At least I think that’s today’s theme. I am very behind oh wow.
My favorite headcanon: Mr. Lancer figured it out. He knows about Danny.
If you pay attention to his characterization throughout the series, he goes from a pretty mean teacher, adding more antagonism to Danny’s already stressful world, to a really, truly understanding adult figure in Danny’s life.
He begins the series with a huge bias towards Dash, athletes, and the popular crew for some reason. But once you hit “Teacher of the Year,” BAM. Something changes, and Mr. Lancer doesn’t really retreat back into that stereotypical version of himself again.
In “TotY,” he is hard on Danny, as usual, but he explains that it’s because he sees great potential in Danny and thinks he has a lot more to offer. Considering his parents are scientists and his sister is the smartest kid in school, this is a totally valid assumption, and it becomes founded when Danny actually sits down with Lancer to study and applies himself. He gets an A, and Lancer is proud.
I think he keeps a particularly close eye on Danny after this. The kid clearly has the potential to do great things and get good grades, but he doesn’t apply himself. Why?
It’s not like Mr. Lancer has a riveting personal life to speak of (“Fright Before Christmas”), so it’s pretty reasonable to say he spends a lot of time thinking about his students and his lesson plans. I mean, the dude is like the English teacher who sometimes teaches some Science and History and possibly Math (even though he hates math??) and is a camp counselor and seems to have a lot of authority so maybe Vice Principal too? He puts a lot into his work. And I think he puts a lot of thought into his students.
We see a similar side to him again in TUE, in which he is hard on Danny but cuts him some slack in the end. As though he knows there’s something else, something bigger, going on in the boy’s life to drive him to desperate measures.
He goes from being extremely and irrationally hard on Danny (giving him detention in early episodes basically just for existing) to being much softer and more forgiving, treating Danny with a special kind of respect.
I gif’d this scene because I feel like it’s a subtle reference to the possibility that he knows. Danny (as Phantom) is up on stage with Tucker, Sam and Jazz during this presentation. When it’s over, the first people to clap in support are the Fentons, and the next? Is Mr. Lancer.
He claps before Tucker’s own parents. Or Sam’s. And then he mentions all of them collectively when he sardonically comments that “They never put that much effort into their school work.”
I doubt he’s including Jazz in this statement, and it’s perfectly reasonable to assume he’s just talking about Sam and Tucker. But the only two doing the actual talking/presenting are Danny and Tucker.
Danny as Phantom. And Tucker.
And this supports my favorite headcanon that Lancer figured it out and kept it quiet, gradually coming to understand Danny and his predicament. He really is responsible and driven, but grades, Lancer finds out, are not his first priority. And that’s why he treats him differently, with more empathy, as the series goes on.
Because he knows.