The Hero and The Birthday Boy appeared as two halves of the same episode. They first aired on March 31, 2014.
Wander and Sylvia are pressed into the service of a buff and brawny hero in his quest to save a beautiful princess from a dragon. It doesn't quite work out for the hero as he hoped.
- An Aesop:
- Ambiguously Human: Brad and Demurra are the closest things to humans appearing in this show.
- Big "NO!": By Brad, when he refuses Demurra's idea for a HeelFace Turn.
- Damsel in Distress: Zigzagged. First starts out as enforced for the plot and discussed by all of our "heros". Then it turns out it was a lie, Brad exploited it for the sake of KIDNAPPING Princess Demurra himself! (Played for drama & maybe inverted for Brad?) Then subverted when she kicks his butt.
- Death Course: The Labyrinth of Delusion, complete with an alternate route and a patterned series of attacks. Not that either do Brad any good. It turns out Drakor set it up specifically to keep Brad from kidnapping Demurra.
- Dragons Prefer Princesses: Drakor is in love with Princess Demurra, and, according to Brad Starlight, he keeps her as a prisoner. The truth, however, is that princesses also prefer dragons.
- Dragons Versus Knights: The setup has a wandering knight questing to slay a fearsome dragon and rescue his captive, although it eventually turns out that the knight is a pompous jerkass who views himself as a hero when he's really a Dirty Coward and his noble quest exists mostly in his own mind.
- A minor example, but Brad is unable to pull out the Sword of Destiny while Wander can. This hints that Brad is not the hero as his prophecy told him, but Wander is the true hero. But ultimately subverted: neither are the hero. Demurra is.
- The "prophecy" sounds a little too specific, as opposed to the traditional prophecies that are like cryptic riddles. This may hint that Bradley made it all up himself.
- Good All Along: It turns out Draykor is not evil as Brad predicted; he's very friendly and is engaged to Demurra.
- Hypocritical Humor: Sylvia shudders at Demurra wearing pink, despite that being the same color as her hair/feathers and saddle blanket.
- I Meant to Do That: Brad's reaction to accidentally breaking the hilt off the Sword of Destiny after trying to pull it out. "It's better this way!" Either that, or it can be interpreted that he means he'd rather have a sword broken off by him, than have a perfectly good sword pulled out by "the sidekick".
- Interspecies Romance: Demurra (human) and Drakor (dragon).
- Ironic Echo: There's a deflated theme song that plays every time Brad fails at something during his "quest". This same theme plays when Wander cheers for Demurra taking down Brad by herself, only in a happier tone, reflecting how Wander's come to term that things don't always go as planned.
- Last-Second Chance: Demurra gives one to Brad, telling them they can just be friends, but he ignores it and vows to do what his "prophecy" tells him to.
- Losing Horns: These play as Brad drags himself across the ground after he gets grievously injured by a gauntlet of traps.
- Miles Gloriosus: Brad Starlight demands Wander add a verse about him fighting a bear into the ballad the latter is making up about him, despite having never done such a thing... or indeed anything remotely heroic whatsoever. He's also a whiny jerk who throws a tantrum when things don't go according to his "prophecy".
- Mood Whiplash: Every time Brad's dramatic attempts at being a hero are interrupted. Also, Demurra goes from sweetly talking to her fiancee Drakor to snapping "This again?!" at Brad in an annoyed tone.
- Offscreen Moment of Awesome: When Wander and Drakor rush to Princess Demurra's rescue, they find she's managed to escape from and subdue Brad in a matter of minutes.
- Only the Chosen May Wield: Brad encounters the Sword of Destiny embedded in a stone. Wander then takes it out no problem and hands it to Brad. Brad demands that he's the one who should remove it, so Wander puts it back and Brad tries to remove it again. Naturally, he can't.
- Pink Is for Sissies: For Sylvia. To be fair, Demurra's literally shining pink.Wander: She's beautiful.
Sylvia: And pink. Eugh! *shudders*
- Princesses Prefer Pink: Demurra's dress, much to Sylvia's disgust.
- Reality Ensues: Basically the premise of the episode. Brad learns the hard way that everything that happens in fairy tales does not apply in real life. The main highlight of this trope is when the episode reveals that Draykor being an evil king who kidnapped Princess Demurra to wed her is just made up by Brad: Draykor is a really nice guy and Demurra genuinely loves and willingly wants to marry him.
- Rocky Roll Call: A variation:Brad: Sidekick! Steed! Hero!
- Self-Fulfilling Prophecy: Attempted by Brad, averted by Demurra, because "This isn't a fairy tale."
- Shout Out:
- To American Dragon: Jake Long. A jerkass named Brad wants a beautiful blonde girl who turns out to be a badass who's in love with a dragon.
- The Brazilian dub changes Princess Demurra's name to Adora.note
- One of Wander's methods of dodging obstacles in the Labyrinth of Delusion is doing a spinning jump over a lava pit like how Mario does in Super Mario Bros..
- Shmuck Bait: Subverted; the bright and cheery path through the Labyrinth of Delusion looks like an obvious trap, but it turns out to be perfectly safe.
- Spell My Name with an "S":
- The Dragon King's name can be spelt as either "Drakor" or "Draykor", the latter appearing in the closed-captions. Neither of these are mentioned in the credits, as he is simply credited as "Dragon King".
- The closed-captions also misspell Demurra's name as "Demura".
- Squee!: Wander, many times. He really enjoys being the hero rescuing the princess.
- Storybook Opening: What opens and ends the episode.
- Teeth-Clenched Teamwork: Sylvia is not happy about working with Brad, who treats her as a dumb steed, only going along with the quest because she's "helping a sister out".
- This Is Reality: "Real life is not a fairy tale."
- Title Drop: Several times. Parodied at the beginning when the title appears to finish Brad's sentence.
- Wham Line: Princess Demurra referring to Drakor as her "beloved".
- Wham Shot: Demurra embracing Drakor and comforting him.
The Birthday Boy
It's Lord Hater's birthday. The Watchdogs have gotten him a Doom Arena for his present, and Peepers has brought Wander and Sylvia to face their destruction. Meanwhile, Wander is delighted to be part of the festivities until he realizes that Hater is not having a good time at his own birthday party. The little orange guy makes it his mission to get Hater to smile.
- An Aesop: Sometimes your birthday party doesn't have to be perfect. Those who come have their own ideas.
- Aside Glance: Hater does one when Wander tames the pit monster.
- Audience Participation Song: The Watchdogs eventually join in singing Hater's birthday song.
- Big Red Button: One of these releases the pit monster.
- Big "NO!": Hater screams it after Wander tames the pit monster and plans to stop him himself.
- Big "YES!": By Hater near the beginning when Wander and Sylvia appear and he gets to see them grovel up in fear (which won't be happening).
- Birthday Episode: Hater's and the first one in the series.
- Bottle Episode: The whole episode is set at Hater's Doom Arena.
- Brick Joke: Three of the buttons Peepers considers at one point activate a giant meat tenderizer, a flame trap, and a pack of flying tigers. At the end of the sequence when Hater falls into the Doom Arena, he gets hit with those same three traps at once.
- Continuity Nod: Flamethrowers are mentioned again.
- Fluffy Tamer: Wander tames the pit monster by giving it dog biscuits.
- Getting Crap Past the Radar: The "spin the bottle" scene.
- Gladiator Games: The Doom Arena has all the basics. Gladiators, beasts, death traps, the works.
- Ironic Echo: Whatever Wander wants to do is the complete opposite of Lord Hater's ideas. There's even a scene where Wander explains his goal which is in the same intonation as Hater's, complete with the same close-ups, zooms, and similar background music.
Hater: Peepers, Wander still appears to be enjoying himself.
- We also get this part:
Wander: Sylvia, Hater's still not enjoying himself!
- Jaw Drop: Hater's jaw literally detaches from his skull three times throughout the episode.
- Lyrical Dissonance: Wander's birthday song eventually touches upon the subject of growing old and dying, especially Sylvia's verse:So try not to be so sad about your impending doom
Someday we'll light birthday candles on your frigid tomb!
- Never Say "Die": Hater repeatedly talks about Wander facing his "doom" and so on.
- Oh, Crap!: Hater gets a few throughout the episode. His largest one is near the end when Wander explains he actually was afraid he wasn't enjoying the party.
- Pass the Popcorn: When Hater falls into the arena and is about to be beaten up, Sylvia sits on his throne and asks for popcorn.
- Spin the Bottle: Hater tries to kill Wander with a death ray, but Wander thinks it's spin the bottle, hence the shape of it. Hilarity Ensues.
- Title Drop: Several times, by Wander.
- Too Dumb to Live: Being focused on his plan to get Hater to smile, Wander is completely oblivious that all Hater really wants is for him to grovel up in fear. Only Sylvia realizes this.
- The Unsmile: When Wander and Sylvia finally get Hater to smile.
- Unsound Effect: The party-hat bazooka Sylvia fires produces the sound effects "HATS" and "MORE HATS"
- Visual Pun: At one point, Wander somehow uses his hands to spin his mouth around from a frown to a smile. Hes literally turning his frown upside down.
- Wham Line: "I am afraid...I'm afraid you aren't enjoying your birthday party."