Abhorrent Admirer: GLaDOS is not amused by Claptrap's flirtations, at first saying she's ambivalent but later saying he makes her nauseous.
Actor Allusion: Ash sometimes wonder "What would Chuck Finley do?" while pondering his move. Ash is portrayed by Bruce Campbell except in this game and the Evil Dead musical, and Chuck Finley is the often used alias and in-universe Memetic Badass alter ego of Sam Axe, Bruce Campbell's character in Burn Notice.
He also mocks the name "Sam Axe" in a conversation with Sam.
In general, Ash seems like a composite of Ash the fictional character and Bruce Campbell the actor, aware of his other roles (besides Burn Notice, there's a nod to The Adventures of Brisco County, Jr. when he mentions he wore a cowboy hat for a stint in the 90's, and says you can't go wrong with The King when Claptrap envisions himself growing Elvis hair), knows who Sam Raimi is, and acknowledges the fact that he's been in many crossover comics (Freddy vs. Jason vs. Ash is alluded to in particular). On the other hand, he's quick to promote the wares at S-Mart, and treats the events of the Evil Dead series as if they really happened. He's also unaware of all of the merchandise relating to the franchise when the others start commenting on it, ranging from Brock's comment on the director's cut to Sam's own remark on the action figures.
Claptrap: I just realized that the four of us represent the four pillars of geek media! Movies! Television! Comics! Video games!
Sam: I was in comics? How embarrassing.
And the Adventure Continues: When Sam is eliminated from the Sam & Max 25th Anniversary tournament, Max shows up in an elevatornote the time machine from Season Two and tells Sam that he found a group of 16th century cradle robbers. ACTUAL cradle robbers. Binkies, pacifiers, the whole shebang! Then the two head off.
And Your Rewards Are Table Felts, Chips, and Card Decks: In addition to the Borderlands 2 heads and skins, Team Fortress 2 items, avatar awards, and XMB themes, you'll also unlock cosmetic items for your table themed around the characters. Using all three items for one character unlocks a special version of the Inventory where the chosen character is dressed differently (with the exception of GLaDOS), opponents eliminated occasionally meet a unique fate, a special scene plays out when the player wins a tournament and special conversations are unlocked.
The Venture Bros. inventory changes the Inventory to represent Venture Industries, places some of Rusty's inventions around the building, and puts Brock in more casual clothing. GLaDOS will personally toss eliminated players into Rusty's teleporter from the episode "Powerless in the Face of Death".
The Borderlands inventory changes the Inventory to look like Moxxi's bar in Sanctuary from Borderlands 2, complete with Borderlands music. Claptrap is dressed from his appearance at the Underdome Bank and Spike TV Video Game Awards. Steve (heyooo!) also makes an appearance, firing rockets at eliminated players (except Sam. They actually get along pretty well.).
The Evil Dead inventory changes the Inventory into a spooky forest, similar to where Ash met Evil Ash in Army of Darkness. Ash gets Evil Ash's skull hat as a clothing change, there is no background music (only ambient noise) and eliminated players are sucked into the Necronomicon after Max says a variation on Klaatu Barada Nikto.
The Sam & Max inventory changes the Inventory to resemble Sam and Max's office, and dresses Sam up in a tuxedo and top hat and Max in a bow tie. Max will mess around with eliminated players (except Sam, obviously).
The Portal inventory changes the Inventory to resemble a test chamber. The Portal 2 soundtrack mixes from the "Songs to Test By" release play as background music. As mentioned before, GLaDOS does not get a skin change, but Claptrap gets a skin to make him look like an Aperture Science turret. Eliminated players would have a portal open underfoot to send them away from the table.
Antimatter: Max references it when doing his Jason Alexander impression.
Max: And hey, what is the deeeeal with antipasta? Does it blow up when it touches regular pasta? I mean, come on!
GLaDOS says that when an object passes through a portal, it gains an insignificant amount of fractal positronic antimatter.
Art Evolution: Sam's appearance utilizes darker shading, slightly altered proportions, and you can see some slight fur details.
As stated in this forum post, one of the wishlist items for developers was getting Sam as close as possible to his design in the Sam & Max comics.
Max also looks a bit different; his nose is much darker in this game compared to the original.
Bi the Way: During a showdown, Ash might say this:
Looks like this could go both ways. I had a girlfriend like that once. [smirks]
Biting-the-Hand Humor: Brock doesn't think too highly of Cartoon Network execs, and Claptrap thinks similarly of Gearbox, although his actual thoughts are replaced by a coding subroutine in his programming that temporarily makes him praise them instead.
GLaDOS: This reminds me of the time my lab rats fought each other over a piece of cheese. The funny thing is, they didn't NEED the cheese. They were just conditioned to WANT the cheese through weeks of electrical stimulation. In the end, the rats killed each other, and the cheese was eaten by one of the human test subjects. He died too, because the cheese was moldy.
In one conversation, Claptrap asks Sam what's next for Telltale. Sam replies that he's just glad someone touched up the models of him and Max.
Claptrap also acknowledges Sam's been in comics. He responds, "How embarrassing," and Ash says it's not so bad (he's been in several crossover comics himself).
If you're playing the demo version, GLaDOS will mention that the tournament reminds her of a joke, but won't tell it unless someone buys the full version of the game.
Claptrap says something similar.
Claptrap: I'm shutting down my award-winning conversation subroutines until SOMEONE opens up their wallet!
If you go for a while without making a move, Claptrap may have this to say—
Claptrap: Hey! Buddy! Are you just idling so you can hear the crap we say? *says some gibberish* Is this hidden dialogue entertaining to you? *says some more gibberish*
Ash will sometimes say "Hey buddy, stop looking up poker strategies on your cell phone and make a move!", which is invokedHilarious in Hindsight on the iOS version, as iOS is well known for being the operating system for the iPhone.
Bribing Your Way to Victory: In-game version. You can buy your opponents drinks with the Inventory Tokens you've amassed. Doing this will make their tells easier to spot, but you still need to be able to interpret them properly to truly take advantage of it.
Butt Monkey: Ash, as part of a callback to his source material. He's introduced by being thrown out of a window by an offscreen Deadite, and some of his eliminations are the most hilarious.
Winning on the Army of Darkness set references the original ending of the film, with the Player drinking too many drops of a sleeping potion given to him by Winslow. The Player wakes up an sees everyone (including GLADoS and Claptrap) with grey beards, and Brock telling you that an alien invasion is occurring. Unlike the film, this is implied to be a prank by the other players.
Caps Lock: When Sam wins a hand, he'll sometimes say he's "all caps in". When the subtitles are on, the words "all caps in" is in all caps, which would usually be for yelling or to put emphisis on a word, since italics weren't implemented. This means that this was meant for a joke.
Carry the One: Claptrap will sometimes say "carry the three" when thinking about a move.
Cel Shading: Brock and some of the models for the Venture Bros. set use this.
Centipede's Dilemma: Defied by Claptrap when Sam asks him how he balances on only one wheel. At first he plays along and pretends to fall off balance, but blows it off and explains that he's got hundreds of gyroscopes all over his body.
Chainsaw Good: Ash (of course) suggests this method for taking care of the zombies in the trailer.
When Ash is eliminated in the Sam & Max 25th anniversary room, Max steals Ash's chainsaw and chases him off with it.
One of Ash's animations during the "dramatic dealing" is him holding his chainsaw up on the poker table.
Closet Geek: Sam. He's apparently quite fond of action figures and trading cards, and several of his lines reference science fiction.
Cluster Bleep Bomb: When Claptrap is eliminated, he may say that all his money was provided to him by Gearbox. He then gets a phone call from the company, telling him about unwarranted expenditures. Claptrap hangs up and then says a long series of bleeps in anger.
Color-Coded for Your Convenience: Each character has an unique color for his or her subtitles. Brock is red, Claptrap is orange, Ash is a greenish gray, Sam is blue, GLaDOS is cyan, Winslow is peach-orange, Max is green, the Paranoia Core bounty is blue as well, and Steve's "Heyoo!" is yellow. However, the subtitles at times can be unreadable depending on the skin.
The elevator used to enter the Inventory in the first game is seen in this game's intro, but has an "out of order" sign on it.
Sam mentions that the stakes previously used to be ten-thousand dollars.
When Brock questions GLaDOS on the fate of Cave Johnson, the AI mentions that all files of Cave have been deleted and destroyed, referencing the events of Portal 2 where GLaDOS herself deletes all records of Caroline's existence as they reminded her too much of her former humanity.
Deliberately Monochrome: The Sam & Max anniversary theme gets a sepia filter to reflect how positively ancient 25 years is.note By comparison, the first Evil Dead film released ~32 years before this game, making Ash the oldest character at the table.
Deliberate Values Dissonance: Played for Laughs in one conversation in the Borderlands 2 Inventory. Sam wonders if there are any vending machines on Pandora that sell candy bars like the ones on Earth. Claptrap says that vending machines with candy bars is ridiculous, mentioning that Earth has a obesity epidemic, and that thanks to Pandora's vending machines selling guns, the children there are lean fighting machines.
Demoted to Extra: Max goes from one of the main poker players to a background character. He still joins in conversations occasionally, and even jumps onto the table when Sam wins a hand to collect the pot for him. According to Sam and GLaDOS, Max has crippling impulse control, which meant he couldn't stop playing. It wasn't a problem, because he always won. But the Inventory banned him from playing because he kept eating the chips.
A framed screenshot of the original cast can be seen down the stairs in the intro. It's practically impossible to miss it.
Winslow has a significantly smaller role, having given GLaDOS his former role as the announcer in this game. To compensate, he has more screentime pre- and post-tournament than in the previous game. (He's also referred to by name now, while he was just "the host" in the first.)
Claptrap: Let's see if I can suck you in with a bet that doesn't trigger your primitive flight reflex. Oh, wait, did I say that out loud?
Claptrap also says something like this when eliminated.
Claptrap: Beaten by humans. Man, am I gonna catch hell from the other robots at the next "Kill the Humans!" meeting. Wait, forget I said that last part.
Sam occasionally screws himself over this way
Sam: I could probably bluff my way through this hand...but since I just said that out loud, I think I'll fold
If the player makes a big bet on a bad hand, GLaDOS will sometimes comment on the bluff, then remark that she probably shouldn't have said anything aloud.
Disproportionate Retribution: Downplayed. Since Brock has a legal license to kill people, Steve should consider himself lucky that firing a rocket at him only resulted in Brock beating the crap out of him. Of course, Brock is on thin ice with the Inventory management due to his hair-trigger temper getting the better of him.
Does Not Like Guns: Brock, of course, is a knife guy, so when the Inventory is Borderlands-themed he mentions uncomfortably how gun-centric Pandora seems and asks if there's any good melee weapons on the planet. Claptrap scoffs and says that guys who go melee are usually losers, which really hurts Brock's feelings.
Dub Step: Brock isn't a fan of Claptrap's wub wubs. He asks if he can play any Led Zeppelin or anything like that instead. Claptrap says he'd better get used to it, as the dub is the only thing that survives the Great Digital Event Horizon of 2033. BOOM!
Brock: Great. Another reason to die young.
Dude, Not Funny!: invoked During Ash's last story about Wendy, Claptrap will ask him if he has seen any good books lately ( Wendy is actually a book called the Nocimonorcen.). Brock is quick to call him out on this.
Everyone Has Standards: Ash and Brock have a huge body count for deaths, and are not often the friendliest of guys, but the minute Claptrap starts insulting Sam, they jump to his defense stating that Sam has saved the world from so many threats during his career as Freelance Police.
Evil Laugh: Ash indulges in one when he's in the lead during a showdown. Sam also lets out a creepy one on good hands, and then will claim it's because he's remembering Max's "joke about sucking chest wounds".
Face Palm: A blatant tell Ash can do to indicate his hand isn't going well is facing upward while holding onto his face with his hands, followed by angrily thumping his fists onto the table once.
Featureless Protagonist: Lampshaded by Sam, who states that the Player reminds him of everyone, and yet no one in particular. Upon being eliminated though, he might mention how those "Big bushy eyebrows" give away your tell though.
After winning in the Sam and Max 25th Anniversary room, Sam will alter his "You don't even like girls" catchphrase to reflect the unspecific gender of the Player.
Flat "What.": Sometimes when you bet a lot, reraise, or go all in, Claptrap's response will be a flat "Really..."
Funny Background Event: Sometimes during a dramatic showdown, Max (or Claptrap, once he's eliminated) will be hanging from the ceiling or falling off something in the background.
Gender-Blender Name: Discussed in one conversation, with, of course, Ash. Brock mentions that he was expecting someone different when he heard the name Ashley Williams, and goes on to mention other names that were formerly male, like Beverly and Vivian.
Girls with Moustaches: Winning the tournament in the Army of Darkness room results in Winslow giving The Player a potion that will make them sleep until the next tournament. The Player drinks too much of it, falls asleep, and awakes to find that everyone, including Moxxi, Claptrap, and GLaDOS, has grown a beard, and that an alien invasion has taken place during his slumber. The Player ends up fainting, and the tournament ends with Ash saying he knew the fake beards wouldn't work.
Ash also said that he was going to flip a coin to decide who to vote for on the 2012 election.
Hero of Another Story: Each character has an offscreen storyline that they'll update the rest of the table on every few tournaments (though only one will be going on at a time). For example, Ash proposes to his girlfriend and begins suspecting she's not what she seems, while Sam tries to figure out what Chosen One prophecy Max has gotten in the middle of this week.
In the same conversation, Brock mentions that a lot of people tell him he sounds like someguytheysawonTV.
Humans Are Special: When Brock and Ash are still at the table, GLaDOS will mention that she's surprised that after everything they've experienced, they're still playing poker and cracking bad jokes, and not become stark raving mad. She finds it anomalous, to which Brock says that is why robots will never understand humans- because humans are just full of anomalies. And Ash LIKES his jokes.
Aside from being one, the game also mocks Ash's tendency to end up in these even joking that there were going to be Evil Dead crossovers with James Bond and Degrassi.
Interface Screw: Sometimes GLaDOS blocks The Player's view of the game. Max will do the same if the player takes too long to make a move, as will Claptrap if he's been eliminated.
Sam alters the color filters while demonstrating how dogs see color to Claptrap.
Interface Spoiler: While four special items are presented in-game, the Bounties menu has a fifth, very familiar silhouette: an Aperture Science personality core. Specifically, the Paranoia Core GlaDOS offers as a Bounty Challenge once you've won the first four items.
Irony: When Sam asks Brock and Ash how they manage to stay in shape, the topic about eating healthy and staying in shape is brought up. Sam is genuinely surprised to learn that there were other foods out there that aren't junk food. Sam wonders if he can get in shape by changing his diet, but GLaDOS scans Sam's body and finds that the preservatives in all the junk food he's eating is pretty much the only thing keeping him alive at this point, but it's also the contributor to his girth.
Lantern Jaw of Justice: During one of the table conversations, Sam will admire Brock's and Ash's chins, and say that he isn't proud of his. They tell him that it's not the size of the chin, it's what you do with it that counts.
Late-Arrival Spoiler: Sam outright spoils much of "The City That Dares Not Sleep" when he discusses Brock's vocal resemblance to Sal.
Letterbox: For whatever reason, this appears when Claptrap gets eliminated in the Borderlands theme.
Logic Bomb: Claptrap manages to give himself one, after and by claiming that he's immune to them. GLaDOS is not amused.
Luck-Based Mission: a doubly painful one. Bad luck to get 'Win a showdown with only a high card', and then nigh-Unwinnable to have that. It means that you have to win a hand by only having a better card than your opponent, and something as feeble as a pair of 2s can blow it for you. And, from the forums, it seems to be very common to get that challenge as one of the three for GLaDOS's item, which is the last unlockable.
Claptrap and Sam are fully aware of their status as fictional characters. Claptrap even offers to put Sam and Max in a Borderlands 2 expansion while they wait for Sam and Max season 4's release and compares the genres of both series. Claptrap also knows the release date of Sam and Max' first adventure (1987) and notes that this should be their 26th anniversary, not the 25th.
Ash is about to mentions Sam Raimi as the person who wrote his most famous lines, but gets cut off by Brock before saying Sam's last name. He also references MGM, saying they promised to give him a crossover with James Bond (their flagship series). See also his Actor Allusion moment.
Brock mentions Cartoon Network by name (and curses their lawyers). For Brock however this is Justified because even in The Venture Bros., Rusty was the star of cartoons and video games, so Brock featuring in some sort of media would not be too far removed.
One of Brock's stories talks about both Rusty and himself being in video games. It starts with Sam asking about Rusty having a video game in the '70s, with Brock confirming it, but it was So Bad, It's Horrible that it made "the E.T. game look like Halo". Claptrap then asks if Brock was ever a video game star, with Brock responding with a cryptic "not intentionally". He goes on to explain that some development studio decided to be funny and use his likeness in a Mortal Kombat knock-off named "Immortal Bomcat" as an unlockable Easter Egg fighter. Named Tutu Blondie. Who was implied to be Manly Gay. And had a Kiss of Death fatality. Needless to say, they went bankrupt... with extreme prejudice.
Sam: Winning streaks are like dating a beautiful women. Enjoy them while you can, because it's only a matter of time before they dump you for being weird and clingy.
Mood Whiplash: Can happen when a character goes in, especially during the middle of a dialogue sequence running. The worst example is when the other players, as well as GLaDOS and Winslow, serenade Sam and Max, and Brock suddenly cuts in with, "I'm all fucking in!"
My Friends... and Zoidberg: GLaDOS says, "Gentlemen... and Claptrap." Justified in that Claptrap is a robot. But it's more likely because GLaDOS seems to hate him especially.
In the Borderlands set, Claptrap will don a top hat — and a old-time 19th century mustache. (This is the character design from the Claptrap who runs the storage locker counter at Moxxi's Underdome in the DLC for the first Borderlands.)
In the Sam and Max set, Sam wears a top hat.
In the Army of Darkness set, Ash dons his Evil Ash crown. Borderlands and Team Fortress 2 players can win it for themselves if they successfully win a tournament where Ash offers the Necronomicon Ex-Mortis as a bounty.
As part of their normal outfits, both Sam and Moxxi wear nice hats.
Noodle Incident: Ash tells Brock that S-Mart once sold some Venture Industries products. "Vibrating space bras". Brock apologizes for it, but Ash says that it wasn't his fault for it, and after the recall, they made a buttload of money selling skin ointment.
Most of Sam's comments about the state of the game qualify:
Sam: I haven't seen so many weak-kneed checks since Max won the Eastern Bloc Karaoke Finals. Max:Alis klar, der Komissar?
Max sometimes subverts the trope with a response he randomly gives:
Ash: I'd put these cards out of their misery, but I don't want to waste a bullet.
Obvious Beta: The iOS version. This version is just an ugly mess of bugs. Most of the time when launching it, it crashes right back to the Springboard before it can get to the first Loading Screen. And when it actually loads, your dealing with a huge amount of Loads and Loads of Loading in game because it slows down a lot, mostly unresponsive touch screen controls, and (if you playing on an iPod or iPhone) cards that aren't easy to see depending on the skin.
The PC version is slightly buggy as well, but nowhere near as bad. Nothing game-breaking, as it mostly consists of characters abruptly cutting into different animations.
Oh Crap: During a showdown, the characters will sometimes say something indicating they know they're getting screwed when the tides turn against them. They'll have even more dire lines when the hand progresses to a point where it's impossible for them to win.
Brock: Geeze, usually I get a little FOREPLAY before I get kicked in the balls!
According to GLaDOS's history records, Brock's ancestry traces all the way back to Ash starting it in the 14th century.
Aperture Science founder Cave Johnson also apparently used to work with Rusty Venture's father, Dr. Jonas Venture.
The Other Darrin: Invoked and Lampshaded by Claptrap, who asks Sam and Max what happened to their voices since Hit the Road and Sam & Max: Freelance Police (directly referencing the former's tone). Sam claims he started seeing a speech coach and Max just never stopped using a Jason Alexander impression and his voice slowly changed as a result.
If playing in the Borderlands set, Claptrap will suggest that Ash switch out his "primitive boomstick" for a Torgue Brand boomstick.
Apparently, Ash's hand taps out "D-R-I-N-K-M-O-R-E-B-A-N-A-N-G". GLaDOS concludes it's been possessed by a marketing department.
Reverse Psychology Marketing: The game was officially announced on April Fool's Day, causing many to assume it to be an elaborate hoax. Those who were taking note of Team Fortress 2 updates, however, noticed that the winnable TF2 items were added to the game's files on March 12, 2013, two weeks before the game was even teased.
Robo Romance: Claptrap with GLaDOS: "Hubba hubba!" It's one-sided however. GLaDOS tells Claptrap that she feels nothing but apathy for him.
She does, however, agree with Claptrap's claim that his diesel fuel-scented cologne drives robo-ladies like her insane - "just like Lizzie Borden".
Self-Deprecation: Claptrap may say "That was more anti climatic then my sex tape!" after there's a draw.
Sequel Difficulty Drop: As far as getting items is concerned. For the special items, in the first game, the chances to get them came up randomly, and you had to specifically knock the character out to win the item. In this game, you earn a shot at one of the special items by completing certain objectives, and once you get the chance, all you have to do is win that tournament to get the item. You're given more forewarning, and you don't have to change your strategy to try to win the item, so it's less nerve-wracking overall. And for the tables, card backs, and chips, you buy them with inventory tokens, and you'll get some tokens even if you lost the tournament, so you'll unlock everything eventually.
The first game mostly reused models from existing games and drew its cast mostly from properties Telltale already had in easy reach (Tycho being the only mutual exception). The sequel features more distant properties and more new models (as well as a few touch-ups on the pre-existing ones).
The player can unlock more versions of the Inventory for use, all with their own events. And unlike before, the humor is not always restricted to the table and its occupants.
You can now buy drinks from Moxxi to get other players drunk so you can see their tells more often, unlike Poker Night 1 in which you had to watch carefully to see an opponent's tell.
It's also escalated from a quantitative standpoint. The buy-in for the first game was $10,000; in this game, it's $20,000! And the starting blinds are $400-$800 instead of $100-$200.
Similarly, Claptrap recommends buying the Conference Call, one of the most powerful guns of Borderlands 2. He tries to shill out Torgue brand shotguns (specifically, the Boomstick, a boss drop from the first Borderlands and obvious reference to Ash's weapon) to Ash as well. Ash asks if he'd be able to set it on his shoulder and fire it backwards without looking, just like how he demonstrates with his own boomstick, but Claptrap says "not without blowing your kneecaps off."
When Ash wins a hand, he'll draw his shotgun and use it to rake in the pot if it's gotten big enough.
Skyward Scream: Brock will occasionally belt one out if he loses with a good hand, though he does stay in his seat.
Smooch of Victory: Given if you win in the 25th Sam & Max Anniversary setting... by Max.
Social Semi-Circle: The Player is the only person on one half of the poker table, facing the other four characters.
Spit Take: One of Claptrap's reactions when someone goes all-in (even if he wasn't drinking anything.)
"That's just an old wives' tale, like representative democracy." "If I wanted garbage thrown at me all night, I'd stay at home and watch C-SPAN." "If you guys keep indulging my transparent dishonesty, I'm going to have to run for Congress."
Sam: You know, I'm still not really sure what a "Deadite" actually is. Ash: It all starts with an evil book that must never ever be read. Sam: Battlefield Earth?
Silent Antagonist: Sam considers the Player to be this. He sounds quite relieved when you're eliminated, because he can't stand being watched intensely by an eerily silent folk.
Sam: How am I supposed to make witty banter with a mute?
Sam: How am I supposed to make small talk with a mute?
Brock isn't pleased either:
Brock: Great. Trapped in a showdown with Captain Small Talk here.
Though he does respect you for being the silent type, as he says he enjoys playing with you because of it if he beats you in a showdown.
Weirdness Magnet: Brock, Ash, and Sam all reference how often this happens in their respective series, and how, even despite all that, Brock and Ash think The Inventory is still weird. Sam is rather unmoved about it all.
GLaDOS: Maybe. Or maybe you're just too cowardly to turn lemons into lemonade.
Who Wants to Live Forever?: Sam and Brock briefly discuss how dull it would be to live as an immortal jellyfish. Claptrap then notes his depression at the concept of being immortal as long as he gets a battery change. Sam and Brock both reassure him that he won't live long enough before "ennui of immortality sets in".
Writers Cannot Do Math: Sam says that even though the Sam & Max franchise started out in 1987 (which would make it their 26th anniversary), it's their 25th anniversary since they "skipped 2004"- The justification being that 2004 was the only year where some form of media relating to the Sam & Max series was NOT released. Comic books, video games, etc. However, it would still be 26th regardless.