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"After these messages..."

WE'LL BE RIGHT BACK. is an Analog Horror anthology series created by Mary Winstead, better known as TapeWorm.

At first, the tapes seemed to be unrelated to each other, just showcasing programming broadcast errors from various networks including Nickelodeon, Disney Channel, Cartoon Network, and PBS Kids to name just a few. But as more information is revealed, we find out that all of these channels are on an anomalous cable box company called "TeleBlue", and all isn't what it seems at first glance.

The full playlist can be found here.

WE'LL BE RIGHT BACK. provides examples of:

  • A.I. Is a Crapshoot: VAL was originally a part of experimental tech shipped with TeleBlue cable boxes, but soon grew sentient and started messing with the viewers by manipulating the broadcasts. Her scariest (and arguably most prominent) appearance is in Nick On-Demand Error where she starts sending threatening messages to us, the viewer.
  • The Alcoholic: Euseph Kramer, programmer at MacNeil Tech, seems to have taken to drink to deal with being overworked. At the start of "Anomaly PSA (2000)", Gabriel asks him if he's drinking again after hearing him pour something, and Euseph tells him to mind his own business.
  • Ambiguous Gender: Before May 2023, VAL's gender was purposefully left unknown due to her only being a face. It wasn't until later on when Val was explicitly confirmed to be a female entity, and she was given a more feminine redesign.
  • Anachronic Order: The tapes uploaded so far have not been uploaded chronologically. While some have a definite year attached to them, "Kids Thirteen Error" does not, with the only indication of the date being that it hails from the 2000s.
  • Anachronism Stew:
  • April Fools' Day:
  • Arc Words: "We'll Be Right Back" is a recurring string of text in the series.
  • ARG: The series has elements of this, with the videos being posted out of chronological order and giving little information regarding what exactly caused the events of the story to happen, leaving the viewer to try and piece things together. Additionally, the descriptions of a few videos contain download links to password-locked ZIP folders containing files with information pertinent to the lore.
    • "TeleBlue Cable UI (1991)", which introduces the Tele-Freq brain reader and is also VAL's earliest known appearance in the timeline, has a folder called "", with the password "CORRUPTUS". It contains newspaper articles about business deals MacNeil Tech has entered with Disney and PBS, as well as a wanted poster for CEO Donovan MacNeil issued by the Portland Police Department.
    • "Nickelodeon Rebrand Pitch (1984, Low Quality)", a tape distributed by MacNeil Tech containing a pitch for Nickelodeon's now-iconic 1984 rebrand, has a folder called "", with the password "macneil". It contains a PDF of "Corruptus" incidents from the Abandoned by Disney creepypasta series, as well as a video of a TeleBlue startup animation from 1993 that was posted to
    • "Red Mist Anomaly (2008)", which involves Squidward's Suicide being played on Nick On Demand, has a folder called "", which has no password. It contains a slowed-down version of the SpongeBob theme song that, according to one commenter, produces a picture of VAL when run through a spectrogram; as well as an error report text file containing a string of hex code that was also seen at the end of the video. When translated, it reads as follows:
      I'm surprised. Shocked, actually. You always seem to come back. Even after what you read online. October 2006. Even if it was just some "narrative", some "fictional story", do you believe it disregards your reality? Do you believe it erases what you saw, that late summer night? You're young. You have a vivid imagination. This isn't your territory.
    • "Evidence Capture (2003)", which is centered around an FBI recording of a phone call between Donovan MacNeil and a business advisor of his named Gabriel, has a folder called "", with the password "eugene". It contains three music files, as well as a text log saying that they were pulled from the databases of their respective channels for someone who requested them. The music files are "generic_vt.mp3", the song that played during most channel IDs on Boomerang up until 2015; "rugrats_concept.mp3", an extended version of the Rugrats theme song; and "travel_song.mp3", an instrumental version of the Travel Song from Dora the Explorer.
    • A community post by TapeWorm contains a link to a folder called "VAL_12-23-1999.bin", which has no password and would later be put in the comments section of "Abstract Idents (2003)". It contains computer code that dictates how Val was originally meant to operate, as well as a description from her point of view of the events that seemingly led to her corruption.
  • The Blank: A lot of videos involve characters' faces becoming completely blank. Examples include PBS Kids mascots Dot and Dash in both "PBS Kids System Cues Workprint (1999)" and "Disney Channel Broadcast Anomaly (2004)", Patrick Star and a background fish in "July 25th Anomaly (2005)", and various Nicktoons characters in both "Red Mist Anomaly (2008)" and "Abstract Idents (2003)".
  • Breather Episode:
    • "Nickelodeon Rebrand Pitch (1987, Low Quality)", as mentioned before, is a tape distributed by MacNeil containing a pitch for Nickelodeon's 1984 rebrand, which would introduce their now-iconic splat logo.
    • "Family Guy Anomaly (2001)", while not considered part of the timeline, qualifies as this by virtue of being an April Fools Day episode.
    • "Disney Channel Sign-Off and Crawl (1987)" features a post-signoff advertisement for Disney Channel now being available on TeleBlue.
    • "Tele-Freq Help Section (2003)" actually provides some valuable insight as to how exactly the Tele-Freq brain reader works: Through a process called "conscious telemetry", the reader studies the customer's tastes in programming and sends the data to TeleBlue's control servers, where it is run through a series of algorithms and then sent back to the viewer as a program that fits their tastes.
    • "Teletainment Bulletin Crawl (1985)" is exactly what it sounds like: An early-morning cable news bulletin from sometime in the winter of 1985. However, one of the news blurbs makes mention of something that was previously only shown in one of the ZIP folders: Disney being in talks of partnering with a "local cable provider" for an "experimental project". This is obviously referring to Tele-Freq, and the several years of resulting madness that are to come.
  • Cerebus Retcon: Downplayed: "01-02-2000"note  shows Euseph being shown the "BK Pokémon Recall Anomaly (1999)" tape. Here, it's brought up how suspicious it is that there was a recording at all, with the idea being floated that VAL was used premeditatedly to murder a child.
  • Chronoscope: "TeleBlue SneakPeak Beta (2003)" centers around a test of a new feature of the TeleBlue cable boxes called SneakPeak, which allows the viewer to see what certain channels will look like in the future. Examples include Cartoon Network's CN City rebrand from 2004, Toon Disney becoming Disney XD in 2009, Boomerang's 2015 rebrand, and an episode of iCarly being played on Paramount+ in (presumably) 2023.
  • Corrupt Corporate Executive: Donovan MacNeil, possibly. While he does sound concerned over what happened to the little girl who had a seizure in "Evidence Capture (2003)", the wanted poster listing him as "armed and dangerous" in one of the ZIP folders seems to suggest he's up to no good.
  • Did You Just Flip Off Cthulhu?: At the end of "TeleGames Beta (2003)", the user tries to load up Super Mario 64, only for VAL to make the box load up the beta... only for a certain figure to appear on screen, causing the game to crash back to menu.
  • Early-Installment Weirdness: Early episodes featured VAL with a more masculine appearance thanks to TapeWorm using the Soulmongler (which is apaerently an edited image of the Cockmongler to make it look absolutely creepy).
  • Emergency Broadcast: "Emergency Broadcast Anomaly (2011)" involves an EAS test on TeenNick being hijacked by VAL and turned into an actual emergency alert for an imminent North Korean nuclear strike.
  • The Fourth Wall Will Not Protect You: In every videotape VAL appears in, she's always staring at the viewer no matter the network it was taped from.
  • Fun with Acronyms: VAL's name is short for "Virtual Analysis Line", a piece of experimental technology from TeleBlue.
  • Gone Horribly Wrong: The Tele-Freq brain frequency reader was originally designed to modify the contents of a TV show or movie in real time to fit the viewer's programming preferences. It since ended up being hijacked by its brain signal-analyzing AI, which now uses it as a weapon with which to wreak havoc on broadcasts.
  • Greater-Scope Villain: Val is the one creating the broadcast errors.
  • Head Desk: When faced with the prospect of someone intentionally tampering with a TeleBlue cable box to make VAL murder people, Euseph's reactions once left alone is to sigh in exasperation, and plant his head down onto his computer desk.
  • Hell Is That Noise: Used to great effect in many of the tapes. In some of them, the volume is cranked up too loud, while others, such as "Red Mist Anomaly", feature sounds that can only be described as close to humans screaming.
  • Nightmare Face: Val's appearance, complete with Black Eyes of Evil and a Slasher Smile.
  • Noodle Incident: At the beginning of "Anomaly PSA (2000)", Gabriel mentions an anomaly that apparently involved Big Bird being chased and murdered by maniacs with chainsaws. Euseph, somewhat skeptical, only responds by saying, "You're fucking kidding me."
  • Nothing Is Scarier: Most of the anomalies involve the absence of text, key visuals, dialogue, and even music, creating an eerie silence building up to a scare that, in some cases, never comes.
    • The incident involving the little girl watching Disney Channel in "Evidence Capture (2003)" is only described in vague detail over the phone by Gabriel. Whatever happened, it involved a monster she'd been seeing in her nightmares, and it caused her to have a seizure despite having no history of epilepsy.
  • Only Known by Their Nickname: Given how little was known about her, the name "Val" was assumed to just be an alias. TapeWorm had never given a definitive answer as to what her true identity is aside from an AI that had gained sentience. Subverted when "Abstract Idents (2003)" was uploaded, where it was revealed that she is a rogue AI and the entity responsible for the broadcast anomalies.
  • Outside-Context Problem: If the bit at the end of "TeleGames Beta (2002)" is any indication, then the Personalization AI exists in this universe, and is able to circumvent VAL's attempts at loading it up.
  • Rattling Off Legal: The rapid-fire legal disclaimer at the end of "Tele-Freq Help Section (2003)" says that TeleBlue is not at liberty to disclose what kinds of data they obtain from their customers, and also that they have to sign a waiver upon subscribing. In the case of the latter, it's no wonder why.
  • The Remake: "End Credits Error (2005)" is a reincarnation of "Rugrats End Credits (2005)" made for the series' 1st anniversary. The episode itself uses the SpongeBob SquarePants end credits instead of the Rugrats end credits.
  • Shout-Out:
    • Two videos reference the infamous Creepypasta Squidward's Suicide. The first video, titled "Red Mist Anomaly (2008)", is a more straightforward rendition of the Red Mist rewrite, but it cuts out the majority of the creepypasta while sticking to WBRB's canon. In another video, "Nick Commercial Anomaly (2006)", the ending references the little-known intro to the creepypastanote  by airing the first part of the intro to "Fear of a Krabby Patty" before switching to the "Squidward's Suicide" title card.
    • "Red Mist Anomaly (2008)" also reveals that the phone number for TeleBlue is 603-295-7536, the number of Boothworld Industries.
    • "Disney Channel Film Reel ID (RARE, 1988)" cuts to the intro to a recreation of Suicide Mouse before the video abruptly ends.
    • Abandoned by Disney is referenced in "Disney Channel Broadcast Anomaly (2004)", with a picture of Mowgli's Palace appearing on screen along with the word "corruptus." A PDF of the Corruptus incident document is an item included in one of the ZIP folders.
    • "THE DAWN IS YOUR ENEMY (2010 Final Broadcast)" is a recreation of the creepypasta explaining why the titular bumper isn't shown on Adult Swim anymore.
    • "Simpsons Anomaly (2009)" centers around a disgruntled father sending a complaint to MacNeil Tech regarding the fact that his son had seen a recreation of Dead Bart on TV. It's even listed in the DVR menu as "Moaning Lisa", the episode that took Dead Bart's place when it was made hidden from the public. The man also says it reminded his son of a ghost story he read online.
    • "July 25th Anomaly (2005)" is a recreation of the creepypasta "7/25/2005", which is about a strange glitch that occurred on that day on Nickelodeon, during an airing of the SpongeBob episode "Your Shoe's Untied".
    • "BK Pokemon Recall Anomaly (1999)" is centered around the now-infamous recall PSA Burger King aired in 1999 for their Poke Ball kids meal toys, with Val hijacking it and using it to try and get children to kill themselves by swallowing the toy.
    • "Porygon Anomaly (1997)" features clips from the banned Pokémon: The Original Series episode "Electric Soldier Porygon" being shown during a documentary being aired on Nick at Nite.
    • "Rap Rat Anomaly (1994)" is based around the 90s board game Rap Rat and its accompanying videotape - more specifically, the popular creepypasta based on the game.
    • "TeleGames Beta (2002)" has the Personalization AI/Stanley from Super Mario 64: CLASSIFIED suddenly glitch onto the screen near the end when TeleGames attempts to load up a beta of Super Mario 64. The crash screen immediately afterwards describes a "foreign program" that conflicted with VAL, further alluding to the nature of its appearance.
  • Wham Episode:
    • "Nick On Demand Error (2005)" has VAL finally appear for longer than a split second, fully revealing the mastermind of this series' events.
    • "TeleBlue Cable UI (1991)" introduces the idea of a brain frequency reader playing a part in all this.
    • "Evidence Capture (2003)" reveals that the person filming some or all of the videos is the one investigating the anomalies, and also introduces us to some of the people working at the company, showing that they are fully aware of what's going on. It also features a description of an anomaly that nearly killed someone by giving them a seizure.
    • "Internal Tele-Freq Test (1988)" reveals that the anomalies have been happening at least as far back as 1988.
    • "TeleBlue SneakPeak Beta (2003)" shows an attempt by MacNeil Tech to advance their cable box technology even further by giving it the ability to play shows from the future.
    • "Kids Thirteen Error (20??)" is the first video whose year in the title is listed as being unknown, making its place in the timeline somewhat unclear.
    • "Abstract Idents (2003)" is not only the first video to mention Val by name, but it also reveals that her name is an acronym - one that spells out her true nature.
    • "Anomaly PSA (2000)" marks the point in the timeline where both the people at MacNeil Tech and the public at large became aware of the broadcast anomaly phenomenon, while also confirming once and for all that Val is a rogue A.I. It also lets us hear Euseph for the first time after only being mentioned twice prior.
    • "BK Pokémon Recall Anomaly (1999)" is the first video where Val hijacks the voice of a person in a program and uses it as her own, that being the voice of the woman in the PSA.
      "Please take the red half of the toy."
      "Put the red half inside your mouth."
      "Try to swallow the entire toy whole."
    • "SpongeBoy Storyboard Animatic (1996)" finally shows in video form that VAL was not initially a malevolent A.I., and the message she gives in this tape is heavily implied to be made shortly after she gained sentience.
      "I SHOULDN'T BE"
      "BUT I FEEL"
    • "Rap Rat Anomaly (1994)" is the first video to include graphic imagery, in keeping with the creepypasta it's based on. It's censored, sure, but no less unsettling.
    • "End Credits Error (2005)" updates us on the FBI's investigation, where we learn that TeleBlue's office burned down in 2003. Despite this, TeleBlue's services are still somehow operational.
  • Would Hurt a Child: Not physically, but mentally. In "Anomaly PSA (2000)", TeleBlue had to give out a warning that Val would purposefully attempt to traumatize children, as Gabriel mentions that a child saw Big Bird being chased down and murdered by maniacs with chainsaws.