"I come for the games, but I stay for the burnt pizza smell."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, bad pizza, creepy costumed characters, and really horrific animatronics. A fun place for kids? More like a Fate Worse Than Death for parents. 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 2000s, as a stomping ground for adult brawls. It has inspired a number of knock-offs throughout the country which have gone into similar decline. The one exception is an adult version called Dave & Buster's (other wiki), which is actually flourishing because, unlike the above which play the Rule of Cute, it plays the Rule of Cool, caters to a wide audience (including the popular sports bar crowd) and has absolutely no animatronics or mascots. Similar properties exist outside the US, including the UK's Wacky Warehouse, though they rarely make their way into media.note As an interesting footnote, in Mexico and the Middle East, Chuck E. Cheese's used the name of Showbiz Pizza, who was the previous name of their matrix company in the States before converting all their locations into Chuck E. Cheese's instead. Unlike in the U.S., Showbiz Pizza in those regions never had the same problems their American Chuck E. Cheese's equivalents had, other than the franchise died in Mexico in the 90s, albeit it still exist in the Middle East to this date. 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.) On the other hand, some of them go beyond "unpleasant" and become downright life-threatening.
— Ron Stoppable, Kim Possible
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- 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.
- To no surprise whatsoever, every single fanfic based off of Five Nights at Freddy's and all of its sequels. It comes with the territory. To somewhat greater surprise, the Just Another Night at Freddy's series introduced a second one in the form of Pizza Baron: a badly-planned, badly-executed ripoff of Freddy Fazbear's Pizza that uses stereotypes, bizarre, made-up instruments and awful animatronics that barely count as interactive. Needless to say, when the guys running it kidnap Foxy to use him in their show, the resulting shitfestnote only speeds up their inevitable failure.note
Films — Animated
- Subverted by Pizza Planet in Toy Story, which is actually a very cool place. According to the DVD Commentary, the goal was to design a pizza place so cool that they just had to build it. And they did! It was in Disney's Hollywood Studios at Walt Disney World from 1997 up until 2016. (Tragically, the real version wasn't as cool as the version seen in the film, consisting of a pizza counter and the same arcade games to be found all over the resort.) Disneyland Paris also features a Pizza Planet with a slightly better execution.
- A Goofy Movie had a tourist trap called "Lester's Possum Park" that was partly this and partly a self-deprecating reference to The Country Bears at the Disney theme parks; and to top it off, he plants a possum mascot hat atop his son's head much to Max's apparent humiliation.
- The SpongeBob SquarePants Movie had Goofy Goober's, basically Chuck E. Cheese combined with Farrell's Ice Cream Parlour, with a dancing peanut named Goofy Goober. Unlike most other parodies, this place is portrayed as not being soul crushingly depressing/scary/awkward/cheap, and is probably the most light hearted example on here. While the place itself isn't soul-crushing, SpongeBob came here to drown his sorrows in gallons and gallons of ice-cream sundaes. When the sun rises the next morning, he's an absolute mess, covered in smears of vanilla ice-cream and chocolate syrup. Also, the employees don't seem too enthusiastic about their jobs.
Films — Live-Action
- Made ends with a birthday party at an unnamed Suck E. Cheese's restaurant. Rickie criticizes a costumed employee for arriving only after the children have all left for the arcade, then offers him a bribe to go away.
- There's Woody Woodchuck's in The Pacifier. It does not look like a fun place to be. Kids screaming and fighting, the greeter at the door has those terrible-looking around-the-head braces ...
Shane: And they say war is hell.
- The Buckmans take a visit to an unnamed Suck E. Cheese's in Parenthood.
- In Hot Tub Time Machine, Adam tells a story about how his father (and several others) died of salmonella poisoning after going to The Enchanted Forest of Pizza, a fantasy-themed pizza place.
- In Problem Child 2 both the Healy and the Young families go to one of these for dinner, and a food fight breaks out when Junior and Trixie encounter their Jerkass principal Peabody on a date.
- In Role Models, the main characters take the kids to a Suck E. Cheese's that has chipmunk mascots.
- Zyggie's Ice Cream Parlor in Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure (where Deacon takes Napoleon) is a lot like Chuck E. Cheese, except that it seems to focus more on ice cream than pizza. Subverted in that it seems to be a pretty cool place.
- 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.
- Forever Amber Brown has a type 2 example. Justin and Amber visit Say Cheese. Although they do offer very cheesy pizza, which Amber and Justin get and enjoy, they also offer pretty much anything else with cheese you can think of; burritos, cheesecakes, Cheese Doodles, dumplings, etc. The food is good, the games are high-tech and fun, and there are displays where kids can have their pictures taken and pretend to be in various scenes, like aliens in space.
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 (US) 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 (Mr. Haha's Hotdog Hacienda). 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."
- 30 Rock - Tracy's mental state is questioned by his being arrested at three Chuck E. Cheeses - a quick flashback shows him being dragged shirtless out of a ball pit.
Do you know who I am???...Seriously, please, tell me who I am!!!
- Justified: In "For Blood or Money", Clinton breaks out of his halfway house and commits a string of crimes because he has promised to take his 12 year old son to Billy the Kid Zone for his birthday. Clinton describes the place as "Chuck E. Cheese but with cowboys" and, when shown, the place does look really tacky with the staff dressed in cheesy cowboy outfits.
- I Didn't Do It had Fireman Freddy's Spaghetti Station (which doesn't serve pizza put something different, but is similar enough to fit the trope and even could uncheerable employee's).
- 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.
- In Five Nights at Freddy's, you play as the night watchman of Freddy Fazbear's Pizza, where the animatronics are out to kill you. The place is set to close within two months after many incidents (chiefly five children being murdered by a man in a Golden Freddy suit).
- There is a sequel which turns out to be a prequel, Five Nights at Freddy's 2, taking place during the grand reopening of the pizzeria. It's revealed it's actually a prequel taking place in the week leading up to the infamous Bite of '87 and the murder of five children. The place itself looks a lot better, and not as seedy, but the animatronics are even nastier. Not to mention where the original had four animatronics (Five if you count Golden Freddy), the sequel has ten. Possibly up to fourteen, depending on which ones you count.
- In Five Nights at Freddy's 3, the restaurant has been converted into a haunted house-style attraction at an amusement park riding off the horrible history. They recently found a never-before-seen animatronic that just might be usable... And contains the rotting corpse of that child-murderer, incidentally.
- In Five Nights at Freddy's 4, the pizzeria is heavy inspiration for the protagonist's coma-induced nightmares. He's even locked in the spare parts room at some point!
- Oh, and just to add insult to injury, fanon generally holds that the food's lousy as well.
- In Sunset Overdrive, the Oxfords hide in such a place, called "Sasquatch and Friends". The animatronic band includes Sasquatch, as well as the Loch Ness Monster, a Cyclops, and a Unicorn.
- 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. They revisit it at the end of part 5, only to find that the club could have just met in Clyde's mom's basement all along.
- 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.
- The Non-Adventures of Wonderella: 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.
- The late 1990s/early 2000s webcomic Surf Rat and Spencer featured a child's birthday party storyline at "Chunk E. Cheddar", where the comic's title characters were able to gauge the age of the restaurant from the number of layers of duct tape on the seats, and the current occupant of the chain's mascot suit challenged Surf Rat (an anthropomorphic rat) to a fistfight (encouraged by the children at the party) for looking too similar to him.
- Kim Possible has "J.P. Bearymore's Pizza Partytorium" in the "Coach Possible" episode (referenced in the page quote). It is later destroyed in season 4 then rebuilt. Note that Jim, Tim and Ron love the place unironically whereas Kim and Mrs. Dr. P view it with amazing amounts of dread.
- Rugrats has "Piggy's Pizza Palace". A slight subversion with the main costumed character; the actor in the Piggy suit clearly seems to enjoy his job, even though he gets hurt while doing so (thanks to the Rugrats' shenanigans.) By the end he's bandaged and his arm in a sling while still in full costume, but still eager to say good-bye to the kids (and scare Chuckie in the process, of course.)
- There's another one in an earlier episode, "The Slide", which looked pretty decent. However, the place had a terribly high slide and, when Chuckie accidentally got on to it, it scared him silly and got him to swear off sliding for awhile.
- My Gym Partner's a Monkey has the very similarly-named Pig E. Porker's Pizza Palace.
- Dexter's Laboratory has "Chubby Cheese's", which featured animatronic Hanna-Barbera characters doing the Mushroom Samba with Dexter and employees who were part of a secret conspiracy, complete with Bond-style hidden lair.
- There's a parody called "Yucky Cheese" in Being Ian.
- Wall E. Weasel's ("We cram fun down your throat!") from The Simpsons. Also on season ten's "Bart the Mother," there was a place generically called "Family Fun Center." The joke is that this seemingly normal place was featured on one of FOX's "reality" specials of the mid-to-late 1990s (you know, the ones titled, "When Animals Attack" and "World's Wildest Police Chases"), in this case, it was featured on the fictitious special, "When Disaster Strikes 4".note
"You're the birthday, you're the birthday, you're the birthday boy or girl!"
- In the Family Guy episode "Chitty Chitty Death Bang", Lois has booked Cheesie Charlie's for Stewie's birthday party. It's a nice enough place, but when Peter has a disagreement with the management and cancels the reservation he was supposed to confirm for her, he tells her a ridiculous story about how the restaurant/playground was actually a Haunted Castle deathtrap to justify what he did.
"Oh I'm sorry, you need fifteen tickets to live!""Welcome to Cheesie Charlie's. Heil Hitler!"
- Ironically, a real Chuck E. Cheese's eventually appears in "Bill and Peter's Bogus Journey."
- In another episode, Stewie mentions a visit to Chuck E Cheese's had to be cancelled because a 4 year old died in the ball pit.
- Also ironic, in Real Life, Chuck E. Cheese's is called Charlie Cheese's in Australia.
- On The Cleveland Show, Rallo Tubbs took a date to another Cheesie Charlie's location.
- Pinky from Pinky and the Brain throws a birthday party for Brain at "Chunky Cheesy."
- South Park:
- The show has Crust E. Crotch, a direct pastiche of Chuck E. Cheese's. It also features Whistling Willy's, a real life knock-off in Denver, as well as Casa Bonita, a real Mexican-themed restaurant and fun house in Denver.
- Raisins = Hooters for eight-year-olds.
- Invader Zim has the rather unsavory Bloaty's Pizza Hog. Being from a Crapsack World it was probably the worst of the bunch.
Bloaty eat too many pizza. Bloaty hate his life.
- The mascot is disgustingly fat (so much so that children sink into him) and the person under the costume is even fatter.
- To exemplify how far it gets taken, the credits of the episode list an actor as voicing Animatronic Horrors. The description is quite apt.
- Tom Goes To The Mayor has WW Laserz in the episode of the same name, a World War II-themed place complete with an animatronic doo-wop singing Hitler.
- Macki Macaw's from Lilo & Stitch: The Series. The Experiment of the episode was convinced to take over the broken animatronics so it could indulge its attention-seeking nature and use its ability to control inanimate objects to help others instead of hurt them.
- Cheezy Sneezer's in Tiny Toon Adventures. Although the name brings to mind Caesarland, a Chuck E. Cheese's expy created by Little Caesars.
- In the short-lived cartoon adaptation of Baby Blues, there was a Chuck E. Cheese knock-off called Gum Drop Station. The place wasn't all that bad, but it did feature a busty blonde singer in a white tank top and short-shorts known as "The Birthday Lady" as Parent Service for the bored dads.
- In the Aqua Teen Hunger Force episode "Spirit Journey Formation Anniversary", Master Shake assumes "ownership" of an abandoned Pizza Potamus restaurant (apparently a licensing spinoff of the Hanna-Barbera character Peter Potamus, later of Harvey Birdman, Attorney at Law); the obligatory animatronic musicians were a pair of giant, realistic-looking, banjo-playing robot scorpions—to which Shake added Zakk Wylde "on washtub bass". In keeping with the usual tendencies of the show, it blows up before the episode is out. That is also where they took MC Pee Pants to apply for a job...before he/it is blown up.
- The Phineas and Ferb episode "Raging Bully" featured Gunther Goatcheese's, "the goat-cheesiest place in Drusselstein", and site of Dr. Doofenshmirtz's miserable childhood birthdays.
- An episode of Duck Dodgers featured a pasta place with a scary animatronic dinosaur mascot. When he was destroyed by Rocky and Mugsy, the kids all cheered.
- The Mighty B! had one with an Australian theme to it; the main mascot being a kangaroo with the accent. Which a supporting character fell in love with and stole.
- Chowder did something similar, with Shnitzel stealing Carlito con Queso's mascot.
- The Fairly OddParents: No one came to Tootie's birthday party at "Mike E. Mozzarella's Pizza Funhouse" because of Vicky...and Timmy ignoring the invitations in favor of the free passes for him and his two friends, Chester and A.J., but mostly Vicky, but the majority of it is Timmy turning down the invitations for the free passes, seriously, did he miss some signs?
- Pizza Forest in Daria. In the premiere episode, Daria insists on going here with her family, just to torture them.
- Although the family went there for what Daria claimed to be the sake of her self-esteem. The minute she joined in on the singing with the entertainers in animal costumes, Helen noticeably perked up.
- An episode of Tuff Puppy, T.U.F.F.'s headquarters got bombed, so they rented a version called "Peet-Za Possum's" as a temporary headquarters. It makes just as much sense in context. Reality ensures when some of the agents get pink eye from the ball pit. Thankfully, it was bombed later in the episode.
- In the episode, "Quacky Birthday", Quacky the Duck creates "Duck E. Cheese's" as part of his plan to destroy Dudley.
- Birdz averts this with Ducky Cheese's, which is apparently a.) a good place for actual pizza, and b.) more of a traditional pizzeria than a funhouse one.
- Goof Nuts Pizza in the animated series of Napoleon Dynamite, where the animatronic animals songs are all about pizza (BTO's "Takin Care Of Business" becomes "Takin Care Of Pizza). Kip Dynamite is shown to be a huge fan of Goof Nuts Pizza, to the degree of taking his new girlfriend there on a date and burning her a mixtape of the animals' pizza songs.
- The Family Fun Center in the Bob's Burgers episode "Burgerboss" includes an animatronic band of some sort.
- Chowder: Carlito con Quesos features in "Weekend at Shnitzel's". Shnitzel falls in love with animatronic singer Senorita Mesquite.
- One of these appears in the Regular Show episode "Fuzzy Dice" which the Park Crew dread going to, but have to do so since it's were the titular dice are being held and a birthday present Pops wants. And indeed the place is an absolute mess; sticky floors, unruly children and apathetic employees (save for the woman at the front who wouldn't let them in without a kidnote . The crew have to dress up Rigby to gain entrance). It turns out that the animatronic characters are actually a trio of criminals who have been waiting out the statute of limitations on a diamond heist they perpetrated.
- In "Keen On Keane," The Powerpuff Girls secretly set up a date between their teacher Ms. Keane and their dad Professor Utonium, with the date taking place at a kiddie pizza restaurant. A nonplussed waiter in a canine mascot costume comes up to the couple, and mustering whatever dignity he has left says in monotone, "Bowa wowa wowa...may I take your order nowa?"
- The Pizza Swamp in Clarence, which features such games as Big Betty, Money Broom, and a seal-whacking game that ends with the line, "Good job clubber, now collect your blubber!"
- The Gravity Falls episode "Soos and the Real Girl" introduces such a place, Hoo-Ha Owl's Pizza-ma-tronic Jamboree. It's actually a pretty decent place, and Soos takes his date Melody there, but things go awry when he's followed by crazy virtual girl Giffany and she possesses the animatronics.
- There's also a side plot about Stan trying to steal an animatronic badger because he needs a kid-appeal attraction for the Mystery Shack.
"WHO WANTS TO GET BADGERED?!"
- There's also a side plot about Stan trying to steal an animatronic badger because he needs a kid-appeal attraction for the Mystery Shack.
- In the Wander over Yonder episode "The Fremergency Fronfract", Wander and Sylvia take a brain-zapped Lord Hater to a place called "Gelatinous Bob's".
- Rick and Morty averts this with Blips and Chitz, which actually appears to be a pretty awesome intergalactic arcade with cutting edge, futuristic games.