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He took us to the present. He took us into the future. So what's next? The past, of course!
From left to right: Elfo, Bean, and Luci.

"An epic tale of growing up in the dark ages."
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Disenchantment is an animated fantasy-dramedy series created by Matt Groening, the same man who created the popular cartoon shows The Simpsons and Futurama. It is streamed exclusively on Netflix.

The show follows the magical misadventures of Bean (short for "Tiabeanie"), a rebellious young princess from the medieval kingdom of Dreamland. Tired of being bossed around by her controlling father King Zog, she strives to follow her own path in life, which mostly revolves around getting blind drunk and committing acts of mischief. She soon befriends a couple of strange companions: a goofy, naive elf named Elfo, and a devious, snarky demon named Luci. Along the way, they will encounter ogres, sprites, harpies, imps, trolls, walruses, and lots of human fools.

The show premiered on Netflix in August 17, 2018 with a 10-episode first season, titled as "Part One". A second season (or "Part Two") with another 10 episodes is slated to premiere on September 20, 2019. Another 20 episodes (comprising "Part Three" and "Part Four") have been ordered for release even later into the near future (presumably from 2020 to 2021).

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The series has a little more continuity than Groening's previous cartoons; towards the end of the first season, there have already been a few major plot twists, so beware of spoilers, which may or may not be hidden.


Tropes:

  • Aerith and Bob: The characters' names are quite the mix, some being fantasy names that are made up entirely, some being fairly common in the US, and some being names that sound exotic to some ears but are not unheard of in certain European countries.
  • Affectionate Parody: Of the Medieval European Fantasy fiction genre in general. Though it looks more like teenage Dungeons & Dragons game, rather than a Tolkien-style High Fantasy epic.
  • Alchemy Is Magic: Sorcerio, who is at best an Inept Mage, is able to produce a number of magical concoctions using Elfo's blood, although he seems to be hit or miss with his experiments. The empire of Maru on the other hand appears to have elevated alchemy to a high science.
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  • Ambiguously Brown: Although the show's setting is (very loosely) based on medieval Europe, some of the human characters (such as Odval, the Herald, and multiple background extras) have much darker skin than others, with no explanation given. Also in the episode "Castle Party Massacre", one of the Land Vikings appears to be a literal Black Viking.
  • Anachronism Stew: As part of the fun, there are some intentionally anachronistic gags, including bits of Schizo Tech.
    • The local police ride in donkey-driven carriages that act like modern police cars; they even have flashing blue-and-red lights (lit by a candle flame in a lantern), and siren noises (provided by the donkeys' braying), and are also shown to have put up police tape around a crime scene.
    • The Herald announces news like a modern-day sensationalist newscaster.
      Herald: Hear ye, hear ye, your food may be poisoned! Find out how later!
    • Zog says that "This isn't my first rodeo," before being confused about what "rodeo" means.
    • The magic Crystal Ball has a rewind function, like a VCR, right down to the sound playing in reverse.
  • Arc Welding: The final three episodes of Season 1 increase the continuity, and reveals a lot of relations between the characters, as well as Continuity Nods left and right to reveal a bit more of Emperor Cloyd and The Enchantress's plans and the overall plot. It also reveals the real reason for Zog finding the Elixir of Life, and more information about Dagmar's past and motives.
  • Arranged Marriage: In the form of Altar Diplomacy between royal families. It's used as an important plot point a few times.
    • The story arc of the first two episodes deals with Zog forcing a reluctant Bean to marry a prince from Bentwood (first Guysbert, then his younger brother Merkimer) in order to secure a political alliance with the kingdom of Bentwood. Bean tries (though fails) to flee and/or sabotage the wedding. Fortunately for her, some accidental circumstances result in Zog canceling the whole wedding/alliance plans.
    • In the backstory, Zog's marriage to his second wife Oona was also the result of this. After the end of a war between Dreamland and Dankmire, King Zog got married to Princess Oona to forge an alliance between the formerly warring kingdoms, and also to allow the construction of a canal linking them together. Another result is that Oona gave Zog a male heir to Dreamland's throne, Prince Derek.
  • Awful Wedded Life: Due to the political nature of their union, Zog and Oona are shown to be very miserable together. It speaks something about their relationship, when their first scene together shows Oona getting Fantastic Arousal upon seeing Bean's handsome fiance, and Zog lamenting that she never does that for him. One episode shows that they sleep separately, with him on his bed and her clinging to the ceiling, though Oona admits she does have sex with him sometimes and on one occasion they do sleep together. Zog himself isn't particularly fond of Oona, as he greatly prefers his old wife Dagmar to her. However, Oona does get very jealous after Dagmar returns and reunites with Zog.
  • Bait-and-Switch:
    • Mermaid Island and Walrus Island, which should never be confused. One has vicious sirens, who sing compelling music that lures men to their horrible deaths. The other has mermaids.
    • The Cave of the Single Trap. It comes in two parts.
  • Black Comedy: Much like Groening's previous shows, Disenchantment features a fairly dark sense of humor, perhaps to a greater extent than before. In just about every episode, one or more minor character(s) get killed just for cheap laughs.
  • Brick Joke:
    • Early on, there's a scene where Bean leaves a tavern named the Flying Scepter where there's an oddly large number of random scepters laying around, stuck in beams, laying on the porch, sticking out of the thatched roof. A few episodes later, it's shown that these scepters are caused by the king routinely hurling them over the castle walls and into the city in rage over Bean's antics.
    • "Castle Party Massacre" revolves around Bean throwing a rager of a party while her dad's away at the health spa, which soon turns into an (attempted) overthrow by Land Vikings. In "The Limits of Immortality", Big Jo explains the Lost City of Cremorrah was ruined when its citizens threw a party while their own king was away.
      Big Jo: "Can you imagine such disrespect?"
      Bean: "No, I cannot imagine. Such disrespect."
  • Casting Gag:
  • Central Theme: Growth, understanding, and knowing who you truly are.
  • Chekhov's Gun:
    • The statue of Bean's mother. First it turns out to be covering the entrance to the Royal Crypt, then it turns out it's not actually a statue.
    • When exploring Cremorrah, Big Jo tells Bean the populace was petrified by a single spell from their rivals. Two episodes later, we see that spell in action.
    • The magic Crystal Ball, which reveals a very big secret in "Dreamland Falls".
  • Coming-of-Age Story: The series works as this for Bean, who tries to figure out who she is exactly.
  • Conditioned to Accept Horror: The citizens of Dreamland are disturbingly indifferent to the widespread plague in their kingdom. The "Plague Patrol" that picks up corpses to be dumped and cremated in a mass grave is treated as a regular occurrence. Bunty even cheerfully talks about cleaning up one of her dead children before having him thrown into the pit, along with his little friends.
  • Constructed World: Much like many other fantasy stories, Disenchantment is set in a fictional world that doesn't quite resemble real-life Earth. Perhaps the most obvious difference about this alternate planet is that it's flat, and comes with an edge leading to a seemingly bottomless abyss. Though bizarrely, Odval nonetheless has a round globe in his office. Even more oddly, some throwaway lines mention the terms "French" and "German", even though France and Germany are nowhere to be seen.
  • Couch Gag: Naturally, seeing as the show was created by the same guy as the Trope Namer. The opening credits feature sketches of scenes from each episode.
  • Crapsaccharine World: The village of Elfwood. Although this place does look invokedconstantly happy and cheerful, and bad things very rarely ever happen to its inhabitants, it's strongly implied that the happy atmosphere is forced and artificial. As Elfo finds out the hard way, questioning the saccharine status quo will make you ostracized. Oh, and if you piss off the Elf King hard enough, such as attempting to sleep with his daughter, he will have you sentenced to death by hanging from the Gumdrop Tree, all while your fellow elves sing another cheerful song for your execution.note  It's really no wonder why Elfo gets sick of this place, he wants the right to choose to be openly happy or sad, in a much more realistic way.
  • Crapsack World: Dreamland is quite a medieval shithole, and it's all played for laughs at every opportunity. This kingdom is ruled by King Zog, a brutal tyrant who often sentences people to death and/or torture for a variety of offenses, such as attempting to sleep with his daughter. Most citizens are poor peasants, and even the nobility are going bankrupt. The country is being ravaged by disease outbreaks, with the bodies of plague victims regularly being collected to be cremated in a mass grave/pyre. Dreamland's relations with neighboring nations are tense at best, even with their allies, and the threat of war is always possible.
  • Crystal Ball:
    • A magic crystal ball is kept in the Dreamland castle, and is used by Sorcerio for scrying. It can also be used to (cryptically) answer simple questions, and can also record the surrounding area like a film or video (in "Dreamland Falls", Zog and Luci rewind it back by 15 years to find out what really happened on the day when Dagmar drank the poisoned wine and turned to stone.
    • A variation: the Enchantress uses a magical flame so that she and Emperor Cloyd can watch and spy on Bean, Luci, and the other protagonists from afar. At one point, Cloyd forgets that it's still a fire, and he accidentally burns his hand on it.
  • Crystal Dragon Jesus: The religion of Dreamland is heavily inspired by Christianity, but seems to be different in some aspects. For example, they use a spiral instead of a cross as its symbol. Also, they can't even seem to make up their minds (within a single line of prayer no less) if there is only one God, or if he has a brother. Though given that Luci is a demon who repeatedly mentions that he's from Hell, it's very likely that Heaven and some sort of God (or gods) probably exist in this universe too.
  • Darker and Edgier: Downplayed. With the laxer censorship on Netflix, Disenchantment has a little more adult content (such as nudity and violence) compared to Groening's previous cartoons, though it doesn't take it too far to the point of being gratuitous either. Also the show is still rated TV-14, much like the raunchier episodes of Groening's other two shows.
  • Dark Fantasy: Disenchantment has probably the most darkly humorous take on the dark fantasy genre in cartoon history, playing its medieval dystopian setting for laughs. Despite this, is still meets many of the traits of other Dark Fantasy stories. The royal palace is large and comfortable, and the royalty/nobility live in luxury; but the commoners live in severe poverty, filthy homes, and barely have enough to eat, and often have to make a living doing unpleasant work such as executioners. And despite the fact that the royalty and nobility have much more comfortable lives, they're also going bankrupt. Children may even start work as soon as they are born, taking jobs such as midwife, miner, or candle maker. The relations between the various nations are tense at best, and the threat of war is very real. Magical beings don't have it any better; fairies often work as prostitutes, while elves are hunted for their magical blood which can create the Elixir of Life. The elves by the way, live in a society where you are expected to act happy all the time... or else. And that's just the first season.
  • Deliberate Values Dissonance: Zigzagged. Given that the setting is based on medieval Europe (albeit rather loosely), there's quite a bit of period-appropriate cultural differences.
    • Played straight (sorta) regarding the gender roles of men and women. King Zog is constantly frustrated that his daughter Princess Bean is a rebellious tomboy who refuses to act like a proper lady, and is especially irritated by her sexual promiscuity. Bean herself is constantly frustrated that she's expected to place limits on her lifestyle just because she's a woman, and hates being reminded of this by men around her.
    • On the other hand, this is seemingly averted in regards to the relationship between Odval and Sorcerio, who are apparently gay lovers. Nobody seems to care about this one way or another, neither making homophobic remarks nor expressing sympathy for what would likely be a taboo romance. So far it hasn't really been treated as a big deal even worth mentioning.
    • Given that this takes place in the age before modern science, religion and superstition shape everyone's worldview. A quasi-Christian church is apparently in charge of Dreamland's state religion, and they're depicted as an organization of strawmen who aren't even consistent in their own beliefs (a priestess expresses doubts over whether a God even exists or not). Though considering that magic is real, and Luci is a demon who claims to be from Hell, this kinda comes across as Arbitrary Skepticism.
  • Devil, but No God: Even though there is an established Church that follows a quasi-Christian religion, and a professional exorcist who specializes in fighting demons from Hell, so far there has been no onscreen confirmation of the existence of angels, deities, or Heaven. This is part of the humor, because the aforementioned Church aren't even sure if their own God exists or not.
  • Downer Ending: The first season ends with most of Dreamland's population turned to stone, Elfo dead, Luci captured, Zog left completely alone in his castle with nothing to rule, and Bean only beginning to suspect her mother and completely trapped as her mother takes her to Dagmar's homeland.
  • The Dung Ages: Dreamland is an exaggerated example of this trope, entirely Played for Laughs. Special mention goes to the early morning plague victim collection wagon, which is played much like a garbage truck service.
  • Dysfunctional Family: The royal dynasty of Dreamland is definitely one big unhappy family, enough to put The Simpsons to shame.
    • Bean and Zog both seemed pretty happy way back when their beloved mother/wife Dagmar was still alive; but after her death, Bean's relationship with her father crumbled. Zog proved to be a very bossy and authoritarian parent, constantly trying to control Bean's life as much as he could, much to her angst. Now, Bean is a rebellious delinquent who does everything she can to piss off her dad, whether it's justified or not.
    • Zog's marriage to his second wife Oona looks very miserable as well. In the first place, they got married for political reasons, rather than out of any genuine love. At best they just tolerate each other, but it's obvious that they care very little about each other's company. Bean also dislikes her stepmother, seeing Oona as a poor replacement for her real mother. And Bean also doesn't get along very well with her half-brother Derek either.
    • When Dagmar comes Back from the Dead, it soon turns out that Zog's and Bean's romanticized, nostalgic memories of her have made them blind to the truth. Dagmar turns out to be one hell of a Bitch in Sheep's Clothing, who may not have ever even actually loved her husband, as she betrays and tries to kill him twice (once before she was turned into a statue, and once again after she's revived). She does seem to really care about Bean, but she's also manipulating her as part of a secret evil plan.
  • Early Installment Weirdness:
    • Elfo is a rebellious elf who is far more assertive in the first episode. By the second or third episode, he's far more passive and too timid to ask Bean out.
    • Similarly, there's a throwaway line in the first episode, where Bean says she's having to pretend she's a virgin for her wedding, but the fourth episode establishes that the men of the kingdom are terrified of going near her for fear of her father's wrath invoked(although that could be why they fear his wrath).
  • Eternal Sexual Freedom: Despite this being a Medieval European Fantasy, Odval is pretty open about his homosexuality, and nobody seems to care. Likewise, Bean's sexual promiscuity is seemingly only restricted by men fearing her father's wrath, rather than by any kind of religious or social conventions. Granted, the religion practiced in Dreamland is apparently new and hasn't worked out its doctrine yet, unlike real-life Medieval Christianity.
  • Fantastic Comedy: Being an animated sitcom set in an epic fantasy world, this is one of the sub-genres that this show fits into.
  • Fantastic Drug:
  • Fantastic Racism: In a fantasy world where different sapient races live, there's bound to be some speciesism, not unlike in Futurama.
    • It's implied that part of the reason why Oona isn't very well-liked in the royal court is because she's a Dankmirian. Though of course, it has more to do with her cold and aloof personality not doing her any favors for her image either.
      • Even her own husband Zog mutteringly calls her "Reptilicus", while he was unfavorably comparing her to his previous wife Dagmar, whom he actually loved and cared about. Oona overhears him and needless to say, she's offended by being called a "reptile".
      • After Dagmar's return, she asks Zog (with disgust) if Bean was raised by "that amphibian". Though of course, this is more out of Dagmar's jealousy towards the fact that Zog had even been remarried to a new wife in the first place.
    • Parodied when Bean, Elfo, and Luci sleep in a forest where a "racist antelope" lives. The antelope passes by, sees a human lying next to an elf, and expresses his disgust at what he mistakenly assumes to be an Interspecies Romance.
      Racist antelope: "An elf with a human girl? That ain't right." (spits)
    • The exorcist Big Jo really hates demons, and destroys every one of them that he captures. Though it's very understandable, considering that they're an entire race of Always Chaotic Evil bastards after all.
    • Tess the giantess suffers a lot of prejudice in "Love's Tender Rampage". She's dismayed that most humans treat her like a dangerous and mindless monster, when in fact she's really a decent and intelligent person. But her protests are to no avail and fall on deaf ears, as she (accidentally) breaks a few things, resulting in an angry mob chasing her out of town.
    • As Elfwood is a literal Hidden Elf Village, they're naturally a bit xenophobic and suspicious of outsiders. When Elfo brings Bean there, the Elf King complains about how humans are all evil and "bring nothing but pain and treachery"; however he (and the other elves) quickly warm up to Bean after she offers to share some booze with them. However, the place soon gets attacked by human knights from Dreamland, which does make Elfwood's isolationism and misanthropy seem more justified.
  • Fantasy Counterpart Culture:
    • Dreamland has a distinct Scottish flair. Several characters are shown to wear kilts, and in King Zog's flashback in the tenth episode, he participates in a caber toss. Not to mention Zog's accent, which sounds quite a bit like The Scotsman (who's also voiced by John DiMaggio).
    • Dankmire seems to be a weird mishmash of cultures. Oona and other upper-class people seem to be pseudo-Slavic, the architecture in the capital city looks (vaguely) East Asian, and the rural swamps are inhabited by stereotypical rednecks.
  • Fantasy Kitchen Sink: Much like Futurama's Sci-Fi Kitchen Sink, Disenchantment is set in a world where all kinds of magical/mythical creatures and entities exist.
  • Feminist Fantasy: Given that the show revolves around an Action Girl / Rebellious Princess protagonist who wants to challenge the limited roles that medieval society expects from an upper-class woman.
  • Foreshadowing:
    • During "The Princess of Darkness", when Big Jo is arriving in his chariot, a hexagonal symbol shows up and receives the focus for one shot. In "The Limits of Immortality", that symbol is explained and becomes a relevant part of the plot.
    • Also in "The Princess of Darkness", Bean raids the royal crypt and briefly mourns at the tomb of her grandmother... but never even comes across the tomb of her own mother, hinting that there was no body to bury and there was more to Dagmar's death.
    • In "Faster, Princess! Kill! Kill!", a Running Gag is that no matter what Bean does, the only thing she seems to be good at is killing and torturing even when he doesn't mean to do it. At the end of the first season, Dagmar reveals that Bean was prophesied to be a villain, which would explain it.
    • The Lost City of Cremorrah was destroyed when an enemy cast a curse that turned everyone in the kingdom to stone, with the King of Cremorrah being the sole survivor. By the end of the first season, what is implied to be the same curse is cast against Dreamland and everyone is turned to stone, with King Zog being the apparent sole survivor.
    • Regarding The Reveal about Elfo in "To Thine Own Elf Be True":
      • Elfo's design is notably unique among the other elves. In fact, he is the only one with olive green skin and has a creased, floppy hat while all other elves have straight conical ones. This foreshadows that he is not like the other elves, specifically, not a pure-blooded elf.
      • When Tess is able to see the truth about everything, she says she is going to reveal a truth about Elfo before he cuts her off and confesses to Bean. Tess however says that Elfo's feelings for Bean was not what she was going to say, because she was to stick to their deal, foreshadowing that there is a hidden truth about Elfo.
    • In the flashback of the incident where Dagmar was turned into stone due to poisoned wine, Odval says that the bottle he is giving the king has never been opened. This means that it could only have been poisoned by one of the people that were in the room, ergo, Dagmar herself.
  • Four-Fingered Hands: Played with.
    • Averted with Bean and all other human characters, who have five-fingered hands, unlike Futurama and The Simpsons where everyone had four fingers on each hand.
    • Meanwhile, non-human characters have varying amounts of fingers, depending on race/species. For example, Elfo (an elf) has four fingers on each hand; while Luci (a demon) and Oona (a Dankmirian) have three fingers on each hand.
  • Freeze-Frame Bonus:
    • In the first episode "A Princess, an Elf, and a Demon Walk Into a Bar", there is a ventriloquists' dummy shop across from the apothecary ("Now with 3 types of medicine!"). The signs in the dummy shop proclaim their wares as "haunted", "creepy", and "unnerving".
    • When Elfo is going downstairs to meet Sorcerio in "Castle Party Massacre", it's possible to see another creature walking in the castle dungeon. While it seems elf-like, it's not an elf.
    • When Luci is rewinding with the Crystal Ball, it's possible to see Fry, Bender, and Farnsworth in the Time Machine from the Futurama episode "The Late Phillip J. Fry" for a few frames.
  • Freudian Trio: With Elfo as superego, Bean as ego, and Luci (obviously) as id.
  • Functional Magic: Not that it should be any surprise given the setting. That said, actual competent magic users are rare. The Enchantress of Maru and possibly Big Jo are the only ones so far that seem to have reliable magical powers. Sorcerio was limited to card tricks until he got a hold of Elfo.
  • Have You Seen My God?: The High Priestess of Dreamland's state church goes on a rambling monologue about whether or not their God even exists - during a royal wedding! Odval remarks to the person next to him that this religion is "in it's early stages". Zog later calls off a quest to find the One True God, because he considers finding the Eternity Pendant to be a higher priority.
  • Hidden Elf Village: Elves live in the secret town of Elfwood, which is cloaked by magic, and can only be accessed if the entrance gate is lowered down.
  • Immortality Inducer: The Eternity Pendant, when filled with a drop of pure elf blood, can be used to bring people Back from the Dead or make them The Ageless. It does not appear to be a Fountain of Youth however.
  • Interspecies Romance:
    • Zog (a human) married Oona (a Dankmirian), and their son Derek is a Half-Human Hybrid. Played with, because it's really more of a loveless political marriage.
    • Elfo (an elf) has a (so far one-sided) crush on Bean (a human). It later turns out that Elfo himself is the product of an inter-species love affair, as his father Pops conceived him with a non-elf mother of an unknown species.
  • Ironic Name:
  • Lizard Folk: Oona and other Dankmirians. Though it's probably more accurate to call them Frog Folk, given their numerous amphibian-like traits. They have blue skin, three-fingered hands, can crawl on walls, have long sticky tongues that can catch flies, and females reproduce by laying eggs that are then fertilized by the males.
  • MacGuffin: The Elixir of Life, made from elf blood, and which various characters want for their own reasons. There's also the Eternity Pendant, which is one of the items needed to create the Elixir.
  • Meaningful Name: All elves have names that describe who they are and what they do. Except for Elfo.
  • Medieval European Fantasy: The show's setting, which it spoofs in the same manner that Futurama did for the Futuristic Science Fiction genre.
  • Mood Whiplash: The last two episodes of Season 1 get hit with this hard:
    • "To Thine Own Elf Be True" climaxes with Elfo's sudden death, which is played completely seriously after all the other character deaths were played for laughs. It gets worse when you learn the truth of what happened to Queen Dagmar, and that Bean was (accidentally) responsible. It then continues with Bean discovering she has the means to revive one, but not both, of them, leading to a tearful, but still grief-ridden, reunion with her mother.
    • "Dreamland Falls", though not without its jokes, is played much more seriously than any other episode of the series, as Dagmar is revealed to be evil and that she poisoned the goblet that turned her to stone. She then sets it up to look like Queen Oona is poisoning everyone in the castle with the same substance, before unleashing it upon the entire city of Dreamland.
  • Mundane Fantastic: Being a Matt Groening series, it's not a surprise that this is the way that magic and fantasy are depicted here.
  • Never Trust a Trailer:
    • The trailers made it seem like the wedding guests were fleeing because of Guysbert impaling himself, when in the actual show they're chasing after Elfo.
    • The trailer also implies that Bean sets out on her own adventure after refusing to marry. In the actual show, Bean remains in Dreamland (most of the time), and most of the plots that follow are episodic events. The only episode where she leaves the castle on her own is in "Faster, Princess! Kill! Kill!".
  • Nice, Mean, and In-Between: Elfo, Luci, and Bean respectively fit this dynamic.
  • Only Six Faces: Groening's distinctive art style strikes again. Elfo in particular is basically a green Bart.
  • One-Word Title: The title references its nature as a parody of fantasy stories, with their magic.
  • Our Demons Are Different: In this world, demons are small, black, one-eyed creatures from Hell that are made of darkness. By their nature, demons desire to spread evil and chaos wherever they go; however they are not pure evil, as Luci is shown to be capable of feeling genuine love and empathy for his friends, even if he prefers to hide it under a meaner exterior.
  • Our Dragons Are Different: Dragons are mentioned, but remain completely unseen so far. Prince Merkimer claims to have fought a dragon once, and apparently they (or at least some of them) have the ability to shoot out fire "from both ends".
  • Our Elves Are Different: Elves in this setting are a combination of Keebler Elves and The Smurfs, being diminutive creatures with names that sum up their entire character, who spend their lives singing and making candy. They also have magical blood, and haven't been seen by humans for centuries.
  • Our Fairies Are Different: So far only a few fairies have been seen, and only one of them has a speaking role; this unnamed Fairy is an elderly prostitute who lives in the forest. She's a small, winged pixie that looks like a (much older) expy of Tinkerbell.
  • Our Ghosts Are Different: While ghosts haven't been seen yet, they are implied to exist due to this dialogue exchange; when Bean and Luci meet for the first time, she mistakes the demon for a "weird ghost guy", to which he retorts that "ghosts are losers that got murdered".
  • Our Giants Are Bigger: So far only one giant has been seen, a huge woman named Tess. Despite her large size and great strength, she's quick to point out that she's (psychologically) not too different from other people.
  • Our Gnomes Are Weirder: Gnomes only appear in the first episode, being at war with the ogres. They look like garden gnomes.
  • Our Gryphons Are Different: A single griffon has been seen. In addition to being a hybrid of lion and eagle, they're also part human — they have the hindquarters of lions, the chests, heads and arms of humans (they walk on their knuckles) and the wings of eagles, in addition to very beak-like noses. Further, griffons have no sexual dimorphism; even the females look and sound masculine, despite laying eggs.
  • Our Mermaids Are Different: Mermaids are mentioned, but not exactly seen yet. They apparently live on Mermaid Island off the coast of Dreamland, and are believed to be deadly sirens who sing hypnotic songs that lure men to their doom; however, it soon turns out that the enchanting siren song is actually produced by a pack of walruses from nearby Walrus Island. At the very end of Season 1 though, Elfo's lifeless body washes up on a beach, and gets taken away by two obscured women who are strongly implied to be mermaids.
  • Our Ogres Are Hungrier: The ogres are first seen at war with the gnomes, where it looked like both sides exterminated each other. The ogres are tall, pale humanoids wearing loincloths. A surviving ogre who later reappears even uses Hulk Speak, before correcting his own grammar.
  • Overprotective Dad:
    • The downside to being a rebellious princess is that daddy Zog tends to kill any man that Bean might want to sleep with, much to her dismay.
    • The Elf King sentences Elfo to death for having sex with his daughter, with Kissy's reaction showing this isn't remotely the first time this has happened.
  • The Plague: Dreamland is being ravaged by a deadly infectious disease epidemic, and it's treated as a very common occurrence that's just mentioned in passing. The bodies of plague victims (mostly dead, some not quite dead yet) are regularly collected by the Plague Patrol to be thrown into a mass grave and then cremated in a huge fire. Bean, Elfo, and Luci were once mistakenly thrown into the Plague Pit after they passed out drunk on the street.
  • Redshirt Army: The Knights of the Zog Table. Aside from Pendergast, Turbish, and Mertz (these three seem to be wearing protective Plot Armor at all times), the other knights are not so lucky. Every time that Pendergast and his men go on a quest, at least one of them dies in a humiliating manner. It's probably best summed up by this line from "The Limits of Immortality":
  • The Reveal:
    • Elfo is not a full-blooded elf. His father eventually reveals that Elfo is a hybrid that he had conceived with a non-elf mother, however Elfo runs out of time before he can learn exactly who (or what) his mom was.
    • Queen Dagmar is the center of multiple reveals in the last two episodes of Season 1.
      • The memorial statue of her likeness that Zog and Bean use to mourn her? It's actually the real Dagmar herself after being turned into stone. Zog reveals to Bean that Dagmar had drank some enchanted wine that was meant for him, because a younger Bean had unwittingly switched their drinks around.
      • After Bean resurrects Dagmar with the Elixir of Life, it soon turns out that there were a few more secrets that even Zog was totally unaware of (until now). Dagmar was really Evil All Along and secretly plotted to betray her husband; she was the one who spiked the wine with a potion, only failing because Bean accidentally swapped their drinks. Now that she's back, Dagmar is free to backstab Zog again (in a much grander way), and continue her mysterious schemes to manipulate Bean.
  • Running Gag:
    • Elves being named after a defining personality trait, ending with "-o."
    • Jokes about Bean's buck teeth.
    • People mistaking Luci for a weird cat.
  • Sliding Scale of Continuity: Slides between Level 2 & 3 in the first season.
    • Level 1: There is a touch of Negative Continuity regarding Elfo and his personality. The first episode establishes him as a 'horny rebel' who doesn't care about his duties on the production line and just wants to bang the daughter of the town leader. He fits in so badly that he is sentenced to death by hanging and then after that fails he leaves even after they offer to wipe his slate clean if he remains. By the middle of the season he's turned into a highly awkward virgin nerd type who is painfully infatuated with Bean to the point where he invents a Girlfriend in Canada to distract Bean from asking questions about his feelings. Bean's character has her sexuality toned down a notch from the first episode, where she quips about not being a virgin, afterwards she appears a little bit more bashful and inexperienced due to her potential suitors being too afraid of Zog.
      • "Faster Princess! Kill! Kill!" ends with Zog telling Bean that he's proud of her, with the two of them sarcastically quipping about how she's obviously too rebellious and independent to care about his approval though. The very next episode, "Swamp and Circumstance", ends with him saying it again, and her response is an choked up declaration that he's never said that to her before in her entire life.
    • Level 2: Respecting the Status Quo. With Bean in general as she never truly 'breaks the shackles' of her upbringing as you might have been lead to believe by the trailers, she usually ends up right back at the Castle with Zog.
      • Apparently unintentionally done in the final episode, where the characters discuss a course of action that may lead to war with Dankmire, failing to remember that Bean's hijinks as an Ambassador and their subsequent escape was met with a (brief) declaration of war by the Chancellor of Dankmire.
    • Level 3: Serialisation applies in particular to the later episodes of the first series. There are occasional appearances by characters who you might otherwise expect to have vanished after the episode that introducing them or killed them. Tying into the Level 1 characterization of him as an awkward virgin, Elfo's relationship with Kissy isn't revisited until the penultimate episode, where he thinks her new boyfriend is their child.
  • Sliding Scale of Idealism vs. Cynicism: Much like Matt Groening's other works, it seems to be somewhere in the middle, featuring a very cynical sense of humor, but with an underlying idealistic message.
  • Soft Water: King Zog likes dropping people (especially the Jester) through a trapdoor out of his castle into the ocean below, which they (usually) survive hitting. Except when Bean does it to defeat the Land Vikings, but due to the low tide, they are killed in the process.
  • Taken for Granite: This happens a lot in the last two episodes of Season 1.
  • Tiny Guy, Huge Girl: Elfo is evidently attracted to women who are taller than he is, in particular Bean, though his one-sided crush on her has yet to develop into an actual romance.
    • This trope is also invoked in "Love's Tender Rampage" when Elfo, trying to hide his feelings for Bean, lies that he has a gigantic girlfriend, which eventually results in a random giantess named Tess being forced to date him.
    • When Elfo returns to Elfwood in "To Thine Own Elf Be True", he finds that his ex-girlfriend Kissy is now dating Shrimpo, who is noticeably shorter than both of them. When Elfo talks with his father Pops, he reveals that the fetish for "bigger women" seems to run in the family... because Elfo's mother is taller than any elf.
  • Theme Naming: Major human characters, Bean herself excluded, seem to be named after various real historical figures, such as King Zog, Queen Dagmar, and Prince Merkimer (slightly altered).
  • Those Two Bad Guys:
    • Emperor Cloyd and the Enchantress, who are a Big Bad Duumvirate that are never seen apart.
    • Big Jo and Porky have shades of this too, with Elfo describing them as having a "very toxic relationship".
  • The Un-Reveal:
    • Malthus the Philosopher is about to tell Bean how he knows who she is, but Luci interrupts and makes them leave before he can.
    • We don't find out exactly what species Elfo's mother was.
  • Wham Episode: The last two episodes of Season 1, "To Thine Own Elf Be True" and "Dreamland Falls".
    • "To Thine Own Elf Be True": Elfo turns out to not be a true elf. He then gets shot in the back with an arrow and dies in Bean's arms. Bean passes up a chance to resurrect him in favor of her mom.
    • "Dreamland Falls": Bean's mother Dagmar turns out to be evil, turns nearly everyone in the kingdom into stone statues, and runs off with Bean to a distant land.

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