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YMMV / Over the Garden Wall

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  • Adorkable: Wirt, who is short, shy, and prone to occasionally lapsing into self-indulgent poetry.
  • Alternative Character Interpretation:
    • Auntie Whispers. Did she truly do what she thought was best for Lorna... or did she intentionally not banish the evil spirit inside her for good, out of fear that Lorna would leave her if she did?
    • Is the Highwayman an actual road robber, a Harmless Villain who only acts like a highwayman for his own reasons, but doesn't actually hurt or rob anybody, or just a performer at the tavern who dresses up as one? The applause he gets at the end of his Villain Song, as well as the fact that nobody else seems to have a problem with him, might hint at the latter two options although the comics reveal otherwise.
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  • Archive Binge: Considering that the entire series consists of ten 11-minute shorts, watching them all in one sitting is no different from watching a normal two-hour movie. Since its release, CN has tended to air all ten parts as a time-compressed special in reruns.
  • Awesome Art: Extremely fluid animation and tons of Scenery Porn throughout. Special mention goes to The Highwayman's surreal dance, the only shot animated in-house instead of being farmed out.
  • Better on DVD: Not only does watching every episode back-to-back help one keep up with the overarching story, but the length of each episode lends itself to Archive Binge (see above).
  • Big-Lipped Alligator Moment: The Highwayman's dance and Greg's dream stand out as big-lipped alligator moments in a series full of big-lipped alligator moments. Given that both are homages to 20s and 30s cartoons and the former is fifteen seconds of pure animation porn, no one seems to be complaining.
  • Complete Monster:
    • The Beast is the nightmarish creature that stalks the woods of The Unknown. Finding lost travelers wandering the forest, The Beast would turn their souls into Edelwood trees after driving them into complete despair, then grind the trees into oil to fuel his lantern, prolonging his own life. When The Woodsman steals his lantern, The Beast tricks him into continuing to grind Edelwood trees and keep the lantern burning under the illusion he was saving his daughter's life. The Beast later makes a deal with Greg to show him and his brother, Wirt, the way home, however, said deal was just a trick to drive the boy into despair. When Wirt attempts to save Greg, The Beast tries to manipulate him into becoming his new lantern-bearer, falsely promising Greg's soul would be kept alive within the lantern. After Wirt turns down this offer and reveals The Beast's lies to The Woodsman, The Beast makes one last attempt to kill the boys by trying to coerce The Woodsman into cutting them down with his axe. Taking deep joy from committing his atrocities, The Beast was a cruel and manipulative monster who prized his own immortality above all else.
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    • Soulful Symphonies comic: Mezz and Altimira are a pair of evil spirits summoned by the young woman Sophie to bestow talents upon herself, and though Mezz and Altimira at first seem to benevolently comply, their true monstrous nature soon becomes apparent. To fulfill their end of the pact with Sophie, Mezz and Altimira trick citizens of the surrounding town into performing on a grand haunted stage that Mezz and Altimira use to drain their life and curse their victims' souls to be trapped inside the spirits' theater for eternity, then grant the talents of their victims to Sophie while using their life forces to empower themselves. Wiping out the entire population of the town and piling the dozens of corpses underneath their stage, Mezz and Altimira force a horrified Sophie to lure more victims to them, planning to eventually gain so much power that they are able to spread their powers across the Unknown and devour the life of all they see fit, and the two spirits try to kill Sophie as well as her new friends Wirt and Greg to accomplish this depraved goal.
  • Cult Classic: Despite being a mini-series, the show has a dedicated fandom.
  • Creepy Awesome: Loads of them. The Woodsman, Auntie Whispers, Adelaide, the wolf from the first episode, and especially the Beast. Even the more benevolent ones like Enoch and the Highwayman have their own dedicated fans.
  • Die for Our Ship:
    • People who preferred Wirt/Beatrice didn't like it when Sara, a girl he has a crush on in his hometown, came into the picture. An even bigger and more literal example of this is the fact that Wirt had to nearly die in order to enter the Unknown and encounter Beatrice in the first place. Fanon likes to have him killed off at some point to let them get together.
    • And for those who did not see Sara as such a bad character, some who paired Wirt with either her or Beatrice showed dislike towards Jason Funderburker, Wirt's "rival" and Foil.
  • Draco in Leather Pants: Yes, there is sexy fanart of The Beast. 'Nuff said.
  • Ensemble Dark Horse:
    • Fred, an actual horse in this case. He doesn't have many lines, but each one is hilarious. He appears in only two episodes, with one line in his first appearance.
    • Lorna as well. She tends to get the most attention out of the one-off characters. She's very sympathetic and cute, and gets a very brief song with Wirt. Her Ship Tease doesn't hurt either. She's also considered to have a highly fascinating backstory with the dark spirit that possessed her, but with only eleven minutes, there just wasn't any time for it.
    • Wirt's crush, Sara, due to her being indirectly responsible for Wirt and Greg going to the Unknown, as well as she and Wirt making a nice couple.
    • The Woodsman's daughter. Despite only appearing twice in the show in-person (the first time being the intro animation), the fanbases love for this character is so huge, it could be seen from space.
    • The Highwayman, despite only appearing in one scene and having no bearing on the actual plot, gets a lot of attention from fans, most likely due to his memorable Villain Song. He later appeared, with a larger role, in the comic.
  • Evil Is Cool: The Beast is a menacing Eldritch Abomination with an awesome deep voice, a terrifying appearance and a haunting Villain Song - in short, everything you could want out of a great cartoon villain.
  • Fandom-Specific Plot: If it's not a fic about what's happening between episodes, it's a story exploring the scenario where one or both of the boys decide to stay/end up trapped in the Unknown instead of escaping. More specifically, there are many stories about what if Wirt took the Beast's offer to take up his lantern.
  • Fanon Welding:
    • An increasingly popular theory is that Greg is actually none other than Greg Universe as a child, the father of the eponymous protagonist in Steven Universe. Evidence includes several tidbits in the real world scenes indicate it's set in the late '70s/early '80s which would make him the appropriate age in the present day, he has a similarly shaped face, he'd clearly want a life of adventure, and we never learn the siblings' last name so it may well be De Mayo. However, this was later jossed in the episode Mr. Universe when it's revealed that Greg is an only child.
    • Others also believe that OTGW and Clarence take place in the same town due to a few Easter Eggs between the two, the most obvious being a full shot of the town in OTGW being reused from Clarence with a few modifications.
  • Friendly Fandoms:
    • With Gravity Falls. Helps that both shows focus on two siblings who are polar opposites in personality, as well as similar levels of weirdness and elements of horror in them. Steven Falls Over is a crossover fandom between Steven Universe, Gravity Falls, and Over the Garden wall. SU doesn't have as much in common with Gravity Falls and OtGW, but the fandom doesn't need any more than the fact that they are fan of all of these shows.
    • Fans of OTGW are good friends with those of Infinity Train since both shows are mini-series with quirky characters that delve into dark territories at times. It's not uncommon to state that the latter is just as good as the former.
  • Genius Bonus: Many, most of them hinting at the possible nature of the Unknown.
  • Harsher in Hindsight: The Reveal in the second episode that Pottsfield's residents are dead people and Enoch's invitation for Wirt and Greg to join them was already plenty creepy when it first happened, not to mention that the female resident comments that Wirt and Greg are a little "too early" to arrive. Then the last two episodes reveal that Wirt and Greg were possibly in the process of drowning the whole time, and that invitation seems much more meaningful and disturbing.
  • Hilarious in Hindsight:
    • The Beast has frequently been compared to the Operator for their similar appearances and hunting grounds. Come the release of his own movie, and that movie's version of the character turns out to inflict the same fate on his victims as the Beast, turning them into trees.
    • One of the songs in the series is called "Into The Unknown". Fast forward a few years and the signature, show-stopping song of Frozen II would share the same title, ensuring any OTGW fans who were also Disney fans would never quite look at it the same way again without picturing a certain Snow Queen. What makes it even more amusing is that, despite sharing the same name, the song by Greg's frog and Elsa's number couldn't be further apart in terms of tone if they tried.
  • Idiosyncratic Ship Naming: The fandom has developed several unique names for various ships, such as:
  • Iron Woobie: Greg. Throughout the entire series he remains unwaveringly optimistic despite the fact that his brother, Wirt, was neglectful most of the time (Before Wirt had his Jerkass Realization.), the fact that they had suffered an Et Tu, Brute? from Beatrice (even though Beatrice was just going to cut off the deal with Adelaide and that Wirt and Greg arrived at an inopportune moment), and that he almost dies to The Beast (though this wasn't because Greg was losing hope, but because The Beast had tricked him into waiting in freezing cold temperatures). His only concern was that he stole the Rock Facts rock.
  • It's Short, So It Sucks!: Inverted. Many fans would agree they'd like to see a little more than ten episodes, but its short length ensures consistent quality and doesn't let the series outstay its welcome. But, if you desperately want more, the comics are doing well to fill the demand.
  • Launcher of a Thousand Ships: Despite the series just being ten episodes long, Wirt has had Ship Teases with three different girls in that short a time: Beatrice, a bluebird (who's actually a cursed human) who helps them on their way home, Girl of the Week Lorna and Girl Next Door Sara from his hometown. In addition to this, parts of fandom will also ship him with Jason, Dipper Pines and even the Beast himself.
  • Memetic Mutation:
    • "I'm... the Highwayman."
    • The discussion between Wirt, Beatrice, and Fred over whether to steal from Endicott gets frequent scene redraw treatment online.
  • Moral Event Horizon: The Beast was revealed to have crossed this long before the show began. The final chapter reveals not only is the wood used to heat the lantern made from the souls of people who gave into despair, but he never saved the soul of the Woodsman's daughter with the lantern. It was his own soul he's tricked the Woodsman into feeding for ages. There's also his trying to get Greg to overexert himself so he can freeze to death.
  • Nightmare Retardant: "Come Wayward Souls," the Beast's Villain Song, can lose some of its creepiness once you realize it can be sung to the same cadence as "Oh Holy Night." However, this might also just add to the terrifying symbolism.
  • One-Scene Wonder: The nature of the series means there are loads of them.
    • The Highwayman has under a minute of screentime, but his brief song and dance is one of the most memorable moments in an already-weird series.
    • Auntie Whispers, who already appears in one episode, but it's easily one of the creepiest in the show, thanks in no small part to Tim Curry's unsettling performance.
  • Rewatch Bonus:
    • After The Reveal of Chapter 9, where the audience finds out about the true nature of the Unknown, watching the first Chapter again has some things that may have gone unnoticed before, such as the brief silhouettes of Wirt and Greg drowning, knowing where Greg's candy came from, why they're both dressed the way they are, and Wirt talking about his wounded heart and a graveyard (referring to Sara).
    • To a lesser extent in chapter two, when Wirt tries to dismiss Beatrice only for her to say she's obligated to stay by them until she can pay them back for helping her do to the "Bluebird Code", if you listen closely, you'll note she hesitates before mentioning this code. As we find out about half way through the story, she was (reluctantly) leading them on for her own ends and this code was likely something she made up on the fly.
      • The Harsher in Hindsight section above has a dose of this too considering that Pottsville is a city for skeletons and Wirt and Greg were close to dying...
      • Some of the things Beatrice says and does make more sense after finding out she used to be human.
      • Also, human! Beatrice's Early-Bird Cameo in the series opening.
  • Signature Scene:
    • Greg's terrified reaction to the dog's eyes in the first episode, nicely establishing the creepy and paranoid nature of the series.
    • The frogs singing the song the show's named for in episode 6.
    • The iconic shot of Wirt, Greg, and Beatrice walking in the sunny autumn forest in "Hard Times at the Huskin' Bee."
    • The Highwayman's song.
    • Greg leaving with the Beast in a Deal with the Devil at the end of episode 8.
    • The exchange in "Mad Love" where Beatrice makes a case for robbing Endicott by pointing out that they "already stole a horse," while Wirt argues that they didn't steal Fred as he's a talking horse and "can do whatever he wants."
      Fred: I wanna steal.
  • Spiritual Adaptation: As mentioned in the main page, the miniseries is a dark kid-friendly adaptation of Dante Alighieri's The Divine Comedy based on its characters, plot, and themes. Even 9 of the 10 episodes and locations correspond with the Circles of Hell in the story not to mention that both works have a woman named Beatrice as one of the main protagonists.
  • Special Effects Failure: A rare auditory example. After Greg and Wirt's rendition of The Adelaide Parade on the ferry, Wirt starts laughing... with a very obvious echo from Elijah Wood getting too far from the mic. A behind-the-scenes video shows that Wood was genuinely laughing and nearly tripped in the recording booth.
  • Tough Act to Follow: As Cartoon Network's first original Mini Series, which managed to see immediate critical and audience acclaim, Over the Garden Wall has gone on to cast a large shadow over all future miniseries that the network would produce such as Long Live the Royals, as well as shows that had their first seasons branded as such, like Apple & Onion and Infinity Train. Even if the general consensus is highly positive (like with Infinity Train), the question of "But is it as good as Over the Garden Wall?" will inevitably pop up. The creator of Long Live the Royals would even admit that knowing his show would be compared to OTGW was absolutely nerve-wracking.
  • Uncanny Valley: Auntie Whispers. Everything about her just looks wrong, and Tim Curry's creepy voice acting doesn't help at all.
  • The Woobie:
    • Wirt. He has a cripplingly low self-esteem, he's plagued by constant anxiety, he's Trapped in Another World with no way to know if he and his brother will get home, and that's before the plot kicks in.
    • Beatrice is somewhere between this and Jerkass Woobie, as she's extremely caustic and rude to the brothers before she starts warming up to them; however, she has quite the Freudian Excuse and tries to sacrifice herself to Adelaide of the Pasture when she realizes she can't sell her friends out, but loses their friendship anyway due to poor communication.
    • The Woodsman. It's implied the poor man has spent many years alone constantly trying to keep his lantern lit, believing his daughter's soul to be trapped inside. Made even worse when Wirt helps him realize that his daughter's soul was never there in the first place, instead he'd been keeping the Beast's soul alive. Not to mention that when the Beast reveals that the Edelwood trees he'd been chopping down all this time were grown from the bodies of the lost souls the Beast preys upon, the Woodsman is horrified.


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