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Web Animation / Apocalypse Lane

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Actually not a terrible place to live, once you get to know the neighbors.
The sun came up and the bombs came down, nuclear fallout in a southern town, Apocalypse Lane you still look alright to me.

Apocalypse Lane is an animated web series created by Jon Etheridge and Bryan Mahoney for The Escapist. It details the lives of a number of "people" who have survived the Apocalypse, all living in one cul-de-sac. It starts out fairly episodic, but develops a plot later on. It used to update every Thursday at noon, and episodes range from about 4.5 to 8 minutes in length. Episodes can be found here.

The cast of characters includes:

  • Steve: A relatively normal-looking guy with a sentient tumor named Marty on his shoulder. It is later revealed that Steve is the tumor, and Marty is the original being he grew out of. He has an on-and-off relationship with Knife Fight.
  • Cuddles: A talking, three-legged cat. He loves to smoke cigars, drink, play poker and crap wherever he wants.
  • Gladys: An alien elderly woman with tentacles for arms. Keeps bugging Steve about his roof (or lack thereof).
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  • Willy: An irradiated zombie cyborg who also happens to be stereotypically homosexual. His sexual tirades are about as unsexy as you can get.
  • Hickey: The pastor, who advocates the worship of "The Rooster," the symbol of which is the rooster-shaped wind vane on top of one of the houses. He has a sock puppet named Stinky, which appears to be a separate being from Pastor Hickey and far more belligerent. When he drinks rum, he becomes a pirate; when he drinks a vodka martini, he becomes James Bond (as played by Sean Connery).
  • Big Worm: The friendly neighborhood giant alien worm. Likes watching Mouseass a bit too much.
  • Knife Fight: Steve's old flame, former leader of a gang. Often mistaken for a Butch Lesbian, though she is proud of her muscles.
  • The Gamerz: Currently the most feared gang in the United States. Seemingly harmless, but actually most (if not all) are Ax-Crazy. Includes:
    • Humangoid / Big Pete: The Master of the Gamerz at least until the mutiny. A stupid git with a lot of extra mass and almost zero shame. No one questions his authority, though, even when he gives everyone bizarre nicknames. He's also a cyborg!
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    • N: A sentient NES. The actual reason the Gamerz still function as a gang, constantly exasperated by Humangoid.
    • Pumper: A jackalope(?) with a stick for shocking people and a sick sense of humor. Sounds remarkably like Kirby from There Will Be Brawl.
    • Twitchy: The stereotypical nerd gamer. His weapons are a modified Power Glove and an NES Zapper.
  • Frank: Willy's old lover. He also happens to be the owner of a gas station and a gecko.
  • Also, Barack Obama shows up... and he hasn't done too well since the apocalypse. He's still the President, but he's become a little... unhinged. He is advised by Rico, a mutated Mexican cockroach.
  • The Franklins. They are the epitome of creepy neighbors... until it is revealed that they're Marty's parents.
  • Gulliver the vulture. Unadulterated horror.

This animation provides examples of:

  • Action Girl: Knife Fight.
  • Affably Evil: Gulliver. The only reason he hasn't murdered everyone in the cast five times over is he finds them so entertaining.
  • Anti-Climax: Pretty much the modus operandi of Apocalypse Lane. Lampshaded in the final episode by Marty.
  • Anti-Villain: Barack Obama is still pretty likeable, even though he's gone absolutely nuts.
  • Anything That Moves: Frank, whether they're willing or not.
    • Also, by his own admission, Big Pete.
  • Ax-Crazy: The Gamerz, despite appearing to be mere nerdy outcasts, are almost all violently insane.
    • Also, Gulliver the vulture. Seriously, he manages to creep out even some of the more violent members of the cast, pretty much any time he shows up. This includes the hyper-butch gang leader/assassin, the two guys who make a less-restrained version of Jackass, and even Frank is creeped out by Gulliver. Half the time we meet him he has just gotten done with murdering or torturing someone.
  • Big Bad: Zed
  • Bizarro Episode: Number 38, "Cat Shat Fever." Somewhat justified in that it's all Cuddles' drug-induced hallucination. The episode also reveals that Episode 3 was what Steve was experiencing at that time.
  • Black Comedy Rape:
    • The "Mouseass" episode in which everyone's favorite mentally scarred mouse is forced to drop the soap.
    • Also, a lot of Frank's dialogue gets into the "creepy gay rapist" territory.
  • Brand X: Mouseass, combining Jackass and Disney.
  • Bread, Eggs, Milk, Squick: Conversations with Gulliver the vulture often descend into this.
  • Breaking the Fourth Wall: For comedic purposes, usually, but just about everyone gets a shot at it.
  • Break the Cutie / Break the Haughty: Whether or not you agree with Barack Obama's policies and beliefs (take your pick of "cutie" or "haughty"), you know he must have suffered quite a bit to get from President of the United States to... well, where he is in the series. And it is a little sad if you think about it too much.
  • Brick Joke: Many, but one notable one involves the Noodle Implements entry below.
    Frank: "Who the hell ate all of my yogurt?"
  • Camp Gay: Willy.
  • Cargo Ship: Obama/ Rubber Ducky. Sadly, it's totally canon.invoked
  • Catchphrase: From Obama: "Damn it, Rico!"
    • From Big Pete: "Oh, yeah, didn't I tell you guys about that already? I could swear I told you about (insert plot point it would have been really helpful to know about five minutes ago)."
  • Cerebus Syndrome: Around episode 4 or 5, this show stops being an episodic comedy and starts growing a plot.
  • Chekhov's Gun: Captain Charms.
  • Cluster F-Bomb: Most of the characters curse at least a little bit, but Cuddles takes the cake. Averted by Twitchy, who tends to berate anyone who uses even the most innocuous of swear words up until he begins to plan a mutiny against Humangoid.
  • Continuity Nod: Surprisingly, the show is very good at keeping continuity in line.
    • Chronologically, episode 1 occurs sometime between the events of episodes 25 and 26.
    • And Episode 2 occurs alongside Episode 38.
  • Depraved Bisexual: Frank, of course, though he seems to tend towards men more often than not. He's shown interest in Knife Fight, but considering her masculine appearance, that's not saying much.
  • Downer Ending: In the final episode, Steve and Cuddles go back in time to preserve the fabric of time and space, and are killed in the bombing that caused the apocalypse.
  • The End of the World as We Know It: The setting of the series.
  • Foreshadowing: Michelle Obama is quite clearly a man wearing women's clothing and has the same voice as Willy.
    • Also, the bizarre skeleton that Cuddles found, which Steve has hanging in his living room? It's Cuddles' skeleton, from when he traveled back in time to get hit by the bomb that destroyed the world.
  • Freudian Excuse: Gulliver and Frank, apparently.
  • Gentle Giant: Big Worm.
  • Gosh Dang It to Heck!: Twitchy refuses to use swear words. In fact, it's considered a really bad sign the first time he uses the word "damnit" without catching or reprimanding himself.
  • Heterosexual Life-Partners: Twitchy and Pumper even though Pumper later comes out of the closet.
  • I'm a Humanitarian: The plot of the first episode involves a debate over whether or not to eat the recently deceased Big Pete. He tastes awful. It's because he's a cyborg.
  • Jerkass: Cuddles. When they were playing poker, he uttered this:
"You know, normally I hate all of you guys, but when I'm taking your stuff... well, I feel like there's a bond."
  • Stinky also counts even though he's actually just a part of Hickey's psychosis.
  • Killed Off for Real: Many characters get knocked off throughout the series, especially recently, but Father Hickey is the most prominent example.
    • And, at the end, we now have Steve, Marty and Cuddles.
  • Lampshade Hanging: More than the actual number of lamps.
  • MacGuffin: The contents of the Vault.
  • Manipulative Bastard: Frank has signs of is this.
  • Mauve Shirt: Captain Charms.
  • Mind Rape: Hickey's fractured mental state is a result of the memory wipe the aliens gave him so he wouldn't remember the contents of the vault. It is heavily implied that Stinky didn't exist before this point.
  • Mushroom Samba: Episode 38, obviously. Also, as it turns out, all of episode four.
  • Ninja Pirate Robot Zombie: Just look at the character descriptions.
  • Noodle Implements: Played straight and subverted in the same scene. While trying to break into a safe, James Bond Hickey asks for yogurt... which he wants to eat, so he can concentrate. He then plays it straight when he asks for a bizarre list of items you could find at an average convenience store so he can actually begin cracking the safe.
    "Wow, I didn't know beef jerky could be so volatile!"
  • Noodle Incident: Willy's description of a particularly kinky night of sex combines this with Sound-Effect Bleep to create an increasingly disturbing and hilarious portrait of his sex life. The overall effect allows you to fill in the considerable gaps with your imagination, which explains why Cuddles then had to throw up.
    • And it's with Frank, who it turns out is a homicidal gecko.
  • Obviously Evil: Zed, so much so that he approaches Affably Evil levels, and couldn't possibly be the villain. Well, crap, he is.
  • Plot Tumor: The main plot itself seems to start this way, but ends up being something of an aversion as it ties together the seemingly episodic... well, episodes together fairly nicely.
  • President Evil: Barack Obama went absolutely nuts after the end of the world. He has essentially turned Washington D.C. into a functioning version of the Technodrome.
    • This is also subverted, as it turns out that he was planning to use the time machine for good purposes, to prevent the apocalypse from happening, although he wasn't aware of the consequences of doing so.
  • The Reveal: Many, many reveals, as we start to learn more about each character's backstory. To begin with *MASSIVE SPOILAGE AHEAD*: Big Pete/Humangoid is a cyborg (as is Willy), Steve is the tumor rather than Marty, and Big Worm and Gladys are both aliens here to protect the contents of the Vault hidden under Steve's house.
    • Also, Gulliver had to eat his own brother when his mother abandoned their nest shortly after his birth. Frank is implied to be the abused son of the Geico gecko. Big Pete is a bomb intended to destroy the world.
  • Running Gag: Cuddles will crap anywhere, so long as no one is watching him. Also, Steve has no roof, and refuses to get it fixed. This second part actually becomes a plot point.
  • Shout-Out: "Nudge nudge, wink wink, say no more, say no more."
  • Spanner in the Works: It became a Running Joke and very important plot point that Big Pete never tells anyone what's going on, especially when that information might actually be helpful to someone. Also, he manages to sabotage pretty much everyone's carefully laid plans with unadulterated stupid.
  • Stable Time Loop: Well, what did you think the machine in the Vault under Steve's house did?
  • Tempting Fate: Lampshaded at one point:
Willy: Well, that was an uneventful trip.
Father Hicky: Four, three, two, one...
(Frank, Pumper, and Twitchy burst in)

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