[[quoteright:317:http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/Sam_and_Max_Photo_9211.jpg]]
[[caption-width-right:317:That's Sam on the left and Max on the right. Don't get them mi... [[SamAndMaxFreelancePolice what do you mean I did that joke already?]]]]

->'''Sam''': ''Random but innocuous comment.''
->'''Max''': ''Irreverent reply which hints at mental instability!''
->'''Sam''': ''You crack me up, little buddy!''

A long-awaited sequel to ''VideoGame/SamAndMaxHitTheRoad'' was announced by [=LucasArts=] in 2002, but in March of 2004 the project was [[{{Vaporware}} unceremoniously canceled]]. Fans were incensed, as were several members of the [=LucasArts=] team, who left to found their own game company: Creator/TelltaleGames. In 2005, Telltale announced they would be working with Steve Purcell to produce an episodic Sam & Max adventure game, and in late 2006, the first episode of ''Sam & Max: Season One'' was released.

Over the course of six episodes (the final one released in May of 2007), our heroes matched wits with former child stars, a bossy talk show host, the Toy Mafia, the U.S. government, the Internet, and a cult leader in order to foil a series of mass-hypnosis plots. ''Sam and Max: Season 2'' (running from November 2007 to April 2008) had the Freelance Police facing demonic possession in Santa's workshop, the Bermuda Triangle, a Goth vampire and his army of club-hopping zombies, a sinister cabal known only as T-H-E-M, and the forces of Hell. The complete Season 1 for Wii was released in 2008. In 2009, Telltale announced that Seasons 1 and 2 would be on XboxLiveArcade, under different names (''Sam and Max Save the World'' and ''Sam and Max Beyond Time and Space'', respectively). Most other places that sell the games online, like Steam and Telltale's official site, have switched to those names, as well.

The third season, ''VideoGame/SamAndMaxTheDevilsPlayhouse'', has its own page.
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!!Contains examples of:
* AccidentalMisnaming:
** A running gag is how Girl Stinky never addresses Sam and Max by their names, but picks a random moniker every time. She remembers their names just fine; it is her way of saying she just doesn't care.
-->'''Max:''' ''Barnaby'' and ''Jug-Jug?!'' ...you're not even ''trying'' with the names anymore, are you?
** If you use psychic ventriloquism on her in Episode 304, Max tries to imitate her, but acknowledges that it's harder to come up with those names than it looks.
* AdamSmithHatesYourGuts: Bosco's Inconvenience.
-->'''Bosco:''' Look, all I know is, I keep making up the most ridiculous price I can think of, and ''you keep payin' it!'' So I ask you, who's the foo'?
* AdventureDuo: In the episode "Abe Lincoln Must Die!", a relationship quiz the two take says the person they are most compatible with... [[HeterosexualLifePartners are each other.]] (Of course, the quiz was given by Sybil, and Sam and Max seem to be the only people she knows... and she doesn't exactly try to hide the fact that she's neither using a computer nor making an effort.)
** And then there's Max's reaction in "Reality 2.0" when Sybil describes him and Sam as "luddites"...
-->'''Max:''' We're just very good friends!
* AfterlifeExpress: In ''What's New, Beelzebub?''
* AlwaysNight: Season 3, the ZombieApocalypse episode and the [[{{Kaiju}} humongous rampaging]] [[EldritchAbomination Cthulhu]] episode. [[LampshadeHanging Lampshaded]] when Sam admires how the city looks at night.
* AffablyEvil:
** [[spoiler:Hugh Bliss, who has a soft, overly-friendly demeanor but also an urge to TakeOverTheWorld]]
** The Devil, too. He's kind of a boring guy...[[PunchClockVillain too focused on running his company]] to be evil.
* ArtificialStupidity: Parodied with ''Tic Tac Doom'' in ''Bright Side of the Moon''. It's a Tic-Tac-Toe game by the C.O.P.S, but the AI is so braindead that the challenge of the puzzle is trying to ''lose.''
* AggressiveNegotiations: Evoked for laughs as Max, PresidentEvil of the United States, uses his Peacemaker (gun) to ensure successful Peace Summits. [[spoiler: In the end, when Hell literally freezes over, Max is awarded the Nobel Prize For Peace!]]
* AmbiguouslyGay: Jurgen ("I never knew vampires were so... fruity.")
** Hugh Bliss turns into a rainbow and has a calendar with "Gaypril" as a month (although it might just be in the sense of the [[HaveAGayOldTime superlative]] like all of the calendar's other months). Then again, he's really [[spoiler:a sentient colony of space bacteria]] and probably has no preference one way or the other.
* AnimatedActors: [[https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QplgWcQs2a4 The entire cast is this for]] the HilariousOuttakes.
* ARareSentence: From the last section of Season 1
-->'''[[spoiler:Hugh Bliss]]:''' [[spoiler: Hi! We're Hugh Bliss. A spacefaring colony of sentient bacteria!]]
-->'''Sam:''' A sentence I really did not expect to hear today.
* ArsonMurderAndJaywalking:
-->'''Agent Superball''': Statistical analysis stated that Max becoming [[spoiler:a gargantuan hell-beast]] was the second most likely outcome.
-->'''Sam''': What was the most likely outcome?
-->'''Agent Superball''': Imagine a scenario that involves the worst aspects of the [[NorseMythology Norse Legends of Ragnarok,]] [[Literature/TheBible The Book of Revelation,]] and ''Film/WeekendAtBernies''.
* AsYouKnow: Admirably few blatant examples of this in the Telltale games, considering how much continuity piles up. [[LampshadeHanging Lampshaded]] in "The Penal Zone", when Grandpa Stinky complains about Sam doing this.
-->'''Sam:''' Max is all short term memory; I occasionally have to bring him back up to speed.
-->'''Max:''' Aah! GIANT TALKING DOG!
** Also occurs in season one, episode 5:
-->'''Max:''' It's a good thing your protective hat and my non-compatible brain render us both impervious to hypnotism!
-->'''Sam:''' [[LampshadeHanging And it's a good thing you've been taking those classes in subtle exposition.]]
* AskAStupidQuestion -- The list of [[RunningGag items Sam asks Bosco for]] includes:
-->Complimentary fresh garlic, [[VideoGame/MonkeyIsland fine leather jackets]], gumballs the size of your head, +2 Plate Armor of Limitless Squeezeability, PEZ dispensers with the head of infamous Mexican revolutionary Pancho Villa, [[VideoGame/SamAndMaxHitTheRoad stray tufts of sasquatch hair]], hats in the shape of a cow udder, [[VideoGame/MonkeyIsland rubber chickens with a pulley in the middle]], amulets of protection against greater hypnosis, potatoes in the likeness of Catholic saints, [[VideoGame/SamAndMaxHitTheRoad souvenir snowglobes from the Mystery Vortex]], Lobstah Fahts-brand cereal, Tagalog rhyming dictionaries (abridged), wiener cozies, Navajo blankets, dual core processors with 512-megabyte cache, chimpanzee-sized diapers, barbecue plankton chips, keychains with a +8 modifier to Dexterity, self-respect, bulletproof edible underwear, lords-a-leaping and/or maids-a-milking, inflatable arms capable of being used as replacements for your real arms, Honey Bunches of Pumice brand cereal, stim-packs and radiation chems, zombie repellent, powdered drink mix, three-day-old rigatoni stuffed with marshmallow peeps in an orange soda reduction with a hint of cilantro, and eyeglass repair kits.
** Subverted in the final episode of season 2, where they ask for the hard-to-obtain and stupidest things they've needed to solve puzzles throughout the series thus far.... and Bosco has all of them.
* AssholeVictim: The majority of Sam and Max's victims tend to be this.
* AttackOfThe50FootWhatever: The Maimtron 9000 and Giant statue Abraham Lincoln both had their moments ravaging around a city.
* AwesomeMomentOfCrowning: Max is ''elected President of the United States'' in Season 1, and maintains that office throughout the series (so far). "Max Impeachment Weekly" is apparently a bestselling periodical, however.
** Spoofed in "Moai Better Blues" when Max becomes priest of the Sea Chimps: Sam crowns Max with a ''Sock Crown''.
* BadSanta: In "Ice Station Santa".
** Of course, "What's Up Beelzebub?" makes him a full-on JerkAss ChildHater - hence why he ''took'' the Santa job, so that he'd have minimal contact with them. He also loves recalling toys.
** Played with in "The Tomb of Sammun-Mak": The stereotypical Corrupt Capitalist businessman, who made a fortune in the ''Toy Business'', is called ''Nicholas St. Kringle'', and he employs (elf) immigrants from the ethnic neighborhood known as ''Little Artic Circle''. Plus he looks exactly like Santa from "Ice Station Santa".
* BaitAndSwitch: In "The Mole, The Mob and the Meatball", you're supposed to search for an informant with the code phrase "[[DoubleEntendre Does the carpet match the drapes?]]". You can ask this to practically ''everyone'' (even Sybil), but literally none of them react as if it means what it usually does.
* BatDeduction: In the final episode of Season 1, after discovering the alias of the BigBad, Sam tries to figure out who it could be. Sam comes to the correct conclusion that it's [[spoiler:Hugh Bliss]], albeit going by an overly complicated deduction that has nothing to do with the alias.
* BecomingTheMask: [[spoiler:Harry Moleman, the former Toy Mafia mole.]]
* BerserkButton: Sam has several (including a hidden one when trying to fix the past): Try to harm Max, call him Fat or try to give him pink bellies, for example. You usually are pretty much screwed. Then, in Episode 204 (Chariot of the Dogs), in the 80's, [[spoiler: when Sam and Max find their young versions playing the Bluster Blaster, Sam tries to convince either young Sam or young Max to leave the videogame and go play outside. He shows signs of repugnance when looking at them, and is able to comment to Max about "how we were nerdier in the 80's".]]
** In "The Penal Zone", you learn why you should never call make fun of Max's height.
** In Episode 303, we find out just exactly how Sam would be if he lost Max; he turns into an extremely rough-edged CowboyCop, willing to resort the the JackBauerInterrogationTechnique to receive information, even gaining PermaStubble while going without his jacket and hat.
* BigNo:
** Sam in the Season 1 finale, after the BigBad does something unspeakably appalling to Max.
** In the same episode, by [[spoiler:Wrathful Max when his hand gets lopped off.]]
* TheBigBadShuffle: T.H.E.M is set up to be the BigBad of Season 2, until its revealed that they're delivering souls to Hell, switching the BigBad role to Satan. Then its revealed that Satan has recently been demoted and that Hell is truly led by [[spoiler: The Soda Poppers]]
* BigWhat: Sam's reaction to know [[spoiler:Brady Culture is happy in hell]] but first paraphrasing about how his mouth is too parched to do a spit-take.
* BlackAndGreyMorality: Sam & Max are [[UnscrupulousHero Unscrupulous Heroes]] while the antagonists tend to be [[CardCarryingVillain card-carrying villains]].
* BlatantLies: Girl Stinky's understanding of history. Which makes it slightly odd that she's aware how nonsensical it is for ''Abraham Lincoln'' to be trying to pay his tab in Confederate money. This is subverted if asked about Easter Island, where her absurd claims turn out to be accurate.
* BookEnds: Season 1 ends with [[spoiler: the whole world behaving like Max due to mass hypnosis.]] As the credits begin to roll, Sybil quotes the very first line from the first episode of season 1.
* BornLucky: Sam and Max.
* BoundAndGagged: Leonard Steakcharmer must have set some kind of record for this. Sam and Max first tie him up in the third episode of season 1 to interrogate him, then gag him and leave him in their closet as a souvenir of the adventure. He remains there until sometime in season 2, just over a year later in-universe, until he dies and goes to the Sam and Max wing of Hell, where he's damned to more of the same. Sam does get the hint after this and frees Leonard after restoring him to life.
* BrainWithAManualControl: In the third season's episode "The City That Dares Not Sleep", we have Sam and a bunch of experts ([[spoiler:Sybil, Mr. Paperwaite and Yog-Soggoth]]) team up to enter the body of a giant monster ([[spoiler:Max who turned into a giant EldritchAbomination]]) that is destroying the city. They access various parts of his body (which, incidentally, looks like a well-decorated house) and manage to take control of the monsters's arms and legs using the devices found in them; with the outside help of Momma Bosko, they can manually make the monster move in the desired direction.
* BreakingTheFourthWall: After playing the trial version of the XBLA release of ''Save the World'', Sam and Max go over all the features of the game, including the awards it got. If you let it sit there, they wait for you to unlock the full game.
-->'''Sam:''' So, you think they're going for their wallet or did they just pass out from the excitement?
-->'''Max:''' Who says they have to be mutually exclusive?
-->'''Sam:''' They're still just sitting there, Max. Think they want to buy?
-->''(Max stares right at the camera.)''
-->'''Max:''' We're detectives, Sam, not mind-readers!
* BrickJoke:
** Played brilliantly at the end of Season 2 where, first, [[spoiler: our heroes find themselves in a very familiar burning hellscape and are immediately saved by their own past selves in a repeat of a scene from a puzzle from 4 episodes before]]. Then, after the final credits, [[spoiler: the Bermuda triangle that collected the volcanic eruption in "Moai Better Blues", 3 episodes before, suddenly appears and destroys the *censored* Poppers, interrupting their WeWillMeetAgain speech]].
** The best one is the ink ribbon that you find in Jurgen's castle in Episode 203. The player tries desperately to fit it to one of the puzzles of the episode, only to find out in the next one that it's just garbage that's Sam threw through a temporal portal.
*** It's actually a ''double'' brick joke, as a line of dialogue in Episode 202 refers to something being as useful as a typewriter ribbon in a haunted castle.
*** And as of episode 305, it's a ''triple'' brick joke, as [[spoiler: it's part of Max's inventory stash]].
* CasualDangerDialog: A memorable one opens the game "Night of the Raving Dead", when we see the duo trapped inside a deadly contraption, its maw closing in:
-->'''Sam''': Well, looks like this is it, little buddy. My whole life is [[MyLifeFlashedBeforeMyEyes flashing before my eyes]]. ...I wondered where I'd left my wallet.
-->'''Max''': I can't even remember how we got here!
-->'''Sam''': Come on, Max. Remember, we were back in the office, just back from Easter Island...
-->'''Max''': Wait wait, do the whole thing with the music and all that!
* CatchPhrase:
** Sam: You crack me up little buddy!
** Bosco: It'll work! Trust me on this, trust me!
** Hugh Bliss: Hi! I'm Hugh Bliss! (taken UpToEleven when [[spoiler: the entire world is brainwashed into being like him, to the point where Sybil and Bosco say that every time you talk to them]] )
** In-universe and out, The Soda Poppers.
----> Specs: You made me mess up!
----> Whizzer: Make room for number 1!
----> Peepers: I see you!
* CameBackWrong: The [=DeSoto=] after its return from Hell.
* CensoredForComedy:
** When Myra is interviewing the Soda Poppers in "Situation: Comedy", their answers have many words arbitrarily bleeped out, resulting in moments like Specs admitting that he regrets not having *bleep*ed his brother.
** In "What's New, Beelzebub?", [[spoiler:Hugh Bliss]] works as a *bleep*er. Specifically, he applies {{Sound Effects Bleep}}s to any and all profanity. Even innocuous stuff like "doo-doo", "freakin'", [[spoiler:"peacock", and the name "Dick"]]. Eventually, his list of swears gets replaced with [[spoiler:Satan's grocery list]], causing him to start bleeping words like "vanilla" and "soda". And yes, this does cause the Soda Poppers to be referred to as the "*bleep* Poppers" for the rest of the game.
* CerebusRetcon: Sorta, in "Chariots of the Dogs". [[spoiler: The Mariachis and Bosco's paranoia]] are both explained, although the revelation itself is pretty funny.
* ChairReveal: Used to reveal that the BigBad of Season 2 [[spoiler:were the Soda Poppers]]; spoofed in the Season 2 DVD extras, with other characters; up to and including WebAnimation/HomestarRunner.
** "And so ends our deadly game of cat and mouse! ... and dog... and rabbit... thingy."
* CharacterDevelopment: Sam and Max start out as immature, selfish [[ManChild man children]] who can only be bothered to care about each other, with their careers as freelance police essentially a game they play as an excuse to do what they want. In Season 3, though, they [[CerebusSyndrome mature considerably]] in comparison to the previous games in the franchise.
** Max in particular. He goes from being an [[ItsAllAboutMe id-driven]] [[HeroicComedicSociopath maniac]] to showing genuine signs of loyalty and heroism towards his friends.
* ChekhovsArmoury: Almost every game in Seasons 1 & 2 introduces a variety of items that will become important in a later episode. There are also references to the story arc of Season 2 towards the end of Season 1.
** Never mind that generally things that are even merely said offhand in earlier episodes often come true in later ones, even if it was a complete fabrication of the characters at the time...
*** For example, Bosco claims in the very first episode that EVERYONE is after him, like the mob and the government and aliens... and [[ProperlyParanoid he's right on every single count.]]
** Inverted in the last episode of Season 1, when Sam finally asks Bosco for things that would have solved every previous puzzle. He had all of them all along!
*** In Chariots of the Dogs, you get to go behind Bosco's counter, and apparently they were all [[BehindTheBlack right behind the damn lotto tickets]].
* ChekhovsBoomerang: Not as egregious as with the ''VideoGame/MonkeyIsland'' series, but, Telltale being Telltale, certain puzzle solutions do boomerang on occasion. For example, the knowledge that [[spoiler:Bermuda Triangles freeze in place when fed a red octagon]] is needed again for the very last puzzle of "Moai Better Blues".
* ChristmasEpisode[=/=]YetAnotherChristmasCarol: Season 2 opener "Ice Station Santa", as well as the {{Machinima}} version of it produced by Telltale, Sam and Max Nearly Save Christmas''. Played with in that the Christmas Past they have to save was in fact initially destroyed by that very attempt to save it.
* {{The Chosen One}}s: "We appear in so many prophecies that we should start charging royalties!"
* ChurchOfHappyology: The Church of Prismatology in Season 1. Emetics parodies Dianetics, for instance. It gets most obvious in episode 106, where Prismatology is the focus of the episode. An exclusive club for the highest members of Prismatology, a parody of the E-meter, a connection to outer space... it's all there.
* ClassicallyTrainedExtra: Philo Pennyworth in "Situation: Comedy", a Shakespearean actor playing a sitcom landlord. Unlike most instances of this trope, he doesn't complain that the work is beneath him, having apparently decided that professionalism means doing one's best in the role whatever the role happens to be, but he does complain about the inferiority of his co-stars at the drop of a hat.
* ClusterBleepBomb: Timmy Two-Teeth has "[[HollywoodTourettes terminal Tourette's Syndrome]]", which results in most of his dialogue being bleeped out. [[spoiler:But it turns out CensoredForComedy and the ScunthorpeProblem are in effect with the censorship--all of his bleeped dialogue is an inch deep in the kiddy pool section of profanity at worst]].
** Uncensoring him is needed to continue on, [[spoiler: as he reveals Peepers' real name - [[ScunthorpeProblem Dick Peacock]].]]
* ColonCancer: Sam and Max: Season One: Save the World: Episode Two: Situation: Comedy. They were actually trying for this before the season got named Save the World.
* ColonyDrop: [[spoiler:Bosco's "Earthquake Generator"]] in "Bright Side of the Moon".
* ComicallySmallBribe
-->'''Sam:''' Maybe a few...''Washingtons'' will help change your mind?
-->'''Max:''' Or maybe a few...''Lincolns?''
* ConspiracyTheorist: Bosco.
** ProperlyParanoid: After Bosco builds a Missile Defense System, it turns out his shop ''really is'' being targeted by government [=ICBMs=].
** The Toy Mafia are also after him, and an alien cult leader set up shop outside his store. It's looking more and more like Bosco isn't as crazy as he appears. Though he isn't that bright.
** And let's not forget [[spoiler: T.H.E.M.]]
*** And [[spoiler: '''his mother'''. In fact, she was, inadvertently, the one who caused Bosco to fall under surveillance in the first place.]]
* ContinuityPorn: Over time, Sam and Max's office becomes utterly, utterly littered with memorabilia of their past cases. In the first season of the Telltale games, it's mostly limited to their closet, but after that it just comes spilling out all over the place.
* CoolAndUnusualPunishment: A lot in the newer games. It seems no one can undergo normal torment when they could instead be interrogated with "yo momma" jokes, subjected to (literally) soul-crushingly boring stories, or put through several magic-trick themed torture devices.
* CouchGag:
** Telltale continues the tradition of bogus "based on" jokes in Seasons 2 and 3:
--> Based on the heretical apocrypha, "Sam & Max Meet a Guy Who Sucks" ("Night of the Raving Dead")
** In at least season 1, not only does the color of the intro sequence change from episode-to-episode, so does the gestures Sam and Max do at the end of it.
* CrapsackWorld: assuming all the little bits we hear about Max's reign as President are accurate, the country cannot be in a good state. Dakota is at WAR with itself, due to a feud about Mount Rushmore, a war that President Max provoked. His response to the crisis: Provide giant battle robots to all sides and whoever wins, claim the US backed them all along.
* CrossOver: Sam's revolver and a combo of Max's Luger and supposed head severed at the upper jaw (used as the obligatory hat of the set) were given as gifts to players of ''VideoGame/TeamFortress2'' who bought ''The Devil's Playhouse'' season the first 2 weeks, or pre-ordered. In exchange, a Blue Engineer Dispenser appears in "Beyond the Alley of the Dolls" and the RED Heavy Weapons Guy is one of the opponents in ''VideoGame/PokerNightAtTheInventory'' (which features Max). Max's buy-in item is his gun and badge (which is really Sam's badge).
** Sam appears in [[VideoGame/PokerNight2 the sequel]], alongside [[WesternAnimation/TheVentureBrothers Brock Samson]], [[Franchise/EvilDead Ashley "Ash" Williams]], [[VideoGame/{{Borderlands}} Claptrap]], and [[VideoGame/{{Portal}} GLaDOS]]. Sam's buy-in item is his hat, as well as a costume Max head for VideoGame/{{Borderlands 2}} players.
* CryingIndian: Parodied in "Chariots of the Dogs":
-->'''Mariachi''': You can't just throw litter through the time vortex!
-->'''Max''': Yes Sam! Somewhere a time traveling Native Indian is crying!
* CueCard: You need to do mudslinging in the election, and the easiest way to do it is to switch which cue card he reads from when you ask him questions.
* CueTheFlyingPigs: Sam and Max literally freeze Hell over in the Season 2 finale; the rest stems from there.
** The results include Sam letting Max answer the phone, Max winning the Nobel Peace Prize, and Sybil inviting Max to not only attend her wedding, but officiate it.
* DealWithTheDevil: In a dangerously GenreBlind move, [[spoiler:Sam, to get Satan to relinquish ownership of some souls,]] signs a contract about three seconds after Satan whips it out.
* DeathIsASlapOnTheWrist: Even though a number of characters does die for real over the course of the series, a lot of casualties get better somehow. It helps that Sam and Max [[spoiler:live right above the gates of hell]] and [[spoiler:Momma Bosco has an advanced cloning machine]].
** The list of deaths that didn't count: [[spoiler:Animatronic Abe Lincoln (his head survived), Santa Claus and one of his elves, Grandpa Stinky, the [=DeSoTo=], Bosco, Timmy Two-Teeth, Sam (all brought back from hell), Momma Bosco (lived on as a ghost, later cloned a new body for herself) and Max (replaced by himself from an alternate timeline.) In addition, Brady Culture, Hugh Bliss and Jürgen have found steady employment in hell and seem happy enough.]]
* DesperatelyLookingForAPurposeInLife: Sybil, in Season 1.
* DevilInPlainSight: A literal instance is [[LampshadeHanging Lampshaded]] by the devil himself:
--> '''Beelzebub''': ''You keep asking me to help you, Sam. I don't believe you understand: I'm kind of a bad guy.''
* TheDevilIsALoser: In the Season 2 finale, the Devil is seen desperately trying to increase workplace productivity until ultimately being fired by [[spoiler:former child stars]] and living out of a box of possessions (such as his grocery list) out on the street.
* TheDevTeamThinksOfEverything: An easily missed but nifty example in "Chariot of the Dogs." In order to progress, you have to [[spoiler: get a patent for the original Stinky's Tar Pit Molasses Cake so that his granddaughter can't use it [[LethalChef as a super-adhesive]], which T-H-E-M use in their spaceship, and create a megacorporation from it.]] However, a player with a sharp memory will note that the cake played a [[EarlyBirdCameo small but essential]] role in the previous game by [[spoiler: [[ItMakesSenseInContext helping them catch Jesse James' reanimated hand, which you needed as part of a set to Jurgen's monster in order to help Sybil fall for him and then subsequently realize she really loves Lincoln's Head, so Sam & Max can steal her]] ArtifactOfDoom [[ItMakesSenseInContext and use it to reclaim their souls.]]]] If the player is wondering about this detail and why the heroes aren't [[spoiler: soulless,]] you can go back to the future and ask Future Max about it: turns out [[spoiler: Stinky still made her megacorporation by selling zombie hand repellent,]] which is presumably how the two were able to solve the case in the new timestream.
* DidYouGetANewHaircut: When Bosco is [[spoiler: turned into a cow due to screwing with the timestream,]] Sam and Max mention that there's something different about him, and ask if he got a new haircut.
-->'''Bosco:''' Are you fools done?
-->'''Max:''' Yeah, that's all we got.
* DiscontinuityNod: Several, inserted as {{TakeThat}}s to Creator/LucasArts.
** In Season 1, there is a box labeled "3/3 2004", the date on which ''Sam & Max: Freelance Police'' was canceled, in Sam and Max's office. When examined, Sam only mentions that it was "a particularly gruesome case."
** Max mentions, when playing a tape made in Episode 2 later in Season 1 that he hates the sound of his voice on tape and that it "never sounds like [him]". Out of all the characters, Max's voice was the one that shifted around the most in the early episodes (even switching voice actors between Episodes 1 and 2), and it was most gratingly over the edge in William Kasten's first performance (which happened to be when said tape was filmed).
* DoAndroidsDream: When Curt restarts, he asks, "Will I dream?"
* DontExplainTheJoke: This is one of the many things [[spoiler:Peepers]] does in Sam's personal hell where [[spoiler:Peepers is his partner instead of Max]].
* DuckSeasonRabbitSeason: The very last puzzle in "Culture Shock" revolves around completing a gambit like this. [[spoiler:"Worship me!" "No, me! ME! Worship me!" "Attack me!" "No, attack ME! Att-- wait..."]]
* EenieMeenieMinyMoai: "Moai Better Blues", naturally.
* EmotionEater: At the end of "Bright Side of the Moon", [[spoiler:this turns out to be the dark secret behind the Church of Prismatology: Hugh Bliss wants everybody to be happy so that he can feed on their happiness]].
** The Spores from "The City That Dares Not Sleep" feed off of the psychic energy produced by nightmares. It tastes like Pepsi (among other things).
* EnemyMine: Skun-ka'pe and Papierwaite team up to take out Sam in "They Stole Max's Brain!".
* EvenBadMenLoveTheirMamas: Leonard Stakecharmer in "The Mole, the Mob, and the Meatball".
* EvilAlbino: Hugh Bliss, if being the founder of a ChurchOfHappyology counts as evil. [[spoiler:In this particular case, it does.]]
* EvilLaugh: [[LampshadeHanging Lampshaded]], both with Brady Culture and Jurgen, the latter when Sam loses a bet with Max in which he bet Jurgen would ''not make it''. If you keep him going long enough, the Season 1 BigBad will run out of evil laughter and switch to ''saying'' "Evil Laugh", "Evil Chuckle", ...
* ExactlyWhatItSaysOnTheTin:
** The Bermuda Triangle and the Sea Chimps.
** DoubleSubverted with the Zombie Factory of "Night of the Raving Dead". We expected an actual factory of zombies, [[spoiler:only to find a rave disco inside a castle named The Zombie Factory. Jurgen still makes zombies inside, so it's still a Zombie Factory in the literal sense at the same time.]]
* FanDisservice: Turns out the stripper at her husband's bachelor party is [[spoiler:Jurgen's Monster]].
* FantasticVoyagePlot / WombLevel: Episode 305.
* {{Feelies}}: The case files, available on the Telltale website, containing several nice little items from or inspired by each episode.
* FelonyMisdemeanor:
-->'''Max''': I know you're the source of all evil, but wasting office supply for personal use... That's just wrong!
* FissionMailed: In "Night of the Raving Dead", right after [[spoiler:the deathtrap Sam and Max were in at the beginning of the adventure finishes its dirty work]]. The screen dissolves to [[Franchise/ResidentEvil the words "You Are Dead" in a creepy font...]] [[spoiler:.. then dissolves again to outside the castle, as the duo come back as zombies to continue their quest.]]
* FlashbackWithTheOtherDarrin: All of the descriptions that didn't change between Episodes 101 and 102 had to be re-recorded with William Kasten as the voice of Max.
* FountainOfYouth: Featured and taken to its logical conclusion in "Moai Better Blues"; all the island's inhabitants are babies because they were so addicted to the fountain water.
* FragileSpeedster: Auntie Biotic plays this role during the turn-based battle in "Reality 2.0". Her dexterity score is over 400, but when Sam bonks her once with a blade just one attack point over her defense, that puts an end to her game.
* FreewareGame: The episode "Abe Lincoln Must Die!", regarded by many as the best episode in Season 1.
* FunnyBackgroundEvent: Before the last showdown with Jurgen in ''Night of the Raving Dead'', you're given the option to explore the room as Jurgen adopts a crane stance. If you take too long, he'll lose his balance or pointedly take a look at his wrist.
* FunWithAcronyms: The '''C'''omputer '''O'''bsolescence '''P'''revention '''S'''ociety who are introduced in "Reality 2.0".
** Also there's THEM, [[spoiler:the '''T'''emporal '''H'''eadquarters of '''E'''nlightened '''M'''ariachis.]]
* {{Futureshadowing}}: Plenty of it in Season 3.
* GenkiGirl: Baby Amelia Earhart, also a MotorMouth and LittleMissBadass.
* GermansLoveDavidHasselhoff: Mr Featherly, actually (in-universe). Anything endorsed on Midtown Cowboys instantly becomes a top seller in Germany. This proves to be Jurgen's downfall.
** The boys start a trend all on their own - they toss a brain up into a gargoyle's bowl to distract some zombies. Later, when they can understand them, one of the zombies thanks them for the brain and says getting it was so much fun, now they'll only eat brains American style - somewhere high up where you have to climb to get it.
* GettingCrapPastTheRadar:
** At a certain point in "Culture Shock", you interpret Sam's dreams...
--> '''Sybil:''' Hm. A weenie in a rat hole. Nothing symbolic there.
** In Episode 106, Sam flashes his unicorn to everyone
---> '''Sam''': Wanna rub my unicorn?
---> '''Harry Moleman''': No, I'm not that desperate yet.
* GigglingVillain: The BigBad of Season 1, [[spoiler: Hugh Bliss.]] There's something both hilarious and disturbing about a person who giggles while saying "I'll just torture him mercilessly until he begs me to shoot him with his own gun!"
** According to Jared Emerson-Johnson and Julian Kwasneski, the recording sessions for this character were down right creepy: David Boyll is a very physical actor, and he ACTS EVERYTHING AT THE SAME TIME THEY RECORD HIS VOICE.
* GoshDangItToHeck: [[spoiler:Timmy Two-Teeth, once the bleeps are removed.]]
** Also played for laughs rather than censorship once in the comics-when a grocery store grunt dings their fender, Max tells Sam that he feels the rage building, and Sam counsels letting it out. Max declares, "Hey man! I think you're ''not good!'' I'll ''never'' be your best friend!" Sam opines that Max is a scary bunny.
* {{Goth}}: Jurgen the vampire from "Night of the Raving Dead"
* TheGreatWhodini: Sam starts referring to himself as "the Great Samini" after he masters the pull-a-rodent-out-of-a-hat trick in "The Bright Side of the Moon".
* GRatedDrug: Played straight with Whizzer and his soda addiction, but averted when Bosco's truth serum turns out to be vodka.
* GutFeeling: Sam and Max have never openly disliked a character that hasn't later turned out to be truly evil. [[spoiler: This includes Hugh Bliss, The Soda Poppers, Skunkape, and Charlie Ho-Tep, and Girl Stinky.]] Even if a character is [[DesignatedVillain intended to be a villain,]] if Sam and Max seem comfortable or friendly with them, then there's a good chance they'll pull a HeelFaceTurn later on. [[spoiler: Oh, let's see if we can drum up a few examples... Satan, Santa Claus, Abraham Lincoln, Papierwaite -- twice over, as Sameth and Maximus seem fine with him, and Sam and Max don't seem to consider him much worse than wimpy and annoying -- the Mariachis...]] Sam seems to be a bit better judge of character, though, since Max was such a PsychoSupporter of [[spoiler: Hugh Bliss.]]
* GunsAreWorthless:
** Most frequently use of Sam's gun is [[ICantUseTheseThingsTogether dismissed offhand]], though in some episodes it gains some unorthodox MundaneUtility. Those rare times Sam and Max gleefully open fire with violent intent result in not much more than noise and their satisfaction or frustration; the plot and puzzles remain bulletproof.
** The justifications as to why a problem can't be solved with a gun occasionally border on lampshading. At one point, you're confronted by some guards blocking a doorway. What happens if you try to use your gun on them? [[spoiler: "Hey, I'll give you this cool gun if you let me in!"]]
* HandGuns: Santa Claus, in "Ice Station Santa", wields a [[AChristmasStory Red Ridder]] semi-automatic. Sam's and Max's trademark guns actually get used in this adaptation, compared to ''Hit the Road'' and the cartoon.
* HoistByHisOwnPetard:
** [[spoiler:Jurgen]] seems to have severe Hoistee's Syndrome in Episode 302. [[spoiler:He's quite freaked out about his recently acquired vampire curse; to wit, his room is stocked with ridiculous measures of garlic, crosses, and wolfsbane. However, when (falsely) informed of where the curse's remedy can be found, he leaves the safety of his room-- providing the perfect opportunity for a vampiric elf to catch him.]] To add insult to injury, [[spoiler:he is then kept out of his room by his own vampire deterrents, leaving him powerless to prevent Sameth and Maximus from searching his steamer trunk. He even laments at the irony.]]
** Not to mention that in the final puzzle of "Night of the Raving Dead", [[spoiler: the only way to kill Jurgen is to possess the monster he created and use the stakes that he keeps in his lab as trophies of the vampire hunters he's killed]].
* HowWeGotHere: The first half of "Night of the Raving Dead". [[spoiler:Subverted in "The Penal Zone"]]
* HypnoticHead: When Sam is hypnotized in "Culture Shock".
* HypocriticalHeartwarming: Max has constantly given Sam a hard time, mocking him even back when they were children, but he won't stand for anyone else doing the same. It's apparent that he only teases him because he thinks he's too shy and wants him to come out of his shell, though, and wants to get a reaction from the usually reserved Sam.
* IAmNotSpock: In-universe example with Philo Pennyworth, who Sam and Max refer to by "Mr. Featherly", the character he plays on TV. [[SubvertedTrope Subverted]] in Season 2, where he eventually gives up and legally changes his name to Mr. Featherly just so that he doesn't have to correct them anymore.
** And to make license contracts with Germany easier.
* ICantUseTheseThingsTogether: [[LampshadeHanging Lampshaded]] and used as a ContinuityNod but not normally said in the game (one might suspect this is because the engine in the Telltale games doesn't actually let you use two items in your inventory together):
** In "Chariots of the Dogs", it's one of the mumblings that [[spoiler: senile future Sam says]]. Also, when you meet ''Past Sam'', he wanders around looking at items talking to himself saying things like "I can't shoot Future Me!", "That doesn't need to be made radioactive," and "It's the Time Elevator" as if he was under control of a player.
*** Sam even comments on it, asking Max if he's always acting that weird when they are working a case.
** Jurgen uses this in the rap-off if you fail twice.
* IdiosyncraticEpisodeNaming: Almost all the episode titles in the second and third seasons are a variation on the title of a movie. Of a BMovie, if we may be frank.
* IKnowYourTrueName: [[spoiler:Girl Stinky/The Cake of the Damned]] and [[spoiler:Peepers/Dick Peacock]] are both defeated in this way in Episode 205.
** This is also a part of the exorcism of [[spoiler:Shambling Corporate Presence]] in Episode 201.
* InsistentTerminology: Max finds terms like "bunny" personally offensive, and will always correct them by reminding them that the proper term is ''lagomorph.'' Look it up.
* InterfaceWithAFamiliarFace: In "Reality 2.0", Sam and Max encounter computer programs with interfaces modeled on Myra and Hugh Bliss. The avatar used for the Internet itself resembles the unnamed Director from WARP.
* {{Irony}}: For some reason "Reality 2.0" doesn't work on certain computers [[note]] though can be fixed through compatibility troubleshooting [[/note]] the starting issue within the episode is about computers not working right.
* ItsAllAboutMe: Brady Culture, which causes his downfall.
** Max, always. [[spoiler:Until the end of Season 3, that is.]]
* IWasQuiteALooker: Momma Bosco. [[spoiler:And now she's back to being a looker. That is, if the lack of real hair doesn't bother you.]]
* KirbyDots: Appear when Max uses his psychic powers.
* LayeredReality: In "Reality 2.0," the Internet is represented as just the real world but like TRON, with people's buildings housing their websites and blogs and such. Wearing the VR goggles lets you walk around in both worlds at once!
* LeaningOnTheFourthWall:
** "In "Abe Lincoln Must Die!", Max kind of bumps into the fourth wall without breaking it, when Bosco is telling them about how the government watches everybody:
-->'''Max:''' So ''that's'' why I always feel an overbearing presence just outside my field of vision watching and judging my every move. ''[happens to be looking directly at the FourthWall]''\\
'''Sam:''' That's me, Max.
** And again in "Night of the Raving Dead". "New Location Unlocked" indeed.
* LegitimateBusinessmensSocialClub: Ted E. Bear's Mafia-Free Playland And Casino.
-->'''Theme song''': "No mafia here (What mafia? Please!) We're mafia free (No mafia here) (No mafia mugs) Just doin' business legitimately!"
** You'll have to shoot better than that to get in the Toy Mafia...not that there's any Toy Mafia here.
* {{Leitmotif}}: [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7cy7FphT8JI "The Office"]]. Admittedly it's for a location rather than a character, but otherwise it fits the bill perfectly. It even has [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VxDcgUjEgF0 low-bittage]], space-age, and even Ancient Egyptian remixes, heard in Episodes 105, 204 and 303 respectively. Parts of it sneak into the various themes in Season 3 despite Sam and Max spending nearly all of it unable to get into the Office, and a rearrangement of "The Office" is ultimately the last tune in the game to close out the entire series, possibly implying it's become a BootstrappedTheme of sorts.
** You hear it exactly three times in the game - two instrumental versions during the finales of Season 1 and 2, and once during Season 1's credits - but [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dKjJode--jI&feature=related "World of Max"]] applies specifically to Max.
** Then there's the smooth [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8AoivXcJxWo remix]] from ''VideoGame/PokerNightAtTheInventory''.
* LickedByTheDog: Stinky is a lazy, scathing, and probably murderous individual, and yet Sal her browbeaten, long suffering, but all around nice guy chef likes her enough [[spoiler:to start a relationship with her]], so she can't be ALL that bad.
** Except in ''The Devil's Playhouse'' [[spoiler:we learn that Stinky is just using Sal to try and kill Grandpa Stinky, and when Sal becomes indisposed she moves onto Skun-Ka'pe]]. So she really is ''that'' bad.
* LittleStowaway: [[BeethovenWasAnAlienSpy Amelia Earhart]] in the episode "The Tomb of Sammun-Mak".
* LoveTriangle: Curt, Chippy and Carol.
* MassHypnosis: The whole premise of Season 1.
* MercyKill: Played with in "Night of the Raving Dead", after [[spoiler: Sam and Max turn into zombies. You run into Flint Paper, who tries to pull this trope off, though Sam and Max aren't exactly grateful (unfortunately, zombies can't talk to the living)]]:
-->'''Flint:''' I hate to do this, but Sam and Max always said they'd rather be dead than one of those... ''[[NotUsingTheZWord things]]''.
-->'''Sam:''' I don't remember saying that. Did you?
-->'''Max:''' No, I'm pretty sure Flint's making that part up.
** Also, in "What's New Beelzebub?" Jurgen's monster begs to be killed and Sam complies.
*** Except since he doesn't have a soul, and was given life in the first place by electricity, Sybil will go "did he die again?" and use a taser to bring him back to life.
* {{Metaphorgotten}}: Sam manages to jumble a couple of common phrases in the first minute of Culture Shock
--> '''Sam''': Patience is a sharp razor to swallow.
* MirrorWorld: The cyber version of Straight and Narrow in "Reality 2.0".
* TheMole: [[spoiler:Literally.]]
* MoleInCharge: The mole in the Toy Mafia has become this.
* MoralityChain: Ironically, Max is one of these to Sam.
* MostDefinitelyNotAVillain: The staff at Ted E. Bear's [[SuspiciouslySpecificDenial Mafia-Free]] Playland And Casino would like to remind you that the establishment is not owned by the mafia, nor does the mafia occupy the area. [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-Gk2Yzru3OM They even wrote a song to remind you.]]
* MundaneMadeAwesome:
** '''TIC TAC''' '''[[DoomyDoomsOfDoom DOOM!!!!!!]]'''
** The joke is that [[AntiClimax the game is really easy to win]], but [[spoiler: the actual solution is to deliberately lose, which is no easy feat.]]
* MythologyGag:
** In the Season 1 blooper real, Max/William Kasten accidentally says "subsumed" instead of "consumed." When he catches his mistake, he adds "sub...''subsumed,'' that's a nice word!" Then, in "Beyond the Alley of the Dolls," [[spoiler: Charlie Ho-Tep]] gleefully declares that our pathetic reality is on the verge of being ''subsumed'' by the glories of the Dark Dimension.
** Also in Season 1, some of the items Sam can ask Bosco for include "vegetables shaped like famous naturalists,", and "souvenir snowglobes from the Mystery Vortex," which are two of the four items needed to solve ''Hit the Road's'' final puzzle. Another item that can be asked is "tufts of sasquatch hair" which was needed for another puzzle.
** Partway through Season 1, Sam has to win a "Whack A Rat" arcade machine to progress (which the duo later takes as a souvenir), just like in SamAndMaxHitTheRoad. Once again, it takes twenty hits to win.
** If Sam pockets the sunlamp lightbulb in "Night of the Raving Dead", Max asks if they got deja vu. This is because players need a sunlamp lightbulb to complete a puzzle in ''Hit the Road''.
* NeverSayThatAgain: '''BANAAAAAAAANNNNNNG!'''
* NoAccountingForTaste: [[spoiler:Sybil and Abe]], the latter of which said that the former should get plastic surgery so she would look like a giant Moai head.
* NoIndoorVoice: Bluster Blaster. DEFINITELY.
* NoNameGiven: The WARP Director.
* NonSequiturThud: Happens to the Soda Poppers in "Culture Shock". Also, in "The Penal Zone", [[spoiler: as the Alien Brain begins to let himself die, his memories fade and more comedically, his telepathic speech begins to become more incoherent. "Donut button, Sam and Max! Donut button until we meet again in the plaid!"]]
** This is actually a reference to the fact that one of the voice actors for a previous episode refused to curse, and so for some lines that were bleeped out, the actor was saying "donut button" rather than anything offensive
*** To elaborate: The * Bleeps* are in the script, so the voice actors have to improvise what's going to be bleeped out. Some Actors have fun with the Bleeps and create extremely foul streams of words, while others just say something that maybe sound offensive if those are bleeped out. The most memorable is one when the voice actor was saying "Donut" and "Donut Button" instead of actual curse words.
* NotHimself: In ''Reality 2.0'', the C.O.P.S. control the titular reality, each of them in charge of a certain setting. To progress through the game, all these settings must be disabled at some point or another. This is done by placing a computer bug on them, which also reverses their personality or most notable trait. Chippy, who speaks only in individual bleeps and bloops, begins playing a catchy little melody -- Bluster Blaster, the aggressive arcade machine, gets in touch with his inner showgirl -- Curt, outdated and monotone, gets casual and relaxed -- and Bob Bell, the phone with the silver tongue, sounds like he's swallowed a harmonica.
-->'''Curt:''' HOLY CRAP. THAT'S HILARIOUS. BRO. I'M TRIPPING, DAWG. WHAT'S UP WITH THAT.
-->'''Bluster Blaster:''' '''I...I FEEL...I FEEL PRETTY! AND WITTY! AND GAY!'''
-->'''Bob:''' Ev-v-v'ryone LOVES my vo-o-oice! It-is ''SOO''THING and--CALM, and OH! So verrry PLEAZ-ANT!
* ObliviousGuiltSlinging: Another TropeNamer, this one from "The Mole, the Mob, and the Meatball". [[spoiler:Sybil is worried that the Toy Mafia are planning to assassinate her, and she knows Sam and Max are the only two she can trust... problem is, ''they're'' the ones the Mafia sent to off her. Max then states how Sybil should go into 'guilt-slinging' as a career.]]
* OffscreenMomentOfAwesome:
** Spoofed when you first meet Flint Paper in Season 2 and ask him where he was during Season 1; he describes a case that exactly mirrors Sam and Max's adventures in Season One, and they still complain about missing it.
** And the "epic battle" with Jurgen in "Night of the Raving Dead".
* OffscreenTeleportation: The director in "Situation: Comedy" who's already in every studio Sam and Max enter, even if they've just come through the only door from the last place they saw her.
* OneWingedAngel - Subverted in "What's New Beelzebub." [[spoiler: The Soda Poppers']] demon forms is nothing more than changing to black clothes. The one whose costume changes the most berates the others for not trying.
* OnlySaneMan - Max, ironically enough, during the second half of "They Stole Max's Brain!" [[spoiler:He seems to be the only one, save the molemen, who hasn't been affected by the [[RealityWarper reality rewrite]], and consequently is the only one who seems to recognize that he hasn't always been a disembodied brain in a jar, and that Sammun-Mak hasn't always been absolute ruler of the world.]]
* OverlyLongGag: Max's ComicalOverreacting when he's pretending to die during the climax of "The Mole, The Mob and The Meatball". Hammered in by the villain of the story attempting to speak several times only to get interrupted by the fact that Max isn't even finished. It ends with the villains lamenting that he should've told the supposedly hypnotized Sam to shoot Max again due to him not stopping.
* OverusedRunningGag: Spelled out visually in [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TvbtcCpWf-w this gag]].
* PaperThinDisguise: "Hey, guys! It's me, Bosco!"--who was disguised as someone from France, England, Russia, a half-elf and EVEN HIS OWN MOTHER in the 1st season alone.
* ThePasswordIsAlwaysSwordfish: In "The Mole, the Mob, and the Meatball", "swordfish" is Sam's first guess at the Toy Mafia's password (for once, though, it isn't).
* PerpetualPoverty: Strangely enough, Sam and Max have absolutely no problem at all getting as much money as they need; but for some reason, they prefer to live in obvious poverty, despite Max actually being the President. This might not be a huge issue for them, though, as they never bother to pay bills or rent.
* PersonOfMassDestruction:
** Max, explicitly called the most violent force in the universe by Season 1's BigBad.
** He and Sam have ''an entire wing of Hell'' devoted to them and the people they've been involved in the deaths of, even those they didn't even know they were responsible for such as [[spoiler:Grandpa Stinky]].
* PoorCommunicationKills: [[spoiler:Bosco's paranoia ultimately stems from his mother's grudge against a mysterious store-vandal -- who happens to be Bosco himself that used the time traveling elevator belonging to T.H.E.M and traveled to that time. This silly misunderstanding costs the son his sanity and the mother her life]].
* ThePowerOfFriendship: Sam's personal hell is a world without Max (and where Peepers is his sidekick).
-->'''Sam''': Sorry Satan. Your demon impostor was no match for the true power of friendship and cooperation.
-->'''Max''': Plus, I ripped out his kidneys.
* PresidentEvil: Max, if not outright ''evil'', is at best a sociopathic Chief Executive completely unconcerned with human life, his term marked by giant robot uprisings and a three-way civil war in the Dakotas. Following his inauguration, ''Max Impeachment Weekly'' becomes a regular publication (which Max looks forward to each week).
* ProductPlacement:
** Parodied hilariously in "Night of the Raving Dead" with an episode of ''Midtown Cowboys'' that's not much more than a glorified commercial.
** Also a part of a puzzle in "Situation Comedy"; Sam and Max have to improvise an episode for ''Midtown Cowboys'' that has to include Max saying the tagline for the network's sponsor.
* ProductionThrowback:
** Leonard Steakcharmer previously appeared, sans moustache, in ''Telltale Texas Hold'Em'' under the name "Boris Krinkle", in which one possible line of dialogue has the character of Grandma telling him that he looks more like a 'Leonard Steakcharmer'."
** Naturally, when you first meet Leonard in "The Mole, the Mob, and the Meatball", you get the option to say he looks more like a Boris Krinkle. The poor guy can't win.
* PsychoSupporter: Max is one for Hugh Bliss in Season 1 while [[spoiler:the rest of the cast becomes supporters of Sammun-Mak after he [[RealityWarper rewrites reality]]]] in the third act of "They Stole Max's Brain!" [[spoiler:Only Max, the Molemen, and the mysterious Dr. Norrington remain to oppose him.]]
* PullARabbitOutOfMyHat: In "The Bright Side of the Moon", only it's not a rabbit. (It's not Max, either.)
* PunchClockVillain: The mariachis.
** Satan, as well.
* RainbowMotif: Prismatology in general, but Hugh Bliss especially.
* RealityEnsues: In "Abe Lincoln Must Die!", Max will ask to blow up [[ComicBook/{{Superman}} Planet Krypton]] due to its utopian CrystalSpiresAndTogas society. Actually do so, and the war systems will reveal that the time of impact for the missile they send to that planet is "26 million years", much to Max's chagrin.
* RedHerring: It's practically [[spoiler:Girl Stinky]]'s reason for existing.
** The president's (evidently rather lewd) letter in Chariots of the Dogs is involved in two [[RedHerring Red Herrings]]: One, it's addressed to [[spoiler: a "Maxine". By talking to Little Sam, you learn that girls like to dress Little Max up in their dolls' clothes, which sounds like useful information in the context. You also have access to time travel during the episode. Unless they're saving it for Season 4, nothing ever comes of this obvious setup.]] Two, you use it to [[spoiler: finally make Superball spit so you can collect his DNA sample, only to find out it wasn't his DNA you needed.]]
** In ''Situation: Comedy'', you can bake something using a range of disgusting ingredients, [[spoiler:but none of them matter, as all that's important is you make a cake, cover it with ketchup with Bosco's condiment dispenser, then feed it to Whizzer.]]
* ReplacementGoldfish At least one interaction with Mr. Spatula's water cooler refers to him as being literally this trope.
* {{Retirony}}: Parodied during Max's "death scene" in "The Mole, the Mob and the Meatball"
* RuleOfThree: All over the place, most notably when it is [[LampshadeHanging lampshaded]] in "Moai Better Blues".
* RunningGag:
** The fake "based on" references in the title cards carried over from the comics.
** To Bosco: "Do you have any...* insert random, nonsensical item here* ?"
*** "Nope."
** "We killed your dog! =D"
** "Superball!" *Whinny*
* SawAWomanInHalf: In "The Bright Side of the Moon"; it's the "this is no trick" version.
* ScriptSwap: With game show questions in Episode 102, cue cards in 104, and a list of swear words (replaced with a grocery list written on the same stationery) in 205.
* SelectiveMemory: Inverted in "Chariot of the Dogs". Sam and Max shouldn't be able to know about [[spoiler: Superball erasing short-term memory in response to bringing up time travel]], but it's the only way to make past Sam [[spoiler: forget why he needs the Embarrassing Idol contract]].
* SelfDeprecation: Max had no idea vampires were so fruity. Now, three guesses who voiced Jurgen.
* ShootYourMate: Played more or less straight in "The Mole, the Mob, and the Meatball", when Sam is ordered to shoot Max to test whether or not he's been hypnotized. In "Situation: Comedy", Max is supposed to ''pretend'' to shoot Sam as part of a television audition, but being Max he just pulls out a real gun and fires (luckily, Sam's hat has been made bulletproof).
* ShoutOut: Literally too many to list here. For just one example, Episode 104 begins with Sam and Max [[VideoGame/{{Zork}} standing in an open field west of the White House]]. (And if you examine the nearest object, Sam remarks "There is a small mailbox here.")
** In Episode 101, Culture Shock, when Sam examines the coffee machine in Bosco's Inconvenience:
-->'''Sam:''' I think it's the tinge of green that makes this coffee especially appealing.
-->'''Max:''' [[{{Airplane}} I take my coffee green. Like my men!]]
** In 104, the amount of money that Bosco wants for his truth serum is [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/867-5309/Jenny 867.5309 rubles]].
** In 202, the famous "Snake? SNAAAAAAAAAAAAKE!" line from the ''Franchise/MetalGear'' series can be heard on one of the radio stations.
** In 203, when you meet Superball at Stuttgart, saying his name [[YoungFrankenstein prompts the whinnying of horses]].
*** And, once inside, you find a DJ's table (playing techno) which has buttons that cue a man's voice - one of which is [[MortalKombat Sub-Zero]].
*** [[ResidentEvil The ink ribbon found in Stuttgart, Max will also comment about needing healing herbs after taking it, and the YOU ARE DEAD message after being turned into zombies]].
** In 204, Flint Paper says to Max "That may be, but [[BadDudes are you a bad enough President to rescue that Dude?]]"
** In 106, when Sybil announces that she is now the queen of Canada:
-->'''Max:''' I always thought Music/{{Rush}} was the Music/{{Queen}} of Canada.
** In 105, The [[VideoGame/CastlevaniaSymphonyOfTheNight Save Point]] outside of Bosco's E Convenience.
*** [[Franchise/SuperMarioBros "It'sa me Sam!"]]
--->'''Max:''' Sellout.
** The Maimtron 9000 in 201 and 205, quotes far too many popular song lyrics to mention here.
** The torn up drywall in their office, between the boarded up windows in Season 1 (Presumably season 2 as well) looks suspiciously like the Lucasarts logo.
** One of the lyric options in ''The Friendly Demon'' song from 201 has Sam call the demon [[HPLovecraft Nyarlathotep, the Crawling Chaos]].
* ShowSomeLeg: Horrifyingly enough, done by Max as a distraction in the Season 2 finale:
-->'''Sam:''' Max, distract [[spoiler:Hugh Bliss]] for me!
-->'''Max:''' Oh dear, I seem to be ''[[HalfDressedCartoonAnimal completely naked]]''. I hope I don't have to ''bend over provocatively'' and--
-->'''Sam:''' That's enough, Max.
** At the end of Reality 2.0 the game starts parodying interactive fiction games, such as Zork.
* TheSmurfettePrinciple -- Sybil Pandemik in Season 1, new C.O.P.S. recruit Carol in ''The Devil's Playhouse'' (at least, according to the other members).
* SpySpeak: Parodied in "The Mole, the Mob, and the Meatball", where Sam is given a sign and countersign by which to recognise the mole, and the countersign is such an obvious response to the sign that one might expect him to get that response whether he's talking to the mole or not.
** "Does the carpet match the drapes?" Interestingly, everyone takes it literally except the actual mole and Chuckles, who seems to interpret it as some sort of euphemism for carrying out a hit.
* StableTimeLoop: Two of those in the Season 2: One [[spoiler:is Jimmy Two-Teeth's boxing glove and wife]] in Episode 201, both caused by Sam and Max through time travel shenanigans, and the second is [[spoiler:Mr.Featherly's egg]] in Episodes 204 and 205. Meanwhile, [[spoiler:Past Sam and Past Max]] explicitly are not part of a stable time loop, which is referenced again in 305.
* StatusQuoIsGod: Averted in the Telltale games... every crazy thing that happens has lasting consequences, particularly anything involving Max's presidency and unilateral "giant battle robot-based" legislation.
** Still, despite being Max the president he continues to live in their same building; this is {{Handwave}}d when he mentions that he had the Oval Office moved from the White House to Sam & Max's office.
* StealthPun: In Moai Better Blues, Lincoln's head, who is dating Sybil, is attracted to one of the Moai head once he crossed the Bermuda triangle. LoveTriangle?
** In the same episode, basalt sandwiches have euphoric effects; those who eat them get... stoned.
** In Night of the Raving Dead, giving Jurgen's Monster a stone brain has the same effect.
** In Chariots of the Dogs, the aliens are revealed to be [[spoiler: illegal aliens.]]
** In the same episode, the incredibly gloomy Moai heads are used for their soul-crushing effect.
** In "What's New, Beelzebub?", it's revealed that the [=DeSoto=] has a soul, and is forced to drive slowly for the rest of eternity. The only comments made are based around how the punishment is so torturous.[[spoiler: [[GhostInTheMachine A ghost]] resides in this here machine.]]
** [[LampshadeHanging Lampshaded]] (if it's possible to lampshade a StealthPun) by Max when Sybil explains that she's still getting checks from being Queen of Canada.
-->'''Max:''' Oh, ROYALTIES. I get it.
* StrangeMindsThinkAlike: When trying to crack the code on Bosco's laser grid keypad, Max suggests that Sam should make the display read "BOOBIES" for a lark. It turns out that the code actually ''is'' 5318008, much to Sam's chagrin.
* SuckECheeses: Ted E. Bear's Mafia-Free Playland and Casino
* SuddenSequelDeathSyndrome: Characters are frequently killed off, even if they were introduced in much earlier episodes.
* SummoningRitual: The "boss fight" in Episode 302 is to [[spoiler:thwart a summoning ritual of Yog-Soggoth]]
** And in 304, [[spoiler:The "boss fight" is to thwart a summoning ritual for Yog-Soggoth's grandson, Junior.]]
* SuperNotDrowningSkills: [[LampshadeHanging Lampshaded]] and then hand-waved in "Moai Better Blues"; apparently Sam, learning from a near-death experience ([[ContinuityNod probably the Cleansing Bath from the Season 1 finale]]), has modified his tie into an aqualung, while Max is amphibious.
* SuspiciouslySpecificDenial: Ted E. Bear's Mafia-Free Playland and Casino. A sample verse from their theme song:
-->''Ted E. Bear's is oodles of fun''\\
''Slots and sandwiches and tokens and guns''\\
''And look, no mobsters, nary a one''\\
''Just you and me and Ted E. Bear!''\\
''No mafia, no'' (No mafia mugs!)\\
''We're mafia free'' (No mafia here!)\\
''What mafia? Please!''\\
''No shady leaves upon the family tree!''
* SymbolSwearing: And don't forget the writing lessons of Timmy Two-Teeth in "What's New, Beelzebub?"
* TakeThat:
** In 'Reality 2.0', while examining a ballet poster:
--> '''Sam:''' Ferret Lake.
--> '''Max:''' Ooh, sequels are always more beloved than the originals!
--> '''Sam:''' [[DiscontinuityNod *with emphasis*]] Yes. Yes they are.
** Also, the jab at JohnRomero in "Night of the Raving Dead"
*** There's also one to Micheal Bay films in the same episode.
** In "Moai Better Blues", there are "[[CrateExpectations crates full of video games about crates]]" depicting an oddly familiar muscular action hero with sunglasses... and the initials [[VideoGame/DukeNukemForever "D.N.E."]][[note]]Does Not Exist, and yes, the VideoGame/DukeNukem franchise features plenty of crates in every entry[[/note]]
** If you try to use a computer in ''What's new, beelzebub:''
-->'''Sam:''' I don't know how to work it. Computers in hell all run...linux.
* TheThreeTrials: Happens often enough in the TelltaleGames adventures that the duo catch on and start [[LampshadeHanging lampshading]] it.
* TimeTravel: "Chariots of the Dogs" in spades.
* TitleDrop: The earliest is Episode 4 of the first season:
--> '''Max:''' I'm the president of the U.S! Let's go bomb someone into oblivion.
--> '''Sam:''' Not just anyone, Max... Abe Lincoln must die!
*** Later on in the same episode, Sybil spray paints this over her store window.
** Done by Max in ''What's New, Beelzebub?''
** Sam also title drops ''What's New, Beelzebub?'', although he does it a whole season later when meeting Satan again.
* TrouserSpace: During a brief [[FreakyFridayFlip body swap]] in "Night of the Raving Dead", Sam's first comment (in Max's body) was "So that's where you keep your gun!", which implies Max has the gun somewhere on his person, raising this as a possibility.
* TrueCompanions: Sam and Max form one just between the two of them. They will do anything for each other; they live and work together, they're utterly inseparable, and they will always protect each other.
* UnCancelled: Season 1 is effectively this to the cancelled Creator/LucasArts sequel, which also would have been the series' jump to 3D.
* UnexplainedRecovery[=/=]DisneyDeath: In episode 101, Max drops Jimmy out the window to his (presumed) death. He later re-appears in their office unharmed. However, despite being able to survive falling out a window, Jimmy thinks he can attempt suicide by jumping off their office building (from about the same height, slightly less in fact) in 201.
* UnhandThemVillain: Sam and Max do this to Jimmy Two Teeth in "Culture Shock".
* UnusuallyUninterestingSight: Done a lot, not just with the main characters, but nobody questions how Hugh Bliss can change color? Even magic can't excuse that!
* VampiresAreSexGods: Jurgen:
--> '''Jurgen''': You clearly know nothing about the teenage girls! She thinks I'm even more tragically sexy than before!
* VampiresOwnNightClubs: Jurgen's Zombie Factory.
* VerySpecialEpisode: Sam and Max are supposed to film one of those for ''[[ShowWithinAShow Midtown Cowboys]]'' in "Night of the Raving Dead", but it turns out to be an excuse for ProductPlacement.
* ViewersAreMorons: Spoofed. The otherwise ordinary-looking apartment set on ''[[ShowWithinAShow Midtown Cowboys]]'' has a potted cactus in front of the window to remind viewers that the main characters (who are, naturally, the apartment's tenants) are "cowboys."
* VillainSong: [[spoiler:The Time Mariachi's]] song in "Chariots of the Dogs". It's subverted, because they're pretty nice, and they're only [[spoiler:sending souls of the dead]] to help fund their operation to [[spoiler:sing birthday songs.]]
* VisualPun: Several. One of the better ones is the slot machine in the casino that is a ''literal'' one-armed bandit. And that's not just decorative; it outright steals your money!
* TheWarRoom: In Episode 104.
* WeaponizedLandmark: The Lincoln Memorial -- and the [[spoiler:Intercontinental Ballistic Washington Monument]] -- from "Abe Lincoln Must Die!"
* WelcomeToCorneria: Though it usually takes a couple of clicks on someone for this to happen. It is totally worth it to hear what the people say.
** Cuddly Bear from ''The Mole, the Mob and the Meatball'' parodies this trope as his only response to just about any dialogue tree choice is "Wanna play cards?" You need to read his mind to find out he's capable of thinking something other than that.
* WeSellEverything: Bosco's store throughout the Telltale series.
* WeWantOurJerkBack: Sam's response to Max [[spoiler:getting his bliss separated.]]
** Players' reactions to Max in this state varied. Some found him annoying and unfunny, while others giggled like a maniac at [[TastesLikeDiabetes blissed-out Max.]]
---> '''Max:''' We can plant a tree! Or teach a child to read! [[BreadEggsBreadedEggs Or teach a tree to read!]] Yaaaaaaay!
---> '''Max:''' Can we read to the blind, Sam? Can we?
---> '''Max:''' I don't need my earthly stomach any more, Sam. I'm on Hugh Bliss's cleansing fast of water, lemon, and sunshine!
* WhenAllYouHaveIsAHammer: ComedicSociopathy ''is'' the hammer. Almost every solution requires that someone, usually a blameless bystander, will be hurt, terrorized, humiliated or [[ArsonMurderAndJaywalking inconvenienced]].
* WholePlotReference: When Flint Paper debuts in Season 2, he mentions offhand that he was busy fighting a huge conspiracy that involved the movie biz, reanimated Grover Cleveland, a sentient cell phone network, and ended with him fighting a cult leader on Saturn's largest moon. This is practically the exact plot of Season 1, but Max still says he wishes he could go on cool adventures like that.
* WhyDoYouKeepChangingJobs: Sybil, and Harry Moleman
* TheWormThatWalks: Season 1 [[spoiler:BigBad Hugh Bliss, a colony of space-faring sentient... ''Bacteriaaaaaa!'']]
* WorstWhateverEver: In Season 1, Episode 5 ('Reality 2.0') [[VisualPun dirty rat]] [[YouDirtyRat Jimmy Two-Teeth]] has set himself up in Bosco's Inconvenience Store as an Arms Merchant, but refuses to sell his only product (a miniature cannon) to the Freelance Police:
--> '''Sam:''' Worst. Arms dealer. Ever.
* {{Yandere}}: [[AmbiguouslyGay Max]], to an extent. He will tear your goddam kidneys out rather than let you spend time with Sam in his stead.
* YetAnotherChristmasCarol: The second half of Episode 201 involves Sam and Max convincing the 3 ghosts of Christmas to help him. They'll only be allowing him to do so through "fixing" mistakes they've done in Christmas Pass, Present and Future.
* YouCantGetYeFlask: [[LampshadeHanging Lampshaded]] at the end of the "Reality 2.0" episode with the golden idol.
* YourMom: You break Leonard's will in Episode 103 with a barrage of "yo mama" jokes.
* YouShouldntKnowThisAlready: Justified in that Sam has done more innocent things than guessing Bosco's keycode and has gotten a concussion for it.
* ZombieApocalypse: Played straight with zombies in Episode 203, though no one seems to care.
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