"Mystery Meat" is the first episode of the TV series Danny Phantom. Danny has recently gained ghostly powers and is still learning to use them. Sam Manson has convinced the school to change its lunch menu to one that suits her ultra-recyclo-vegetarian tastes, angering the students and a ghostly lunch lady.
The episode starts with Jack explaining ghost hunting to Danny, Sam, and Tucker in the lab basement. While Jack is showing off his inventions and explaining how they work (or don't work), the ghost portal mysteriously opens, releasing two ectopuses. Danny saves Sam and Tucker and defeats the ghosts before Jack sees anything.
At breakfast the next morning, Danny is having trouble controlling his powers. Maddie tests the newly-completed Fenton Finder, which "mysteriously" directs them to Danny, leading them to think it must be malfunctioning. This prompts Danny to attempt to tell his parents his secret, but before he can, Jazz interrupts and tells them that their ghost hunting is bad for Danny's development and offers to drive Danny to school. Because Jazz never drives Danny to school, Jack assumes that she must be a ghost pretending to be Jazz.
At school, Danny continues to have difficulty controlling his ghost powers. Sam reveals that she has successfully convinced the school board to change the lunch menu. To everyone else’s dismay, ultra-recyclo-vegetarian food is now being served in the cafeteria, while the teachers have an all-steak buffet in the teachers' lounge.
Meanwhile, in the lab of Fenton Works, the Lunch Lady Ghost escapes through the ghost portal, sensing that someone has changed the menu, and escapes to the school kitchen.
At lunch at school, Danny's ghost sense goes off. Just then, Dash blames Danny for the food and tries to force him to eat it. Danny starts a food fight to escape from Dash and he and his friends escape into the kitchen, where they meet the Lunch Lady Ghost. She asks if the menu has been changed, and Tucker tells her that Sam is responsible. The Lunch Lady Ghost suddenly becomes hostile and Danny has to "go ghost" to protect his friends. Danny and his friends escape into the halls. The Lunch Lady uses the meat from the all-steak buffet in the teachers' lounge to turn herself into a meaty monster. She captures Sam and flies away.
Danny and Tucker try to follow them, but they are interrupted by Mr. Lancer, who blames them for starting the food fight and takes them and Dash to his office. Dash is the school's star quarterback and thus exempt from punishment, but Mr. Lancer aims to punish Danny and Tucker very heavily. Mr. Lancer and Dash walk out for a moment, so Danny uses his intangibility to escape the office with Tucker. Tucker, with his enhanced meat-sniffing abilities, finds a meat storage room where the Lunch Lady Ghost is torturing Sam by attempting to force her to eat meat. Danny goes ghost again and fights the Lunch Lady Ghost, but she again turns into a giant meat monster. Danny and his friends escape, but Danny is exhausted from the fight and passes out in midair while carrying Sam and Tucker.
At Fenton Works, Jazz enters and is immediately attacked by Jack and Maddie with a smoke grenade and the Fenton Xtractor. Sam and Tucker then enter, carrying a sleeping Danny. They bring him to his room and put him on his bed, where he eventually wakes up. Sam and Tucker get angry at each other, Tucker blaming Sam for angering the Lunch Lady Ghost and swearing to change the menu back, and Sam vowing to stop him.
The next day, both Sam and Tucker have organized large protests outside the school. Sam and Tucker both each want Danny on their sides and fight with each other, but they are interrupted when the Lunch Lady Ghost attacks. She once again turns into a meat monster, this time even larger than before, and summons meat minions using the meat from Tucker's protest. Danny goes ghost again and battles her and her minions.
Meanwhile, Jack and Maddie show up with the Fenton Grappler and catch Jazz with it, still believing that she is a ghost. Jazz explains to them that she isn't one and tries to convince them to give up on ghosts. Just as Jazz is about to succeed, they all see the "ghost kid" and Jack's desire to catch ghosts returns, to Jazz's dismay.
During the battle, Danny loses control of his powers, and he accidentally turns back into human form. The minions take this opportunity to grab Danny and throw him to the ground. Danny quickly changes back just in time to phase through the ground, and takes Jack's Fenton Thermos. Danny uses his powers to activate the Fenton Thermos and captures and defeats the Lunch Lady Ghost. Afterward, Danny decides not to tell his parents about his powers.
Mr. Lancer soon finds them and is outraged to see his students messing up the place with lots of meat, and Danny, Sam, and Tucker are in trouble again. As punishment, they are left to clean up the food all over the school. Sam is forced to deal with the meat while Tucker is forced to deal with the vegetables. Dash is again exempt from punishment and simply laughs at Danny's predicament, until Danny uses his powers to phase open the dumpster, spilling all the meat onto Dash, who asks for help. Danny smiles mischievously as he says, "Whatever you say, Dash," and his eyes turn green and glow as the episode ends.
- Written by
- Storyboard by
- Directed by
- Voice cast
- David Kaufman as Danny Fenton/Phantom
- Ricky Collins as Tucker Foley
- Grey DeLisle as Sam Mason; Fentonfinder voice
- Rob Paulsen as Jack Fenton
- Kath Soucie as Maddie Fenton
- Scott Bullock as Dash Baxter
- Colleen O’Shaughnessey as Jazz Fenton; Flight Attendant
- Ron Perlman as Mr. Lancer
- Patricia Heaton as Lunch Lady
- Allusions: See List of allusions
- Goofs: See List of goofs
- First appearance(s): Danny Fenton/Phantom, Tucker Foley, Sam Manson, Jazz Fenton, Jack Fenton, Maddie Fenton, Dash Baxter, Mr. Lancer, and Lunch Lady Ghost.
- No one, not even Sam, is ever actually seen eating the ultra-recyclo-vegetarian food.
- This episode was aired outside the United States in 2003, much before the 2004 premiere of this episode in the United States.
- This episode was originally going to be the second episode. The first episode was going to be about how Danny got his ghost powers, but his origin story was moved to the intro and this became the first episode.
- Jack is the first character to speak in this episode, making him the first character in the series to speak.
- During his ranting, Jack mentions that he was born in a log cabin and he always wanted a pony. This is a reference to the Fairly OddParents episode "The Secret Origin of Denzel Crocker!" where Crocker also mentioned these things. That episode premiered a year before this episode.
- Danny reveals at school that "it's been a month since the accident" that gave him his powers.
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