This page lists fan theories about the television series Ed, Edd N Eddy.
The Purgatory Theory
The Gist of It
This theory posits that the kids who inhabit the Cul-de-sac are actually dead in reality and that the lives they lead there actually take place in a purgatory-like setting.
According to the theory, the children of the cul-de-sac each hail from different eras spanning the early 1900s to the early 2000s. This would explain why the year for the show is very hard to pinpoint, with multiple anachronisms present, and also why there aren't any adults in the show (although you do catch a glimpse of one every now and then).
Rolf arrived first from the 1900s, the theory goes. His family had moved to Peach Creek in order to establish a farm on its land. Rolf died around 1903 when his family's farm animals stampeded and trampled him. This was the supposed reason as to why he only has one cow, one goat, a few pigs, and a few chickens (not enough animals to cause a fatal stampede) in the afterlife.
Johnny 2x4 came to the Cul-de-sac not too long after Rolf's death. Having no friends, Johnny took a marker and drew a face on a piece of wood, and dubbed it Plank. He died in 1922 after fighting a long battle with tuberculosis, 6 years before the discovery of penicillin. He took his friend, Plank, with him in the afterlife since he was the last thing that he saw in life before he died. Purgatory would also explain Plank's occasional sentient behavior, which is most notably demonstrated in the movie.
Eddy came next. He was born in New York but eventually moved to Peach Creek during the Great Depression era. Always trying to get a quick buck, he always set up scams to get money from the Cul-de-sac kids in an effort to escape the poverty he spent his whole life in. Eddy didn't have a proper father figure since his real father abandoned him and his mother shortly after he was born. With this, came the big bro he adored and idolized so very much despite the latter's abusive nature. After one of his scams went awry, Eddy was chased by the swindled children of the Cul-de-sac, and ran to the lake and jumped into it. Eddy ended up drowning in that lake, and he soon joined the other deceased children in the afterlife. Even though he was no longer alive, Eddy still tried to chase after the "Almighty dollar" by continuing his swindling nature in the afterlife.
Ed and Sarah were the next to arrive at the Cul-de-sac. Their father had died fighting in WWII, and as a result, their mother became distant and disconnected. To cope, Sarah developed her bossy attitude, trying to fill the role their parents used to fill before their father died and their mother stopped caring. Conversely, Ed shut the world out and delved into the fantasy worlds of comic books and monster movies, which exploded in popularity during and after WWII, in order to escape his unhappy life. They both died in a freak car accident in 1953, thus joining the past kids in death.
Nazz was born in the 1960s era to hippie parents. Described as a flower child, she was a rather flirtatious young girl who would always act that way towards the male children of the neighborhood. In the summer of '79, a serial killer escaped from a local asylum made his way into her house and raped and murdered her along with her entire family.
Edd/Double D was born in the 70s when preparing to attend college from a young age became the societal norm expectation, and was raised by very strict, controlling, emotionally distant parents. They pushed him to succeed academically and to be perfectly clean and neat. He is believed to have died as a result of a gas leak causing an explosion with the Bunsen burner from his chemistry set.
Kevin was born around the early 1980s. He was born to a broken-down house, and he also had an abusive father who was poorly-educated and his mother had passed away when he was a year old. Because of his situation at home, Kevin would act his frustration out on the other children of the Cul-de-sac, becoming a bully to cope with his repressed anger. His fascination with his bike fits right in with the birth of the popular X-Games in 1995. One night in the winter of '99, his father fatally beat him in a fit of drunken rage, and he died while he was on his way to the hospital. His father was then convicted of his murder, and he was sentenced to life in prison. When Kevin entered into the afterlife, he re-imagined his father as loving and that he would shower him in gifts. He still kept his bullying ways in the afterlife, however.
Jimmy was the last child to enter into the Cul-de-sac. He was born in the early 1990s, and was diagnosed with leukemia. He never associated with the other Cul-de-sac children, because his parents believed he was too frail to be around the other kids, and he remained bed-ridden for the remainder of his life because of this fact. After fighting a difficult battle with his leukemia, Jimmy eventually succumbed to his illness, and soon the Cul-de-sac Purgatory was complete.
The Kankers were different from the other neighborhood children. It is believed that they are actually demons that were sent to the Cul-de-sac to torment the souls of the remaining children who didn't cross over to Heaven. The Kankers are the only characters with normal-colored tongues, which would seem to indicate that they are not dead, and that therefore, they must be something different. Surprisingly, the Kankers are attracted to the Eds for unknown reasons. However, one common guess is that they are the weakest-willed children of the Cul-de-sac, or because they each symbolize a certain Deadly Sin.
This theory points to facts such as:
The children have green/blue tongues, and the tongue does in fact turn a bluish shade when you die
There is a conspicuous lack of adults or even other children.
The summer is endless (in the earlier seasons)
The whole series takes place in the same area
One of the major supports is able to be proven false, though, whereas, the tongues are different colors due to one day when Danny, the producer, brought his kid and friends to the studio. Documented in the documentary, he said after eating different candies, the kids' tongues were different colors due to different kinds of candy. Inspired, he implemented different color tongues for different candy.
On the topic of evidence contradicted by word of Danny Antonucci, in the Animation by Mistake interview, when asked about the lack of adults on the show, Antonucci said "-throughout the long days of summer, you simply didn't see anyone else's parents about and sometimes you didn't even see your own. Take the Edd's parents factor." Not to mention the theory would have to ignore the few occasions some parents' arms were shown in season 5 (Shown in Mission Ed-Possible and Smile for the Ed, albeit for the latter case that was in a flashback).
Other invisible characters have also been shown, albeit only in silhouettes and pictures. (Shown in Tight End Ed and This Won't Hurt an Ed)
As for the time period, while initially kept very ambiguous has been established as at least being in the 70s as early as Pop Goes the Ed (Season 1, episode 2a), in which Eddy jokes to Nazz about Ed having a third nipple like "that bad guy from James Bond", a reference to The Man with the Golden Gun, released 1974. As the show went on, the time period became more and more clear through Easter eggs and background details. By the end of season 2, a box marked "Umbrellas 1959-1982" can be seen in Edd's parents' closet (Shown in Fa La La La Ed), by season 3 digital handheld camcorders start cropping up (As shown in Dueling Eds, An Ed is Born, and Ed Overboard), and by season 5, Ed Edd n Eddy is confirmed to take place in the 2000s. In the season 5 premiere "Out With the Old, in with the Ed," while Edd is making Ed do the back to school shopping for him, a building with the a sign that reads "SHOP SINCE 1998". This would imply a significant enough amount of time has elapsed since 1998 to justify the use of the sign. This confirms Ed Edd n Eddy at the very least takes place in 1999 by this point.Big Picture Show reaffirms the 2000s settings with references such as:
A glass reading 'Peach Creek Diner: 2000 Best Eater' is seen in plain view in Eddy's brother's room.
While Rolf is inspecting the car wreckage, at one point he exclaims "DO YOU THINK THIS IS PARTY TIME FROM 1999?" to Wilfred.
When in the gag factory, a 1978 calendar can be seen. The very factory that was advertised in Ed's comic published "over ten years ago".
What's Under Edd's Hat?
There are many theories surrounding Double D's trademark sock-hat, and the mystery behind what could just be under it. Many viewers believe that he was deformed from birth and that he either has an ear underneath his hat or a deformed twin. These beliefs stem from multiple occurrences in the show in which Edd is shown without his hat on.
For example, in the TV movie for the series, Ed, Edd n Eddy's Big Picture Show, Eddy was horrified by what was under his friend's hat, and Ed also asked Double D if whatever was under his head hurt. Unfortunately for the viewer, Edd's head is obscured during this scene, and the viewer doesn't get to find out what the big reveal was.
Many people believe that Edd is either bald or has blond hair. This theory most likely stemmed from the Cartoon Network video game entitled Lunchroom Rumble. If you were to play as Edd and were also able to beat the game, the Edd sprite would then proceed to take off its hat and throw it into the air in triumph. However, this is actually false, because this computer game wasn't produced by A.K.A. Cartoons (the Canadian animation studio that produced the show), and therefore, it's not canonical to the main series. The idea about Edd having blond hair is also false, because Edd clearly has three strands of black hair on the back of his head, and therefore this theory is also debunked.
One theory is that Double D has cancer, which makes a great deal of sense. In the movie, Edd's next line of dialogue after Eddy sees him with his hat off ("You stop that") and Eddy's facial expressions suggest that Eddy's reaction was grossly exaggerated and that whatever is under Edd's hat is just something ugly that kids would laugh at rather than find horrifying. The circumstantial evidence of Edd's hat being only cloth, his determination to never let go of his hat, and not being worse off from enduring physical damage than the other Eds suggest that Edd is hiding something purely cosmetic and not anything debilitating if hit. In continuation with the original theory, Double D may have ignited his hair in his fatal Bunsen burner accident. His eyebrows and head are obscured constantly by his sock hat, and short singed hairs come from the back of his head out from under his cap. Given this, it is highly probable that Edd is bald and hides a surgery scar under his hat, likely to remove a brain tumor, which is not uncommon among childhood cancer cases.
Or maybe he does have hair. Maybe it's just that he's attached to his beanie/hat for emotional issues. Yes, these are all just theories, but they could be true. We may never know, but it's fun to speculate.