"Parental Bonding" is the second episode of Danny Phantom.
Danny goes to his father in the Fenton lab before school, eyeing Jack and his newest invention - the Fenton Ghost Fisher, which Jack is using to try to fish out ghosts from the Ghost Portal. Jack has to leave for a moment to use the restroom, so he plants the fisher on Danny to hold until he returns. It snags a ghost which Danny reels in to reveal a dragon ghost. He goes on the defensive and fights the dragon until her amulet comes off, ending up inside Danny's backpack—unbeknownst to both. The dragon reverts to a medieval ghost princess who only desires to go to the princess costume ball, who flees back through the Ghost Portal, leaving Danny completely baffled upon her exit.
Later at school, news is already underway throughout the student body about the upcoming school dance. Both Danny and Tucker are excited despite their lack of dates, while Sam proceeds to display her utter displeasure towards both the dance and being asked out. She is interrupted (and irritated) when Danny and Tucker eye the class beauty, Paulina. With a push from Tucker (and a literal push from Sam), Danny awkwardly tries to ask her to the dance, but his nervous behavior triggers his ghost powers, causing his pants to turn intangible and fall down. Paulina and the entire student body laugh at him until Sam confronts Paulina. She fights back by calling her shallow, which Paulina takes offense to. In revenge, Paulina vows to take Danny away from Sam.
Paulina confronts Danny at his locker later on. Dash interrupts and shoves Danny into his locker to flirt with Paulina. An invisible and angry Danny sneaks behind Dash only to discover his power of possessing people. He overshadows Dash and embarrasses him in front of Paulina. A dazed Dash walks off afterwards while Paulina frees Danny from his locker, the amulet from earlier dropping out of his backpack as he falls. They both see it. Danny lies that he got it for her (when in reality he has no idea where it came from), which gets her to agree to go to the dance with him. As she walks away, her eyes (as well as the amulet) glow. Danny cheers, but his pants fall down once again, which gets him in trouble with Mr. Lancer.
Mr. Lancer has Danny's parents come to the school. Too afraid to confront his currently frustrated father (whose Fenton fisher has yet to snag a ghost), Danny overshadows Jack and takes him to the conference, and makes him flatter Lancer, which gets Lancer to let Danny off. Enjoying his style, Lancer insists on him chaperoning the school dance.
Danny, Sam, and Tucker are at the mall, while Paulina, at the same mall, shops for a shirt, still wearing the amulet. Admiring a limited-edition shirt but then finding out that there are none left in her size, she becomes furious, unleashing the amulet's power and transforming her into a dragon. Danny fights the dragon, and Paulina reverts back to normal, and has no memory of the events while she was a dragon (but acquires the shirt she desired). Shortly afterward, Tucker gets himself a date with Valerie Gray when her previous partner, Kwan, dropped her for someone else.
Danny, Sam, and Tucker research the amulet on the Internet before the dance, learning that extreme distress or anger causes the wearer of the amulet to trigger its power and transform into a dragon. Danny immediately recognizes the amulet as the one he gave to Paulina, and so forth has the mission of getting it back from her. Sam once again displays her hatred for the dance. Danny concludes she secretly desires to go, and by possessing Tucker, he gets her to go as Tucker's date by saying Valerie stood him up. Sam eagerly agrees.
Danny goes with Paulina, trying to get back the amulet and deal with his father whom he has to constantly overshadow during the dance. There, Danny lies about the amulet by saying it belongs to Sam, angering Paulina. A panicking Danny quickly tells Tucker to keep an eye on his father while Sam tries to find Paulina. She catches her in the restroom and apologizes for calling her shallow. Learning that Sam is just Danny's friend and not girlfriend as she previously assumed, Paulina gives the amulet back to Sam (by placing it around her neck) and confesses how she played with his heart to get back at Sam and is now going to dump him. Sam gets furious at Paulina for using Danny, which instantly turns her into the dragon, and kidnaps Paulina who faints upon seeing her.
Discovering the dragon, Danny fights it off (later discovering it to be Sam) and manages to capture her with the Fenton Fisher, tying her up and pulling the amulet off. With the date gone bust, Sam asks Danny for one last dance and he accepts stating that he'd love to. While Danny and Sam slow dance, Tucker complains about his lack of a date again. The ghost girl (Dora) then appears and still wishes to go to the ball, causing Tucker to decide he's in no hurry for a date and asks Sam and Danny if he could cut into their dance.
- Story by
- Steven Sustarsic
- David Silverman
- Written by
- Steve Marmel
- Sib Ventress
- Storyboard by
- Erik Wiese
- Ray Angrum
- Art Direction
- Music by
- Guy Moon
- Directed by
- Wincat Alcala
- Sean Dempsey
- Butch Hartman
- Voice cast
- David Kaufman as Danny Fenton/Phantom
- Ricky D'Shon Collins as Tucker Foley
- Grey DeLisle as Sam Manson; Girl #2; Ghost Girl; Valerie Gray
- Rob Paulson as Jack Fenton
- Kath Soucie as Maddie Fenton; Sales Girl
- Scott Bullock as Dash
- Colleen O’Shaughnessey as Jazz Fenton; Girl #1; Girl #3
- Ron Perlman as Mr. Lancer
- Kevin Michael Richardson as Dragon; Paulina's Dad
- Maria Canals as Paulina
- Dat Phan as Kwan
- Sam turning into a dragon under the amulet's influence foreshadows both her and Dora's involvement in the season two episode "Beauty Marked."
- Allusions: See List of allusions
- Goofs: See List of goofs
- First appearance(s): Valerie, Paulina, and Dora the Dragon Ghost
- Introduced ghost powers: Overshadowing.
- This is the only episode that Danny turns into mist to escape an enemy (the Dragon Ghost).
- In this episode and "My Brother's Keeper," Valerie was voiced by Grey DeLisle, not Cree Summer, who voiced her in all other episodes she appears in.
- This episode and "One of a Kind" premiered on the same day in the United States. Two other episodes, "D-Stabilized" and "Phantom Planet," premiered on the same day as each other as well.
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