"Shades of Gray" is the tenth episode in the TV-series Danny Phantom.
Danny's day starts off rotten when Dash, having failed his test, chases after him out of anger to beat him up. Danny accidentally bumps into Paulina, whose coffee spills all over popular girl Valerie Gray's new shirt. Upset, Valerie orders Dash's friend Kwan to beat up Danny. Stuck between Dash and Kwan, Danny finally remembers his ghost powers, phases out (causing the two jocks to run into each other accidentally), and lands outside in the school parking lot. There, his ghost sense lets loose, but he is relieved to find the only ghost around is a small playful ghost puppy, Cujo, who unfortunately has the ability to grow to a giant size.
A tour of the latest state-of-the-art security system for Axion Labs goes wrong for Valerie and her father, Damon, when Cujo (still in giant form) runs amok and wreaks havoc, all the while as Danny Phantom tries desperately to stop him. Fired from his job, Damon and his daughter now have to move away to a less costly house as well as sell away valuables for money. Danny, Sam, and Tucker are shocked, with Danny expressing his guilt for not catching the pup and offering his condolences to her while Tucker tries to flirt his way while she's down (Sam did not want to help Valerie). Either way, Valerie still refuses to associate with them due to their status. Cujo appears once more and again Danny tries to stop him, only to further wreck the Grays' possessions. Once he manages to calm Cujo down and fly off with him, Valerie vows to find out what is going on. Danny manages to put Cujo back into the Ghost Zone via the Fenton Portal, but he manages to dig his way out.
The next day, Valerie confesses to her friends she had to sell her tickets for the local Dumpty Humpty concert, which causes them to shun her. Sitting all alone, Tucker comes over to cheer her up, only for her to angrily deny his comfort. Cujo invades the school cafeteria soon after until he meets Danny, whom he has already taken a liking to. Tucker reveals to Valerie that the two were ghosts afterwards.
Elmerton, a rather run-down apartment complex, serves as Damon and Valerie's new home. Damon tells his daughter he's getting one last chance in Axion Labs by acting as a lone security guard. He then gives her a package that came from Wisconsin before leaving. Valerie opens it and finds weapons to combat ghosts, given to her from Vlad who quietly watches in secret. Not knowing who he is, she cares little as she expresses joy over her new toys.
Elsewhere in a park, Sam watches Danny who is trying to train Cujo. Rather impressed Cujo is already trained, Danny then encounters Valerie who comes with a full offensive attack in her new ghost-hunting outfit, weapons, and hoverboard, sending a missile his way. However, she is rather poor with her newfound weapons but easily starts to get the hang of it. Sending Cujo away by getting him to fetch a ball (his ecto-ray), Danny in panic asks Sam for help. Tackling him down, Sam kisses a now-human Danny. Valerie flies away after witnessing this, leaving Sam to recognize her voice as Valerie's while Danny seemed rather content with the kiss, leading to an awkward situation for both of them.
Tucker makes note of that in school the next day (with Danny and Sam only claiming the kiss as a "Fake-Out Make-Out") then runs into Valerie. After noticing her recent interest in ghost hunting, he tells her that Danny's parents are professional ghost hunters to further warm up in her good grace. Seeing that as a surefire ticket to hunt ghosts, Valerie spends time with Tucker to gain as much info on Danny's parents' profession as possible. Danny and Sam however are both livid over Tucker's involvement with her during a basketball game. Cujo crashes the game and both Danny and Valerie head over to their respective "jobs." Danny manages to figure out Cujo is looking for something while Valerie continues to pursue the two. Despite her reputation, Tucker still refuses to give up on her. Danny uses a dog obedience book to send Cujo to fetch his missing item. The pup runs off until pointing out Axion Labs. Reporting his friends over, Danny heads inside alone while Sam and Tucker watch over Cujo. Damon leaves to get food for Valerie after taking a short break from his duty, leaving Valerie to go on the offensive again when she notices Danny in the same building. There she gives chase and the two battle, setting off the alarm which alerts Damon nearby. Cujo, possibly sensing Danny in danger, runs after him, dragging Sam and Tucker with him. Cujo manages to reach the lab while Danny is thrown back by one of Valerie's weapons, tossing him into an old kennel where the lab once trained guard dogs. Feeling a squeak in one of the old bags, Danny fishes out an item: a squeaky chew toy. Reuniting Cujo with his favorite item, the puppy finally leaves. Danny tries to make amends with Valerie, but she refuses, still seeing ghosts as nothing but bad news. Danny makes his exit by the time Damon and his boss return to a messy room. Tucker defends Valerie by purposely capturing himself, letting them assume he's the one to have caused the damage, saving Damon's job.
Now that Valerie is continuing her pursuit of ghosts, Danny has one more worry to add as well as questions on where she got her weaponry. Sam theorizes the money she got for it was possibly due to the tickets she sold which were bought out by her. The three then end up in the Dumpty Humpty concert, much to the dismay of the popular kids.
- Story by
- Steve Marmel
- Written by
- Sib Ventress
- Storyboard by
- Ian Graham
- Eric Wiese
- Art Direction
- Music by
- Guy Moon
- Directed by
- Wincat Alcala
- Julie Hashiguchi
- Butch Hartman
- Voice cast
- David Kaufman as Danny; Computer Voice
- Kath Soucie as Lunch Lady
- Rickey D'Shon Collins as Tucker Foley
- Grey Delisle as Sam Manson
- Scott Bullock as Dash Baxter; Suited Guy; Guard; Ghost Dog
- James Sie as Kwan
- Maria canals as Paulina
- Cree Summer as Valerie
- Phil Morris as Damon
- This episode marks the first time Danny and Sam ever kiss. They will repeat this in "Memory Blank." This is also the first time in the series where Danny gets kissed.
- Allusions: See List of allusions
- Goofs: See List of goofs
- There is a calendar in the Axion Labs office that shows this happened in April.
- This episode marks the first time Valerie would be voiced by Cree Summer. Before she was voiced by Grey DeLisle, who also voices Sam. Cree Summer continued to voice Valerie for the remainder of the series.
- This episode also marks the first time Kwan would be voiced by James Sie, after Dat Phan had voiced him.
- This is the first time neither Maddie nor Jack appear in an episode.
- The music that Dumpty Humpty is playing at the concert at the end of the episode appears to be a remix of the theme song minus the vocals.
- A clip of this episode appears in the interactive board game, Nick: Scene It.
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