"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
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.)
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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.
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's in Hollywood Studios at Walt Disney World. (Tragically, the real version isn'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.
Films — Live-Action
- 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
- 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 Freddy Fazbear suit).
- There is a sequel I meant 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.
- Its true sequel has nothing to do with this trope, as Five Nights at Freddy's 3 acutally takes place an Pizzera-like Horror ride that' s getting some Nostalgia Filter for adults who used like this place.
- 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.
- 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.