[[quoteright:350:http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/MoralOrelTitle.jpg]]

->''"[[VoiceoverLetter Dear Orel:]]\\
Always remember, son, even though you are the [[WideEyedIdealist perfect candidate]] for [[{{Brainwashed}} brainwashing]] in [[CrapsaccharineWorld this]] [[StepfordSuburbia town]], you’re also [[IncorruptiblePurePureness too pure and good-hearted to be corrupted]].\\
[[HeartwarmingMoments Love, Grandpa]]"''
-->--"Beforel Orel"

In the town of [[EverytownAmerica Moralton, Statesota]] lives the Puppington Family. Eleven-year-old Orel Puppington, a devout Protestant Christian, thinks of Jesus as his biggest role model. He always pays rapt attention in church, taking the advice of the local preacher's sermons to heart, but due to his age, he doesn't always understand some of the topics, which leads to Orel acting on them in his own special way. Needless to say, HilarityEnsues!

…or maybe not.

Originally conceived as a satire of sitcoms from TheFifties and TheSixties, and designed to resemble an AffectionateParody of ''LeaveItToBeaver'' (not ''DaveyAndGoliath'', despite the art style), ''Moral Orel'' ultimately evolved into one of the darkest pieces of western animation in years.

Every member of Orel's family shows some form of dysfunction: father Clay abuses alcohol, abuses Orel (emotionally), and fails to hide his [[TransparentCloset closet]] [[GayConservative bisexuality]]; mother Bloberta cheats on Clay, often finds herself depressed, and suffers from obsessive-compulsive disorder; and both parents spoil Orel's rambunctious little brother Shapey rotten. The population of Moralton (a town placed precisely in the middle of the United States) fare little better; most of Moralton's adults lead lives as dysfunctional as Orel's family--if not moreso--while putting on a show of being Good Christians and Good Neighbors.

''Moral Orel'' is less a critique of Christianity itself than a {{Deconstruction}} of religious fundamentalism. The show aims its real critique towards [[MoralGuardians authority figures]] who pay lipservice to their inferiors' religious beliefs as a way of preserving their authority -- especially when such people [[BrokenAesop make horrible authority figures and role models.]] In short, it's not a criticism of religion specifically, but of hypocrisy itself.

The show served as an affectionate (and adult-oriented) quasi-parody of ''LeaveItToBeaver'' until series creator Dino Stamatopoulos (aka [[Series/{{Community}} Starburns]]) began to move the focus away from Orel midway through Season One. Dino began to explore the dark underbelly of the seemingly happy-go-lucky townspeople of Moralton, which culminated in the two-part Season Two finale "Nature": [[spoiler:after getting drunk during a hunting trip with Orel, Clay ''shoots his own son in the leg'', shattering Orel's innocence for good in the process.]]

The network higher-ups loved the two-parter, and bigwig Mike Lazzo asked Dino to make the show's third season as dark as humanly possible. Stamatopoulos complied, but Lazzo and Adult Swim instantly regretted ''[[BeCarefulWhatYouWishFor getting exactly what they asked for]]'': after a screening of the darkest episode of the show's run -- "Alone" -- Adult Swim cancelled the series and cut Season Three down to thirteen episodes, which forced several key arcs to be abandoned. (Dino did provide a sliver of hope amidst the despair, however, with a happy ending for Orel.)

While the show was cut short, fans kept hope alive for a revival. After 2007, Adult Swim only played reruns of the show sporadically, but in late 2011, the network began rerunning the show in chronological order on weeknights. When Dino learned of this, he said "[if] enough people watch, there may be hope for a special or two" on a Facebook post. A month into the reruns, Dino made another comment: "Got a great call from the Head of Adult Swim yesterday raving about the ratings that the Moral Orel reruns have been getting. Great job, everyone! Keep watching and the Moral Orel special will be imminent." Dino followed up on this on Halloween with a surprise appearance from Orel in the last bump of a ''WesternAnimation/MaryShelleysFrankenhole'' mini-marathon, where Orel said a new ''Moral Orel'' special would come "sometime in the near future". At its May 2012 upfront, Adult Swim confirmed Orel's return with the announcement of ''Beforel Orel'', a half-hour special that [as] promised will explain "the origin of Orel's religious nature and the birth of his brother, Shapey". ''Beforel Orel'' aired on November 19th, 2012.

[[http://video.adultswim.com/moral-orel The whole series is currently streaming on adult swim's website.]]
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!!''Moral Orel'' provides examples of these tropes:

* AbusiveParents: Played depressingly straight.
* AbortedArc: Clay's father, introduced in a flashback episode in Season Three, was supposed to join the cast in the second half of the season; when the show was cancelled, the arc was deepsixed. Also deepsixed was the Miss Censordoll's scheming to take control over the town [[spoiler:via seducing Clay (revealed to be the Mayor of the town in the second-to-last episode of the series, as well as the implications that Censordoll may or may not have manipulated Clay's shooting of Orel.]]
** Clay's father does play a role in Beforel Orel.
*** There were hints in the third season that something would happen involving Miss Sculptham and Mr. Creepler but once this was revealed in "Alone" the show was cancelled and some episodes were deepsixed. If one saw the scene in "Innocence" where Sculptham was clipping out a newspaper article, that article was about a serial rapist that turned out to be Mr. Creepler. A episode that was scrapped called "Raped" would've brought this to light and another scrapped episode "Abstinence" did show Doughy witnessing Creepler and Scultpham together but Doughy just brushed it off. To make things even more darker and disturbing, if the series continued, Miss Sculptham would have discovered herself pregnant with his twins and that she had aborted only one of them. With Dr. Potterswheel finding out about her pregnancy, it is possible she would have given birth to the child.
* AdultsAreUseless: Just about every adult except Stephanie and ''maybe'' Nurse Bendy [[spoiler:at least as far as Joe is concerned]], also Reverend Putty later on in the series.
** Grandpa Puppington tried to avert this, at least with Orel, but Clay forced them to never see each other again. Until ''Beforel Orel''.
* AdviceBackfire: ''Constantly.''
** The third-season episode "Innocence" plays into this, as the town agrees to stop giving Orel advice in an attempt to [[{{Defied}} avoid]] the trope's occurrence.
*** Ironically Putty's advice backfired so spectacularly as well that many of the people tried to pass off Orel to the next unfortunate shmuck, as well as trying to plea with god on a technicality that Orel was just "eaves dropping on them talking to themselves" so they dont end up in hell.
* TheAllAmericanBoy: Orel is a {{Deconstruction}}.
* AnachronicOrder: Most of Season Three takes place before or during the events of the Season Two finale, "Nature"; episodes take place as either flashbacks or as events during / before the fateful hunting trip.
* AnimalMotifs:
** The blue bird in "Nature"--likely meant to symbolize Orel's innocence, the bird appears in key scenes throughout the first part before flying off at the end of the episode [[spoiler:when Orel finally fires off his dad's pistol]]. It stays missing until the end credits of the second part.
*** Likewise with the flies that appeared in the same episode, symbolizing Clay's desolation. They appear in the end credits with Orel's bird, symbolizing that his innocence has been stained.
** Florence (a name associated with cows in reference to the character's weight) has a fixation with zebras. Cows resemble zebras in that they both have black and white coats, but the latter is generally thought to be prettier; Florence yearns to be a zebra rather than a cow.
* ArcWords: "There are no accidents."
** Each episode's title usually ends up littered throughout the episode as ArcWords, though "Nature" is one that has shown up throughout most of the series outside of its origin episode.
*** Most poingnantly in Beforel Orel as Orel's grandfather's explanation for things (As opposed to God)
* ArsonMurderAndJaywalking: At the end of his big tirade in the episode "Sacrifice", Clay remarks (well, rather scowls) that it's people like Putty, Dr. Potterswheel and Papermouth that are the reason his son is ''sensitive''.
* ArtEvolution Season 3's art is a drastic improvement from the art of seasons 1 and 2.
* AutoErotica: There's a couple of shaking cars parked out at Inspiration Point when Orel goes to visit Christina.
* AwkwardFatherSonBondingActivity: The infamous hunting trip in both parts of "Nature" although "awkward" is a bit of an understatement.
* BadFuture: At some point in the future, Moralton will encompass all of the United States and will be the only landmass on the planet. ''Damn''. [[EvilPlan Which is exactly how the fundies want it]].
* BadHumorTruck: [[NamesToRunAwayFromReallyFast Mr. Creepler]], the local Ice Cream man is a [[spoiler:serial rapist and a pederast]]. By the third season however, he's revealed to [[spoiler:have died in prison]].
* BarbieDollAnatomy: Happens quite a bit, including in Satan, Repression, Grounded, Nesting and Beforel Orel.
* BigScrewedUpFamily: A textbook example, really.
* BlackComedy: Really, really black comedy--with the comedy aspect eventually being ditched in Season Three. [[Literature/{{Discworld}} The light at the end of the tunnel is an oncoming train]]. [[FromBadToWorse On fire]].
* BlackComedyRape: Orel raping women with a pastry bag, in order to be able to masturbate in season one.
* {{Blipvert}}: The last episode, "Honor" opens with the very end of the first episode "The Best Christmas Ever" with Orel believing deeply that God will fix everything, and he still has hope, followed by a rapid fire montage of scenes from the series during the one year between both episodes. The montage ends with Orel getting his cast off his leg after being shot in "Nature." showing the extreme contrast of the once innocently faithful Orel one year prior, to the more depressed Orel who's endured innocence shattering events by the end of the series.
* BloodBath: The episode "Innocence" sees Orel learn about blood's powers to show one's innocence to God[[note]] Lamb's blood on the door for Passover[[/note]] and remain young forever [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Elizabeth_B%C3%A1thory_in_popular_culture#Elizabeth_B.C3.A1thory_and_the_vampire_myth (based on Elizabeth Bathory)]] in separate conversations with the Christeins and Coach Stopframe, as well as seeing him recruit Doughy, Billy, Tommy, and Maryenetta to provide blood for Orel to bathe in. The episode "Grounded" begins with Clay finding Orel in the tub and covered in blood with the other kids around him, bleeding from their wrists. The show itself, however, presents all this in AnachronicOrder with the conclusion to these events in "Grounded" being aired first and the set-up in "Innocence" being shown later.
* BookEnds: The Christmas special was aired as the pilot due to a scheduling mix-up; the series' finale is also a Christmas episode (and has a few callbacks to the former, such as the carol "If the Lord Were Alive Today"). [[spoiler:Also, the show's opening credits all end with Orel waving up at God/the viewer. The final shot of the series includes [[DistantFinale Orel's baby daughter]] waving up as the camera pans out. [[CrowningMomentOfHeartwarming D'awwwwwwwww]]]].
* BrainlessBeauty: Nurse Bendy. HiddenDepths reveal that being this has also crippled her psychologically. Sadly, she's (dimly) aware of this.
* BreakTheCutie: Orel. So very, very much. [[spoiler:It ultimately fails.]]
** Arguably Clay's intent, as a means of justifying his own shittiness by trying to show that Orel's own purity is built on a foundation of sand. [[spoiler:It isn't.]]
* BrickJoke: There's a few. Orel [[BloodBath bathing in blood]] and, earlier, declaring he'll "never do THAT with THOSE, in THERE, for that LONG ever again!", and the Lost Commandments.
** Clay's lousy dead-end job is ultimately revealed to be [[spoiler: mayor.]]
** And in a FunnyBackgroundEvent in "Alone", one of the headlines involving a serial rapist is "This time, it's ''not'' Orel!"
** There is season 1 episode titled "God's Chef." Not only is this where the above BrickJoke comes from, but it is also referenced in the season 2 episode "Geniusis," in which Rev. Petty is seen wearing an apron with "God's chef" written on it.
* CallingTheOldManOut: Orel to Clay in "Nature." Joe and his father (much more violently) in "Dumb", though this is more due to Joe being furious that his elderly alzheimer-stricken father wants nothing to do with him. Or rather is unable to be the kind of father Joe wants because of his age and his illness with the added revelation that he lied to Joe about his mother and kept the two apart.
* CatchPhrase: Before every SpoofAesop spouted by Clay, he would find Orel and say a sentence that ends with "In my '''study'''." [[LoudGulp Cue gulping]].
* CaughtWithYourPantsDown: Subverted. What appears to be a reaction to this is later revealed to be to something much more dangerous.
** Also, ''not'' a CerebusRetcon. Given this series, it was indeed a plot hook, not a case of going back to make what was funny darker.
* CerebusSyndrome: Everything from the second half of the second season on. Basically, the show dropped any pretense of being a comedy in the third season, after which it's just religious hypocrites torturing each other socially, physically, and mentally.
* ChocolateBaby: Clay and Bloberta are brunettes. So is Orel. That Shapey's blond is a hint that he might not be Clay's son. [[spoiler: He is in fact Coach Stopframe's.]] Based on that same sort of clues, it's possible Block and Bloberta's brother Lunchbox were also Chocolate Babies.
* CheerfulChild: Orel pretty much defines this trope, at least until "Nature."
** To a certain extent, so do Shapey and Block.
* ChessMotifs: Miss Censordoll has a miniature model of Moralton and its inhabitants so she can evoke this trope. Also to play God.
* ChristianityIsCatholic: Averted, and possibly inverted with all the Moralton townsfolk mocking and occasionally reviling Catholicism. In fundamentalism, only protestants are ''true'' Christians, while Catholics might as well be godless pagans. And sadly, this ''is'' TruthInTelevision for certain fundamentalists.
** Notably to the point where speaking the profane tongues of ''the Necronomicon'' is still better than speaking in Latin like a Catholic.
* ChristmasSpecial: Perhaps the most depressing one ever made.
* {{Claymation}}: The show itself, and Orel's hobby.
** During the ending credits of one episode, we see Orel, a claymation figure, making a claymation video of himself making a claymation video. [[ShowWithinAShow A show inside a show inside a show]].
*** Becomes a BrickJoke when Orel shows off his show to friends and family, summarizing previous episodes and inadvertently showing their hypocrisies.
* ContinuityPorn: It's got a surprising amount, considering it's an 11-minutes-per-episode RefugeInAudacity comedy show.
* CouchGag: The way Orel waves to God at the end of the opening varies.
* CrapsackWorld: Especially by the final season.
** It was always crapsack, really. Orel (and the viewer) has just become more aware of it as its mask slipped.
* CrapsaccharineWorld: How things start out, before the facades start to fall.
* CreatorBreakdown[=/=]RealLifeWritesThePlot: Dino Stamatopoulos went through a rough divorce towards the end of the second season. The toll this took on him is evident throughout Season 3, particularly Clay's rant in "Sacrifice".
* CrossDressingVoices: Orel Puppington is voiced by Carolyn Lawrence.
* CompanionCube: Nurse Bendy's use of teddy bears as a stand-in for family units, since she believes that they won't take advantage of her sexually. When one of them [[DoesThisRemindYouOfAnything falls upon her rear while she's bending over]], she goes into a complete breakdown, believing her trust has been shattered. A shot in "Dumb" reveals she tied the offending bear up in its chair. She got better after reuniting with her actual son.
* DarkerAndEdgier: Season 3 turned it UpToEleven by turning the show (which was already dark in its own right) into quite possibly the darkest piece of western animation ever made, prompting the show's cancellation out of Mike Lazzo's [[BeCarefulWhatYouWishFor buyer's remorse]].
* DarkIsNotEvil: Stephanie. Despite her "punk chick" look, she's generally one of the warmest (and easily one of the most sane) citizens of Moralton.
** Invoked in the episode "Holy Visage", in which the sheltering nature of darkness is mentioned. Unfortunately, the person stating this is a stupid, ignorant teacher referring to the '''Dark Ages''' in Europe.
* ADateWithRosiePalms: Reverend Putty. To his eternal, bitter ire, it's the only sex he gets.
** Well, except for that time Orel sent him some "sinners".
** And he almost got there when Orel's mom came to him, but her request ended up being all he needed.
** Believe it or not, his was how Stephanie got concieved.
** The main focus of "God's Chef" when Orel is caught doing it and Putty tells him it's a sin despite the fact he does it all the time.
* {{Deconstruction}}: When you can rival and even ''beat" the majority of other attempts at a deconstruction and how dark an animated television show can become, and how much you can pretty much rip apart every little thing about the "perfection" of the comedic aspects of the show you're watching, you're falling into this category.
** Not only is the series as whole a {{Deconstruction}} of the MoralSubstitute (as discussed below) but most every episode also deconstructs a dubious or tautological [[MoralGuardians Christian Fundamentalist]] tenet by way of having Orel [[UnfortunateImplications follow scripture to horrifying -completely logical- but horrifying conclusions.]] You might say MoralOrel [[{{Deconstruction}} is a deconstruction of]] [[Literature/TheBible bib]][[IncrediblyLamePun lical]] [[UpToEleven proportions.]]
* DepravedBisexual: Coach Daniel (pronounced "Danielle") Stopframe,
** Clay himself, secretly.
** Mr. Creepler outdoes both of them.
* DevilInPlainSight: Joe. Though, since he's still a child, it's more of a Jerkass In Plain Sight. He lacks the power to do real damage... for now.
* DissonantSerenity: Orel was pretty chipper considering a plot point in season 3 had him [[spoiler:standing in a [[BloodBath bathtub full of blood]] let from a bunch of his friends]].
* DistaffCounterpart: Christina, to Orel.
* DistantFinale: The last scene of the final episode [[spoiler:skips to Orel as an adult, who was able to raise a fully functional family with Christina.]]
** [[spoiler:Especially noteworthy is the picture on the wall of Orel's parents. As horrific as Clay was to Orel, Orel's above exiling the old man from his life.]]
** [[spoiler:Also, there are two other pictures of a fireman and policeman, presumably the adult versions of Shapey and Block.]]
* DoesThisRemindYouOfAnything?: Christina has invited Orel to MakeOutPoint after their parents have forbidden them from seeing each other. They meet up, are ecstatic to see each other, then slowly lower out of camera view while lovingly saying each other's names... then the camera pans down and you see they're praying.
* DontMakeMeTakeMyBeltOff: PlayedForLaughs OnceAnEpisode (the actual ''threat'' is never made--we just see Orel pulling up his pants back up). In "Nature", it's PlayedForDrama.
** Of course, this "humor" becomes less and less funny as the series progresses, even though the "joke" remains the same.
* DownerEnding: There are so many, but the ends of "Nature", "Sundays", "Alone", and the Christmas Special are especially bleak.
* DrowningMySorrows: Clay, "burdened" with a loveless marriage and a "stinking dead-end job", does this constantly.
--> ''* drink* '' Still hate her. ''* drink* '' Still hate her. ''* drink* '' Toler-hate her. ''* drink* '' ...tolerate her!
* DysfunctionalFamily: An excellent example! Clay is emotionally distant and abusive, his wife is a cleanliness-obsessed basket case who married him for all the wrong reasons, Shapey is seven but developmentally is three, and Orel is the OnlySaneMan. For a given value of "sane", anyway.
** And let's not forget that for a while there, Orel's family just flat-out had another family's child instead of Shapey. Clay noticed, but didn't care, and ignored Orel when Orel mentioned it.
* DysfunctionJunction: UpToEleven. '''Everyone''' in Moralton is deeply and profoundly flawed.
* EarlyBirdCameo: A poster for "The Crucibles" shows up well before the episode featuring them does.
* EarlyInstallmentWeirdness: Played with, some season one happenings don't really jive with the rest of the series. The pilot had the use of magic to bring back the dead, and cause a zombie apocalypse, magic is never used again in the series aside from some moments regarding faith which fall into MaybeMagicMaybeMundane. Also, Orel [[BlackComedyRape Impregnating]] all the women in town was a more out-there moment. Both did get mentions in season 3, with a flashback to the apocalypse, and a newspaper saying that the rapist (Mr. Creepler) wasn't Orel this time. [[spoiler: Unreleased plans for the next series may have had Ms. Censordoll using voodoo to control Clay.]]
* EarnYourHappyEnding: The finale. And ''boy'', is it a case of "earning" it.
* EverytownAmerica: Played straight ''and'' lampshaded; notice the obvious generic-ness of "Moralton, ''Statesota''?"
* EvilTwin: Moralton itself has an "evil" twin in the form of [[WretchedHive Sinville]], which is only a bus ride away and is filled with prostitutes and--to a visiting Orel's horror--''Catholics''.
* FakeCrossover: With ''Frankenhole' as seen [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=edy0cF_hM2M here]].
* FanDisservice: The womb motifs and sexual situations involving Ms. Censordoll in "Nesting".
* FatAndSkinny: Florence and Dottie
* FauxYay: Stephanie's best friend from school was this - Stephanie thought it was sincere.
* FeudingFamilies: The Puppingtons and the Posabules hate each others' guts because they use slightly different versions of the Lord's Prayer. Slightly as in "Forgive us our ''debtors''" and "Forgive us our ''tresspassers''." ''One word.''
** This sticking point also doubles as a CavemenVsAstronautsDebate.
* {{Flashback}}: Most of the episodes in season three are flashbacks, or parts of earlier episodes told from the point of view of people that aren't a Puppington.
* ForTheEvulz: Orel in the Halloween episode. He decided that the only thing that can scare him is God--so he methodically breaks all of the Ten Commandments in one day. ALL. Including that one.
* FourthDateMarriage: Clay and Bloberta marry after one date (And it's kinda hard to call it a date since they just decided to attend a reception together after attending the wedding separately.) Subverted in that both of them know they're making a mistake, but they go through with it anyway since Clay wants someone to help him and Bloberta wants to be the one getting married.
** Poignantly, when asked by Orel why they married, all Bloberta could answer is "Why not?".
* FreudianExcuse: Clay's an asshole because his insanely religious mother raised him like a spoiled prince (because all of her ''ten'' previous pregnancies never made it to term because of her constant drinking and smoking which she stopped when pregnant with Clay because she was too preoccupied with praying to God that he would make it) and his father (who was never able to create a good bond between his son due to his wife's constant spoiling and protective nature and never forgave Clay for the prank that led to his wife's fatal heart attack) emotionally shunned his child, to the point of telling him that he wasn't even worth the effort of punishing him physically, which led to Clay becoming a hellion if only to get slapped by his father, which for Clay was the only emotional response he could ever get out of his father. Bloberta, meanwhile, is the unwanted middle child of an emotionally abusive mother who treated her second daughter like an unwanted pet; she became an obsessive-compulsive neat freak to replace her addiction to booze, after introducing Clay to alcohol and watching him become a massive jerk with ''his first drink''.
** While it does explain much, it's not much of an excuse. Orel's childhood isn't far off from this.
** Arguably, that was the point: [[spoiler:despite all the bad things that happened to Orel, ''he'' still got his life back together.]]
*** And arguably, that was the point of the other point: [[spoiler:Clay's abuse of Orel is to try to bring the boy down to his father's level, so that Clay can convince himself that he's not responsible for what he's become, which is why Orel's continuing intent to goodness makes Clay even more miserable and hateful.]]
**** Ms. Censordoll is the way she is because her Mother removed her reproductive organs as a infant which might explain why she looks old despite her age. Sweet dreams readers!
* FriendToAllLivingThings: Orel in the first part of "Nature". Not so much in part two.
* FrozenInTime: Subverted. The show is (possibly) set in the modern day, yet virtually everything in Moralton looks like it's either the 1950's or (way) early 60's. Especially since we don't see any modern tech (not even television!) I guess that's the way to show people what Christian dogma feels about modern society.
** Possibly the only indication that we get of the show being set in modern time is that there is a "metal" band occasionally referenced in the show.
*** Clay DOES mention Lee Harvey Oswald in "Trigger" so the series most likely takes place somewhere during or after 1963.
* AGodAmI[=/=]DrunkWithPower: Orel, upon hearing that God is in him (as well as everyone and everything else), starts acting this way, going so far as to pull the plug on a dying woman; granted the woman was asking for it, but still...it's one of the few times Orel actually outright acts like a jerk.
** This is how Censordoll acts ''naturally''.
-->'''Censordoll:''' No mother, I am not holier than thou--but I ''am'' holier than ''you''.
* GoneHorriblyRight: Adult Swim wanted Season 3 to go down the same dark road as the Season 2 finale, "Nature". The episode "Alone" went down that dark road--then it got on the highway, swerved into oncoming traffic, and caused a multi-car pileup akin to ''FinalDestination 2''. After that episode was screened for Adult Swim executives, said executives cancelled the show and cut its final season down to 13 episodes ''despite getting exactly what they asked for in the first place''. It apparently was '''that''' depressing.
* GrowingUpSucks: In "Maturity", Clay tells Orel that adulthood means doing things that one hates doing. These things would be "dealing with people who make you unhappy, being stressed about things you have no control over and working soul numbing jobs".
** Joe develops a fear of growing up due to his very old father.
* TheHeroSucksSong: Part of the school play, in which Orel is cast as Judas, is a song-and-dance number about how Jesus is a rotten little fink.
* HighSchoolSweethearts: Mr. and Mrs. Latchkey, Doughey's parents. Not only are they high school sweethearts, they still act like they're in high school, wearing the same jock jacket and cheerleader clothes they did ''twelve years ago''.
* HilarityEnsues: The usual result of Orel misinterpreting the sermons. (This is pretty much nonexistent after the middle of Season Two, though.)
* HilariouslyAbusiveChildhood: '''''Subverted.'''''
* HolierThanThou
--> '''Miss Censordoll''': "No, mother, I am not 'holier-than-thou'. But I AM holier than YOU."
* HollywoodAtheist: Clay's father.
* HollywoodSatanism: Subverted, this is what Coach Stopframe had attempted to get Clay to love him, when he took Orel to an actual Satanist gathering, it turns out they were all just a bunch of sloppy hedonists.
* HypocriticalHumor: In many places; it forms most of the "lessons" Orel learns. A particularly good example:
-->'''Mark Posubule''': Forgive your ''debtors''!
-->'''Clay Puppington''': Forgive your ''trespassers''!
-->'''Mark Posubule''': You owe me a bottle of wine!
-->'''Clay Puppington''': ''Get off my property!''
** In "God's Chef" Reverend Putty tells Orel it's a sin to masturbate and yet he constantly does it himself and it was how Stephanie came to be.
* IDidWhatIHadToDo: Often a downright lie. It's usually "I Did What Was More Convenient" or "I Did What Would Get Me What I Wanted", but using this trope as a thin veneer.
* IDrankWhat: Orel sells his urine as an energy drink to the school's sports teams.
* [[IdenticalStranger Identical Strangers]]: The Posabule family, Art, Poppit, and Christina, are this to Clay, Bloberta and Orel. The youngest child of each family, Block and Shapey, only act the same.
* IgnoredEpiphany: Orel once had an epiphany--but was spanked into forgetting it--when he disagreed with church doctrine about FluffyCloudHeaven; perhaps more importantly, Clay has one about his behavior and apologizes for shooting Orel, only to take it back shortly afterward.
* TheImmodestOrgasm: Bloberta masturbates with a jackhammer in "Numb". It ends up doing as much damage to her body as you'd expect.
** At first. Then, she manages to leave it in all night and is still alive when the power runs out hours later.
* InVinoVeritas: Clay. Lampshaded and a source of discussion in the "Nature" and subsequent episodes.
* IncorruptiblePurePureness: Provides the page quote with:
-->'''Rev. Putty:''' You are pure pureness in its purest form!
* InsultBackfire: Nature part 2 maybe.
-->'''Orel''': I hate you.
-->'''Clay''': Hate away, sister. Hate away...
* InsaneTrollLogic: Any advice given to Orel will inevitably be twisted by his bizarre thought process and end up either as GoneHorriblyRight or GoneHorriblyWrong. But ''horribly'' is the one component you can bet on, to the point where Reverend Putty warns the ''entire town'' to stop giving Orel advice under penalty of being sent to Hell. [[HilarityEnsues It goes about as well]] [[BloodyHilarious as you imagine it would.]]
* ITakeOffenseToThatLastOne: Variant; when Reverend Putty says that the beer goggles Clay has on makes Jesus's crucifixion look like Marilyn Monroe, he glares at Putty and declares that he ''never'' drinks beer.
* JesusWasWayCool: Orel certainly thinks so.
* {{Jerkass}}: Clay is pretty much the embodiment of this. Censordoll is a big one, too.
** Actually, this probably describes everyone in Moralton except for Orel and Stephanie.
* KeepCirculatingTheTapes: Adult Swim has refused to release the remaining two-thirds of season two or season three on DVD after the first volume set didn't sell well. This is bad since these uncollected episodes consist of the show's high point.
** In a bit of subversion though when the show was canceled and Adult Swim did a massive month long marathon/dumping of the third season, Dino was allowed to do a series of promos for the third season where he implored fans to watch and record, as far as telling them that Adult Swim will probably NEVER, EVER reair the series. But the critical praise and high ratings that the last season got has managed to secure future reairings of the series for fans...
* KickTheDog: The townsfolk of Moralton do this quite a lot. Of particular note is putting Orel's dog down because it was causing him to sin--because he loved the dog more than Jesus. They also left a man's wound untreated and infected because it resembled Jesus, and destroying holy symbols is a sin.
** The dog thing is all the more problematic due to the fact that the dog was almost definitely the second coming of Jesus. [[note]]For example, [[DoesThisRemindYouOfAnything carrying a cross-shaped stick to the scary looking hospital overhead, as the citizens of Moralton followed behind.]] Also, [[RefugeInAudacity barking the name "Jesus" when Orel wonders what to call it.]][[/note]]
** Clay shooting his son Orel in the leg while drunk, then blaming the incident on him.
** Clay grounding Orel in "Grounded", forbidding him from going to church. Not to mention the unapologetic ''rubbing it in'' he did to his son, right in Orel's face.
* KilledOffForReal: Mr. Creepler. According to "Alone" he was found dead in his Prison cell, hinting he committed suicide.
* LampshadeHanging: At least once for all the running jokes. The most blatant was probably having a throwaway character called [[ThemeNaming Mr. Stopmotionanimationname]].
* LarynxDissonance: Miss Censordoll and Joe's half-sister are both voiced by men. In the case of Joe's half-sister, it's very obvious... when she stops holding her nose.
* LiteralMinded: Four year old Orel takes everything at face value. ''Everything''.
* LightIsNotGood: Most of the citizens of Moralton. By the end of the show, there are definitely, and possibly ''only'', three who could be considered "good": Reverend Putty, Stephanie, and Nurse Bendy.
** Considering that even Reverend Putty and Daniel KickTheDog several times, he somewhat invokes this trope mildly.
* LongSongShortScene:
** "Nesting" has its own dark orchestral cover of the opening theme... which is played over some of the lowest-quality visuals the show has ever had. On top of that, the song gets ''cut off before it's finished'' by Ms. Censordoll slamming a window.
** Those "lowest-quality visuals" portion was due to StylisticSuck. For those that don't remember, the opening was made up of the little diorama Ms. Censordoll was tinkering with in "''Alone''".
* LoudGulp: Happens in every episode just before Orel's father beats him as punishment for whatever he did wrong that day.
** In fact, it's a sign of CharacterDevelopment when Clay's threats evoke a deadpan response and not a loud gulp from Orel, due to him losing all respect for Clay.
* LukeYouAreMyFather: [[spoiler:Stephanie is Reverend Putty's daughter, and Joe is Nurse Bendy's son]].
* MakeOutPoint: Inspiration Point, the place Christina invites Orel when their parents won't let them see each other. Subverted when, instead of going there to make out, they start ''praying''.
* ManChild: Doughy's parents are this in a very eerie way. They're still mentally in high school, and it shows clearly as they treat him more like a younger sibling than a son.
* MeaningfulBackgroundEvent: Sculptham's newspaper in "Innonence."
** In "Honor", there is a game plan on a chalkboard in Coach Stopframe's office that shows Stopframe's plan to get closer to Clay.
* MeaningfulName: A '''LOT''' of the characters' names refer to how the show is created (stop-motion claymation), though some of them refer to an important facet of the character.
** Examples: Coach ''Stopframe'', Mr. ''Figure''lli, ''Clay'' ''Pupping''ton, ''Blob''erta, Shapey, Block, Miss ''Sculpt''ham, Nurse ''Bendy'', Reverend ''Putty'', Officer Papermouth (that's how they get them to talk)... These are so blatantly obvious that I don't know whether to call them Narm or not.
** Also: Doughy Latchkey and Ms. Frances Clara Censordoll (FCC). These aren't so obvious, but they're just as good.
*** Also: Censor''doll'', "Censored-All"
** As revealed in "Dumb", Nurse Bendy's first name is Nursula. There are possibly two puns in there: the obvious('''Nurs'''ula) and another more stealthy and significant(N'''ursula''', which besides being a real name, related to ''ursa''=''bear'', in reference to [[spoiler:her teddy bear family]]).
* MoodWhiplash: Third season, [[UpToEleven and how!]]
** In ''Grounded'', Orel's intense and heavily symbolic near death experience sequences are intercut with some of the show's blackest comedy ("It's not healthy to be dead that long").
** Near the end of ''Passing'', Clay's father refuses to pass down Ol' Gunny as the Puppington family tradition dictates, telling Clay that said gun is tainted with blood. Clay responds by asking "You sure it's not just ketchup?"
* MoralDissonance: All of Orel's lessons essentially boil down to "Do as I say and not as I do", and even then, the morals he learns are horribly skewed.
* MoralGuardians: Ms. Censordoll's cadre of protesters.
* MoralMyopia: If you are not going to Reverend Putty's church on Sunday, you aren't even subhuman.
** Unless, of course, you're grounded from Church for a month... at that point (if you're Orel), you go insane.
* NamesToRunAwayFromReallyFast: Mr. Creepler the ice cream man is a pederast and a serial rapist.
* NakedPeopleAreFunny: Even moreso as [[ZombieApocalypse zombies]]!
** What stands out even more, is [[spoiler:that Orel doesn't get scolded for raising zombies, but rather for stripping them first.]]
* NiceJobBreakingItHero: "''Wow'', everybody sure hates Jesus! ...''oh''."
** Also a young Clay's prank on his abusive father, which [[spoiler: indirectly ends up killing his mother, setting the stage for the adult Clay's abuse of his son]].
** Or when Bloberta introduces Clay to alcohol. His instant rampant alcoholism and JerkAss behaviour leads her to stop drinking and channel her frustration into to spot-cleaning everything, setting the stage for their miserable marriage.
* NoCelebritiesWereHarmed: According to WordOfGod, Gladys Foamwire bears a strong resemblance to Ruth Buzzi.
* NoNameGiven: The red-headed freckled kid that hangs out with Orel and his friends, usually lumped in as "the gang" or "the rest" (ex: Doughy, Tommy, and the gang.) Even in the Beforel Orel commercial, he's cut off by Orel before he could say his name. But his name was revealed through a cast sheet in the play episode. [[spoiler: It's Billy]].
* NotSoAboveItAll: Ms. Censordoll, after Orel gets her favorite food (eggs) banned from the town, as far as Censordoll going to the Moralton black market to get her eggs like the rest of the townspeople. Also Reverend Putty in "Closeface", who bonds with his daughter after finding out that they both have a snarky sense of humor.
* NotSoDifferent: Season 3 makes it increasingly clear that Clay was a lot like Orel when he was a kid and young man, and both were victims of abuse. In the end, [[spoiler: Orel manages to become a much better father and husband than Clay.]]
* NotSoHarmlessPunishment: In "Grounded", when Orel's father Clay walks in on Orel [[BloodBath bathing in blood]], he grounds him. To Orel's surprise, Clay specifies that Orel is ''not'' grounded from playing with his friends; Orel can play outside to his heart's content. Understandably confused, Orel asks, "then what am I grounded from?" It turns out Orel's grounded from ''church!'' To a lot of children Orel's age that wouldn't be so bad. But Orel ''loves'' church with all his heart and soul, so to ''Orel'', this is actually ''worse'' than not being allowed to play!
* NWordPrivileges: Subverted. When the town learns about the Italian-American Figurelli family, the entire town starts to segregate exclusively against the 4-member family. The always optimistic Figurelli thank the town for it, oblivious to the reason why they did it to begin with. Everyone else in the town just starts to refer to them as ''Figgurs''.
* OedipusComplex: It turns out that [[spoiler: Clay has one, something Ms. Censordoll picks up on quickly to manipulate him.]]
* OfficialCouple: Orel and Christina are the most heartwarming couple you'll ever see on television.
* OlderThanTheyLook: Shapey, Orel's little brother, is seven but he looks and acts three.
* OnceMoreWithClarity: The opening of the 7th season 3 episode, Help, shows the typical images of a wedding. [[spoiler: The ending zooms out on them to show how screwed up and unhappy Bloberta and Clay's marriage has been from the beginning.]]
* OneWordTitle: About half of the first and second season episodes have these, but all of the third season episodes have them.
* OnlySaneMan: Reverend Rod Putty, who is ironically less blinded by so-called faith compared to everyone else as time goes on.
** His daughter also counts.
* OutOfOrder: The Christmas episode was meant to be the first season finale but was aired as a pilot.
* OverlyLongGag: the last minute of "Turn The Other Cheek", hilariously [[JustifiedTrope justified]].
** Orel's father taking a long time and [[{{Squick}} multiple sips]] before confirming that Orel's special energy drink is urine.
* PassionPlay: Where Orel sings a song as Judas about how he hates Jesus.
* ParentalNeglect: How the Puppingtons and Posabules (minus Orel and Christina) miss for ''months'' that Shapey and Block switched places.
** Doughey [[MeaningfulName Latchkey]] exemplifies this trope, though, as his parents are quite literally [[{{Manchild}} stuck in a teenage mentality]].
** ParentalAbandonment: Then Poppet does this to Block when she sees he prefers Bloberta.
* PoliticalStereotype: a town full of them
* QuarterHourShort
* RecapEpisode: When Orel shows his movies to his friends and family, they are basically the first three episodes. Subverted in no old footage being reused.
* ReligionRantSong: "I Hate You, Jesus!" In-universe as Orel performed it at a pageant that required him to play up hostility against the Jesus character. Kinda subverted when Moralton start singing the song, because they just find it catchy.
* RoomFullOfCrazy: When Orel is grounded from church in "Grounded", he makes up for it by drawing a crayon church on his wall decorated with various Bible verses, then builds a cardboard church and wears it like a Halloween costume.
* RunningGag: Ms. Censordoll's protesting and censorship, the "Lost Commandments", the fact Shapey is not weaned off breast milk yet, Clay standing up after beating Orel, which causes his pants to fall because he forgot to put his belt back on.
** The second and third seasons have [[spoiler:Shapey switched with the son of their short term neighbors. Bloberta (who eventually figures it out) and Clay never seem to realize that Block is not Shapey even as Orel tries pointing it out time and time again.]]
---> Orel: Dad, that's not...
* SanctuaryOfSolitude: Used several times.
* SatelliteLoveInterest: Christina. Her relationship with Orel is rather sweet, but it's tough to define her character without him.
** Since she's basically just a female version of Orel, looking and sounding exactly the same, defining her character without him is not really possible.
* ScaryLibrarian: Ms. Censordoll. Especially how she looks eld, but she's only 40.
* SexlessMarriage: Clay and Bloberta
* ShockValueRelationship: "Closeface". In a Crowning Moment of Heartwarming,[[spoiler: Reverend Putty reveals he was upset because the other girl Stephanie was kissing didn't care for her the way Stephanie wanted.]]
* ShootTheDog: Quite literally in "Nature"; Clay shoots some other hunter's hunting dog, then proceeds to mount its head and eat it like a deer. Granted, he was drunk at the time, but still...
** Also, having Orel's dog [[strike:Jesus]] Bartholomew put down, because the dog was making Orel love him more than Jesus. [[ArsonMurderAndJaywalking And annoying the adults]].
* ShoutOut: Among the weapons in Clay's weapon room are two [[Film/TheManWithTheGoldenGun golden guns]].
* SingleMaltVision: Clay assumes this is the case, when we see from his point of view the events from the end of "Nature": he sees Shapey on the stairs, remembers he already passed Block in the living room, then just takes a look at his shot glass before continuing.
* SingleTargetSexuality: Coach Stopframe for Clay.
* SingleTear: Orel cries one at the end of Rev. Putty's sermons for most of Season 1.
* SleepingSingle: Deconstructed; not only do Clay and Bloberta sleep in separate beds, there's a ''privacy screen'' between them.
** Based on appearances, Doughy's parents have separate rooms, though this is more because they're still at the mentality of high schoolers--Kim's bedroom is decorated like a high school girl's. And it has no effect on their sex lives whatsoever.
* SlidingScaleOfIdealismVersusCynicism: At the beginning, Orel is practically in the wrong show, given how naive he is about the world. The world is deeply cynical, and Orel gradually shifts to a more cynical viewpoint as well, especially after "Nature".
** However, "cynical" for Orel is... admitting to himself that he doesn't respect and revere his father as he feels he ought, and thinking that perhaps, everything isn't as perfect as it ought to be. It's still a deep contrast, though not as extreme.
* SpoiledBrat: Shapey. His parents always order Orel to let him do what he wants, in case he screams and the neighbors hear. He's constantly screaming anyway, so we can see how well ''that'' is working out.
** And Clay, as a child, prior to [[spoiler:one of his tantrums leading to his mother's death and the subsequent abuse at the hands of his father]].
** And, of course, Block, who's pretty much an exact clone of Shapey.
* SpoofAesop: The usual result of Clay's talks with Orel in his study take the form of a ridiculous and/or entirely irrelevant lesson. For example, in the first episode, Orel is chastised not for digging up dead people and zombifying them, but for stripping them naked. (He thought they smelled like death because their clothes were dirty.) Similarly, his crack habit earned him a scolding because of all the slang it caused him to learn.
* StalkerWithATestTube: Stephanie's mother, leading directly to Stephanie's conception.
* StarCrossedLovers: Orel and his DistaffCounterpart. [[spoiler: It works out in the end]].
* StepfordSmiler: Much of Moralton qualifies, but Bloberta stands out in particular. ''She cleans the underside of floor tiles''!
* StepfordSuburbia: Moralton, Moralton, ''Moralton''. Everyone works hard to convince everyone else that things are perfect. ''[[DrHorriblesSingAlongBlog "I think you're slipping..."]]''
* SubvertedKidsShow: ''understatement''.
* SuspiciouslySpecificSermon: Reverend Putty sure does like to keep things [[{{pun}} topical]].
* TakeThat: After his movies aren't very well appreciated, Orel concludes that sometimes things are misinterpreted. When asked for an example, he scratches his head with Literature/TheBible trying to come up with an answer. Really, the whole series.
** Ms. Censordoll's full name is Francine Clara Censordoll (FCC).
*** "Orel's Movie Premiere" seems to be one towards us viewers, Doughy calls Orel "Moral" at one point and Dr. Potterswheel asks if Clay molests Orel during the time in the Study... these are WordOfGod's pet peeves that we the viewers bring up.
* ThemeNaming: Many of the characters have names related to the process of stop-motion animation.
** "Passing" reveals that Clay would have been one of eleven siblings with names starting with the letter C. [[spoiler:All of them but Clay were miscarriages.]]
* TheMoralSubstitute: Imagine if all media were Christian fundamentalist propaganda? Yeah, this trope is subject to a brutal {{Deconstruction}}, showing just how dysfunctional and disturbing such a world would be.
* '''ThereAreNoTherapists'''
* TheReasonYouSuckSpeech: Well over half of the episode ''Sacrifice'' is just Clay giving these to Potterswheel, Papermouth, Putty, religion, love, and the world in general. [[spoiler: He was trying to provoke a violent reaction, because the only way he could make his father acknowledge him as a child was by insulting him until he beat him]].
** Joe's narration of the latter half of Orel's movie.
* ToiletHumor: "Waste" is a rare example of this trope without VulgarHumor.
* TooSpicyForYogSothoth: Basically the reason the show got cancelled was that the third season got so dark and nihilistic that Adult Swim execs developed buyer's remorse and cancelled the show out of fear [[FromBadToWorse that it would only get more depressing and disturbing]].
* TownWithADarkSecret: Less of a single unifying secret, and more the dark secrets most adults seem to have, and [[StepfordSmiler covered up by putting on a show of being a White Anglo Saxon Protestant]].
* TransparentCloset: Daniel Stopframe (though he is openly bisexual).
* TruthInTelevision: Unfortunately, as odd as it seems to most people.
* TwistedChristmas: "The Best Christmas Ever".
* VerbalTic: The head Satanist tends to say "and what not" in almost every end of his sentences and what not.
* VillainSong: "I Hate You Jesus" was by far the most memorable song of the school pageant.
* VillainousBreakdown: Season 3 is one long breakdown for [[spoiler: Clay]] ending with [[spoiler: him being rejected by Coach Stopframe.]]
* VillainProtagonist: [[spoiler: Clay]] is arguably the main character of Season 3.
* WakeUpMakeUp: Deconstructed. Bloberta wakes up earlier than her husband, grooms herself impeccably, then pretends to go back to sleep. In this show, chances are better than even it's to make him feel inferior to her in one of the few ways she can.
* WhatHappenedToTheMouse: The aforementioned BadFuture and the story about Censordoll wasn't really explained.
** ExecutiveMeddling. Season 3 was originally going to be 20 episodes, and scripts and animatics had been prepared for all of the episodes--then Adult Swim slashed the order to 13 episodes. This was done after the higher-ups saw rough cuts of the the first couple of episodes, most notably "Alone"--which featured the reveal that not only had one of the female characters [[spoiler: purposely allow herself to get sexually assaulted by a rapist in order to have sex, but then be seen performing a coat-hanger abortion upon herself to kill the child conceived by the rape, AND obtain an orgasm as she mentally relives being raped]]. According to Dino Stamatopoulos, "Alone" basically got the series cancelled even though its tone was Dino simply following orders to create darker episodes following the success of "Nature". The episode count getting reduced meant that the entire second half of the season had to be aborted (no pun intended), leaving the show with two episodes to deal with the fallout of "Nature", which resulted in a slapdash finale and most of the Censordoll/Clay storyline getting cut.
*** WordOfGod in online commentary expands on Censordoll's story. In "Alone", it was hinted that Censordoll's mother had her reproductive organs removed as an infant, in a form of [[{{Squick}} female castration]]. This is what causes her obsession with eggs--and is probably why she aged so badly. As Reverend Putty's sermon in that episode says, we need other people in our lives to remind us we're not the center of the universe (which is what Censordoll believes). In "Nesting", Censordoll withdraws from the election when she realizes she can manipulate Clay's OedipusComplex for his mother to get the town's egg ban lifted.
*** Dino posted one of the lost episode's scripts online. It can be found ''[[http://web.archive.org/web/20111126012227/http://www.myspace.com/dinostamatopoulos/blog/454257831 here.]]''
** The series never got around to featuring Arthur, Orel's grandfather and Clay's father, who was only seen in a flashback in ''Passing''. ''Beforel Orel'' does redeem this to an extent, but what became of Arthur post-third-season remains unanswered.
** Orel's illegitimate children in "God's Chef." [[http://boards.adultswim.com/t5/Moral-Orel/A-Final-Q-amp-A-Possible/td-p/47747798/page/4 Dino shrugged it off, "written before continuity was an issue. Also, this show takes place during a very short period of time. I suppose most of them are toddlers by the end of HONOR."]]
* WhamEpisode: "Nature".
* WhamLine: In "Nature Part 2", Orel to Clay: "[[spoiler:I hate you]]."
* WriterOnBoard should be pretty obvious.
* XMeetsY: People like to compare this show as ''DaveyAndGoliath'' meets ''WesternAnimation/SouthPark''
* YouGottaHaveBlueHair: In a cartoon where everyone has normal hair colors, it's a bit odd that Florence has ''pink'' hair.
* YoungerThanTheyLook: Ms. Censordoll, who's only forty, but easily looks like she's in her seventies or eighties.
* YourApprovalFillsMeWithShame: Orel lies to Clay when asked if he shot a bear, since he doesn't want to give Clay the satisfaction of making him proud.
* ZombieApocalypse: Parodied in the first episode.
** When the first episode features a Zombie Apocalypse and the show just gets ''darker'' from there...that's the ''definition'' of a CrapsackWorld.