Sharon Esther Spitz was my hero. As a 17-year-old with braces, I felt like no one knew the true extent of my humiliation better than Braceface herself.
Having watched "Braceface" religiously on the Disney Channel -- where the animated Canadian series aired in the U.S. -- I was prepared for the awkwardness to come as I embarked on my journey for perfectly straight teeth. My braces didn't give me any cool electromagnetic powers (which was probably for the best, TBH), but thanks to Sharon, I not only learned to love my metal mouth, but also to love myself.
Sharon was just a normal teenager who just so happened to have screwy braces. She was clumsy, passionate and found herself in the middle of some totally mortifying experiences. NBD. We've all been there. So we're celebrating Sharon by taking a look back on some of her more embarrassing tales -- and how she learned to love herself in spite of it all.
When Sharon got her period on her first date with Alden.
I vividly remember the gasp that came out of my mouth when Sharon got her first period on her first date with Alden. First dates are awkward enough without getting your period on one. And poor Sharon didn't even know it was her period, which led to a pretty hilarious scene in which Alden tries to help her out with suggestions of what his sisters do during their times of the month. Alden was the perfect guy: he played guitar, rocked early '00s baggy pants and was totally chill with periods. Looking back, Alden was pretty darn cool for not period-shaming Sharon, and it's one of those things that made "Braceface" a life-changing show for girls and boys.
When she tried that awful crash diet.
Just because it was an animated series didn't mean that "Braceface" was afraid to tackle important issues. Sadly, like most tween girls her age, Sharon suffered from body image issues, and when she attempted a crash diet to lose a few pounds because of Nina's disparaging comments, she just wasn't her goofy, fun-loving self anymore. Thanks to her awesome friends and family, she realized that desirability comes in all different shapes and sizes.
When she got inflatable boobs.
Look, we've all been there. When you're a girl, there's a certain bust you think is more desirable, so you try to get creative. Tired of being mistaken for a little kid due to her small bust, Sharon bought a remote activated push up bra that goes haywire at the worst time.
When she accidentally sent Alden's best friend Brock a message.
OK, so this is something I've experienced personally, and it is the goddamn worst. I cried so many tears. I think this is the reason I am an anxious adult. Thanks to my girl Sharon, I didn't feel so alone in my misery. When Sharon confessed her infatuation with her crush Alden on her cell phone, the message accidentally got sent to his friend, Brock, thanks to Sharon's braces.
When Sharon crashed her mom's car into a tree.
Yep. I've done this one, too. (To be fair, I was peer pressured into it.) Not wanting to feel like a loser, Sharon stole her mom's car, and went on an unintended joyride, thanks to her electromagnetic braces. Sharon ultimately crashed the car into a tree because LOL she was only 13 and couldn't drive.
When she got addicted to a psychic hotline.
Girl, don't you know those things are a scam?!
When her letter to Alden ended up on the school's website.
It's not the best way to hash out your relationship drama, but it certainly got the point across. After Sharon and Alden got into a fight, she wrote a letter to her beau out of frustration -- and, of course, it ended up on the school's website. That was the first of Sharon and Alden's breakups. (Young love is so hard.)
When her mom discovered she went on an X-rated movie site.
We love the fact that Sharon was exploring her sexuality, but rule one of looking at porn is DELETE YOUR HISTORY.
When she played matchmaker and made a total ass out of herself.
Sharon thought her gay friend Dion was lonely, so she tried to set him up on a date. But Dion gave Sharon an important lesson in interfering with other people's problems. Basically, it was none of her damn business.
When Sharon's prom date stood her up.
It's every teen girl's worst nightmare, so of course it happened to Sharon. But at least she got to go to the prom with pop star Taylor Knight.
When her dad was a wandering minstrel at a medieval-themed restaurant.
As a teen, everything your parents do is embarrassing, and for Sharon, she reached peak humiliation when her dad took a job as a wandering minstrel at a medieval-themed restaurant. But she quickly realized that it wasn't so bad after all -- and that her dad was really effing cool, minstrel or not.