Over the Garden Wall Vlogs: Part 2

Well…THAT made sense.

About Doug Walker

Creator of 5 Second Movies, Nostalgia Critic, Bum Reviews and more.


  1. I binged watched this a few days ago when you had part 1 up. It probably takes a few viewings to get all the references and meanings. Unless you just look them up of course.

    I really enjoyed it though. I consider it kinda like a love letter to other works, like Ghibli and the old 20’s cartoons, but different enough to be it’s own thing. Yeah, I also kinda hope they make another project similar to this. But I don’t really want them to continue this story.

    Greg’s probably one of my favorite child characters along with Lilo. Wirt was great also. I like how Wirt was more pessimistic while Greg was more optimistic.

    I would love for this to come to DVD some time soon.

  2. Professor von SCIENCE!!!

    I always thought the Beast was the Woodsman’s daughter who have been turned into a monster by the black turtles.

    • He could be. To this day, I’m not 100% what the turtles exactly are or what they even represent….

      • Professor von SCIENCE!!!

        Well, they seem to be some sort of evil and they can turn beings into monsters (like the dog) and Auntie Whispers eats them (some beings in folklore eat the wicked or evil and she is a witch so that’s my best guess). I just think the Beast being the Woodsman’s daughter would be a neat twist and it would explain why she appears at the end after being freed from the (what I assume) black turtle’s influence.

  3. Auntie Whispers was played by Tim Curry. He is that Good!

  4. “…Dancing in a swirl
    Of golden memories
    The loveliest lies of all
    The loveliest… lies… of all.”

    The idea that the Unknown is basically purgatory seems to be the most commonly accepted theory about the show, which I also believe. The biggest pieces of evidence to support this would probably be Enoch telling Wirt that he’d join them someday in episode 2, and the tombstone with Endicott’s name in episode 9. At the end, the bell in Jason Funderburker’s (the frog’s) stomach began to glow, which proves that it wasn’t a dream.

    It’s great to see Cartoon Network giving their show runner’s the freedom to create thought provoking stories such as this. Between OtGW, Steven Universe, and Adventure, I’d say it’s doing a lot better than Nickelodeon at the moment.

  5. So I’m glad you finished the mini series and enjoyed it.

    One of the many reasons I love it so much actually is because it is a complete story. It’s so rare nowadays to have a story be told and have it end especially for something on tv. Rob mentioned wanted a second season and as much as I’d love one too I’m perfectly content with where it ended and feel it doesn’t need one.

    Another thing is the whole ending.

    From what I understand I’m pretty positive that the place that Greg and Wirt went to was actually the after life.

    Someone actually pointed this out on a analyzing post on tumblr but the graveyard the kids sneak into is actually called “The Garden Wall”

    So the title of the show is actually referring to the fact that Wirt and Greg climbed over the wall of the graveyard.

    Because the graveyard has this name, the old timey dress of the characters, and that pumpkin town (where the dead live… The head Pumpkin says to Wirt that he will return when it’s his time), I’m pretty damn sure that Wirt and Greg went into the afterlife and that maybe the humans they meet are the dead buried in the graveyard.

    It would explain the odd stuff that happens maybe and makes sense as Greg and Wirt fell into an icy lake and very well could have died.

    In that I’m pretty sure that’s what Wirt’s whole arc in this was actually, Greg and him were fighting off death and if Wirt had given up to the beast he probably would have died.

    Though that isn’t the only thing Wirt worked out, as really a huge part of his character growth was his excepting of Greg.

    From what it looks like Greg and Wirt are in fact step brothers and it looks like Wirt probably didn’t like Greg much or at least have to take care of him when he could be doing stuff he wanted. Through this whole experience he finally realized how much he actually loved and cared for Greg but also worked out some of the issues he was experiencing.

    Anyways that’s my two cents on it, I love this series (the pumpkin town is my favorite episode)

    also fun fact:

    the town that Wirt and Greg live in is the same town from another cartoon on Cartoon Network called “Clarence” there’s only one shot of the town and it’s at night but someone said it was the exact same place.

    • I agree, the common conception is that ‘the unknown’ is purgatory, there was also another fan theory about the pumpkin town ‘pottsfield’ being a references to the potters fields which is a place, or site for unmarked graves, which would make sense in terms of the skeletons buried in the fields. There’s also the fact they need a penny for the boat each which is another reference to Charon, the boatman in the underworld in greek myth that will ‘ferry you to hell’ if you pay him. This all links with the progression of autumn to winter signifying death and the fact that the moon is always in a half state. Basically a really good show..

      also I’m pretty sure it’s meant to be modern day but Wirt is just kind of a nerd, because Sara doesn’t have a cassette player? surely if it took place in the 70s/80s she would, idk, it’s up to interpretation I guess.

  6. I really liked this show! I thought it was really compelling story-telling mixed with awesome animation.

    They’re not step brothers, they’re half-brothers. Wirt sings about it on the inn episode “My name is wirt and this is Greg, we’re brothers because my mom re-married then gave birth to him with my step-father…”

    I agree that Wirt and Greg were in the after Life or Purgatory after falling in the lake, so maybe falling victim to the beast, or deciding to stay, were metaphors about struggling to live, or dying in that lake… something like that.

    Also, from what I understood, the beast seems to prey on the distraught and hopeless, turning them into trees so that they become oil for his lantern (which contains his soul); he’s a soul eater apparently, manipulating the woodsman into doing his bidding unknowingly. I think at some point, the beast took his daughter, and in the resulting fight the woodsman got the Lantern, and so the Beast made him the same offer he made Wirt; continue to keep the lantern lit so that his “daughter” soul didn’t disappear.

    Sorry, rant over.

  7. They are in Limbo. Or purgatory or whatever you want to call it. And you can tell it was all planned from the beginning as throughout the story you see hints and references that lead into it. For example the fact that it is always a half moon in the sky when ever its night, the fact that they need two pennies to take the ferry (like crossing the river styx), and during the “present day” episode when they go to the graveyard they are standing behind the grave of Quincy Endicot.

  8. LOOVVVEEEDDDD this show!! So much talent, love, and creativeness went into this!

  9. It’s not exactly Dante’s Inferno, but the world they create is this cool general mish-mash of various legends and mythologies about death fused with crazy amounts of Americana. And it’s shown to exist, not just be a purely spiritual thing or some dream, it’s just there.

  10. tastetherainbowmothafuka

    They’re half brothers. This was established (in song!) in epsisode 4 Songs of the Dark Lantern (the tavern one)

    “Ohhhhhh, my name is Wirt and his name is Greg! We’re related because my mom remarried and gave birth to him with my step dad!”

    (Idk what’s up with everything after the first 17 seconds but you get the gist)

  11. The Dante’s Inferno references were more meant to be taken as a part of the larger motif of afterlife references they were making to indicate that The Unknown was a limbo world of sorts. Needing two pennies to board the ferry referenced Charon of Greek mythology, Pottsfield was a reference to the biblical term potter’s field, a place for burying people too poor to afford a proper grave site. And while Beatrice doesn’t play much into Dante’s Inferno as a character, she is Dante’s guide in the second book of the Divine Comedy, Purgatorio.

    The primary theme of the show as I saw it was realizing that situations aren’t always as hopeless as they seem. Every character they encountered in The Unknown had a problem with a relatively simple solution, but they’ve given in to despair too much to see it. The Woodsman thinks he has to work for the Beast to preserve his daughter’s soul, when really his daughter was in no danger. The schoolmarm thought her fiance had left her, when he really only wanted to make money to buy her a ring. Her father thought he had no choice but to sell the instruments the animals were playing to fund the school, when he could combine the two to help make the school self-sufficient. Endicott suspected he was either going mad or haunted, while Fred the horse suspected he was a psycho killer. In truth, his house was just connected to his neighbor’s. You get the idea. I don’t know if the reveal of Wirt and Greg coming from the 70s was strictly needed, but it does do a lot to suggest that the Unknown is a completely alien world. I loved the reveal the Jason Funderberker was just some pathetic dude who had no chance of catching Sara’s eye. Wirt’s journey was one of growing self-confidence and learning to appreciate his own talents and courage. It really helped tie the show together thematically.

    Great vlog series, though I was a little disappointed you didn’t talk a lot about Beatrice. She was my favorite character and her betrayal in episode 6 was a huge turning point. Watching the series again and seeing all the double meanings to her dialog is like watching an entirely different show.

    If anyone is itching for one last shot of OTGW, there was a one-shot comic published around when they show aired. It’s based on an episode concept that got cut for time. It takes place between episodes 2 and 3 and is a wonderful shot of the early group dynamic, as well as a fun little story.

  12. I love this mini series!
    Also it would be really cool if you checked out Steven Universe! The person who did a lot of the music and wrote some of the heavier episodes of Adventure Time made the show.

  13. It obviously wasn’t JUST a dream/blackout/etc; Greg and Wirt had the same memories, and the frog still had the bell in it.

  14. I can’t really say I’m onboard with the “The Beast is the devil/lucifer” theory, it just doesn’t click for me. Sure he spins some lies and tricks people like The Woodsman into keeping him alive, but he’s not trying to tempt people with grand promises or anything like that. He feeds on hopelessness and doubt, not arrogance and ambition.
    There’s obviously more to it than just a veiled devil stand-in.

  15. tastetherainbowmothafuka

    It is pretty much an unspoken obligation to watch this a second time. Watching again gives you a whole knew understanding of the show and your able to catch hints and clues that you didn’t see before.

    But the best part. This show is just so rewatchable ^-^

  16. While the show’s still fresh in your mind I’d highly recommend rewatching the opening song at the start of the first episode knowing what you’re looking at. Some of it’s just straight foreshadowing, some raises more questions (‘What? Toys?’), and one bit makes your creepy milkmaid even creepier assuming she’s responsible for it all.

    • Personally I’m amazed that they were able to include so much inter tangled secrets in the show. They’re hard to catch too. Like the name of the cemetery that the two brothers walk into when they’re still going after the mix tape.

  17. I’m pretty sure the biggest theme of the show, if one can be distilled, is not to be so afraid of the unknown, and to try to be a little more optimistic about stuff that you don’t understand or has yet to come. E.g.What they thought was the beast turned out to be a benign dog, what they thought were murderous villagers turned out to be (relatively) harmless dead people, the big scary gorilla was just a guy stuck in a costume, the mansion-haunting ghost was just a nice lady, etc. etc. etc.

    If Wirt had just asked the girl he likes out and not fretted over every little thing like the paranoid pessimist he was, everything probably would’ve been fine from the beginning. So I feel like that episode provided a nice retro-fitted beginning to their journey that let everything come full circle.

  18. I guess this might be something everyone knows but since no one mentioned it.

    Doug and Rob fun fact, every major scene in the series was foreshadowed in the intro of the first episode.

  19. You need to rewatch this show a couple of more times I think. There are soooo many things you missed.

  20. I actually really liked the reveal that the brothers were really from the 80s/90s in our own world. Yes, it does take away from some of the more folklorey ethos the rest of the series had, but it makes it just grounded enough to make it th kind of creepy-but-not-too-much story you’d tell friends around a fire at Halloween when you’re kids. And if you look back throughout the show, you’ll see that the Halloween theme was hinted at throughout.

    On the subject of the following western animation Vlogs, Steven Universe next?

  21. The two are step-brothers, the show made it pretty clear, at least it was for me.

  22. It sounds like they missed several episodes.
    They are asking questions about things that were discussed in certain episodes.

    Also, given that this story had a “liar revealed” subplot and an “it was all a dream” ending, I am surprised they still liked it.

    • IMHO the Liar Revealed plot was handled pretty well and fitted into the whole narrative. Especially since there was a lot of subtlety to Beatrice’s performance, acting- and animation-wise.
      Also, usually Liar Revealed stories are about the protagonists, not supporting characters, and the audience knows about the lie from the very beginning (that’s what makes the reveal so tedious and redundant). Here it was a legitimate twist, even if a foreshadowed one.

  23. The show makes it pretty clear that Wirt’s mom remarried, and had Greg with her second husband.

    The original ideas for the ending of OTGW were a lot less … vague? There was a lot about going back to a train, and the train taking the kids to their rightful afterlife, etc… But hitting it right on the nose that the kids were dead the whole time wasn’t desirable in the end, so they went for something a bit more ambiguous.

    The big hint that “oh man, the kids are still dead” is the fact that the frog still has the bell inside.

    And you’re not alone Rob — we totally need a DVD release of this thing, and soon!

  24. Ya Babba – Spirited away witch.
    Baba Yaga – Bartok the Magnificent Witch.

    I sense a pattern here, Baba and Ya seem to mean old witch.

  25. I watched the episodes the day they came out, in november, and it was SO good! I wished they released them the last week of October, to fit with the Halloween theme, but kids would be out trick and treating so it made sense I guess. There’s something about this series that puts it on another level, I’ve rewatched it multiple times and have yet to grow tired of it. Its just so… Different? Idk the right word for it.

    Fun fact: in the Tavern episode, when the highway man sings, you can see his animation has been rotoscoped, giving him that extra creepy factor.

    Can’t wait for the Steven Universe vlogs, if that’s happening!

  26. Personally, I found this (mini)series to be the perfect balance of ‘fun’ and eeriness.
    It was almost hypnotic to watch, I must say.

  27. I think that Doug and Rob need to rewatch the early episodes, particularly “Songs of the Dark Lantern;” they seem to have been so caught up with the atmosphere that they missed some of the plot details/foreshadowing.

  28. I don’t know why but your preparing to sneeze face made me laugh, Doug.

  29. Great! Now to watch Steven Universe!

  30. I’d say that it definitely needs to be rewatched to catch everything. But yeah, I think Greg’s dream was just a trick to get Greg to go with the Beast.
    Also, the graves in the cemetery in the flashback has characters that they met in the woods :V and early on Wirt mentions a phone.

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