An article detailing canon and non-canon Alfred Alfer
But don't wonder how the blood got there! (Good morning)
If Steve Martin violated you in your sleep again,
You will not care.
'Cause there's a place you can escape to mentally,
Where only silliness is making forced entry
For the purpose of self-preservation,
Here at Alfred's Playhouse!"
Alfred's Playhouse is one of the most surreal and disturbing web video series on the internet. The series is about a traumatized, mentally ill dog named Alfred Alfer, who tries to forget about his abusive childhood by imagining himself in a happy fantasy world. In the videos, his alter-ego, Dictator Pickles, emerges, who is an Ax-Crazy psychopath who dreams of world domination. Alfred also shows himself to be incredibly needy and lonely, and he's often forced out of his fantasy land by harsh reality.
The series has been likened by some fans to David Firth's works such as Salad Fingers and Spoilsbury Toast Boy. The series is very Not Safe for Work, as it has full of sexual imagery, and has pretty disturbing themes, but it has a touch of Surreal Humor.
Alfred's Playhouse was created by Emily Youcis, who based the series largely on her own life experiences. A full-length movie of the series was produced in 2017. While her YouTube channel was removed due to her advocacy of neo-nazism, the videos can still be viewed on her Newgrounds account, found here.
Alfred's Playhouse (and general installments) provides examples of:
- Abusive Parents: Alfred mentions in a song that his parents left him at Goodwill and once tried to drown him in the bathtub. When he was sexually abused by a human, his parents were completely unfazed and did nothing to help him with his trauma.
- Alliterative Name: Alfred Alfer.
- Ax-Crazy: Alfred's alter ego, Dictator Pickles, who wants to take over the world and force everyone to worship him.
- Being Tortured Makes You Evil: This happens in Dictator Pickles's case.
- Black Comedy: In the show's case, serious topics such as sexual abuse and parental abandonment are Played for Laughs.
- Black Bug Room: What Alfred's Happy Place Playhouse has turned into by the premise of the show.
- Bound and Gagged: This happens to Alfred quite a bit, usually just for a split second on the videos... but he is also restrained when talking to Dictator Pickles and sometimes when being raped.
- Break the Cutie: Poor Alfred.
- Break Them by Talking: Dictator Pickles' speech. He explains who he is, what the Playhouse is, what his plans are, and how Alfred is powerless to stop him. Alfred is left with no other choice than to give up power over his body and his dignity, submitting to his new master.
- Brown Note: The FedEx guy, that poor bastard, begins weeping uncontrollably and begs to be free after Alfred pulls him into the Playhouse and apparently begins hallucinating.
- Cloud Cuckoolander: Alfred, mainly because he is trying to ignore and repress all of the terrible things that have happened to him.
- Companion Cube: Alfred talks to a lot of his belongings and treats them as people."The Dishwasher discusses Marx over cocktails~"
- Cuckoo Nest: Pickles reveals to Alfred that the Playhouse and all the trauma he has just experienced is only a hallucination.
- Deranged Animation
- Dissonant Serenity: Over the duration of Alfred's freak out, Lavrentiy Beria is periodically seen spreading lubricant over his body while sensual music plays.
- Dysfunction Junction: Ignoring Alfred, Dictator Pickles, and everyone else in the playhouse, many of the characters are either extremely cruel, rapists, or Apathetic Citizens.
- Enemy Within: Pickles within the mind of Alfred, and he wins.
- Good Smoking, Evil Smoking: Dictator Pickles is always seen with a cigarette in his hand. During his rant at Alfred he has about 20.
- Happy Place: Alfred's titular Playhouse, where he goes to avoid confronting the reality of his past abuse.
- Helpless Good Side: Alfred. Although, he's mostly only "good" when compared to Dictator Pickles.
- Hollywood Psych: Sexual abuse is certainly not likely to turn you into what Alfred has become.
- If you got a nickle for every time this trope applied, you could probably order a lunch at Alfred's restaurant and eat with him.
- I Just Want to Be Loved: Alfred. He is pretty desperate to get other people to love and accept him, and is very needy.
- Insane Equals Violent: Alfred has been violent, either because he was afraid that other people were going to harm him and lashed out in terror, or because Dictator Alfred took over.
- Jekyll & Hyde
- Lilliputians: In Alfred's Playhouse Part 2, in the beginning of the video Alfred tells the audience that he secretly has "friends living inside my wall." Then, tons of little elf-like creatures climb all over Alfred, fondling him, vomiting on him, and defacating everywhere while Alfred laughs. For a full minute or so. And his laughter soon turns into a screaming meltdown.
- The fact that the start of that sequence (prior to the creatures swarming Alfred) and the designs of the creatures themselves is very clearly a reference to The Littles somehow makes it much, much worse.
- Lotus-Eater Machine: Pickles appears to have trapped Alfred's true personality within this, taking full control of his, by the end
- Madness Mantra: Alfred had "I am loved, I am loved, I am loved" in the Rise of Alfred Alfer. Pickles has "POPSICLE— POPSICLE— POPSICLE".
- Nightmare Face: Alfred makes them constantly.
- Slasher Smile: Often used in conjunction.
- Parental Abandonment: Alfred's parents are shown to be ignoring him all the time, apparently left without him while at a Goodwill, and Alfred claims that he was the result of an unsuccessful abortion.
- Psychological Horror: The bizarre effects, abstract-dimensions, and concepts of abuse of very unnerving. The series uploader to YouTube warns that it might give flashbacks to some.
- Psychopathic Manchild: In a nutshell, Alfred is the manchild, and Dictator Alfred is the psychopathic one. Alfred is shown to be an adult and having a job, but he acts very much like a child, and his fantasy world is like a surreal version of Pee-wee's Playhouse. Dictator Pickles is cold, power-hungry, and generally Ax-Crazy.
- Rape as Backstory: Alfred is definitely a good example, and his abuse is the reason why he is so unhinged.
- Self-Harm: Alfred has a "cutting leg" where he injures himself so people will see and feel bad for him.
- Small, Secluded World: The Playhouse.
- Split Personality: On one hand, there is the happy but needy Alfred Alfer, who is secretly traumatised by his abusive childhood. On the other, there is vengeful, megalomaniacal Dictator Pickles, who wants to rule the world and is cruel to Alfred.
- Surreal Horror/Surreal Humor: Until watching Playhouse, you probably would have never considered long dead politicians or cartoon characters to vile sexual abusers.
- There Are No Therapists: Although how much they could actually help Alfred is up for debate.
- Think Happy Thoughts: Alfred's usual response to being raped or having a flashback is to separate himself from reality and go to his happy fantasy world.
- Man of a Thousand Voices: Well, Woman. The creator, Emily Youcis. She has done the whole series entirely by herself, including providing voices for the mostly male cast.
- Villainous Friendship: Pickles is portrayed as having a kinship with famous dictators Adolf Hitler, Joseph Stalin, and also Lavrentiy Beria.
- Woobie, Destroyer of Worlds: Dictator Pickles. Whenever Alfred was being sexually abused, he would shut down and go into his happy fantasy world... But later Dicator Pickles tells Alfred that when Alfred was in his happy place, Dictator Pickles was being abused in his place and had to take on all of the bad things that Alfred couldn't deal with.
"And what do we do when we hear the secret word, boys and girls? ... We SCREEEEEEEEEEEEEAM."
The thing is: They're the same sick fucking puppy—Alfred!
10 years of in the making comes the Alfred Alfer Movie, canon sequel to Alfred's Playhouse and grand opus of creator Emily Youcis. Emily had originated the Alfred saga with the Rise of Alfred Alfer and the Alfred's Playhouse series, but that wasn't enough. As the fanbase had grown exponentially, Emily decided that she needed to do Alfred a justice with his own feature-length film. With support from fans, she has begun producing the movie, all on her own, in segments released on her website which will be completed approximately 2017. It takes its audience into consideration, up to a point of Breaking the Fourth Wall.
The story takes place takes place sometime after Alfred breaks free of Pickles' hold on him when he has made a sole friend in Labby. After Labby abandons him in a surreal corn field, he is left alone to wander the literal Where the Dead go To Die and right back into Pickles' hands. Alfred descends into pure madness, creating new violent personas, while Pickles tortures him with shadows of his past and present.
The movie guest stars new music artists and voice actors, a number of which Emily considers friends, such as Lil Ugly Mane, JimmyScreamer Klaus, Passenger of Shit, JakProgresso, and Kenny Hotz from Kenny vs. Spenny.
The Alfred Alfer Movie provides examples of:
- Adaptational Badass: Ala invoked Memetic Badass. Emily had designated Alfred to resurrect as Jesus Christ, aka Alfred Savior God, purely to amp up the over-the-top wackiness of the series canon.
- The Alcoholic: The Ni***rmelon is seen taking swigs from a bottle of hard liquor. He compares booze to cranberry juice, claiming that alcohol can be used to cure emotional pain in the same way cranberry juice can help with urinary tract infections.
- Art Evolution: The movie has a much more professional and detailed art style than the initial shorts.
- Call-Back: The decayed corpse of the FedEx guy is seen on the floor as well as the devious Littles in the Return to the Playhouse. The employees from Burrito Bell are seen in Pickles' TV show.
- Crossover: Labby appears from Where the Dead Go to Die, playing a major role in Alfred's torment.
- Darker and Edgier: Not that it wasn't already, but the audacity and sexual violence has been shot up.
- Does This Remind You of Anything?: Emily has stated that Alfred dragging the body bag home is reminiscent of a dog carrying a trophy home to his master.
- The dead patrons from the Dead Girl Strip Club are a reflection of average bar patrons who, as Emily puts it, are basically already dead.
- Earn Your Happy Ending: See second Foregone Conclusion entry.
- Foregone Conclusion: Emily bluntly states in the trailer that Alfred's destiny is to get the rabies and die.
- In her interview with Wedge Radio, Emily explains that the movie ends rather with Alfred discovering his real life fanbase and that people really do adore and love him.
- Jerkass: The Ni***rmelon beast doesn't give a shit about Alfred or his problems, calls him a bitch-fairy, and tells him to suck his dick or get out.
- Interrupted Suicide: Labby, who appears to a distraught Alfred as a vision in two glasses of liqour in the "Dead Girl Stripclub" scene, calls Alfred a rabid dog that needs to be taken out back shot while offering him a gun. Before he can pull the trigger, however, he is seduced by the titular dead girl stripper.
- Nightmare Fetishist: After Alfred wakes up in the shed of of bodies he begins screaming, then laughing and begins to drag a corpse home.
- Pig Man: MC Bushpig's avatar appears several times in the background of the cornfield scene.
- World of Chaos: The cornfield: A bizarre world in, or on the edge of, Where the Dead go to Die.
Alfred Alfer prequel, retcon, and ambiguous canon:
- Apathetic Employees: The Burrito Bell crew seem to slump feebly around during the duration of Alfred's psychotic rampage in the precursive episode.
- Big Bad: Dictator Pickles.
- Speaking of Lavrentiy Beria, the lubed-up pervert. He is implied to have been the shadowy figure who molested Alfred, ruining his life. This would also paint has the series' Knight of Cerebus.
- Cerebus Syndrome: Emily's mid-to-late teenage Alfred creation were fairly lighthearted, such as Story of Christmas and the laser pointer shenanigans with Phat Dawg. Since the absence of Phat Dawg, Alfred has become completely Ax-Crazy.
- Chuck Cunningham Syndrome: Phat Dawg, Alfred's original best friend and comedic sidekick, inexplicably disappeared just after Limbo of the Room. Emily Youcis says he was Retconned so that Alfred's only friends would be his Playhouse ones. Recently, she had revealed that she's planning to bring him back.
- Cigarette of Anxiety: Over the course of Limbo of the Room, Phat Dawg is only seen taking repeated drags of an unknown number of cigarettes. He has an arguable look of worry on him.
- Destination Defenestration: The ending of Alfred Gets Fixed: Alfred jumps to freedom, but it turns out that the hospital he's in is on top of a skyscraper and he falls to his death.
- Early-Installment Weirdness: Alfred's Cloudcuckcoolander-to-Ax-Crazy ratio had began at approximately 5:1, or even lower. Then flipped and turned even more Ax-Crazy.
- It's All About Me: Alfred's song in The Rise of Alfred, which is all about how Alfred is amazing and perfect and everyone will kowtow to his every whim, ending with him screaming "ME! ME! ME! ME!" a the top of his lungs.
- Historical Villain Upgrade: Reasonably Justified in the case of Beria, possibly an Exploited Trope as well. Via social medi, Emily writes in a history lesson to her politically unknowledged audience of Lavrentiy Pavlovich Beria, Josef Stalin'sappointed head of the KGB, who would kidnap unsuspecting schoolgirls off the street and sexually abuse them. By the premise of Playhouse, Beria, supposedly, had somehow warped to the present to invade the Playhouse and begin sexually abusing Alfred, causing Stockhold Syndrome. Furthermore, his complete mental breakdown and finally led him end the world.
- Take That!: American Alfer has Mr. Pickles' mutilated and sodomized corpse.