DANNY PHANTOM 30-DAY MEME LIST
DAY 1: Favorite Female Character - Jazz: neoyi.deviantart.com/journal/D…
DAY 2: Favorite Male Character - Vlad: neoyi.deviantart.com/journal/D…
I hope none of you are rabid fans of her because my least favorite character is none other than the Goth girl herself: Sam Manson.
Wait, let me rephrase that. My least favorite character is Season Three Sam.
Season One and Two Sam is by no means my personal favorite character and I often have a very mixed view on her, but she's far more tolerable. Before I bitch on about why I can't stand Season 3!Sam, I need to talk about her Season 1+2 version. Sam 1.0, you could say.
Sam is a fourteen-year-old Goth environmentalist and keen vegetarian. She is incredibly outspoken and pushy concerning her beliefs and issues - to the detriment of both her friends and everyone around her - and a supporter of the dreary, dark, and other stereotypical horridness associated with Goth culture. She and Tim Burton would get along swimmingly. She also adores "nerdy" pleasures such as video games, monster and (according to the DP special Nickelodeon magazine), samurai flicks. She has vinyl records in her room and constantly keeps her curtains closed. She's also secretly wealthy. Her parents are heirs to the deli toothpick cellophane-twirling device, a thing I'm still trying to figure out what it is or does (maybe it was meant to be as absurd as possible, like The Cat in the Hat's "moss-covered three-handled family gradunza.") She's the rational figure in the Team Phantom trio; usually the one who keeps a straight head when the boys don't. She's also the one ultimately responsible for Danny's ghost portal accident that resulted in his powers (in a retcon I especially dislike). She's also Danny's love interest, but I don't need to tell you that; the shippers have that covered pretty dang well.
Through much of the first two seasons, that's pretty much who she is and what she does. I always seem to alternate between tolerating/liking her to downright annoyed. When things stick up her craw, she protests loudly and with great force. Her rants are often over the top and meant to be played as parody as much as straight. I can abide by that, but I still get bugged regardless because she doesn't shut up. But she's not perfect; people just as much look on in irritation and either ignore or call her out. Sometimes she's hypocritical. She tells Danny not to use his powers for personal gain, but isn't above asking him to scare off customers so they won't buy environmentally-hazard hummers (I'm aware she's doing this for the greater good, but frightening people isn't exactly acceptable and it won't help Danny either since it occurs during Amity Park's "We-Hate-Invisi-Bill" period). Sam often tells the boys to focus (which I'd honestly do the same as well) in their small moments of goofing off. The writers have always been good about keeping it in check. Sam said it best, "I'm his [Danny] friend, not his mother." She's bossy, but doesn't dominate. Her heart is in the right place, but she's not always right. Sam's Gothic nature is probably the most intriguing aspect of her I like. It's clear a good part of why she entered this lifestyle is to rebel against her conservative parents. Jeremy and Pamela are a pair of sunshine and an example of moral guardianship gone overboard. They, too equally protest whatever they deem unsafe for impressible youths (and then some). It's no wonder where Sam got her passion from! Naturally, they totally clash with Sam's bleak outlook (okay, not really; she's nowhere near close to pessimism). Sam openly flaunts her Gothness to piss her parents off, but it's not arbitrary; she truly embraces her lifestyle. Sam is a well balanced character. She's not just a love interest. She's her own person with her own goals and flaws and complications. Sometimes she drives me up the wall, but she's very tolerable and at times, lovable in the first two seasons.
tl; dr: Sam is a character and a rather fascinating one at that. Season Three shamefully crapped all over that.
Actually, I'd say on technicality that the second half of Season Two hinted of a shitter Sam to come. By accident, I'm sure since Season Three had completely different writers. "Beauty Marked" is actually a very good Sam episode. Unlike "Girls' Night Out", this is the better feminist-inducing episode. ...Not really, but close enough, I guess. Sam pushing Dora to go all Girl Power! and stand up to her brother is great and all, but the overall message is not only blatant and unsubtle, but it's at the expenses of the opposite sex. I can honestly get past high school boys lusting over chicks in a Beauty Contest; they're teenagers, what do they know? But the message is clearly suppose to be about the treatment of women and the Dora/Aragon plot bangs that nail with a jackhammer. Sam is the key player against such misogyny, seeking to stand put as an individual. That's a great lesson, but not only does the episode haphazardly fuck it up, it's at the expense of Danny's character; an issue that really drops the ball during Season Three. Danny has never shown to be shallow when it comes to girls. Well, his treatment of them, that is. He's fourteen and he's going through puberty so hormones are consuming his brain, but I never got the indication that Danny is sexist or sees girls as objects. I never saw him the type to date multiple girls just because he's the Beauty Pageant's judge and has that advantage. I never saw him as the type to use the girls to get them to do whatever he wants just to cur his favor. If anything, this would have worked better as a Tucker episode; he lives for girls. He's a shameless flirt. Probably a pervert. I don't see Tucker as a sexist figure either. In his case, I DO see it as the workings of a naive, growing fourteen-year-old who's just thinking in his pants, not his head. Danny is not that kind of person and for him to be derailed briefly so Sam can teach an Aesop is terrible. Also, I am totally irked on a different matter because this takes place an episode after his breakup with Valerie and it's clear by "Double Cross My Heart" that he still has lingering feelings.
"Micro Management" is tragically worse. Danny and Tucker are training for the presidential fitness and neither one is capable of passing. Cue a healthy, regularly exercising Sam who arrogantly shows off her abilities. Tucker I get (and even he should have gained something from constantly ghost fighting), but Danny? The same Danny who fought an entire ghostly pirate crew as a human in "Pirate Radio?" The same Danny who's been fighting ghosts constantly and who we now have to accept can't perform even one pull-up? No, don't give me that bullshit that Ghost Danny did all that; I refuse to believe he didn't get any form of training in his human half this far into the show, especially since he's temporarily lost his powers before. The boy's simpleminded, not an idiot. This episode wouldn't be an issue if it was in Season One, but I digress. I bring this up because Sam's the only one of the Trio who's physically fit. I'd be willing to be less harsh about this if that was all there is to it, but Sam is such a smug little shit here. She constantly flaunts her skills and teases the boys for their crappiness. She's then tasked to train Tucker for the test and the rest of the subplot has her abusing the hell out of him. It culminates in a scene where Tucker tries to grab the yet-to-be-released PDA from a nest while an angry mother bird pecks his hands. And Sam watches. She just stands there and counts his branch pull-ups as part of her rigorous training.
Tucker has always been the Butt Monkey, but instant training my butt! Dude, what kind of sick person are you, Sam? Your friend is getting injured by a bird! An angry bird (hur hur)! There is a reason why educational shows actually advise professionals to handle baby birds that fell off their nest! Next scene makes it worse; Tucker and Sam leave the hospital with bandaged hands. He was severely injured that they had to go to the goddamn emergency room! And Sam gets absolutely no repercussion for this or her superiority. Nope, we're just suppose to accept that Sam is awesome, should not apology for what she did, and that it's okay for her to relentlessly coach her friend in Satan's Exercise Course. I don't care if this is played for comedy, it's fucked up. No wonder they chose her voice actress to play Azula.
Enter Season Three. *shudders*
Everything that was balanced and good about Sam had been dismantled to its basic form. Sam 2.0 is what happens when they take her character and ramp it up to eleven. Her constant criticism and well-intent advices turned into essay-long drills on what Danny should or should not do with the plot backing her up. She's essentially become the "mother" she claimed she wasn't back in "The Ultimate Enemy". Her growing love (while logical to increase for its final season) with Danny is smacked repeatedly that it somehow ends up more automatic than its predictability already forced it to be.Tucker subsequently gets less and less screen time to make room for her and Danny. The boot to the ass to all this? She's now become a near Mary Sue figure by playing the Miss Exposition card; explaining and seemingly knowing everything.
"Girls' Night Out" is an awful, awful, AWFUL episode for a number of reasons, but focusing strictly on Sam, she's a huge bitch here for something that should be nonexistent to begin with. With Danny on a fishing trip with his father, Jazz is temporarily bumped up to help Sam and Tucker keep an eye on Amity Park from ghostly invasion. Technically, this complaint also involves Tucker since the both of them take to the idea of Jazz in Team Phantom about as well as foot rot. While I'm aware Danny is the only one who admitted Jazz into the team, she's the one who made it bold and clear that she will relegate herself to background, mostly keeping his secret from others and providing distractions. I got the impression she only moved from bit to big player just to keep things even while Danny's away. It's temporarily. "Secret Weapons" may have degraded her fighting skills, but overall, she does not lack it and "GNO" even supports that! Perhaps it's her brief upgrade and "SW" that does drive Sam and Tucker nuts. Fine, but it's really hard to root for them when Sam is constantly and I mean constantly being a bitch. Tucker is eventually kicked out of the plot early on, so we'll never know how far his animosity goes, so regrettably, most of my irritation goes to her. She is condescending, insulting, and has absolutely no respect for Jazz. She (and Tucker) was annoyed in "SW", but she wasn't an asshole. Jazz is such a trooper for putting up with her and keeping a stiff upper lip. Eventually, they do manage to beat the Ghosts of the Day (with a plan from Jazz, no less) that causes Sam to change her mind. This is actually the only episode in Season Three where Sam is on the wrong end of the spectrum and she learns a lesson from it, but I'm still off the mind that this issue shouldn't have been a problem to begin with. "Secret Weapons" solved it; don't beat the dead horse! And if not that, then Sam is just damn unlikable that I find it hard to feel anything for her. Sometimes a justification doesn't work if a person is being a stubborn jerkass about it.
I've foreshadowed Danny's derailment every time Sam needs to make a point in the "Beauty Marked" paragraph. Season Three is no stranger to this and arguably worse. Enter "Livin' Large", an episode that really, really, really should not have been aired this fucking late in the season. Danny gets rich and he becomes self-absorbed, apathetic, and uncaring. The Guys in White? Who cares? Ghost fighting? Whatever. He's soooo bored of that. Ooh, I'm rich; let me be a pigheaded dumbass. It ends with Danny replacing his friends with ROBOT DOPPLEGANGERS. That is a whole new, atrocious low. And guess who steps in to right the wrongs? Sam. She goes on a huge tirade about what Danny's become. Tucker's feelings are the same, but he barely gets in a word. Nope, it's all Sam because the plot has to revolve around to make her look good.
It further extends to "Boxed Up Fury" when Sam enters prime Know-It-All mode. She's the only one who knows about Greek Mythology and spends her time explaining every single one of it to a clueless Danny and Tucker. It's pretty awful when Danny doesn't know something as blatantly blatant as Pegasus or Pandora's Box (or jar if you want to really dig deep). This is stuff they teach you in grade school and general fiction that's widespread throughout America; I refuse to believe they don't know the basics. I had these things down pat in the fourth grade and I'm not a devotee let alone avid. Oh, but it gets better. Sam conveniently has a Greek Mythology book. What are the odds? And this is the best part. The reason why Sam knows so much about Greek Myth? "Helloooo, Goth. Dark and weird stuff is standard issue."
At times like these, I wish I took up smoking. Dear Writer, being a Goth has absolutely nothing to do with Greek Mythology and is not the sole reason why anyone is interested or should be interested in it. Greek Mythology is much more universal than that. They teach it in public schools. Media has a bazillion movies and literature about it. I wasn't screaming GOOOOOTH! when I read the Percy Jackson series, I'll tell you that much. Just because it's "weird and dark" doesn't necessary mean it's Gothic! There is nothing about Greek Mythology that even fits Sam's description of Goth! God, her sentence would have honestly worked if she just said she liked the weirdness behind it, but she used her Goth as an excuse for adoring Greek Myth. It is NOT a Gothic Thing! It is goddamn clear the writer only slapped that in as a convenient excuse to once again make Sam The Smart, All-Knowing One. Because of course Danny and Tucker are idiots. Only Sam is the intelligent one. They didn't even use Jazz who could logically come in with acknowledgment of Greek Myths as well, but no, it has to be SAM.
Finally, "Phantom Planet" once again slaps Danny's character development to the friggin' stratosphere. He purposely zaps his powers away because GASP no one appreciates him and his work! Never mind "Phantom Forever" where Danny refused to regale in the spotlight and merely combats ghosts because he wants to save the world; not for attention and glory. Oh, forgot all that character development. We'll also forget that Danny continued his heroic acts when the whole town hated him earlier because Waaah Waaah The Masters Blasters is stealing his spotlight, so bye-bye powers. Guess who sets him straight? No, guess. Guessss. Sam is once again trying to smack some sense into him because she's always right. She's neeeeeeeeeeeever wrong. Tucker and Jazz hardly lend their thoughts. This is especially troubling because Jazz should have gotten a bigger role concerning this matter. She's the one who watched her brother grow and embrace his role as a hero. She admires him and how he matured over the course of the goddamn series and all she gets is one measly sentence to sum up how she feels when Danny takes it all back. The majority is Sam breathing down his neck about how selfish he is. Valid, yes, but "PP" belittles Danny's personality for yet another Sam-Is-Right session. Even her speech feels iffy. She wants him to be a superhero because Amity Park is much safer in his hands, but a good 75% of her resentful is because he's, god forbid, normal. It's as if being normal is an awful thing and that totally slides from her non-conformist beliefs. Danny is boring. I get what Hartman was trying to go for; she wanted the goodhearted hero back, the one she fell in love with because of his endless courage and sacrifice. However, he edited it so poorly that it honestly makes it come off as though Sam only loves Danny because he's a rarity. ...Dude, this so works for my Skulker/Sam pairing.
And this isn't getting into the shitty romance. Season One and Two were never, ever subtle about it, but the budding affection between the two have largely been kept to their own episodes with little passing remarks sprinkled elsewhere that didn't deteriorate the plot. Compare a small scene in "Reality Trip" when Tucker teases Sam about her crush on Danny. It lasts for a good 10 seconds or so. Then compare it to a small moment in "Boxed Up Fury" when Sam passes Danny her Greek Mythology book before he goes to the Ghost Zone. The animators treats this scene as if the damn thing is some sacred love present between the two. Why was this needed? What was the purpose other than to push their relationship further? How much more awkward and gushy could they have pushed this? They're in a state of emergency; Sam should just toss the book to Danny and tell him to hurry and find a solution. It's about as cringe-worthy as the shoelace tying scene in the sixth Harry Potter movie (still squicked out. ><)
"Frightmare" is an episode of missed opportunities. A chance to explore the dreams of the main cast is too good a character study to pass. Unfortunately, much of it is phased out because Danny/Sam focus time! The majority of their fantasies focus on just these two and it's a downright cheat when their dreams are the same goddamn thing. Cheesy doesn't even begin to cover it. The only other dream we see is Tucker's and an unseen mentioning of Jazz's. Later in the episode, Danny is about to dive into Nocturn's mind, but Sam wants to tag along despite the danger. Danny easily accepts without debating back, saying he doesn't have much of a choice. This is presented as romantic; I see it as eye-rolling. Oh, please, Danny has constantly argued back against Sam for a number of reasons, so his "no choice" comment is head-smacking. It IS dangerous and he should have at least told her how unpredictable Nocturn's mind might be. A warning, something before Sam still chooses to come regardless. Topped with earlier episodes, it just makes it look like Sam has him wrapped around her fingers.
"Claw of the Wild" is a great episode, but poor Tucker; you had to be shoved out because it's more Danny and Sam time. Their romance is kept to a minimum, but you know the absence of the human cast was meant to drive these crazy kids closer.
Much like the rest, Sam became a pale, one-dimensional copy of herself when Season Three aired. Season Two kinda sorta started it, but it was minor and the majority of her better roles more than made up for it. She used to be a reasonable, sensible figure; now she's a screeching harpy whose word is law. Danny, a boy who's gone through a surprisingly consistent character development temporarily downsizes to Square One whenever Sam needs to pop in and correct him. Her protest and criticism often annoyed everyone, but now it's a non-issue; instead a select part of her "I'm Right" stigma that Season Three oh so loooooves to back up. She used to be tolerable - even fun - to watch, but everything that was remotely good about her has been tarnished. So much so that she's become an unrepentant, unbearable, bitchy, know-it-all who learns absolutely nothing because she's always right.
Is there anything about Season Three Sam that I like? ...Well, Plant Sam is pretty cool (and creepily sexy):
Discovery (A Transformers Animated Fancomic): Read the entire thing here. More updated as the series progresses. Placed there for archival purpose.
Chess Piece (A Danny Phantom Fancomic):
An AU Danny Phantom comic. It's been canceled, but for those morbidly curious to read this convoluted train wreck, the link is here.
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