|They are the few, the proud, the naughty. Every school has them—those kids who just can’t seem to stay out of after-school detention. In the fall of 1999, the Kids WB introduced its Saturday morning audiences to eight of those misunderstood preteens, the stars of the half-hour Detention!
It wasn’t entirely the kids’ fault. They had the unfortunate luck of attending Benedict Arnold Middle School, home to the meanest teacher in all the land—Miss Eugenia P. Kisskillya. The thick-framed, forever frowning Miss Kisskillya had a single favorite word—“Deteeeeeeen-tion!”—which she barked out like a military order at the slightest rule infraction.
Miss Kisskillya’s usual detention crew consisted of free spirit Shareena Wickett, conspiracy theorist Emmitt Roswell, yo-yo expert Duncan Bubble, angry pipsqueak Gug, girl scout Shelly Kelly, future car salesman Jim Kim, and brainy twins Lemonjella (in yellow shirt) and Orangejella (in orange pants) LaBelle. When the kids weren’t stuck behind punishment desks, they were engaging in the usual junior high shenanigans—trying to unmask the science teacher as a brain-sucking alien, building an exploding “volcano” cake, protecting the school library from supervillains, etc.
Detention! balanced its wacky hijinks with educational/prosocial messages about friendship, loyalty, fair play, and other values designed to keep young viewers out of detention. The show also benefited from a talented voice cast, including Billy West, Tara Charendoff, and as Lemonjella and Orangejella, real-life twins Tia and Tamera Mowry, the stars of WB’s prime time hit, Sister Sister.
By the time the 90’s closed, Detention! was only nine episodes into its first season, but with the backing of the Warner Bros. Television Animation unit (Animaniacs, Histeria!), and airing on a Saturday morning lineup that included the megahits Pokemon and Batman Beyond, there was no sign that Shareena, Emmitt, and the rest would be getting out of detention any time soon.