteen seconds, would I?

Danny: [innocently] How can you say that? You think my mom made the decision to come back on her own? We’re a family. We both talked about it last night, and I want to stay here with you too.

Vlad: [Brightening, his eyes tearing up] Really? You don’t mean…

Danny: Yes, I do. Come on, give me a big hug, new Dad!

danny phantom danny's ploy 1danny phantom danny's ploy 2

[Vlad goes in for the hug, and Danny locks the Specter Deflector around his waist.]

danny phantom danny's ploy 3danny phantom danny's ploy 4

Vlad: [screaming] You little rat! You tricked me! You know what this will mean for you, don’t you?

danny phantom danny's ploy 5

Danny: [looking at his watch] Oh, yeah. [The clock goes to 12:00, and Danny transforms to ghost mode.] A much fairer fight! (Maternal Instinct Transcript)

By fiddling with the clock and lowering the time, Danny lowers Vlad’s defenses by letting him think his powers aren’t back yet, then preys on Vlad’s very personal motives by pretending to apologize and offering him exactly what he wants, only to proceed to incapacitate him in a way that allows Danny to overpower him and win the battle. How very Slytherin – or Vlad Masters, I suppose – of him.

But there’s something important to note. While Danny is manipulative, his reasons for being manipulative often have heroic intentions: in both of these cases, he’s trying to stop one of Vlad’s plans, and protect his family. His morality is very different from Vlad’s, which we’re going to explore next.

 

Morality

[Vlad wakes up. He sees Danny and Valerie both out cold. And his first thought?]

danny phantom vlad's priorities 1danny phantom vlad's priorities 2

Vlad: The ring! [Close-up on Valerie’s hand.] It’s gone! (Reign Storm Transcript)

 

Later on, shortly after above scene:

Danny: All of my enemies. Everything I thought I could handle, but couldn’t.

Tucker: Dude, you can’t blame yourself for this. It’s not your fault.

danny phantom danny's remorse

[Danny’s expression changes from worried and guilty to angry.]

Danny: Maybe not. But it is my responsibility. (Reign Storm Transcript)

danny phantom danny's hero momentdanny phantom danny's hero moment part 2

As evidenced in the quotes and images above, morality sets Danny and Vlad apart as two different very people. How and why they use their powers is very different.

Vlad uses his powers for personal gain: to achieve wealth, to achieve power, to try and murder his best friend so he can ‘take back’ the woman he loves…the list goes on and on. This is established early on in Bitter Reunions, when Jazz asks about his overzealous Packers styled manor:

JAZZ: I don’t understand. You have billions of dollars. Instead of buying this stuff, why don’t you just buy the team?

VLAD: (irritated) Because the Packers are owned by the city of Green Bay and they won’t sell them to me! (Bitter Reunions Transcript)

He later straight up confirms this when he goes on his ‘join me’ rant to Danny, telling him how he has experience, and “the money and power attained through using those powers for personal gain.” Later on in the show, we discover that he’s overshadowed prominent businessmen to get them to sign over their companies to him, that he’s used his powers to commit robberies, and he even uses them in Eye For an Eye to overshadow his way to being mayor. Whenever we see Vlad using his powers, it’s for his own personal gain, or to further his motivations. Even when he’s on Danny’s side, like during their reluctant alliance in Reign Storm, it’s because he’s trying to save his own skin, and realizes siding with Danny is his best bet for success.

Danny’s motivations are very different. While Vlad’s are selfish and self-centered, Danny’s tend to be selfless. While he does have brief moments of selfishness – as most people do – Danny overall motivation is using his powers in order to help people. He wants to save the day. He stops ghosts from attacking his town time and time again, even though for a large chunk of the show, Amity Park as a whole seems to really hate Danny Phantom.

It’s worth noting that Danny could’ve easily been Vlad. They started out very similar: smart teenagers with a love for science, who have two fantastic best friends. The triad of Danny-Sam-Tucker and Vlad-Maddie-Jack is a great reflection of how once upon a time, Vlad was a bit like Danny. Danny could’ve easily resented his parents for his ghost powers, because it was their portal that caused it, much like the proto-portal caused Vlad’s powers back in the day. Vlad is a cautionary tale: he’s the path Danny very well could’ve taken, had things been different.

danny phantom vlad maddie jackdanny phantom danny sam tucker

However, whereas Vlad loses himself in resentment and his lust for power, Danny begins to become more moral and empowered as he learns to use his ghost side to help people and make a change. While Vlad isolates himself, Danny grows closer to Sam and Tucker, relying on them – and later Jazz –for help. Where Vlad sees people as pawns he can use and manipulate, Danny sees the people in his life as friends and allies. Vlad forces people into alliances under false circumstances, by lying to them and manipulating them (ex: Valerie, Dani). Danny helps people, like Wulf and later Dani, and gains their alliance because he helps them out of the tough situations they’re in. It’s a really great contrast, and Vlad’s villainous actions help to showcase Danny’s heroics and morality.

There’s actually a great visual example of this in Maternal Instincts: what I like to call ‘the mirror scene.’

Now, mirrors in media and literature tend to be very symbolic. They show us the truth. Often in supernatural shows, they show us the monster behind their façade. A great example of this is in The Little Mermaid, when Scuttle sees ‘Vanessa’ in the ship singing, and sees that her reflection is Ursula, revealing Ursula’s plan to pose as Vanessa and force Eric into marriage to ruin Ariel’s quest.

little mermaid vanessa is ursula

In Maternal Instincts, the mirror scene shows Danny and Vlad in both human and ghost forms. But we also get a sense of who they are deep down inside.

danny phantom mirror

The initial view in the mirror is Vlad, standing tall and confident, with a superior smirk on his face, with Danny behind him, curled into himself on the chair. It shows who they are at the start of the show. The Danny we get at the very start of the show isn’t confident in himself: he’s clumsy, struggling with his powers, and has a lot of self-esteem issues. The Vlad we get from the start is manipulative, cunning, and arrogant: all traits we can see in his appearance. He’s confident in his powers to the point of being egotistical about them.

Then the mirror flashes and we get a different scene: purple flames, from a fight. This Danny is confident, with his fists out, ready for a fight. In this scene, he’s our force of good, because he looks appalled at Vlad’s actions. This Vlad is more sinister – he’s taller, grins wickedly at his opponent, and is sure of his victory. I think it’s important that Vlad is the one looking in the mirror in this scene, because he’s seeing himself as victorious. He takes up the majority of the space in the image, while Danny is relegated to the background. It shows Vlad’s ego, and how his own self-interest is most important. Everything else comes second.

If Danny were the one looking in the mirror, I’m sure we’d get a very different image.

Vlad’s foiling of Danny accomplishes two things: he highlights his manipulative side, and contrasts Danny’s heroics and selflessness with his villainy and selfishness. The two different paths these characters take, despite how similar their origins are in some ways, is really quite interesting. Character makes all the difference here.

danny phantom danny verses vlad pic

Who are your favorite animated foils? Can you think of any other characters who foil each other in fascinating ways on Danny Phantom? Let us know in the comments.

Follow Animated Meta on Tumblr and Twitter. Have a fantastic Saturday!

Cheers,

M&M

 

Works Cited

Bitter Reunions Transcript. (n.d.). Retrieved July 10, 2015, from Danny Phantom Wiki: http://dannyphantom.wikia.com/wiki/Bitter_Reunions/Transcript

Maternal Instinct Transcript. (n.d.). Retrieved July 10, 2015, from Danny Phantom Wiki: http://dannyphantom.wikia.com/wiki/Maternal_Instinct/Transcript

Reign Storm Transcript. (n.d.). Retrieved July 10, 2015, from Danny Phantom Wiki: http://dannyphantom.wikia.com/wiki/Reign_Storm/Transcript

The majority of my screencaps were from this wonderful site: http://dannyphantomscreencaps.weebly.com/

 

 

10 Animated Women That Inspire Us to Epicness: Mel Edition

Standard

Since this month is Women’s History Month, I decided to take a trip through animated history and talk about some of the animated women who have inspired me over the years, and what it is that makes them truly amazing.

1. Kim Possible

kp12

A cheerleader who saves the world? Whoever thought of Kim deserves all of the awards, because she is awesome and super fleshed out. We don’t often get heroines with realistic life skills, but Kim’s cheerleading and gymnastics background is part of why she’s so adept at the world-saving business.

kp15

Selfless, bold and determined, Kim inspires us to take a stand and embrace what makes us unique. She also has an amazing sense of fashion, especially when it comes to saving the world, and having a heroine who doesn’t have to sacrifice her femininity to be perceived as tough is amazing.

2. Ginger Foutley

atbg gingeratbg journaling

I think Ginger Foutley is one of the most underrated ladies in animation. Ginger isn’t the typical protagonist: she’s an introvert and writer, which we don’t see too often, and uses her writing to both express herself and be creative. Two of the show’s best episodes (Hello Stranger, And She was Gone) hone in on Ginger’s writing, and how it ties into her personal life in a fantastic way.

Other reasons Ginger is awesome: she’s stubborn, endearing in how she handles the chaos life throws at her, and she cares deeply for her friends and family, even if they drive her crazy at times. Her growth throughout the series is fantastic, and she’s definitely a character I can go back to even now and still relate to, because she reminds me of a younger time in my life when I went through similar struggles. Basically, Ginger’s just awesome, and the grass really is greener for her, even if it takes her a while to realize that.

3. Katara

katara's water armskatara thinks his rules suck (1.18)

Katara is a force to be reckoned with. You can’t knock her down, no matter how hard you try. She’s so many things rolled into one awesome person. She’s a healer, a motherly figure, a fighter, a teacher, a friend, a sister… She’s not only physically strong, she’s also emotionally strong; she’s the rock of the Aang Gaang, who holds everyone together when the going gets tough. She’s the one who keeps hope, no matter how grim and dark the circumstances. She sees the best in others, even when they can’t see it in themselves, and she won’t give up on the people who need her most, even if it puts herself at risk. Her compassion, empathy and fighter’s spirit make her an inspiration, and someone many people could learn from.

4. Princess Jasmine

aladdin jasminealaddin done w your shit

Like I’ve said before, Jasmine is one of the most underrated Disney princesses ever. She’s politically savvy, has a strong sense of self, is snarky and refuses to settle for jerks who only want her for her money. She has a great sense of adventure, isn’t afraid to rebel in order to find the freedom and agency she desires.

She’s someone who will only accept someone who respects her and treats her as an equal for a future husband. Anyone who would dare treat her like a prize to be won is not worth her time. She shows us that agency and equality are two important things for women to strive for, and that settling for someone who doesn’t appreciate your worth is ridiculous. Her relationship with Aladdin shows us that honesty and respect are the two foremost foundations of what a relationship should be, and her determination to decide her own future despite the rules that oppress her is super admirable. Remind me again why she’s so underrated? Because she really shouldn’t be.

5. Belle

B&tb belle and books

A princess who reads, dreams big and refuses to conform to society’s standards for her because she knows that she is worth so much more and deserves so much more = one amazing Disney princess.

beauty and the beast belle

Belle is intelligent, kind-hearted, and doesn’t care what people think of her. No matter how many people in her small town scoff at her oddities, she really doesn’t care. She also refuses to let anyone harass her or push her around, as evidenced by her smoothness in evading Gaston’s advances, and her yelling at the Beast and calling him out on his jerky behavior. She’s just awesome, and I think if we were all a little more like Belle and followed our dreams, we’d certainly be happier. (Also a good thing to emulate from Belle: her book-buying habits. Or better yet, marry a prince and get your own personal library.)

6. Asami Sato

asami and her gf

lok asami kicking ass

Asami is a girly heiress who also happens to be a savvy businesswoman, a smart girl who loves flashy cars, and a fighter who’s handy with an electric glove against enemies. She is someone with integrity and lots of inner strength, who was strong enough to stand up against her father when his own integrity was lost, and who built up his company from the ground up after his imprisonment.

asami bitch I'm fabulous

She is also a rare representation of bisexuality in animation, which is really important. People of all orientations, races, genders, exc deserve to be shown, and Asami’s relationships with Mako and Korra are exactly that.

masamikorrasami

Kudos to the creators for letting someone as amazing as Asami get some spotlight, and giving us a character who doesn’t have to sacrifice her femininity to be strong, who can  take the world by storm, and is just generally an awesome influence.

7. Ariel

fabulous

I know, this is like my third Disney princess on the list, but hey, I was a Disney kid. I grew up on Disney movies, and the Disney Renaissance was in its prime when I was little, so I had some amazing influences because of that. One of these is Ariel, who is one of the most proactive Disney princesses ever.

tumblr_m3d01ygy671qmfifgo1_500we're out to discover

She needs cool knickknacks for the grotto? Easy: she’ll go explore that sunken ship and take down any sharks that get in the way. She wants to explore the shores up above, so she goes up there herself and later makes a deal with a sea witch to find a more permanent place on land. The prince she likes is in danger? Ariel dives down without any hesitation and saves him from drowning, and then later saves him (again) from being forced into a marriage with an evil sea witch. This girl is a total determinator: nothing gets in her way, not even losing her voice. She never gives up, never lets anyone break her spirit, and fights for what she wants, no matter how hard it is to achieve. If you want something, make like Ariel and be proactive. Fight to achieve your dreams.

8. Cinderella

cinderella's first dresscinderella no matter how your heart is grieving

Cinderella was my favorite princess when I was little, and inspired me a lot growing up. Her perseverance, strength, and strong sense of self-worth make her an amazing role model for young girls. She’s always putting other people before herself, so when she finally puts herself first, it’s such a wonderful thing to watch. She teaches us that while it’s good to be kind to others, we need to be kind and value ourselves as well. She also teaches us to never give up on our dreams, because if you believe and work hard, whatever you wish for will be.

9. The Totally Spies

totally spies gif

I can’t just pick one of them, so I’m doing all of them: the Totally Spies! I used to love this show so much, especially because it was nice to get three completely different girls who all kicked butt and saved the world on a daily basis. Plus, they used amazing girly gadgets, like laser lipsticks and weaponized hairdryers. A few examples:

totally spies alex

totally spies sam

totally spies clover

The best thing about the Totally Spies for me was that they all brought something different to the team, and always managed to save each other from trouble. Sam, Alex and Clover are all awesome in their own way, and each has their own strengths that make them an integral part of the team. Take one girl away, and something was lost from the team. How can you compete with that brand of awesome?

10. Jazz and Maddie Fenton

dp maddie fentondp jazz reading

Brilliant women are really underrated in fiction, and Jazz and Maddie Fenton are two super savvy, super smart ladies. Maddie is an inventor, whipping up amazing ghost-fighting tools every week, and Jazz is both book smart and a sneaky plotter, as evidenced by how she repeatedly tricks Vlad in Secret Weapons, and how long she manages to keep her knowledge of Danny’s secret a secret, even from him. Their brilliance results in lots of awesome moments in-series, and both inspire us to seek knowledge and put it to an epic use, such as ghost-hunting or plotting to take down evil antagonists.

Which animated girl inspires you the most and why? Let us know in the comments!

Follow Animated Meta on Twitter and Tumblr. Have an epic Tuesday! (And happy St. Patrick’s Day as well!)

Cheers,

M&M

Sidekick Envy: Analyzing Tucker Foley in “What You Want”

Standard

I’ve wanted to write about Danny Phantom for a while now. And since I’ve been rewatching season 1 for fun, I thought it would be interesting to tackle one of my favorite early episodes: episode 6, What You Want. This episode is one of my favorites because it tackles envy and jealousy in a really interesting way, and more interestingly, we get to see the episode through the lens of the hero’s sidekick, Tucker, rather than the hero himself, Danny.

dp waste these good looksdp criminal

Before we dive into analyzing Tucker and his jealousy though, let’s talk about that episode title, and how it pertains to Tucker as a character. Danny Phantom has a habit of relating episode titles to characters or events. For example, Million Dollar Ghost is about a million dollar bounty on Danny’s head, and pertains to both him and the plot of the episode. My Brother’s Keeper, the Jazz-centric episode of season 1, obviously pertains to Jazz, and her being “her brother’s keeper”, which starts with her trying to keep an eye on Danny, and ends with her being his secret keeper.

What You Want ties into Tucker’s wants and desires. Tucker is sick of being the sidekick; he wants to be the one who gets to have cool ghost powers and fly around and do awesome things. He views Danny’s powers in a very positive light, mainly because he doesn’t have to deal with the consequences of them. The episode’s antagonist, Desiree, takes advantage of that and grants his wish to have ghost powers – but at a high cost. It’s interesting, because Desiree’s own back-story ties into envy: she was a harem girl who was promised her heart’s desires by a sultan, only to be banished by his jealous wife. When she died, she started granting people’s desires, but as a great personal cost: probably revenge for the fact that she never really got what she wanted. A lot of Danny’s villains foil him in some way, but Desiree actually foils Tucker here: they’ve both felt victimized and ignored, envious of something they feel that they deserve. And Tucker almost ends up consumed by his envy, just like Desiree.

So let’s take a look at where Tucker starts in this episode, and how his struggle with his envy nearly destroys him in the end.

The Dark Side of Envy
Tucker’s always been an interesting character to me, because he has remarkably high self-esteem. After all, at the beginning of the episode, he quite proudly tells us that he has “charm, good looks, and modesty”. He thinks highly of himself, and even as girls reject him or people tease him, he lets it roll right off his shoulders and doesn’t let it get to him. It’s a nice change to see a character that isn’t drowning in self-esteem, or worried about his self-worth, especially in contrast to Danny, who has an extreme lack of self-esteem. Tucker’s envy of Danny’s ghost powers adds an interesting facet to his character, because part of what empowers Danny as a character is his ghost powers. They’re what allow him to stand up for himself and protect others. Having someone as smug as Tucker obtaining ghost powers…well, it’s a bit of a disaster waiting to happen.

dp smug tucker

What You Want opens with Tucker’s narration. The first time we notice a waver in his narration is when he admits that he and Danny share everything “except one thing. Danny’s got superpowers.” It’s hard to tell in-story that Tucker is bothered, because he’s more worried about the chaos at the time, but his tone in the narration is a bit flat and shows the start of his envy. Afterwards, he remarks on one of Danny’s new powers: “Man, that’s the cool thing about your powers. There’s no downside.” To him, Danny’s powers are cool: he doesn’t think about the negative aspects Danny himself deals with, because Tucker has never had to deal with that.

Each one of the wishes Desiree grants gives some nice foreshadowing for what ends up happening to Tucker later on in the episode. We had the cotton candy incident at the start, which showed that Desiree goes out of her way to torment people with her wishes (aka, drowning people in cotton candy is pretty extreme). Then there’s Dash – the Flash Thompson of the story – at a football game, who wishes that “[he] could get turned into the kind of monster that could crush these guys single-handed”. His wish is granted, but Dash ends up literally becoming a ghostly monster that Danny has to stop. This shows us that Desiree doesn’t mind being literal in her wish-granting. And when Tucker offers to help, he winds up filling in as mascot to cover for Danny, which leads to him getting beat up by jocks. The resentment grows. “Man, every time Danny goes ghost, I get the short end of the stick,” he complains. He doesn’t get to do the fun parts, like fighting ghosts or capturing them and being the hero. Instead, he covers for his friend and gets beat up. Definitely the short end of the stick for Tucker.
There’s also the Paulina incident, in which she wishes to be more popular, like a movie character, which in an interesting way, ties into Tucker’s wish. Both wishes are directly tied to envy, and it’s the fallout of Paulina’s wish that leads to Tucker sitting in the theater by himself, feeling lonely.

“I’m tired of being left out all the time,” he grumbles. His wish isn’t only tied to envy, it’s also tied to loneliness. He wishes he could be doing the cool things his best friend does with him. “Man, I wish I had ghost powers too.”

And oh boy, does he get them. But you know what they say: be careful what you wish for. Tucker’s new-found ghost powers are cool, but unlike Danny, he doesn’t really understand the gravity of them, and he’d prefer to play around with them instead of doing something responsible, like, oh, I don’t know, saving the world. He pranks people in the theater, laughing over their reactions. Basically, he acts like an average immature teenage boy would after getting superpowers. But when an opportunity does come in to save the day, he pops in, hoping to impress Danny, and tells him he’ll handle it.

It’s when Danny steps in to save the day that Tucker first vocalizes his envy. “Oh sure, phase the car through the building. You had to save the day, didn’t you?” and “You’re just jealous, because there’s someone else to grab the spotlight now.”

Danny’s bewildered reaction adds an interesting facet to the story. It’s a Harry/Ron situation, where one character gets a lot of notoriety and the other is jealous, but the character getting the attention doesn’t really understand why their friend is jealous. Danny’s never really gotten much good public reception, and considering all the downsides that come with his ghost fighting, he doesn’t understand why Tucker would be envious, or even want his spotlight in the first place. Danny never fought ghosts for the attention: he always did it to protect people. The fact that Tucker thinks of him that way says a lot about who Tucker is as a character, and how his envy is blinding his judgment. It’s very true to life: when we’re envious, we often don’t see another person’s struggles. We only see the good parts and wish that we had that. When Tucker gets the powers, he doesn’t see the downsides at first: he just wants to use them for his own fun, like pranking teachers, getting to the front of the lunch line, and boosting his popularity. And when Danny intervenes, Tucker sees it as Danny trying to ruin his fun. Why does Danny get to have all of the fun with his ghost power? Why can’t Tucker do that too? His envy doesn’t allow him to see that Danny is worried about his shifting personality, and the fact that his fun has turned mean-spirited.

It’s during Danny’s confrontation with Desiree that Danny understands what we the audience already knows the depth of Tucker’s envy. “He’s not that jealous…is he?” he asks, for a minute unsure. It’s here where Danny starts to understand Tucker, and his side of the story.

“More than you know,” Desiree responds; “his jealousy and frustration will cement into rage and rebellion.” That transformation is what leads to the Tucker/Danny fight near the end of the episode. Tucker at this point has let his ego and jealousy take over him, to the point where he wants to get rid of Danny. Pretty drastic change from the Tucker we meet at the start of the episode, the one who calls Danny his best friend since forever and speaks of him so warmly. When Danny manages to separate Tucker from his ghost self, Tucker’s even taken aback by what he became.

dp is that me 1dp is that me 2

“Is that me?” he asks, his voice shaky as he stares up at the growling monstrous Tucker-ghost.

He ends up apologizing to Danny, admitting he couldn’t control himself, literally: his jealousy and envy took control of him. There’s some especially dialogue when they come to terms with what happened: Tucker admits this wouldn’t have happened if he hadn’t been jealous, and Danny admits that him showing off around Tucker didn’t help matters. Here, we have two friends coming to an understanding now that they’ve seen each other’s perspective, and get why each friend felt the way that they did. Tucker realizes that ghost powers aren’t always the best thing, and that his jealousy was blinding him to Danny’s struggles, while Danny realizes the depths of his friend’s envy, and that he triggered it a bit with his showing off. The episode has a fantastic view on envy, and how it can literally consume a person if they let it. In the end, Tucker is left humbled and with a stronger understanding of Danny as a character – and vice versa, because Danny understands Tucker and his inner workings. Tucker’s lens adds some great perspective to his character, and as the episode ends, we can all walk away with a bit more appreciation for Tucker Foley and his own struggles.

dp danny and tuck share everything even colds

Happy Tuesday! You can follow Animated Meta on Tumblr and Twitter. Screen-caps were taken from: http://dannyphantomscreencaps.weebly.com/what-you-want.html

Cheers,

M&M