|"What are you? A ghost trying to fit in with humans? Or some creepy little boy with creepy little powers?"|
|— Penelope Spectra to Danny Fenton|
Penelope Spectra is a villainess ghost that has the ability of disguising herself as a human. She keeps her human form young and beautiful by feeding on people's misery, especially on the depression of teenagers. Her true form is that of a shadow-like creature.
Spectra first made her appearance in "My Brother's Keeper," posing as a teen therapist/counselor and motivational speaker at Casper High School. She was there in part to build up spirit for the students in time for the Casper High Spirit pep rally. Despite her incredibly chipper attitude and use of meaningless inspirational catchphrases, she has a seductive tendency to tell her patients things that leave them incredibly depressed, Danny being her favorite victim.
Danny, Sam, and Tucker later figure out that she is a ghost, hiding it by always having the air conditioner turned up so that Danny's ghost sense was lost among normal breaths from the cold. They also learn about her plans to up the ante of depression by killing Jazz in the school pep rally so that she can suck up the ensuing severe depression of the other students and forever remain youthful. Danny, however, manages to save Jazz in time, trapping her assistant Bertrand in the thermos as well as Spectra herself -the latter with help from Jazz.
Spectra returned again in "Doctor's Disorders." Her ultimate goal was to create the perfect human body for herself to inhabit. She tried to achieve this by gathering DNA samples from the various students in Casper High through the means of ghost-bugs overshadowing them, and sending them to a fake hospital resembling the old, disturbing ones found in the days before safe medicinal practices. Knowing that she needed Danny's DNA to grant full power to her "body" as well as stabilize it, she tried to capture him and extract it from him personally. Danny later finds out Spectra's plans, but when Danny's DNA is about to be taken, Danny instead lets his father's handkerchief he blew on earlier get sucked up instead, so by the time Spectra's perfect body fully activates, she gains Jack's giant figure and later turns into a living pile of mucus. Danny defeats her afterwards and traps her in the Fenton Thermos.
In "Reign Storm," Spectra can be seen among other ghosts fleeing the Ghost Zone after Pariah Dark started destroying all their homes. She was also one of the many ghosts to help Danny save Christmas in "The Fright Before Christmas."
Spectra's final appearance is in the series finale, "Phantom Planet." She is first seen terrorizing Paulina Sanchez and Star in the halls of Casper High, appears later with the many ghosts who fought Danny in the Ghost Zone, and finally is one of the many ghosts who helps Danny and Skulker turn the entire planet intangible, so that the Disasteroid can pass through it. Spectra is seen in all three of her main forms: her "My Brother's Keeper"/"Girls' Night Out" body, her shadow form, and her powered-up body from "Doctor's Disorders."
Penelope Spectra bears a very strong need of being young and beautiful, going though unscrupulous means in order to keep her youthful appearance, and freaking out if she becomes old or ugly. She might be one of the most sadistic ghosts in the show, along with her assistant Bertrand, as they happily attempt to kill people (first Jazz, then all of the Casper High students) in order to accomplish their plans. She is smart and dissimulative, as she persuades many people to think that she is really a shrink, and she presumably has remained much time in the human world feeding on the misery of students. This also indicates her deep knowledge on psychology, as shown when she uses her falsely kind words to expose the teenagers to their deepest fears, leaving them depressed.
- They are never seen in an episode without each other, but they seem to gradually grow distant from one another along the series. In "My Brother's Keeper", they seem to have a friendly relationship, even planning in the hallway to have a capuccino together. In "Doctor's Disorders", they seem to have little to no relationship, but are still partners. In "Girl's Night Out", their relationship has a completely different perspective: Spectra views Bertrand as annoying and treats him badly, to the point on wanting him gone forever when Kitty's kiss made him vanish, but that was probably done to fit into the theme of the episode.
Powers and Abilities
- Emotion absorption: She can absorb the misery of children in order to retain her youth and possibly increase her power.
- Shapeshifting: She can change her appearance to that of a human.
- Intangibility: Standard ghost power.
- Invisibility: Standard ghost power.
- Flight: Standard ghost power.
- Superhuman Strength: She is roughly as strong as Danny.
- Telekinesis: She can hold objects in the air without using her hands.
- Ghost Ray: She can fire explosive disks of ecto-energy. She can also create a large hand out of purple ecto-energy.
- 109. "My Brother's Keeper"
- Her last name is an obvious pun on the word "specter."
- In "The Fright Before Christmas," one can see two Spectras grabbing Christmas trees, one in her human appearance and one in her ghost form.
- Spectra reveals that Danny's main insecurity is his lack of confidence in his abilities as a superhero and as a person.
- Spectra is similar to Vicky from The Fairly OddParents!, another series created by Butch Hartman. Both have red hair and both enjoy causing depression in children and teenagers. Tara Strong, Penelope Spectra's voice actress, also voices Timmy Turner, the protagonist of The Fairly OddParents! who is one of Vicky's frequent victims.
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