By: Brooke Enright (She/They), SSW, RSSW
Edited by: Anonymous Community Member
I cannot begin to explain my love for this show. The diversity and inclusivity just make me feel so seen in a way I did not expect from a cartoon about a haunted theme park. Dead End is funny and heartwarming, with demons and angels and talking pugs. Some of the main characters are LGBTQ+, BIPOC, and neurodivergent.
I don’t want to give away any spoilers in my little reflection below of the episode I am quoting above, therefore I am going to keep names and details vague.
In the episode called “The Ride of a Lifetime”, we follow Pugsley (a talking pug with powers) as he learns to let go of the sense of control he thought he had and let it be.
I feel that a lot of us can relate to Pugsley and his drive to fix everything— which eventually winds up being his downfall. Sometimes, our feelings get hurt, and we mess up, and that’s okay, but we are responsible for our own feelings, just as we are not responsible for those of others. We can be kind and understanding and respectful of others feelings, but not responsible for them.
We can’t control everything, and letting go of that idea is terrifying. We don’t know when or if things will be okay.
But what if we let go of that emotional responsibility of making everything okay and it all still works out? What if letting go was what we needed to do along?
We open in a dystopian future, where all of Pugsley’s friends are gone, and the world as we know it is in ruins. He is pulled back to his reality, and we see it was just a dream, but Pugsley fears that his dream is a warning, so he spends the rest of the morning doing everything in his power to prevent the dystopian future from happening. Through doing so, Pugsley catastrophized the events, and they become a self fulfilling prophecy. His fear of it happening drove the catastrophe to happen. We see the event being played out over and over again, each time with a worse and worse outcome.
Below an editing version of the script from a scene. (with spoilers removed).
Open to Puglsey and Norma, Barney, Logs and Badyah (All very fantastic characters)
They are holding on to each other trying not to fall as they are trying to deal with the consequences of Pugsley’s actions. They discover Pugsley has done this over and over again, trying to save everyone and failing each time.
Pugsley: “I had this dream that something went wrong so I tried to fix it but you also got your feelings hurt, so I tried to fix that too” “and It was all going wrong“
Norma: “Pugsley I know you were trying to protect us but what I want to say to my CRUSH, that’s my truth and it’s not up to you when I do and when I don’t share that.”
Pugsley: “I just want everyone to be happy.”
Norma: “But that’s not life Pugsley. Do you need permission? I give you permission! Let me get hurt, let my feelings get hurt (not my bones and guts and stuff)”
Puglsey: “How will I know that everything will be okay?” Pugsley
Norma: “You won’t.” And she lets go.