|"Look at you. What are you? A ghost trying to fit in with humans? Or some creepy little boy with creepy little powers?"|
|— Penelope Spectra to Danny Phantom|
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 ghost creature.
Spectra made her first 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.
They also learn about her plans to up the ante of depression by killing Jazz during the school pep rally so that she can suck up the ensuing severe depression of the other students and forever remain youthful.
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’s 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 safely pass through it.
In her true form, Spectra is a wispy black ghost, essentially a humanoid shadow with an advanced mind of her own. She has glowing red eyes, sharp teeth, claws and wears purple lipstick. She has flaming spiky black "hair" and a ghostly tail. She lacks a distinct identity to her disguised human form.
In her human disguise, Spectra has fair skin, green eyes and red hair pointed in a U-shape with orange highlights. She wears purple lipstick and eyeshadow, circular purple earrings and black sunglasses. She wears a business suit consisting of a red suit jacket over a white long-sleeved shirt with a black necktie, a red mini skirt and red high heels.
In "Doctor's Disorders," Spectra creates her ideal "perfect body" for her ghost form to inhabit. This body is similar to her main human disguise (same hair, eyes, and makeup), but has paler skin, sharp teeth, triangular purple earrings and no glasses.
Her new outfit consists of a green necklace, a black V-neck crop-top with green trim on the sleeves, green arm-length gloves, black pants with green trim on the waist and green high-heeled boots that reach her thighs and have flame designs at the top.
Penelope Spectra is monstrously narcissistic, displaying a very strong need of being young and beautiful, going through unscrupulous means in order to keep her youthful appearance, and freaking out if she becomes old and/or ugly.
She might be one of the most sadistic ghosts ever encountered, along with her assistant Bertrand, as they happily feed on the misery of others and attempt to murder people (first Jazz, then all of the Casper High students) in order to accomplish their plans.
She’s smart and dissimulative, as she persuades many people to think that she’s really a counselor, 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 in a state of depression that gradually worsens whenever they interact with her further. This suggests that in her lifetime, she either majored in psychology or had a doctorate in psychology.
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 cappuccino together.
In "Doctor's Disorders," they seem to have little to no relationship, but are still partners. In "Girls' Night Out," their relationship has a completely different perspective: Spectra views Bertrand as annoying and treats him badly, to the point of wanting him gone forever when Kitty's kiss made him vanish, but that was probably done to fit into the theme of the episode.
Spectra mainly sees Danny as an excellent source of whatever she's seeking in that episode, whether it be his misery that she can feed off of in "My Brother's Keeper" or his unique half-ghost DNA in "Doctor's Disorders." However, he becomes her enemy once he starts to fight back and defeats her.
Ember and Kitty are two of Spectra's friends and the three of them are close, as they work together to get rid of all men and take over the town in "Girls' Night Out."
Powers and Abilities
- Intangibility, Invisibility, and Flight: Standard ghost powers.
- 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.
- Supernatural 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 discs of blue ecto-energy. She can also create a large hand out of purple ecto-energy that slammed Danny into the walls.
- Electrokinesis: She can shoot bolts of purple electricity.
- 109. "My Brother's Keeper"
"My Brother's Keeper"
- "Very good. But I fear you've missed a few details!"
- (Danny: "Let go of me!")
Spectra: "Why would I do that? Your doubt, your misery, it's delicious. And the best part is, as soon as that silly speech is over, and that last domino falls and the sparklers vaporize the speaker, we'll leave you here to take the blame. And by the time I'm done with you, you'll be sure it was all your fault!"
- "You're a freak! Not a ghost, not a boy! Who cares for a thing like you?"
- "Allow me, you know how we therapists love to talk it all out."
- (Danny: "You'll never get away with this, Spectra.")
Spectra: "Ooh, but I already have and, you Danny, you're the grand prize, I need your genes to lock this perfect body together and stabilize it so my ghost form never burns out and never grows old. How helpful are you?"
- (Tucker: "I am in a modeling agency.")
Spectra: "It's nice right, smart, beautiful, deadly."
- "What? What happened? Why do I suddenly feel like blathering on about ghost? And why do I feel like eating fudge? Lots and Lots of fudge."
- "Okay, that's it. Let's boogie!
"Girls' Night Out"
- "Uhh, why didn't you go with them?"
- "And I don't exactly care."
- "Well, I love what you've done with the neighborhood."
- Her last name is an obvious pun on the word specter.
- However, Mattel holds the name "Spectra Vondergeist" to a character in their "Monster High" doll franchise.
- Her need to feed on people's misery appear to be based from a "psychic vampires" that feeds exactly on it, instead of blood like a normal vampires. This goes along with the fact that her hairstyle seems to greatly resemble popular depiction of Count Dracula.
- If that's the case, she's the second ghost in the series that has a vampire-like characteristics, after Vlad.
- 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 misery 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.
- One way to consider Specra's origins is that she may not be a ghost, but rather an evil spirit manifested from the very concept of human misery, which would explain the unconventional jet-black shadowy appearance for her ghostly manifestation. After coming into existence and noticing the human world to have plenty of misery to go around and sustain her instead of whatever the ghost zone had to offer, psychology is merely something she observed and researched from afar until she knew enough to pass as a shrink on Earth and use that as her cover to generate all the misery she could ever want. And when she noticed her human form somehow needed the same level of misery to maintain its youthful complexion, that's when she effectively becoming a misery-vampire when the narcissism side of her own personality emerged to go with her very manifestation of misery.
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