Accidental Aesop: "The Little Guy" shows just how empty someone's life is when they buy into hateful propaganda, especially if they aren't a hateful person. Wesley is constantly abused by his fellow Watchdogs, for example by being the victim of physical assault, being forced into the back of an audience he can't see over, and getting left behind by Lord Hater's ship when tracking Wander. After finding Wander, Wesley is so paranoid thanks to Hater's demonization of Wander that he ends up unable to appreciate their genuine kindness, nearly attacking Wander and Sylvia when they cook a meal to share and only taking a chance when he realizes just how hungry he's gotten. Only after spending some time learning that Wander and Sylvia aren't at all like Hater's propaganda made them out to be does Wesley find genuine happiness and something he can believe in, ultimately faking his own death to free them after he leads their capture so he can go his own way and follow Wander's example in kindness.
Season 2 makes it clear that he definitely knows more than he lets on and that he's surprisingly manipulative, though he's still a bit of a ditz. Which begs the question: Exactly how intelligent IS Wander?
'The Night Out' and 'The End of the Galaxy' paint one for Dominator. Is she really an irredeemable monster, or does she take her anger out on the universe because she is lonely and doesn't know what friendship is like? Also, did she really deny reforming in the finale, or did Wander get through to her? (at least to an extent) To add on to this, is she evil because she is lonely, or is she lonely because of her being evil? Was her loneliness the cause of her evil? Or is she conflicted between her love for destruction and her desire for companionship?
Angst? What Angst?: Beeza and her species in "The Ball" had to constantly move from planet to planet to escape from Buster, who practically destroys not only the planet but all the hard work they had done in it. Sure, they treat it as routine, but it gets worse when she mentions that they have no planets left and they will just keep flying until they run out of fuel or food, whichever comes first.
More significantly, Wander is apparently thousands of years old and he has likely outlived most of his past friends and companions. He certainly doesn't show it. That is, of course, unless this is what he was referring to when he said he knows what it's like to be helpless...
Awesome Ego: Lord Hater definitely, but to a lesser extent, Emperor Awesome fits this by trope and even more so by trope name.
Dominator fits this tropes as well. She knows she's awesome and so does the audience. However this is actually deconstructed later in the season. Her egomania has disastrous consequences on her as a person, causing her to view everyone else as inferior causing her to cut herself off from any social interaction, resulting in crippling loneliness. Worse still, her ego further prevents her from acknowledging this as an issue, and hence, she makes no effort to change herself for the better.
Wander, the lead protagonist, has become this. Many fans love him and find his antics entertaining and fun, but others find him incredibly annoying and uninteresting compared to Lord Hater. (Though this has largely died down as of Season 2.)
Lord Dominator. For half the fanbase she's a breath of fresh air, a Genki GirlOmnicidal Maniac and a competent villain who poses a legitimate threat and remains immune to Wander's attempts at friendship and shipping with Hater. For the other half, she is considered a flat Mary Sue-type villain who unfairly steals attention away from the main 4. Though this changes slightly towards the end of Season 2, where she received a bit more character development.
Lord Hater's change in personality between Seasons 1 and 2 is also subject to debate. To elaborate, in season 1, while still a Psychopathic Manchild whose tyranny is being diminished by his obsession with Wander, he is still a badass force to be reckoned with. In season 2, he has been reduced to a Big Bad Wannabe, his Psychopathic Manchild traits have been turned Up to Eleven, and he is incapable of performing the simplest of tasks without Peepers' assistance. (Who himself went through a similar reversed change between seasons, but has been very well-received.) Fans rejoiced at the sudden return of his utter badassery in the season finale.
The season 2 finale has raised one major question. Should Lord Dominator be reformed? Or is she better off as a villain?
Bizarro Episode: "The Void", in which Wander and Sylvia visit a white space (think Michael Crichton's Sphere) where anything either of them dream up comes immediately true, and the rules of logic and common sense do not apply. It's pretty much non-stop insanity from start to finish. Which, considering that the normal episodes are pretty deranged too, is saying a lot.
"The Bad Neighbors" is essentially "What if this show was a cheesy sitcom starring Hater and Peepers with Emperor Awesome as the Sitcom Arch-Nemesis?"
The plot of "The Battle Royale" has stirred up the fanbase. While the fight scenes featuring recurring and fan favorite villains along with Sylvia and Peepers getting development on their relationship was very well received by the fandom, the main criticism comes from Wander's romance plotline. Some have vocally expressed disgust over Wander trying to fix Hater up with Dominator after discovering her secret since it feels that Wander is using her as a tool to make Hater good. Others have looked over this problem and have faith that Dominator will still be her own person, and vicious threat to the galaxy, and it will lead up to Wander's own character development. The ending to the episode, too: Some are excited to see what will happen now that Hater has a crush on Dominator, others are calling it a cop out and are worried the romance will take over the show. It later turns out that the latter is not the case.
Due to what was mentioned under What Could Have Been, is the show good as it is by being mostly episodic with hints of a larger story, or could it have been better if it was more serialized?
The theme song. Dear Lord Hater, the theme song... Whether or not people like the show itself, the theme song either perceived as extremely catchy due to its upbeat kazoo and plucky banjo meshing well with the Title-Only Theme Tune, while others absolutely despise it for repeating the same melody over and over and over again along with the show title, with no variety in the lyrics. But then again, even those who loathe the theme song are willing to admit that it is catchy at times...
Crazy Is Cool: Wander, continually saving planets by basically acting like a complete goofball. Highlights include stopping a feud in "The Good Deed" by acting out an elaborate courtroom scene by himself and literally confusing everyone into submission, to saving an entire planet by wining a dance off in "The Party Animal".
In "The Boy Wander", Dr. Screwball Jones gets this with his tickle machine. Subjecting Tickle Torture on unwilling subjects, and then overpowering Hero!Wander in a fight? Deliberate Nightmare Fuel and suspense. Doing it while singing a polka Villain Song? Hilarious.
In "The Black Cube" when everyone where confessing their bad days, one of the gang of teenagers mentioned that he is suffering from a distinct case of ennui... but then he admitted that he use words he doesn't understand to sound important.
Lord Dominator slowly petrifying Emperor Awesome with cooled lava as he looks on in complete and utter fear is actually kind of horrifying. But then...
Awesome (afraid): Don't be like that babe! Come on, what about the good times? Hey... take it easy D!
Lord Dominator: That's Lord Dominator if you're nasty.
Dominator stopping to take a selfie with a crying Wander and Sylvia, who have Puppy-Dog Eyes as she prepares to destroy the last flower they've found.
Dominator performing a continuous fake-out with her drill just to scare the refugees over and over again in 'The End of the Galaxy'. Wander tells her its very emotionally exhausting.
The rallying cry for the whole galaxy at the climax of the season 2 finale. It Makes Sense in Context, as they are cheering Lord Hater who's trying to stop Dominator's giant drill, but still...
There are those who ship Dominator with Queen Tyr'ahnee. Them being competent villains in a world full of goofballs helps.
Cult Classic: Ever since the announcement of the show's cancellation, the fans have recollected stories of how Wander Over Yonder cheered them up on bad days or even helped them through depression. To this day, letters continue to be sent to Disney XD and the petition continues to receive signatures. The series is now remembered for its fluid animation, heartfelt storytelling, charming characters, and being one of Disney's most criminally underrated shows.
Peepers too. Although he is The Dragon and quite ruthless, he also earns sympathy for being a cute little eyeball that is good at his job and would have conquered the galaxy earlier if not for Hater's terrible leadership. He also spoke for so-called "nerds" everywhere in his Hannibal Lecture to Emperor Awesome.
The Black Cube was popular in the fandom ever since his episode debut, however after the episode "The Black Cube" he won the hearts of the fans.
Ripov was a one-off parody character who instantly became a fan-favorite.
Major Threat is one of the most well-liked minor characters for his hippie personality, cool powers and design, and his change of heart caused by "Tumbleweed".
An odd variant occurs with Giuseppe, the watchdog tailor from "The Eye on the Skullship". After a misspelling of his name on the Wander Over Yonder wiki, a fan character was created by the name of Jacepi the Watchdog, a bizarre, snake-obsessed weirdo who the fandom is absolutely in love with.
Evil Is Cool: Among the things in Lord Hater's army are catapults that launch flaming stone skulls and a giant robot. Emperor Awesome too.
Wander's backstory is hinted at throughout the second season but never revealed. Where did he come from? What was it that made him feel so helpless that he dedicated his life to helping others? We know that he's lived for a very long time, but what did he do during that time? What is his relationship with Dr. Screwball Jones? (The status of his backstory as Fanfic Fuel is even lampshaded and parodied in "The Legend".)
What happened to Sylvia's dad?
How did Hater and Peepers meet? For that matter, what is Hater's origin story? This was originally planned to be revealed in season 3 but since that is cancelled, it remains shrouded in mystery.
Another one with Fish Hooks, due to that series, a Cliché Storm, getting a third season and a finale in favor of Wander, and reruns of that show replacing "The Hero" and "The Birthday Boy"'s premieres.
Fanon: Wander is often called a "star nomad". McCracken did call Wander "nomadic" and there's a star on his hat. This also became in-universe Fanon in "The Legend" when a girl talks about her fanfic of his origins.
The Firefly Effect: It's rather telling that the show's popularity skyrocketed only when it was announced that it was going to be canceled.
Wanderers and Fallers get along very well, especially since Wander's space and planets motif is often crossed over with Mabel Pines.
The fandoms for Wander Over Yonder and Undertale are also on good terms with each other, thanks to the shared premise of befriending new faces as opposed to battling them, the quirky characters and settings, and off-the-wall humor. You will find no shortage of crossover fanart between the two across the Internet, with the characters from both universe either cosplaying or getting along fine with one another.
An odd inversion. In "Battle Royale" Wander defeats Dr. Screwball with a "Bang!" Flag Gun, prompting the latter to enact an overly dramatic death scene. Hilarious? Yes, only it recalls when the DCAU Joker died due to a Brainwashed and Crazy Robin shooting him with a lethal version of the gun. Bonus points for Wander being in his "grim and gritty" heroic mode.
Emperor Awesome hitting on Sylvia, especially Sylvia's reaction. Then Awesome tries the same on Dominator and gets coated in lava; then in the next episode "My Fair Hatey", being trapped in the dungeons, broken.
Sylvia in "The Egg" stubbornly refuses to be affectionate to the titular egg, which provides for a lot of gags as Wander through banjo tries to convince Sylvia to act more motherly until they return the egg to its nest. Then you learn that Sylvia ran away from home and has issues with her mother, and it can be very hard to watch her lack of affection.
Wander thinking he got Lord Dominator a cactus in "The Sick Day" becomes drastically tragic when in "The Flower" she chases him and Sylvia down just to destroy a flower they've rescued, and to take a selfie of them with Puppy-Dog Eyes and Broken Tears.
Specifically Wander being revealed in "The Wanders" that he helps people because he knows what it's like to be helpless himself, which makes any episode where he suffers Chronic Hero Syndrome much sadder.
"The Bot" ends with Beep-Boop refusing to give the location of the planet he met Wander in to protect him and being destroyed by Dominator for it. However, by the time of the season 2 finale,Dominator has destroyed all the planets of the galaxy except the Secret Planet, which means that his sacrifice was in vain.
With the news that Disney is pulling the plug on the show prematurely, some of Wander's lyrics from "My Fair Hatey" become extremely painful to long time fans.
Wander: We gave it a go/Put on a heck of a show/And did a lot of fun stuff we'll get to laugh about after...
In the Wander Over Yonder shorts, Wander at one point does an accurate impression of Lord Hater and while in character ends up listing all the things that he and Hater end up doing together: "We'll have brunch together, throw a raging party, play songs, sing songs, maybe do a whole musical. Or perhaps I'll find love, and Wander will be so happy. And I'll make him my emergency contact-"
Sylvia perking up every time Wander sings "If You Wander Over Yonder" becomes this after learning she named him after capturing him for a bounty.
The Watchdogs clamoring for Andy's show in "Eye on the Skullship" after Hater forcibly cancels it becomes this in light of the fans doing the same thing on hearing the news that Wander Over Yonder was not renewed for a third season.
A magic green hat that gives you what you need, not necessarily what you want. Sounds familiar.
Keith Ferguson in this series plays Lord Hater, whose legitimately dangerous qualities are outdone by the fact he's kind of an insecure loser. He'd later go on to play Reaper, who is legitimately dangerous, but due to his "edgy" design and motivation that boils down to wanting people to pay attention to him, fans treat him like an insecure loser.
He would also go on to play a character who is a lot like Wander whom Hater, well, hates, in Craig McCracken's next show.
While we don't see an owner in "The Ball", Buster does have a dog tag with his name on it. So Beeza and her people have a new home until Buster's owner (or someone else) finds him and decides to give him a bath/flea dip. (Though it's possible Buster may have simply run away from home, and the Ballzarians seem to be alive as of season 2)
Stretching the definition of "inferred", the number of planets that Lord Dominator has destroyed has led to an onslaught of refugees and survivors seeking sanctuary. "The Secret Planet", "The Show Stopper", and "The Legend" actively shows the consequences.
Informed Wrongness: In The Loose Screw Wander and Sylvia tag along with Starbella, an elderly space heroine, and end up learning that she'd not as useless or delusional as she might seem. Except she actually is, almost letting her ship self destruct, and meandering around while a planet is being conquered while Wander and Sylvia need to push her along.
It Was His Sled: While Dominator's face reveal was meant to come as a surprise, both in- and out-of-universe, her popular design and personality among fans all but insures the twist is rather well-known.
Lord Hater. He's proven himself to be a very evil and ruthless individual, but he's also a socially awkward Butt-Monkey. Certain episodes also imply that he's only evil because he's trying to compensate for his insecurities and really just wants to be popular.
Commander Peepers. Evil bad guy and ruthless second-in-command? Yes. Butt-Monkey whose boss is a Manchild and has only recently come to appreciate him? Also yes.
The Black Cube of Darkness may be a soul-stealing Eldritch Abomination, but after the events of "The Black Cube" it is easy to see why he turned out that way. He is staying at a run-down apartment that he can barely afford rent because he has a crappy job at a fast food joint, his girlfriend dumps him, his lack of hands makes even the simplest of tasks a chore, and everyone either hates or fears him because of his power. Even when he saves one of the punks harassing him, a mob forms to attack him. Luckily, things seem to be looking up for him in the end.
Whether Dominator qualifies for this is up for debate. In "The End of the Galaxy", she's revealed to be excessively lonely, and despite the fact that she enjoys torturing others, she's still desperate for companionship. Her Villainous Breakdown at the end of the episode also implies that she has problems with denial. However, given all the atrocities she's committed, and the fact that she actually turns down Wander's offer of friendship, there are fans who refuse to sympathize with her.
Janet from "The Lonely Planet". Yes, she's a mentally unstable Yandere who tries to murder Sylvia but she's also extremely lonely and desires companionship.
Emperor Awesome is a narcissistic frat-boy who wants to conquer the galaxy as much as any other villain. That said, it's hard not to feel sorry for him when his encounter with Dominator gives him PTSD.
A lot of Jack McBrayer's fans took an interest in the show in the first place specifically because he voices Wander.
A lot of fans who don't like Wander or Sylvia but love Lord Hater will only watch the Lord Hater episodes.
Lord Dominator's song "I'm the Bad Guy" went viral on Tumblr (at over 50,000 notes), earning her many new fans who had never watched the show, many of whom only intend on watching the episodes with Dominator in them.
Love to Hate: Fans love Lord Hater, with some even saying that he makes a better protagonist than Wander. Craig McCracken eventually confirmed this was his intent. (The show is meant to follow Hater's character development, Wander is simply there to guide him along.)
Dominator gets this more than almost any other character.
From "The Picnic", Wander carefully scooting down the side of the crater.
Lord Hater is a reaction face gold mine.
Wander taking selfies.
It's quite common on Tumblr for fans to take clips from the show (that involve notable movement) and sync them up to popular songs or pieces of music. Usually the first shot of Wander in the opening, where he's walking with changing backgrounds. This meme even resulted in an official Wander over Yonder promo set to Quest to the Hall of the Mountain King
Photoshopping Lord Hater's face onto gifs of other skeleton characters.
A Freeze-Frame Bonus in "The Waste of Time" gave birth to the (surprisingly convincing) theory that Lord Hater was once an astronaut monkey. This spawned a series of "Lord Hater is a monkey" fanart. Even the creators have caught on to this!
Captioning goofy gifs and screencaps of Lord Hater with "The Embodiment of Satan".
Photoshopping Lord Dominator's selfie face from "The Flower" onto tragic or horrifying scenes, usually from Disney movies. These are appropriately known as "Misery selfies".
A misspelling of the name "Giuseppe" on the Wander Over Yonder wiki has led to the creation of the fan-character Jacepi the (snake-obsessed) Watchdog.
In "The Tourist", Trudi crosses it when she pops Wander's orbble and leaves him to die in space, just before he blows another orbble and realizes how jerky he's become.
In "The Bot", we all lose our sympathy for Dominator when she executes Bot 13/Beep Boop after undergoing its HeelFace Turn. It serves as a reminder that despite her silliness and annoyance with Hater, Dominator is still a serious and threatening villain.
Brad Starlight crosses it in "The Hotshot" when he and his cousin plan to kill Wander and Sylvia for realizing Brad is the Fake Ultimate Hero Hotshot.
The song "The Commander's Last Command" from "The Axe" contains such silly lyrics as "a sandwich took our planets". Does this make the song any less heartwrenching? Hell no.
The episode "The Black Cube" is about a floating black cube's spiraling depression. The episode has a sense of silliness given the main character but the episode's continuous Humiliation Conga and oppressive atmosphere successfully makes it rather sad.
Despite Cashmere's voice actor, as stated above, he remains a relatively popular character in the fandom.
The pink and green alien who appears at around 0:19 in the theme song has quite a bit of fan-art for a character who has never appeared in the show.
The two-headed fruit bartender from 'The Bad Guy' has a ton of fanart, moreso than any of the other characters in that episode.
The drill sergeant and Giuseppe the Watchdog tailor in "Eye on the Skullship".
Ted from Accounting.
The Willhelm Warbler.
Ms. Myrtle the space turtle.
Paranoia Fuel: In "The Lonely Planet", we meet a planet who is not only alive, but can control the weather, plant growth, and plate movement, and use those to harm people. How do we know the other planets in this universe (including ours) aren't like this?
In "The Sky Guy", we see a roughly tennis-ball sized planet full of small people that exists within a small orb. Said small people have no idea of the universe that exists outside of their orb. How do we know that we aren't in that exact same position?
Rooting for the Empire: As of "The Cool Guy" and Peepers' Hannibal Lecture to Emperor Awesome about how "nerds" get things done in the world, at least one viewer is rooting for Commander Peepers to spread evil through the galaxy.
Hater's speech in "The End Of The Galaxy" is so damn epic it's almost IMPOSSIBLE not to root for him!
Suspiciously Similar Song: The melody of Emperor Awesome's theme song "Let's Get Awesome" almost completely sounds like "I Like To Move It" by Reel 2 Reel, made famous for the Madagascar series.
They Wasted a Perfectly Good Plot: "The Robomechabotatron" is about the main 4 working together to fight Dominator in a giant robot battle, right? Nope. They can barely set aside their differences to pilot it, and end up destroying the titular robot in the end due to Wander pulling the hypocrite card. Lord Dominator is understandably peeved about the lack of a fight. Although seeing as how a third season was planned, this may have been meant to show that the main 4 characters still have a long way to go in terms of character development.
Although almost all the minor characters from past episodes showed up in "The End of the Galaxy", they barely interact with each other, or even get to fight the Dom-Bots onscreen for that matter.
Too Good to Last: The show's cancellation was officially announced after the very well received My Fair Hatey.
The opening sequence, showing off the sheer variety to every character and world introduced in the show, repeatedly cycling through different backdrops and aliens- each of which feels different to the last. It's a real testament to the creativity and imagination behind the show.
Wander and Emperor Awesome's dance off in "The Party Animal" has some very fluid animation.
Wander and Screwball's duel in "The Boy Wander" has amazing lighting usage that lends a sinister air to this otherwise silly fight scene.
Hater's and Dominator's fight in "The Battle Royale" is brilliantly animated and action-packed.
"My Fair Hatey" is full of this. One notable example is "I'm The Bad Guy", Dominator's Villain Song which is animated very smoothly.
Wander at times, especially his helpless persona in "The Wanders" and "The Hole Lotta Nuthing". The reveal that he's almost immortal and has outlived almost all his past friends only adds on to this. Many fans have wondered how he even has the strength to go on.
Sylvia as well; she's constantly on the receiving end of slapstick and Amusing Injuries. taken to an extreme in "The Sick Day" where she bends over backwards to fill in for Wander while he's sick, getting mauled by Captain Tim twice, by Awesome's tigers once, chased by Dominator's bots, and more. All of this while trying to make sure Wander stays in bed and rests, and then has to contend with a lovable space turtle the size of a planet, who threatens to destroy the universe unless Sylvia gets rid of Wander's snickerdoodles. In a less Butt-Monkey way, she's also had a pretty bad past. Her father died when she was young and she had a poor relationship with her mother. This led to her running away and becoming a bounty hunter and a galactic criminal. It's clear Sylvia feels ashamed of her past and wishes to move on.
Both Wander AND Sylvia in "The Flower". The duo spend the entire episode trying to save a flower, just to cling onto any hope they may have after witnessing Dominator's nigh-complete destruction of their home. Their efforts are futile, as the flower dies anyway. However, Wander still doesn't give up hope, and as such, neither does Sylvia.
Wander's Hat gives the wearer whatever they truly need, but in "The Bad Hatter", it's revealed that the Hat can be tortured into giving the wearer whatever they WANT. It's also revealed that the Hat has had a history of being tortured for its power before Wander came along.