* AcceptableTargets: White, conservative, Middle American fundamentalist Christians. It's like an orgy of target acceptability -- but when the whole point is to deconstruct these targets, it makes a little more sense.
** In fairness, Orel himself qualifies as the above, as does Christina -- and Reverend Putty's love for his daughter shows that he's not to be considered a strawman. For that matter, Clay Puppington -- for all his monstrous actions -- had such a thoroughly miserable life that he literally doesn't know how good he could have it if he just tried.
** In light of that, let's be specific and go for white, conservative, ''hypocritical'' Middle American fundamentalist Christians.
*** And while the show pokes fun at some of the hypocrisy of said Fundamentalist, it actually goes out of its way to show the positive side of faith as well.
* AlternateCharacterInterpretation: When Clay refuses to reconcile with his father, is he really being childish, or became too bitter over the years? Or both? Made more complex by even Arthur acknowledging that Clay has good reason to hate him.
** Is Orel extremely naive, TooDumbToLive as seen in "Beforel Orel", or both?
** Conversely, it's easy to read Orel as having some sort of undiagnosed mental illness given his behavior, which is pretty tragic given he'd never get treatment in town. Then again, Orel is a ''lot'' less destructive when people take the time to properly give him guidance, which is a good thing for him since toward the end of the show he wises up to Clay's "advice" and his other role models start actually stepping up to the plate for him.
* {{Anvilicious}}: This is not done in regards to Christianity itself, surprisingly enough; the show is actually more of a critique of those who don't practice what they preach.
** Many episodes provide dark parodies of this trope, thanks to Clay's "study" speeches.
* {{Asspull}}: [[spoiler:The ending]], though this is mostly due to {{executive meddling}} denying the writers their chance to wrap things up properly.
* CrossesTheLineTwice:
** Most of the ActivistFundamentalistAntics fall into this, with an EstablishingCharacterMoment from Ms. [[MeaningfulName Censordoll]] in the first episode being a protest of ''Film/TheWizardOfOz'' and her burning ''the Bible''.
-->'''Ms. Censordoll''': Only the Jewish parts.
** Of particular note is the episode "Innocence" which blows ''way'' past the line. The episode opens with the entire Church congregation singing a jaunty, catchy song about how much they hate Jesus and ends with Orel literally bathing in the blood of all the town's children.
** Tragically averted in "Nature." Clay getting drunk on a hunting trip and shooting his son is not treated as a wacky extreme but handled in painful, tragic detail.
* CultClassic: Not one of Adult Swim's most popular shows, but you'll still see people talking about it to this day.
* EarWorm: "Turn the Other Cheek" will never leave you.
** And let's not forget "I Hate You Jesus". ''Especially'' in universe.
* HilariousInHindsight: It's a bit weird watching the show after hearing Scott Adsit as the "non-threatening, huggable" Baymax in ''Disney/BigHero6''.
* IAmNotShazam: The episode synopses on adultswim.com repeatedly refer to Orel as "Moral".
** Funnily enough? So did Doughy once during Orel's movie.
** [[WordOfGod Dino]] has admitted this is one of his pet peeves, saying "You don't call [[ComicStrip/DennisTheMenaceUS Dennis "Menace."]]
* IronWoobie: Considering everything he's gone through, the fact that the ending shows Orel to be a loving father and husband proves him to be one of these.
* JerkassWoobie: Adult Clay. There ''is'' a distinction.
* MagnificentBastard: Clay, in some respects. He ''is'' [[spoiler:the mayor of Moralton]], and he manipulates Shapey using reverse psychology and Doughy by using his want for a parental figure. Note that his drunk persona may or may not count.
** Also note that we only see him [[InVinoVeritas in his drunk persona most of the time]].
* {{Moe}}: Little Orel from "Beforel Orel"
* MoralEventHorizon:
** In "Nature", Clay is pushed over the Moral Event Horizon and then some; he shoots Orel in the leg, ruins Orel's lucky shirt to make a tourniquet, drinks the medical alcohol which could have prevented infection, and then falls into a drunken coma for nearly twenty-four hours only to wake up, disavow all responsibility for shooting Orel (since he doesn't remember doing it), then care only about the possibility of Orel having killed a big bear (which Orel denies doing, if only to spite his father). While the writers do try and bring him back over the line in Season 3 with flashback episodes showing how Bloberta tricked him into marrying him/turned him into a drunk by giving him his first drink as well as his emotionally abusive childhood they completely negate any regained sympathy in the final two episodes, with Clay telling Orel that he was '''happy''' that he shot his own son flaunting "Honor thy mother and father" as a way to emotionally break Orel's spirit and in his final scene, cursing out Coach Stopframe for believing Orel's stories about Clay's cruelty and being more concerned about keeping Stopframe rejecting him than he is about how he's fucked up Orel's life.
** Amazingly, Coach Stopframe's taking Orel to a Satanic ritual to use the boy as a VirginSacrifice somehow ''does '''not''' manage to be this''. Perhaps it's because Daniel seems ashamed of what he's doing, and eventually steps out of it. (Or because the Satanists [[LaughablyEvil are so goofy]].)
* SignatureScene: [[spoiler:Clay shooting Orel in the leg]] in "Nature: Part 2", the precise moment the show turned pitch black.
* {{Squick}}: The close-up of Ms. Censordoll sucking down "under-fried, extra-slithery" eggs.
** Also Clay's "dream" sequence showing his OedipusComplex; it's so [[NauseaFuel digusting]] that it becomes NightmareFuel.
** Reverend Putty being romantically interested in his daughter (before he knew), Doctor Potterswheel's fetish for wounds and diseases, the closeups of eggs being laid...
* StoicWoobie: Ms. Sculptham, when you find out about [[spoiler:[[RapeAsBackstory her past]]]].
* StrawmanHasAPoint: Typically Orel's father's arguments for why his actions were wrong are examples of CompletelyMissingThePoint, highlighting something completely harmless while ignoring some much larger harm Orel had done. The episode "Loyalty" is an exception. While he still ignores Orel beating gays, he does have a legitimate point that Orel should not ignore his other friends in the name of mindless devotion to one.
** The same goes for "Turn The Other Cheek". While it's not really a good idea to beat other people up because they might be violent, the phrase doesn't mean just let people beat you up. This, along with Clay being beaten up by Orel, may be one of the reasons Orel didn't have to "learn a lesson" at the end of the episode.
* TrueArtIsAngsty: Season 3 is considered by numerous critics and fans to be a masterpiece of animation. It's also unfathomably bleak and depressing, more so than anything Adult Swim had ever produced before or since.
* TheWoobie: Orel, Florence, Bloberta, Nurse Bendy, young Clay...really, damn near everyone in Moralton falls into this category at one point or another.
* WhatDoYouMeanItsNotSymbolic: Blatantly obvious when Orel agrees to give up his dog. He's to be taken to the Calvary Hill Hospital to be put down. On the way, he's thrown a stick which looks suspiciously cross-like, which he carries all the way there.
** However, the dog was ''very'' clearly meant to be a reference to Christ's second-coming, but since Jesus in the form of a non-human would undoubtedly be considered blasphemous by [[TheFundamentalist the citizens of Moralton]]...
** The way Orel lays in his hospital bed in ''Grounded'' is very reminiscent of Jesus' pose in ''Art/TheLastSupper''.