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"I come for the games, but I stay for the burnt-pizza smell."
—Ron Stoppable, Kim Possible
One for the Stock Parodies: an obvious pastiche of Chuck E. Cheese's, a combination pizza restaurant and "family-fun" center. It's the home of arcade games, ball pits, mediocre pizza, creepy costumed characters, and really bad animatronics. Working here is worse than Burger Fool.
The Real Life chain was created by Nolan Bushnell, the founder of Atari. It reached its heyday in the 1980s, but also suffered bad publicity as a hunting ground for sexual predators. It has inspired a number of knock-offs throughout the country (and even an adult version in Dave & Buster's), which (except for D&B) have gone into similar decline. Similar properties exist outside the US, including the UK's Wacky Warehouse, though they rarely make their way into media.
Note that not all examples are terrible; some are rather awesome and kids will do anything to go there. (May still qualify as hell-on-earth for their hapless parents and the equally hapless teenage employees, though.)
- In Robin comics, Tim Drake's best friend Ives formerly worked at the Bomp'n'Stomp as costumed mascot Ricky Rat. This was such a craptacular job Tim suspected Ives was being abused.
- The film Made ends with a birthday party at an unnamed Suck E. Cheese's restaurant. Vince Vaughn criticizes a costumed employee for arriving only after the children have all left for the arcade, then offers him a bribe to go away.
- There's Woody Woodchuck's in The Pacifier. It does not look like a fun place to be. Kids screaming and fighting, the greeter at the door has those terrible-looking around-the-head braces ...
Shane: And they say war is hell.
- Subverted by Pizza Planet in Toy Story, which is actually a very cool place.
- Unless you count the little green three-eyed aliens... nah, they were cute.
- According to the DVD Commentary, the goal was to design a pizza place so cool that they just had to build it. And they did! It's in the Disney Studios park at Walt Disney World. (Tragically, the real version isn't as cool as the version seen in the film, consisting of a pizza counter and the same arcade games to be found all over the resort.)
- The Buckmans take a visit to an unnamed Suck E. Cheese's in Parenthood.
- John Cusack's character in Hot Tub Time Machine tells a story about how his character's father died after going to The Enchanted Forest of Pizza, a fantasy-themed pizza place.
- In Problem Child 2 Both families go there for dinner, and a food fight breaks out.
- In Role Models, the main characters take the kids to a Suck E. Cheese's that has chipmunk mascots.
- The eighteen-year-old main character of the YA book Prom, by Laurie Halse Anderson, works at something called an EZ-CHEEZ-E. She's Rompin' Ratty. Plenty of gory details.
- The Anxious Clown in The Wide Window.
- That's So Raven featured one of these. Raven even ended up ended having to disguise herself as an animatronic pirate.
- Sister, Sister had Buck E. Duck for an episode (which had the twins taking their SATs...for the second time... under the tutorship of that kid from Smart Guy... who is also their brother in Real Life...)
- House opened one episode with the Patient of the Week working in such a hellhole to earn a living for him and his parentless siblings. No wonder he wanted to perpetuate his illness so that his siblings would be taken into foster care.
- All That had "Stink E. Cheese's". The mascot was a skunk, and everyone delighted in the horrible smells.
- News Radio had "Petey the Pirate's Pizza Palace" in one episode, which was Matthew's favorite place to eat. Dave and Bill toughed it out, including him in the ball pit.
- Sonny With a Chance has Arcadia, which is kind of like a less noisy and crowded Dave & Buster's.
- In Living Color had Homey D. Clown running a deliberately cheap, unpleasant version. Spoofing Chuck E. Cheese's most famous slogan, it's "Where a kid can be a kid...as long as he don't get on my damn nerves!"
- Roundhouse mentioned a Suck E. Cheese's without showing it.
- An episode of The Big Bang Theory had Sheldon (who was obsessed with solving a molecular equation and was using the balls as subatomic particles) hiding out in the ball pit at one of these places, only to pop up at regular intervals like a prairie dog and shout "Bazinga!"
- The Office episode "Happy Hour" took places at a Dave & Buster's knock-off called Sid & Dexter's.
- Supernatural has Plucky Pennywhistle's Magic Menagerie, the focus of the episode of the same name, where people are overly cheery, the pizza tastes like 'butt' and kids are left there (As Sam was by Dean to go pick up chicks.) Lots of Lampshade Hanging about this parody, using the 'we only accept tickets here not money' bit for 'prizes'.
- One first season episode of Home Improvement mentions a place called Wacky Jack's Pizza Pagoda, which seems similar to places like this, but it's never seen onscreen, so it might be okay. However, the Taylors made history by being the first family to ever be kicked out of the place for having hyperactive and disobedient children; given what such places are like, that's saying a lot.
- Tim Wilson's song "Chucky Cheese Hell" is sung from the point of view of a bouncer at Chuck E. Cheese, where "The band sucks and the pizza's cold/And you eat it with a slobberin' four-year-old..."
- Ted E. Bear's Mafia-Free Playland and Casino from Sam and Max: The Mole, The Mob, & the Meatball, which is Chuck E. Cheese's crossed with organized crime.
- Oddly enough, there actually was a real-life Ted E. Bear's in Southern California, a small chain of Chuck E. Cheese knock-offs.
- Were they mafia-free, just doing business legitimately?
- Oddly enough, there actually was a real-life Ted E. Bear's in Southern California, a small chain of Chuck E. Cheese knock-offs.
- The backstory of Skullomania from Street Fighter EX: He was a salaryman forced to wear a stupid costume for a sale promotion, until one day, he decided he was the next generation of Kamen Rider.
- Freddy Fazbear's from Five Nights at Freddy's is relatively sane during the day, but during the night the animatronics, who are all wedged deep in the ass-end of the Uncanny Valley, are put in "Free-roaming" mode, and will try and stuff anyone they find in one of the costumes due to mistaking them for a costume-less animatronic. Which usually ends in their horrible death. And since in said game you're the night-shift security guard...
- And it's implied that they used to be in this mode during the day too, until a certain "biting incident"
- One of the members of the Anime Club in KC Greens recent strips reviews a "Whyme R. Reiner's" as a possible location for the new, HQ-less Anime Club.
- They revisit it at the end of part 5, only to find that the club could have just met in Clyde's mom's basement all along.
- A Something*Positive strip has Rory blackmailing Vanessa into taking him to the genuine article.
Vanessa: I want black olives on my half of the pizza, and for him -- what do you have that goes with emotional blackmail?
- Wonderella's friends have a surprise birthday party for her every year at "Chunk E. Cheeses," as seen here, here, and here.
- The protagonists of Scrambled Eggs tried to avoid attending one of Michelle's birthday parties by hiding at Chunky Cheesy's, because no one goes there anymore, at least according to Quint. It turned out Michelle had the place reserved for her party, so the kids ended up attending anyway.
- Kim Possible has "J.P. Bearymore's Pizza Partytorium" in the "Coach Possible" episode (referenced in the page quote). It is later destroyed in season 4 then rebuilt.
- Note that Jim, Tim and Ron love the place unironically whereas Kim and Mrs. Dr. P view it with amazing amounts of dread.
- Rugrats has "Piggy's Pizza Palace".
- My Gym Partners a Monkey has the very similarly-named Pig E. Porker's Pizza Palace.
- Dexter's Laboratory has "Chubby Cheese's", which featured animatronic Hanna-Barbera characters doing the Mushroom Samba with Dexter and employees who were part of a secret conspiracy, complete with Bond-style hidden lair.
- There's a parody called "Yucky Cheese" in Being Ian.
- Wall E. Weasel's ("We cram fun down your throat!") from The Simpsons. Also on season ten's "Bart the Mother," there was a place generically called "Family Fun Center." The joke is that this seemingly normal place was featured on one of FOX's "reality" specials of the mid-to-late 1990s (you know, the ones titled, "When Animals Attack" and "World's Wildest Police Chases"), in this case, it was featured on the fictitious special, "When Disaster Strikes 4".
"You're the birthday, you're the birthday, you're the birthday boy or girl!"
- There was an actual chain called "Family Fun Center" along the west coast, most of which combined a pizzeria with an arcade, go-karts, batting cages, mini-golf, and similar novelties. It's since changed it's name to the slightly less generic "Bullwinkle's Family Food And Fun". The dining area actually plays old Rocky and Bullwinkle cartoons in between the shows put on by the animatronic versions, but anytime I've ever eaten there, it's been too noisy to hear either.
- A Goofy Movie had a tourist trap called "Lester's Possum Park" that was partly this and partly a self-deprecating reference to the Country Bears at the Disney theme parks; and to top it off, he plants a possum mascot hat atop his son's head much to Max's apparent humiliation.
- In the Family Guy episode "Chitty Chitty Death Bang", Lois has booked Cheesie Charlie's for Stewie's birthday party. It's a nice enough place, but when Peter has a disagreement with the management and cancels the reservation he was supposed to confirm for her, he tells her a ridiculous story about how the restaurant/playground was actually a Haunted Castle deathtrap to justify what he did.
"Oh I'm sorry, you need fifteen tickets to live!"
- Ironically, a real Chuck E. Cheese's eventually appears in "Bill and Peter's Bogus Journey."
- Also ironic, in Real Life, Chuck E. Cheese's is called Charlie Cheese's in Australia.
- Pinky from Pinky and The Brain throws a birthday party for Brain at "Chunky Cheesy."
- South Park has Crust E. Crotch, a direct pastiche of Chuck E. Cheese's. It also features Whistling Willy's, a real life knock-off in Denver, as well as Casa Bonita, a real Mexican-themed restaurant and fun house in Denver.
- Invader Zim has the rather unsavory Bloaty's Pizza Hog. Being from a Crapsack World it was probably the worst of the bunch.
- Tom Goes to the Mayor has WW Laserz in the episode of the same name, a World War II-themed place complete with an animatronic doo-wop singing Hitler.
- Lilo & Stitch: The Series had one of these. The Experiment of the episode was convinced to take over the broken animatronics so it could indulge its attention-seeking nature and use its ability to control inanimate objects to help others instead of hurt them.
- Cheezy Sneezer's in Tiny Toon Adventures. Although the name brings to mind Caesarland, a Chuck E. Cheese's expy created by Little Caesars.
- In the short-lived cartoon adaptation of Baby Blues, there was a Chuck E. Cheese knock-off called Gum Drop Station. The place wasn't all that bad, but it did feature a busty blond singer in a white tank top and short-shorts known as "The Birthday Lady" as Parent Service for the bored dads.
- In the Aqua Teen Hunger Force episode "Spirit Journey Formation Anniversary", Master Shake assumes "ownership" of an abandoned Pizza Potamus restaurant (apparently a licensing spinoff of the Hanna-Barbera character Peter Potamus, lately of Harvey Birdman, Attorney at Law); the obligatory animatronic musicians were a pair of giant, realistic-looking, banjo-playing robot scorpions—to which Shake added Zakk Wylde "on washtub bass". In keeping with the usual tendencies of the show, it blows up before the episode is out.
- That is also where they took MC Pee Pants to apply for a job...before he/it is blown up.
- The Phineas and Ferb episode "Raging Bully" featured Gunther Goatcheese's, "the goat-cheesiest place in Drusselstein", and site of Dr. Doofenshmirtz's miserable childhood birthdays.
- An episode of Duck Dodgers featured a pasta place with a scary animatronic dinosaur mascot. When he was destroyed by Rocky and Mugsy, the kids all cheered.
- The Mighty B! had one with an Australian theme to it; the main mascot being a kangaroo with the accent. Which a supporting character fell in love with and stole.
- Chowder did something similar, with Shnitzel stealing Carlito con Queso's mascot.
- The SpongeBob SquarePants Movie had Goofy Goober's, basically Chuck E. Cheese combined with Farrell's Ice Cream Parlour, with a dancing peanut named Goofy Goober. Unlike most other parodies, this place is portrayed as not being soul crushingly depressing/scary/awkward/cheap, and is probably the most light hearted example on here as of this edit.
- No one came to Tootie's birthday party at "Mike E. Mozzarella's Pizza Funhouse" because of Vicky. Poor Tootie...
- Pizza Forest in Daria. In the premiere episode, Daria insists on going here with her family, just to torture them.
- An episode of Tuff Puppy has a version called Peet-Za Possum's.
- Birdz averts this with Ducky Cheese's, which is apparently a.) a good place for actual pizza, and b.) more of a traditional pizzeria than a funhouse one.
- Goof Nuts Pizza in the animated series of Napoleon Dynamite, where the animatronic animals songs are all about pizza(BTO's "Takin Care Of Business" becomes "Takin Care Of Pizza)
- Kip Dynamite is shown to be a huge fan of Goof Nuts Pizza, to the degree of taking his new girlfriend there on a date and burning her a mixtape of the animals' pizza songs.
- The Family Fun Center in the Bob's Burgers episode "Burgerboss" includes an animatronic band of some sort.
- Chowder: Carlito con Quesos features in "Weekend at Shnitzel's". Shnitzel falls in love with animatronic singer Seorita Mesquite.
- The main difference between them is that D&B has a full bar and has a slightly wider food selection