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YMMV: Welcome to Night Vale
  • Alternate Character Interpretation: While most interpretations assume that Cecil is sincere about pretty much everything he says on the radio, some go darker and assume that he's aware on at least some level that things aren't right and the lines he's being fed by Night Vale's overlords are false, but in order to stay alive he can't be seen to openly question them too often. Supporters of this interpretation note that Cecil will continue to talk about recently banned topics like the Dog Park right up until the Police, the Council, or Station Management start breathing down his neck. He's certainly aware enough not to trust StrexCorp after they buy out the radio station in "Yellow Helicopters". This is confirmed in episode 36, "Missing": when StrexCorp shuts down the station, Cecil finishes his broadcast via a pirated signal and states outright that he's normally talking around a lot of censorship.
    • Similarly, while most people assume that Carlos is a benevolent NaÔve Newcomer, other interpretations have him being somewhat more morally ambiguous. There are quite a few portrayals as a (sometimes ex) StrexCorp scientist.
    • Kevin is full of this. Most notably, his alliance to Strexcorp is questioned a lot, leading to debates that basically boil down to "Obviously Evil or Obliviously Evil?". Namely, is he really an evil, cold-hearted villain in league with an equally evil, cold-hearted organization? Or is he simply following orders? Was he brainwashed or tortured into working for Strexcorp? Or is he working for them of his own free will? Fanon interpretation tends to depend on which they think is scarier.
      • Old Oak Doors Part B implies that he used to try and resist the smiling god's light when Strexcorp took over Desert Bluffs and that part of him still screams from the inside, desperately wanting to resist.
      • In an off-handed joke, Kevin reacts very poorly to Lauren asking to call him "Kev." This could be Kevin's last shred of personal identity struggling to survive. After all, he has lost everything else to Strexcorp and the Smiling God- his name is the one thing he has left, and he won't let anyone take that from him.
  • Awesome Music: Most of the weather reports.
    • Ear Worm: Episode 2's weather, "The Bus Is Late," by Satellite High.
    Waiting for the bus in the rain, in the rain. Waiting for the bus in the rain. Waiting for the bus in the rain, in the rain. Waiting for the bus in the rain.
    • Black Sheep Hit: However, Satellite High have been getting annoyed as of late that a gag track is their best-known song.
    • Special mention should go to episode 48's "High Tide Rising". While an excellent piece on its own, its context within the story, where it herald's Cecil's return and the true chance to fight back against Strexcorp, turns it into a fist-pumping forecast of awesome.
  • Better The Devil You Know: In earlier episodes, the tenuous rulers in town were a long-established council of shrouded and robed figures. They've done a number of stupid things (like waste millions in taxpayer dollars in flimsy and unnecessary public-works projects) and a number of more devious things (such as leaving the town residents to fend for themselves during a street cleaner attack) and are pretty much established as definitely being some sort of malicious non-humanoid entity. However, Cecil always seemed to be genuinely respectful of their authority and generally deferred to their policies, even if he was somewhat wary of them. StrexCorp, however, has been treated by Cecil with deep suspicion and sometimes barely-concealed fear and hatred. Not that this isn't justified...
  • Cargo Ship: Megan Wallaby and the computer.
  • Cerebus Syndrome: While Night Vale has always been a little dark, it's gradually gotten more serious since the 1-year mark. Notably, it's shifted gradually from a World of Weirdness format towards a coherent plotline with a Myth Arc, an antagonist, and genuinely grim elements.
  • Crowning Moment Of Awesome: Steve Carlsberg flying into a rage when Kevin implies that his daughter "needs to be fixed" and throwing him out the old oak door into the unravelling light of the smiling god.
  • Cry for the Devil: Desert Bluffs was once a town much like Night Vale before the Smiling God corrupted it into what it is now- they even resisted, just like Night Vale, but all of them fell- last of all their radio host, Kevin.
  • Discredited Meme: Using "And now the weather" on Tumblr is a great way to get people to hate you thanks to severe overuse.
  • Ensemble Darkhorse: Several of the interns, notably Dana (the only intern to survive for more than an episode, now the protagonist of her own storyline and, as of Episode 49, the newly-elected Mayor of Night Vale). Tamika Flynn is also gaining popularity.
    • Scout Master Earl Harlan has a thriving fanbase, an established fanon depiction, and numerous appearances in fanfiction, fanart, and cosplay, despite only being mentioned in a couple of episodes. It probably helps that in his scant time as a character, he mentioned having feelings for Cecil.
  • Come for the X, Stay for the Y: Come for the creepy weirdness and dark humor, stay for Cecil and Carlos's Adorkable blossoming romance.
  • Player Punch: If the fanbase didn't hate StrexCorp before, they sure do as of "The Visitor" with Khoshekh getting severely injured.
  • Fanon:
    • The various character designs for Cecil are notable in that some have become so prevalent, people commonly mistake them for canon. These include, but are not limited to, Extra Eyes, living tattoos, tentacles, blond hair, and glasses, a younger Tim Gunn as PBS Idea Channel has described...Although as noted under Internet Backdraft there are many competing portrayals. Just to set the record straight, the only clear canonical references to Cecil's appearance have been the (non)descriptions of him and Kevin in "The Sandstorm" and his description of his outfit in "First Date", and Word of God is that his appearance in particular will remain vague.
    • Carlos' appearance is a very different matter, as a relatively non-controversial consensus on hair, build, and facial features emerged early on (although there are of course alternate views). Depictions do vary considerably in age, given that he's established to have gray coming in but it's supposed to be at least a little premature.
    • Intern Dana is usually portrayed in fan art as either Black or wearing a hijab.
      • The description of her older self in Episode 44 as having "short, natural hair" has confirmed her to be the former of these.
    • Its also pretty commonly theorized that Carlos has a Desert Bluffs Double, though his exact personality (and whether there's any relationship to Kevin) is highly mutable.
    • Cecil and Kevin (and sometimes Lauren) are usually drawn with a bit of Colour-Coded for Your Convenience with the former wearing purple in some way, and the latter two being depicted wearing yellow (be it in ties, waist coat, tattoos, shirt, etc.). Fans associate their towns colors with their clothing in place of actual descriptions.
    • Former Night Vale mayor Pamela Winchell is more-or-less portrayed as a relatively typical middle-aged black woman (plus or minus a few extra arms), which makes the sanity-slippage that seems inherent in the mayoral position even more terrifying than if she were instead some sort of other-worldly monster with an entirely alien perspective of things.
  • Foe Yay Shipping: Some fans perceive Cecil's inexplicable, obsessive hatred of Steve Carlsberg to mean that Cecil might have dated him once and they had a nasty breakup, or that Cecil just has a weird hate-crush on him.
    • Turns out in Episode 44 that he hates him because he perceives Steve as a deadbeat dad to his beloved niece.
      • Or not. In Episode 53, Steve himself notes Cecil was friendly towards him right up until Steve revealed an intimate-sounding knowledge of the way the totalitarian government works and he wasn't keeping it quiet. Cecil hates Steve for that and for trying to get his niece to see the same way.
  • Friendly Fandoms: A mutually friendly relationship with the Hannibal fandom helped propel Night Vale to viral success. Various other fandoms with similar surrealist themes have since become interested, such as Gravity Falls, Psychonauts, Supernatural, Homestuck, and a bit surprisingly, Magic School Bus (due to having central characters named Carlos).
    • There's a lot of crossover with The Fairly Oddparents, too, mostly "And now, the weather." "...I thought you said feather." and Steve Carlsberg as Dinkleberg.
  • Genius Bonus: The title of the episode "The Deft Bowman" seems totally random, since nothing about its plot has anything to do with archery. However, it's actually an obscure reference to the 1983 "Able Archer Exercise", where allied forces simulated a conflict escalation in 1983...which perfectly fits the episode, which is about an alternate time-line where a Russian city was wiped off the map by a nuclear bomb in 1983.
    • Not quite as specific, but the Morse code from Episode 46, "Parade Day", has been translated as 'Tamika needs you', 'Radon Canyon in 2 hours', 'Go to Radon Canyon', 'Now now now' and in the credits, 'Fall 2015'.
    • Another possible one from "Parade Day": as Tamika is arrested, she quotes Life of Galileo by Brecht. The more obvious reason behind this is that she, like Galileo, is being persecuted for speaking the truth. However, as one commentator pointed out, Galileo recanted his views in order to avoid torture and death, meaning Tamika could actually be telling Night Vale to do whatever they need to survive, instead of dying for the cause.
  • Germans Love David Hasselhoff: Brits apparently love Welcome to Night Vale, if the live show's performance in London—selling out at least three shows, making it the biggest success the live tour has had anywhere—is any indication.
    • For context, one of the completely sold out venues for the London leg of the tour is the Shepard's Bush Empire Arena, which is three stories of seating and is usually used for larger concerts and comedy shows. This venue sold out in about a week, and another show was added.
  • Internet Backdraft: It's probably better if you don't have an opinion about Cecil's race, because every opinion will get you into hot water with someone. Incidents have involved death threats against some fans arguing for a white Cecil, and lest you think only one side has anything to answer for, artists with PoC portrayals have also experienced serious harassment, and literal white supremacists making them feel unsafe. The whole thing is moot considering the only description of Cecil boils down to "average height and build, wears a tie, and has a slightly off-putting smile"...and Word of God has confirmed that the creators intend to leave physical descriptions quite vague, especially Cecil's.
  • LGBT Fanbase: Is getting quite popular with this group, and justifiably so, as the only Official Couple in the series is gay.
  • Memetic Badass: Tamika Flynn is gaining this reputation on Tumblr. Justified as of Episode 36, where she successfully evades StrexCorp and destroys a yellow helicopter with a rock.
  • Memetic Mutation:
    • The Apache Tracker being an "asshole" has become associated with Johnny Depp playing a race lifted Tonto in the 2013 version of The Lone Ranger.
    • There's a lot of tongue-in-cheek speculation that Carlos is a grown-up version of Carlos from The Magic School Bus. At least one fan has suggested that Cecil knows/is related to Ms. Frizzle.
    • "The Bus is Late" has become quite memetic due to how catchy it is.
    • "...and now the weather" whenever something weird happens.
    • "Goodnight X. Goodnight" based on Cecil's closer at the end of nearly every episode.
    • "Dogs are not allowed in the Dog Park."
    • Leaving comments like "I read that in Cecil's voice" or "And now, the weather" in bizarre and somewhat ominous Tumblr threads.
    • Hiram Mc Daniels is literally a five-headed dragon.
  • Moral Event Horizon: If StrexCorp hadn't already crossed this, they certainly did in episode 43 when they critically injured Koshekh. Though after episode 46, even that feels like mere prelude.
    • Lauren crossed it in particular in episode 48, with trying to have the bathroom containing Khoshekh's kittens destroyed after trying to have photos of them taken, destroying the stock market just to piss Kevin off (to no avail - if anything, it just gets him to show legitimate concern), and planning to have the forest destroyed out of some hatred of nature.
  • Most Wonderful Sound: In Episode 48, The Night Vale theme song, heralding the return of Cecil.
  • Narm: Fey's off-key singing, probably intentional.
  • Never Live It Down: The black cloud pilot of the diving bird mural helicopter. Geez, you kidnap a bunch of the town's children once and people always think you're up to something!
    • Perhaps the most infamous incident of the notoriously poorly planned and organised Tumblr convention Dashcon occurred when negotiations between the con organisers and this show's creators over financing broke down. The Night Vale crew became convinced that their costs for the trip were unlikely to be covered and walked out, leading the organisers to sheepishly attempt to compensate the audience with a free hour in a tiny (and decidedly grubby) ball-pit. It's not completely clear whose reputation was more damaged by this, Night Vale's or Dashcon's, but either way, someone isn't going to live it down.
  • Otherworldly And Sexually Ambiguous: One of Hiram Mc Daniel's five heads (the purple one) speaks in a much higher pitch than the others and has requested to be called "Violet".
  • Paranoia Fuel: Invoked, frequently, especially in Episode 26, which describes the Faceless Old Woman who lives in your home, just out of vision, but whom you can occasionally see in the corner of your mirror. Your computer was running slow, so she has downloaded Firefox for you.
    "...They did, however, release several thousand spiders into your home. Fortunately for you—like the faceless old woman—you will be unable to see these spiders unless you look closely. They are highly trained spiders, moving just outside of your periphery. But—and this is also just like the faceless old woman—from time to time, you will feel them brushing against your soft cheeks and lips, as you sleep. So, keep your eyes open!"
    • It is statistically likely that there is a spider on you at all times. Research has yet to indicate what kind of spider, but it's probably one of the really ugly ones.
    • The deadliest spider in the world was recently discovered by you and it is as hard to spot as its bite is hard to survive. Wait, that's next week's report, you don't need to worry about that for a few days yet.
  • Portmanteau Couple Name: "Cecilos" for Cecil/Carlos.
  • Shout-Out: Cecil Palmer, anyone?
  • Unfortunate Implications: Averting this trope (especially in light of the racial Internet Backdraft listed above) was the goal of Jeffrey Cranor's announcement on Tumblr that he was stepping down as Carlos' voice actor. "It sucks that thereís a white straight male (me), playing a gay man of color (Carlos). Look, I know itís a voiceover, but itís not just that. We do live stage shows, and thatís a visible role for a PoC." The role was recast with Dylan Marron, a queer Latino member of Cranor's Neo-Futurist performance art circle.
  • The Woobie:
    • Considering the town's extreme, demented Orwellian authority and deadly supernatural occurrences, every citizen of Night Vale could potentially be considered a Woobie, since they stay pretty positive in the face of terror.
    • Carlos could count double, considering he's an outsider and the Only Sane Man, and thus much more aware of how wrong things really are than lifelong Night Vale residents.
    • Cecil as well, with the reveal that he has no memory of much of his teenage years. This includes his brother's entire existence, the time he spent as a Night Vale Community Radio intern, and creating the demo tapes that end with him being attacked in his empty house.
    • Iron Woobie: Intern Dana, who braves the horrifying dog park without a scratch, despite being frightened and starving. As of "Yellow Helicopters", Old Woman Josie has become one as well, keeping a steady determination despite StrexCorp's impending takeover and her Angel friends disappearing.
  • Writer on Board: Joseph Fink and Jeffrey Cranor make their leftist political views quite clear, but never once does it become annoying, and they definitely stay far away from Author Filibuster territory.

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