September 13, 1997 – The Animated Series Pepper Ann Premieres on Disney’s One Saturday Morning
“Pepper Ann, Pepper Ann, much too cool for seventh grade, no one’s cooler than Pepper Ann!”
On September 13, 1997, the animated series Pepper Ann premiered on Disney’s One Saturday Morning cartoon programming block on ABC. The show was based on a comic strip for YM magazine designed by the show’s creator, Sue Rose. The series lasted for five seasons, with 65 episodes in total. It starred Kathleen Wilhoite as Pepper Ann, Clea Lewis as Nicky, Danny Cooksey as Milo, April Winchell as Lydia, and Pam Segall as Moose.
The first episode, “Ziterella,” begins at Hazelnut Middle School, where Pepper Ann is struggling to close her overstuffed locker. Nicky and Milo ask if Pepper Ann is ready for the yearbook photo, as every year, Pepper Ann takes a horrible photo. She has no worries this year, as she’s perfected her look for the year. Unfortunately, she realizes that she’s got a zit right in the middle of her forehead, ruining her chances of a good photo. Nicky and Milo tell her that it’s not noticeable, but Pepper Ann continues to let her imagination run away with her, imagining a worst case scenario where she can only get a low wage job in the future. She asks her mom Lydia to buy her the pimple cream, but Lydia doesn’t seem to notice. Lydia asks her to go to Abe’s Mall to buy the cream and some film, but Pepper Ann refuses to go to what she calls the “Abys-mall,” as only geeks and old people shop there. In the end, she decides to go there, although she seems to run into everyone from school on the way there.
Pepper Ann finally makes her way to Abe’s Mall, and sneaks inside wearing a disguise. Unfortunately, the pimple cream refuses to be rung up, and she dives across the cash register thanks to her embarrassment. What she doesn’t realize, however, is that the photographer is taking the last picture of the day of Pinkeye Pete, a student constantly struggling with conjunctivitis. She arrives home to find her friends have been kidnapped by her mother for a photo shoot. The next day, Pepper Ann’s pimple has disappeared, but the photographer has to cancel thanks to a severe case of pinkeye. In class, Pepper Ann’s secret about going to Abe’s Mall is out, as their teacher announces that she saw her there. When she gets home, she finds that Abe’s Mall is on television being promoted by her favorite band as the “coolest shopping place in the colonies,” and there’s a shot of Pepper Ann shopping there. The next day at school, she’s touted by the other students as “fashion forward,” and gets the attention of popular eighth-grader Craig Bean. Unfortunately, her good mood is soon ruined when she finds out who is taking the yearbook photos: her mother.