Podcast: The Ride is a podcast about Theme Parks (and sometimes Amusement Parks) from the Forever Dog Network hosted by Mike Carlson, Jason Sheridan, and Scott Gairdner, three self-professed "childless men in their thirties" who unapologetically adore not only major parks like Disney or Universal but also any themed experience from resorts and malls to restaurants and electronics stores. Each episode features the three comedians, often joined by a guest, diving deep into discussion of a park, ride, or themed experience, usually tying it in with personal stories and abundant tangents.
The show has notably deviated from the standard podcast format a few times in order to experiment with loose, highly improvised Story Arcs, most notably in the marathon 19-part "City Walk Saga" in which the hosts explored every store in Universal Studios Hollywood's external "City Walk" shopping complex in order to free the spirit of the mysterious Sector Keeper.
Episodes are released weekly, with additional "Second Gate" bonus episodes on more esoteric topics released on their Patreon.
Podcast: The Ride provides examples of:
- Artifact Title: Or, rather, Artifact Tagline, as the show is no longer hosted by "three childless men in their thirties" after Scott and his wife Erin welcomed their first child in April 2020. The humor in this is, of course, discussed in-depth in the "Papa Scott" episode.
- Ascended Fanboy: Perhaps the most low-stakes example of this trope ever; Scott, a die-hard fan of the strangely elaborate theming of Fry's Electronics stores, filmed an HD Shot-for-Shot Remake of a space shuttle launch video unique to the Anaheim store. After several months of campaigning on Twitter, Scott managed to replace the store's video with his own and was invited to host a fan event there... two days before the store permanently closed, and just a few weeks before the COVID-19 Pandemic wound up shutting down the entire chain.
- Ascended to a Higher Plane of Existence: In the opening discussion of the troubled Fox World Malaysia in the The Funtastic World of Hanna-Barbera episode, the hosts joke that the park would benefit from the leadership of Hard Rock Park's founder Jon Binkowski. They speculate they would probably find him already meditating on the top of the mountain that the park was built on, having reached an enlightened state that transformed him into a being of pure light.
- Bait-and-Switch: At the start of their 100th episode on Superstar Limo.Scott: The opening of Disney's second gate was met by the worst reviews and poorest word-of-mouth the company had ever received, and most of the ire was reserved for one particular attraction...Jason: That's right. Get ready, Seasons of the Vine, youre in the fucking scope. Jeremy Irons, taking him down a peg.Scott: No! Not my precious wine movie!
- Borrowed Catchphrase: A Phrase Catcher variant; the hosts regularly appropriate quirky dialogue from certain rides like Rocket's declaration that "My hands won't scan!" from Guardians of the Galaxy Mission: BREAKOUT! and Bill Hanna and Joe Barbera's "We sure have!" from The Funtastic World of Hanna-Barbera.
- Butt-Monkey: Jason is mercilessly teased for everything from his stature to his love of treats. Mike has stated multiple times that he has "never forgotten a single thing about Jason" that could be used for the purpose of mocking him.
- The Cameo: The Grand Finale to the Downtown Disney Ordeal features numerous podcasters and former guests cameoing as Keepers of other lightly-themed malls and shopping districts from around the world.
- Capitalism Is Bad: Despite running a show ostensibly about the joyful wonders of theme parks, right down to devoting many episodes to businesses and shopping malls, the hosts are often highly critical of the corporations that operate them. Jason especially is prone to the occasional Author Tract about the need for stronger workers' unions, and the villains of the Downtown Disney Ordeal are all wealthy business owners.
- Catchphrase: Jason, when he inevitably disagrees with the other two hosts, will respond with "Counterpoint: You are wrong."
- Christmas Special: Three so far, "The Christmas Special Christmas Special", "An Intimate Christmas Evening LIVE", and "A Very Covid-Safe Christmas". The first two episodes have the hosts sharing "gifts" of unintentionally funny televised Christmas specials and promotional videos with each other, while the third has each of the hosts share their experiences at a themed experience under COVID-19 lockdown conditions. The Live special also features the hosts staging a parody of Christmas specials as a framing device.
- Content Warning: Every episode opens with one of these, usually played for laughs and hinting at some of the topics and tangents lying ahead.
- Continuity Cavalcade: The finale of the Downtown Disney Ordeal features the boys struggling to defeat the five bosses using all of the items collected in previous stages. You can hear the hosts rifling through their notes to make sure not to forget any details.
- Damned by Faint Praise: In "Failed Theme Parks, Part 2", Jason claims that his family always enjoyed eating at Hard Rock Cafe because its food was so much better... than Planet Hollywood.
- Disneyland Dad: A frequently discussed trope. In "Chuck E. Cheese 2", the hosts react to a serious newscast from Australia that refers to this as a psychological condition of the American male, "Young Executive Guilt" or "YEG" for short.
- Framing Device: The whole Sector Keeper storyline is regularly addressed as such; its flimsiness in justifying why anyone would spend over 24 hours discussing a glorified mall is played for laughs.
- Friendly Ghost: The Sector Keeper.
- Lovable Coward: Early episodes played this up as major character traits of Mike and Scott in particular, as both were against riding extreme thrill rides or attending Halloweentime haunts. The need for content for the podcast has pushed them out of their comfort zone and towards Character Development: Mike has flipped to actually loving haunts, and even "No Launch Queen" Scott has loosened up and gone on more thrilling rides.
- Manchild: The oft-repeated premise of the show is the ridiculousness of three childless men in their thirties who have no qualms about talking about theme parks made for children for several hours each week. The hosts play this for laughs, especially Jason.
- Obviously Evil: The five bosses of the Downtown Disney Ordeal are essentially demons, but that doesn't make them nearly as evil as their occupations as wealthy corporate owners of chintzy restaurants.
- Old Shame: In-universe; Mike "starred" in a segment of Manswers as one of his first gigs as a young actor in Hollywood, which answered the question, "Why shouldn't you get a handjob from a British chick?" That appearance not only turned out to be a deeply uncomfortable and unprofessional experience, but also turned out to be one of the first times his parents saw him on TV.
- Trademark Favorite Food:
- Jason is a self-professed "Treat Boy" who is rarely seen without some sugary treat or a hot dog.
- Scott is routinely mocked for his love of wine.
- Self-Deprecation: Following the content warning, most episodes begin with the hosts introducing themselves in the least flattering terms possible.
- Sitcom Arch-Nemesis:
- Bug Mane hops over from the Doughboys podcast to antagonize the Good Boys. Here he takes the identity of a gangster from The Great Movie Ride, Bugsy Malone, who mostly just annoys the group with his obnoxious Prohibition-era accent and fixation on "sucking jewels".
- The Sector Keeper and frequent guest Nick Mundy do not get along, and the ghost boy will refer to him (and anyone who allies with him) to be a "bad man".
- The show has one with the (fictitious) Bumper Car Boys podcast.
- Snake Oil Salesman: In the "Ark Experience" episode, Jason refers to religious theme park owners (and all wealthy evangelicals) as being this. However, he claims that, while he genuinely despises how these people use religion as a means of discriminating against others and promoting misinformation, he actually somewhat respects selling useless goods to dumb people as a "proud American tradition".