One for the Stock Parodies
: an obvious pastiche
of Chuck E. Cheese's
, a combination pizza restaurant and "family fun" center. It's the home of arcade games, ball pits, mediocre pizza, creepy costumed characters, and really bad animatronics. Working here is worse than being a Burger Fool
The chain was created by Nolan Bushnell, the founder of Atari
. It reached its heyday in the 1980s, but also suffered bad publicity as a hunting ground for sexual predators and, in the late 2000's, as a stomping ground for adult brawls
. It has inspired a number of knock-offs throughout the country (and even an adult
version in Dave & Buster'snote
), which (except for D&B) have gone into similar decline. Similar properties exist outside the US, including the UK's Wacky Warehouse
, though they rarely make their way into media.note
Note that not all examples are terrible; some are rather awesome and kids will do anything to go there. (May still qualify as hell-on-earth for their hapless parents and the equally hapless teenage employees, though.)
open/close all folders
- In Robin comics, Tim Drake's best friend Ives formerly worked at the Bomp'n'Stomp as costumed mascot Ricky Rat. This was such a craptacular job Tim suspected Ives was being abused.
- A Series of Unfortunate Events: The Anxious Clown, With clown-costumed waiters, balloons, and food with names like "Surprising Chicken Salad".
- The eighteen-year-old main character of the YA book Prom, by Laurie Halse Anderson, works at something called an EZ-CHEEZ-E. She's Rompin' Ratty. Plenty of gory details.
- Corny's Family-Style Restaurant in Diary of a Wimpy Kid — The Third Wheel. Greg has a traumatic experience trying to get his little brother out of the playground.
Live Action TV
- That's So Raven featured one of these. Raven even ended up ended having to disguise herself as an animatronic pirate.
- Sister Sister had Buck E. Duck for an episode (which had the twins taking their SATs...for the second time... under the tutorship of that kid from Smart Guy... who is also their brother in Real Life...)
- House opened one episode with the Patient of the Week working in such a hellhole to earn a living for him and his parentless siblings. No wonder he wanted to perpetuate his illness so that his siblings would be taken into foster care.
- All That had "Stink E. Cheese's". The mascot was a skunk, and everyone delighted in the horrible smells.
- NewsRadio had "Petey the Pirate's Pizza Palace" in one episode, which was Matthew's favorite place to eat. Dave and Bill toughed it out, including him in the ball pit.
- Sonny With A Chance has Arcadia, which is kind of like a less noisy and crowded Dave & Buster's.
- In Living Color! had Homey D. Clown running a deliberately cheap, unpleasant version. Spoofing Chuck E. Cheese's most famous slogan, it's "Where a kid can be a kid...as long as he don't get on my damn nerves!"
- Roundhouse mentioned a Suck E. Cheese's without showing it.
- An episode of The Big Bang Theory had Sheldon (who was obsessed with solving a molecular equation and was using the balls as subatomic particles) hiding out in the ball pit at one of these places, only to pop up at regular intervals like a prairie dog and shout "Bazinga!"
- One first season episode of Home Improvement mentions a place called Wacky Jack's Pizza Pagoda, which seems similar to places like this, but it's never seen onscreen, so it might be okay. However, the Taylors made history by being the first family to ever be kicked out of the place for having hyperactive and disobedient children. (And given what such places are like, that's saying a lot.)
- The Office episode "Happy Hour" took places at a Dave & Buster's knock-off called Sid & Dexter's.
- Supernatural has Plucky Pennywhistle's Magic Menagerie, the focus of the episode of the same name, where people are overly cheery, the pizza tastes like 'butt' and kids are left there (As Sam was by Dean to go pick up chicks.) Lots of Lampshade Hanging about this parody, using the 'we only accept tickets here not money' bit for 'prizes'.
- Workaholics has Dante's Pizza Palace, which is described as basically 'a black Chuck E. Cheese's'.
- The Golden Girls had an episode with one of these. It was Rose's attempt to make a fun birthday for Dorothy. It didn't work, naturally.
- The third episode of The IT Crowd featured a restaurant named Messy Joe's. Moss mispronounces it as 'Messijos,' recommending that Roy and Jen take their dates there.
- A later episode of The Man Show had a skit set at an actual Chuck E. Cheese's, although it was not referred to by name. Adam rounded up some Latin American day laborers and treated them to a night on the town. The Where Are They Now montage at the end informs us that one of the immigrants "returned to his native Guatemala with tales of a magical rat who made dreams come true...He was burned as a heretic."
- Tim Wilson's song "Chucky Cheese Hell" is sung from the point of view of a bouncer at Chuck E. Cheese, where "The band sucks and the pizza's cold/And you eat it with a slobberin' four-year-old..."
- Ted E. Bear's Mafia-Free Playland and Casino from Sam & Max: The Mole, The Mob, & the Meatball, which is Chuck E. Cheese's crossed with Legitimate Businessmen's Social Club.
- Oddly enough, there actually was a real-life Ted E. Bear's in Southern California, a small chain of Chuck E. Cheese knock-offs.
- The backstory of Skullomania: He was a salaryman forced to wear a stupid costume for a sale promotion, until one day, he decided he was the next generation of Kamen Rider.
- One of the members of the Anime Club in KC Greens recent strips reviews a "Whyme R. Reiner's" as a possible location for the new, HQ-less Anime Club.
- A Something Positive strip has Rory blackmailing Vanessa into taking him to the genuine article.
Vanessa: I want black olives on my half of the pizza, and for him — what do you have that goes with emotional blackmail?
Employee: All our pizzas come with hateful gobs of spit already.
- Wonderella's friends have a surprise birthday party for her every year at "Chunk E. Cheeses," as seen here, here, and here.
- The protagonists of Scrambled Eggs tried to avoid attending one of Michelle's birthday parties by hiding at Chunky Cheesy's, because no one goes there anymore, at least according to Quint. It turned out Michelle had the place reserved for her party, so the kids ended up attending anyway.