Video Game: Sam & Max: Freelance Police
Sam: Random but innocuous comment.
Max: Irreverent reply which hints at mental instability!
Sam: You crack me up, little buddy!
A long-awaited sequel to Sam & Max Hit the Road
was announced by LucasArts in 2002, but in March of 2004 the project was unceremoniously canceled
. Fans were incensed, as were several members of the LucasArts team, who left to found their own game company: Telltale Games
. In 2005, Telltale announced they would be working with Steve Purcell to produce an episodic Sam & Max adventure game, and in late 2006, the first episode of Sam & Max: Season One
Over the course of six episodes (the final one released in May of 2007), our heroes matched wits with former child stars, a bossy talk show host, the Toy Mafia, the U.S. government, the Internet, and a cult leader in order to foil a series of mass-hypnosis plots. Sam and Max: Season 2
(running from November 2007 to April 2008) had the Freelance Police facing demonic possession in Santa's workshop, the Bermuda Triangle, a Goth vampire and his army of club-hopping zombies, a sinister cabal known only as T-H-E-M, and the forces of Hell. The complete Season 1 for Wii was released in 2008. In 2009, Telltale announced that Seasons 1 and 2 would be on Xbox LIVE Arcade
, under different names (Sam and Max Save the World
and Sam and Max Beyond Time and Space
, respectively). Most other places that sell the games online, like Steam and Telltale's official site, have switched to those names, as well.
The third season, Sam & Max: The Devil's Playhouse
, has its own page.
Contains examples of:
- Accidental Misnaming:
- A running gag is how Girl Stinky never addresses Sam and Max by their names, but picks a random moniker every time. She remembers their names just fine; it is her way of saying she just doesn't care.
Max: Barnaby and Jug-Jug?! ...you're not even trying with the names anymore, are you?
- If you use psychic ventriloquism on her in Episode 304, Max tries to imitate her, but acknowledges that it's harder to come up with those names than it looks.
- Adam Smith Hates Your Guts: Bosco's Inconvenience.
Bosco: Look, all I know is, I keep making up the most ridiculous price I can think of, and you keep payin' it! So I ask you, who's the foo'?
- Adventure Duo: In the episode "Abe Lincoln Must Die!", a relationship quiz the two take says the person they are most compatible with... are each other. (Of course, the quiz was given by Sybil, and Sam and Max seem to be the only people she knows... and she doesn't exactly try to hide the fact that she's neither using a computer nor making an effort.)
- And then there's Max's reaction in "Reality 2.0" when Sybil describes him and Sam as "luddites"...
Max: We're just very good friends!
- Afterlife Express: In What's New, Beelzebub?
- Always Night: Season 3, the Zombie Apocalypse episode and the humongous rampaging Cthulhu episode. Lampshaded when Sam admires how the city looks at night.
- Affably Evil:
- Aggressive Negotiations: Evoked for laughs as Max, President Evil of the United States, uses his Peacemaker (gun) to ensure successful Peace Summits. In the end, when Hell literally freezes over, Max is awarded the Nobel Prize For Peace!
- Ambiguously Gay: Jurgen ("I never knew vampires were so... fruity.")
- Hugh Bliss turns into a rainbow and has a calendar with "Gaypril" as a month (although it might just be in the sense of the superlative like all of the calendar's other months). Then again, he's really a sentient colony of space bacteria and probably has no preference one way or the other.
- Animated Actors: The entire cast is this for the Hilarious Outtakes.
- A Rare Sentence: From the last section of Season 1
Hugh Bliss: Hi! We're Hugh Bliss. A spacefaring colony of sentient bacteria!
Sam: A sentence I really did not expect to hear today.
- Arson, Murder, and Jaywalking:
Agent Superball: Statistical analysis stated that Max becoming a gargantuan hell-beast was the second most likely outcome.
Sam: What was the most likely outcome?
- As You Know: Admirably few blatant examples of this in the Telltale games, considering how much continuity piles up. Lampshaded in "The Penal Zone", when Grandpa Stinky complains about Sam doing this.
Sam: Max is all short term memory; I occasionally have to bring him back up to speed.
Max: Aah! GIANT TALKING DOG!
- Also occurs in season one, episode 5:
Max: It's a good thing your protective hat and my non-compatible brain render us both impervious to hypnotism!
- Ask a Stupid Question... — The list of items Sam asks Bosco for includes:
Complimentary fresh garlic, fine leather jackets
, gumballs the size of your head, +2 Plate Armor of Limitless Squeezeability, PEZ dispensers with the head of infamous Mexican revolutionary Pancho Villa, stray tufts of sasquatch hair, hats in the shape of a cow udder, rubber chickens with a pulley in the middle
, amulets of protection against greater hypnosis, potatoes in the likeness of Catholic saints, souvenir snowglobes from the Mystery Vortex, Lobstah Fahts-brand cereal, Tagalog rhyming dictionaries (abridged), wiener cozies, Navajo blankets, dual core processors with 512-megabyte cache, chimpanzee-sized diapers, barbecue plankton chips, keychains with a +8 modifier to Dexterity, self-respect, bulletproof edible underwear, lords-a-leaping and/or maids-a-milking, inflatable arms capable of being used as replacements for your real arms, Honey Bunches of Pumice brand cereal, stim-packs and radiation chems, zombie repellent, powdered drink mix, three-day-old rigatoni stuffed with marshmallow peeps in an orange soda reduction with a hint of cilantro, and eyeglass repair kits.
- Asshole Victim: The majority of Sam and Max's victims tend to be this.
- Attack of the 50-Foot Whatever: The Maimtron 9000 and Giant statue Abraham Lincoln both had their moments ravaging around a city.
- Awesome Moment of Crowning: Max is elected President of the United States in Season 1, and maintains that office throughout the series (so far). "Max Impeachment Weekly" is apparently a bestselling periodical, however.
- Spoofed in "Moai Better Blues" when Max becomes priest of the Sea Chimps: Sam crowns Max with a Sock Crown.
- Bad Santa: In "Ice Station Santa". Although to be fair, he was presumably possessed at the time.
- Of course, "What's Up Beelzebub?" makes him a full-on Jerk Ass Child Hater - hence why he took the Santa job, so that he'd have minimal contact with them. He also loves recalling toys.
- Played with in "The Tomb of Sammun-Mak": The stereotypical Corrupt Capitalist businessman, who made a fortune in the Toy Business, is called Nicholas St. Kringle, and he employs (elf) immigrants from the ethnic neighborhood known as Little Artic Circle. Plus he looks exactly like Santa from "Ice Station Santa".
- Bait and Switch: In "The Mole, The Mob and the Meatball", you're supposed to search for an informant with the code phrase "Does the carpet match the drapes?". You can ask this to practically everyone (even Sybil), but literally none of them react as if it means what it usually does.
- Bat Deduction: In the final episode of Season 1, after discovering the alias of the Big Bad, Sam tries to figure out who it could be. Sam comes to the correct conclusion that it's Hugh Bliss, albeit going by an overly complicated deduction that has nothing to do with the alias.
- Becoming the Mask: Harry Moleman, the former Toy Mafia mole.
- Berserk Button: Sam has several (including a hidden one when trying to fix the past): Try to harm Max, call him Fat or try to give him pink bellies, for example. You usually are pretty much screwed. Then, in Episode 204 (Chariot of the Dogs), in the 80's, when Sam and Max find their young versions playing the Bluster Blaster, Sam tries to convince either young Sam or young Max to leave the videogame and go play outside. He shows signs of repugnance when looking at them, and is able to comment to Max about "how we were nerdier in the 80's".
- In "The Penal Zone", you learn why you should never call make fun of Max's height.
- In Episode 303, we find out just exactly how Sam would be if he lost Max; he turns into an extremely rough-edged Cowboy Cop, willing to resort the the Jack Bauer Interrogation Technique to receive information, even gaining Perma Stubble while going without his jacket and hat.
- Big "NO!":
- Sam in the Season 1 finale, after the Big Bad does something unspeakably appalling to Max.
- In the same episode, by Wrathful Max when his hand gets lopped off.
- The Big Bad Shuffle: T.H.E.M is set up to be the Big Bad of Season 2, until its revealed that they're delivering souls to Hell, switching the Big Bad role to Satan. Then its revealed that Satan has recently been demoted and that Hell is truly led by The Soda Poppers
- Big "WHAT?!": Sam's reaction to know Brady Culture is happy in hell but first paraphrasing about how his mouth is too parched to do a spit-take.
- Black and Grey Morality: Sam & Max are Unscrupulous Heroes while the antagonists tend to be card-carrying villains.
- Blatant Lies: Girl Stinky's understanding of history. Which makes it slightly odd that she's aware how nonsensical it is for Abraham Lincoln to be trying to pay his tab in Confederate money. This is subverted if asked about Easter Island, where her absurd claims turn out to be accurate.
- Book Ends: Season 1 ends with the whole world behaving like Max due to mass hypnosis. As the credits begin to roll, Sybil quotes the very first line from the first episode of season 1.
- Born Lucky: Sam and Max.
- Bound and Gagged: Leonard Steakcharmer must have set some kind of record for this. Sam and Max first tie him up in the third episode of season 1 to interrogate him, then gag him and leave him in their closet as a souvenir of the adventure. He remains there until sometime in season 2, just over a year later in-universe, until he dies and goes to the Sam and Max wing of Hell, where he's damned to more of the same. Sam does get the hint after this and frees Leonard after restoring him to life.
- Breaking the Fourth Wall: After playing the trial version of the XBLA release of Save the World, Sam and Max go over all the features of the game, including the awards it got. If you let it sit there, they wait for you to unlock the full game.
Sam: So, you think they're going for their wallet or did they just pass out from the excitement?
Max: Who says they have to be mutually exclusive?
Sam: They're still just sitting there, Max. Think they want to buy?
(Max stares right at the camera.)
Max: We're detectives, Sam, not mind-readers!
- Brick Joke:
- Played brilliantly at the end of Season 2 where, first, our heroes find themselves in a very familiar burning hellscape and are immediately saved by their own past selves in a repeat of a scene from a puzzle from 4 episodes before. Then, after the final credits, the Bermuda triangle that collected the volcanic eruption in "Moai Better Blues", 3 episodes before, suddenly appears and destroys the *censored* Poppers, interrupting their We Will Meet Again speech.
- The best one is the ink ribbon that you find in Jurgen's castle in Episode 203. The player tries desperately to fit it to one of the puzzles of the episode, only to find out in the next one that it's just garbage that's Sam threw through a temporal portal.
- It's actually a double brick joke, as a line of dialogue in Episode 202 refers to something being as useful as a typewriter ribbon in a haunted castle.
- And as of episode 305, it's a triple brick joke, as it's part of Max's inventory stash.
- Casual Danger Dialog: A memorable one opens the game "Night of the Raving Dead", when we see the duo trapped inside a deadly contraption, its maw closing in:
: Well, looks like this is it, little buddy. My whole life is flashing before my eyes
. ...I wondered where I'd left my wallet.
Max: I can't even remember how we got here!
Sam: Come on, Max. Remember, we were back in the office, just back from Easter Island...
Max: Wait wait, do the whole thing with the music and all that!
- Catch Phrase:
- Sam: You crack me up little buddy!
- Bosco: It'll work! Trust me on this, trust me!
- Hugh Bliss: Hi! I'm Hugh Bliss! (taken Up to Eleven when the entire world is brainwashed into being like him, to the point where Sybil and Bosco say that every time you talk to them )
- In-universe and out, The Soda Poppers.
Specs: You made me mess up!
Whizzer: Make room for number 1!
Peepers: I see you!
- Came Back Wrong: The DeSoto after its return from Hell.
- Censored for Comedy:
- When Myra is interviewing the Soda Poppers in "Situation: Comedy", their answers have many words arbitrarily bleeped out, resulting in moments like Specs admitting that he regrets not having *bleep*ed his brother.
- In "What's New, Beelzebub?", Hugh Bliss works as a *bleep*er. Specifically, he applies Sound Effects Bleeps to any and all profanity. Even innocuous stuff like "doo-doo", "freakin'", "peacock", and the name "Dick". Eventually, his list of swears gets replaced with Satan's grocery list, causing him to start bleeping words like "vanilla" and "soda". And yes, this does cause the Soda Poppers to be referred to as the "*bleep* Poppers" for the rest of the game.
- Cerebus Retcon: Sorta, in "Chariots of the Dogs". The Mariachis and Bosco's paranoia are both explained, although the revelation itself is pretty funny.
- Chair Reveal: Used to reveal that the Big Bad of Season 2 were the Soda Poppers; spoofed in the Season 2 DVD extras, with other characters; up to and including Homestar Runner.
- "And so ends our deadly game of cat and mouse! ... and dog... and rabbit... thingy."
- Character Development: Sam and Max start out as immature, selfish man children who can only be bothered to care about each other, with their careers as freelance police essentially a game they play as an excuse to do what they want. In Season 3, though, they mature considerably in comparison to the previous games in the franchise.
- Max in particular. He goes from being an id-driven maniac to showing genuine signs of loyalty and heroism towards his friends.
- Chekhov's Armoury: Almost every game in Seasons 1 & 2 introduces a variety of items that will become important in a later episode. There are also references to the story arc of Season 2 towards the end of Season 1.
- Never mind that generally things that are even merely said offhand in earlier episodes often come true in later ones, even if it was a complete fabrication of the characters at the time...
- Inverted in the last episode of Season 1, when Sam finally asks Bosco for things that would have solved every previous puzzle. He had all of them all along!
- Chekhov's Boomerang: Not as egregious as with the Monkey Island series, but, Telltale being Telltale, certain puzzle solutions do boomerang on occasion. For example, the knowledge that Bermuda Triangles freeze in place when fed a red octagon is needed again for the very last puzzle of "Moai Better Blues".
- Christmas Episode/Yet Another Christmas Carol: Season 2 opener "Ice Station Santa", as well as the Machinima version of it produced by Telltale, Sam and Max Nearly Save Christmas''. Played with in that the Christmas Past they have to save was in fact initially destroyed by that very attempt to save it.
- The Chosen Ones: "We appear in so many prophecies that we should start charging royalties!"
- Church of Happyology: The Church of Prismatology in Season 1. Emetics parodies Dianetics, for instance. It gets most obvious in episode 106, where Prismatology is the focus of the episode. An exclusive club for the highest members of Prismatology, a parody of the E-meter, a connection to outer space... it's all there.
- Classically Trained Extra: Philo Pennyworth in "Situation: Comedy", a Shakespearean actor playing a sitcom landlord. Unlike most instances of this trope, he doesn't complain that the work is beneath him, having apparently decided that professionalism means doing one's best in the role whatever the role happens to be, but he does complain about the inferiority of his co-stars at the drop of a hat.
- Cluster Bleep Bomb: Timmy Two-Teeth has "terminal Tourette's Syndrome", which results in most of his dialogue being bleeped out. But it turns out Censored for Comedy and the Scunthorpe Problem are in effect with the censorship—all of his bleeped dialogue is an inch deep in the kiddy pool section of profanity at worst.
- Uncensoring him is needed to continue on, as he reveals Peepers' real name - Dick Peacock.
- Colon Cancer: Sam and Max: Season One: Save the World: Episode Two: Situation: Comedy. They were actually trying for this before the season got named Save the World.
- Colony Drop: Bosco's "Earthquake Generator" in "Bright Side of the Moon".
- Comically Small Bribe
Sam: Maybe a few...Washingtons will help change your mind?
Max: Or maybe a few...Lincolns?
- Conspiracy Theorist: Bosco.
- Properly Paranoid: After Bosco builds a Missile Defense System, it turns out his shop really is being targeted by government ICBMs.
- The Toy Mafia are also after him, and an alien cult leader set up shop outside his store. It's looking more and more like Bosco isn't as crazy as he appears. Though he isn't that bright.
- And let's not forget T.H.E.M.
- And his mother. In fact, she was, inadvertently, the one who caused Bosco to fall under surveillance in the first place.
- Continuity Porn: Over time, Sam and Max's office becomes utterly, utterly littered with memorabilia of their past cases. In the first season of the Telltale games, it's mostly limited to their closet, but after that it just comes spilling out all over the place.
- Cool and Unusual Punishment: A lot in the newer games. It seems no one can undergo normal torment when they could instead be interrogated with "yo momma" jokes, subjected to (literally) soul-crushingly boring stories, or put through several magic-trick themed torture devices.
- Couch Gag: Telltale continues the tradition of bogus "based on" jokes in Seasons 2 and 3:
Based on the heretical apocrypha, "Sam & Max Meet a Guy Who Sucks" ("Night of the Raving Dead")
- Crapsack World: assuming all the little bits we hear about Max's reign as President are accurate, the country cannot be in a good state. Dakota is at WAR with itself, due to a feud about Mount Rushmore, a war that President Max provoked. His response to the crisis: Provide giant battle robots to all sides and whoever wins, claim the US backed them all along.
- Cross Over: Sam's revolver and a combo of Max's Luger and supposed head severed at the upper jaw (used as the obligatory hat of the set) were given as gifts to players of Team Fortress 2 who bought The Devil's Playhouse season the first 2 weeks, or pre-ordered. In exchange, a Blue Engineer Dispenser appears in "Beyond the Alley of the Dolls" and the RED Heavy Weapons Guy is one of the opponents in Poker Night at the Inventory (which features Max). Max's buy-in item is his gun and badge (which is really Sam's badge).
- Crying Indian: Parodied in "Chariots of the Dogs":
Mariachi: You can't just throw litter through the time vortex!
Max: Yes Sam! Somewhere a time traveling Native Indian is crying!
- Cue Card: You need to do mudslinging in the election, and the easiest way to do it is to switch which cue card he reads from when you ask him questions.
- Cue the Flying Pigs: Sam and Max literally freeze Hell over in the Season 2 finale; the rest stems from there.
- The results include Sam letting Max answer the phone, Max winning the Nobel Peace Prize, and Sybil inviting Max to not only attend her wedding, but officiate it.
- Deal with the Devil: In a dangerously Genre Blind move, Sam, to get Satan to relinquish ownership of some souls, signs a contract about three seconds after Satan whips it out.
- Death Is a Slap on the Wrist: Even though a number of characters does die for real over the course of the series, a lot of casualties get better somehow. It helps that Sam and Max live right above the gates of hell and Momma Bosco has an advanced cloning machine.
- The list of deaths that didn't count: Animatronic Abe Lincoln (his head survived), Santa Claus and one of his elves, Grandpa Stinky, the DeSoTo, Bosco, Timmy Two-Teeth, Sam (all brought back from hell), Momma Bosco (lived on as a ghost, later cloned a new body for herself) and Max (replaced by himself from an alternate timeline.) In addition, Brady Culture, Hugh Bliss and Jürgen have found steady employment in hell and seem happy enough.
- Desperately Looking for a Purpose in Life: Sybil, in Season 1.
- Devil in Plain Sight: A literal instance is Lampshaded by the devil himself:
Beelzebub: You keep asking me to help you, Sam. I don't believe you understand: I'm kind of a bad guy.
- The Devil Is a Loser: In the Season 2 finale, the Devil is seen desperately trying to increase workplace productivity until ultimately being fired by former child stars and living out of a box of possessions (such as his grocery list) out on the street.
- The Dev Team Thinks of Everything: An easily missed but nifty example in "Chariot of the Dogs." In order to progress, you have to get a patent for the original Stinky's Tar Pit Molasses Cake so that his granddaughter can't use it as a super-adhesive, which T-H-E-M use in their spaceship, and create a megacorporation from it. However, a player with a sharp memory will note that the cake played a small but essential role in the previous game by helping them catch Jesse James' reanimated hand, which you needed as part of a set to Jurgen's monster in order to help Sybil fall for him and then subsequently realize she really loves Lincoln's Head, so Sam & Max can steal her Artifact of Doom and use it to reclaim their souls. If the player is wondering about this detail and why the heroes aren't soulless, you can go back to the future and ask Future Max about it: turns out Stinky still made her megacorporation by selling zombie hand repellent, which is presumably how the two were able to solve the case in the new timestream.
- Did You Get a New Haircut?: When Bosco is turned into a cow due to screwing with the timestream, Sam and Max mention that there's something different about him, and ask if he got a new haircut.
Bosco: Are you fools done?
Max: Yeah, that's all we got.
- Discontinuity Nod: Several, inserted as TakeThats to LucasArts.
- In Season 1, there is a box labeled "3/3 2004", the date on which Sam & Max: Freelance Police was canceled, in Sam and Max's office. When examined, Sam only mentions that it was "a particularly gruesome case."
- Max mentions, when playing a tape made in Episode 2 later in Season 1 that he hates the sound of his voice on tape and that it "never sounds like [him]". Out of all the characters, Max's voice was the one that shifted around the most in the early episodes (even switching voice actors between Episodes 1 and 2), and it was most gratingly over the edge in William Kasten's first performance (which happened to be when said tape was filmed).
- Do Androids Dream?: When Curt restarts, he asks, "Will I dream?"
- Don't Explain the Joke: This is one of the many things Peepers does in Sam's personal hell where Peepers is his partner instead of Max.
- Duck Season, Rabbit Season: The very last puzzle in "Culture Shock" revolves around completing a gambit like this. "Worship me!" "No, me! ME! Worship me!" "Attack me!" "No, attack ME! Att— wait..."
- Eenie, Meenie, Miny Moai: "Moai Better Blues", naturally.
- Emotion Eater: At the end of "Bright Side of the Moon", this turns out to be the dark secret behind the Church of Prismatology: Hugh Bliss wants everybody to be happy so that he can feed on their happiness.
- The Spores from "The City That Dares Not Sleep" feed off of the psychic energy produced by nightmares. It tastes like Pepsi (among other things).
- Enemy Mine: Skun-ka'pe and Papierwaite team up to take out Sam in "They Stole Max's Brain!".
- Even Bad Men Love Their Mamas: Leonard Stakecharmer in "The Mole, the Mob, and the Meatball".
- Evil Albino: Hugh Bliss, if being the founder of a Church of Happyology counts as evil. In this particular case, it does.
- Evil Laugh: Lampshaded, both with Brady Culture and Jurgen, the latter when Sam loses a bet with Max in which he bet Jurgen would not make it. If you keep him going long enough, the Season 1 Big Bad will run out of evil laughter and switch to saying "Evil Laugh", "Evil Chuckle", ...
- Exactly What It Says on the Tin:
- The Bermuda Triangle and the Sea Chimps.
- Double Subverted with the Zombie Factory of "Night of the Raving Dead". We expected an actual factory of zombies, only to find a rave disco inside a castle named The Zombie Factory. Jurgen still makes zombies inside, so it's still a Zombie Factory in the literal sense at the same time.
- Fan Disservice: Turns out the stripper at her husband's bachelor party is Jurgen's Monster.
- "Fantastic Voyage" Plot / Womb Level: Episode 305.
- Feelies: The case files, available on the Telltale website, containing several nice little items from or inspired by each episode.
- Felony Misdemeanor:
Max: I know you're the source of all evil, but wasting office supply for personal use... That's just wrong!
- Fission Mailed: In "Night of the Raving Dead", right after the deathtrap Sam and Max were in at the beginning of the adventure finishes its dirty work. The screen dissolves to the words "You Are Dead" in a creepy font... .. then dissolves again to outside the castle, as the duo come back as zombies to continue their quest.
- Flashback with the Other Darrin: All of the descriptions that didn't change between Episodes 101 and 102 had to be re-recorded with William Kasten as the voice of Max.
- Fountain of Youth: Featured and taken to its logical conclusion in "Moai Better Blues"; all the island's inhabitants are babies because they were so addicted to the fountain water.
- Fragile Speedster: Auntie Biotic plays this role during the turn-based battle in "Reality 2.0". Her dexterity score is over 400, but when Sam bonks her once with a blade just one attack point over her defense, that puts an end to her game.
- Freeware Game: The episode "Abe Lincoln Must Die!", regarded by many as the best episode in Season 1.
- Funny Background Event: Before the last showdown with Jurgen in Night of the Raving Dead, you're given the option to explore the room as Jurgen adopts a crane stance. If you take too long, he'll lose his balance or pointedly take a look at his wrist.
- Fun with Acronyms: The Computer Obsolescence Prevention Society who are introduced in "Reality 2.0".
- Also there's THEM, the Temporal Headquarters of Enlightened Mariachis.
- Futureshadowing: Plenty of it in Season 3.
- Genki Girl: Baby Amelia Earhart, also a Motor Mouth and Little Miss Badass.
- Germans Love David Hasselhoff: Mr Featherly, actually (in-universe). Anything endorsed on Midtown Cowboys instantly becomes a top seller in Germany. This proves to be Jurgen's downfall.
- The boys start a trend all on their own - they toss a brain up into a gargoyle's bowl to distract some zombies. Later, when they can understand them, one of the zombies thanks them for the brain and says getting it was so much fun, now they'll only eat brains American style - somewhere high up where you have to climb to get it.
- Getting Crap Past the Radar:
- At a certain point in "Culture Shock", you interpret Sam's dreams...
Sybil: Hm. A weenie in a rat hole. Nothing symbolic there.
- Giggling Villain: The Big Bad of Season 1, Hugh Bliss. There's something both hilarious and disturbing about a person who giggles while saying "I'll just torture him mercilessly until he begs me to shoot him with his own gun!"
- According to Jared Emerson-Johnson and Julian Kwasneski, the recording sessions for this character were down right creepy: David Boyll is a very physical actor, and he ACTS EVERYTHING AT THE SAME TIME THEY RECORD HIS VOICE.
- Gosh Dang It to Heck!: Timmy Two-Teeth, once the bleeps are removed.
- Also played for laughs rather than censorship once in the comics-when a grocery store grunt dings their fender, Max tells Sam that he feels the rage building, and Sam counsels letting it out. Max declares, "Hey man! I think you're not good! I'll never be your best friend!" Sam opines that Max is a scary bunny.
- Goth: Jurgen the vampire from "Night of the Raving Dead"
- The Great Whodini: Sam starts referring to himself as "the Great Samini" after he masters the pull-a-rodent-out-of-a-hat trick in "The Bright Side of the Moon".
- G-Rated Drug: Played straight with Whizzer and his soda addiction, but averted when Bosco's truth serum turns out to be vodka.
- Gut Feeling: Sam and Max have never openly disliked a character that hasn't later turned out to be truly evil. This includes Hugh Bliss, The Soda Poppers, Skunkape, and Charlie Ho-Tep, and Girl Stinky. Even if a character is intended to be a villain, if Sam and Max seem comfortable or friendly with them, then there's a good chance they'll pull a Heel-Face Turn later on. Oh, let's see if we can drum up a few examples... Satan, Santa Claus, Abraham Lincoln, Papierwaite — twice over, as Sameth and Maximus seem fine with him, and Sam and Max don't seem to consider him much worse than wimpy and annoying — the Mariachis... Sam seems to be a bit better judge of character, though, since Max was such a Psycho Supporter of Hugh Bliss.
- Guns Are Worthless:
- Most frequently use of Sam's gun is dismissed offhand, though in some episodes it gains some unorthodox Mundane Utility. Those rare times Sam and Max gleefully open fire with violent intent result in not much more than noise and their satisfaction or frustration; the plot and puzzles remain bulletproof.
- The justifications as to why a problem can't be solved with a gun occasionally border on lampshading. At one point, you're confronted by some guards blocking a doorway. What happens if you try to use your gun on them? "Hey, I'll give you this cool gun if you let me in!"
- Hand Guns: Santa Claus, in "Ice Station Santa", wields a Red Ridder semi-automatic. Sam's and Max's trademark guns actually get used in this adaptation, compared to Hit the Road and the cartoon.
- Hoist by His Own Petard:
- Jurgen seems to have severe Hoistee's Syndrome in Episode 302. He's quite freaked out about his recently acquired vampire curse; to wit, his room is stocked with ridiculous measures of garlic, crosses, and wolfsbane. However, when (falsely) informed of where the curse's remedy can be found, he leaves the safety of his room— providing the perfect opportunity for a vampiric elf to catch him. To add insult to injury, he is then kept out of his room by his own vampire deterrents, leaving him powerless to prevent Sameth and Maximus from searching his steamer trunk. He even laments at the irony.
- Not to mention that in the final puzzle of "Night of the Raving Dead", the only way to kill Jurgen is to possess the monster he created and use the stakes that he keeps in his lab as trophies of the vampire hunters he's killed.
- How We Got Here: The first half of "Night of the Raving Dead". Subverted in "The Penal Zone"
- Hypnotic Head: When Sam is hypnotized in "Culture Shock".
- Hypocritical Heartwarming: Max has constantly given Sam a hard time, mocking him even back when they were children, but he won't stand for anyone else doing the same. It's apparent that he only teases him because he thinks he's too shy and wants him to come out of his shell, though, and wants to get a reaction from the usually reserved Sam.
- I Am Not Spock: In-universe example with Philo Pennyworth, who Sam and Max refer to by "Mr. Featherly", the character he plays on TV. Subverted in Season 2, where he eventually gives up and legally changes his name to Mr. Featherly just so that he doesn't have to correct them anymore.
- And to make license contracts with Germany easier.
- I Can't Use These Things Together: Lampshaded and used as a Continuity Nod but not normally said in the game (one might suspect this is because the engine in the Telltale games doesn't actually let you use two items in your inventory together):
- In "Chariots of the Dogs", it's one of the mumblings that senile future Sam says. Also, when you meet Past Sam, he wanders around looking at items talking to himself saying things like "I can't shoot Future Me!", "That doesn't need to be made radioactive," and "It's the Time Elevator" as if he was under control of a player.
- Sam even comments on it, asking Max if he's always acting that weird when they are working a case.
- Jurgen uses this in the rap-off if you fail twice.
- Idiosyncratic Episode Naming: Almost all the episode titles in the second and third seasons are a variation on the title of a movie. Of a B-Movie, if we may be frank.
- I Know Your True Name: Girl Stinky/The Cake of the Damned and Peepers/Dick Peacock are both defeated in this way in Episode 205.
- Insistent Terminology: Max finds terms like "bunny" personally offensive, and will always correct them by reminding them that the proper term is lagomorph. Look it up.
- Interface with a Familiar Face: In "Reality 2.0", Sam and Max encounter computer programs with interfaces modeled on Myra and Hugh Bliss. The avatar used for the Internet itself resembles the unnamed Director from WARP.
- Irony: For some reason "Reality 2.0" doesn't work on certain computers note the starting issue within the episode is about computers not working right.
- It's All About Me: Brady Culture, which causes his downfall.
- Max, always. Until the end of Season 3, that is.
- I Was Quite a Looker: Momma Bosco. And now she's back to being a looker. That is, if the lack of real hair doesn't bother you.
- Kirby Dots: Appear when Max uses his psychic powers.
- Layered Reality: In "Reality 2.0," the Internet is represented as just the real world but like TRON, with people's buildings housing their websites and blogs and such. Wearing the VR goggles lets you walk around in both worlds at once!
- Leaning on the Fourth Wall:
- "In "Abe Lincoln Must Die!", Max kind of bumps into the fourth wall without breaking it, when Bosco is telling them about how the government watches everybody:
why I always feel an overbearing presence just outside my field of vision watching and judging my every move. [happens to be looking directly at the Fourth Wall] Sam:
That's me, Max.
- And again in "Night of the Raving Dead". "New Location Unlocked" indeed.
- Legitimate Businessmen's Social Club: Ted E. Bear's Mafia-Free Playland And Casino.
Theme song: "No mafia here (What mafia? Please!) We're mafia free (No mafia here) (No mafia mugs) Just doin' business legitimately!"
- You'll have to shoot better than that to get in the Toy Mafia...not that there's any Toy Mafia here.
- Leitmotif: "The Office". Admittedly it's for a location rather than a character, but otherwise it fits the bill perfectly. It even has low-bittage, space-age, and even Ancient Egyptian remixes, heard in Episodes 105, 204 and 303 respectively.
- You hear it exactly three times in the game - two instrumental versions during the finales of Season 1 and 2, and once during Season 1's credits - but "World of Max" applies specifically to Max.
- Then there's the smooth remix from Poker Night at the Inventory.
- Licked by the Dog: Stinky is a lazy, scathing, and probably murderous individual, and yet Sal her browbeaten, long suffering, but all around nice guy chef likes her enough to start a relationship with her, so she can't be ALL that bad.
- Except in The Devil's Playhouse we learn that Stinky is just using Sal to try and kill Grandpa Stinky, and when Sal becomes indisposed she moves onto Skun-Ka'pe. So she really is that bad.
- Little Stowaway: Amelia Earhart in the episode "The Tomb of Sammun-Mak".
- Love Triangle: Curt, Chippy and Carol.
- Mass Hypnosis: The whole premise of Season 1.
- Mercy Kill: Played with in "Night of the Raving Dead", after Sam and Max turn into zombies. You run into Flint Paper, who tries to pull this trope off, though Sam and Max aren't exactly grateful (unfortunately, zombies can't talk to the living):
I hate to do this, but Sam and Max always said they'd rather be dead than one of those... things
Sam: I don't remember saying that. Did you?
Max: No, I'm pretty sure Flint's making that part up.
- Also, in "What's New Beelzebub?" Jurgen's monster begs to be killed and Sam complies.
- Except since he doesn't have a soul, and was given life in the first place by electricity, Sybil will go "did he die again?" and use a taser to bring him back to life.
- Metaphorgotten: Sam manages to jumble a couple of common phrases in the first minute of Culture Shock
Sam: Patience is a sharp razor to swallow.
- Mirror World: The cyber version of Straight and Narrow in "Reality 2.0".
- The Mole: Literally.
- Mole in Charge: The mole in the Toy Mafia has become this.
- Morality Chain: Ironically, Max is one of these to Sam.
- Most Definitely Not a Villain: The staff at Ted E. Bear's Mafia-Free Playland And Casino would like to remind you that the establishment is not owned by the mafia, nor does the mafia occupy the area. They even wrote a song to remind you.
- Mundane Made Awesome:
- Mythology Gag:
- In the Season 1 blooper real, Max/William Kasten accidentally says "subsumed" instead of "consumed." When he catches his mistake, he adds "sub...subsumed, that's a nice word!" Then, in "Beyond the Alley of the Dolls," Charlie Ho-Tep gleefully declares that our pathetic reality is on the verge of being subsumed by the glories of the Dark Dimension.
- Also in Season 1, some of the items Sam can ask Bosco for include "vegetables shaped like famous naturalists,", and "souvenir snowglobes from the Mystery Vortex," which are two of the four items needed to solve Hit the Road's final puzzle. Another item that can be asked is "tufts of sasquatch hair" which was needed for another puzzle.
- If Sam pockets the sunlamp lightbulb in "Night of the Raving Dead", Max asks if they got deja vu. This is because players need a sunlamp lightbulb to complete a puzzle in Hit the Road.
- Never Say That Again: BANAAAAAAAANNNNNNG!
- No Accounting for Taste: Sybil and Abe, the latter of which said that the former should get plastic surgery so she would look like a giant Moai head.
- No Indoor Voice: Bluster Blaster. DEFINITELY.
- No Name Given: The WARP Director.
- Non Sequitur Thud: Happens to the Soda Poppers in "Culture Shock". Also, in "The Penal Zone", as the Alien Brain begins to let himself die, his memories fade and more comedically, his telepathic speech begins to become more incoherent. "Donut button, Sam and Max! Donut button until we meet again in the plaid!"
- This is actually a reference to the fact that one of the voice actors for a previous episode refused to curse, and so for some lines that were bleeped out, the actor was saying "donut button" rather than anything offensive
- To elaborate: The * Bleeps* are in the script, so the voice actors have to improvise what's going to be bleeped out. Some Actors have fun with the Bleeps and create extremely foul streams of words, while others just say something that maybe sound offensive if those are bleeped out. The most memorable is one when the voice actor was saying "Donut" and "Donut Button" instead of actual curse words.
- Not Himself: In Reality 2.0, the C.O.P.S. control the titular reality, each of them in charge of a certain setting. To progress through the game, all these settings must be disabled at some point or another. This is done by placing a computer bug on them, which also reverses their personality or most notable trait. Chippy, who speaks only in individual bleeps and bloops, begins playing a catchy little melody — Bluster Blaster, the aggressive arcade machine, gets in touch with his inner showgirl — Curt, outdated and monotone, gets casual and relaxed — and Bob Bell, the phone with the silver tongue, sounds like he's swallowed a harmonica.
Curt: HOLY CRAP. THAT'S HILARIOUS. BRO. I'M TRIPPING, DAWG. WHAT'S UP WITH THAT.
Bluster Blaster: I...I FEEL...I FEEL PRETTY! AND WITTY! AND GAY!
Bob: Ev-v-v'ryone LOVES my vo-o-oice! It-is SOOTHING and—CALM, and OH! So verrry PLEAZ-ANT!
- Oblivious Guilt Slinging: Another Trope Namer, this one from "The Mole, the Mob, and the Meatball". Sybil is worried that the Toy Mafia are planning to assassinate her, and she knows Sam and Max are the only two she can trust... problem is, they're the ones the Mafia sent to off her. Max then states how Sybil should go into 'guilt-slinging' as a career.
- Offscreen Moment of Awesome:
- Spoofed when you first meet Flint Paper in Season 2 and ask him where he was during Season 1; he describes a case that exactly mirrors Sam and Max's adventures in Season One, and they still complain about missing it.
- And the "epic battle" with Jurgen in "Night of the Raving Dead".
- Offscreen Teleportation: The director in "Situation: Comedy" who's already in every studio Sam and Max enter, even if they've just come through the only door from the last place they saw her.
- One-Winged Angel - Subverted in "What's New Beelzebub." The Soda Poppers' demon forms is nothing more than changing to black clothes. The one whose costume changes the most berates the others for not trying.
- Only Sane Man - Max, ironically enough, during the second half of "They Stole Max's Brain!" He seems to be the only one, save the molemen, who hasn't been affected by the reality rewrite, and consequently is the only one who seems to recognize that he hasn't always been a disembodied brain in a jar, and that Sammun-Mak hasn't always been absolute ruler of the world.
- Overused Running Gag: Spelled out visually in this gag.
- Paper-Thin Disguise: "Hey, guys! It's me, Bosco!"—who was disguised as someone from France, England, Russia, a half-elf and EVEN HIS OWN MOTHER in the 1st season alone.
- The Password Is Always Swordfish: In "The Mole, the Mob, and the Meatball", "swordfish" is Sam's first guess at the Toy Mafia's password (for once, though, it isn't).
- Perpetual Poverty: Strangely enough, Sam and Max have absolutely no problem at all getting as much money as they need; but for some reason, they prefer to live in obvious poverty, despite Max actually being the President. This might not be a huge issue for them, though, as they never bother to pay bills or rent.
- Person of Mass Destruction:
- Max, explicitly called the most violent force in the universe by Season 1's Big Bad.
- He and Sam have an entire wing of Hell devoted to them and the people they've been involved in the deaths of, even those they didn't even know they were responsible for such as Grandpa Stinky.
- Poor Communication Kills: Bosco's paranoia ultimately stems from his mother's grudge against a mysterious store-vandal — who happens to be Bosco himself that used the time traveling elevator belonging to T.H.E.M and traveled to that time. This silly misunderstanding costs the son his sanity and the mother her life.
- The Power of Friendship: Sam's personal hell is a world without Max (and where Peepers is his sidekick).
Sam: Sorry Satan. Your demon impostor was no match for the true power of friendship and cooperation.
Max: Plus, I ripped out his kidneys.
- President Evil: Max, if not outright evil, is at best a sociopathic Chief Executive completely unconcerned with human life, his term marked by giant robot uprisings and a three-way civil war in the Dakotas. Following his inauguration, Max Impeachment Weekly becomes a regular publication (which Max looks forward to each week).
- Product Placement:
- Parodied hilariously in "Night of the Raving Dead" with an episode of Midtown Cowboys that's not much more than a glorified commercial.
- Also a part of a puzzle in "Situation Comedy"; Sam and Max have to improvise an episode for Midtown Cowboys that has to include Max saying the tagline for the network's sponsor.
- Production Throwback:
- Leonard Steakcharmer previously appeared, sans moustache, in Telltale Texas Hold'Em under the name "Boris Krinkle", in which one possible line of dialogue has the character of Grandma telling him that he looks more like a 'Leonard Steakcharmer'."
- Naturally, when you first meet Leonard in "The Mole, the Mob, and the Meatball", you get the option to say he looks more like a Boris Krinkle. The poor guy can't win.
- Psycho Supporter: Max is one for Hugh Bliss in Season 1 while the rest of the cast becomes supporters of Sammun-Mak after he rewrites reality in the third act of "They Stole Max's Brain!" Only Max, the Molemen, and the mysterious Dr. Norrington remain to oppose him.
- Pull a Rabbit out of My Hat: In "The Bright Side of the Moon", only it's not a rabbit. (It's not Max, either.)
- Punch Clock Villain: The mariachis.
- Rainbow Motif: Prismatology in general, but Hugh Bliss especially.
- Red Herring: It's practically Girl Stinky's reason for existing.
- The president's (evidently rather lewd) letter in Chariots of the Dogs is involved in two Red Herrings: One, it's addressed to a "Maxine". By talking to Little Sam, you learn that girls like to dress Little Max up in their dolls' clothes, which sounds like useful information in the context. You also have access to time travel during the episode. Unless they're saving it for Season 4, nothing ever comes of this obvious setup. Two, you use it to finally make Superball spit so you can collect his DNA sample, only to find out it wasn't his DNA you needed.
- In Situation: Comedy, you can bake something using a range of disgusting ingredients, but none of them matter, as all that's important is you make a cake, cover it with ketchup with Bosco's condiment dispenser, then feed it to Whizzer.
- Replacement Goldfish At least one interaction with Mr. Spatula's water cooler refers to him as being literally this trope.
- Retirony: Parodied during Max's "death scene" in "The Mole, the Mob and the Meatball"
- Rule of Three: All over the place, most notably when it is lampshaded in "Moai Better Blues".
- Running Gag:
- The fake "based on" references in the title cards carried over from the comics.
- To Bosco: "Do you have any...* insert random, nonsensical item here* ?"
- "We killed your dog! =D"
- "Superball!" *Whinny*
- Saw a Woman in Half: In "The Bright Side of the Moon"; it's the "this is no trick" version.
- Script Swap: With game show questions in Episode 102, cue cards in 104, and a list of swear words (replaced with a grocery list written on the same stationery) in 205.
- Selective Memory: Inverted in "Chariot of the Dogs". Sam and Max shouldn't be able to know about Superball erasing short-term memory in response to bringing up time travel, but it's the only way to make past Sam forget why he needs the Embarrassing Idol contract.
- Self-Deprecation: Max had no idea vampires were so fruity. Now, three guesses who voiced Jurgen.
- Shoot Your Mate: Played more or less straight in "The Mole, the Mob, and the Meatball", when Sam is ordered to shoot Max to test whether or not he's been hypnotized. In "Situation: Comedy", Max is supposed to pretend to shoot Sam as part of a television audition, but being Max he just pulls out a real gun and fires (luckily, Sam's hat has been made bulletproof).
- Shout-Out: Literally too many to list here. For just one example, Episode 104 begins with Sam and Max standing in an open field west of the White House. (And if you examine the nearest object, Sam remarks "There is a small mailbox here.")
- In Episode 101, Culture Shock, when Sam examines the coffee machine in Bosco's Inconvenience:
Sam: I think it's the tinge of green that makes this coffee especially appealing.
I always thought Rush
was the Queen
- In 105, The Save Point outside of Bosco's E Convenience.
- The Maimtron 9000 in 201 and 205, quotes far too many popular song lyrics to mention here.
- The torn up drywall in their office, between the boarded up windows in Season 1 (Presumably season 2 as well) looks suspiciously like the Lucasarts logo.
- One of the lyric options in The Friendly Demon song from 201 has Sam call the demon Nyarlathotep, the Crawling Chaos.
- Show Some Leg: Horrifyingly enough, done by Max as a distraction in the Season 2 finale:
Sam: Max, distract Hugh Bliss for me!
Oh dear, I seem to be completely naked
. I hope I don't have to bend over provocatively
Sam: That's enough, Max.
- At the end of Reality 2.0 the game starts parodying interactive fiction games, such as Zork.
- The Smurfette Principle — Sybil Pandemik in Season 1, new C.O.P.S. recruit Carol in The Devil's Playhouse (at least, according to the other members).
- Spy Speak: Parodied in "The Mole, the Mob, and the Meatball", where Sam is given a sign and countersign by which to recognise the mole, and the countersign is such an obvious response to the sign that one might expect him to get that response whether he's talking to the mole or not.
- "Does the carpet match the drapes?" Interestingly, everyone takes it literally except the actual mole and Chuckles, who seems to interpret it as some sort of euphemism for carrying out a hit.
- Stable Time Loop: Two of those in the Season 2: One is Jimmy Two-Teeth's boxing glove and wife in Episode 201 and the second is Mr.Featherly's egg in Episodes 204 and 205. Meanwhile, Past Sam and Past Max explicitly are not part of a stable time loop, which is referenced again in 305.
- Status Quo Is God: Averted in the Telltale games... every crazy thing that happens has lasting consequences, particularly anything involving Max's presidency and unilateral "giant battle robot-based" legislation.
- Still, despite being Max the president he continues to live in their same building; this is Handwaved when he mentions that he had the Oval Office moved from the White House to Sam & Max's office.
- Stealth Pun: In Moai Better Blues, Lincoln's head, who is dating Sybil, is attracted to one of the Moai head once he crossed the Bermuda triangle. Love Triangle?
- In the same episode, basalt sandwiches have euphoric effects; those who eat them get... stoned.
- In Night of the Raving Dead, giving Jurgen's Monster a stone brain has the same effect.
- In Chariots of the Dogs, the aliens are revealed to be illegal aliens.
- In the same episode, the incredibly gloomy Moai heads are used for their soul-crushing effect.
- In "What's New, Beelzebub?", it's revealed that the DeSoto has a soul, and is forced to drive slowly for the rest of eternity. The only comments made are based around how the punishment is so torturous. A ghost resides in this here machine.
- Lampshaded (if it's possible to lampshade a Stealth Pun) by Max when Sybil explains that she's still getting checks from being Queen of Canada.
Max: Oh, ROYALTIES. I get it.
- Strange Minds Think Alike: When trying to crack the code on Bosco's laser grid keypad, Max suggests that Sam should make the display read "BOOBIES" for a lark. It turns out that the code actually is 5318008, much to Sam's chagrin.
- Suck E. Cheese's: Ted E. Bear's Mafia-Free Playland and Casino
- Sudden Sequel Death Syndrome: Characters are frequently killed off, even if they were introduced in much earlier episodes.
- Summoning Ritual: The "boss fight" in Episode 302 is to thwart a summoning ritual of Yog-Soggoth
- And in 304, The "boss fight" is to thwart a summoning ritual for Yog-Soggoth's grandson, Junior.
- Super Not-Drowning Skills: Lampshaded and then hand-waved in "Moai Better Blues"; apparently Sam, learning from a near-death experience (probably the Cleansing Bath from the Season 1 finale), has modified his tie into an aqualung, while Max is amphibious.
- Suspiciously Specific Denial: Ted E. Bear's Mafia-Free Playland and Casino. A sample verse from their theme song:
Ted E. Bear's is oodles of fun
Slots and sandwiches and tokens and guns
And look, no mobsters, nary a one
Just you and me and Ted E. Bear!
No mafia, no (No mafia mugs!)
We're mafia free (No mafia here!)
What mafia? Please!
No shady leaves upon the family tree!
- Symbol Swearing: And don't forget the writing lessons of Timmy Two-Teeth in "What's New, Beelzebub?"
- Take That:
- In 'Reality 2.0', while examining a ballet poster:
Sam: Ferret Lake.
Max: Ooh, sequels are always more beloved than the originals!
- Also, the jab at John Romero in "Night of the Raving Dead"
- There's also one to Micheal Bay films in the same episode.
- In "Moai Better Blues", there are "crates full of video games about crates" depicting an oddly familiar muscular action hero with sunglasses... and the initials "D.N.E."note
- If you try to use a computer in What's new, beelzebub:
Sam: I don't know how to work it. Computers in hell all run...linux.
- The Three Trials: Happens often enough in the Telltale Games adventures that the duo catch on and start lampshading it.
- Time Travel: "Chariots of the Dogs" in spades.
- Title Drop: The earliest is Episode 4 of the first season:
Max: I'm the president of the U.S! Let's go bomb someone into oblivion.
Not just anyone, Max... Abe Lincoln must die!
- Later on in the same episode, Sybil spray paints this over her store window.
- Done by Max in What's New, Beelzebub?
- Sam also title drops What's New, Beelzebub?, although he does it a whole season later when meeting Satan again.
- Trouser Space: During a brief body swap in "Night of the Raving Dead", Sam's first comment (in Max's body) was "So that's where you keep your gun!", which implies Max has the gun somewhere on his person, raising this as a possibility.
- True Companions: Sam and Max form one just between the two of them. They will do anything for each other; they live and work together, they're utterly inseparable, and they will always protect each other.
- Un-Cancelled: Season 1 is effectively this to the cancelled LucasArts sequel, which also would have been the series' jump to 3D.
- Unexplained Recovery/Disney Death: In episode 101, Max drops Jimmy out the window to his (presumed) death. He later re-appears in their office unharmed. However, despite being able to survive falling out a window, Jimmy thinks he can attempt suicide by jumping off their office building (from about the same height, slightly less in fact) in 201.
- Unhand Them, Villain!: Sam and Max do this to Jimmy Two Teeth in "Culture Shock".
- Unusually Uninteresting Sight: Done a lot, not just with the main characters, but nobody questions how Hugh Bliss can change color? Even magic can't excuse that!
- Vampires Are Sex Gods: Jurgen:
Jurgen: You clearly know nothing about the teenage girls! She thinks I'm even more tragically sexy than before!
- Vampires Own Night Clubs: Jurgen's Zombie Factory.
- Very Special Episode: Sam and Max are supposed to film one of those for Midtown Cowboys in "Night of the Raving Dead", but it turns out to be an excuse for Product Placement.
- Villain Song: The Time Mariachi's song in "Chariots of the Dogs". It's subverted, because they're pretty nice, and they're only sending souls of the dead to help fund their operation to sing birthday songs.
- Visual Pun: Several. One of the better ones is the slot machine in the casino that is a literal one-armed bandit. And that's not just decorative; it outright steals your money!
- The War Room: In Episode 104.
- Weaponized Landmark: The Lincoln Memorial — and the Intercontinental Ballistic Washington Monument — from "Abe Lincoln Must Die!"
- Welcome to Corneria: Though it usually takes a couple of clicks on someone for this to happen. It is totally worth it to hear what the people say.
- Cuddly Bear from The Mole, the Mob and the Meatball parodies this trope as his only response to just about any dialogue tree choice is "Wanna play cards?" You need to read his mind to find out he's capable of thinking something other than that.
- We Sell Everything: Bosco's store throughout the Telltale series.
- We Want Our Jerk Back: Sam's response to Max getting his bliss separated.
- Players' reactions to Max in this state varied. Some found him annoying and unfunny, while others giggled like a maniac at blissed-out Max.
Max: Can we read to the blind, Sam? Can we?
Max: I don't need my earthly stomach any more, Sam. I'm on Hugh Bliss's cleansing fast of water, lemon, and sunshine!
- When All You Have Is a Hammer: Comedic Sociopathy is the hammer. Almost every solution requires that someone, usually a blameless bystander, will be hurt, terrorized, humiliated or inconvenienced.
- Whole Plot Reference: When Flint Paper debuts in Season 2, he mentions offhand that he was busy fighting a huge conspiracy that involved the movie biz, reanimated Grover Cleveland, a sentient cell phone network, and ended with him fighting a cult leader on Saturn's largest moon. This is practically the exact plot of Season 1, but Max still says he wishes he could go on cool adventures like that.
- Why Do You Keep Changing Jobs?: Sybil, and Harry Moleman
- The Worm That Walks: Season 1 Big Bad Hugh Bliss, a colony of space-faring sentient... Bacteriaaaaaa!
- Worst Whatever Ever: In Season 1, Episode 5 ('Reality 2.0') dirty rat Jimmy Two-Teeth has set himself up in Bosco's Inconvenience Store as an Arms Merchant, but refuses to sell his only product (a miniature cannon) to the Freelance Police:
Sam: Worst. Arms dealer. Ever.
- Yandere: Max, to an extent. He will tear your goddam kidneys out rather than let you spend time with Sam in his stead.
- You Can't Get Ye Flask: Lampshade at the end of the "Reality 2.0" episode with the golden idol.
- Your Mom: You break Leonard's will in Episode 103 with a barrage of "yo mama" jokes.
- You Shouldn't Know This Already: Justified in that Sam has done more innocent things than guessing Bosco's keycode and has gotten a concussion for it.
- Zombie Apocalypse: Played straight with zombies in Episode 203, though no one seems to care.