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"The shoppy-shop people will come one and all,
Like shoppy-shop sheeple, they'll herd to the mall.
And those people, those sheeple, the tall and the small...
They'll fall, and they'll crawl, and they'll brawl for a doll."
Tickle-Me-Wiggly
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Black Friday is a horror-comedy musical about the shopping day from hell. When the holiday season’s hottest new toy, the Tickle-Me Wiggly, hits the shelves, the city of Hatchetfield goes mad for it, literally. That’s when Tom Houston, Becky Barnes, and Lex Foster, alongside a few familiar faces, must fight through a sea of murderous mall-goers to save humanity from an interdimensional being with a taste for chaos. When Wiggly comes to town, will the world survive Black Friday?

Black Friday is the twelfth of Team Starkid's live shows, and the second set in their Horror Comedy "Hatchetfield universe". It's a Spiritual Successor to their wildly popular previous show The Guy Who Didn't Like Musicals, taking place in an Alternate Universe of the same setting as TGWDLM. The live show ran in Los Angeles from October 31–December 8, 2019 at the Hudson Mainstage Theatre, and the filmed version hit YouTube on February 29, 2020.

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A further sequel, Nerdy Prudes Must Die!, was announced prior to Black Friday's opening, though without any details. Thanks to the indefinite delay on any new live theatre from Starkid until the end of the COVID-19 Pandemic, Nerdy Prudes Must Die! has been put on hold (as has a short film Spin-Off of The Guy Who Didn't Like Musicals, Workin' Boys) in favor of a Web Video spinoff known as Nightmare Time.

Also, spoilers for The Guy Who Didn't Like Musicals will be UNMARKED. You have been warned!

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Black Friday contains the following tropes:

  • Absentee Actor: The original big draw of this show was that it was a full reunion of the cast of The Guy Who Didn't Like Musicals, plus several new additions, bringing back the sprawling casts of Starkid shows of yore like Starship and Firebringer. Sadly for Starkid — though happily for her — Mariah Rose Faith got cast as Regina George in the touring production of Mean Girls, and her role as Lex Foster had to be recast, which fans regarded as a major disappointment. That said, in hindsight, Angela Giarratana as Lex was extremely popular, with people even saying that she was a more appropriate choice for Lex than Mariah and that having to hold auditions for the part may have been a blessing in disguise. (Mariah herself has said that, even though her own YouTube channel is themed around her covering showtunes, she refuses to cover any of the songs from Black Friday because she's a fan of Angela's performance and doesn't want to be seen as undermining it.)
  • Adam Smith Hates Your Guts: The basic laws of supply and demand mean that if the listed retail price of a Wiggly inside the store is merely $49.95, while the real price of a Wiggly outside the store is $7,000, then there's no way the first-come first-serve limit-one-per-customer system can remain stable. Lex and Frank realize this way too late.
  • Added Alliterative Appeal: One of Uncle Wiley's lines, said during the jingle for the Wiggly dolls: "He's deep down in Drowsy Town, sleeping the dreamless sleep of the dead!"
  • Adorable Abomination: The Tickle-Me Wiggly dolls.
  • Adorable Evil Minions: The Sniggles.
  • Adult Fear: The theme of the show is the concept of the Adult Fear, and how the cartoonish threat of a Lovecraftian monster or a magical evil doll is actually the manifestation of seemingly mundane insecurities about poverty, debt, status, and broken relationships. As if we didn't already know from the fact that Black Friday riots really happened and have really killed people, the song "Made In America" tells us that the idea of a supernatural Hate Plague is just a mild exaggeration of what alienation and capitalism has done to all of us... which is demonstrated in the end with Wiggly's plan culminating in the very adult fear of plunging the world into a nuclear war.
  • Aggressive Negotiations: PEIP's plan seems to be to use the President's authority and importance among humans to bait Wiggly into a negotiation, where they can try to make him understand the threat of the nuclear weapon they're ready to launch into his dimension. It's not necessarily a bad plan... if not for the fact that Wiggly already understands far more than they know...
  • Air Guitar: Once again gets worked into the choreography, appearing as one of the dance moves during "Deck the Halls (Of Northville High)".
  • Alternate Universe: Immediately quelling months of speculation, the first scene after the Opening Chorus shows us Paul and Emma as a couple who've been dating for a few weeks, meaning Paul introduced himself to Emma and started going out with her without the alien invasion immediately afterwards that was the plot of The Guy Who Didn't Like Musicals, confirming that this is not a sequel but a "sidequel" set in a different timeline. Later on, we find out from PEIP headquarters that alternate universes physically exist in this setting and that this Hatchetfield and the one we saw destroyed in TGWDLM are part of The Multiverse. The theme of alternate universes is namedropped and reinforced with "Take Me Back", with Tom singing about an alternate reality where he and Becky stayed together.
  • Aluminum Christmas Trees: The word "sniggle" is a real world, referring to a form of fishing for eels (or the hooks used for this kind of fishing), based on the obsolete word "snigs" to mean eels.
  • Ambiguous Ending: One where a Downer Ending is the most likely outcome, but nothing's definite. After Wiggly is defeated, the survivors gather outside the mall, knowing that World War III is almost certainly going to start at any moment. They hope (however desperately) that if the human race can survive until the end of Black Friday, things might be okay. They gather around Tom as he watches the final minutes of the day tick by on his watch, embracing and waiting to see what happens. As midnight strikes, they see something in the sky, and we hear a loud, mysterious noise as everyone looks up. The end.
  • Angry Mob Song: "Feast or Famine", the song about the initial riots breaking out over the Wiggly dolls.
  • Another Dimension: Wiggly's origin, a Void Between the Worlds known as "the Black and White".
  • Anyone Can Die: Good guys, bad guys, no one is safe. Not only can anyone die, the show ends with the implication that everyone ''does''.
  • Apocalypse Cult: The plot escalates from the Retail Riot of Act 1 to this in Act 2, where Wiggly has stoked the shoppers' greed and hatred to the point where they willingly seek to destroy the world.
  • Apocalypse How: The Esoteric Happy Ending of the show reveals that, depending on what exactly Wiggly means by consuming "our world", our heroes have successfully prevented anything from a Class X to a Class Z by stopping Wiggly from being reborn into our reality as The Omnipotent Reality Warper he is in the Black and White, consuming the souls of the whole human race and remaking either the planet or the universe in his image. Wiggly, however, gets his revenge by triggering a global thermonuclear war — by the end of the show, it's confirmed Moscow has been destroyed, a Class 0, and it seems inevitable this will lead to a worldwide nuclear exchange causing anything between a Class 1 and a Class 3a. What actually happens to the world and our characters after this is a Riddle for the Ages.
  • Arc Words: "Bad blood! Cross! Black and White!" "Two doors, not one!"
  • Armour-Piercing Question: Near the climax, Lex asks Tom, "Did Tim ever say he wants a Tickle-Me Wiggly?"
  • Artifact of Attraction: The Tickle-Me Wiggly.
  • Artistic License – Economics: This really is more about Fridge Logic and/or What an Idiot! re: Frank's behavior — and, true, we have no indication he ISN’T an idiot — but the point is that the idea of Black Friday sales is to offer deep discounts on certain popular items, as loss leaders, in hopes of enticing customers to stay in the store and buy other items along the way. Frank does directly allude to this concept in "Our Doors Are Open" — the Wigglies only cost $49.95 but he expects each customer to spend at least $400 — but even from a purely mercenary, amoral, profit-maximizing perspective, this means it's a terrible idea (besides being illegal) for him to do something like sell all the Wiggly dolls at once to one person, or let people bid up the price of the dolls to unaffordable levels. That said, the whole idea of the show is that "Wiggly fever" is to put it mildly affecting people's judgment and making them act outside their own best interests, and it may well be that it's just affecting Frank in a different way.
  • Artistic License – Gun Safety: Downplayed. Lex "tests out" her pepper spray during "Our Doors Are Open" by holding it right in front of her face and spritzing a little bit to the side. In Real Life, this is highly discouraged for obvious reasons — if you want to test your can of pepper spray, you do it at arm's length, outdoors, not inside a store packed with customers — but no one accused Lex of being a cautious rule-follower, and at least it's better than doing it with an actual gun.
  • Artistic License – Law:
    • Gary Goldstein, attorney-at-law, intervening first on Linda's behalf and then on Sherman's in their dispute over store policy, is Played for Laughs, making lawsuit threats on stereotypically shaky grounds like emotional distress from Linda's anxiety disorder and discrimination based on some vaguely defined protected class Sherman (a wealthy white man) belongs to. In reality, holding a sale that immediately ends because your policy allowed one customer to buy all the merchandise and made everyone else wait in line All for Nothing would leave Frank open to a much more straightforward grievance over truth in advertising law (one that's gotten retailers in trouble over Black Friday deals with deceptively limited quantities in the past). Sherman, on the other hand, has an even more open-and-shut case to sue Frank for explicitly verbally accepting his offer and then going back on it, which is straightforward breach of contract. Any competent lawyer would've advised Frank to avoid this whole situation in the first place by setting a clearly advertised "Limit X per customer" policy well in advance of the event. Which is why there's some extra Irony that all the other citizens of Hatchetfield seem to know Gary and/or have him on retainer, but Frank doesn't.
    • Along these lines, Frank suddenly deciding to change the list price of a Wiggly and allow people to bid up the price in an auction is completely and unambiguously illegal — it's one of the things truth-in-advertising laws were specifically written to ban — but apparently at this point, Gary is too caught up in Wiggly fever himself to say anything on behalf of any of his clients.
    • As President Goodman lampshades, it's hard to see what kind of Over-the-Top Secret security clearance would let General MacNamara barge past the President's own Secret Service detail into the Oval Office without the President himself even knowing his organization exists. (The Secret Service agents would have to themselves be informed of this authority and made to agree to it without the President's knowledge, which in the Real Life chain of command is basically impossible.) But that's the kind of Fridge Logic underlying the whole No Such Agency trope PEIP is poking fun at.
  • Artistic License – Military:
    • Jon Matteson's character parodying Buck Turgidson is wearing a military dress uniform, but claims to be the Secretary of Defense. Under the US Constitution, the Secretary of Defense (and the President) must be civilians rather than actively serving members of the military, and the law says that a Secretary of Defense must have been out of active military service for seven years before being appointed (though this law has often been waived). It's certainly true that many Secretaries of Defense have come from the military as retired generals, but the principle of civilian control of the military is important enough that it's considered grossly inappropriate for the currently serving Secretary of Defense to appear in public in a military uniform — much less to be wearing one for day-to-day work.
    • The reveal that neither the President of the United States nor the Secretary of Defense has even heard of PEIP or General MacNamara at all makes even more of a hash of the claim that PEIP is part of "the Army" or "the US military", or that MacNamara's rank of "General" is legitimate — the only person who can legally promote someone to the rank of General is the President, under the Secretary of Defense's advice. But, as noted elsewhere on this page, that's the kind of Fridge Logic the whole No Such Agency trope runs on. Much like their counterparts in other fictional universes, even if PEIP may have originated from the US military, they are clearly now for all intents and purposes an extralegal N.G.O. Superpower.
  • Audible Sharpness:
    • MacNamara's "blade of truth" is some kind of invisible psychic power that makes the "SCHING!" sound effect when he uses it.
    • A "sching!" sound effect is also applied to the Man in a Hurry's knife, which would otherwise be somewhat hard to see onstage. A similar effect plays whenever the cultists swing their boxcutters, which are clearly not actually extended in Real Life, for safety's sake.
  • Baby Talk: A deliberately off-putting habit of both the voice of Wiggly himself and everyone associated with him — from Uncle Wiley and the Sniggles to Linda Monroe and her cultists, once they "open their hearts to his love". By the end of the song "Wiggle", you're likely to be thoroughly sick of "uwu talk" in general and the word "wiggle" in specific.
  • Big Damn Heroes: General John MacNamara pulls off three of these over the course of the show.
    • First, he shows up in the Oval Office to destroy the Wiggly doll before it could make the President and his Cabinet kill each other.
    • Next, he goes into the Black and White to rescue President Goodman from Wiggly before helping him to evacuate.
    • Finally, he saves Lex from being killed by Sherman by supplying the former with his gun.
  • Big Damn Kiss: After we were deliberately teased and denied one between Paul and Emma in The Guy Who Didn't Like Musicals, we get three — one early in the show between Lex and Ethan as the climax of "CaliforMIA", a hugely cathartic one between Tom and Becky late in the show during "Take Me Back", and, hilariously, an immediate follow-up to that kiss with Chris and Noël's Big Damn Kiss as the climax of Santa Claus is Goin' to High School. The latter two even result in Coitus Ensues (a PG-13 version thereof, anyway).
  • Black Site: The unknown location that houses PEIP Headquarters and the portal to the Black and White.
  • Bland-Name Product: Tickle-Me Wiggly is a parody of Tickle-Me Elmo. We also hear about "Pizza Pete's", an analogue of Chuck E. Cheese, which has a "Zombie House" game, a version of House of the Dead.
  • Blonde, Brunette, Redhead: The three main adult female characters are this (two of them are their actors' natural colors, but Linda's blonde hair is a wig). They also run the gamut of morality, with Lex being unambiguously sympathetic, Linda being the human villain of the story and Becky's status uncertain due to Wiggly's influence.
  • Bloodier and Gorier: There's a lot less overt gross-out scenes with blood and guts than there were in The Guy Who Didn't Like Musicals, but in return the blood we do see is played a lot more realistically and seriously. Ethan coughing up blood and bleeding from his scalp before dying of his wounds, the fountain of blood that shoots out when Frank's throat gets slit, and the spray of blood when Becky nails her Boom, Headshot! against Linda are all played with deadly earnestness.
  • Bolivian Army Ending: The show ends with what remains of the cast waiting for midnight, and we Smash to Black as they hear what is most likely a nuke dropping. It's never outright confirmed, but it's all but stated that the vast majority of the cast (and likely the country) will die soon.
  • Book-Ends: The recorded version of the show begins and ends with "The Tickle-Me-Wiggly Jingle".
  • Boom, Headshot!: How Linda Monroe meets her well-deserved end.
  • Breaking Speech: This play is filled with very talkative characters who love to do this.
    • Linda Monroe seems to find breaking Becky Barnes' spirit her favorite hobby, mocking her and calling her hopes and dreams childish garbage every time she sees her. Unfortunately for her, her final attempt to taunt Becky out of killing her is just setting her up for a Pre-Mortem One-Liner.
    • Uncle Wiley gives a tremendously cruel one to President Goodman in "Made In America".
    • Lex gives a well-intentioned if Innocently Insensitive one to Tom Houston when she confronts him at gunpoint in Act 2, with her making him realize just how much he's been in denial about his own pain and how selfish his way of dealing with it has been.
    • Lex later delivers one to the entire Apocalypse Cult after Linda dies.
  • Breaking the Fourth Wall: This was much less of a theme of this show than the previous one, but Starkid continues to enjoy the device of having characters enter through the house and walk through the aisles, with a few moments of characters taking it a step further:
    • The Sniggles openly interact with the audience and try to get them to smile and bop with them during "The Tickle-Me-Wiggly Jingle", which may hint at their supernatural nature, or just that it's an in-universe Studio Audience of kids they had while filming the commercial.
    • "Do You Want to Play?" has a bewitched Tom and Becky searching for Hannah among the aisles, with some added Black Comedy of Tom trying to startle Hannah out of the shadows by Suddenly SHOUTING! (and actually startling several audience members).
    • In the intro to "Made In America", Uncle Wiley comes in through the house casually munching the apple he was holding in his previous scene, and then, when he's about to walk onstage, hands the apple to an audience member saying, "Hold this". (And then never comes back for it.) In one show, the audience member — who was in fact Kim Whalen's father — just as casually started eating it himself.
    • MacNamara doesn't like smartphones in this show any more than in the last one, and when he sings the line "There's nothing on your phone!", he whips his gaze directly toward to the audience, as though to try to catch anyone who might surreptitiously have their phone out in defiance of the theater rules. In one performance, someone's phone actually did ring during one of MacNamara's scenes and he politely but firmly turned directly to them and said "Silence your phone, please!" while still in-character.
  • BSoD Song: "Feast or Famine" is an unusual version of this trope that is also a Crowd Song.
  • The Bus Came Back: A meta one for Starkid, where Dylan Saunders returned after a six year absence (thanks to having become an Equity member and therefore far more expensive to hire).
  • Call-Back: Many to The Guy Who Didn't Like Musicals:
    • Obviously, the fact that Emma, Paul and MacNamara are major characters.
    • One that occurs almost immediately, with Paul referencing the title by saying "Emma, you know how I feel about that musical commercial... I don't like it."
    • The melody from "Lah Dee Dah Dah Day" plays as Emma says "Okay... okay... okay... okay!" as a reference to Paul saying it in that scene in TGWDLM, although the context is completely different.
    • The Ship Tease from TGWDLM ("We're... friends." "Is there a chance of something more?") comes back with Emma refusing to "put a label" on whether Paul qualifies as her "boyfriend".
    • During "CaliforMIA", Ethan does the signature "Smoke Club" dance move from TGWDLM’s parody of a Peer Pressure Makes You Evil Aesop, with the delinquents going back and forth between a cigarette held in each hand. Hannah then copies it, much to Lex and Ethan's horror.
    • The Man In A Hurry from TGWDLM comes back, with his signature line, "I'm in a hurry!"
    • Just like Ted and Emma at the end of "Showstoppin' Number", Lex and Tom add a Breaking the Fourth Wall punchline to their dramatic exit at the end of their song, mentioning that they should move the boxes off the stage before going to confront Linda and save the world.
    • Charlotte is one of the cultists in the ending, and half the cast of TGWDLM shows up as survivors after the mall burns down. Emma mentions her "kooky, reclusive biology professor whose whole house is like a panic room" as a place for them to hole up.
    • Paul and Hannah recreate his memorable conversation with Gen. MacNamara, as he complains that the power outage means he doesn't know what time it is without his smartphone, leading to the curt rejoinder, "Wear a watch."
    • A more serious Call-Back to an earlier show, Twisted! ends with the Princess and Ja'far exchanging these lines, prefiguring the lyrics of "What If Tomorrow Comes?":
      Princess: What if tomorrow never comes?
      Ja'far: No. Tomorrow always comes. Even if it comes without us. Without me.
    • Lex calling herself "my father's hopeless seed" in "Black Friday" is one to "Not Your Seed" from The Guy Who Didn't Like Musicals.note 
  • Capitalism Is Bad: The Aesop of this show, which starts out obvious and ends up hitting like a 16-ton truck.
  • Casting Gag:
    • Like American Horror Story and other anthology shows, the Hatchetfield series casts the heroes of its first episode (Jon Matteson as Paul and Lauren Lopez as Emma) as the villains of the next (Lopez as Linda Monroe and Matteson as Gary Goldstein and Wiggly). Became extra ironic when we found out Paul and Emma are actually in the show, and Lauren Lopez even immediately reappears as Emma in a very impressive quick change after Linda's death.
    • The fact that Curt Mega and Kim Whalen are married in Real Life doesn't really come up in any way in the show, except for the fact that during "What Do You Say?", the random shopper they have say that Becky’s "not as hot as she used to be!" is played by Curt.
    • For most of the show, Angela Giarratana plays Lex Foster, The Cynic and a Deadpan Snarker who's the biggest enemy out there of Wiggly fever. Which is why it's such a fun contrast to see her as the "lead" Sniggle in "The Tickle-Me-Wiggly Jingle", winking at the audience while chirpily announcing "We're the Sniggles! Don't be scared!" and ending the commercial on a hilarious Freeze-Frame Ending of being so excited by the Tickle-Me-Wiggly toy, it looks like she's trying to eat it.
  • Cerebus Syndrome: This show establishes Hatchetfield and its people as more of a realistic setting than when it was just a generic Everytown, America in The Guy Who Didn't Like Musicals, and gets into dark topics like Domestic Abuse, Survivor's Guilt and critiques of consumer capitalism.
  • Chaos of the Bells: Used as a Leitmotif during tense moments, such as the initial Wiggly outbreak, as the bridge in the song "Wiggle", and when it is revealed that the president has accidentally begun World War III.
  • Chekhov's Gun: Linda somehow getting a burst of strength to wrestle MacNamara's gun out of Tom's hand seems like the Darkest Hour for our heroes... but, of course, she's so monomaniacally focused on getting Lex's Wiggly doll, she leaves the gun on the ground for Becky to pick up at the end of her song.
  • Children Are Innocent: It turns out that even though Wiggly is marketed to all the adults who want one as a children's toy, children themselves are immune to his powers and don't care about him at all.
  • Circling Monologue: The climax of "Feast or Famine" has almost the whole cast doing this to Frank Pricely, menacingly singing the chorus over and over as they close in on him while Frank, Defiant to the End, clutches a Wiggly doll and vainly tries Shaming the Mob.
  • Closed Circle: After the introductory scene at Tom Houston's house with Paul and Emma, it seems like the plot is going to be this — Act 1 about the Retail Riot takes place entirely on the premises of the Lakeside Mall, and in Act 2, the plot becomes about Lex and Hannah trying to escape the mall after the Wiggly cult has blocked off all the exits. However, this is averted, in a controversial addition to the script from the initial concept — a radio broadcast tells us that the Black Friday crisis is nationwide, and we jump to the Oval Office in Washington DC, and we get a whole B-plot taking place in the highest echelons of power, giving us the opportunity for an Info Dump about exactly how the Wiggly crisis came to be.
  • Coconut Superpowers: The recorded version of the show uses camera tricks for a few of these.
    • Whenever Hannah has one of her visions, the camera manually zooms in on her, with the brief blurring this causes from the autofocus reflecting the "symptoms" of her hallucinations.
    • The "dimensional warping" caused by President Goodman passing through the portal is just the camera rapidly zooming in and out.
    • MacNamara shooting the Wiggly doll out of Bob Morris' hand is a fairly simple trick, with the stage lights flashing and going dark when the gunshot goes off — represented in the YouTube recording by an animated explosion effect — letting James Tolbert drop one Wiggly doll behind the scenery while someone flings a different, ripped-open Wiggly over the balcony to show it being Blown Across the Room.
    • MacNamara's use of psychic martial arts against the Sniggles has no special effects at all and is sold entirely through acting; his "Blade of Truth" move is just karate chopping the air and somehow causing them all to scatter.
    • Lex's 11th-Hour Superpower of summoning objects from the Black and White conveniently combines this with playing the uncertainty of her powers for drama. MacNamara keeps urging her to telekinetically summon his gun to her hand from across the stage, which obviously is impossible to portray, but just when she gives up and collapses to the floor the gun "appears in her hand" (pulled out from her clothes) just in time to kill Sherman and save her life.
    • The mall burning down in the ending is shown just by superimposing an image of flames over the stage.
  • Coincidental Broadcast: After this trope was Played for Laughs in TGWDLM, it's mostly avoided here. Paul and Emma start off listening to "The Tickle-Me-Wiggly Jingle", but they point out at the time that the commercial is being blasted on the radio almost nonstop. The other expository news broadcasts take place during scene transitions and aren't being watched by any of the characters.
  • Come Out, Come Out, Wherever You Are: "Do You Want to Play?", which might be the creepiest scene in an incredibly creepy show. A Hate Plague-infected Becky serenely sings a lullaby to Hannah, trying to lure her closer and "put her to sleep," while the poor girl cowers in fear.
    Do you want to play with me?
    Lovely girl, lovely girl,
    do you want some candy?
    My lovely girl, my lovely girl...
  • Comically Missing the Point: All over the place.
    • This exchange, after Tom (seemingly) blows off his kid to get a new saw.
      Emma: Wow. Great priorities, Tom. First the tools, then the kid.
      Tom: I didn't say that.
      Emma: Well, what are you gonna do for his birthday, leave him at home and take the drill press to Six Flags?
      Tom: I don't have a drill press. And even if I did, how would it fit into the sedan?
    • Becky tries to explain why she's getting a toy for the kids at the hospital.
      Becky: There's a little girl in there, Bridget, who lost her eyesight in an accident, a horrible accident—
      Linda: Well my children were accidents! You don't see me pushing my problems onto everybody else!
    • A comical subversion, when Tom and Becky are holed up in the movie theater:
      Tom: (winces, clutching his side) How is it?
      Becky: It's not good, Tom.
      Tom: No. No, no, I was talking about the movie.
      Becky: So was I. It's real bad.
    • When Uncle Wiley is trying to flatter Linda to entice her into a Deal with the Devil:
      Uncle Wiley: All you gotta do is just... do what you do best!
      Linda: Shop.
      Uncle Wiley: Be a mother!
      Linda: Right! Right... I'm a fabulous mother.
  • Commercialized Christmas: The theme of the entire show, and in an extremely Anvilicious and over-the-top way — the commercialization of Christmas leads to the birth of TheAntichrist.
  • Contemplating Your Hands: The transition into the second half of "What If Tomorrow Comes?" where the other characters start singing along with Hannah has them do this, one by one. Word of God is the choreography intentionally excludes Paul and Emma, i.e. only the people who just left the mall are compelled to stare at their hands, kicking off some Wild Mass Guessing. (The most obvious explanation may be that their hands are stained with the guilt from having participated in some way in the Black Friday disaster.)
  • Continuity Cameo: The show immediately shows us Paul and Emma alive and as a couple, showing that this is an Alternate Universe from the previous show. The ending reveals that Charlotte, Ted, Bill, and Mr. Davidson from ''TGWDLM'’ were all among the survivors of the mall riots.
  • The Cover Changes the Gender: "What Do You Say?" is an example of this being a shift from the musical's development to the final show. The scratch track version of the song is pretty clearly written for the crowd to be mostly women, with the vocals all in the higher registers and the singers fitting the Gossipy Hens stereotype. However, thanks to the gender balance of the cast and the needs of the script, the shoppers in the scene are all men except for Linda Monroe, which means half the cast are singing in falsetto and lending the song a very strong Camp Gay vibe. Curt Mega takes this and rolls with it, having his tough blue-collar character suddenly (and gloriously) morph into a singing Perez Hilton; we get a similar reveal that James Tolbert's character in this scene actually is Camp Gay, thinking he'll take advantage of the situation ("Maybe I'll step in and save her") to hit on Tom himself, and turns Linda shooting him down ("You don't have half of a chance, bitch") into mocking him for more than one level of wishful thinking.
  • Creative Closing Credits: Every Starkid recorded show up till now has had a Rewritten Pop Version of a song from the musical play over the closing credits, as a feel-good outro from the musical — including having one of "La Dee Dah Dah Day" play after the Downer Ending of The Guy Who Didn't Like Musicals for some intentional Mood Whiplash. This time, in order not to disturb the somber mood of the Ambiguous Ending of this show, all we get is a tinny instrumental version of "The Tickle-Me-Wiggly Jingle", as though heard from an abandoned car radio, with no audible human voices, playing over the sound of softly moaning wind — the next best thing to actual Silent Credits. This is notably very different from the mood of the curtain call for the live show, where the performers took their bows to a guitar solo version of the heroic final verse of "If I Fail You".
  • Creator Cameo: Nick Lang provides the voiceover for Wiggly in the preview video; Jon Matteson plays him in the show.
  • Creepy Doll: The Tickle-Me Wiggly. It doesn't get much creepier than being an avatar of an evil god that wants to destroy humanity.
  • Crowd Song: "What Do You Say?" is an unusual example of a love song entirely from the perspective of a crowd of onlookers watching the lovers.
  • Cutting the Knot: PEIP always had Nuke 'em as their last resort for how to deal with Wiggly in the Black and White, seeing it as this trope — it's not like nuking Wiggly could hurt the situation, right? Oh yes, oh yes it could.
  • Darker and Edgier: Said to be the darkest and most serious Starkid show yet by the cast, which is really saying something considering how dark The Guy Who Didn't Like Musicals was in comparison to their past work.
  • Deal with the Devil: Uncle Wiley explicitly makes one with Linda Monroe to make her ruler of what remains of the world after she becomes Wiggly's human mother to bring him into the world. But Lex's Breaking Speech to Tom Houston reveals that all human interaction with the Wiggly dolls is this — the Wigglies make impossible, irrational promises in your mind that your life will somehow improve once you have one, after you pay the moral price of doing awful things to get it, with the most powerful such desire it can hijack the one parents have to be loved and respected by their children.
  • Death by Materialism: Openly invoked by Lex, who ends the play by setting the last Wiggly doll on fire and throwing it into the crowd, watching as the cultists' obsession with having it drives them to literally burn themselves to death.
  • Death Song: "Black Friday" expresses Lex's final thoughts as she's being strangled by Sherman... only for her to be saved at the last moment by the ghost of John MacNamara from the Black and White.
  • Decoy Protagonist: It starts with Paul and Emma from The Guy Who Didn't Like Musicals visiting her brother in law but they don't appear after this scene until the very end.
  • Demand Overload:
    • Uncle Wiley Toys deliberately engineered this by driving hype for the Tickle-Me Wiggly through the roof, then only supplying it in quantities small enough that it ran out almost immediately after each release. This is, of course, Truth in Theatre as a tactic unscrupulous marketers use all the time to build up word-of-mouth, although their long-term intentions are rarely as deliberately sinister as Uncle Wiley's.
    • The Defictionalization of the Wiggly doll as a real piece of Starkid merch happened the same way — the Wiggly dolls were made as a prop for the show and the ones sold to fans were just the extras left over from the bulk order they sent to their supplier, meaning they also ran out immediately whenever they were released for sale.
  • Did Not Think This Through: Frank Priceley makes a series of impulsive profit-maximizing decisions on Black Friday that feel like he's trying to start a Retail Riot (possibly his natural flair for the dramatic interacting with Wiggly's influence). He's still trying to assert his petty authority over his store when facing down a huge crowd of furious people who've just been told they can no longer afford the product they've been standing in line for for hours — what did he think was gonna happen?
  • Diegetic Switch:
    • An unusual example of one occurring between shows — the whole point of The Guy Who Didn't Like Musicals was that with the exception of the Opening Chorus all the songs were diegetic and caused by the musical Hive Mind. There's no indication of any such thing happening in Black Friday, which seems to use the more normal "adaptation" hypothesis out of the Musical World Hypotheses, and the consensus is the idea of the musical numbers being "real" has been dropped for this show. (Note that this show uses certain conceits TGWDLM avoided, like having "time stop" to show a song takes place inside someone's mind, or having characters mess up the choreography as a joke or to show they aren't into the song, which the musical zombies were explicitly incapable of.)
    • This trope directly comes up and is Played for Laughs during "Take Me Back", where it turns out Chris Kringle and Noël from Santa Claus is Goin' to High School were singing their own version of the song in the Show Within a Show while Tom and Becky were, and the bridge switches to Chris' wacky elf sidekicks merrily singing while Tom and Becky stare longingly at each other.
  • Disney Acid Sequence: The show does the best you can in a live-action show to create the impression of one during "Made In America". It's surprisingly successful, especially the revelation that with Wiggly's "eyes" opening in the form of two giant spotlights, the entire stage is his face.
  • Does This Remind You of Anything?: Even for an R-rated show, there's some pretty creepy sexual ideas in this show that are more alluded to than directly shown:
    • The compulsion Wiggly's brainwashed slaves have to "tickle his belly-well" is, after all, just a reference to Tickle-Me-Elmo, but it also succeeds in being just the right amount of both sexual and childish to be deeply creepy.
    • Uncle Wiley "opening Linda's heart" to "Wiggly's love" involves the lights slowly going down onstage while he physically clutches her body to his from behind and sinks down to the floor, while breathing heavily and hoarsely whispering "Do you see him? Do you see him? Do you see him?" Although we're not explicitly told anything physical happened to her... it's hard not to think about the implications, especially since his offer was specifically for her to "become Wiggly's mother", in an unsubtle reference to movies like The Omen and Rosemary's Baby.
    • Along these same lines, Linda's cult talks a lot like they're a Breeding Cult and repeatedly make references to Wiggly being "conceived", "born", and passing through a "birth canal". PEIP seems to think this involves constructing a technological portal through which he'll physically pass, but that's clearly not the only thing it could mean. (See the Wild Mass Guessing entry about how Tom and Becky may have inadvertently conceived Wiggly's new body the old-fashioned way.)
  • Domestic Abuse: The first Starkid show to have a serious content warning for a harsh depiction of Becky's abusive marriage.
  • Double-Meaning Title:
    • The idea of this show is based on the common cultural observation that despite the innocuous origin of the term "Black Friday" for the day after Thanksgiving — it's the day many businesses dependent on holiday shopping start to go "in the black" — it sounds like the name of a disaster or horror movie.
    • "Take Me Back" is literally Tom and Becky asking each other to take them back as a lover, but also refers to their desire to go back in time to their carefree lives in high school.
    • The song "Black Friday" adds another layer of meaning to Black Friday, that the day has been a day of relentless personal tragedy for Lex, driving her past the Despair Event Horizon.
  • Downer Ending: Just like its predecessor, Black Friday ends on a bleak note. The surviving protagonists successfully defeat the cult and prevent Wiggly from entering their world, reuniting and resolving their personal issues... only for World War III to break out after an American nuke destroys Moscow, ending with a Smash to Black as they look up to see what is heavily implied to be a Russian missile headed for them.
  • Do You Want to Haggle?: Ethan tries to pull this to get half price tickets to the movie theater, with predictable (lack of) results.
  • Dramatic Gun Cock: Tom racks the slide on MacNamara's pistol as part of his badass He's Back moment after taking it from Lex. (Since Lex just used the gun to shoot Sherman Young there must already be a chambered round he just ejected, unless it's jammed, but hey, let him have this.)
  • Dream Ballet: "Made In America" turns into one halfway through — the ensemble aren't actual ballet dancers, but they do a good impersonation.
  • Ear Worm: In-universe, Wiggly's jingle is noted for being damned catchy.
  • The Eleven O'Clock Number: Arguably this show has two of them, since it has two main characters — Lex's song "Black Friday" (also the Title Track for the musical) and Tom's "If I Fail You".
  • Ensemble Cast: Compared to the previous show and most of Starkid's past shows, this show has much less of a clear main character. Dylan Saunders as Tom is the only actor who isn't double cast as another member of the ensemble, but at the very least he shares protagonist status with Lex, and President Goodman and Linda Monroe get just as much stage time as she does.
  • Eldritch Abomination: Wiggly.
  • Eldritch Location:
    Somewhere in the American Midwest, at the crossroads of nightmare and imagination, there is a tiny town where the veil of reality wears thin and eldritch forces threaten to unravel the fabric of the universe...
    • Within the show we learn that the "Black and White" is some sort of Void Between the Worlds from which Wiggly and other extradimensional entities threaten our reality.
  • Establishing Character Moment:
    • Tom is rude and snarky to Paul and Emma... but is insistent that he is not coming back without a Tickle-Me Wiggly, because what his son wants, he'll get.
    • Lex ducks out for a smoke break, snarks at Tom, and reveals a very cynical outlook.
    • Frank enters quite literally singing an ode to capitalism.
    • Linda blathers on the phone to her Henpecked Husband, bribes a man for his spot in line, and is generally a rude bitch to everyone — especially Becky.
    • Becky is braving the cold and standing in line to get some toys for children in the hospital at which she works.
    • Ethan scares Lex as a joke, and complains about having to pick up her sister, but does so in a way that indicates that he clearly cares for them both.
  • Ethereal Choir: Used repeatedly in its ironic, sinister sense, including Uncle Wiley literally conducting the Sniggles as a choir during "Made In America".
  • Extremely Short Timespan: The timespan of this show is Exactly What It Says on the Tin — it takes place entirely on Black Friday, 2018, starting at 6:30 am (Michigan time) and ending Right on the Tick of midnight. As often happens with this trope, the most obviously accelerated timeframe is the Wiggly cult coming together and becoming a full-fledged Religion of Evil within a matter of hours.
  • Expy:
    • The Tickle-Me Wiggly is clearly just a version of the Tickle-Me Elmo designed to look like a plush Cthulhu.
    • Uncle Wiley is a general Satanic Archetype, but as a more human, comprehensible avatar of evil than Wiggly he's comparable to the Cthulhu Mythos' Nyarlathotep. He's also dressed similarly to Randall Flagg from The Stand and other works of Stephen King. Similarly, the "Black and White" references Twin Peaks' concept of the White and Black Lodges.
    • Wiley's strongly hinted at origin story, that he's Col. Wilbur Cross of PEIP who became Brainwashed and Crazy after being the first test subject of the portal to the Black and White, makes him an expy of Emilio Lizardo/John Whorfin from Buckaroo Banzai.
  • Flash In The Pan Fad: This show seems to be a parody of this phenomenon and its associated Trend Aesop, in this case making it extremely obvious it's being driven by Mind Manipulation.
  • Flipping the Bird: Curt Mega's character memorably starts the Retail Riot and the song "Feast or Famine" by clutching a Wiggly doll in one hand, flipping a middle finger to everyone else with another, and screaming "FUCK YOU ALL!"
  • Foreshadowing: There's a lot of it in this show, and it starts with the very first line after "The Tickle-Me Wiggly Jingle", with a corny commercial proudly proclaiming this year's Black Friday sales at the Lakeside Mall will make you "LOSE YOUR MIND".
  • Freeze-Frame Bonus:
    • Uncle Wiley's souvenir pins on his denim jacket (evoking another famous Satanic Archetype) are Starkid merch pins, including one Wiggly pin and several from The Guy Who Didn't Like Musicals.
    • Emma and Paul's paper bags in the first scene have the Beanie's logo on them, indicating that Beanie's does exist in this universe and Emma does still work there, and that the subtle joke that she went to Starbucks instead of Beanie's because she knows the Beanie's baristas spit in the coffee is intentional.
    • If you pause and get a good look at the baseball cap Ethan gives Hannah, it's a custom-made one for the show that says "Hatchetfield Nighthawks".
    • While the other phones in the show are clearly just a generic black phone case with a fake screen, if you freeze-frame Linda Monroe's interactions with her phone you can tell it's an actual iPhone 11, which in November 2018 would've been an anachronism and in Real Life (October 2019) must've been brand new. Apparently Linda is proud enough of the color scheme on her phone that she doesn't bother using a case because she can easily replace it if it's broken.
    • When people are waving around handfuls of cash to bid on a Wiggly doll and the Homeless Man offers "Three dollars!", he's actually only holding one dollar — the other two "dollar bills" are actually an old receipt and a strip of toilet paper.
    • During "Deck the Halls (Of Northville High)", Chris Kringle's jersey number on his letterman's jacket is 25, as yet another Christmas reference (December 25).
    • If you pause the video when the camera pans over the audience — most notably at the beginning of the PEIP HQ scene immediately after "Take Me Back" — you can see a random audience member attending the taped show who is cosplaying as Wiggly.
  • Freeze-Frame Ending: The play does this a couple times, when there's a Show Within a Show we're meant to be watching on a screen (with added comedy coming from the fact that we're watching it live and it's just the actors freezing). "The Tickle-Me-Wiggly Jingle" ends with Angela Giarratana's Sniggly hilariously agape staring at the Wiggly doll like she's going to eat it, and "Deck the Halls (Of Northville High)" ends with the cast of Santa Claus Is Goin' to High School locked in a classic "YEAH!" Shot that Curt Mega is ruining by being visibly Tired After The Song.
  • Funny Background Event:
    • After all the conflict over how valuable a spot at the front of the Toy Zone line is, a nameless shopper played by Robert Manion just casually slides his way into the line during "What Do You Say?" just to even out the number of singers on both sides of the stage, and even after the song ends and everything goes back to normal he's still there with no comment from anyone. He even gives an Aside Glance to the audience as he slips into place.
    • "What Do You Say?" also gives us Curt Mega's character lying on his stomach kicking his legs in the air like a kid watching TV while commenting on Tom and Becky's relationship, though this is most noticeable in the digital ticket.
    • Just before "What Do You Say?" starts, when Linda tells Becky "I hope you fucking die", you can see the Man in a Hurry nodding approvingly in the background.
    • The song also has other subtle cute character beats for the shoppers, like the Crazy Homeless Man clearly not knowing who Tom and Becky are but trying to join in with the song anyway, clearly imitating someone else's voice and actions on every one of his lines.
    • Lex is openly smoking a Cigarette of Anxiety right at the cash register during "Our Doors Are Open", which Frank seems to be too excited to notice.
    • During "Feast or Famine", Lex can be seen frantically trying to talk down Sherman from attacking Frank for his doll, and he seems to be listening (foreshadowing that they have an established relationship with each other), and then when we see them again he's shoved past Lex only to have Frank hold him At Arm's Length by the forehead.
    • If you pay attention when the cast of TGWDLM shows up during "What If Tomorrow Comes?", you'll see a new character played by Curt Mega — in a brown hoodie, unlike the blue hoodie/baseball cap combo his cultist character had — take a stuffed squirrel out of his pocket briefly and put it back so its head is sticking out. Yes, it's Peanuts the Pocket Squirrel's "proud Papa Ed".
  • Gainax Ending: On paper it seems like what happens in the Ambiguous Ending is straightforward — Hannah sings a sad song about not knowing if they'll live to see tomorrow, everyone else joins in, Smash to Black on the sound of a missile or jet flying overhead. The thing is, the exact meaning of "What If Tomorrow Comes?" is highly ambiguous — Hannah talks about seeing "memories" all around her, and says that tomorrow might come but people won't "stay" for it, and the abstract dance the ensemble does during the song is itself highly evocative — they look like puppets whose strings get cut and suddenly "wake up" and become their characters again. It's inspired a lot of Epileptic Trees, focusing on the idea that the survivors, like Emma in The Guy Who Didn't Like Musicals, as the play draws to an end are Noticing the Fourth Wall, and the ending signals some kind of "Groundhog Day" Loop.
  • The Ghost:
    • Grace Chastity from TGWDLM is once again mentioned but never appears, this time as Tom's babysitter who's out of town for Thanksgiving. It's been heavily teased that she will finally appear as one of the titular main characters of Nerdy Prudes Must Die!
    • Also applies to Gerald, Linda's Henpecked Husband she's almost continuously on the phone with and who's become Fanfic Fuel as a result.
    • To a lesser degree there's Lex and Hannah's neglectful mother and Becky's abusive husband Stanley. Word of God is that the former, at least, has Hidden Depths to her backstory that the Langs want to explore in some capacity in the future.
    • Prof. Hidgens from TGWDLM unexpectedly becomes critical to the plot and the survival of the human race at the very end of the show.
  • Good Colors, Evil Colors: Wiggly's paranormal influence is represented as a Sickly Green Glow, while the more mundane, human evil represented by Uncle Wiley, Linda Monroe and the rioting shoppers is a dim red Infernal Background. The positive forces of human rationality associated with General MacNamara and PEIP are associated with blue lighting and/or saturated, natural white light. MacNamara even describes leaving Earth behind for Wiggly's dimension as going "out of the blue, into the black". And yes, in keeping with the Twisted Christmas theme, this means that the "evil" colors in this musical are Christmas colors. (Note that this is a direct contrast with The Guy Who Didn't Like Musicals, where the alien mind virus' presence was marked by blue light and "blue shit".)
  • Gut Punch:
    • Early on, Linda cruelly mocking Becky about her past in an abusive marriage, which is definitely not Played for Laughs, and warns us that things can and will get serious.
    • The violent, senseless death of Ethan, which is played 100% seriously, is what officially lets the audience know that we are definitely not in normal Starkid territory anymore, and yes, Anyone Can Die.
  • Hate Plague: Whereas the previous Hatchetfield story was about a Hive Mind Getting Smilies Painted on Your Soul, this is the reverse. The musical Hive Mind wanted to unite the whole human race into one peaceful entity; Wiggly giggles at the idea of watching the Earth reduced to a cinder.
  • He's Dead, Jim: A very Played Straight version of this trope. Becky looks at Ethan's motionless body, reaches out to take his pulse and gasps, "He's dead!" Which implies, Becky being a trained nurse, that just by looking she can tell his injuries are far too bad for resuscitation to be in question. It's a one-two Gut Punch that lets Tom and Becky — and us — know the stakes have been raised, the rioters will not stop even at murder, and Anyone Can Die.
  • Holiday Episode: This show is named after Black Friday, the day after Thanksgiving and the biggest shopping holiday of the year in the United States. One of its performance dates was actually scheduled for Black Friday (though cast illness made it the first ever canceled StarKid performance), but opening night was Halloween (a more traditional date for a horror show).
  • Horror Comedy: Starkid seems to be carving this out as their new niche, as part of migrating away from the pop culture parody-based humor they were once known for. This show, in particular, falls a lot more on the horror side of the equation, with heavy subjects like domestic violence and child abuse front and center.
  • Hotter and Sexier: Zig-zagged. A lot less overt Fanservice in the costumes than previous shows, including The Guy Who Didn't Like Musicals putting Emma and her coworkers in short-shorts, but there's a lot more playing around with Double Entendre fetish moments (like anything to do with Linda's dominatrix-like demeanor) and unlike the past show which teased and never paid off a Big Damn Kiss, this one has two that lead directly into (PG-13) Coitus Ensues.
  • Humans Are Bastards: Linda always believed this, which is why Uncle Wiley chooses her to lead Wiggly's cult — it's the whole point Wiley is trying to prove, and it's the worldview of which Wiggly is the embodiment and on which he feeds. The Ambiguous Ending of the show seems to rest on the big hanging question of whether it's really true or whether there's hope humans could somehow change.
  • Human Sacrifice: Wiggly's cult, naturally, decides to start doing this with all unbelievers almost immediately after it starts.
  • Hypocritical Humor:
    • Immediately after Becky tries to start an uprising over Linda bribing her way to the front of the line at Toy Zone, Tom appears, and she's so flustered by their reunion — as shown in "What Do You Say?" — that she just lets him into the line without comment from her or anyone else. Even better, the commotion during "What Do You Say?" has everyone so excited that Robert Manion's character also slips into the line in front of her without anyone seeming to notice.
    • A few minutes after Linda shows up in a car and bribes her way to the front of the line, she flips out at Sherman Young — exactly one spot ahead of her, because he's been camping out for a whole week — trying to buy out all of Frank's stock of Wigglies. "Some of us have been waiting in line forever!"
    • Right after Gary Goldstein uses blustering legal threats on Linda Monroe's behalf to stop Frank Pricely from letting Sherman Young buy up all the dolls, he immediately comes back because Sherman is also one of his clients and threatens to sue Frank for going back on his word.
  • Improvised Weapon: In Act 2, it's revealed the Wiggly cult's Weapon of Choice — both for combat and for Human Sacrifice — are the box cutters Lex and the other Toy Zone employees used that morning to unpack the Wigglies. An extra layer of Irony with Wiggly describing his desire to kill all humans as "I can't wait to unwrap all my presents".
  • Incorrect Animal Noise: When MacNamara visits for the last time, as he fades from view, we hear the cry of a bald eagle... portrayed by a recording of a red-tailed hawk.
  • Incredibly Lame Pun: In a show that tones down the goofy humor somewhat from past shows, we still get a moment when Gary Goldstein, attorney-at-law, gets socked in the crotch by Linda Monroe and goes down shrieking "MY SUBPOENA!"
    Gen. MacNamara: My name is General John MacNamara of the United States military, Special Unit P-E-I-P. We call it PEIP.
    President Goodman: "PEIP"? I've never heard of you guys.
    MacNamara: Well, we're a fairly small team. Just me, and a few of my peeps. (beat) That was a joke, sir.
  • Indecisive Parody: Although the premise of this show seems to intentionally be poking fun at Lovecraftian horror and Apocalypse Cults by associating them with a Retail Riot, toward the end it starts taking the concept deadly seriously, and even provides a serious justification for why an evil god who wanted to bring out the worst in human nature would choose consumer culture surrounding a children's toy as its preferred method.
  • Insane Troll Logic: The idea that because there's no obvious other way to stop Wiggly, the best course of action is to send the President of the United States to another dimension to personally negotiate with the evil entity strains credulity, and is openly lampshaded with Goodman's reaction to the plan. (And when the plan is tried, it immediately goes wrong in the most predictable way.) Then again, Wiggly is literally an insane troll, and presumably PEIP knows more than we do about what kind of overtures he will and won't accept.
  • Insecure Protagonist, Arrogant Antagonist: Two of the main protagonists are Becky and Tom, both of whom wrestle with trauma and self-loathing (she because of her abusive ex-husband, he because of his experiences as a veteran and the car crash that killed his wife). The primary (human) antagonist is Linda Monroe, a narcissistic sociopath to the nth degree, who quite literally believes herself to be inherently superior to everyone. Becky and Tom both wish to be loved, but she aims to be adored.
  • Insistent Terminology:
    • Wiggly and those who serve him insist on using his Baby Talk for certain terms, like consistently saying "fwend" for "friend".
    • Tom doesn’t have flashbacks, he just “remembers bad things vividly.”
    • Linda dislikes the word "cult", she prefers to call it a "new and exciting religion that I started".
  • Instant Sedation: Evil!Becky's syringe of sedative starts knocking her out immediately when she stabs herself with it, although it isn't quite the instant, easy unconsciousness this trope usually entails.
  • Irrelevant Act Opener: We get a glorious one with Act 2 of this show starting with "Deck the Halls (Of Northville High)", which is such a strange Big-Lipped Alligator Moment it almost feels like we've wandered into the wrong theater after intermission, until it's revealed we're actually watching a Show Within a Show.
  • "I Want" Song: After TGWDLM famously refused to give us a straight "I Want" Song (which is what the song "What Do You Want, Paul?" was about), this show, which revolves around human desire gone wrong, gives us three:
    • "What Tim Wants," where Tom sings about needing to connect to his son following Jane's death. (Note that Tom claims to be singing about what Tim wants when the song is clearly about what he wants.)
    • Lex and Ethan's more upbeat "CaliforM.I.A" about how the couple plans to take Hannah and start new lives in California.
    • Linda Monroe gets a Villain Song version of this with "Adore Me".
  • Kill 'Em All: In addition to the huge causalities of the riots, the ending implies this fate awaits the whole world. We don't know for sure, but the start of WWIII seems inevitable, and the last thing we hear might be a nuclear bomb being dropped—which will surely kill all the survivors.
  • Leitmotif:
    • The most prominent use of leitmotif in this show is a piano version of the hook from The Guy Who Didn't Like Musicals' "America Is Great Again" as the theme for Gen. MacNamara. Counts as a Triumphant Reprise from the last show, where MacNamara was assimilated and it was a Villain Song. It gets turned into a jazzy version when Tom takes MacNamara's gun and becomes the new all-American hero. The melody of "Monsters and Men" is also obviously associated with MacNamara, and plays in more contemplative, less heroic moments. Notably, "Monsters and Men" plays while he's reflecting on the history of the portal and the loss of his mentor Wilbur Cross, then transitions into "America Is Great Again" when he puts the story behind him and segues back into a pep talk for the President.
    • There's also the "creepy theme" that plays as an overture before the show — included on the soundtrack as "Prologue" — which appears in the show as the tune of "Do You Want to Play?" and the first half of "What If Tomorrow Comes?", and ends up being a leitmotif for Hannah's visions.
    • The "evil theme" that consistently plays under Linda's Evil Gloating qualifies, acting as a leitmotif for Linda, Uncle Wiley, the cultists, and overall for the human villains and the vice of Greed. It turns into a meandering bass riff that plays under Uncle Wiley's Deal with the Devil speech to her (with a Call-Forward to "Adore Me" where he idly sings "Why should you give, when you can get"). It's eventually in its short form sung by the chorus in "Adore Me" ("Why should you give when you can get?/Never forgive or forget") and in a more complex form by Uncle Wiley as the verse of "Made In America" ("You thought you could outsmart the very thing that runs the blood of your kind"), where it comes off as a Triumphant Reprise.
    • Linda also has a second leitmotif, her "comic" theme that plays as goofy background music under her Funny Moments on the phone with Gerald, though this becomes less prominent over time.
    • Wiggly himself has a clear leitmotif, a seven-note theme similar to but clearly distinct from the "Aliens invading minds" leitmotif for the Hive Mind from The Guy Who Didn't Like Musicals. It plays whenever a Wiggly doll "speaks" telepathically to someone, is prominently featured in "Made in America" as the theme the Sniggles sing behind Uncle Wiley in the chorus, and finally becomes a sung verse in "Wiggle" ("We will build a portal just for him"). The original "Aliens invading minds" motif from "Not Your Seed" does also appear twice, once as a guitar riff in the climax of "Made In America" and again as a soft piano piece after President Goodman returns to Earth.
    • The "Carol of the Bells" shows up as it often does as a Twisted Christmas leitmotif, in particular being heard in reference to the idea that the Christmas after this Black Friday will be the end of the world. It plays over the initial outbreak of Wiggly madness in the Oval Office itself, returns with the revelation that President Goodman has started World War III and is sung as the bridge in "Wiggle" ("When Wiggly comes, when Wiggly comes...")
    • The second half of "What If Tomorrow Comes?" gets a few Call Forwards as a theme expressing hope for Hannah's future. Notably it has a Call-Forward playing softly during the verse of "Black Friday" where Lex reveals how important Hannah is to her. It's also the theme of the PEIP HQ that plays while President Goodman is getting his briefing from Xander Lee.
    • The melody of "CaliforMIA" gets a Lonely Piano Piece reprise as Ethan's leitmotif, playing in quiet moments when he speaks to Hannah and when he dies. It then gets a Dark Reprise when a dissonant, halting version of it plays over the Hannah's vision of Ethan's evil Doppelgänger.
    • Ethan also has his own leitmotif, consisting of a few simple chords that play when he talks to Hannah about the magic hat (before "CaliforMIA" is introduced) and leading into the "CaliforMIA" leitmotif when he talks to her again in his next scene. Jeff Blim revealed this is taken from a song written for Ethan that was cut from the show for time.
    • The melody of "Take Me Back" gets a few Call Forwards whenever there's a Ship Tease between Tom and Becky, including teasing us with the beginning of the song when they first see each other before the onlookers interrupt it and begin the song "What Do You Say?"
    • When the mall security guard shows up to throw Ethan out of the movie theater, the bassline from "Show Me Your Hands" from The Guy Who Didn't Like Musicals plays.
  • Let's You and Him Fight: Wiggly anticipated PEIP would react to his Black Friday plan by trying to fight him on his own turf, and this was his contingency — making sure the other nuclear superpower also had a portal, so that any weapon PEIP sent through would just be redirected to Moscow, triggering World War III.
  • Littlest Cancer Patient: Becky tells a story about one (a little girl who was blinded in an accident) to give her a more sympathetic motivation for wanting a Wiggly than everyone else, which serves to tee up Linda's Crossing the Line Twice hilarious dismissal of it. Of course, it turns out that just like everyone else, she never asked poor blind Bridget if she actually wanted a Wiggly doll, and if she had the answer would've been no. Doubly so if she were able to see it.
  • Loads and Loads of Characters: Even for a Starkid show, the Character Sheet for this one is packed.
  • Lovecraft Lite: Wiggly is an expy of Cthulhu and is far too powerful to directly confront or destroy... but Gen. MacNamara's psychic discipline allows him to survive in the Black and White and do battle with him on his home turf, and this leads to Tom and Becky successfully fighting off his influence and foiling his plans to be born in our world.
  • Lyrical Dissonance: "Tickle-Me-Wiggly Jingle" is mostly a peppy, cheery, annoyingly catchy and cutesy toy commercial, which allows some very suspicious (and important) lyrics to skate by on the first listen. (Lots of talk about Wiggly taking over, and how he's everything the viewer needs... and, sorry, Wiley, what was that you said about him sleeping the dreamless sleep of the dead?)
  • MacGuffin: As with other Retail Riot satires the Tickle-Me-Wiggly is a parody of this trope — all the major characters want one but only because they think other people want it, and "it's cute".
  • Made of Incendium: The Wiggly dolls apparently aren't actually child safe, considering that when Lex lights the last one on fire and tosses it, it goes up like a Molotov cocktail and ends up taking the whole mall with it.
  • Maybe Magic, Maybe Mundane: The "magic" baseball cap Ethan gives to Hannah with a made-up story about "the power of Grayskull" turning it into a protective talisman may be one, especially since the whole nature of the plot implies this is a setting where Your Mind Makes It Real. As fans have noted, shortly after Ethan gives it away, he dies in the riot while Hannah escapes, and while she's wearing it Becky somehow misses her with her syringe of morphine and stabs herself with it instead, even though Becky's an experienced nurse. Then, when Charlotte takes it from her and mockingly puts it on, we see in the ending that Charlotte is one of the few members of the Wiggly cult to break free of his control and escape with her life from the fire. Word of God has refused to confirm or deny this, although Nick Lang has mentioned that we may see the baseball cap come up again in some way in a future show.
  • Meaningful Background Event:
    • An Aw, Look! They Really Do Love Each Other Heartwarming Moment for the previous show — when the cast of The Guy Who Didn't Like Musicals reappears at the end of Black Friday, you can see Ted tenderly embracing Charlotte as they wait together to see if the world is going to end.
    • A subtler but just as significant moment occurs between Paul and Ted — Paul turns and reacts with surprise to Ted's presence, and Ted averts his gaze and touches Paul's chest briefly, as though to acknowledge he's The Friend Nobody Likes but that this doesn't seem to matter anymore with the apocalypse at hand.
  • Mind Manipulation: Wiggly's mental manipulation of the population turns out to run pretty deep — not only does it drive people mad out of their desire to have one, it creates delusional justifications for this desire that are simply false. The biggest one is that all the parents in the country, including Tom Houston, are absolutely convinced their kids want one, when children themselves are immune to Wiggly's power and don't care about the dolls. May be a Take That! to the adult-driven nature of these fads in Real Life.
  • Mind Screw: The final musical number has the main cast of The Guy Who Didn't Like Musicals (and Paul's boss) come out on stage to join in. The main cast barely acknowledges them, even as they all gather together to watch the nuke.
  • Mood Whiplash: This musical has some major whiplash, even for a Starkid musical, with the goofy humor segueing rapidly and jarringly into dark social commentary, brutal violence and cosmic horror. Especially notable is the transition from "Deck the Halls (of Northville High)", classic wacky Starkid humor, to Tom and Becky's dialogue about Survivor's Guilt and Domestic Abuse leading into the straight romance of "Take Me Back", to these two same sympathetic characters suddenly and horrifically turning into cartoon villains under Wiggly's influence in "Do You Want to Play?"
  • Musicalis Interruptus: The ending of "What If Tomorrow Comes?", where the cast stands silently watching the sky, and Hannah sings one last "What if tomorrow—", which is interrupted by the sound of something streaking through the sky toward them and then a Smash to Black that ends both the song and the play.
  • New Media Are Evil: Downplayed but present. MacNamara's distaste for smartphones is still present, and two of the most unsympathetic characters, Linda Monroe and the Man In A Hurry, are defined by always being on their phones. "Made In America" namedrops the tech industry ("A valley of silicon") as one of the forces destroying the nation.
  • No Such Agency: The PEIP unit from The Guy Who Didn't Like Musicals appears again in this show, this time shown in much greater detail and giving a much better accounting of themselves than their humiliating defeat in TGWDLM. (Note that PEIP stands for "Paranormal, Extraterrestrial, and Interdimensional Phenomena". The Hive Mind in The Guy Who Didn't Like Musicals was extraterrestrial, and Wiggly seems to be interdimensional.) Note that they're so much of a No Such Agency that it's established the Commander-in-Chief is completely unaware of their existence.
  • Oh, Crap!:
    • Tom's reaction to actually seeing the Black Friday line in front of the mall for the first time is a flat "Oh shit."
    • We don't hear what exactly his dispatcher tells him about what's going on at Toy Zone when the riots start, but the security guard's "Oh, shit" says it all.
  • The Oner: "What If Tomorrow Comes" is shot as a three-minute long take with a "floating camera" capturing the most important solo lines and character interactions. This is, notably, a pickup filmed after the live show closed with no audience, giving us the surreal feeling of the heretofore ubiquitous audience reactions completely vanishing as the show comes to a close. (One reason for this might be that in every recording of an actual live performance, there's a loud and distracting reaction when the returning TGWDLM characters come onstage.)
  • Only One Name: Fully averted, for the first time in a Starkid show that wasn't a pop culture parody where the characters had existing names in canon. The Guy Who Didn't Like Musicals (and Me and My Dick before it) only gave full names to their main characters, Paul Matthews and Emma Perkins (and Joey Richter). This time, every character was announced with their full name, indicating a more fleshed-out world with more of an ensemble cast.
  • Opening Chorus: "The Tickle-Me-Wiggly Jingle", an in-universe TV commercial for the Tickle-Me-Wiggly doll starring Uncle Wiley and his "Sniggly" minions.
  • Out of Focus: Jaime Lyn Beatty and Corey Dorris both got hit with this in this show. Jaime — who couldn't commit as much time to rehearsal due to her wedding in 2019 and her work on her one-woman show — doesn't have any solos this time, only singing and dancing in ensemble numbers, and the main character she plays, Sherman Young, is mostly comic relief. Corey is the reverse — he plays a character key to the plot, Frank Pricely the owner of Toy Zone, who has a very memorable song he sings lead on, "Our Doors Are Open", but doesn't have any ensemble parts until the very end of the show with the whole cast coming together on "What If Tomorrow Comes?", where he plays Bill, playing the only non-dancing-and-singing character in "Deck the Halls (Of Northville High)", Principal Humbugger, and never showing up as one of the Sniggles. (May be some Fridge Brilliance here with Linda's line to Frank, "I've met God. He had nothing nice to say about you" — Frank never hears Wiggly's voice at any point and all the actors who play Sniggles play characters who did, take that for what you will.)
  • Parents as People: One of the major themes of the play, in fact. The parents desperate for a Wiggly doll, like Tom, think they're just doing their duty to make their children happy, and are in denial about how Wiggly's voice has wormed inside their heads via their own personal insecurities they refuse to admit they have.
  • Parody Commercial: "The Tickle-Me-Wiggly Jingle" is one. The YouTube release even puts a marker for an actual ad break immediately after the song ends just to make it more convincing.
  • Point of Divergence: After many, many questions were asked about the show's ambiguous timeline, Nick Lang finally clarified that Black Friday also takes place in 2018, shortly after when The Guy Who Didn't Like Musicals would have taken place, and as far as we know the two timelines are identical except that the meteor from TGWDLM never landed.
  • Pre-Mortem One-Liner:
    Frank Pricely: Please, for the love of God—
    Linda Monroe: I've met God, and he had nothing nice to say about you. (slits his throat)

    Linda Monroe, held at gunpoint by Becky: Becky Barnes, you pathetic worm! You think you can stop the birth of a god? You couldn't even stand up to your disgusting husband! Look at you -- you're paralyzed with fear!
    Becky Barnes: No. I'm just lining up my shot. (fires)


    Lex Foster, (holding the last Wiggly doll and a lighter): You have two choices. Abandon your god, or burn here with him. (tosses the burning Wiggly into the crowd, who begin to fight for it even as they burn to death)
  • Public Domain Soundtrack: Christmas carols play a major role in the show, with "Silent Night" playing over the opening scene, Frank Pricely singing an ironic parody of "Hark the Herald Angels Sing" about Black Friday, a bass solo playing the tune of "Deck the Halls" during "Our Doors Are Open", and "The Carol of the Bells" becoming a dark Leitmotif for the upcoming apocalypse. "Deck the Halls (of Northville High)" is a song made of rapid-fire lyrical references to various Christmas songs.
  • The Radio Dies First: The first thing Wiggly does when President Goodman enters his dimension is to successfully jam his radio comms with MacNamara, leaving him ignorant and defenseless when Wiley and the Sniggles ambush him.
  • Radio Voice: Used for the expository interstitial radio broadcasts. Notable because we also hear the instrumental version of "The Tickle-Me-Wiggly Jingle" over the Closing Credits the same way, as if to imply it's an old recording and it's unclear if there's anyone currently alive on Earth anymore.
  • Ragtag Bunch of Misfits: It takes the whole length of the show for them to come together, but the song "What If Tomorrow Comes?" shows that the survivors of the Black Friday riots have become one, with Tom, Becky, Lex, and Hannah meeting up with the whole cast of The Guy Who Didn't Like Musicals and a few other stragglers in the parking lot of the burning mall. With the beginning of World War III seeming inevitable, but Emma having reminded us that Prof. Hidgens' bunker still exists in this timeline and is the one place anyone from Hatchetfield might survive, the big question hanging over the end of the show is how many, if any, of these people made it there in the end or if the missile we hear in the final seconds was aimed at them.
  • Reality Ensues: The Darker and Edgier nature of the play has quite a few moments where things fail to work out for characters due to this trope:
    • Ethan talks a big game about being a tough guy and protecting Hannah, but the average 18-year-old kid really doesn't have the training or experience to survive a real fight against multiple opponents willing to kill. And he doesn't.
    • Similarly, Becky may be a trained nurse, and she may have overcome and killed her abusive husband in one heroic moment of determination, but she's still not a trained combatant, and injecting someone who's actively resisting you by stabbing them with a needle is not actually that easy, which might be enough explanation for her failing to capture Hannah without needing to invoke Hannah's Maybe Magic, Maybe Mundane protective hat or the possibility of the real Becky Fighting from the Inside.
    • Tom is, unlike Ethan, a US Marine and tough enough to fight off any random civilian rioters he runs into... until one of them pulls a knife on him unexpectedly. Never Bring a Knife to a Fist Fight is, unfortunately for him, not a trope in play in this show.
    • The biggest and worst one is, of course, the one that ends the show — General MacNamara gives one hell of a You Are Better Than You Think You Are speech to President Goodman in the form of "Monsters and Men", imploring him to live up to the symbolism of his office and become the hero the human race needs in this moment. But the truth is he's not, he's just a regular politician and thoroughly ordinary man who was completely unprepared for this crisis, and Wiggly allowed a meeting with the President of the United States precisely because he knows this.
  • Reckless Gun Usage: Lex is running around with her finger on the trigger the way people who learned everything they know about guns from movies do — and Tom says "You're holding that wrong!" and takes it from her to hold it properly — thumb forward, finger along the trigger guard — in his big He's Back moment.
  • Retail Riot: The whole premise of the show, although one caused by supernatural manipulation.
  • Retraux: Including some throwback pop culture is a Jeff Blim Creator Thumbprint, which he throws in here with Ethan Green as a '50s greaser, and "Our Doors Are Open" as a Doo-wop song styled after "Beauty School Dropout" from Grease.
  • Rich Language, Poor Language: Linda Monroe speaks in an exaggerated mid-Atlantic accent, pronouncing "Cinnabon" as "SEEN-ee-bon" and emphasizing the "h" in "why" and the like, befitting her status as a Rich Bitch. All the other characters speak in a "standard" Midwestern accent, save for Wiley's genteel Southern drawl and Gary's New Yawk accent.
  • Riddle for the Ages: What do our characters see and hear in the sky at the end of the show? Is it a bomb? The asteroid from the previous show? Something else entirely?
  • Ripped from the Headlines: The general concept of mayhem on Black Friday could be ripped from any number of headlines, but this particular situation is a reference to the Tickle-Me Elmo craze of 1996.
  • Santabomination: Wiggly's tentacles are made of green tinsel and his invasion of Earth entails sending toys during Christmas shopping season.
  • Sealed Evil in a Teddy Bear: Wiggly is literally this.
  • Shout-Out:
    • Frank lovingly referring to the Wiggly fad as "our own little Miracle on 34th Street".
    • Hannah being the first one to mention "California" could reference The Wizard, where an autistic child's repeated desire to go there drives the plot.
    • Becky working at St. Damien's hospital.
    • The scene with Ethan's Evil Doppelgänger comes off as a tribute to the "They all float down here" scene from IT.
    • Lex explaining no children actually want a Wiggly doll by pointing out they do like Fortnite.
    • The President's reaction to PEIP's plan to avert the apocalypse: "You're going to send me into the fucking Twilight Zone to have a sit-down with the Devil?!"
    • When Ethan gives his baseball cap to Hannah as a protective Magic Feather, he claims it's blessed by "the power of Grayskull".
    • Having a President played by Curt Mega scream "WE BEAT THE NAZIS" may be one to Spies Are Forever.
    • Another horror/thriller franchise gets a shout-out in "Do You Want to Play?" — "Let's play some games/Let's play some games today/Funny Games, some funny games..."
    • The line from "Feast or Famine" where the crazed rioters dehumanize Lex and Frank by barking the orders "It puts the toy into the plastic/It bags it up with gift receipt" is, of course, referencing The Silence of the Lambs.
    • Another reference to Thomas Harris' Hannibal-verse is Wiley's Madness Mantra when "converting" Linda, "Do you see him? Do you see him? Do you see him?", which is a reference to the scene in Red Dragon with Dolarhyde torturing Freddy Lounds and repeating "Do you see?", as well as the well-known parody of that scene in the South Park episode "Cartman's Incredible Gift".
    • "Feast or Famine" includes a Call-Back to "Join Us and Die" from The Guy Who Didn't Like Musicals that may be a reference to the children's toy Bop It!, "Take it! Slap it! Mine it! Love it!"
    • The Oval Office scene may be a reference to Dr. Strangelove and the famous "Gentlemen, you can't fight in here, this is the War Room!" scene. Jon Matteson's Secretary of Defense character, in particular, is a parody of George C. Scott as Gen. Buck Turgidson, and President Goodman's personality seems to be loosely based on President Muffley.
    • Matt Lang (Nick Lang's brother and writing partner) has said his favorite horror movie is Misery, and a few of the instances of Angrish in Black Friday seem like references to Annie Wilkes:
      • President Goodman using "cock-a-doodle" as a Gosh Dang It to Heck! fake swear word the way Annie does, with the Hypocritical Humor that he says it after saying "cocksucking" and "motherfucking".
      • Sherman turning on Lex screaming "YOU MURDERED THE PONIES" is very reminiscent of Annie's "YOU MURDERED MY MISERY".
  • Shown Their Work: The sales tax in the state of Michigan, where Hatchetfield is located, is six percent, so Sherman's estimate that the price of 850 dolls at $49.95 apiece is about $45k is accurate (it would be $42,457.50 without tax). That said, the number he quotes, $49,999.00, is shorting Frank by $5.95, but Frank may be willing to let that slide as a "bulk discount".
    • The "factoid" that Frank drops during "Our Doors Are Open", that the average Black Friday shopper spends about $400, is indeed a statistic passed around a lot in the press when covering Black Friday.
    • St. Damien's Hospital may be an obvious reference to The Antichrist from The Omen but it's also a reasonable name for a hospital in Real Life, since the real St. Damien was the patron saint of lepers.
  • Show Within a Show: The cheesy Christmas movie musical Santa Claus Is Going To High School, which is currently the main film playing at the cinema in the Lakeside Mall. We only directly get a glimpse of it via the song "Deck The Halls (of Northville High)", and it appears to be some unholy hybrid between the High School Musical franchise and Miracle on 34th Street. Following on the massive Memetic Mutation of the Workin' Boys gag from The Guy Who Didn't Like Musicals, including a show-stealing number from an intentionally bizarre and terrible show within a show seems to have become a Hatchetfield series tradition.
  • Social Darwinism: What looks at first like a simple Slobs vs. Snobs theme becomes a full-on Social Darwinism plot — the Wiggly cult coalesces around Linda's insane belief that her wealth and privilege actually makes her a fundamentally better person than the people around her, and the cult is portrayed as a kind of logical endpoint of the "kill or be killed" mindset behind the Black Friday riots. "Feast or Famine" is basically the Social Darwinist philosophy in song.
  • The Song Before the Storm: "Wiggle", a song by Linda's cult proclaiming that Wiggly's rebirth is imminent.
  • Soviet Superscience: The Russians also built a portal to the Black and White.
  • Spiking the Camera: A behind-the-scenes feature about Black Friday shows director Nick Lang telling the cast that, with a handheld camera following them around for close-up shots for the first time, it was very important never to do this, which of course meant fans began scouring the YouTube recording for moments where this rule is broken:
    • Uncle Wiley and the Sniggles do this constantly during "The Tickle-Me Wiggly Jingle", but this is obviously intentional since it's an in-universe commercial.
    • The same is probably true of Jingle and Jangle doing it in the bridge of "Take Me Back", indicating that they're the Fourth Wall Observers of the movie Santa Claus Is Goin' to High School, or that the movie is just badly made.
    • MacNamara doing this when singing "There is nothing on your phone!" during "Monsters and Men" is a joke about the meta nature of MacNamara's dislike of smartphones while being a character in a live show in a theater.
    • The big one fans talk about is Hannah clearly doing this intentionally while singing "What If Tomorrow Comes?", kicking off Wild Mass Guessing about the meaning of the Gainax Ending and the idea that, like the ending of The Guy Who Didn't Like Musicals, it involves the characters Noticing the Fourth Wall.
  • Squee!: The not-that-subtle digs at fandom culture include the rioters openly squeeing during "Feast or Famine". ("Squee, squee!/Its belly's so squishy!") Curt Mega can also be heard emitting a high-pitched squee after Becky says "I missed you" to Tom in "What Do You Say?"
  • A Storm Is Coming: There's no physical storm this time, but the thunderstorm sound effects and animations from The Guy Who Didn't Like Musicals get recycled quite a bit in the YouTube version of the show.
  • Stylistic Suck:
    • We get a few moments of Lex awkwardly participating in the choreography in "Our Doors Are Open", and we get the treat of Sherman's screeching, off-key voice in "What Do You Say?" (Very much Irony as She Is Cast with him being played by Jaime Lyn Beatty.)
    • The idea of Santa Claus is Goin' to High School is intentionally ridiculous and barely makes any sense, but the actual song "Deck the Halls (Of Northville High)" is insanely catchy and the choreography impressive as hell, which kind of belies Becky and Tom heckling the movie as worthless. It seems like this is following directly in the tradition of "Showstoppin' Number" and Workin' Boys as a Show Within a Show that's deliberately as crappy as possible in every way except for the shockingly good music and dancing — which itself seems like some humorous Self-Deprecation on Team Starkid's part about the shows that initially made them famous. (Santa Claus Is Goin' to High School honestly isn't that different from A Very Potter Musical or Me and My Dick.)
  • Take That!:
    • Paul names several other Flash In The Pan Fads when criticizing the Tickle-Me-Wigglies: Cabbage Patch Kids, Tamagotchi, and Beanie Babies.
    • The basic premise of the show is one for Black Friday "doorbuster" sales.
    • The character of Sherman Young is specifically one for bronies.
    • The show goes on to specifically call out American capitalism for the country's lack of universal healthcare or a social safety net, and call out President Goodman being a "status quo Democrat" for allowing it to be this way.
  • Tenor Boy: Dylan Saunders has the most powerful tenor singing voice among Starkid's roster, but the character he plays this time is nonetheless an even harsher aversion of this stereotype than Ja'far was, being an older, disheveled, Shell-Shocked Veteran and Broken Bird. Especially notable because, in contrast, Robert Manion as the lead of the imaginary Show Within a Show Santa Claus Is Goin' to High School plays this stereotype completely straight.
  • There Are No Therapists:
    • The possibility of seeking therapy or psychiatric help is never mentioned — even though many characters could obviously use it — although by the ending Tom makes it pretty clear he knows he should have gone to get help long ago but has been resisting admitting he has a problem.
    • Uncle Wiley does mention that Linda has a therapist and a life coach, but they can't do much to help her since the I Just Want to Be Loved facade she presents to them is "bullshit".
  • Tick Tock Tune: The ominous ticking of a clock shows up in "Prologue", and comes back as Book-Ends as a major theme in "What If Tomorrow Comes?", with the show ending with the clock ticking down to midnight. There's a Bait-and-Switch where Act 2 begins like Act 1 with a clock ticking, but this turns out to be a bunch of students waiting for the school bell to ring as a lead-in to the peppy Irrelevant Act Opener "Deck the Halls (Of Northville High)", in what's almost certainly a reference to "What Time Is It?" from High School Musical 2.
  • Triumphant Reprise: The only straight reprise in this musical is "Monsters and Men (Reprise)", which is triumphant in the sense that MacNamara's You Are Better Than You Think You Are speech to Lex succeeds where President Goodman ended up failing. Also a meta example, in that this song is based on "Red-Blooded Americans", the ironic Villain Song originally written for MacNamara in The Guy Who Didn't Like Musicals, but this song is unambiguously heroic.
  • Tuckerization: "Northville" is the name of a real city in Michigan (17 miles northeast of Ann Arbor, where the founding members of Team Starkid went to school), which does in fact have a high school named "Northville High". ("South Heights" is also a real town in Pennsylvania, but a much smaller and more obscure community and probably not an intentional reference.)
  • Twisted Christmas: Christmas Day itself is still about a month away, but Black Friday is the beginning of the Christmas shopping season and the show is filled with Christmas carols, decorations, Santa Claus hats, etc. The ironic juxtaposition with violent mayhem gets more serious when we learn Wiggly intentionally planned his rebirth for Christmas Day because he is, essentially, The Antichrist.
  • Two Lines, No Waiting: There's a noticeable split in the narrative between the scenes at the Lakeside Mall in Hatchetfield and the ones taking place in Washington DC with the President, with the two storylines only merging when MacNamara appears to Lex at the climax. Combined with the fact that the Hatchetfield scenes split the protagonist role between Lex and Tom, and you get the complaint (see They Wasted a Perfectly Good Character on YMMV) that Lex, Hannah and Ethan weren't developed nearly as much as they could be.
  • Uncle Sam Wants You: "Monsters and Men" is referencing this trope, the message of the song being more or less a "Be all that you can be" recruiting ad, complete with MacNamara Giving the Pointer Finger directly to the audience, with his hairstyle and beard, at least, making him a dead ringer for good old U.S. The Irony here is that the person he's trying to recruit is already the President of the United States.
  • Unusual Euphemism: Apparently at Hatchetfield High, shoving someone into their locker and then farting into it is known as an "Easy-Bake Oven". (This is a "child version" of the slang term "Dutch oven" for farting under the covers while in bed with someone.)
  • V-Formation Team Shot: "Monsters and Men" ends with one, with the whole cast singing together in defiance of Wiggly, even characters who are on Wiggly's side in the actual rest of the show.
  • Vagueness Is Coming:
    • Hannah's prophecies all turn out to be meaningful in hindsight but are ignored as insane babbling by everyone around her at the time. But, to be fair, they're just disjointed phrases ("Bad blood! Cross! Black and white!", "Don't do it! Two doors, not one!") no one could be expected to understand.
    • MacNamara's ghost pulls off a minor Prophecy Twist this way, telling Lex she must "Awaken a warrior of light who is asleep", which sounds like it should mean Tom, a soldier who's under Wiggly's spell, but also could mean Becky — who, unbeknownst to anyone but Tom, has also killed in the past — who is currently drugged into unconsciousness (and also under Wiggly's spell). It ambiguously turns out to be both.
  • The 'Verse: This is the second show in the "Hatchetfield universe", establishing the existence of the first ongoing continuity for Team Starkid since the A Very Potter Musical trilogy. (There was an attempt to make a sequel to Starship but it never got past the staged reading phase.) Technically, this is The Multiverse, with the two shows so far taking place in an Alternate Universe from each other and showing the world ending in two different ways. There's been no direct interaction between the universes, although the PEIP subplot makes it clear the alternate timelines do literally exist in a Watsonian sense and the Black and White is the Void Between the Worlds that separates them.
    • Nick Lang has gone on record that he and his brother have been working on the "Hatchetfield universe" for a long time and are only slowly figuring out what elements can be used in shows they create, which won't be limited to just the "trilogy" of stage musicals but may take other forms (short films, comic books, etc.) Specific story ideas he says have been written but just not revealed yet include:
      • Prof. Hidgens' backstory, the history of how he wrote Workin' Boys and how he came to befriend Emma, to be explored in the Workin' Boys short film.
      • Grace Chastity's story, and the story of the Hot Chocolate Boy (including revealing his actual name), to be explored in Nerdy Prudes Must Die! (This was actually the first Hatchetfield story to be written.)
      • Lex and Hannah's family history, their mother's backstory, the identity of their father(s), and the explanation for their Psychic Powers.
      • The tongue-in-cheek comment that Ted from TGWDLM's last name would be a "spoiler" because he's related in some way to another character(s) (given that he Really Gets Around).
      • The full story of what happened with PEIP's first experimental portal and what happened to MacNamara's mentor Wilbur Cross when the experiment drove him mad (which may or may not confirm the fan assumption he became Uncle Wiley).
      • John MacNamara's backstory, including the cut monologue about him being gay and having a husband.
      • Finally, he's hinted that people who fell in love with Hatchetfield because of Paul and Emma and are upset their love story has never had a satisfying ending might get what they want in a future show.
  • Villain Song: Plenty!
    • "Wiggly Jingle", the opening song which is a lighthearted advertisement for the Wiggly doll.
    • "Our Doors Are Open" for Frank Pricely, Lex's jerk boss.
    • "Feast or Famine", where Wiggly's influence over customers turns them violent.
    • "Adore Me" for Linda Monroe where she embraces her new position as Wiggly's prophet.
    • "Do You Want To Play?" for a Wiggly-controlled Becky and Tom.
    • "Made In America" for Uncle Wiley and Wiggly's minions, where they explain their plan to President Howard.
    • "Wiggle" sung during the climax by Linda and her followers, as they prepare to create a portal for Wiggly's arrival.
  • Vocal Range Exceeded: A caveat should be placed for all of these critiques that most of the cast came down with strep throat during the course of the show, including for all of the recorded performances, and that contributed more to the weaknesses in the vocals than the songwriting or the singers' natural range. The studio soundtrack doesn't completely eliminate these weaknesses, but they're vastly reduced from the live show — Angela Giarratana, in particular, sounds almost like a different person.
    • Jeff Blim's love of singing in falsetto goes even further in this musical than in his previous The Guy Who Didn't Like Musicals, going through whole songs singing in a clearly strained higher register as just a regular ensemble member rather than for comic effect. It was revealed this was an unfortunate result of The Smurfette Principle in the final casting — the cast has eight men, four women (plus Kendall Yakshe playing only the child characters). So, for instance, in "What Do You Say?", where Jaime Lyn Beatty is playing Sherman (a man, who can't sing), Kim Whalen plays Becky (whom the song is about), and Angela Giarratana plays Lex, who comes onstage immediately after this number, the only female voice in the song is Lauren Lopez, forcing Jeff to sing the alto part to fill out the harmony.
    • There's a few divided opinions over this with Angela Giarratana as Lex, with the songs having been written with Mariah Rose Faith in mind for the part, who has a much more naturally powerful range. Giarratana's raspy alto sounds strained at multiple points in "CaliforMIA" and "Black Friday", but her fans argue this is a highly appropriate character choice for Lex's punk rock character, and indeed many say they now can't imagine Faith as the character.
    • On the flip side, although fans responded really well to Lauren Lopez Playing Against Type as a dark, sultry villain, it wasn't necessarily the best decision to write Linda's songs for a dark, sultry voice — Lopez's natural piercing soprano feels somewhat wasted and lackluster with songs written at the bottom of her register.
  • Void Between the Worlds: The Black and White, a Spirit World made of pure psychic energy, which exists outside all of the many physical dimensions of the universe, is a higher reality than they are, and is ruled by a God of Evil fundamentally hostile to their existence. Par for the course for Lovecraftian horror.
  • Weirdness Magnet: Hatchetfield. In TGWDLM it was ground zero for the alien invasion; here it turns out to be the location Wiggly has chosen for his physical rebirth.
  • Wham Line:
    • "He was the one who brought the knife... Stanley's the one who made me go to nursing school. That's why I knew where his femoral artery was."
    • "We've just received a call from the Pentagon. A bomb has been dropped on Moscow."
    • "Think about it, did Tim ever say he wants a Tickle-Me Wiggly?"
  • Wham Shot:
    • When the president and his cabinet are fighting over the Tickle-Me-Wiggly, a new figure, cloaked in shadow arrives and shoots Wiggly with a strange weapon. The lights come up to reveal General MacNamara
    • Another one occurs when President Goodman goes to confront Wiggly in the Black and White, and he sees Wiggly's "true form" - two huge spotlights on the darkened stage balcony forming his eyes, and the Christmas garlands on the railing suddenly becoming the tentacles around his mouth. That's right, the whole stage has been Wiggly's enormous face watching the proceedings the whole time.
  • Whammy Bid: Frank's ill-advised decision to allow people to bid up the prices of the Wiggly dolls in an impromptu auction, tossing out the first-come-first-served policy he'd already set, predictably leads to this in the chaos, with bids rapidly jumping up from the $49.95 list price to $500, $700, $800, and (from one confused customer) $3. (Unsurprising, since the Internet bidding war Lex and Ethan ran for their stolen Wiggly ended up at $7,000.) Unfortunately, Frank does not think through the consequences of setting the price so high the vast majority of the people waiting in line suddenly find out it was All for Nothing.
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: The fans got a lot of enjoyment from the fact that Joey Richter as Uncle Wiley enters the theater before "Made In America" prominently eating an apple, casually hands it to a random audience member saying "Hold this", and then never comes back for it, leading to stories of fans trying to find him after the show to hand it back to him (and one fan, Kim Whalen's father, just going ahead and eating it).
  • When the Clock Strikes Twelve: This is a lampshaded trope at the end of the show — no one explicitly says so, but Black Friday's twisted status in American culture as a "holy day" of consumption and greed seems to mean this was the ordained date for Wiggly's conception, and if it can be thwarted on that day then his plan will fail and, somehow, the world will start changing for the better again. Tom voices this thought when he looks at his watch and says "If we can survive Black Friday, we can survive anything", and everyone gathers to wait for the second hand on his watch to hit midnight to see what happens. We hear what may be the sound of a nuclear missile just as midnight strikes, followed by Smash to Black.
  • Where's the Kaboom?: Spoken by the President almost word-for-word when he launches a nuke into the Black and White to kill Wiggly by brute force only to hear nothing but echoing silence.
  • Whole Plot Reference:
    • The search for a particular holiday toy becoming Serious Business was already the plot of Jingle All the Way, coincidentally the same year of the Tickle-Me Elmo craze that led to a store worker being trampled.
    • Wiggly's whole shtick is also a reference to the haters of Barney & Friends through the 1990s and early 2000s, where places like alt.barney.dinosaur.die.die.die on Usenet established a Memetic Mutation of Barney as some kind of demonic entity using the show and the toys to control and possess children.
    • There's also, of course, the "Black Friday" episode of South Park, which similarly riffs on the portentous name of "Black Friday", although South Park goes in the direction of epic fantasy rather than horror. Coincidentally, this episode also features a Tickle-Me Elmo parody.
    • Once we get past the Retail Riot in Act 1 to the real plot with the cult, the show quickly turns into a Spiritual Adaptation of Stranger Things and IT.
    • The nature of Wiggly's plan to be born into physical form on Christmas Day makes the plot of the show a shockingly literal interpretation of W.B. Yeats' "The Second Coming".
    • The basic concept of Santa Claus is Goin' to High School is a Take That! on contrived plots forcing adults to infiltrate a high school as students, like 21 Jump Street or Never Been Kissed.
    • Everything else about Santa Claus is Goin' to High School, aside from the Up to Eleven element of turning Santa into a teenager, directly appears in The Santa Clause 2, with Santa Claus being de-aged to live among mortals, falling in love with a woman whom he he can't tell he's Santa, and having the crisis that drives the plot end up being everyone on Earth ending up on the naughty list.
    • The core plot conceit of identifying American capitalism with an all-devouring, thoughtlessly cruel God of Evil is of course a lot older than this show, but the most salient reference may be Allen Ginsberg's "Howl", with Wiggly being a literalization of his idea of "Moloch".
      What sphinx of cement and aluminium bashed open their skulls and ate up their brains and imagination?
      Moloch! Solitude! Filth! Ugliness! Ashcans and unobtainable dollars! Children screaming under the stairways! Boys sobbing in armies! Old men weeping in the parks!
      Moloch! Moloch! Nightmare of Moloch! Moloch the loveless! Mental Moloch! Moloch the heavy judger of men!
  • World War III: The show ends with Wiggly's bid to become a god thwarted, but with his vengeful Plan B to spark nuclear war going off without a hitch, and the death of almost all life on Earth seemingly inevitable.
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