Synopsis by Hal Erickson
Debuting June 2, 2001 on cable's Fox Family Channel, the weekly, half-hour animated series Braceface detailed the misadventures of teenager Sharon Spitz, who in the earliest episodes was an eighth grader at Mary Pickford Junior High. Feeling as awkward and useless as most girls of her age, Sharon suffered the added burden of being fitted out with icky-looking teeth braces--and to make matters worse, those braces had been struck by lightning, meaning that Sharon--or as she was known to her peers, "Braceface"--had to put up with the inconvenience of attracting every magnetized object that wasn't nailed down, and had an embarrassing habit of disconnecting nearby cell phones (or accidentally listening in to private conversations). Above and beyond this Lizzie McGuire-style complication, Sharon did her best to slog through junior high (and later high school) despite being surrounded by such vituperous rivals as her ex-best friend Nina and Nina's giggling flunky Alyson, and by such clueless types as her divorced parents and her cloddish brothers Adam and Josh. Fortunately, Sharon could boast of a loyal circle of friends, among them sports-jock Maria Wong, allergic-to-everything Conner Mackenzie, and, during her high school years, her mentor Dion, described as "unique and original" (the usual kiddie-cartoon euphemisms for "gay"). Also, she enjoyed an off-and-on romantic relationship with hunky Alden Jones, even though his carnivorous eating habits were anathema to the strictly-vegetarian Sharon. Created by Marcia Clark, whose previous "teen-angst" TV credits included Silver Spoons and Sweet Valley High, Braceface also benefited from the input of film favorite Alicia Silverstone of Clueless fame, who served as the series' executive producer and also provided the voice of Sharon Spitz during the series' first two years on the air (she was later replaced by Stacey DePass). Surviving Fox Family's takeover by Disney and subsequent "rebirth" as the ABC Family Channel, Braceface remained on the cable service until May 31, 2003, and was thereafter seen on the Disney Channel, with new episodes added to the rerun manifest. Incidentally, the U.S. run of Braceface consisted of three 26-episode seasons; the Canadian run, seen on Teletoon, was broken up into six seasons of 13 episodes each.