Misfile

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The four main characters.


"In one little corner of the universe, there's nothing more irritating than a misfile…"

A webcomic by Chris Hazelton, Misfile (first page) is the story of "a girl who was a boy, a Harvard-bound genius missing two years of her life, and the pot headed angel who did it to them" via a Celestial filing accident. In the small hillside town of Tempest, Massachusetts, Boy racer Ash was turned into a girl, studious Emily had the past two years of her life erased—including her admission to Harvard—and angelic loser Rumisiel was exiled to Earth for his incompetence. Fortunately, due to a side effect of the accident, only these three remember the universe-as-it-was. Lucky, because Rumisiel fears his superiors would likely 'correct' the misfile by making it permanent.

Mixing street racing, girl-bonding, and car tuning sessions with angels, supernatural weirdness and the trials and tribulations—from getting hit on by guys to bras—of a boy suddenly transformed into a girl, Misfile defies simple categorization as the two heroines struggle to deal with the craziness that has taken over their lives while trying to get Rumisiel back into heaven so he can fix his mistake. Complications arise, of course, not the least of which is Rumisiel's perpetual slacker nature.

The comic is notable for dealing with a Gender Bender plot in a much less Fan Service-ey way, and with much more emotional depth and serious character consideration, than is the norm. Essentially, if you left out the supernatural and fantastical elements of the story, you'd still be left with a good tale about the challenges faced by a Transsexualism boy dealing with life in a girl's body. Also unusual is the fact that the "old universe", where Ash is a boy with emotionally distant parents and Emily is a college-bound senior with a mean streak, has literally never been seen in the comic, although it's often alluded to.

Has a character page that Needs More Love.


Tropes used in Misfile include:
  • Abridged Series: Right here. (Requires a Napalm Luck account to read).
  • Aesop: Ash not only gets the usual aesops about sexism and the Double Standard but also gets some unexpected ones about Positive Discrimination. Meanwhile, Ash also provides some unexpected Aesops to Emily due to her outsider perspective on female behavior. Finally, the readers get some insights about the battle between the sexes that Ash and Emily are either too obtuse to get or too proud to acknowledge.
  • All There in the Manual: If you really want to understand how the Celestial Depository works and the effects of reversing the misfile, and find out just how Tempest has such a cool mountain racetrack you need to have read the "about" section on the website, read the Ask Ash column, and ordered the print books so you could read the liner notes.
  • Almost Kiss: A few times, the first being here.
  • Analogy Backfire: Regarding the obvious sexual characteristics of the knight costume Missi made for Ash for Halloween.

Missi: It's for a girl knight. You're my Joan of Arc.
Emily: Wasn't she burnt at the stake for dressing like a man?

"Buy it! Drink it! Love it!"

"Under code 37 'B' of the Emergencies Act I authorize a complete lockdown of the filing depots until further notice."

  • Cerebus Syndrome: The murder of several high ranking angels, including "two keyholders" has heralded in a steadily darkening plotline. However, for the most part the story remains dark only when the story focuses on the angels. One might say that the knights of God are in fact Knights of Cerebus.
  • Chainmail Bikini: The Halloween costume Missi made for Ash, who naturally Lampshades this.
  • Character Development: Nowadays, flipping someone off would be considered Out of Character for Emily.
    • Averted with Missi, which is one of the problems with her character. There was that one time in the shower where she mentioned her parents being neglectful and her feeling like an outsider with Ash and Emily, but that revelation seems to have mostly been ignored.
  • Cheeky Mouth
  • Chekhov MIA: Ash's mom. Emily's dad could become one of these, but it hasn't happened yet. The other angels in Vashiel's old division also qualify.
  • Chekhov's Gun: The Monster XR.
    • Also, Emily's promise to give Ash a kiss in return for a perfect test score.
    • The pothole in the Old Road where Heather was passed by Emily and lost the race. Ash defeats the jerk Sheldon in a similar manner, though with a different pothole.
  • Cleavage Window: Emily seems to like this trope.
  • Conflict Ball: Ash, Emily, and Missi seemed to take turns passing it off. Missi cleverly managed to spike Emily and Heather with it at Kate and Harry's wedding, precipitating their grudge race.
  • Contemplative Boss: The head of the Celestial Depository in this strip.
  • Continuity Nod: When Missi decides to experiment with alcohol, Ash wants to leave, citing a bad experience of alcohol. This is of course referring to the arc a few years back (six months ago) when Ash and Vashiel got drunk and woke up in the same bed.
  • Cool Big Sis: Kamikaze Kate, after her Character Development.
    • However, Ash is still dreadfully afraid of her even after said Character Development, to the point s/he only accepted to be maid of honor in her wedding because s/he was afraid a refusal would end in her/his murder. Case in point.
  • Cool Car: Pick a car, any car.: either inherently cool or made cool through street racing modifications.
  • Council of Angels: The Celestial Filing Depository.
  • Cross-Popping Veins
  • Daydream Surprise: This strip.
  • Dead Little Sister: Angelica, Kate's older sister.
  • Dear Negative Reader: Chris wrote one after getting a verbal response from this page. In it he reminded everyone that it was his comic, he was doing it for free and he owes us nothing. Also, he informed us Ash and Emily will be getting together at some point in the future.
  • Deconstructed Trope: Pretty much every classic Gender Bender trope is deconstructed from Ash's perspective. In other words, it sucks.
  • Defeat Means Friendship: Averted in oh so many ways, from a mild subversion like Kate (Ash finds a "friendly" Kate just as terrifying), through straight aversions like Tom and Heather (both of whom hate Ash passionately) to an extreme aversion like Sheldon (who manages to alienate all of his own friends as well). It's only played remotely close to straight with Brent, who made it clear that he respected Ash from the start.
    • Inverted with James. They stopped being friends after he lost to Ash, but that's mostly because he couldn't deal with them not dating in this reality.
  • Defrosting Ice Queen: Cassiel, possibly. Seen here.
  • Did They or Didn't They?: Type 2.
  • Different for Girls
  • Disappeared Dad: Emily's father, got her mom knocked up and was never heard from again.
  • Does This Make Me Look Fat?: Vashiel gives the wrong answer to this question.
  • Does This Remind You of Anything?: Just read this conversation which Rumisiel overhears.
  • Don't Think, Feel: This is how Ash drives. Emily can't drive that way.
  • Double Standard: invoked after the fight with Tom.
    • Also occurs in the forum. When guys can't take a hint, they're douches. But Missi can shove her face into Ash's cleavage in front of their schoolmates, even though Ash has repeatedly he is not interested in a relationship, well then it's cute and funny.
  • Dramatic Wind: When Kate first shows up.
  • Dude, She's Like, in a Coma: Well, asleep. Emily kisses Ash.
  • Eating Lunch Alone: Emily on the first day of school after the mishap. As a sophomore, she no longer dares sit with her senior former friends.
  • Education Mama: Ms. McArthur, to a T. Emily's having to deal with this is a major plot point.
  • Embarrassing Cover Up: Rumisiel proclaiming that he and Ash are dating. Further down the line, Ash realizes that this isn't actually such a bad thing, given that it helps prevent guys from asking him/"her" out.
  • Embarrassing Slide
  • Engineered Public Confession: Done by Rumisiel to Sheldon.
  • Everything's Better with Princesses: Lampshaded here.
  • Expressive Hair: Missi's pigtails help convey her mood here.
  • Expy: This is the cover of Issue 6 of Hazelton's first webcomic, Building 12. Guess which one's the female lead.
  • Face of a Thug: Brent might qualify.
  • Failure Is the Only Option: Because success ends the story.
    • Potentially, there's a window after the Misfile is corrected where Ash needs to get used to being a guy again. Missi's feelings and how they are affected by him being a boy, his relationship with Emily as well as with his mother, James (who she had sex with but he was just friends with), dealing with Kate (who cooled her jets a lot toward Ash because Ash was a girl), on top of getting used to NOT walking into the girls locker room and other such everyday things. There's a lot of comic to cover, even after the Misfile's fixed; at least a good year's worth, if the author wants to go that route.
  • Fan Service: And lots of it.
  • Filler Strips: 39 fillers and over 1800 comics. Pretty good record. Fillers usually are for major holidays and 'Day of Remembrance' pages, but there have been extenuating real life issues (such as the artist's wife going into labor).
  • First Girl Wins: Not exactly confirmed yet, but on track like a heat-seeking missile.
    • That missile just had a near miss, but Word of God says it's eventually going to score a hit.
  • First Snow: While in Tempest, Rumisiel experiences snowfall (from below the cloud line) for the first time.
  • Foreshadowing: Emily teases Ash about being uncomfortable being on a "date" (actually a modeling party) with a gay man. Ash "doesn't have a problem" with being around a gay guy. Guess who soon afterwards winds up on an uncomfortable date with a gay man?
  • Fountain of Youth: Emily, though on a much smaller scale than usual.
  • Four Eyes, Zero Soul: Sheldon.
  • Fourth Wall Mail Slot: Email, in this case.
  • Game Face: Halos and Wings out guys, it's hero time.
  • Gender Bender: The premise of the series.
    • 1st Law Of Gender Bending: Debatable, since it's not so much that circumstances keep conspiring to keep Ash a girl, it's just that the original circumstance is almost impossible to fix in the first place.
    • 2nd Law Of Gender Bending: Brutally averted thus far. Ash does not enjoy being a girl. Even though in some ways it has arguably improved his life (like his relationship with his mother), Ash is very much a boy on the inside, and hates that his body does not reflect his inner identity. However, some in the fanbase believe that beneath the surface, Ash really does enjoy his bent gender, and simply can't admit it yet.
    • 3rd Law Of Gender Bending: Guess who Kate picks to be her Maid of Honor?
  • Gender Blender Name: One wonders what would have happened had this not been the case. Also an indication that this is not going to be a typical Gender Bender story since adopting a "girl name" is a classic cliche manifestation of the Second Law of Gender Bending
  • Genki Girl: Missi.
  • Girls with Moustaches: Emily tries to imagine what Ash would have looked like as a boy, resulting in an image of female Ash with a moustache.
  • God Is Inept: Clearly the universe: or at least the angels: have some issues or quirks. The fact that the filing system is said to need manual maintenance and checking counts.
  • Good Angel, Bad Angel: subverted when both angels urge or condone the same course of action.
  • Green Eyes: Ash and Marie.
  • Groin Attack: Any plans of revenge that Sheldon has in mind might be carried out at a higher pitch than his first appearance.
  • Have I Mentioned I Am Heterosexual Today?: Emily
  • Have You Seen My God?: God is entirely hands off as far as has been shown. He supposedly knows about the misfile, but hasn't done anything about it. Fans have speculated that God may be playing a deeper game to smoke out some problems in the angelic ranks, place two angels where they can do some good and hopefully cause a little Character Development in Rumisiel.
  • Heaven: Where this whole mess started and where Rumi hopes to get back to, if only to fix Ash's file. Looks kinda like a back drop to some old Doctor Who episode.
  • Hellistics: Missi causes problems between Heather and Emily, to be solved on the tracks. Emily wins. Heather gets pissed. Heather gets a racing prodigy to try to beat Ash. Said prodigy, Logan, and Eponine, a friend of Cassiel's, hit it off at a party. Cassiel takes it upon herself to try to help Logan win the race with magic (not knowing that she's helping Heather, whom she despises). Rumisiel attempts to keep Cassiel from rigging the race, which causes Logan to crash. The police arrive to check up on the accident, also finding Emily, who they were already looking for since she ran off in the middle of the night to watch said race. Emily's mother blames the night on Ash, forbidding Emily to hang out with Ash ever again, though Molly quickly steps in and takes the blame while also calling Ms. McArthur out on being so overbearing toward Emily. Ms McArthur orders Molly out of the house and grounds Emily for a month. This results in Ash inviting Missi to a movie instead of Emily. Long story short, Ash eats with Missi somewhere. Leaving said eating place, Ash and Missi are approached by two men who seem rather… vehemently interested in them. The subtext seems to imply a threat of rape.
  • Help, I'm Stuck!: Emily here.
  • Heroic BSOD: Ash, after learning that Rumisiel wouldn't be allowed back into Heaven for 72 years. Complete with Shower of Angst. Ash also has mini-BSOD's whenever he feels he's lost too much to the ongoing flow of girlishness, like when he realizes he's been a girl for a month
  • Home Porn Photos: causing Eponine, Logan, and Ash some difficulties.
  • Homoerotic Dream: Ash has one about Emily while they were asleep in the same room. Emily figures it out, but she isn't bothered at all--she's had one about a friend of hers too. Not that it says anything about her.
  • Honest John's Dealership: Played straight, but gleefully twisted when Ash turns the sleazebag's own game on him.
  • Hot Amazon: Kate. Need I elaborate?
  • Hot Dad: Subverted. Ash's father exhibits most of the traits, but his job as a gynecologist is a definite turn off.
  • Hot Mom: Played straight. Ash's Mom is a former lingerie model (see Fan Service) and owns a big house on the beach.
  • Humiliation Conga: The universe seems determined to bombard Ash with a never-ending barrage of girliness right up to and including bridesmaid duty (maid of honor, no less.)
    • Ash passes the manhood litmus test on that count, though, as according to the tagline for Made Of Honor, "it takes a real man to become a maid of honor."
    • Sheldon's is more traditional
  • I Choose to Stay: It's possible that a situation in which Ash must choose to either remain in a female body or return to his original timeline is on the horizon, since it's heavily implied that Emily would have died on the last night of summer break in the original timeline (see Sadistic Choice, below, for further details).
    • Not necessarily. When Rumisiel gets back into Heaven he can replace Ash's file but doesn't necessarily have to put Emily's pages back. People seem to forget that he is doing that manually, not just hitting a reset button.
    • Part of the theme of the story is that the world of the Misfile is actually a better one. In the end Ash might still choose to go back, because most of the improvements can be made again, knowing how to do them. However, if Emily turns out to be lesbian (And not bisexual or Ashsexual), then Ash may be forced to choose between his old body, and a relationship with Emily.
      • Except that if the misfile gets undone Ash won't remember that it ever happened, so won't be able to use the information to improve his original life.
    • Ash finding herself unable to kiss Emily finally has the latter fed up with the fact that she and Ash can't even be together without using this trope. Her demands to Rumisiel are simple: "You're all about breaking the rules. FIND A WAY."
  • Idiot Ball: Although Rumisiel is the most frequent bearer, all three main characters have had their chance at carrying it.
  • I Don't Know Mortal Kombat: Averted: Ash. Straight: Vashiel.
  • If It's You It's Okay: Em/Ash, somehow. Either as the (possibly) het Em's one female love, or as the one person that Ash trusts enough to allow to see him/"her" getting all girly.

"It's not fair, Ash! I don't even like girls! Why do I have to like you?!"

Ash: Let me see your bookmarks.
Rumisiel: No! I'm sending it back into the ether! It's not for mortal eyes!

Brent: "Wow. She's good. There were only inches between her and that light pole."
Ash: "HOLY SHIT! I ALMOST HIT THAT LIGHT POLE!"

  • Moment Killer: Rumisiel, then Missi.
    • Book ten was littered with these.
  • Morality Pet: Eponine appears to be becoming this for Cassiel.
  • Ms. Fanservice: Though all the women take their turn, Missi and Cassiel have the highest percentage of their appearances being Fan Service.
    • Not to mention that this is basically what Ash's mom used to do for a living.
    • With her recent reappearance in the strip, is seems that Rachel has taken the lead in "highest percentage"
  • Mugged for Disguise: This poor model, who ran into Cassiel when she needed a dress.
  • My Beloved Smother: Ms. McArthur makes great efforts to get Emily to study so she can get into a respectable (read: Ivy League) college. The problem is that most of her efforts don't leave room for Emily's growing social life.
  • My Girl Is Not a Slut: Ms. McArthur overhears Ash telling Emily about his girl self sleeping with James the previous year and believes the worst until Emily assures her that Ash was horrified by the incident and won't do it again. Okay, Ash and Emily aren't dating, but we all know what's going to happen in the end.
  • My God, What Have I Done?: Ash goes through a freakout after hitting a girl, which he/"she" views as tantamount to surrendering his manhood in a Call Back to an early strip when Emily told Ash that he can hit a girl only if he is willing to admit to being a girl himself.
    • Emily has one here, after she and Missi piss off Ash enough with their sniping so that she quits talking to either of them.
  • Nailed to the Wagon: Rumisiel, by Ash.
  • Names to Run Away From Really Fast: "Kamikaze" Kate.
  • No Guy Wants to Be Chased: Ash very much likes Missi, and feels truly happy for the first time since the Misfile while dating her, but becomes extremely uncomfortable upon realizing that Missi is playing the traditionally masculine "pursuer" role in the relationship, always trying to convince Ash to get physically intimate, while Ash is the one who keeps resisting in a stereotypically feminine way. Somewhat justified because Ash is trying to hold on to his male identity despite the Gender Bender, and so whenever he finds himself playing a traditionally feminine role in any context, he sees it as a sign of the impending destruction of his "male psyche". Ash feels much safer being attracted to the more traditionally feminine Emily.
  • No Periods, Period: Averted, to Ash's unending torment.
  • Nosebleed: Vashiel, whenever he comes into contact with "temptation". "Tissue. Tissue. Tissue." He required no fewer than 8 tissues while dealing with various customers the first day he worked at Dr. Upton's gynecology clinic. He still hasn't learned what the doctor actually does for a living.
  • Not Hyperbole: Cassiel is close to the devil. Specifically she's his niece.
  • Not What It Looks Like: Subverted; it's exactly what it looks like.
  • N-Word Privileges: Not exactly the infamous N word, but this trope is invoked during a conversation very early on in the comic:

Ash: Hey! I'm a girl too now, so don't think I can't hit you back!
Emily: Oh, so now you accept that you're a girl?
Ash: No!
Emily: Well then you can't hit me.

  • Oddly Visible Eyebrows
  • Oh Crap: The look on Sheldon's face when Rumisiel plays the tape.
  • Official Couple: While it hasn't happened in the comic yet, Word of God has confirmed Ash and Emily are going to end up together.
  • Omake: Not much, though.
  • Only Six Faces: mainly averted with the main characters, but when it comes to minor characters there can be much confusion as readers try to ascertain their identity.
  • Ooh, Me Accent's Slipping: the attempt to represent Harry's Welsh accent comes across as some kind of weird Sarf London… thing
  • Open-Minded Parent: Both of Ash's parents are amazingly accommodating towards what are, from their perspective, complete strangers, as well as their "daughter's" racing habit. Ash's dad knows that his wife left him because he was too controlling, and has resolved not to lose Ash the same way. Ash's mom, on the other hand, is just cool like that.
  • Operation: Jealousy: Cassiel has convinced James to act like a couple, thinking that they can get Rumisel to blow up and destroy his relationship with Ash. What they don't know...
  • Our Angels Are Different: They are far from perfect.
    • Not just that, the way they look is usually more like elves than Winged Humans. And demons (if Cassiel is any guide) are basically just angels with authority over evil.
  • Our Ghosts Are Different: Kamikaze Kate's sister.
  • Out-of-Clothes Experience: Kate and Angelica.
  • Pair the Spares: Cassiel and James. In romantic comedies, this "make the other jealous" setup invariably winds up with the two meddlers falling for each other.
  • Peek-a-Bangs: Ash. Not for any of the usual reasons listed on the trope page, he/"she" just wears it that way. Apparently he had the same style before the Gender Bender.
  • The Peeping Tom: Ash apparently had a fantasy about peeping into the girls' locker room. However, after a Gender Bender transformation, it loses its appeal and Ash is squicked out when she finds herself on the receiving end of it actually happening.
  • Pettanko: Missi.
  • Pet the Dog: Cassiel, seen here.
  • Please Keep Your Hat On: Subverted. Emily almost always wears a headband in order to hide her widow's peak, which she was teased about when she was younger. Ash, of course, tells her that she looks beautiful without it.
  • Pointy Ears: The angels have these. Because they use a certain angelic power, these are only visible to those who know they are angels. This explains why Ash and Emily are the only ones who see them.
  • Pointy-Haired Boss: Rumisiel's bosses, at least as portrayed by a guy they fired for being a pot-smoking shiftless layabout who may just be an Unreliable Narrator.
  • Poke the Poodle: Here. Cassiel's really slipping.
  • Pool Episode: #774
  • Poor Man's Porn: Type B. At least until Ash's dad used one to point out Ash's mom…
  • Porn Stash: Ash expects his to have disappeared due to the misfile but is thoroughly disgusted to discover it now contains pornography featuring men. Ash later admits it's hypocritical in her "Ask Ash" column.
  • Positive Discrimination: The upside of the Double Standard provides Ash with nearly as many Different for Girls moments as the downside, especially after the fight with Tom.
  • Power Perversion Potential: It's hinted that Rumisiel and Cassiel's former relationship fully explored this trope.
  • Precision F-Strike: Profanity is relatively rare so when it shows up it is significant. "Goddamn" is particularly significant since angels are much more bothered by blasphemy than mere profanity.
  • Pronoun Trouble: plenty of examples right on this very page. According to the "Ask Ash" column Ash accepts female pronouns because otherwise people would think Emily is crazy.
  • Psycho Ex-Girlfriend: Cassiel.
  • Put on a Bus: Done voluntarily by James after he gives up on Ash. He drove home and has not been seen since.
    • Not seen in person perhaps, but his presence was definitely felt during Emily's race.
  • The Rant: There is commentary from the artist and his wife (who also handles the business side of the comic). Usually it's about real life problems or con appearances.
  • Rapunzel Hair: Kate.
  • Reality Warping Is Not a Toy: Bronwyn accidentally makes her relationship troubles worse through dabbling in magic.
  • Red Oni, Blue Oni: Ash and Em, respectively.
  • Reset Button: The misfile works like this for Emily.
  • Ret-Gone: Ash and Emily's pre-Misfile identities.
  • Ripple-Effect-Proof Memory: Ash and Emily and maybe angels.
  • Romantic False Lead: Missi.
  • Rule 34: Invoked by the forum members (you have to have an account to view this page.)
  • Sadistic Choice: "Emily or your manhood" seems to be looming on the horizon.
    • Not necessarily. When Rumisiel gets back into Heaven he can replace Ash's file but doesn't necessarily have to put Emily's pages back. Of course, complications will probably still result, but it doesn't have to be a plain and simple either/or choice.
    • If Ash were to have his file properly placed, but not Emily, that would theoretically leave her alone in the situation anyway, as he would no longer remember anything about her or what's happened between them during the misfile. The memory wipe upon fixing the misfile is a concern addressed repeatedly in Ask Ash. This would mean Emily would have to figure out how to reconnect with Ash without showing that she knows far more about him than she probably should.
    • It is possible, however, that Ash will be forced to choose between a world where he has a good relationship with his mother, Kate isn't being driven insane by her sister's ghost, and he and Emily are friends, or one where he's male.
    • There is also the distinct possibly that if the misfile is corrected, Emily will be dead. Her (former) best friend Molly was in an accident that left her with a broken hand and foot, but completely destroyed her car's passenger side. Emily thinks that had the misfile not occurred, she would have been in that passenger seat and crushed, giving her even more reason to keep things the way they are.
  • Satan: He exists (he's Cassiel's uncle) but he hasn't put in a personal appearance… yet.
  • Scenery Censor: Here, executed extremely close to the line with clever use of panel borders.
    • You know, a bit of Fridge Logic strikes on thoughtful viewing of that page. For a guy determined to hold onto his male identity in every possible way, and a bit of a prude for that matter, Ash apparently shaves some rather interesting and unnecessary areas.
    • Another Scenery Censor, this time via censor bar, here.
  • Selective Obliviousness: Ash's father displays a staggering amount considering his daughter's personality appears to have changed radically from the smiling bikini and party dress wearing girl depicted in the family photo album. (It goes without saying that There Are No Therapists of course.) However, since it's explicitly stated that the misfile only changed the universe just enough to make everything seem normal it's possible that the seemingly instantaneous change from Tomboy to Butch actually occurred over a period of time from his viewpoint.
  • Shapeshifter Default Form: Type B with Cassiel—when she is appearing as a human she always chooses the same form. Due to Shapeshifting being an Informed Attribute of Angels, Vashiel and Rumisiel are technically a type 1.
  • Shout-Out: Emily chooses the Harley Quinn costume while doing Halloween shopping with Ash.
    • At the Halloween party, there's a girl moping over a breakup. Her name? Eponine. (For those of you not familiar with either Broadway musicals or 19th-century French literature, Eponine is the girl on the wrong end of the Love Triangle in Les Misérables.)
  • Shower of Angst: Ash, during a Heroic BSOD.
  • Shown Their Work: Although Tempest itself is a fictional town, apparently somewhere out in the Berkshires, the scantily-clad-waitress restaurant where Ash worked for a summer on Cape Cod actually exists and was a Hooters at the time the strip was drawn (It's an Irish pub now).
    • Not only that, but Tempest is similar to a small town in the Berkshires, Adams. Count: The local high school is a couple miles walk on a mostly open road (As shots of Ash walking home has shown). The schools sports teams are even called the Hurricanes, and have a lightning bolt as a mascot! The town is also only a few miles away from Mt. Greylock, the largest mountain in the Berkshires. In addition, it's a town in between two small cities (allowing some of the city and town locations shown in the comic to happen in the local area), it snows fairly early in the season (It's snowing just after Holloween in the comics), snows often (As Ash said in the Q&A), and the first snowfall almost never sticks around (As stated by Ash).
  • Shy Finger-Twiddling: Rumisiel engages in this here. Missi does the western version here.
  • Single-Target Sexuality: One possible explanation of Emily's attraction to Ash. Hotly debated in the fandom.
    • Emily and Ash thought Missi was a case of this when she was first introduced, but it would be impossible to verify if Missi would have liked Ash as a guy.
      • As of June 2011, this seems to definitely be Missi's case. She outright states she doesn't actually like girls, but she still is very attracted to Ash.
  • Skinship Grope: Ash invites one from Emily and Emily actually complies, shocking both of them. Turns out Ash was only teasing.
  • The Slacker: Rumisiel, started out as a stoner but developed into a slacker. It speaks volumes about Rumisiel's character that this is an improvement.
  • Smug Snake: Realistically, Sheldon's plan to discredit Ash with the sexual bribery accusation only works because he has loyal-but-not-too-bright thugs on his team, and he really only needs to convince them (though it does surprise everyone long enough to put Ash on the defensive). Then Rumisiel comes in with the tape.
  • Spirited Competitor: Kate, while racing… in more ways than one.
  • Spork: Emily resists the temptation to test Rumisiel's Immortality with one in this strip.
  • Squee: You can't call yourself an AshXEm shipper if this wasn't your reaction to this or this. But especially this. Also this. Or this…
  • The Stoner: Rumisiel, at first. Ash seems to have beat it out of him.
  • Invisible to Gaydar: Kay Wheeler, despite being a male model.
  • Straw Misogynist: Averted, notably, with the Arthur arc (starting here.) Arthur is a significantly more common type of misogynist; he doesn't try to tell Ash to Stay in the Kitchen, but he refuses to see her as anything but dating material, cannot wrap his head around the idea of hanging out with a girl platonically, and is generally an objectifying ass.
  • Strip Buffer: The forums are rife with speculation about the next day's comic, but that comic was completed a week earlier.
  • The Sweat Drop: Even Rumisiel's Tshirt and Emily's butt get one.
  • Suddenly Sexuality: Another deconstructed trope as Ash, Missi, and Emily all appear to struggling with the implications of their relationships.
  • Sweet on Polly Oliver: another possible reason for Ash's relationship with Missi, though admittedly Ash's "disguise" is far better than most. Does not apply to Emily, because she knows the truth.
  • Taking the Heat: Molly does this for Emily before calling the old woman out.
  • Talk To The Groin Attack
  • Tarot Motifs: Bronwyn tries to divine her future with her boyfriend… and lays the Misfile. PERFECTLY.
    • The Hanged Man: Rumisiel. Self-sacrifice for the sake of enlightenment, bindings that make you free, paradoxes, and hanging between heaven and earth: in other words, exile to Earth to learn responsibility, where he has more freedom than he did in Heaven, enhances people's lives by accident, flying around... A Messianic Archetype: he's a friggin' angel. Traps, self-entrapment, passivity, and giving up... yeah.
    • The Lightning-Struck Tower: The Celestial Filing Depot. Umm... "A straight Tower of Babel allegory about pride preceding a fall. Often associated to overly arrogant, prejudiced, and authoritarian organizations (including The Government) which walk to their own ironic demise." Subtle. Also, "...more generically used as an omen of doom and disaster, at least by those who know better than to use Death for that or who think that Death alone isn't ominous enough." Cerebus Syndrome, anyone?
    • The Lovers: Ash and Emily. Romantic relationships. Also signifies standing at crossroad and needing to make a decision. Additionally, the original card had a male and two females: in the context of the Misfile, Female Ash has to choose between Male Ash and Emily.
  • Teens Are Short: The adults tower over the main characters, though Ash says he was taller when he was a boy.
    • Ash & Emily, at 5'6" and 5'5", are both at or slightly above average height for women in the US.
  • Theme Naming: The vast majority of the angel's names end in "-el," which means either "God is my ___" or "___ of God," depending on exact context.
  • There Is Only One Bed: Early on, Ash insists on sleeping on the couch when it comes up. Later on, when she suggests it, Emily suggests sharing the bed. Cue Squeeing from the Shippers
    • Also, at Cape Cod, Marie only prepared one bed for Ash and Em to share. Ash let Emily have the bed and he slept on a cot.
  • This Is Something He's Got to Do Himself: Ash's race against Tom.
  • Tomboy: Ash, though, of course, "she's" actually a guy. In a cruel twist, though, he is subject to an intentional in-story slow descent into girlishness. He is well aware of this and it worries him greatly.
  • Tomboy and Girly Girl: Ash and Emily.
  • Training Montage: Em in this strip.
  • Transformation Sequence: Cassiel in this strip.
  • Transparent Closet: The other possible explanation for Emily's attraction to Ash. Emily's confusion on this point is a large part of the Unresolved Sexual Tension in the strip. Was running wheel to wheel with Single-Target Sexuality but now appears to be pulling ahead. Also, Ash to anyone even slightly observant (remember, they think he's always been a chick).
  • Ultimate Job Security: Doc Upton. Never mind not getting sued, how does he (and his "nimble fingers")still have a medical license? (Unless, of course, he's deliberately Squicking out the girls.)

Missi: "Your dad is freaky-creepy, Ash."