Pepper Ann is an American animated series created by Sue Rose. It debuted on September 13, 1997 and concluded on November 18, 2000 with a total of 113 segments spanning five seasons and sixty-five episodes. It originally aired as part of the Disney's One Saturday Morning block on ABC before moving to the Disney's One Too block in 2000.
Pepper Ann stars adolescents and charts their ups and downs at Hazelnut Middle School. It centers on the titular character, Pepper Ann Pearson, a 12-year-old girl whose emotions come out in fantasies. The show was designed to be a "different sort" of girl's cartoon, and as such features many strong-willed female characters who aggressively reject the idea of passive femininity.
The show's plots were generally typical of the developing format that has risen out of federal E/I requirements: Pepper Ann is presented with a moral dilemma, chooses the wrong decision, faces the consequences and learns a lesson. The series was mostly rated TV-Y. However, the season one finale, "In Support Of," raised controversy. In the episode, Pepper Ann is told she will need "support" to jump on the trampoline in gym class. Assuming the teacher means breast support, a paranoid, still flat-chested and seemingly unready Pepper Ann is convinced she now needs a bra and must overcome her embarrassment to ask her mother to buy her one. When she is finally at the trampoline, she is asked where her "support" is, and after insisting that it's "right here," she flashes the class (her bra), although it is only seen in shadow. (The gag is that by "support," the instructor meant a "support buddy.") That episode was rated TV-Y7, and was reran less frequently on Disney Channel and Toon Disney than other episodes.
Production & Airing
The character Pepper Ann was originally created for a comic strip in Young Miss Magazine in 1991. In 1995, creator Sue Rose got the idea to make it into a television show.
After buying ABC in 1996, Disney was in the process of producing a Saturday morning cartoon block featuring new shows. This block would become One Saturday Morning. Around the same time, Rose was busy developing Pepper Ann with Nickelodeon, but when the executive who supported the project, Linda Simenski, left to work at Cartoon Network, the new executives rejected it and the show moved to Disney instead. Production began in the fall of 1996.
The show debuted on September 13 of the following year as part of Disney's One Saturday Morning. It was an immediate hit with audiences.
After leaving ABC, Pepper Ann was syndicated on the Disney's One Too block which aired on weekdays from 3-5 PM and Sunday mornings from 7-9 AM on UPN.
The series concluded on November 18, 2000, with a total of 65 episodes consisting of 113 segments over 5 seasons.
After that, it aired in reruns on UPN until September 2, 2001 when it was moved to Disney Channel and Toon Disney.
It remained on Disney Channel shortly until around 2002, when it began airing only on Toon Disney. It remained there until November 1, 2004, when it vanished off the network to make room for the new Jetix programming block.
Pepper Ann hasn't aired regularly since then, though it did appear in a two-hour marathon in 2007 on Toon Disney.
This is the last time it has ever been seen on any channel in the US, and it's currently unknown if it will ever return to television.
Disney reportedly has no intention to release Pepper Ann on DVD at this time, and unlike Doug, Recess and The Weekenders it was never available on home video, though two episodes ("Dances with Ignorance" and "The Tell Tale Fuzzy") were released on video by Disney Educational Productions. This release was intended to be used by teachers as an educational tool and was available for purchase on the Disney Educational Productions website as late as 2005.
"A Kosher Christmas" was available via Video-On-Demand around the 2014 and 2015 Holiday season, but has not returned since.
On August 17, 2021, it was announced that the series would be available for streaming on Disney+ beginning on September 8 of the same year. All 65 episodes are currently available for streaming.