A Netflix special release celebrating Pride Month, “Dead End: Paranormal Park,” is a mix of heartfelt emotions with a quirky take on the horror genre. Created by Hamish Steele with art director Dommi Fox, it has all the elements of an interesting storyline. The plot and the art of the series respectively represent the LGBTQ+ community, with Pauline being a nod towards the legend Dolly Parton with her unmistakable blonde hair and country drawl. Among the demons running the park and ghosts running amok, the series portrays a very caring and inclusive community, which includes a group of people ready to accept anybody regardless of their identity. This kid’s show seems to capture the essence of how love should be open and inclusive. It is a good show that teaches kids from a very young age to be accepting of people and their true selves.
‘Dead End: Paranormal Park’ Season 1: Plotline
Pauline, a phenomenal singer, and actor, an idol of many after receiving many accolades throughout her life, decided to open an amusement park after her legacy. This amusement park is riddled with mysteries, and there have been a lot of disappearances. The mystery-laden amusement park named Phoenix Park posts a job vacancy that attracts both Barney and Norma. They compete to get the job, and on reaching their notice, some paranormal activities are happening. They are treated as sacrifices by the manager, a demon, of the place, Courtney, to summon the great demon Temeluchus, who accidentally gets trapped inside Barney’s dog, Puggsley. After the failed experiment, both Norma and Barney get the job. During their job, they meet other demons and struggle to keep the park safe.
Barney And Norma’s Struggles
Barney accepts the job at Phoenix Park to escape from their parents. Being a trans person in society comes with its baggage of unwarranted opinions. The opinions are, sadly, mostly from the near and dear family members. In the case of Barney, it was their grandmother’s opinion of how they should go back to how they were once that hurt them. What hurt, even more, was that their parents claimed to accept them yet never stood up to their grandmother so as to avoid trouble. This made Barney feel claustrophobic, and an urge to get away slowly developed inside them. Even though acceptance of the LGBTQ+ community has gained popularity, there are still many people who do not wish to accept or do not wish to understand that people want to be their true selves and not be dictated to be somebody that society planned out for them to be. Older generations are the ones who stick close to their rigid rules and are unable to accept people who are different. This creates pressure and can also serve as a trauma for the person who already feels as if they are an imposter in their own body.
Instead, Barney simply wanted to enjoy a normal life being who they wanted to be. Instead, they were blamed by their grandma. Barney made the decision to escape the claustrophobic life and live on their own. This conscious decision of avoiding confrontation to escape the pain harbored in their heart shows up in various instances. Even while the park is under threat and is being vandalized by demons, Barney chooses to not return home. They were offered as a sacrifice, yet they chose to stay in the castle so as to escape the painful reality waiting for them at home. In episode 3, Barney faces a fear demon, where the demon all but confirms their fear of not being heard and not being accepted as who they are as an individual. It is due to their dog, Pugsley, Courtney, and Norma, that Barney could not slowly overcome that fear and return to regular life. Their brother, Patrick, accepted them easily, and so Barney had a little bit of help to give their parents a second chance.
Another person who accepted Barney was Logan Nguyen. A bright-eyed and charming fellow, who Barney had a crush on. Logan, too, liked and accepted Barney for who he was and never questioned their weird instances, like when Barney was possessed by Pugsley, Courtney, and Norma, while they were trying to help Barney on their date with Logan. Although Barney chose to forgo that date to make amends with their parents. It was good to see their parents trying to help them and accept them as they are.
Norma, on the other hand, is an introverted character who deals with anxiety and a fear of the real world. It’s difficult for her to form a deep connection with other people, and it makes her anxious when she has to meet with a person or a group for the first time. She is obsessed with the character of Pauline, because Pauline exudes grace and a charm that Norma thought she lacked. She was a little bit jealous of Barney in the beginning due to their knack for making friends easily. For people with social anxiety, everyday tasks can become very difficult tasks that others may take for granted, like handshakes, or even buying food in a public place, or greetings. When fear tends to cloud the brain, it becomes very difficult to function. For a socially anxious person, any simple task can trigger their anxiety. In episode 3, when Norma has to push herself to hold hands with the others as a group bonding exercise, it triggers her anxiety, and she makes herself as small as possible to escape the situation.
She could be on the spectrum of autism as well, because she prefers everything in a routine and gets excited over clinical procedures that require less interaction. She hyper-fixates on Pauline; as Pauline remains constant in her life, her appearance never changes over time, thus proving to be an absolute constant. However, Norma is fine while dealing with Temeluchus and his sister when they wreak havoc because these changes have become something she can expect from a paranormal park. Barney, Pugsley, and Courtney become the constants in her life, which helps her to remain stable. Although, when Pauline turned out to be a ghost and a betrayer, Norma lost herself to shock and tried to remain in the movie reels the group had entered while trying to escape from Pauline. She preferred staying in the reel world rather than returning to the real world because the one constant she had in life changed drastically, and her brain could not process it. One character that really helped Norma was Badyah. Badyah accepted all of Norma’s fears and boundaries and helped her on her way. She respected Norma’s boundaries and started with baby steps. As a socially anxious person, Norma cannot process touch. Therefore, during their first meaningful interaction, Badyah sat beside Norma, maintaining a little distance for Norma’s comfort, and nodded at her as a greeting after Norma rejected the handshake. Simple baby steps helped Norma over time.
‘Dead End: Paranormal Park’ Season 1: Ending, Explained – Did Barney and Norma Save The Park From Destruction?
Barney and Norma were originally going to be offered as sacrifices to Temeluchus by Courtney. Courtney wanted to summon and please Temeluchus, so that she could go back to her home in hell. She was banned from approaching hell and had not gone home for almost a hundred years. Yet, during the soul transmission spell, Pugsley took the fall for Barney, who was chosen as the first sacrifice. Courtney sealed the Great Demon in Pugsley’s body. Barney and Norma then manage to save Pugsley by capturing the soul in a picture. However, a part of Temeluchus’ soul was still in Pugsley, giving him the opportunity to talk. They help Pugsley by pushing that piece of soul-deep down so that Temeluchus can not take control of Pugs. However, the park makes them outlaws when Pauline’s ghost decides to take over. She was ousted from Jennifer Swan’s body by one of Pauline’s impersonators after Barney and Norma got the soul of the real Jennifer back from the void, where souls go temporarily. In contrast, their real bodies are being possessed. Pauline possessed every Pauline impersonator who managed to win the auditions she held, and this was the secret behind her eternal youth. It had started from the time she had died and had possessed the other Pauline stunt double, present on set with her.
Pauline then manipulated Courtney into helping her seal herself in Norma’s body while Norma was acting as a Pauline double to tempt Pauline into possessing her. Pauline then held a concert that doubled as a cult chanting spell to help her. This was stopped by Temeluchus, who finally took control of the Pugs and drove Pauline’s ghost away from Norma’s body. Temeluchus had a change of heart while staying all locked up in Pug’s body and experiencing everything that Pug did. He experienced love and other positive emotions that helped him develop a soft corner for Pugs, Barney, and Norma. Therefore, when his sister, Zagan, came over to the neutral ground, earth, to rule it, and put Temeluchus to the test, he sided with the group and helped save them. Eventually, Temeluchus returned the rest of the people present who had been turned to stone, courtesy of Zagan, to their original states. Thus, ending the series where the group saves the park and also the townsfolk from any more harm.
Will There Be A Season 2?
In the last episode, Zagan frees Courtney and unbinds the chains that were keeping her from going back to hell. Contrary to Courtney’s belief of the chains being put in place by a demon, it was actually done by angels. Courtney is set free, and the series takes on a new plot twist. She, however, remains on earth with Barney, Norma, and Pugsley. She came to care for them and also got really used to them dragging her around and including her in everything, and also caring for her moods. While the team was having a reunion, Pauline sat on the roof, sulking because her spotlight got stolen. During this time, she was either zapped into nothingness, or she was transmitted to another plane by a creature that seemed to identify as an angel. The angel reported their work to the higher-ups and seemed to measure the group for an upcoming mission that they might be assigned in the next season.
The next season gives off a hint of a full-blown war between the angels and demons. Because even Zagan mentioned that she will not help when Temeluchus has to fight the angels in the passing while she was angry at Temeluchus for treating her unjustly. There will be a continued relationship between Loggan and Barney. Norma and Badyah might become another possible couple due to their interactions. Season 2 will be full of new plot twists, and the paranormal activities will continue as long as the group sticks together back at the haunted park.
“Dead End: Paranormal Park” is a 2022 Animated Adventure series created by Hamish Steele.