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Recap / Nightmare Time S1E1 "The Hatchetfield Ape-Man and Watcher World"

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"The Hatchetfield Ape-Man and Watcher World" is the first episode of Nightmare Time's first season, livestreamed and released on YouTube on October 10, 2020.

As with all season 1 Nightmare Time episodes, it's a Double Feature, consisting of two stories:

     The Hatchetfield Ape-Man 

The Hatchetfield Ape-Man
"He's a real nice guy that could rip off your face!"

Lucy Stockworth, an English Duchess who visits Hatchetfield every year in search of the mysterious "Wooly-Foot," is about to give up the hunt when she meets a reclusive biology professor who's made a startling discovery...

Musical sequences:
"The Hatchetfield Ape-Man" performed by Jaime Lyn Beatty and Jeff Blim

  • Accessory-Wearing Cartoon Animal: When Konk decides to propose to Lucy, he shows up — according to the stage directions — in a full tuxedo, but because this show is being streamed live and Joey Richter didn't have time to change his clothes, he instead shows up putting on only a bowtie over his bare chest like a Chippendales dancer.
  • Actor Allusion: Joey Richter playing Konk the Ape-Man feels a bit like an allusion to his role as Grunt in Firebringer — if nothing else, he's already done a nearly-nude shirtless role and had "nothing to lose". It becomes even more of an allusion when Konk proposes marriage to Lucy in a tuxedo, considering Joey had proposed to Lauren Lopez in Real Life only four months earlier — and Joey even uses Lauren's real engagement ring as a prop for this scene.
  • Adaptational Curves: Robert Manion put on a lot of muscle in Real Life in between 2018 and 2020 thanks to becoming a gym rat after moving to LA, as his Instagram followers can attest, and his gains since The Guy Who Didn't Like Musicals showed even through Prof. Hidgens' signature black turtleneck. This plus Prof. Hidgens' surprise Face–Heel Turn in this story led to some fandom jokes about this being a Mirror Universe "Hulk Hidgens".
  • Adaptational Villainy: The fandom has hotly debated over whether Prof. Hidgens and Ted actually are an example of Took a Level in Jerkass compared to their portrayal in The Guy Who Didn't Like Musicals, with the two of them in cahoots to manipulate and kill an innocent woman for monetary gain from the beginning of the story, as opposed to the original Hidgens seeming to have noble intentions before undergoing a Despair Event Horizon-induced Face–Heel Turn onstage, and Ted being a "sleazeball" and a selfish asshole but never taking the initiative to harm anyone. That said, even in his original portrayal Hidgens' Face–Heel Turn did in fact turn him into an Ax-Crazy Omnicidal Maniac, and this version of Ted actually ends up being a case of Adaptational Heroism after his Heel–Face Turn, so it's complicated.
  • All Cavemen Were Neanderthals: Played with. Konk is described as the "missing link" between modern humans and Homo erectus; he speaks with stereotypical Hulk Speak, has the clumsy social graces of a Wild Child, and has Super-Strength, but is surprisingly visually indistinguishable from a human. Because it's a con job and that's what he is.
  • All There in the Manual: During the Q&A Nick Lang told fans the script, which can be downloaded from the website, specifies that "Konk" is spelled with two Ks.
  • Alternate Universe: For fans keeping track, yes, this has to be an AU from The Guy Who Didn't Like Musicals and Black Friday, once we learn that the Ape-Man is Ted, who already knows Prof. Hidgens, and who dies along with Hidgens at the end of this story.
  • Ambiguously Gay: Continuing a theme with Hidgens' characterization from TGWDLM, he seems resolutely Not Distracted by the Sexy whenever Lucy and Konk are getting friendly with each other, and when he has his Evil All Along reveal, he's laser-focused on getting his hands on Lucy's money and completely uninterested in her in any romantic or sexual sense.
  • Aristocrats Are Evil: Subverted. Jonathan acts like this but it turns out he isn't actually an aristocrat, just "upper-class" in the American sense of monetary wealth. The only real aristocrat in the story, Lucy, is also the noblest and most sympathetic character, and the only one to survive to the end... along with the Ape-Man. But see Jerkass Has a Point.
  • Artistic License – Biology: The term "missing link" is considered unscientific and its use is deprecated because it leads to misconceptions — there is no specific "missing link" necessary between modern humans and Homo erectus to prove evolution is real, since evolution is a continuous process. This is in fact immediately lampshaded by the fact that (as with Brendan Fraser in Encino Man) the Hatchetfield Ape-Man turns out to look and act pretty much exactly like a normal human who was raised as a Wild Child, and only Hidgens has the expertise to discern the specific biological differences between Konk and a modern Homo sapiens sapiens. Which is, of course, because he's lying his ass off the whole time and Konk is a modern Homo sapiens sapiens named Ted.
  • Artistic License – Economics: Played for Laughs, but Prof. Hidgens casually mentions he's not asking for much money, "only" $30 million to mount a production of Workin' Boys — which would make Workin' Boys the third most expensive musical in Broadway history — more expensive than Shrek: The Musical at $27.6 million, only beaten by King Kong at $35 million and Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark at $79 million, both of which were considered embarrassing financial disasters for their creators. As part of the ongoing ribbing of Broadway excess that Workin' Boys represents, of course, there's the fact that Hidgens is asking for this much money to make a show that's supposedly just about a group of guys hanging out on a football field.
  • Artistic License – Ornithology: A real-life nighthawk, despite its badass-sounding name that makes it a common high school sports mascot, is a fairly small and ordinary bird that few hunters would find worth turning into a trophy, and that few British aristocrats would find it worth coming to America to see, although that may be the joke.
  • Ax-Crazy: Hey, it turns out The Guy Who Didn't Like Musicals fans get an answer as to whether it was the alien infection that turned Hidgens into a raving mass-murderer in the original show — no, he always had the potential to be a raving psychopath, and all it takes is Ted's "betrayal" and the funding for Workin' Boys slipping from his grasp for him to go completely apeshit, no pun intended.
  • Bait-and-Switch: What seems like a goofy take on the plot of Tarzan becomes something much darker and more complicated — and funnier — when it turns out the Ape-Man is a fraud. There's a subtler level of this, where a lot of fans who had already guessed the Ape-Man would turn out to be human were thinking he was Joey's character of the Crazy Homeless Man from the original stage shows, only for almost nobody to predict that he would turn out to be Ted.
  • Beard of Barbarism: Joey Richter's "quarantine beard" is early Foreshadowing he plays the Ape-Man. When it turns out he's a fake, he even complains about Hidgens making him grow it to help sell the illusion, and says that if he'd had the same Porn Stache he did in The Guy Who Didn't Like Musicals he and Lucy would already be married. Of course, Jeff Blim, who plays the actual Ape-Man, has always had a beard like this, which may have been a bit of even more subtle Foreshadowing for the fans.
  • Bear Trap: Prof. Hidgens has covered the Witchwood with these as part of his lifelong study of Hatchetfield's cryptids. One of these ends up catching Lucy in her final flight from an Ax-Crazy Hidgens.
  • Beast and Beauty: It's a love story between an English Rose and an American Ape-Man. It even quotes the Trope Namer (well, Disney's adaptation of it):
    Jonathan: If I didn't know better, I'd say you had feelings for this... Ape-Man.
  • Becoming the Mask: A hilarious example of this trope, where sleazeball Con Man Ted falls In Love with the Mark and slowly learns to become a better person while pretending to be an Ape-Man who can barely think or speak, and even regresses to Hulk Speak in his Heroic Sacrifice at the end.
  • Big Damn Heroes: When the real Ape-Man appears at the very end, to save Lucy's life a second time.
  • Bigfoot, Sasquatch, and Yeti: Hatchetfield has its very own world-famous cryptid, the Hatchetfield Ape-Man, named "Wooly-Foot" by residents for its trademark thick black fur.
  • Black Widow: Hidgens' original plan demanded that Ted/Konk murder Lucy after marrying her to quickly tie up all the loose ends, something that... doesn't really make sense if you think about it, but apparently they Didn't Think This Through.
  • Bridal Carry: The episode ends with Chumby the Real Ape-Man suggestively carrying Lucy off this way into the mists.
  • Call-Back:
    • The piano accompaniment to "Showstoppin' Number" from The Guy Who Didn't Like Musicals comes back as Professor Hidgens' Leitmotif.
    • Hidgens' shotgun, which played a prominent role as a Chekhov's Gun in TGWDLM, shows up again as well.
    • Hidgens' prominent use of the word "Charlatan!", the way he makes his initial offer to Lucy by saying "I could use an assistant!", and, really, any number of Hidgens' Large Ham lines from TGWDLM.
    • Just as Hidgens' last words in TGWDLM were "No, not my tummy!" just before his guts get ripped out, this time he screams "No, not my arms!" right before they're torn from their sockets.
  • Camp: Even compared to his gloriously campy incarnation in The Guy Who Didn't Like Musicals. This version of Hidgens is full-camp from the beginning, rather than building up to it. And only gets campier as he gets more evil.
  • Casting Gag: A lot of fans pointed out that we last saw Angela Giarratana and Robert Manion as the cute Beta Couple of Black Friday, lovable teenage delinquents Lex Foster and Ethan Green, only for them to both play dramatically different characters this time — one we've seen before, Prof. Henry Hidgens, and a new one we haven't, Lucy the Duchess of Stockworth. Their relationship is wildly different too; Prof. Hidgens has no romantic interest in Lucy, and ends up on a maniacal rampage trying to murder her.
  • Catch a Falling Star: Lucy's life was saved as a little girl by the Ape-Man catching her when she fell from a tree. It happens again at the end of the story.
  • Chronically Killed Actor: Robert Manion continues his streak of being dramatically and violently killed in a Starkid show, with Prof. Hidgens basically reprising the death he had in The Guy Who Didn't Like Musicals.
  • Coconut Superpowers:
    • Jeff Blim "transforms" into the real Hatchetfield Ape-Man just by putting on a fuzzy vest to represent the Ape-Man's fur.
    • A lot of laughs in this story come from Prof. Hidgens simulating dramatic camera pans and zooms by the simple expedient of Robert Manion sliding around wildly on his rolling office chair.
    • As is basically Starkid tradition by now, Joey Richter acts out a dramatic "slow-motion" shot for his Taking the Bullet scene.
  • Continuity Porn: Lampshaded — at one point Prof. Hidgens points out to Lucy that Becky Barnes spent two days up a tree in the Witchwood one time, even though Lucy has no idea who that is and no reason to care, just saying "It's a bit of Hatchetfield lore for you."
  • Counting Bullets: Hidgens is carefully doing this while out on his hunting trip to bag a nighthawk with Jonathan. He picks the moment Jonathan's rifle is empty to begin his murderous rampage.
  • Crack Fic: The gonzo premise and the out-of-nowhere twist in the middle qualify "The Hatchetfield Ape-Man" as a canon example of this in the eyes of some fans, especially compared to its much darker and more grounded successor "Watcher World".
  • Damsel out of Distress: As we find out, Lucy is naive and Money Dumb, but she has good self-preservation instincts. She locks up Professor Hidgens in his chambers when he tries to shoot her, whacks him with a stick before freeing herself from a bear trap, and climbs a tree to wait him out. The Ape Man does save her when she loses her grip.
  • Died in Your Arms Tonight: Ted/Konk, who, in some of the purest Black Comedy Starkid has done yet, chooses to "die as Konk" rather than let Lucy learn anything about the sleazeball human he's been up till now.
  • Disposable Fiancé: Jonathan Brisby is a note-perfect instance of this clichéd character — we can predict pretty much all there is to know about him instantly the moment we hear that Lucy has had a fiancé all along. Except for the fact that he's not an aristocrat and that Lucy is marrying him for his money, not the other way around. And the fact that he's actually right about the Ape-Man.
  • Don't Go in the Woods: All of Hatchetfield is already an Eldritch Location, but the Witchwood Forest is apparently an extra-eldritch location-within-a-location, being the site of most of Hatchetfield's longstanding Urban Legends.
  • Dying Declaration of Love: Konk/Ted's last words to Lucy are a Silent Whisper inaudible to the audience... due to Joey Richter accidentally muting himself while acting his his Taking the Bullet scene. The script reveals they were meant to be "Lucy... very... beautiful..."
  • Early-Installment Weirdness: A particularly weird example, considering the normal installments came out only a week later; "The Hatchetfield Ape-Man" is the only Nightmare Time story to date in which the Title Theme Tune plays after the story instead of before it.
  • English Rose: Lucy, Duchess of Stockworth, is this trope through and through — beautiful, kindhearted, innocent, well-mannered... she'd be a perfect heiress for her family's legacy if not for her one embarrassing peccadillo of her inappropriate obsession with the giant hairy Ape-Man who saved her life.
  • Even Evil Has Standards: Ted was all-in on Hidgens' mad, murderous plan at first, but it turns out to be a case of Did Not Think This Through, and once Hidgens murders Jonathan and makes it clear he's going to murder Lucy, he has a Freak Out and balks. It especially becomes the case when Ted asks why does Lucy have to die for the plan to be a success.
  • Exactly What It Says on the Tin: In the song "The Hatchetfield Ape-Man".
    All we know about the Hatchetfield Ape-Man... he's an ape... man...
  • Expy: A Love Triangle between an English Rose, a Great White Hunter and a Noble Savage is common enough to be a Stock Character box set, but the example Lucy Stockworth, Jonathan Brisby and Konk are most directly inspired by is probably The Jungle Book (1994), with Lena Headey as Kitty Brydon, Cary Elwes as William Boone and Jason Scott Lee as Mowgli. Other examples the fandom immediately pointed out are the 1999 Tarzan, with Minnie Driver as Jane, BRIAN BLESSED as Clayton and Tony Goldwyn as Tarzan (with the difference being there's no romantic connection between Jane and Clayton), or George of the Jungle with Leslie Mann as Ursula Stanhope, Thomas Haden Church as Lyle van de Groot and Brendan Fraser as George (with the difference being Ursula and Lyle are Americans).
  • Extreme Close-Up: Robert Manion helps sell Hidgens' Villainous Breakdown by shoving his face so close to the webcam you can almost see his nose hairs, as he screams "LET ME OOOOOUUUUT!!!"
  • Falling-in-Love Montage: Lucy and Konk get an adorable one of these as she tries to teach him basic human niceties.
  • Final Girl: Lucy is the only human survivor of the story, although the "monster" turns out to be heroic because Humans Are the Real Monsters.
  • First Girl Wins: Well, first — and real — Ape-Man wins.
  • The Flapper: Jaime Lyn Beatty's The Chanteuse character is dressed as one of these, implying the song "The Hatchetfield Ape-Man" was recorded in the distant past.
  • Fluffy Tamer: Professor Hidgens tells Lucy he recruited her to try to communicate with the Ape-Man because he suspected that the Ape-Man saving her life years ago might have created some kind of bond between them, and sure enough the Ape-Man immediately opens up to her in a way he never did for Hidgens after months of attempts. Which is a lie based on him knowing the story and basing his whole long con around it, but turns out to be Real After All when Chumby, the real Ape-Man, suddenly appears to save her again when her life is endangered.
  • Foreshadowing:
    • The Exact Words Lucy uses when Hidgens requests she help him with the Ape-Man, that she has a "prior engagement". She has a fiancé.
    • The opening scene with Lucy and her butler Rupert, where Lucy ominously says that she'll come back next year "if other things don't get in the way" and bids farewell to Hatchetfield "maybe forever". The Stockworth fortune Hidgens is after has already almost all been spent; whether she can continue her quest depends on being able to marry Jonathan Brisby for his money.
    • Konk the Ape-Man, despite having lived outdoors his entire life, appears confused and frightened by concepts like "rain" and "stars" and needs Lucy to explain them to him. Because Ted isn't very good at Improv, as Hidgens complains, but luckily Lucy herself is too smitten to notice.
  • Funny Background Event: As soon as Joey Richter appears onscreen shirtless as Konk, he spends all his time when he's not in the scene and on mute still in character, idly scratching himself, picking his nose, picking at his hair and eating whatever bits he finds, stretching and yawning, etc. without any hint of self-consciousness.
  • Full-Frontal Assault: Hidgens strips down completely naked when he has his Villainous BSoD and starts screaming "I'M THE APE-MAN!" He is never described putting clothes back on at any point, leaving most fans to assume we're meant to imagine all of the final act of this episode with him villain-monologuing at Lucy takes place with him in the nude.
  • Gentle Giant: Lucy's repeated line about the Ape-Man is remembering his "kind eyes" and "I know he would never hurt me".
  • Gentleman Snarker: Jonathan, of course.
  • Great White Hunter: Jonathan postures as one of these, in the classic tradition of the Romantic False Lead in a Noble Savage story.
  • Heroic Sacrifice: Unlike the version of Ted in The Guy Who Didn't Like Musicals, this Ted does make the necessary evolution into not just a better person than he was but a truly good person by Taking the Bullet for Lucy from an enraged Hidgens. Ironically, he "evolves" by... devolving from a man to an Ape-Man.
  • Hidden Depths: The hints from Ted's reaction to "Showstoppin' Number" in The Guy Who Didn't Like Musicals are paid off in this timeline; Ted does, in fact, have a serious interest in acting and surprising amount of talent at it, given how he jumped at the chance to spend several days pretending to be an Ape-Man.
  • Honey Trap: One of the few times in fiction the "honey" in the trap was a man posing as a bestial half-human cryptid Bigfoot.
  • Humans Are the Real Monsters: Hidgens starts screaming and violently thrashing at the walls like a rabid animal in the final act of the play, and is far worse than Ted, who was an amoral sleazeball but became gradually more humane as he became the mask of the Ape-Man. The real Ape-Man, who shows up at the very end of the episode, is the noblest character of all.
  • Hulk Speak: The way Konk the Ape-Man speaks — he's apparently learned English very rapidly but still incompletely in the past few months. It's an act, from Ted imitating stereotypical Hulk Speak "cavemen" on TV, which explains the many inconsistencies in just how well he knows English. But then the real Ape-Man turns out to talk the same way.
  • Human Subspecies: The "Ape-Man" is mostly a misnomer, and more accurately described as one of these, since he's obviously far more closely related to humans than any other existing species of ape. At least that's how Hidgens describes him, in order to pull off his con. The jury's completely out on what Chumby's biology is like.
  • Hunting "Accident": Hidgens' plan for getting rid of Jonathan Brisby. It was kind of obvious Schmuck Bait for Jonathan to go on a hunting trip with him at all, as he taunts him with before killing him.
  • I Choose to Stay: The happy ending of the story has Lucy presumably join the Ape-Man in the Witchwood permanently.
  • I Don't Like the Sound of That Place: Any place called the "Witchwood Forest" is probably not a great place to go on vacation, as Lucy's parents learned.
  • I Owe You My Life: The explanation Lucy gives for why she's so obsessed with proving the Ape-Man exists and seeing him one more time — that as a proper lady she owes it to him to look him in the eye and thank him. Prof. Hidgens, of course, accurately guessed that her desires run a little bit deeper than just thanking him...
  • Improv: In-universe. Hidgens scolds Ted in theatre-speak over attempting this.
    Hidgens: It's hopeless, Ted. You never learned how to yes-and.
  • Informed Attribute: The Ape-Man is supposed to have "thick, woolly black fur", but when we meet him almost all of his fur has been shaved off, minus the hair on his head and face, making him look remarkably similar to a human with a scruffy beard. Hilariously, what information we're given from the narration tells us that Konk/Ted looks exactly like a naked Joey Richter in Real Life, whereas the real Ape-Man, Chumby, looks almost nothing like his actor Jeff Blim, who portrays his thick coat of fur by just putting on a fuzzy vest.
  • Interface Spoiler: A minor bit of Five-Second Foreshadowing is Lauren and Joey's screen suddenly vanishing from the Zoom gallery view because they've logged off to give Joey time to take off his clothes so he can appear as Konk the Ape-Man.
  • Inverted Portrait: The song "The Hatchetfield Ape-Man" starts with one of these for the singer.
  • Jerkass Has a Point: Jonathan's observation that Hidgens sounds extremely shady and Konk looks like just a normal human man is completely valid and correct. He doesn't do himself any favors by speaking as condescendingly and coldly to Lucy as he does, but he actually is trying to save her from an evil plot by a couple of con men, a plot that was originally planned to end in her murder. And as ugly as his motivation to marry Lucy for her title might be, it turns out she was using him as well.
  • Just Between You and Me: Hidgens confesses his whole plan to Jonathan in order to taunt him before killing him.
  • Kavorka Man: Once again, Ted finds himself with a woman he really doesn't deserve falling head over heels for him, which he attributes to the "sexual charisma that radiates from this" (pointing to his body). He has a point — fans of Joey Richter would say he really has a point — although Lucy doesn't exactly have typical tastes in men.
  • Kent Brockman News: Recurring characters Dan and Donna of Hatchetfield Action News return in this episode, where their show has been renamed the Hatchetfield Morning Cup O' News. Dan even has his trademark Catchphrase to segue out of Donna's segment on cryptids in the Witchwood, "That's amazing, Donna!"
  • Large Ham: Oh, my, yes. Robert Manion brings back the shameless hamminess of Prof. Hidgens in The Guy Who Didn't Like Musicals and turns it all the way up to eleven, somehow outdoing his previous performance despite doing the whole thing sitting in place at a desk. And yes, once again this is also an example of Evil Is Hammy, and we get to see Hidgens in the throes of a full-throated Villainous Breakdown for half the show.
  • Leitmotif:
    • The melody of "Showstoppin' Number" is one for Prof. Hidgens, obviously.
    • There's a jazzy riff that plays once Ted is revealed to be the Ape-Man, and that turns out to be the main hook of the song "The Hatchetfield Ape-Man" that serves as the Ending Theme.
    • The somber, emotional theme that plays in romantic moments with Lucy and Konk turns out to be a minor-key version of the theme from "The Hatchetfield Ape-Man".
    • "Paul's theme" from The Guy Who Didn't Like Musicals (which turned out to be the opening bars of "Inevitable") is reused here as a general "spooky" theme associated with the Witchwood.
  • Let Him Choose: An example of this trope being applied to a very unusual "pet", eventually crossing over with I Just Want My Beloved to Be Happy. Hidgens expresses the unusually noble sentiment that whether the Ape-Man ends up thinking of himself as ape or man, he should be treated as a person, and be allowed to decide for himself whether he wishes to join human society or return to the woods, once he's learned enough to make an informed choice.
  • Love Redeems: Love might be... a strong way of putting it, but the... positive self-esteem Ted builds from having a beautiful woman pay this close attention to him does a lot to change his earlier self-loathing, sleazeball outlook and bring out his inner nobility.
    Hidgens: You going soft on me, Ted?
    Ted: On the contrary, my friend. Lucy makes me hard. Real hard. And I do some of my best thinking when I'm erect.
  • Mad Artist: Hidgens turns out to be one of these. He sets up the whole long con with Lucy's Tragic Dream of finding the Ape-Man finally coming true mainly because he seems to relish the chance to "direct" a juicy "drama", with him even kicking himself for not making Ted play himself so he could play the Ape-Man and be the romantic lead. And, of course, the motivation for the Get-Rich-Quick Scheme is to gain the funding to produce Workin' Boys, Hidgens' awful Broadway magnum opus.
  • Mad Scientist: Anyone who's seen The Guy Who Didn't Like Musicals will already know that Prof. Hidgens is one. The Reveal is that in this timeline he's already succumbed to his "first love" of theatre, had no genuine interest in tracking down the Ape-Man, which he's dismissed as a myth, and switched professions into being a Mad Artist.
  • Malicious Misnaming: Konk consistently calls Jonathan "Jon-Man", and it's not clear whether it's because he can't pronounce "Jonathan" or he's doing it because he can tell it makes Jonathan angry. Of course, post-reveal it's obviously just Ted fucking with him.
  • Mayfly–December Romance: If there really is just one Ape-Man, then he must be centuries old. Regardless, this particular Ape-Man was obviously an adult when Lucy was a little girl, and there must be some degree of age gap in their relationship — but, as usual, no one seems to care that much.
  • Meaningful Name: Lucy is, appropriately enough, named after a famous "missing link" in human evolution, Lucy the Australopithecine (just like in the movie Lucy). Her name also lets Prof. Hidgens make constant references to I Love Lucy ("Lucy, I'm hoooome!") while chasing her, in a Shout-Out to Jack Nicholson's "Heeeere's Johnny!" in The Shining.
  • Mercy Lead: Hidgens gives a brief one to Jonathan just for the satisfaction of chasing him down.
  • Mic Drop: Variant — Jaime Lyn Beatty's singer character casually tosses the mic aside during the song in order to start dancing. As is typical for fictional versions of this trope, she can afford to do this — and is still perfectly audible afterwards — because it's not a real mic, and in this case is hilariously obviously a round hairbrush (with strands of blonde hair from brushing out her wig still clinging to it).
  • Mr. Exposition: Professor Hidgens plays one here in much the same way he did in The Guy Who Didn't Like Musicals. Only this time he's lying his ass off the whole time.
  • Musical World Hypotheses: The only musical number associated with this half-episode, "The Hatchetfield Ape-Man", appears to exist diegetically in the world as a novelty number from several decades ago recorded for fans of Hatchetfield's local cryptid.
  • Mythology Gag: The anecdote about Becky Barnes being stuck up a tree for two whole days seems to originate from the original fundraiser livestream for Black Friday, where — because no one knew anything about the character of Becky yet — people were spitballing about her being the star of a clichéd slice-of-life story about a Plucky Girl growing up in Oireland. invoked
  • Naked People Are Funny: The Ape-Man, of course, wasn't wearing any clothes when it saved Lucy's life when she was a kid, and still isn't now after Prof. Hidgens shaved him and Lucy can now see everything. Bizarrely, no one ever brings up the question of whether she should be training him to wear clothes — he is, after all, an Ape-Man, not a man. This gets even funnier when Ted tells us that his dick is hard most of the time when he's around Lucy, and is yet another reason that this seems to be a script that was written to be impossible to actually film or stage.
  • Nightmare Fetishist: It's blatantly obvious Lucy is actually one of these, although she's far too much of a proper English lady to admit to any vulgar carnal desires out loud. She does pretty much admit to becoming emotionally smitten with the Ape-Man almost instantly though.
  • Nobility Marries Money: It turns out that Jonathan and Lucy's engagement was a classic one of these arrangements — Jonathan is wealthy but is in fact a commoner, and Lucy may still be a duchess but she depleted the family fortune years ago in her mad quest to find the Ape-Man.
  • Noble Savage: The Ape-Man storyline plays out like a classic one of these narratives, like Tarzan and The Jungle Book.
  • No Honor Among Thieves: It doesn't take long for Ted and Hidgens to turn on each other the moment complications arise in their plan. It's even revealed that Hidgens has had a gun hidden in Konk's greenhouse all along should he need to betray Ted.
  • No Name Given: Even though we finally get last names for Donna and Dan the TV news anchors (Donna Daggett and Dan Reynolds), we still don't get any last name for Ted. This just makes the vague hints from Nick Lang that his surname would be a "spoiler" more intriguing.
  • Noodle Incident: The other Urban Legends about the Witchwood Forest that Donna tantalizingly mentions at the beginning of the episode, "Willabella Muckwab the Muck-Witch" and "Lumber-Axe, the Mad Woodsman". Also the story of how and why, exactly, Becky Barnes once spend two whole days in a tree. And, to an extent, the question of how the hell Ted got roped into Professor Hidgens' scheme in this timeline.
    • The Noodle Incident involving the Muck-Witch has been fairly thoroughly explained by "The Witch in the Web" with the surprise reveal that the Muck-Witch has been the Greater-Scope Villain of Hatchetfield all along. There's a slowly developing Fanon that the Mad Woodsman must also be tied to the Hatchetfield Myth Arc and may be a rogue member of the "Hatchetmen" faction that bound Willabella's soul to the Witchwood in the first place.
  • Old, Dark House: Robert Manion's Zoom background gives us the first actual glimpse of what Prof. Hidgens' "whole house like a panic room" looks like, and it turns out to be some kind of decaying Gothic mansion. Don't ask how he can possibly afford it, unless this isn't the first Get-Rich-Quick Scheme he's pulled.
  • Only Known by Their Nickname: The Hatchetfield Ape-Man, like many cryptids, is either just known as "the Ape-Man" or by his local nickname, "Woolly-Foot" (apparently to contrast him from the Bigfeet they have in other states). His name turns out to be "Konk". Which is something Ted improvised on the spot and has a Seinfeldian Conversation with Prof. Hidgens about, who insists the Ape-Man's name would be more along the lines of "Chumby". He turns out to be right.
  • Out-of-Genre Experience: Compared to the usual Hatchetfield installments being eldritch horror, this episode reads more like a Homage to Gothic literature. Indeed, Hidgens could be compared to Victor Frankenstein before he goes off the rails.
  • Oxymoronic Being: The song "The Hatchetfield Ape-Man" jokes about how the Ape-Man is this, since almost nothing is known about him, and the stories people tell about him directly contradict each other.
    He is tall, he is short
    He is good or bad at sports
    The point is that nobody knows!
  • Perma-Shave: Hidgens initially tells Lucy he shaved the Ape-Man to more easily dress its wounds. As Jonathan points out, if this happened thirteen months ago his fur would've grown back by now, forcing Hidgens to hastily add that he's had to keep on shaving him to apply ointment because he was developing a rash. Jonathan doesn't buy that either. He was right.
  • Perverted Sniffing: Konk engages pretty blatantly in some of this on Lucy when he first meets her, and follows it up by trying to lift up her skirt. But that's okay because he is, after all, an Ape-Man and doesn't know better. Which just makes it all the more amazing to find out he's everyone's favorite Lovable Sex Maniac Ted.
  • Politically Incorrect Villain: Parodied. Prof. Hidgens has never shown any particularly racist/sexist/homophobic attitudes before, but he does seem to have one particular prejudice he's stuck on — a rabid, patriotically American hatred of English people. This may be why he has no interest in actually marrying or having sex with Lucy, issues of orientation aside.
    Hidgens: (aiming rifle at Jonathan) Welcome to America, you tea-taxing son-of-a-bitch. (BANG)
  • Precision F-Strike:
    • How "Konk" gives away his true identity — Lucy, being a proper English Rose, has never included swear words in her English lessons to him and yet when Hidgens reveals he's a fraud he tells him to "go fuck himself".
    • The singer in "The Hatchetfield Ape-Man" interrupts what's supposed to be a family-friendly goofy novelty song with a horrified reaction to the line "He'll rip off your face."
      Rip off your face? Are you fucking high?
  • Reaction Shot: Curt Mega as Jonathan laughs with approval (even though his character is supposed to be offstage) when Prof. Hidgens tells Ted that Jonathan must be British because "You can't fake an accent like that!"
  • Real After All: The Ape-Man, as everyone in the audience probably expected.
  • The Real Remington Steele: The Deus ex Machina that saves Lucy at the end of the story is the real Ape-Man appearing and saving her life again just as he did when she was a girl. He looks a lot more convincingly apelike than Ted/Konk did, although he does talk the same way Konk did, and his real name turns out to be the name Hidgens preferred for an Ape-Man, "Chumby".
  • Redemption Equals Death: A classic example of this trope, with the question of how on Earth Ted could possibly continue to have a relationship with Lucy while pretending to be "Konk" brutally made moot by Hidgens' gun.
  • Redemption in the Rain: A dark parody of this trope, when Hidgens poses this way to fully embrace having become a subhuman monster.
  • Refuge in Audacity: The idea of Hidgens getting away with his plan is absurd — to take some completely ordinary guy with a scruffy beard, pass him off as the Ape-Man, and then trick the Duchess of Stockworth into legally marrying him so he can inherit her fortune — and utterly filled with holes, like the fact that the Duchess' sudden death might incur scrutiny into who her new husband is and whether he's a human being. But, to be fair, Hidgens did completely have Lucy's number as a closeted Nightmare Fetishist, and it rapidly becomes clear his plan was meant to maximize Rule of Drama because Hidgens himself is already quite insane.
  • Related in the Adaptation: Prof. Hidgens and Ted had no prior connection to each other at all in The Guy Who Didn't Like Musicals, whereas in this timeline they seem to have known each other for quite some time and trust each other enough to pull a criminal conspiracy together — Hidgens even calls Ted "my former friend" after his Heel–Face Turn. Their relationship here may be a subtle nod to the mostly tongue-in-cheek "Tedgens" ship the fandom developed based on Ted's reactions to Hidgens' "Showstoppin' Number" in The Guy Who Didn't Like Musicals.
  • The Reveal: Everything about the story changes when Hidgens hands his cigarette to "Konk" and Konk says, in normal English, "That was a fuckin' close one, Hidge!"
  • Reverse Psychology: Prof. Hidgens directly warns Lucy not to fall in love with Konk the Ape-Man when he initially introduces her to him, pretty much making it a Foregone Conclusion that she will. Which was his whole plan.
  • Rewatch Bonus: The whole first half of the story is worth rewatching once you know Konk's secret, but in particular you can clearly see Hidgens reacting negatively to Ted saying his name is "Konk" and hear the huffiness in his voice as he says "Well, that's new to me..."
  • Royal Mess: In Real Life, by default the English peerage operates under strict male primogeniture: only a son can inherit the title of a duke, and in England "Duchess" is only a title for a duke's wife. That said, the sovereign can create an exception for this at will, and this has been done a couple of times in history when a Duke had only daughters; presumably in this timeline the Dukedom of Stockworth was one of them.
    • As far as Lucy's name goes: In Real Life it's possible but uncommon for a duke/duchess to have a family name that matches their title; more likely, Lucy would have a different surname but might be using her title as a surname informally (like the infamous current Duke of Marlborough going by "Jamie Marlborough" or "Jamie Blandford" when Marquess of Blandford was his highest-ranked title). While she certainly doesn't seem like the type to insist on formality in private, it does stick out that Donna, a newscaster talking about her in public, calls her "Ms. Stockworth" rather than "the Duchess of Stockworth" or "Her Grace the Duchess of Stockworth", which is a major diplomatic faux pas for a journalist. Same with her butler Rupert calling her "Miss Lucy" — of all people, a household servant would be the one most insistent on calling her "Your Grace" (and if he were affectionately calling her by her childhood form of address, that would be "Lady Lucy", never "Miss").
    • A bigger instance of Artistic License is Jonathan's statement that he intends to "become the Duke of Stockworth" by marrying Lucy. There's an explicit gendered Double Standard with aristocratic titles where a woman gains a title by marrying a man but the same doesn't apply in reverse (partly because a woman holding a title in her own right was so rare). Jonathan's descendants would be dukes (and possibly duchesses) but he himself would stay just "Mr. Brisby", unless the Queen specifically created a new title for him to keep him from being outranked by his own family.
  • "Scooby-Doo" Hoax: As all too often for a Cryptid Episode, the cryptid turns out to be a fake created for tawdry financial gain... although the hoax in this case is a lot more elaborate than usual.
  • Shirtless Scene:
    • One of the biggest laughs of all of Nightmare Time that got a huge crowd response was Joey Richter suddenly appearing actually shirtless to play Konk the Ape-Man. (The script says he's fully nude, but since he's still seated at his desk fans will have to decide whether to imagine him as such or not.)
    • Averted when Prof. Hidgens goes mad and, according to the script, strips nude to become the "true Ape-Man" — Robert Manion pulls down the collar of his sweatshirt briefly to indicate he's supposed to be nude but doesn't actually take anything off. (Possibly because Robert has posed shirtless on his Instagram once he became a gym rat and the reaction from the fans might be distracting.) Jeff Blim doesn't take anything off to play the actual Ape-Man either, instead putting on a fuzzy vest to approximate the Ape-Man's thick coat of fur.
  • Shout-Out: Hidgens' warning that an angered Konk might "rip your arms from their sockets" is obviously one to Star Wars. It ends up actually happening to him, courtesy of the real Ape-Man.
    • Jonathan's confrontation with Konk seems to be lifted from The Jungle Book (1994), including this immortal exchange:
    Konk: Konk not man! Konk animal!
    Jonathan: Well, Konk, I hunt animals...
    • Hidgens taunts Jonathan with the song "London Bridge" before killing him, ending on the line "My fair lady!", which just accentuates the fact that his name is "Henry Hidgens".
    • The way Robert Manion as Hidgens says "Let me out... LET ME OOOOOUUUUT" along with his facial expressions strongly suggests he was influenced by the "Let me in!" meme from The Eric Andre Show.
  • Shrouded in Myth: The Hatchetfield Ape-Man, to the point where no one even really agrees on his physical description. (The Ending Theme is pretty much a joke about this fact.) Basically Lucy, who isn't even from Hatchetfield, is the only person in the world who seriously thinks he exists. Including Professor Hidgens, much to his chagrin in the end.
  • Slasher Smile: Robert Manion as Prof. Hidgens gives one to rival Jeff Blim's, once this version of Hidgens goes full Ax-Crazy.
  • Soft Glass: Prof. Hidgens escapes from the greenhouse by climbing a tree to the top and smashing through the glass ceiling with his bare fist. Keep in mind he's still completely naked at this point and has nothing protecting the rest of his body from sharp glass shards either — but he's fully possessed by Unstoppable Rage at this point.
  • Stating the Simple Solution: Ted asks Professor Hidgens why Lucy has to die for their plot to work. He says he could marry her, they can split the money, and he gets a "hot wife" as a bonus. Professor Hidgens misconstrues it as Ted cutting him out of their deal, and plans to intervene.
  • Super-Strength: One of the few things everyone knows about the Ape-Man, that he's strong enough to dismember a human effortlessly. Tragically fails to be true of Ted/Konk, but very much is true of Chumby the real Ape-Man.
  • Take That!: The comments about how Konk looks "almost human" in his "shaved state" seem to be a good-humored one at Joey Richter's appearance. And successful misdirection for the reveal that Konk is Ted.
  • Tear Off Your Face: The song "The Hatchetfield Ape-Man" mentions this trope word-for-word when discussing what the Ape-Man might do to you if you find him, leading to a comically aghast Freak Out reaction from the lead singer.
  • Tempting Fate: Hidgens taunting Lucy about her Tragic Dream of finding the Ape-Man right before killing her, in the middle of the woods where the Ape-Man saved her the first time.
    No one can hear you! You were stupid enough to follow me out here into the Witchwood! Just like you were stupid enough to believe in the Ape-Man! There is no Ape-Man, do you hear me?! THERE IS NO--
  • They Called Me Mad!: Said word-for-word by Prof. Hidgens as he enters his Villainous Breakdown.
  • They Would Cut You Up: Hidgens' stated reason for why he can't just report the Ape-Man's existence to the authorities, before the Ape-Man has learned enough of human language and culture to prove his sapience and defend his own human rights.
  • Title Theme Tune: This story gets a goofy musical montage titled "The Hatchetfield Ape-man" as an Ending Theme, with Jaime Lyn Beatty (who didn't appear in this episode proper) playing The Chanteuse recording a novelty song about the famous Hatchetfield Ape-Man and how no one knows anything about him. Guaranteed to make you hit semantic satiation for the word "Ape-Man" even faster than the story itself, or for that matter this trope page.
  • Trust Password: Lucy realizes the Ape-Man Hidgens captured must be the same as the one who saved her when she was a little girl when she starts telling him the story and he finishes it. Of course, this turns out to be because her story was so well-known around Hatchetfield Hidgens got wind of it and built his whole long con around it. It's probably best not to make a Trust Password out of a story you just told to the damn Hatchetfield local news.
  • Upper-Class Equestrian: As part of Hidgens' mysteriously opulent lifestyle in his Old, Dark House he has a stable out back, with a beautiful cream-colored mare, which, of course, Lucy is eager to take Konk for a romantic horseback ride on. (In a logical, but still striking Gender Flip of this trope, Konk is the one who has to cling to Lucy's waist fearfully, having never ridden before, while she reassures him.)
  • Villainous Breakdown: Hidgens loses what little sanity he has left after Ted betrays him and sinks even further when he finds out Lucy is broke, making his plan pointless.
  • Walking Spoiler: Ted being in this episode is a huge shock if you go in blind, and it's hard to explain why without totally giving away the twist. (When it was revealed in the initial livestream, the chat went insane.)
  • Wedding Ring Removal: Lucy dramatically removes her engagement ring and throws it back at Jonathan after Jonathan sneeringly dismisses her discovery of the Ape-Man.
  • Whole-Plot Reference:
    • The whole concept of this story is directly based on Tarzan and its many adaptations and parodies — notably Disney's Tarzan and the 1997 film version of George of the Jungle, which left a very strong impression on millennial women — but with a wacky twist, where the idea is that the Ape-Man actually is an inhuman monster — which is the whole appeal to Lucy — and the scurrilous accusation from his romantic rival is that he's a mere human being.
    • Lucy's connection to the Ape-Man from having her life saved by him as a child and her desperation to prove he really exists are reminiscent of Splash, with her as a Composite Character of Allen and Dr. Kornbluth.
  • The Wildcats: In a Continuity Nod to earlier uses of this trope, it turns out that Hatchetfield High's generic mascot of "The Nighthawks" and their rival Sycamore High's mascot of "The Timberwolves" refer to actual specific animals, the Hatchetfield nighthawk and the Hatchetfield timberwolf, that are apparently considered interesting enough to be tourist attractions.
  • Your Size May Vary: In-universe. As with many cryptids, no one seems clear on whether the Hatchetfield Ape-Man is the kind of Bigfoot, Sasquatch, and Yeti that's substantially larger than a human, or whether he's a stooped, stunted Frazetta Man who's closer to the size of a Real Life chimpanzee. It turns out Konk is right in the middle, around the size of an average human man. Because that's what he is, of course — and the size of the real Ape-Man, Chumby, remains ambiguous.
    Chorus: He's five-foot-ten or he's four-foot-eight! note 

     Watcher World 

Watcher World
"In Drowsy Town we do our best to never, ever cry..."

Bill and Alice Woodward head for a day of daddy-daughter bonding at Watcher World, an aging amusement park on the edge of Hatchetfield. But there's more to this frightening funfair than meets the eye...

Musical sequences:
"The Blinky Song" performed by James Tolbert, Curt Mega, and Jeff Blim
"Snoozle Town" performed by Angela Giarratana
"One Thousand Eyes" performed by Jeff Blim

  • Actor Allusion:
    • A mild one — Alice's frustrated confusion at the Sniggles in Blinky's Watch Party is a sly reference to Mariah Rose Faith having been absent from the cast of Black Friday and therefore one of the few Hatchetfield cast members who neither played a Sniggle nor interacted with one. (Jon Matteson, who voiced Wiggly, and Corey Dorris, who played Frank Pricely, also never portrayed a Sniggle in Black Friday and still don't in the Blinky's Watch Party scene, with Corey playing Bill and Jon playing the Usher. Joey Richter, who was Uncle Wiley in Black Friday, shows up here as the Sniggles' "leader" in the form of the Announcer and the Director.)
    • James Tolbert, who plays Blinky himself and his various human avatars in the park like the Blinky mascot, Snigglots and the Carnival Barker, actually did work at Disneyland as a costumed performer in 2019.
  • Adaptation Dye-Job: Alice has apparently dyed her hair blonde since the time period in which The Guy Who Didn't Like Musicals took place. (This is, of course, Real Life Writes the Plot, since Mariah Rose Faith dyed her hair to play Regina George in Mean Girls, but also makes sense since this story takes place after graduation, with Alice contemplating Starting a New Life in college.)
  • The Alleged Car:
    • The script throws in a quick jab at Bill's uncoolness (and the excruciating-ness of Alice being driven around by him) by saying he drives a yellow AMC Pacer — a car they stopped making in 1980, and that was thought of in The '70s as a cheap and crappy tiny car of last resort.
    • An AMC Pacer specifically makes an appearance as The Alleged Car in A Goofy Movie, and "Watcher World" as a whole can be seen as a Whole-Plot Reference Shout-Out to the "Lester's Possum Park" sequence from that film, albeit a much Darker and Edgier one.
  • All Part of the Show:
    • Averted during Blinky's Watch Party when Snigglette gets hit with a mallet during the performance. She spits blood and teeth fly, and the show comes to a screeching halt. The Sniggles onstage break character as the director scrambles to regain control. Alice seems to be the only one who notices how strange the incident is, as Bill was asleep and the other audience members barely react aside from stunned silence.
    • What makes it extra strange is the intensity with which "Snigglots" confronts "Snigglette" accusing her of plotting to abandon Blinky's service before this happens, which gets really dark really fast for what's supposed to be a goofy kids' show. Obviously Snigglette's song must be All Part of the Show because it was rehearsed and performed with accompaniment (and "Papa Sniggle" coming in to play the train conductor and everything), and yet it feels like Snigglette's actress — Angela — gets punished by Blinky for her character's actions. Either there was some Life Imitates Art going on with Angela actually wanting to quit working at the theme park helping fuel her Method Acting as Snigglette, or this is just another layer of Blinky's cruel Mind Screw. invoked
  • All There in the Manual: The soundtrack version of "The Blinky Song" has a tantalizing additional verse where the Sniggles tell us a bit about Blinky being a Leaking Can of Evil who only periodically becomes awake and aware of what's going on around him (in keeping with the theme of "Nightmare Time" being a periodic occurrence in Hatchetfield):
    In Drowsy Town we watch for him
    'Cause his eye gets filled with smut
    In Drowsy Town, when the nightmare hits
    Our eyes don't ever shut!
  • Alternate Universe: This one is also clearly an AU from The Guy Who Didn't Like Musicals and Black Friday, since it's set after Alice's high school graduation in 2019 when she's about to go off to college, even though both of those shows took place in 2018 and ended in The End of the World as We Know It. Which means that, yes, viewers, we get to enjoy the Happy Ending of Alice and Bill's reconciliation without any apocalypse coming to ruin it further down the timeline, as far as we know.
  • Amazingly Embarrassing Parents: Alice considers Bill this, and is about ready to die when he forces her to take a selfie with him and proposes tagging her in it so her friends can see.
  • Ambiguously Gay: The Carnival Barker, who, when Bill finally wins the game, kisses him and says "I'm proud of you." (Bill, for his part, is too angry at Alice at this point to notice.) May be an Actor Allusion to James Tolbert being gay in Real Life.
  • Amusement Park of Doom: Hatchetfield, of course, has one. The theme park is called "Watcher World", which boasts the "tallest roller coaster in the Midwest", the Tear-Jerker. It's separated from Hatchetfield proper by a long drive through the Witchwood. It starts off seeming like just an ordinary Crappy Carnival, but things get increasingly eldritch as the night wears on.
  • And All I Got Was This Lousy T-Shirt: Alice gets one of these after riding the Eye-Drop flume ride, which, in typical Crappy Carnival fashion, seems designed to soak your existing clothes and force you to buy one of these. She manages to make a Deadpan Snarker Exactly What It Says on the Tin joke about it that her oblivious Bumbling Dad totally misses.
    Bill: Haha, that's a good shirt.
    Alice: I think it's kinda lousy.
    Bill: Well, if you don't like it, pick out an—ohh! I didn't know you were funny!
  • Animate Body Parts: "The Blinky Song" heavily features flying disembodied purple-tinted single human eyes, representing Blinky, similar to the disembodied human mouths singing the Theme Tune in the Nightmare Time Title Sequence.
  • Arc Words: "Blinky is watching you... with a thousand eyes."
  • Artistic License:
    • For anyone who's ever worked at a theme park, or really any entertainment venue — the "children's tickets" are usually for small children, and have nothing to do with the actual age of majority. Disneyland's children's tickets, for instance, are only for kids 9 years old or younger. The Ticket-Taker asking whether Alice should be charged for a child or adult ticket seems to just be gratuitously tossing an Apple of Discord to push her insecurity Berserk Button about her maturity. (This might mean that, in-universe, Alice is one of those women who's extremely petite and could pass for a little kid — in pretty sharp contrast with the 5'6" Mariah Rose Faith in Real Life.)
    • Also, what happens with Alice and Bill in the "single rider" line at the Tear-Jerker doesn't really make sense. For a two-person ride like the Tear-Jerker, the call for "single riders" would come when an existing single rider was taking up one seat, letting someone else take the empty seat next to them. But when Alice gets pulled ahead in line, it's to get into an empty car, with the Man in a Hurry coming after her, so that Bill can cut him at the last minute and get in the car with her. (It could be that the Man in a Hurry was politely letting the lady board before him, but that seems... uncharacteristic of someone with his level of patience.) Like the business with the child ticket price, this may be an in-universe contrivance due to Blinky's Mind Manipulation to create more drama.
  • Artistic License – Cars: The AMC Pacer stopped being made in 1980, and never had a modern keyless entry system as a feature (although AMC was one of the first car companies to include them in its luxury models in the early 1980s). It would be very unlikely for Bill to have bothered to spend the money to install one, although of course it's very unlikely he'd have a working AMC Pacer at all in the year 2019, when owning one has gone from being the kind of cheapskate who owns a 20-year-old The Alleged Car to being an eccentric Disco Dan collector of 40-year-old classic autos. (It's best to think of it as a Rule of Funny Shout-Out to all the AMC Pacers that played The Alleged Car in pop culture of The '90s, like Wayne's World, A Goofy Movie and Good Burger.)
  • Bad Boss: Unlike Black Friday, where the Sniggles had Undying Loyalty and seemed to almost be mindless extensions of Wiggly's will, "The Blinky Song" reveals that the Sniggles see Blinky as a Bad Boss and are being kept in line out of fear of punishment, to the point of being driven to inform on each other to keep each other in line.
    Sniggles: In Drowsy Town
    We do our best
    To never, ever cry
    'Cause if we do
    Our boss gets mad
    And then we don't eat for a week
  • Bait-and-Switch: For people who picked up on "Watcher World" being inspired by Black Friday, there were still some twists ahead — unlike in Black Friday the Blinky dolls are just a symbol and don't seem to have any Artifact of Attraction qualities, and Blinky doesn't need them to manifest, with his anchor to the mortal world seeming to be the whole amusement park. The deviation from the plot of Black Friday is lampshaded when Bill tries to give Alice her "present" of a Blinky doll, the way Tom Houston was obsessed with getting a Wiggly doll for his son Tim, only for Alice to casually tell Bill she doesn't want one — which was an Armor-Piercing Response moment for Tom — and Bill to just shrug it off, "I thought you'd say that." This time, Alice shooting the Blinky doll out of Bill's hand is only the beginning of the Final Battle triggered by the Hate Plague rather than ending it.
  • Be Yourself: The ultimate Aesop of "Watcher World", mixed with You Are Better Than You Think You Are, as expressed in the Surreal Music Video and Solemn Ending Theme "One Thousand Eyes" — the Thousand Eyes that constantly watch you can put a lot of pressure on you to change the way you think, feel, and act, but the reason Bill and Alice's Power of Love was able to win out is that they can't change who you really are.
  • Bird People: "Watcher World" gives us either a clarification or a Retcon that Sniggles are supposed to be this, with the fuzzy legwarmers the Sniggles from Black Friday had on their arms supposedly being "wings". (Although there's a joke in "Watcher World" about how a frustrated Alice isn't 100% clear on what kind of animal Sniggles are supposed to be even after watching their whole Opening Chorus.)
  • Book Ends: This story begins with Bill and Alice in the car on the way to Watcher World, bickering with each other over Alice being glued to her phone and ignoring Bill — and snapping at him about how she has him blocked on Instagram on purpose so he can't bother her online or in Real Life. It then has their day at Watcher World begin inauspiciously with Alice Flipping the Bird at the Blinky mascot and muttering "Fuck you, Blinky". The day ends with Alice shooting the Blinky "mascot" — which has now become an actual physical incarnation of the Eldritch Abomination Blinky really is — through the eye with a rifle, then Flipping the Bird at him again and shouting "FUCK YOU, BLINKY!" We then see Bill and Alice driving away from the park, with Alice on her phone again and Bill peacefully letting her have her privacy... followed by Alice tossing her phone in the backseat and a notification popping that Alice is now following Bill.
  • Bratty Teenage Daughter: Alice, and — if Bill's Villainous BSoD rant about her ruining every vacation they've ever had is at all reliable — it seems to be a pretty permanent part of her personality. But we get a lot more Character Development as to why she acts that way than we did in The Guy Who Didn't Like Musicals, with most of it driven by her diagnosed anxiety disorder and her constant sense that her parents have let her down, which isn't totally unjustified.
  • Breaking the Fourth Wall:
    • When the action stops and the director runs onstage after "Snigglette" gets smashed in the face and is lying bleeding and unconscious in Blinky's Watch Party, all of the actors break character and start addressing each other by the actual first names of the actual Starkid actors, adding to the dizzying Mind Screw effect of it all.
    • Especially notable is the script having the "director" (played by Joey Richter) yell "SHUT THE HELL UP, LAUREN!" at Lauren Lopez, his Real Life fiancée.
    • When the Sniggles wave to the camera at the beginning of Blinky's Watch Party, Matt Dahan waves with them, as though imagining this as a moment when the onstage band would be integrated diegetically into the Show Within a Show (like in Ani and The Trail to Oregon!).
    • In a more wholesome version of this trope, the Solemn Ending Theme "One Thousand Eyes" has Jeff Blim, out of character and out of costume (with his earbuds still in), singing directly to the camera, as though addressing the uplifting Be Yourself message of the song directly to the audience and the Starkid fanbase.
  • Broken Aesop: In-universe. The Carnival Barker tells Bill, "You know what they say about little birds leaving the nest: You have to clip their wings, or they'll just fly away". This is, of course, the exact opposite of the proverb about birds leaving the nest — that it's a good thing and that if they don't they'll eventually die. (It's also a Call-Back to Snigglette being punished for trying to leave the Sniggles, with the Sniggles being revealed to be some kind of Bird People.)
  • Bumbling Dad: Bill turns out to be one of these, even though he's a good man trying his best. Trying to fix your relationship with your daughter essentially by brute force by making her spend time with you at an amusement park she clearly hates isn't really helpful to anybody, but Bill seems determined to try anyway, with his penchant for not really listening when Alice speaks or taking her thoughts and emotions seriously only making it worse. Note that he's also critical of Alice's relationship with her girlfriend Deb exactly when she doesn't want to hear it, and a Fantasy-Forbidding Father who seems intent on crushing Alice's dream of being a playwright so she can get a well-paying job as a doctor. He at least lightens up on the last part on learning she won a scholarship with her playwriting.
  • Bury Your Gays: A discussed trope — Alice said she had her Lesbian Vampire characters die a tragic death in the play she wrote for a scholarship just to pander to the sensibilities of the judges, but if she ever produces it she'll change it to something that subverts the trope. (In the actual story we're watching, this trope is averted and, for once in a Hatchetfield show, Alice lives.)
  • Busby Berkeley Number: "The Blinky Song" was filmed with just three actors sitting at their desks at home, but gives the impression of a giant musical number like this by interspersing doubled and tripled vocals from Jeff, Curt and James with old-timey black-and-white Stock Footage so you get the idea of what kind of dance number it's supposed to be.
  • Call-Back: Despite the Langs saying there's no canonical connection between the Hatchetfield series and other Starkid shows, the reference to "the Watchers with a Thousand Eyes" is obviously a carry-over from The Trail to Oregon!, where it was a deliberately Breaking the Fourth Wall reference to the audience, for whose amusement all the characters' suffering was engineered. Definitely fuel for theories, fanfic, and nightmares.
    • Alice's initial encounter with the Blinky mascot at Watcher World, complete with the creep factor of him checking out her ass, mirrors Lex's first encounter with Uncle Wiley in Black Friday.
    • The Sniggles, "Drowsy Town Station", Joey Richter's Uncle Wiley voice, etc. all come back from Black Friday in a new context in the Blinky's Watch Party sequence, also inspiring many theories.
    • Bill's furious rampage when possessed by Blinky roughly parallels Tom's when possessed by Wiggly in Black Friday, although it's even more shocking and jarring coming from such a formerly gentle Non-Action Guy. Note that Bill slowly becoming Brainwashed and Crazy by the "Test Your Strength" game while trying to win a Blinky doll is a Call-Back to the backstory we're given of how Tom ruined his and Tim's Thanksgiving at Pizza Pete's by spending the whole time trying to win enough skee-ball tickets to buy Tim an RC car (which his memory twists into trying to win a Wiggly doll).
    • When Bill and Alice try to board the Tear-Jerker Bill cuts in front of a man played by Jeff Blim who is described only as being "in a hurry".
    • The image of Alice firing a gun at her father was indelibly etched into the memories of everyone who saw The Guy Who Didn't Like Musicals, although fortunately this time she misses.
    • All of the Bit Characters gathering at the Funhouse to taunt Bill and Alice in their "I Know You're in There Somewhere" Fight is similarly very reminiscent of "Let It Out" from The Guy Who Didn't Like Musicals.
    • Bill's final Heel–Face Turn comes with the stage directions saying Alice finds herself staring into his "kind, brown eyes" — which shows he's no longer displaying the violet eyes of Blinky's control, but could also be a Call-Back to the previous story in this episode, where we heard Lucy repeatedly say after looking into the Ape-Man's "kind eyes" she knew "He would never hurt me".
    • Linda Monroe's song "Wiggle" in Black Friday describes Wiggly's portal as "his cyclopean gateway", presumably meaning the definition of "cyclopean" as just "gigantic". Now, we run into Wiggly's Expy Blinky, who is a literal cyclops.
  • The Cameo: Even though the point of this episode is mostly about establishing Blinky as a mysterious new Expy of Wiggly, Wiggly himself does actually appear one time — on the Fun T-Shirt Curt Mega wears as one of the Sniggles in "The Blinky Song".
  • Cerebus Syndrome: Just one story into Nightmare Time and we already get a pretty huge Mood Whiplash, from the mostly-comedy version of Horror Comedy of "The Hatchetfield Ape-Man" to something much darker and more raw about Dysfunctional Family and What You Are in the Dark, with even the "funny parts" having a heavy tinge of unsettling Surreal Horror. Many fans said the false sense of security from "The Hatchetfield Ape-Man" that the Nightmare Time stories would be nothing serious helped "Watcher World" take them completely off guard.
  • Character Development:
    • This story is a dream come true for people who complained Alice and Bill didn't get enough of this in The Guy Who Didn't Like Musicals. We get much more insight into their relationship and why it's so strained. Bill acknowledges that he has to give Alice some space and let her make mistakes, because she might find success where she least expects it. He also gives his blessing for her to pursue theater. Alice is also forced to face that she is being a selfish brat when a brainwashed Bill fights back and refuses to smash her, instead calming her down from a panic attack.
    • The Sniggles now have much more distinct personalities and motivations than they did in Black Friday, although this may be because these Sniggles are ambiguously being portrayed by human actors.
  • Coconut Superpowers: James Tolbert gets in on Robert Manion's act from "The Hatchetfield Ape-Man", simulating Blinky ominously receding into the distance by just rolling backward in his office chair.
  • Colorblind Casting: Once more done with Corey Dorris (who is black) playing Bill and Mariah Rose Faith (who is white) playing his presumably biological daughter Alice. The stage directions/narration, notably, makes just one reference to the characters' real-life appearance, describing Bill's "kind, brown eyes" (matching Dorris' eyes in Real Life) but otherwise leaves the details to the imagination.
  • Comically Missing the Point:
    • Bill has a tendency to do this, like when he insists that both he and Alice are single riders and can get in the single rider line, they're just single riders who'd prefer to ride with each other.
    • This gets a lot less funny when Bill goes Ax-Crazy and starts telling Alice he would never hurt her and just wants to break her legs.
  • Continuity Nod:
    • Bill mentions his buddy Paul from work, who, a wet blanket as usual, was telling him about someone who'd died riding the Tear-Jerker due to his heart condition. He also casually tells Alice she's wise to keep her Instagram protected so his co-worker Ted, a known pervert, from creeping on her.
    • And then he adds some Hatchetfield lore by saying she wouldn't want to attract attention from Ted's nerdy younger brother either. Most people are convinced Ted's younger brother is Robert Manion's "Hot Chocolate Boy" character from The Guy Who Didn't Like Musicals who's been teased as one of the protagonists of upcoming sequel Nerdy Prudes Must Die. Along with comments that revealing Ted's surname would be a spoiler, this has fueled fan speculation that Ted's family is at the center of the Hatchetfield Myth Arc.
  • Covered in Gunge: A little bit of comedic bathos after we get the climax of Alice shooting Blinky — apparently what killing Blinky's physical body does is cause his burst eyeball to spew an endless torrent of disgusting purple ichor, which washes Alice and Bill out of the Funhouse completely and leaves them in the parking lot soaked and dripping in it.
  • Covert Distress Code: "The Blinky Song" is partly a joke about this, with the Sniggles telling each other to "Blink once" or "Blink twice" to signal they're unhappy about their situation.
  • Creepy Circus Music: Heard fairly often throughout the episode, courtesy of Matt Dahan (one of the few new Leitmotifs added to this show among the mostly-Recycled Soundtrack).
  • Creepy Doll: The Blinky dolls. In a series mostly devoid of actual props, Nick Lang did in fact make a Blinky doll that he holds up onscreen in any scene where a Blinky doll plays a role, and just like the Wiggly doll before it it is a masterful example of Creepy Cute invoked design.
  • Cue the Rain: So your daughter finally reveals her deathly acrophobia to you just after you boarded the tallest rollercoaster in the Midwest and the rollercoaster malfunctions and leaves you stuck at the rollercoaster's highest point, causing her to Freak Out and begin to enter a panic attack... How could things go From Bad to Worse? Well, a storm could start blowing in out of nowhere, with pouring rain turning every surface into a slippery deathtrap just as the sparks of lightning in the clouds let you know you need to get back down to the ground right fucking now...
  • Curtains Match the Window: Blinky actually has the same color eyes (well, eye) as Wiggly from Black Friday, yellow sclera with purple iris, with the difference being the purple fur on Blinky's body matches the color of his iris (whereas Wiggly's Color Motif and color of his body is green).
  • Cyclops: Blinky is one of these rendered as a Mascot, with a fuzzy purple teddy bear body supporting a yellow Giant Eye of Doom.
  • Darkest Hour: When Alice and Bill meet up after their argument. Bill has been brainwashed by the Carnival Barker, and Alice is holding him at gunpoint trying to escape the theme park. Shots fly, mallets swing, and they eventually run into a hall of mirrors. Bill gains the upper hand and starts advancing on his daughter, threatening to break her legs so she "can't run away". All seems lost... until Bill realizes that Alice is having a panic attack again. The duo reunite, free from Blinky's control.
  • Deliberately Monochrome: The Surreal Music Video for "One Thousand Eyes" is just old-timey black-and-white stock footage of an amusement park mixed with Jeff Blim in black and white singing directly to the camera.
  • Depraved Kids' Show Host: The whole Blinky's Watch Party show has this energy, especially with their "leader" Jeff (who plays Papa Sniggle) turning out to be an alcoholic who almost kills Angela, the actress who plays Snigglette, due to what seems to be wild onstage recklessness... Or is it?
  • Did You Just Punch Out Cthulhu?: When Blinky fully manifests himself in the Funhouse, Alice manages, by some combination of Heroic Willpower and The Power of Love, to put her Improbable Aiming Skills to use despite the panic attack she feels coming on, and ''put a bullet through the eye of a god''.
  • Disneyland Dad: Bill is literally trying to do this trope with Alice, dragging her on what he thinks of as an extravagant trip to Disneyland — or, at least, taking her to the best "Disneyland knock-off" he can afford, within driving distance of Hatchetfield —right before she leaves for college, so he can repair their relationship, and he's discovering exactly why it's a negative trope.
  • Disproportionate Retribution: It's hinted that Alice and Bill have the bad luck of being the "main characters" at Watcher World today just because of Alice being rude to the Blinky mascot when she first arrives at the park.
    Alice: Stay away from me, creep.
    Blinky: You don't like... Blinky?
    Alice: No. I don't.
    Blinky: (beat) You'll be sorry.
  • Drop the Hammer: One of the first signs of something deeply going wrong at the park is a goofy Whack-a-Monster sequence in the Blinky's Watch Party show turning way more intensely violent, with realistic sound effects, than Alice was prepared for, culminating in "Papa Sniggle" actually hitting "Snigglette" with what's supposed to only be a prop mallet and knocking her bloody and unconscious. Foreshadowing for the climax of the story, with a Brainwashed and Crazy Bill endowed with Super-Strength wielding the comically oversized sledgehammer from a "Test Your Strength" Game and coming after Alice to permanently cripple her so she can never run away again.
  • Dysfunctional Family: The core theme of this story. Bill and Alice really do not get along, and Bill's last-ditch effort to repair their relationship by going on a big trip to Watcher World before she leaves for college isn't working very well.
  • Earn Your Happy Ending: When Alice and Bill are finally in the car together on the way back to Hatchetfield, at peace with each other and the world, you really feel like they've earned it, even with this only being an hour-long show.
  • Emotional Regression: A major gut punch in this episode — on top of the rollercoaster called the "Tear-Jerker" — is Alice regressing to an innocent, childlike way of speaking as Bill tries to help her out of her panic attack, dropping the snarky Bratty Teenage Daughter persona and letting us see what Bill sees when he looks at her and remembers her as a little kid.
  • Expy:
    • Blinky is a really, really obvious parallel to Wiggly from Black Friday, to the point of also having Adorable Evil Minions named "Sniggles" who live in a community called "Drowsy Town", but with some pretty obvious differences in terms of themes and motivations. Immediately after this episode the fandom erupted in debate over whether Blinky is Wiggly in a different form or is some kind of sibling or competitor to Wiggly, in the tradition of the Cthulhu Mythos.
    • Angela Giarratana once more plays a Sniggle who starts their Opening Chorus Theme Tune by saying "Don't be scared!", although this time "Snigglette" gets significantly more Character Development.
    • The Sniggles in general have become very obvious Expies for The Smurfs, including their unusual use of the English language, having a bearded leader named "Papa Sniggle", and having the odd one out be the only female Sniggle.
    • It's not as obvious as "Papa Sniggle" and "Snigglette", but "Snigglots" also seems to be an Expy of a specific Smurf, Brainy Smurf, who has a tendency to act superior and order others around (he wears glasses during "The Blinky Song" but James didn't seem to have them on him for the livestream itself).
    • The Announcer for the Blinky's Watch Party show is played by Joey Richter doing the same over-the-top fake Father Neptune voice he did as Uncle Wiley in Black Friday, although unlike in Black Friday he never appears onstage or "breaks the act".
    • James Tolbert's character as the Carnival Barker seems to be one for Uncle Wiley, acting as an Ambiguously Human Dragon and The Corrupter on Blinky's behalf.
    • Intentional or not, the Eye Motifs and purple/yellow color scheme have a striking resemblence to a certain surreal-humor podcast. The fact that there's an eldritch horror behind it all doesn't help.
    • Although Nick Lang has said he doesn't really follow Podcasts and isn't much aware of the recent renaissance in horror audio dramas in that format, tons of fans did notice that the character of Blinky in "Watcher World" is awfully reminiscent of "The Eye" from The Magnus Archives, igniting Wild Mass Guessing over whether the various eldritch deities of the Hatchetfield universe map onto the "Entities" from that show.
  • Eye Motifs: Watcher World is covered in these, which seems like an odd choice for a supposedly goofy fun theme park... as is the name "Watcher World".
  • Eye Scream: During Bill and Alice's confrontation, she manages to bullseye the Blinky doll he has in his hand, and then shrieks that it'll be his eye next. Foreshadowing for the heroic version of this moment when she puts a bullet through the eye of the real Blinky when he manifests through the Hall of Mirrors.
  • Face Your Fears:
    • Alice confesses her fear of heights to her father... just as the "tallest rollercoaster in the Midwest" starts up with them on it. They bicker and tensions rise as they reach the top, only for the ride to malfunction and traps them at the tallest part of the ride. And then it gets worse; a storm is rolling in, the rollercoaster itself shakes when a strong breeze hits it, and the riders are stuck in place until someone can help them down. No wonder Alice starts having a panic attack.
    • Bill decides to help Alice down from the ride on his own before her panic attack can get any worse, and they manage to get off the ride before the storm makes it impossible to go down the staircase. He does drop Alice's phone while they leave, which unfortunately starts up another argument between the two of them.
  • Final Battle: The big "fireworks show" we've been promised as the closing event at Watcher World turns out to be a dramatic battle to the death between parent and child.
  • Fire-Forged Friends: We see this start to happen between Alice and Bill after they manage to get down from the Tear-Jerker together... only for the revelation that Bill dropped her phone to instantly shatter this new rapport to smithereens. When they finally overcome Blinky's Mind Manipulation and escape the park in the end, their relationship is finally repaired for real.
  • The Flapper: "The Blinky Song" uses black-and-white Stock Footage of dancers dressed like this from The Roaring '20s.
  • Foil: Craig, Alison and Beth are a Love Triangle of Lower Class Louts whom Alice notices in the line for the rollercoaster as being not that different from her, Deb and Ziggs despite them being boring straight people, with Craig and Beth waiting for the earliest moment they can get rid of Alison to hook up with each other, seemingly confirming Alice's worst fears about Deb and Ziggs. (This turns out to be a situation Blinky arranged via Mind Manipulation, judging by Craig's glowing purple eyes.)
  • Foreshadowing: The Ticket-Taker's first words to Bill and Alice as they enter Watcher World are littered with Double Meanings, including his exhortation to "Make this a day worth watching!", and telling Alice, "Princess, you make sure to take care of your old man today!" Even his statement that Watcher World is a "place you can watch all your dreams come true!" is this, considering that, as the title of this series reminds us, there's more than one kind of "dream" this could apply to.
  • Fortune Teller: A stereotypical old crone named Madame Iris, who's The Corruptor for Alice the way the Carnival Barker is for Bill, by giving her images of a future ruined by Bill's clumsy attempts to protect her.
  • Freak Out: Part of Bill's longsuffering attitude is how often Alice seems to be prone to these over minor issues, as is stereotypical for a teen girl. Then she gets an actual panic attack on top of the Tear-Jerker, and everything gets a lot more serious.
  • Gaussian Girl: Snigglette is shot this way during "Snoozle Town", although, hilariously, this seems to be necessitated by Angela Giarratana only having an older, low-resolution model of webcam available for recording from home.
  • The Ghost: Deb, Alice's girlfriend, plays a major role in the plot and in Alice's motivations as a character but never actually appears in the story. To a lesser extent this is also true of Ziggs, The Rival for Alice's affections with Deb, although Ziggs is likely to remain The Ghost in any future stories until a non-binary actor can be cast to play them.
  • Gilligan Cut: One that loses some of its impact since this wasn't actually filmed, but the stage directions tell us immediately after Alice refuses to put on a Blinky hat her dad bought her, she and her dad are sitting with their hats on the Eye-Drop flume ride.
  • Girlish Pigtails: Angela Giarratana puts her hair in these to play Snigglette.
  • Goofy Suit: There's a guy in a Blinky suit wandering around Watcher World, who serves both as a cringey, creepy mascot for the park and, disturbingly, as an enforcer of the park's Sinister Surveillance dystopia (and a Covert Pervert being gross at Alice). Later on the Blinky mascot appears again... but this time there's nothing human about what's inside of him.
  • Hall of Mirrors: Bill and Alice's Final Battle ends up a classic chase through one of these, in the Watcher World Funhouse. The mirrors not only provide several opportunities for the two to fake each other out and shatter glass dramatically in each other's faces, they also allow all the Bit Characters from the park to appear supernaturally behind the glass cheering on their mutual destruction, and, once Bill and Alice both shake off the Hate Plague, for the mirrors to go terrifyingly blank — becoming windows onto the Void Between the Worlds — before Blinky bursts through in the flesh to kill them himself.
  • Happy Ending Override: Attempted by Blinky, who, as a last resort, personally breaks through the Hall of Mirrors from the Black and White — like an angry audience member Breaking the Fourth Wall and storming onto the stage — because he finds Bill's last-minute Heel Realization to be invoked Glurge and demands the blood-and-guts ending he worked so hard to engineer. Luckily, Alice turns out to be a pretty good shot.
  • Hate Plague: Everything that happens at Watcher World is Blinky subtly or not-so-subtly influencing events to raise Bill and Alice's negative emotions to a fever pitch, amplified by Blinky's supernatural influence on their minds, until they hit the Rage Breaking Point and murder each other in a Final Battle. Upon a rewatch it becomes obvious, and it starts at the very beginning of the day, with the Ticket-Taker tossing an Apple of Discord between them by asking whether Alice should pay the full adult price or get the child discount.
  • Honor Before Reason: Bill's ordeal at the "Test Your Strength" Game is a hilariously classic example of this trope, with Bill getting so mad that he can't seem to make the puck move at all — with everyone taunting him and questioning his manhood the whole time — that he puts an open tab on his credit card to keep on hitting the machine until he wins, spending four hundred dollars on it (at $2/try) when, as the Barker points out in a Call-Back to Black Friday, "the dolls are on sale at the gift shop for $49.95". Then Bill hits the Rage Breaking Point and finally does win the game, and the experience seems to have changed him, and his anger is no longer very funny at all...
  • Hope Spot: When Bill helps Alice down from the Tear-Jerker, it feels like a turning point as the two of them start to bond... until the moment Alice finds out that Bill accidentally dropped her phone. The ensuing fight splits them up, giving the park the opportunity to further turn them against each other.
  • Hypocritical Humor:
    • Just like in TGWDLM, Bill loves musicals, and eagerly drags Alice to Blinky's Watch Party when he realizes the show is about to start. However, when Alice mentions wanting to become a playwright, he proceeds to ignore her or emphasize that she still hasn't made up her mind about her career choice.
    • Later on, when Bill has to help Alice down a set of very unstable stairs, he asks her to talk about the play she's writing to distract her from her fear of heights. It helps, but it's very obvious that Bill isn't paying attention while she rambles.
  • I Don't Like the Sound of That Place: "Watcher World" is an awfully ominous name for a theme park — that you already have to drive through "the Witchwood" to get to. And then there's the slogan, "Blinky is always watching", and the endless Eye Motifs...
  • I Have Many Names: Unlike his predecessor Wiggly, it's made pretty clear to us that "Blinky" is just a cutesy nickname and whenever things get serious he's called by the much more serious name "The Watcher".
  • Idiot Hair: Curt Mega's Sniggle's hairstyle, with a tiny goofy topknot, seems to be deliberately imitating this trope.
  • If I Can't Have You…: Parental version of this trope — Bill's rage at "losing" his daughter, stoked by Blinky's madness, is such that he's about to kill her just so she can no longer reject him.
  • Improbable Aiming Skills: While Bill is failing over and over at the "Test Your Strength" Game, Alice is somehow racking up bullseyes with an air rifle at the shooting range, leading to Madame Iris offering her a real rifle to see if she can take out the real target she's been venting her rage on with fake ones... Of course, both these situations were engineered by Blinky and may not reflect their natural abilities outside the park — which means if Blinky gave Alice her marksmanship skills and the rifle he set himself up for a hell of a Hoist by His Own Petard.
  • Incredibly Lame Fun: Watcher World is filled with this, on the surface, as one would expect from a stereotypical Crappy Carnival. Of course, as Bill lampshades, when the park surprisingly turns out to be Darker and Edgier than its cutsey exterior, Alice likes that even less.
    Alice: (after Blinky's Watch Party ends) Either something went terribly wrong or that got strangely... dark.
    Bill: First, you don't like the show 'cause it's for babies. Then you don't like it 'cause it's too dark. It's almost as if you don't like anything.
  • "I Want" Song: Snigglette's song "Snoozle Town" is one of these, being an extremely heartfelt number filled with longing for a Tragic Dream... only almost all of the words are replaced with childish nonsense so it's almost impossible to tell what it says. The gist seems to be that she's thinking of quitting her current job, Starting a New Life, and getting married and having kids... which her "supervisor" Snigglots doesn't take very well.
  • It Amused Me: Blinky's whole motivation. By the end of the night it turns out everyone in the park has been brainwashed into supporting characters in Blinky's grand patricide/filicide drama.
    Carnival Barker: This is an amusement park, sir. But not for your amusement.
  • It's All About Me: What the Carnival Barker's test ends up revealing about Bill — at his worst, his overprotective tendencies aren't because he really has Alice's best interests at heart, but because he's obsessed with his own issues over being a failed husband and father and desperately wants to feel like a better dad without putting in the work to actually become one.
  • Jerkass Has a Point: Bill is really obviously correct when he says that it is never a good sign in a relationship to feel you have to go somewhere with your partner to keep them from cheating on you, but sadly he's not a good enough counselor — and Alice doesn't have enough respect for his opinion — for their conversation about this to go anywhere. Alice finds out he's right but would never admit it to Bill, instead choosing to blame him when she sees evidence of Deb cheating on her.
  • Knight Templar Parent: Once he reaches full Brainwashed and Crazy status, Bill starts ranting and raving about how he needs to do absolutely anything necessary to "protect" Alice, including ''break her legs to keep her from escaping his grasp''.
  • The Last of These Is Not Like the Others: In a deeply disturbing sequence of all the people from Bill and Alice's day at the park — the Carnival Barker, the Ticket-Taker, Madame Iris, Papa Sniggle and the brutally beaten Snigglette — jeering and chanting for blood, we notice that Craig, the random Lower-Class Lout who showed up just to cheat on his girlfriend in front of Alice to make her feel insecure about her own relatioship, is for some reason also there.
    Sniggles: Whack her! Whack her! WHACK HER!
  • Laughably Evil: Blinky's voice, played by James Tolbert, is suspiciously similar to Jon Matteson's performance as Wiggly in Black Friday, but by comparison is more genuinely childlike and manic, reaching its peak when he's clapping and jumping up and down with excitement as Bill and Alice finally attack each other.
  • Leitmotif: Matt Dahan does yeoman's work improvising the score for this episode and integrating leitmotif into it heavily:
    • We hear a cheerful Creepy Circus Music tune on the organ that plays during "normal" moments at Watcher World, which turns out to be the tune to "The Blinky Song". It gets humorously transformed into a saloon piano number for when Alice is at the Western-themed shooting gallery on the midway.
    • The cheerful tune in Bill's car at the beginning of the story and the "exit music" used to play out the crowd from Blinky's Watch Party is "Lah Dee Dah Dah Day" from The Guy Who Didn't Like Musicals.
    • The "Why does it hurt to love you?" melody from the bridge of "Not Your Seed" in The Guy Who Didn't Like Musicals comes up repeatedly in tender, vulnerable moments between Alice and Bill.
    • The chorus of "Not Your Seed" plays when the trauma and resentment between Bill and Alice come up.
    • There's a melodic phrase from "Snoozle Town" that comes back in a hesitant, meandering way at later dramatic moments as Bill and Alice's relationship gets strained, until it finally comes back as an ominous, tragic piano theme for Bill and Alice's Final Battle. Then, when the episode ends, we hear that musical phrase in its full context — as the main melody of the Solemn Ending Theme, "One Thousand Eyes".
    • It's a major moment of catharsis when this episode ends on what we were teased and denied in The Guy Who Didn't Like Musicals — the "Why does it hurt to love you?" theme from "Not Your Seed" finally resolving itself, on a major chord, as Bill and Alice finally reconcile.
  • Lesbian Vampire: The play Alice is writing is about a lesbian woman falling in love with a vampire.
  • Locked Out of the Loop:
    • Bill doesn't seem to know anything about Alice's personal life, including her love life, her career plans (he's still a Fantasy-Forbidding Father when it comes to her dreams of being a playwright, even though she's won a theatre scholarship for a play she wrote) and even stuff as important as her personal phobias and triggers, like the fact that she hates heights and he's forcing her to ride the Midwest's tallest rollercoaster.
    • To be fair, Alice isn't making it easy for him, including having a private Instagram account specifically so he can't track anything she does online. The story ending on the notification that Alice has started following Bill on Instagram is the first sign of those walls coming down.
  • Lyrical Dissonance: Both of the songs from Blinky's Watch Party gleefully play with this: "The Blinky Song" having the Sniggles sing about their constant fear and misery to the tune of a peppy dance number, and "Snoozle Town" has a deeply heartfelt, passionate ballad whose lyrics are incomprehensible childish nonsense.
  • Maybe Magic, Maybe Mundane: The cast discussion afterwards suggests Blinky may or may not have faked the Instagram images of Alice's girlfriend cheating.
  • Mind-Control Eyes: Everyone at Watcher World who comes under Blinky's psychic influence starts getting glowing violet irises in their eyes.
  • Mind Screw: Everything about Blinky's Watch Party, including what it reveals about the Myth Arc of Hatchetfield as a whole, the way it breaks the fourth wall, and the ambiguous question of how exactly it bears on the main plot.
  • Musical World Hypotheses: So far this is the only Nightmare Time half-episode to feature fully diegetic musical numbers that take place during the story, with "The Blinky Song" and "Snoozle Town" taking place during the Show Within a Show Blinky's Watch Party. The Solemn Ending Theme, "One Thousand Eyes", is clearly extradiegetic.
  • My God, What Have I Done?: Bill catches a glimpse of his own reflection in one of the unbroken mirrors in the Funhouse just before he kills Alice, and that Heel Realization is enough for The Power of Love to snap him out of Blinky's Hate Plague.
  • Named by the Adaptation: This story is A Day in the Limelight for Paul's best friend Bill and his daughter Alice, who finally get a last name, Woodward.
  • Near-Villain Victory: Bill nearly killed his daughter after being brainwashed into a blind rage. The Power of Love saved them in the end, thankfully.
  • Nervous Wreck: On top of being a typically insecure teenager, Alice apparently has a serious anxiety disorder and is prone to panic attacks under stress.
  • Never My Fault: One of Bill's worst moments, when Alice finally bares her feelings to him about why she's mad at him:
    Alice: The problem is that someone just had to get divorced. Couldn't wait one more year. I got ripped outta school my senior year and shipped to Clivesdale. I hate Clivesdale! I lost all my friends. I'm gonna lose Deb. And none of it is my fault.
    Bill: You're right, it's not your fault... It's your mother's fault. Now let's go ride the Tear-Jerker.
  • No Communities Were Harmed: As a huge Midwestern theme park located on an island in the Great Lakes with a "storied history", Watcher World feels like a reference to Cedar Point, Ohio, although Cedar Point is a peninsula, not an island. The actual "tallest roller coaster in the Midwest" is Cedar Point's Top Thrill Dragster, at 420 feet, and Watcher World's fictional Tear-Jerker just beats it at 425 feet.
  • No Mouth: Blinky is an exaggerated version of a Cyclops whose eye is so big it takes up his entire face; presumably his voice somehow comes from inside his eyeball.
  • "No Talking or Phones" Warning: The Announcer gives an in-universe one before Blinky's Watch Party that chides the audience to refrain from flash photography because "You don't wanna blind Blinky!" (This ends up being a Red Herring rather than a Chekhov's Gun; unlike the famous theme park episode of The Simpsons, camera flashes play no role in Blinky's eventual defeat.)
  • Obstructive Bureaucrat: The Obnoxious Teen played by Joey Richter in Black Friday returns here, apparently having moved from his crappy job at the multiplex to a crappy job at the amusement park, and still finds himself vainly trying to enforce his bosses' arbitrary rules on customers who don't give a crap. This becomes a lot less funny when the Obnoxious Teen keeps insisting help is on the way while they're trapped at the top of the rollercoaster but no help ever arrives.
  • Offing the Offspring: Poor Bill. He came incredibly close to killing Alice, twice. The first time was a hallucination, but the second time was all too real. Thankfully, his experience helping Alice off of the rollercoaster and working through her panic attack snapped him out of his blind rage.
  • Papa Wolf: As bumbling and unknowingly self-involved as Bill can be, deep down he really is this, as fans of The Guy Who Didn't Like Musicals know. He gets his moment to shine when he talks Alice through her panic attack and gets them down from the rollercoaster... And even when her throwing this back in his face makes him hit his Rage Breaking Point and, under Blinky's influence, reach the point of Offing the Offspring, The Power of Love is enough at the end to make him turn back.
  • Parental Obliviousness: Alice had already accused Bill of this in "Not Your Seed" in The Guy Who Didn't Like Musicals, and it gets taken up to eleven here — Alice is furious that Bill doesn't know or apparently care about her relationship drama at school or her career ambitions of being a playwright, and it's pretty objectively inexcusable that he brought her to an amusement park whose main attraction is "the tallest rollercoaster in the Midwest" without being aware that she has a paralyzing fear of heights. He's even oblivious about the situation they're in, right now — he completely misses all the clues Alice is noticing about Watcher World's supernatural qualities until it's too late, including sleeping right through the disturbing ending of the Blinky's Watcher World show (after admonishing her before the show started not to disrespect the performers by not paying attention).
  • Patricide: Alice, convinced — in her hormonal, catastrophizing teen girl way — that she has no future if she doesn't stop Bill controlling her, accepts a rifle from Madame Iris and goes off to demand the car keys back from him at gunpoint so she can go to Deb's party, fully intending to kill him if he resists.
  • Peer Pressure Makes You Evil: Or an interesting variation thereon. There's a recurring theme that the pressure of "watching" or "being watched" makes you lose sight of yourself:
    • Blinky is referred to as "The Watcher" and his ominous purple "thousand eyes" are not just passively watching the park staff and customers, but also pushing them into sick and violent behaviour for his amusement.
    • The Sniggles in "Blinky's Watch Party" are aware of Blinky watching them and live in constant fear of his retaliation if he doesn't like what he sees.
    • Likewise, Sniglette can only confess her desire to leave Drowsy Town when she thinks the other Sniggles aren't watching her.
    • The Carnival Barker drives Bill into a murderous rage by embarrassing him in front of a gathered crowd, exploiting his fear of being seen as a failed father.
    • Alice feels a compulsion to keep liking Deb's Instagram posts, to let Deb know that Alice is watching her from afar, out of fear that Deb will cheat on her.
    • The final battle between Bill and Alice has them egged on by everyone else in the park, watching them.
    • What finally breaks Blinky's control over Bill and Alice is when they are able to see themselves in the hall of mirrors and see what Blinky's Hate Plague has turned them into.
    • The end credits song "One Thousand Eyes" makes explicit that we are constantly being watched by outside forces, but it's our own inner voice that we should listen to.
  • Phoneaholic Teenager: Somewhat subverted. Alice is glued to her phone for the whole first half of the story — and makes it very clear to Bill that, yes, this apparent disrespect is intentional disrespect and she'd rather be texting with her friends at Deb's party than interacting with him. However, when Bill drops her phone we find out that this isn't just her everyday behavior. She's worried her girlfriend might cheat on her with someone else at the party, and so is trying to use instagram "likes" to remind her girlfriend that she's watching. She's glued to her phone right now because she's trying to use it to save her relationship.
  • Poor Communication Kills: We find out just how much of a Dysfunctional Family Alice and Bill are when we learn that Bill doesn't know that Alice is paralyzingly acrophobic and hates rollercoasters and that Alice never felt comfortable telling Bill this despite Bill making extensive plans to go all the way to Watcher World specifically to ride "the tallest rollercoaster in the Midwest". All of this only comes out in one big meltdown once they're already on the rollercoaster and it's too late to do anything about it.
  • Post-Modern Magik: Alice tries to use the creative epithet "Suck my crystal balls" to get Madame Iris to leave her alone, Iris laughs that she doesn't need to use crystal balls to tell the future these days and pulls out what she uses instead... Alice's iPhone.
  • The Precarious Ledge: When the Tear-Jerker malfunctions and stops, just before the big drop, Alice's fear of heights gets cranked up to eleven. The only options Bill and Alice have are to wait it out in the rain, or to go down a set of very precarious stairs. Did we mention that they're four-hundred and twenty-five feet off the ground, and that the rollercoaster shakes whenever a strong breeze blows by? Bill is torn between letting his daughter have a panic attack for who knows how long as they wait for the ride to start, or helping her maneuver down the staircase before the steps get too slippery.
  • Precision F-Strike:
    • Alice isn't nearly as prone to the Cluster F-Bombs as her counterpart Lex from Black Friday, but she has her moments.
    • There's also a jarring moment when Snigglots seems to curse out of genuine fear in the middle of "The Blinky Song" even though Blinky's Watch Party is obviously supposed to be a cutesy family show, adding to the Mind Screw nature of it all.
      Snigglots: And if you wake him up, we die. Don't blink. Don't ever blink. Don't you fucking blink.
    • There's some Hypocritical Humor in how Alice's initial encounter with the Blinky mascot has him press his hands over his (nonexistent) ears when Alice says the word "shit", chiding her "That's a bad word!", when later on Blinky's avatars are just fine with dropping F-bombs when they feel like it to make a point.
      Carnival Barker: (as Bill tries and fails to win the "Test Your Strength" Game) He's a failure as a father! He was a failure as a husband! He's been a failure his whole fucking life! We know, we've been watching with a thousand eyes!
      Bill: SHUT UP!
    • Bill, for his part, usually avoids cursing, being a straitlaced churchgoing dad — see his minced oath "I'll kick your... head!" in The Guy Who Didn't Like Musicals, which is why when he suddenly starts saying "fuck" on top of the Tear-Jerker we know shit's getting real.
  • Puppet King: "Papa Sniggle" is this in multiple senses. Not only is he obviously just a puppet for Blinky, as are all the Sniggles, but he also seems to be a figurehead for The Man Behind the Man Snigglots (an Expy of Brainy Smurf), who is the one who actually leads the show trial of Snigglette for disloyalty, and who's the actual lead singer of "The Blinky Song" (a sequence in which Papa Sniggle is a comic relief Butt-Monkey).
  • Red Eyes, Take Warning: We never actually see his eye change color, but "The Blinky Song" has the Sniggles warn that when Blinky's eye turn red it means someone is about to be punished for defying him.
  • Retcon:
    • It seems like if Watcher World existed and were on the same island as the town of Hatchetfield back in Black Friday, Emma would've brought it up to Tom in her conversation with him about neglecting Tim rather than talking about "taking him to Six Flags". Whether this is a simple Retcon or indicates Watcher World actually doesn't exist in the Alternate Universe of Black Friday's Hatchetfield is unknown.
    • Bill seems to have gotten a lot better at singing since he was challenged to "Sing the beginning of Moana" in The Guy Who Didn't Like Musicals, though most likely that's because that time he just didn't know the song (and Corey Dorris still makes Bill's delivery of "Let It Go" from Frozen (2013) sound annoyingly cheesy).
  • Shout-Out:
  • Show Within a Show:
    • Blinky's Watch Party, a Country Bear Jamboree-style family music revue that takes a Darker and Edgier turn. The two mid-story musical numbers in Episode 1 of Nightmare Time, "The Blinky Song" and "Snoozle Town", are both part of this show.
    • There's also an unproduced Show Within a Show mentioned, not seen — Alice's Lesbian Vampire romance she wrote for a theatre scholarship.
  • Significant Double Casting:
    • James Tolbert is cast as the Mascot dressed as Blinky at the beginning of the show, as "Snigglots", the other Sniggle who threatens Snigglette with punishment if she tries to quit the Sniggles during Blinky's Watch Party, and the Carnival Barker who oversees Bill's final Descent Into Madness at the "Test Your Strength" Game. All of these characters, even though they're theoretically humans, act as Blinky's mouthpiece, and the climax of the show reveals Tolbert playing the maniacal and unfiltered voice of Blinky himself.
    • To a lesser degree, Jon Matteson (who played Blinky's counterpart Wiggly in Black Friday) seems to play all the "flunky" roles in the park like being the Ticket-Taker at the admissions booth and the Usher at Blinky's Watch Party. This is helped by Jon's bland white The Everyman looks that served him so well as Paul in The Guy Who Didn't Like Musicals and his putting in the effort to show up in costume, with a "retail vest" and nametag.
  • Sinister Surveillance: The whole theme of Watcher World, which is Exactly What It Says on the Tin, and even has a Big Brother Is Watching slogan for the park ("Blinky Is Always Watching"). At first it seems to only be mundane surveillance, with tiny cameras hidden inside the eyes of the various Blinky signs and pictures and statues throughout the park... but of course, it turns out to go a lot deeper.
  • Slasher Smile: James Tolbert gives a pretty devastating one when he's playing Blinky or one of Blinky's human avatars.
  • The Smurfette Principle: Directly referenced with the character of "Snigglette" in Blinky's Watch Party, although Lauren Lopez does play another Sniggle who's played by a woman in-universe (but whose gender as a Sniggle is not specified). note 
  • Smurfing: It's almost impossible to tell what any of the Sniggles are saying because half their words are replaced with cutesy neologisms that start with "sn-".
  • Solemn Ending Theme: "One Thousand Eyes" is one for both "Watcher World" and Episode 1 as a whole.
  • Souvenir Land: Unlike most non-Disney theme parks, Watcher World seems to lean hard on the "theme" part, with everything at Watcher World revolving around the eye-themed branding of their mascot, Blinky, and everything at the park trying to push you into buying one of their cuddly yet disturbing Blinky dolls.
  • Starving Artist: Alice's girlfriend Deb seems to plan to become one, with the security of her parents' fortune to fall back on if things get too hard. Bill is clearly very uneasy about Alice choosing to take a similar path. He warms up on learning that she won a scholarship.
  • Stylistic Suck:
    • This episode embraces stuff like Snigglette simulating having a "violet spotlight" on her by just putting a purple filter over her pre-recorded musical number, and then just changing her Zoom background to solid purple in the actual livestream.
    • There's also some James Tolbert "acting out" Blinky's gruesome death scene by just waving his arms frantically in his chair.
  • Super-Strength: Once the Carnival Barker's taunting drives him to his Rage Breaking Point to the point where Bill is willing to murder an illusion of Alice just to prove he's a man, he hits the "Test Your Strength" Game so hard he breaks the machine, and from this point on in his Brainwashed and Crazy state is a far more dangerous opponent than a Non-Action Guy like him should be, even somehow getting the upper hand in his fight with Alice when she's the one with the ranged weapon.
  • Surprisingly Happy Ending: Although there's still some loose ends with any other victims Blinky may have claimed, including the unanswered question of whatever the hell happened to the actress who played Snigglette, this story ends with no major deaths and both of our main characters having survived and become better people. Alice didn't even end up having to buy a new phone.
  • Take That!:
    • When Alice complains about how stupid and nonsensical Blinky's Watch Party is, Bill blandly replies that this is how he felt after she made him watch Dear Evan Hansen. (Given that Team Starkid are friends with Pasek And Paul and with Andrew Barth Feldman, who played Evan in the Broadway production of DEH, this is probably tongue-in-cheek.)
    • Alice losing her phone on top of the Tear-Jerker as a result of the fact that new phones have screens so wide hardly any women's clothes have pockets that will fit them.
    • For people who've worked at Disneyland (as many LA-area actors have in order to pay the bills; Robert himself worked at Universal Studios for some time), the basic idea of Watcher World seems like a veiled Take That! against Disney's Sinister Surveillance in their theme parks. The sequence with "Snigglette" feels like it could be commentary on the oppressive Big Brother Is Watching feeling of working as a Disney "cast member".
  • "Test Your Strength" Game: A Darker and Edgier version of this trope — Bill gets embarrassed and humiliated at one of these not just as a throwaway gag, but as a way to get him to the Rage Breaking Point by needling him about his masculinity and his many failures as a husband and father until he's fully Brainwashed and Crazy. What's worse, the breaking point for Bill is when he sees Alice's head on the target just as he's mid-swing. The mallet hits her, and blood splatters as he caves her head in. But as he removes the mallet, he realizes it wasn't real.
  • Theme Song Reveal:
    • It seems like the Theme Tune for Nightmare Time may have been hinting at the plot of this episode with the line "Daddy's gonna get you".
    • There's a couple of other subtle elements to the Title Sequence that may have been Call Forwards to this episode, like the transition out of the first verse being a giant eyelid blinking, or James Tolbert — who turns out to be Blinky's human avatar — singing his part of the song surrounded by purple lighting.
  • Title Confusion: The Solemn Ending Theme of this story was titled "With a Thousand Eyes" in the original script; the soundtrack changes this to "One Thousand Eyes", which is the actual Title Drop in the lyrics.
  • Totally Radical: In-universe. Bill, who just this morning didn't actually have Instagram installed on his phone and was confused about whether you have "friends" or "followers" on that service, starts trying to use the word "'gram" as a verb.
  • Traitor Shot: When Snigglette's actor Angela gets bashed in the face and all the other cast members of Blinky's Watch Party break character in shock and concern for her welfare, Snigglots' actor (James Tolbert) doesn't... instead he silently gives a Slasher Smile indicating everything is going exactly as planned, that makes him look identical to James playing the Blinky mascot at the top of the show. Cue theories that Snigglots' actor has either become or always was an avatar of Blinky himself.
  • The Unblinking: "Blinky" is, obviously, an Ironic Nickname, because the whole point is he's "always watching" and he doesn't blink. "The Blinky Song" exhorts the audience (in the unsettling way of scary stories aimed at children) to never ever blink or Blinky will be able to wake up and kill them.
  • Ungrateful Bastard: As is typical for Offing the Offspring stories, a Brainwashed and Crazy Bill starts shrieking accusations of Alice being this as he tries to chase her down with a mallet. There's a fair number of the fandom willing to defend this perception of Alice, especially after Bill risks his life to save hers and walk her down from the Tear-Jerker and she seems more concerned about losing her phone.
  • Unperson: The most disturbing thing about the Ambiguous Ending of Blinky's Watch Party is how, when Alice asks the usher a second time if the actress who played Snigglette will be okay as they're leaving the theater, the usher acts like he has no idea who she's talking about. We finally do see her again at the end of the show, fully brainwashed and under Blinky's power but still unable to speak due to her injuries, indicating the onstage conflict was in fact real to some degree.
  • Vacation Episode: This story starts with Alice and Bill going through the well-worn clichés of a Bratty Teenage Daughter being dragged around an Amusement Park by her Amazingly Embarrassing Parents, only for things to rapidly get darker and creepier than a typical such episode would warrant (this being a Horror Comedy show).
  • Verbal Backspace:
    Alice: Deb's grandmother is taking her to Amsterdam on Monday, then she's going to early orientation at her art school — I might never see Deb again!
    Bill: Well, here's hoping.
    Alice: What?!
    Bill: ...That that doesn't happen!
  • The Watcher: This seems to literally be Blinky's real, non-cutesy mascot name, although he's much more proactive about getting the maximum entertainment from what he watches than most examples of the trope.
  • Whole-Plot Reference:
    • "Watcher World" has drawn comparisons to the "Lester's Possum Park" sequence in A Goofy Movie, referenced directly by Bill's yellow AMC Pacer, and with multiple plot beats directly lifted from it — Goofy/Bill forcing Max/Alice to wear a tacky mascot-themed hat, the two of them getting in a fight over trying to take a photo together, Max/Alice getting in a fight with a mascot in a Goofy Suit, and most of all the surprisingly disturbing parody of the Country Bear Jamboree show. (Of course, the Hatchetfield version of all of these plot beats is much Darker and Edgier than the Disney animation version, as is the final outcome.) As a bonus, A Goofy Movie may have also inspired the previous story in this episode, "The Hatchetfield Ape-Man", since it happens to prominently feature Bigfoot.
    • Moreover, "Watcher World" is also a Whole-Plot Reference to Starkid's previous magnum opus Black Friday, involving characters entering a symbol of crass American consumerism and fakeness — a shopping mall or a theme park — and finding out that the cutesy mascot that represents that institution is a literal Eldritch Abomination stoking the worst elements of human nature For the Evulz. It even has Starkid engaging in some light Self-Deprecation by having a song, "Snoozle Town", that's a send-up of the climactic Eleven O'Clock Number "Black Friday" (essentially the same song but with all the serious lyrics replaced with Smurfing). But see Bait-and-Switch for the critical differences between the two stories.
  • Wild Teen Party: Alice's girlfriend Deb happens to be throwing an awesome one on the exact same night she's trapped with her dad at an amusement park for children, and the more she sees about it via her phone the more upset about it she gets.
  • Yellow/Purple Contrast: