Marten Reed, an indie-rock fan living in Northampton, Massachusetts with an adorably sociopathic little robot, runs into a girl at a bar, Faye Whitaker, a barista who's just moved from Savannah and needs a friend, but adamantly no more than a friend. She then accidentally burns down her apartment building while making toast and needs a place to live— namely, Marten's couch. Before long, he meets Faye's sultry, gothy boss Dora Bianchi, and they have fun, hang out, and joke around.
Then, beginning at strip 500, everything changes. The strip eventually got to the point where it shifted from having Marten and Faye as the main protagonists to having a full-fledged Ensemble Cast. And then just when you thought everything was safe, everything changes again at strip 1800. Only this time, where the comic is headed next is even more uncertain.
One of the most prolific webcomics out there, with 5000 installments and counting, QC has evolved into a humorous ongoing chronicle of the lives of a group of twenty-somethings, as they deal with life, fall in and out of love, and maintain a healthy level of sarcasm. Would almost be a Slice of Life comic if the cast didn't include a handful of cute lil' robot sidekicks.
QC updates every weekday, with remarkable consistency considering that Jacques has no buffer whatsoever and usually draws the comic--on live webcast--that night. The comic itself can be found here.
Five print collections are currently out, the first ones featuring re-lettered and sometimes re-drawn versions of the first arcs.
Not to be confused with Questionable Consent.
- Aborted Arc / What Happened to the Mouse?: A lot. A few of these get picked up again later.
- Marten's blog
- Sara. Word of God says Death by Allosaurus.
- Deathmøle looked like it was headed this way, but as of strip 1985 it is back minus Nat.
- Many semi-regular character relationships end up this way, but as it IS a webcomic with Loads and Loads of Characters, this is to be expected to some extent.
- Abuse Is Okay When It Is Female On Male: Two separate zig-zags:
- Faye, who acknowledges that she used to be "a bitch with issues" but is now just "a bitch" used and sometimes still uses Marten as a punching bag for no reason. It's sort of lampshaded (the trope in general, not Faye's treatment of him specifically) by Marten here. And Faye beats up on everybody, regardless of gender, but when she goes too far she's always put in her place, and she goes to therapy and actively tries to be a less crappy person despite her issues. Marten takes a lot, but he won't let her seriously hurt him, and he often hits back with his own brand of snarking.
- The VespAvenger hunts abusive boyfriends, but the main cast doesn't think it's acceptable. They lampshade it by suggesting that a guy on a Harley who beats up abusive girlfriends would be unacceptable, but VespAvenger states she would hook up with such a character.
- Ad of Win: Via Jeph's Tumblr. Oh, Yelling Bird. You always know exactly what to say.
- Air Vent Passageway: Raven attempts this starting at strip 849. It does not go well.
- Always V. Sexy: Veronica Vance, Marten's mom.
- Amazingly Embarrassing Parents:
- Amicably Divorced: Marten's parents, who split up when his father realized he was gay and are still on good terms with each other.
- Anachronic Order: This guest strip, by Danielle Corsetto of Girls with Slingshots, depends on being told backwards.
- Analogy Backfire: Brilliantly averted.
- And That Would Be Wrong: Nat uses this in Strip #910 when Hanners tries to disembowel herself with Nat's guitar.
- The character's expressions on occasion.
- Momo, a Japanese AnthroPC specifically designed to be animesque, pictured here, here, and here.
- Another example is Marigold's adorable little :3 smile in #1465 and #2164.
- Word of God says that one of the biggest influences on QC is Azumanga Daioh. It's not hard to see some of the parallels. He also reads a lot of Yotsuba&! which is by the same author - Marigold even has a poster of her in her bedroom.
- Anthropomorphic Personification: Jeph drew an Anthro of QC for the 8th anniversary.
- Anything That Moves / Depraved Bisexual: Pintsize zig-zags both of these repeatedly. He flirts with/harasses women throughout the comic, steals Faye's underwear, and compliments random women on their breasts, but he has had at least one relationship with a male robot.
- Arson, Murder, and Admiration: Tai thinks that Jimbo's book is "trashy, poorly-written, incredibly sexist towards BOTH genders, and the most entertaining thing I've read all year."
- Arson, Murder, and Jaywalking: Here
Clinton: JUST YOUR DAD? He helped develop the first true AI! He invented the quasiperpetual myomer! He's the Henry Ford of intelligent machine design! He pioneered sustainable AI-controlled orbital habitats! He designed the microsatellites that keep earth's albedo stable! HE INVENTED THE ROBOT HAMSTER!
- Art Evolution: The art style has and continues to evolve, and comparing the newest strip with the first one shows how striking the development has been.
- Artist Disillusionment: Jeph generally likes his fans, but he hates his discussion forum due to its tendencies towards Serious Business and Shipping. At one point it got so bad that he openly threatened to delete the whole forum should people keep posting that kind of stuff. He has considerably softened up since then.
- Art Shift:
- Ascended Extra: Angus. He appeared multiple times as a joke character, then popped into focus after Faye dropped Sven. Now he appears regularly, and has important relationships with other characters, particularly Faye.
- Ass Shove: Happens to Pintsize but he may like it.
- Author Appeal:
- The once-constant, then numerous, then all but vanished indie rock references.
- "Will I ever get tired of drawing my characters in Victorian-era-esque clothing? All sources point to "no".
- Invoked and subverted here.
- The term "schadenfreude" and made-up derivatives thereof.
- An Anime addict (see Expy below) and her anime-design robot.
- "Oh, Dune references, will I ever get tired of you? (The answer is no.)"
- dancing comics every day, forever
- Short-haired girls. Jeph had to promise when Penelope was introduced not to "cut all her hair off" in an art-style change like he did most of the others (Hannelore once lost nearly all of her hair in mid-conversation with Marten & Steve as Jacques changed his mind on how it should look).
- You could count "girls with issues" into the Appeal-factor as well, considering how nearly the entire cast features them. The men are generally more weird and dumb/confused than neurotic.
- In interviews, Jeph has attributed to the high proportion of female characters in the cast to his finding female forms more interesting to draw, in contrast to male forms which are more flat and, in his opinion, boring.
- Author Avatar: Averted - Marten is not Jeph Jacques, to the surprise of fans who meet him. He once posted a picture on LiveJournal of them meeting: Rule 34 responded quite quickly. It's something of an inverse of what happened to Penny Arcade -- As Jeph has stated, Marten started out as his mouthpiece but grew into a completely different person.
- The Baroness: Tortura seems this type.
- Beard of Sorrow: Steve, after a break-up.
- Beat Panel:
- Beautiful All Along: Invoked, lampshaded and torn to pieces here.
- Be a Whore to Get Your Man: Faye and her mother discuss the benefits of this.
- Belligerent Sexual Tension:
- Faye and Sven before they hooked up.
- For a while, Faye and Angus. However, they became friends long before they hooked up.
- Marigold and Dale.
- Benevolent Boss: Scott, Dora, and Tai.
- Beware the Nice Ones:
- Bifauxnen: Tai, especially in early strips when she bound her breasts.
- Bilingual Bonus:
- Bi the Way:
- Dora is attracted to women, but has never acted on this during the comic's run, other than jokingly, and it's suggested that all her serious relationships have been men. In a funny coincidence, Dora realized her sexual attraction to girls after seeing pictures of a female fetish model - Marten's mother.
- Raven also refers to herself as "bi" in a Tweet, although if she is she does seem to lean more toward the Anything That Moves side of things.
- Black Speech:
- Erm... are you all right, Hanners? As best as anyone can figure out, this translates to "I want to fill your scrotum with spiders and broken glass."
- Dora exhibits fluency a second later.
- Hannelore speaks it again in a later comic. This one now reads "Disturb me and I shall summon a horde of shoggoths to rend your flesh."
- Bluff the Eavesdropper: Faye, Dora and Marten do this against the Vespavenger.
- Body Horror: Pop! And incidentally...
- Bondage Is Bad: Averted here. And most other times that the subject of Marten's mother's profession comes up.
- Bottle Fairy: Partial deconstruction. Faye adopts many of the traits involved (funny accent- her original Southern one, a more comical, boisterous attitude, etc.), but then comes deconstruction- others become concerned for her alcoholism, and parts of her personality are much more reserved. The rest of the cast are better matches- being college-town musicians and young adults in general, they partake in the booze with great regularity. It's pretty much their token "This is how we introduce people to the group" scene now.
- Brain Bleach:
- What Marten needs after he finds out how Dora discovered she was bi. "Oh god, please don't tell me..."
- Jesus CHRIST do I need a drink right now. To throw in my EYES.
- And after Strip #1812, anyone would find alcoholic coma a sweet, sweet release.
- Bread, Eggs, Milk, Squick:
- Breakout Character: Hannelore won a character poll by a landslide naming her as the most popular character, shocking the author. Quite a ways for what was a supporting one-note character added to an already sizeable cast.
- Break the Cutie: Marten after strip 1800.
- Brick Joke:
- Maybe if we put on a spoiler it will go faster. It came back again and looks to be starting a new plot line. Chekhov's Boomerang, perhaps? (All signs point to yes.)
- Marten's beast of Bourbon came back after four years. Made even funnier (and potentially creepier) by the Beast's similarities to Fluffmodeus.
- Less bricky than a lot of these examples, but still qualifies. Doubles as a Funny Background Event, since it's very easy to miss Pintsize being thrown in the first strip.
- Dora's response to Raven in panel three of this strip comes up again in panel four of this one. Apparently, Raven is convinced Marten's junk is spectacular.
- Tai missed out on Dora's first move, and enthusiastically joins in for the second. For obvious reasons.
- Hannelore grounding Marigold. It ends forty-three strips later, as soon as Marigold can't take it anymore.
- Return of Holopony!
Jeph: The entire Holopony concept may have been a set-up for this gag.
- Bromantic Foil: Steve
- Brutal Honesty
- Bunny Ears Lawyer: Raven. Shows signs of deep intelligence and seems to be doing well in school but is quite the Cloudcuckoolander.
- Burger Fool: Notably avoided; Dora is the owner and the others are all non-teenagers who wear what they wish.
- The Bus Came Back: She was put on a bus to college years ago, but Raven finally shows up again, and she sounds like she wants to stay. Amir reappeared after a long absence as well.
- But I Would Really Enjoy It: Faye towards Sven after they "break up".
- But Not Too Gay: Though perhaps Jeph might change this with Tai trying to ask out Dora now that she and Marten are separated.
- But You Screw One Robot: When Marten jokes that he imagines this is how AI was invented, Hanners says she once asked her father (who invented the technology), but he panicked and avoided answering the question.
- Buxom Is Better:
- Marigold's breasts are described as "a positively Homeric set of bosoms" and the largest seen in the QC setting so far.
- Faye. As per Sven: "I was never really into curves, but once you hit that other girls just seem flat."
- Call Back:
- The Three Cabrolleros make a muted return.
- "Sorry, the government made dad take the lasers out." "You too, huh?"
- On her resume, Momo lists eel handling among her skills.
- Marten and Steve's conversation of getting paid for ogling chicks is referenced in the title of a later comic.
- Strip 2016 calls back to the very beginning of the comic, when Faye is caught ogling Marten's butt.
- Calling Your Bathroom Breaks: In #1467 Faye cuts Dora off this way, mid-apology.
- Cannot Spit It Out: Played with. Although she can acknowledge they're dating, Faye is having trouble calling Angus her "boyfriend":
Faye : You're my boafregh. My boyfremb. You're my borthreim. You're... you're my boyflingDAMMIT I'M SORRY
- Casanova: Sven, who may need to be upgraded to Memetic Sex God. Even the robots want him. Also deconstructed, as he's been showing signs of maturity (or at least boredom) lately; he ignored an attractive girl trying to pick him up while he was eating, then asked the barman for a fresh napkin because, "this one's got phone number all over it". Footnotes also mention that that may have been the THIRD such napkin that night.
- Cassandra Truth:
- Marten and Dora have at least twice come up with ridiculous stories as to why they were running late, one involving a bunch of Kung-fu monks, another a Deathbot 9000 that Pintsize had insulted on the internet. Marten individually seems to have a knack for winding up in situations like this.
- Marigold blurts out what she doing after realizing lying about being in the bathroom instead for that six hours is an Embarrassing Cover Up. Marten and Hannelore don't believe it (would you believe she was eating cookies and watching anime with the head of security instead?), and assume she's having digestive problems.
- Catapult Nightmare: In this strip and the following one.
- Catch Phrase: The phrase "Hurr hurr hurr!"- meant to sarcastically imitate laughter from stupid or inane people, has been uttered by nearly all of the main cast at some point. Jacques clearly does it himself, judging by newsposts.
- Cats Are Mean: Pintsize thinks this about Dora's cat, Mieville, especially when Mieville teams up with baby Roombas to torment him further. Hanners, on the other hand, disagrees.
- Cat Smile: Marigold is fond of these
- Cerebus Syndrome: The strip started as a boy and his robot, but in no time moved to sarcasm and joking about music and music fans, while developing the relationships between the characters before taking a turn for the dramatic about #500, while retaining the joke-a-day format. Jeph lampshades this in the commentary/news for strip #1481.
- Character Blog: Marten, briefly; every major character has a Twitter feed. Hannelore even has her own Formspring.
- Characterization Marches On: Hannelore was certainly odd when first introduced, but she becomes a much different character than she was before, explained by her trying out new medication. It's lampshaded in #1824 and mentioned in-universe by Dr. Case in #2134 as she recounts Hannelore's childhood.
- Chaste Hero:
- Hanners, mostly due to her being grossed out and/or freaked out by bodily contact. However, it should be noted that she does have a lot of fetishes and is more than interested in romantics.
- Marigold, though not entirely by choice, and she is definitely trying to change that.
- Check, Please!: here.
- Chekhov's Gag: You gotta break some lions to make an omelet.
- Children Are a Waste: This is what all the characters (except those which are parents of others, obviously) seem to agree on implicitly. In several cases justified since they came from families where... something went wrong. But apparently not even Marten Reed (for example) seems to think that the world needs another Marten Reed. Jeph has expressed the same opinion in the footnotes that accompanied one comic where this was expressed, so it's apparently a case of Writer on Board.
- Chuck Cunningham Syndrome:
- Sara. Created without any real character, she just vanished after Dora appeared. It became a long-running gag that she was "eaten by an Allosaurus", but no characters would ever mention her after the first 100 strips except in one or two Mythology Gags: in 149 Dora mentions leaving Sara in charge of the coffee shop, and her absence is lampshaded here. Also counts as a case of What Happened to the Mouse?.
- Steve lampshades one of his first disappearances when he returns in the guest comic 155, coming gasping out of the hall closet. When Marten asks what he is doing there he says:
Steve: What am I doing here?!? I have been locked in the hall closet for months! Didn't you people notice I was missing?!? Why didn't anyone come looking for me?!?
- Clasp Your Hands If You Deceive: Dale pulls off a classic Gendo Pose, complete with Scary Shiny Glasses, here. It's even Lampshaded in the title.
- Clingy Jealous Girl:
- Cloudcuckoolander: Word of God has explicitly compared Hannelore to Osaka.
- Cluster F-Bomb: A handful of regular strips, and anytime Yelling Bird shows up.
- Commuting on a Bus: This or Put on a Bus for many cast members.
- Raven in particular was focusing on scholastic pursuits, and didn't show up for ages, despite once being a huge part of the strip. As of Strip #1939, she's back and appears to be staying for a while.
- Arguably Steve as well; he'll play a major role, then not show up for months or years due to post-breakup alcoholism or secret agent recruitment.
- Completely Missing the Point:
"When did we get a souffle pan?"
- Padma is always mistaking Marten's emotional crises for more mundane complaints about the quality of service at the bakery.
- Marten has his moments:
Steve: Lemme get this straight - you EXPLAINED to her that this whole Elliot drama bomb was basically your fault.
- Continuity Nod: Common, and as this page demonstrates, very noticeable to longtime readers.
- Cooldown Hug: Faye's boobs are a powerful narcotic.
- Couch Gag: The specials board.
- Corrupt the Cutie: Hannelore, slowly but surely. (For the second link, you'll need to see the setup first).
- Covert Pervert: Momo.
- Crash Into Hello: Marigold, into Sven. (Nothing's happened, though, and she has another potential love interest.)
- Creator Cameo: That 'stupid looking guy' in strip 1433 and strip 2066 looks an awful lot like Jeph.
- Cute Bruiser: Faye, literally. Jeph noted that she is trained in Muay Thai after someone questioned her stance in this strip.
- Cute Clumsy Girl: Cosette, as shown here.
- Cuteness Overload: Dora holding Momo is the Trope Image.
- Cypher Language: Hannelore's Black Speech response to Sven's pick-up line.
- Dada Comics: Randy and Shelby do this.
- Dark-Skinned Redhead: Ellen in older strips: exhibit A; now that the other characters aren't so pale, Ellen's skin is not significantly darker: exhibit B; and Tai.
- A Date with Rosie Palms: What Steve is faced with after his girlfriend injures herself.
- Dead Baby Comedy: Guest strip artists love to make jokes about Faye's father's suicide. Jeph has gone on the record and said that he finds them hilarious.
- Deadpan Snarker: Pretty much everyone, sans Marigold. Even Momo gets in on this.
- Death Glare: Don't get between Cosette and her date. Not ever.
Luna: I saw... I saw a tunnel of light, with my granddad waiting at the end, waving to me...
- Deface of the Moon: In one of the Sweet Tits strips.
- Most of the T-shirts sold in the store were first worn by members of the cast.
- Jeph has released quite a bit of music under the Deathmøle name, enough for several albums, in fact. It's quite good -- wholly instrumental post-metal composed entirely by Jeph.
- Deus Angst Machina: Parodied in one strip, and it involves bears, aliens, and the Illuminati.
- Deus Est Machina:
- The Singularity happened (offscreen) in the comic, creating a supersentient AI. The other AIs are pissed that they're not part of it, the humans are a little freaked out but getting over it, and the AI itself just wants to talk to people. It tried talking to dolphins, but apparently they're really creepy once you can understand them.
- Pintsize seems to think of it as The Rapture for AIs.
- Did You Just Have Sex?: Lampshaded here, complete with Spontaneous Choreography.
- Digging Yourself Deeper:
- Disability Superpower / Instant Expert: Hanners' OCD-fuelled counting ability makes her a hell of a drummer, which she describes as "counting with your whole body." After a brief explanation by Marten, she's playing like an old pro. An if there was any doubt before that it was a superpower...
- Distracted by the Sexy: Raven does this to Sven in episode 519.
- The Ditz: Raven is not the sharpest of minds, but shows hints of being brighter than she seems. Sometimes these are more than just hints...
- Does This Remind You of Anything?: After Angus and Marigold's spontaneous dancing...
- Dogged Nice Guy: Angus.
- Doom Magnet: Cosette, big time.
- Doomy Dooms of Doom:
- Dope Slap: Steve gives one to Marten.
- Double Edged Answer: In comic #2067, Faye gives one because she's flustered and has issues about getting close to people.
- Dream Sequence: Here, here, and here. To quote Deathmøle Jacques, "I could do one of these dream-comics for every single character and I STILL wouldn't be tired of the conceit. I am so weird."
- Drink Order: As with real-life indie coffeehouses, Coffee of Doom customers are advised not to use Starbucks' faux-Italian size names, at penalty of markup. Over-flavored or overly-pretentious drinks are likewise bad ideas. Though if you're hazing a newbie, anything goes.
- Drop-In Character: Hannelore lives in the apartment above Marten and Faye and is a frequent visitor, not just there but eventually to the homes of other characters as well. Inverted here where Hanners comes home and unexpectedly finds visitors.
- Dropped a Bridget On Him: Early on Pintsize went on a date with another AnthroPC over the internet that he thought was a "girl", but turned out to be a "guy" when they chatted the day after they had the robot equivalent of sex. Though he wasn't bothered about doing it with an anthropc set to male, just surprised because he was pink.
- Drowning My Sorrows: Happens quite often, what with all the issues and drama the characters suffer.
- Dude, Not Funny:
- In-universe, Faye calls this on suicide jokes. In response, Angus calls it on jokes about Marigold.
- Which she inevitably breaks less than two months' worth of updates later. As the linked comic demonstrates, her casually insulting sarcasm doesn't really have an off switch (aside from having her mouth duct taped shut).
- Dysfunction Junction:
- Faye: Her father's suicide and her subsequent nervous breakdown.
- Hannelore: Raised on a space station by a Mad Scientist, with a Corrupt Corporate Executive for a mother, and so obsessive-compulsive she makes Adrian Monk look normal.
- All of the other characters have more-or-less normal backgrounds, as far we've been told thus far. Yes, this is counting Marten's mother's job, as that doesn't seem to have caused Marten any trauma other than the occasional bit of needing Brain Bleach. It does seem to have given him a rather less-than-normal outlook on certain things, however.
- Eagle Land:
- Pintsize at one point claims his destructive, belligerent and annoying behavior comes from his American locale settings. He does become very civil and even kind when switched to British English language settings. The characters speculate as to how much of that is real personality change and how much is Pintsize being Pintsize.
- Frequently invoked by the characters, with more than a bit of Western-Massachusetts "alternative" condescension.
- Early-Bird Cameo: Reneé is probably the one mentioned in comic 1363.. She is introduced in strip 1845, and still it takes 14 strips more to mention her relationship with Angus.
- Early Installment Weirdness:
- Both Hannelore and Marigold showed pretty stark contrast to their introductions once they settled into character.
- Momo, who grew into being kind of prim and schoolgirl-ish.
- Eldritch Abomination:
- Embarrassing Cover Up: Marigold tries to not tell anyone about how the head of security likes anime, but finds out a good lie for the circumstances of being gone for six hours is not "in the bathroom".
- Embarrassing First Name: Raven goes by her middle name because she despises her Welsh first name, Blodwyn.
- Embarrassing Middle Name: Marten Tiberius Reed. Or it would be, if his father wasn't such a stick in the mud.
- Entendre Failure: When Sven gives his jacket to Hannelore:
Hannelore: (laughs) It's so big!
- Ethical Slut:
- Dora Bianchi is an excellent example, albeit one in a committed, monogamous relationship. Still, this characteristic reveals itself by her willingness to address and discuss sexual concerns. Interestingly enough, her being an Ethical Slut doesn't stop her from having relationship issues, for example an almost pathological jealousy and suspicion of any woman who may appear to be trying to steal her man, the uber-example perhaps threatening Cosette with a broadsword for innocently revealing that she had a crush on Marten.
- Her brother, Sven, proves to be a counterexample to this trope, considering he had to be coerced to be honest with Faye.
- Tai on the other hand is a good example of an Ethical Slut, even if she's a bit forward when tipsy (and again and becoming more so with every cell).
- Even the Dog Is Ashamed: The chibi-fied AnthroPC is, anyway.
- Even the Guys Want Him: Marten nonchalantly (and perhaps slightly too enthusiastically) agrees with the girls on this strip that Sven has a really great butt.
- Everybody Was Kung-Fu Fighting: Faye and Padma kick off an improvised sparring match here. These are two young ladies who work in coffee shops and just met for the first time, you realise. Just don't try it when she's drunk.
- Everyone Knows Morse: Well, Hanners does (but then, Hanners knows R'lehian...) There's no indication anyone else understands what she's saying though.
- Hair Decorations: Faye, occasionally.
- Hilarity Ensues: despite not being an example of this trope by itself, this strip references the trope's typical use in sitcoms.
- Everything's Better with Plushies: You can now buy plush Yelling Birds in the store.
- Everything's Worse with Bears: Om nom nom nom
- Explaining the Soap: Marigold to Hannelore and Angus with Magical Love Gentlemen
- Expy: Jeph has mentioned that he designed Marigold to be essentially "an Anglicized version of Konata from Lucky Star."
- Eyes Always Shut: Dave, a supporting character who had a brief stint as Meena's ex-boyfriend.
- Face Fault: Momo, whose design is based on a generic "moe" anime character, is designed to replicate these; the classic "sweat drop" is achieved by emitting a viscous fluid from underneath the hair, and it's apparently a bitch and a half to clean out.
- Face Palm: Marten needs some Brain Bleach after the events of 1888. Possible NSFW
- Fan Service:
- Jeph gives us Dora-service as an apology for Fan Disservice three strips prior. This also occurs with Dora, Faye, and Hanners for Christmas '08 and Marigold roughly 300 strips later, with other occasions as well. Not all the strip's fanservice froms from the girls, though; Christmas of '09 gives us some of Marten and Steve, while Jeph posts some of Sven on his Tumblr account after getting 40,000 followers.
- Female Gaze: Early on, Faye tries to deny she was staring at Marten's arse.
- First Girl Wins: Averted. So far...
- Five Second Foreshadowing: Watch out for those stairs.
- Flanderization: A few members of the cast.
- Hannelore is considered to be the strongest case of this since it's combined with Characterization Marches On - the circumstances under which she was introduced would be out of character for her now. It's referenced later on when Dora asks Hanners, "If you have OCD, how come you have, like, ten earrings and you smoke?". Hannelore handwaves an answer by saying, "Well, a girl has to have some glaring inconsistencies in her life", but later says that she was on very powerful meds at that time, and can just about acknowledge that it happened on her current prescriptions. The piercings are better-explained here.
- Pintsize wasn't always /b/ personified. He used to just be kinda silly. This may be explained by the beginning of the comic, when Marten comments on that Pintsize finally has wifi and can browse the internet as he pleases... presumably leading to the discovery of 4chan and all of its horrors, leading to how he is today.
- Faye herself points out that she used to be a "bitch with issues", but now that she's in counseling and getting to the root of her issues, she's "just a bitch".
- Flash Step: Practiced by Hanners in this strip, to get out of the way of an impending barf.
Angus: I've literally never seen a human being move that fast.
- Flat What: By Sven in this strip. Faye in this strip. Faye yet again here.
- Flipping the Bird: Faye to Pretentious Record Store Dude; Faye to Sven;Momo to Angus.
- Flock of Wolves: Minor example, but in this strip, Angus describes his job as a Strawman Political - he's paid to take a side in a political debate and lose. Unfortunately for him, one day...
Angus: The guy I was supposed to "debate" with was a strawman hired by the other side. We spent an hour and a half trying to lose to one another before realizing the rally had been double-booked.
- "It's pretty quiet, although the lady who lives in 226 vacuums at odd hours sometimes." This is an actually an error, as Hannelore apparently lives in 33. The mistake is the room number, as Hannelore's introduction has a Call Back to the mentioning of her vacuuming at odd hours.
- This strip and this one foreshadow the VespAvenger.
- This exchange from strip 161:
Faye: That is just one of the many funny stories involving my father.
- Note the record that Faye is checking out in this strip. It foreshadows into this strip, which forshadows this strip. Which Toto song a character likes most, or indeed, whether a character likes Toto at all, seems to indicate compatibility. Thus, Angus and Faye work very well together thus far, while Marten and Dora have broken up.
- A dream foreshadows Momo's new chassis, right down to the pigtails.
- Angus disappears from Coffee of Doom a while, then reappears in strip 1363 after breaking up with a girl with a grudge against CoD who "practically has a doctorate in belittling people." She turns out to be Faye's Secret Bakery doppelgänger.
- There's also this strip that foreshadows Faye and Sven hooking up. Even if Jeph said it wouldn't happen.
- Four-Temperament Ensemble: Marten is Phlegmatic, Faye is Choleric, Hannelore is Melancholic and Dora is Sanguine.
- Freaky Fashion, Mild Mind
- Friendless Background: Marigold
- Friends with Benefits: Sven and Faye have a thing like this for a while.
- Full Name Ultimatum:
- Funny Background Event:
- Momo tends to be part of silent gags, such as here and here.
- Often the title of the strip points out or creates a funny background event out of something that was just scenery.
- Funny Sideground Event from Hanners here.
- Padma poking a passed out drunk guy at a bar.
- Momo is still capable of these in her new chassis. Here she is finding some questionable content of her own.
- Gag Penis: Dora regarding Marten, albeit jokingly. "It's about as large as my forearm and fist and about as dextrous." Raven, however, takes her seriously.
- Gale Force Sound: Yelling Bird is very insistent.
- Garage Band: Deathmøle.
- Gargle Blaster: The vintage whiskey they bought once. Delicious as it was, it glowed and came with a health warning. A guest strip is also centered around one.
- Generic Cuteness: Most of the cast is quite young: early to mid-20s., and the parental characters are somewhat unconvincing. For instance, Marten's mom has facial characteristics similar to the core cast, but with a single wrinkle and an older-woman's hairstyle. Dora's father only manages to look his age because he's portly and bald. And Faye's mom looks like Faye with gray hair. Lampshaded when Dora meets Marten's dad, who looks just like Marten with gray hair and tiny lines under his eyes for wrinkles.
- Genius Ditz: Raven.
- Genki Girl: Randy the Bandicoot.
- Gentle Giant: Elliot, for the most part. Although it's been implied that he has a second job as the bouncer at the bar where Wil works.
- Girlish Pigtails:
- Girl-On-Girl Is Hot: So say the turkeys. Marigold's World of Warcraft buddies think so too, and Steve and Pintsize agree.
- Godwin's Law / Hitler Ate Sugar: Invoked and lampshaded in strip 1020. The only thing dumber than an argument on the internet is the same argument in real life.
- Good Name for A Rock Band: Invoked with "racist murdercult" in That's My Backup Plan. "Piss-Horse" is also brought up as an idea for a Southern doom-metal band.
- Good Ol' Boy: Jimbo. Who writes trashy Romance novels.
- Gorgeous Period Dress: For rent at a local theme bar; it's also the reason Wil got hired at said bar.
- Grandma, What Massive Hotness You Have!: Acknowledged in-universe with both of Marten's parents.
- Grapes of Luxury: Dora considers amending her employees' contracts with this proviso.
- Green-Eyed Monster: Dora admits that she's been very jealous of Sven for a long time because of how everything seems to come so easy to him with minimal effort, which factors into her emotional insecurities.
- Groin Attack:
- Guy-On-Guy Is Hot: Faye and Dora seem to think so.
- Hand or Object Underwear: Or cat, as it were
- Hanners Is Off Limits: "I see flashing lights, dudes in hard hats waving flags, and about three miles of caution tape. There's a big sign that says 'DETOUR - ANY OTHER FEMALE IN EXISTENCE'." Made funnier later when Hanners asks Sven out on a pretend date.
- Happy Dance: Steve and Ellen, Marten (offscreen), Dora and Marten, Marigold, and Angus twice.
- Has Two Daddies: When Martin's dad proposes to his partner, Martin says he's going to call his stepfather "Dad 2: Dad Harder".
- Hates Being Touched: Hannelore initially, though she's slowly grown out of it. She's a total pokeslut now, and even hugs Marten when she gets a job at Coffee of Doom. Reverts back to it briefly when a fanboy of her father's goes creeperiffic on her to the point where Marten kicked him out via a broadsword.
- Hates the Job, Loves the Limelight: Sven doesn't exactly fit the trope because he's a. young, and b. a writer, not a performer; but he has the mindset of writing music for Money, Dear Boy.
- Head-Tiltingly Kinky: First Marten, then Tai, here.
- Heavy Metal Umlaut: Not an umlaut per se, but the "Ø" used in Deathmøle's title falls into this trope.
- Heterosexual Life Partners: Hanners and Marigold
- Hollywood Atheist: Averted (mostly) with Penelope.
- Hollywood Pudgy: Jacques has a tendency to draw all his "overweight" characters as merely Hollywood Pudgy.
- Faye arguably averted -- she's regarded as a very attractive woman in-universe, but is a bit self-conscious about her weight (her rear end is quite large, but this is seen as a plus by many). Many real people have the same hang-ups, so it's a kind of deconstruction of the trope. Oddly enough, Jacques drew Faye with the same build as Dora early in the comic's run, though this has gradually changed due to Art Evolution.
- Marigold considers herself fat as well (despite being thinner than Faye -- she has really low self-esteem), so counts in her own mind.
- Even Gabe Newell gets this treatment.
- Hollywood Tone Deaf: Steve, according to Marten.
- Homosexual Reproduction: One member of an all-girl Love Dodecahedron gets pregnant "somehow", but we never do find out the actual cause...
- Horrible Judge of Character: Wil, as seen here.
- Hot Mom: Of course Marten's mom is hot -- she's a BDSM porn model.
- Hug and Comment: Your armpits smell like daffodils.
- Hurricane of Euphemisms: EUPHORIA FLUID.
- Hypocritical Humor:
- I'm Not Angry
- I Am Not Pretty: Marigold. So much. She goes on multiple sobbing rants about how bad-looking she is, despite actually being cute.
- I Am the Trope: Strip 743, with a Shout-Out to Batman.
- I Don't Want To Ruin Our Frendship
- I Just Write the Thing
- I Know Mortal Kombat: Dale does not know World of Warcraft Kombat.
- I Love the Smell of X In the Morning: Hannelore uses this to describe how much she loves fabric cleaner.
- I Need a Freaking Drink: Marten needs one "to throw in [his] EYES."
- I Never Told You My Name: Used in this strip.
- I Take Offense to That Last One: No yelling in the library!
- I Want My Beloved to Be Happy:
- I Will Show You X: When Angus compliments his shy, socially awkward roommate Marigold on her haircut, then slips in an affectionate insult:
Angus: So does that mean you're gonna wash it more than twice a year now?
- Identical Stranger: Happens in Strip 1932, thus chopping the "Penny is Pizza Girl" theory into itty bitty pieces, if the strip was true as shown.
- If You Ever Do Anything to Hurt Her...: Veronica warning Faye, Faye warning Dora, Dora warning Sven...
- IKEA Erotica: Marigold's Harry Potter Slash Fic: "And then Harry kissed Ron and it was very sexy." Her other Slash Fic, Hermione and Ginny vs. the Space Wizards is an even better example, mainly because we actually get to see the whole thing.
- Imagine Spot:
- Marten and Angus defeating the Awkward Zone appears to be this, but it's a subversion, as the next comic reveals that it's not imagined at all, the comic's world simply is that bizarre.
- Hanners gets a rather violent one due to her desire for peaceful sleep.
- Marigold gets one of her in a maid's outfit due to some words of Angus's.
- Incredibly Lame Pun: Plenty, but Oh gods, we get a bad one in strip 316. No, Marten, Lampshading it doesn't take the pain away.
- Informed Attribute:
- Faye has always supposed to have been quite curvy and big-bottomed. The first hundred or so strips utterly failed to show this, with no discernible difference between her and Dora. Currently she actually fits: made more notable by the fact that the rest of the main cast are built like bulimics (or at least your average indie concert-goer), with the exception of Marigold.
- After Marten is invited to dinner by Dora's parents, Dora remarks that, among other disasters on previous dates, one of her boyfriends was distracted by her mother's particularly substantial endowment -- "Imagine my head on Heidi Klum's body", she tells Marten. When pressed for details after the meeting, Marten awkwardly confirms to Faye that Mrs. Bianchi's bust is rather generously proportioned. And yet when we actually see her during the date, her chest is at best only slightly larger than Dora's, and in some panels the difference is almost imperceptible.
- Also, for as notorious as Pintsize is about wreaking havoc, he almost never seems to do anything more than be a nuisance while on-screen. But then...
- Inherently Funny Words: "Cump."
- Innocent Innuendo: Hanners, Hanners, Hanners...
- Innocent Swearing: In this strip, after Pintsize tells Hannelore that robot swear words come from mashing on the keyboard, she asks him and Winslow what "qwerty" means. They're shocked.
- Insane Troll Logic: "Shall I make you a tinfoil hat?"
- Insecure Love Interest: Dora, in large part because of her jealousy of Sven. This becomes a major factor in her and Marten's break-up.
- The Insomniac: Hannelore is a mix of all three types thanks to her OCD, which is occasionally played for laughs.
- In Soviet Russia, cake mixes you!
- In SPACE!!!: Comic 2105 is the intro to a storyline involving this.
- In the Future We Still Have Roombas: Pintsize (himself an AI) attaches a rocket drive to an actual Roomba. The Roomba flies off through the window, only to return several strips later - together with a family of little airborne kids!.
- It Amused Me: Hannelore is up front about being crazy, but she's also more than willing to pretend to be even crazier if it would be funny -- much to the confused horror of her friends.
- It Meant Something to Me
- It Makes Sense in Context:
Pintsize: I'm always naked!
- Jet Pack: An unusual use of it on Hannelore's roomba. Held on by what appears to be scotch tape no less. And yet, it seems to be inheritable...somehow.
- Juggling Armed Tasers: Marten doesn't observe taser safety and accidentally shocks himself. Of course, he was drunk.
- Jump Scare: this strip opens with a (thankfully fake) announcement about the website being blocked by the Protect IP Act.
- Jumping the Shark: In-universe, Pintsize lampshades and parodies this by name here.
- Just Friends:
- Angus and Marigold, though Marigold doesn't take it well at first.
- Elliot/Padma, though he'd prefer otherwise.
- As well as Marten and Dora after their breakup, though she's been the only one insisting it would be an easy thing to do. It took Marten weeks before he could properly deal with it.
- Just Smile and Nod: Hannelore, Hannelore, Hannelore... In fact, It's how she got through college.
- The Klutz: Cosette couldn't have had worse luck if she tried. Then Marten hooked her up with Steve, but before she could meet him she fell down some stairs and ended up in a hospital with a broken leg. Later she managed to accidentally meet him and things finally turned for a good side for her. When they finally got to it, fire alarm went off. On the second try, she got back into the hospital. Yeah...
- Kwyjibo: "Yarwhal"
- Lampshading: Self-aware humour? That would never happen.
- Lap Pillow: Marten, here.
- Late Arrival Spoiler: Marten takes 500 strips to find out Faye's tragic history. Angus gets two jokes.
- Leaving You to Find Myself: Wil does this to Penny. He does return, however
- Let Me Get This Straight...: second panel.
- Lethal Chef: Inverted, Faye's cooking is fine, she's more of a danger to herself when she is in the kitchen.
- Like Reality Unless Noted: As pointed out in strip 2071, everything is exactly the same aside from talking robots and androids. And, well, also:
- Low-level superheroes.
- SSTO space travel.
- Quasi-civilian space stations.
- Occasional hints of the supernatural (witches, voodoo dolls that work for ass-grabbing).
- Space owls are apparently a plausible lie.
- (The filler strips with talking animals and the Shame Orb are probably not canon, even though Sweet-+!+$ has been seen in the main continuity.)
- Living Emotional Crutch: Station to Hannelore as a kid. Inverted later on, as Station didn't count on her moving to Earth permanently, and it made him realize how much he needs her.
- Loads and Loads of Characters: A strange example, as it started out as very self-contained with four main characters. Since then, Jeph has had at least twenty be in focus at some point, and several major characters have been Put on a Bus.
- Local Hangout:
- The coffee shop.
- The 19th century dress bar seems to be becoming this at night.
- Long Runner: About eight years old now.
- Loose Canon: The filler comics, which have their own characters and could be said to exist in a world outside of the main comic, seeing as they have Medium Awareness. Although Sweet-Tits did make a cameo once.
- Lysistrata Gambit: Natasha threatens to withhold sex from Amir for a month if he doesn't agree to name the band Deathmøle.
- Made Myself Sad: Sven joking about his relationship troubles here.
- Magic Feather: The Worry Hat is obviously one, but that doesn't mean it isn't effective.
- Magic Skirt: Averted.
- Make Me Wanna Shout: Yelling Bird. Gods above, Yelling Bird
- Malaproper: "I might not be the sharpest bulb in the box but I'm not THAT gullible." The sharpest bulb in the box being the broken one, of course. Of note is that Raven has used this correctly previously.
- Mama Bear:
- Marten's Mom warns Faye off of hurting him.
- Later on, when Marten's mom found out about his break-up with Dora and is on the plane to visit.
Dora's shivering violently.
- And once they finally meet, it turns out to be a subversion, since she actually hugs Dora and says she's sorry it didn't work out.
- Master of the Mixed Message: Faye to Marten.
- Matchmaker Crush: In the earlier strips, Faye was telling Marten how Dora liked him and Dora was giving Marten advice on Faye.
- The Merch: Characters will sport a new funny slogan or t-shirt in a few strips, then Jeph will talk about it in his Info post, then it will show up in the Merchandise section. Doing a massive Archive Crawl, you could see this six or seven times in a short span. It ain't called the "Questionable T-Shirt Factory" for nothing.
- Milholland Relationship Moment:
- Dora/Faye after Dora got together with Marten two days after Faye told him "Not now."
- Numerous others, including just about any time someone confesses something to Marten.
- A Marigold example here.
- Milking the Giant Cow: Marten being melodramatic.
- Mills and Boon Prose: Parodied in Jimbo's romance novels.
- Mistaken for Gay:
- "Shh, it's best not to get involved in domestic disputes".
- Happens to Marten and Steve in this strip.
- Mister Seahorse: Randy is male, yet is drawn with a pouch, which he's used for his babies.
- Modesty Bedsheet: Played straight most times that two characters are depicted having sex, but averted when two characters are depicted AFTER having sex.
- Modesty Towel: Sven wears one in strip #1081.
- Moment Killer:
- Mood Whiplash: Frequent. This comic has a habit of throwing in a punchline even into the most dramatic of moments (although there are exceptions).
- Most Fanfic Writers Are Girls: Two female fanfic writers, Tai and Marigold; Tai's stuff is apparently good (she writes a raved-about Harry Potter piece), Marigold's, not so much. After a near miss where lesbian Tai hits on straight Marigold, the latter seeks to make up for the awkwardness by posting a story to Tai wherein Hermione and Ginny "go all the way."
- Mundane Utility: One of two possible explanations for caped superheroes who deliver food. A third explanation, speculated about in-universe, is that they are special superheroes whose specific power is delivering food.
- Mushroom Samba: "When you say big words, smoke comes out of your nostrils."
- Mutually Fictional: With Xkcd. It's a really subtle one - Marigold wears an xkcd shirt here . And this xkcd comic shows one of Hannelore's Twitter posts.
- My God, You Are Serious: Episode 1559 definitely qualifies as an example of this.
- My Hair Came Out Green: Raven tries to bleach her hair blond to appeal to Sven, but instead it comes out "all orangey and gross", so she has to settle for dyeing it neon-pink.
- Naked People Are Funny: Oh, Wil.
- Naughty Tentacles: Inverted by Pintsize's doujinshi, "Butt Castle," which is eighty pages of tentacle monsters being raped by schoolgirls. Note that he has published 17 previous volumes. Also played straight with Pintsize's present to Momo-tan.
- Nerds Are Virgins
- Nice Hat: The Worry Hat.
- No Celebrities Were Harmed: The Linux AnthroPC appears to be based on Richard Stallman.
- No Indoor Voice: Yelling Bird. It even goes over to Make Me Wanna Shout once.
- No Social Skills: Hannelore is neurotic and quite at sea socially. She even has trouble with basics such as smiling. She was raised by a clinically Mad Scientist and a Bad Boss on a space station.
- Nobody Over 50 Is Gay: Averted. Marten's dad, Henry is happily engaged to a guy named Maurice. Also, seeing as he got married and had a son before coming out, he must have figured out his sexuality pretty late in life.
- Nobody Poops: Frequently averted with the girls. It's not unusual for their bodily functions to be acknowledged, and Tai was actually shown on the toilet at an . . . inopportune moment.
- Noodle Incident:
- Not a Date
- Hannelore goes out with Sven just to see what dates are like. Nothing romantic or sexual is expexcted to happen, and it doesn't.
- Tai follows Marigold back to her apartment on what she thinks at first is a date, until she offers to kiss her.
- Not Good with People: Marigold and Hannelore, type 1. To a much lesser extent, Dora and Faye, type 2.
- The Not-So-Harmless Punishment: Hanners is checking some bookkeeping for her Corrupt Corporate Executive mother, trying to find the source of an error. Faye asks her what will happen to the employee who made the mistake once he's found, and Hanners replies that he'll be fired.
Faye: That's not so-
- Nothing Is the Same Anymore: Following the Wham! Episode.
- Obfuscating Stupidity: Many fans suspect ditzy Raven is doing just this, especially since she returned to school to get a degree in Physics.
- Obvious Object Could Be Anything: Faye argues at one point that a large envelope could contain a collapsible pony.
- Odd Friendship: Marigold and Hannelore. One's a shy, sullen complete slob, the other a perky, hyperactive clean freak with OCD. They've become the best of friends.
- Off-Model: As an artist with an evolving art style Jeph produces comics from time to time where single characters look a bit strange and then return to their normal self in the next one.
- Oh Crap: For Science! Pintsize and Winslow's faces in the last panel. Natural conclusion of strip #1555.
- Oh Crap, There Are Fanfics of Us: Marigold hits Fanfiction.net in Jeph's Tumblr.
- Older Than They Look: Amir is thirty-five but looks like he's in his mid-twenties, he claims "good genes".
- One of Us: Possibly Marigold, which would make some sense, given her copious amounts of time on her computer, reading manga, and not going out.
- One Steve Limit:
- When Marigold is introduced, her first words are "Damnit Angus, I told you I have a raid!". Sure enough, it is later revealed that recurring character Angus is her roommate. Dora even says "I thought she said your name earlier!" as if there was only one person named Angus in the world.
- And, of course, literally, since there's only one Steve in the cast.
- One-Two Punchline: Used periodically; #1812 is one example.
- Only Six Faces: Despite the improved art, everyone still looks the same.
- Orphaned Punchline:
- In 1479. Might be doubling as Getting Crap Past the Radar, save that there isn't a radar for webcomics.
- I realized he was using the Alphabet trick on me so I went all "That's right, spell my name, bitch!"
- Orwellian Retcon: When Dora makes fun of Raven for apparently styling her hair with Crisco, Raven objects that she'd never use Crisco because of "cute vegan boys." When someone pointed out to Jeph, or he found himself upon checking, that Crisco not only is vegan, but came about as a vegetarian substitute for animal tallow, Jeph changed the word to "lard."
- Out of Focus:
- Steve; once a major character, he'd all but disappeared for a year, leading many readers to e-mail Jacques asking about his whereabouts, leading in turn to a Lampshade Hanging strip and a request from the cartoonist to stop asking. The worry was he'd been Put on a Bus. It wasn't the first time, either; early in the strip he disappeared for nearly a hundred pages. Then again, it is Webcomic Time... He returned a few months after a Lampshade Hanging, having had some rather interesting adventures while he was gone.
- The above-mentioned Angus McPhee also qualifies, though this is arguably justified by Faye's and Sven's frenemies-with-benefits relationship. He then started appearing as a semi-regular again, and has finally become a regular character, while Sven has slipped into the background somewhat.
- Raven has fallen into this as well, as she has not appeared for a long time (between strip 1510 and 1939).
- Deathmøle, which finally returned in strip 1985.
- Owl Be Damned: Faye blames owls when people wake up after being knocked out by her twice, in strips 150 and 1819.
- Paid-for Family: Referenced - Hanners once admits that she's secretly worried that the rest of the cast are just skilled actors paid by her (ludicrously wealthy) parents to give her the illusion of a normal life. Faye's response: "Well, if we WERE, we wouldn't be allowed to admit it, so there's not much point in worrying about it, is there?".
- Painting the Fourth Wall:
- Pass the Popcorn: Penelope
- Performance Anxiety: Marten suffers from it.
- Perky Goth: Formerly Dora, although Dora and Raven each abandoned the goth look a long time ago now.
Dora: (listening to music) Why do I suddenly want to dance around giggling like an idiot while a smiling man in a white suit throws confetti at me?
- Pet Homosexual: Scott, Tai, and probably any future bosses Marten will have.
- Pink Elephants
- Plucky Comic Relief: The robots in general and Pintsize in particular.
- Post-Kiss Catatonia: Lasts an entire strip.
- Power Glows: Some really good whiskey.
- Precision F-Strike: Although they curse a lot, seeing it come from Hannelore was just awesome.
- Puppy Dog Eyes: Momo expresses her gratitude to Marigold.
- Punny Name: The World of Warcraft addict and all around dork, Marigold Farmer.
- Put on a Bus: According to Word of God, the following characters have been permanently written out of the strip: "Sarah, Ellen, Nat, any chance at happiness for Marten." There are other cases where this is averted, as some characters will disappear for extended periods of time only to reappear hundreds of strips later.
- Quintessential British Gentleman: Pintsize behaves like this when Marten changes his locale to British.
- The Rant: Sometimes rather long and detailed, frequently an indecipherable drawl.
- Rapid-Fire Comedy: Sometimes. It's supposed to be a gag-per-day format, aside from strips about relationships and angst. Most jokes are supported by snide comments from somebody else present in the same panel. If the strip features no beat panels and buildups, it can make each panel like that.
- Real Life Writes the Plot: A week of unplanned guest comics ran in late October and early November 2011 due to an extended power outage caused by the late-October snowstorms' damage to what were already temporary post-Hurricane Irene repairs to the Western Mass power grid.
- Reckless Gun Usage: Marten doesn't observe taser safety and accidentally electrocutes himself. Of course, he was drunk.
- Red Eyes, Take Warning:
- Refuge in Audacity:
- Remember the New Guy?: Dale.
- Retcon: Cosette's last name used to be Beaumarchais. Now it's Hurlbut.
- A Riddle Wrapped in a Mystery Inside An Enigma: When someone references Raven's indecipherable status (Is she just a Ditz given to being unusually insightful, or a Genius Ditz who uses Obfuscating Stupidity?), Raven responds, "I'm a mystery wrapped in an enigma wrapped in an AWESOME rack!"
- Ridiculously Human Robot: Momo, as of strip 2000.
- Robosexual: Only hinted at.
No one is quite sure who decided it would be useful for artificial intelligences to posess [sic libidos, but it is generally agreed that it would be more trouble than it is worth to remove it. Besides, the horny little buggers would revolt.]
- Robot Buddy: the AnthroPCs.
- Robot Girl: Momo has the weirdest dreams...
- Robot War: Put on indefinite hold, mostly because the robots realized that if they won they'd be in charge, and who wants that responsibility?
- Roses Are Red, Violets Are Blue, you are really hot, let's fuck. Yes, it's Sven.
- Rule 36: Referenced as "Quantum Fetish Mechanics".
- Rule of Funny: Most of the crazy stuff that happens, but Hannelore's obsessive-compulsive disorder deserves special mention since, as an OCD sufferer himself, Jacques can hardly be said to have not done the research.
- Running Gag: Surprise-kisses on Friday. So far there have been four. When there was a kiss that WASN'T posted on Friday, Jeph lampshaded it in the news post for that day.
- Sand in My Eyes: Angus after this touching moment.
- Sarcastic Confession: Of sorts. Hannelore's first meeting with Marten.
- Scary Shiny Glasses: Somebody likes NGE... Somehow he can even do it without a light source!
- Scenery Censor: Two conveniently placed bottles protect Raven's modesty from us while she flashes Sven.
- Science-Related Memetic Disorder: Hannelore's father.
- Scooby Stack: Lampshaded.
- Second Law, My Ass: Pintsize.
- Seinfeldian Conversation: Constantly.
- Self-Deprecation: The Rant in many strips:
- From #1704:
Don't worry, this isn't a setup to hire a new CoD girl. The last thing my comic needs right now is another female character!*
- From #1705:
COMING MONDAY: SIXTEEN BRAND NEW FEMALE COFFEE OF DOOM EMPLOYEES, EACH WITH HER OWN ADORABLE QUIRK!
- Serious Business: For Marigold, Horde vs. Alliance is SERIOUS BUSINESS. Followed up on later with a shout-out.
- Sesquipedalian Loquaciousness: Marten lapses into this when drunk.
- Sex for Solace: Referenced and defied after Dora breaks up with Marten...
Sven: Oh, and if you need some meaningless rebound sex, I know TONS of slutty chicks who'll-
- Sexy Santa Dress: QC's Christmas comics!
- She's All Grown Up: Happens in Momo's fantasy shot.
- Shipper on Deck:
- Dora ships Angus/Faye.
- Hanners ships Marigold/Francis (the scientist from John Ellicott's space station).
Hannelore: MARIGOLD. HE. IS. FLIRTING. WITH. YOU!
- Marten lampshades this immediately afterwards.
Marten: "You're really dead set on that "reasonable number of babies", huh?
- Ship Sinking:
- Most vehemently, Marigold/Hannelore, complete with Lampshade Hanging (and Take That) here and more Heavy-Handed here. Jeph strongly dislikes how "Shippers" invade his forums and try to randomly place homosexuality upon his straight characters.
- Faye/Marten. Although put on hold before The Talk and his relationship with Dora, it was specifically sunk here, two strips later, and thesetwo.
- Marigold/Tai here.
- Tai/Dora (with perhaps a smidgen of Foreshadowing of a few strips ahead) here, yet another unlikely lesbian pairing, although for once both canonically like women, at least.
- Though given how Tai acts once Marten and Dora break up, whether the ship is really sunk is debatable.
- Ship Tease:
- You bastard.
- Hannelore/Sven: Unexpected twist? Well, not really. The possibility that some shippers out there probably are tearing their hair out? Likely.
- Hannelore/Marten: Strip 1984 involves Marten pondering what he wants and needs from and out of life. The first thing he does upon figuring it out is to go straight to Hannelore. Strip 2147 has Hannelore's father instantly think that Marten was the friend who taught Hannelore that physical contact is a good thing. And that the physical contact was sex. Strip 2152 has a character assume they came up to space together for zero g sex and the word Just Friends starts getting thrown about.
- Shock Site: Turns out Marten's mom knows the Goatse guy. And his name really is Kirk.
- Shoot the Shaggy Dog: an In-Universe example, as seen in this strip following Marten and Dora's breakup in strip 1799. Also counts as a Lampshade Hanging and, as noted above, a Continuity Nod/callback in this strip makes it fall under "Angst? What Angst?" territory.
- Shout-Out: Given its length and the artist's interests, very many.
- Marigold has an Xkcd T-Shirt.
- Two Narbonic characters appear in the first panel of this strip.
- Negi and Nodoka show up in the third panel of this page.
- Kimiko Ross, Red Robot, and Eve make an appearance in comic #1421.
- Marigold has Yotsuba&! and Osaka posters in her room, and in Magical Maidservant Mari-Chan, Marigold has a Sakaki-esque kawaii-gasm. Jeph is clearly a fan of Kiyohiko Azuma.
- You might miss the Azumanga Daioh shout-out in this comic until you look at the title and watch the beginning of the show's opening. Even then, it's kind of subtle.
- Marigold's hair in strip #1738 looks an awful lot like Chiyo-chan's.
- Comic #1391, covering eight different Web Comics.
- There is one to Discworld in this strip. Hannelore mumbles part of Foul Ole Ron's catchphrase.
- To Neon Genesis Evangelion when Dale pulls the Gendo pose. He's also a fan of Haruhi, going by the poster behind him.
- Marigold wearing a Haruhi shirt.
- This page is one to Warcraft.
- SAYONARA, SHELBY SENSEI!
- Ia, ia, Hannelore fhtagn.
- The VespAvenger - a crazy girl on a Vespa who runs people down. Sounds familiar.
- There are several panels featuring Jeph's webcomic artist friends from the Northampton area walking by in the background.
- This is what happens when Jeph tries to get every anime/RPG reference out of his system at once.
- Marten Tiberius Reed. A Star Trek reference or maybe Stephen T. Colbert?
- A subtle reference to Metal Gear Solid in this strange lady's singing.
- I can do it! I can totally do it nine times!
- Davan and Nancy show up in this strip.
- There's a Geth and a Konata chassis for sale in this strip, which is even called "Robocameos".
- To Weebl and Bob (more specifically, Team Laser Explosion) in strip 382.
- If you look at the Hot Topic in the background of this strip, you can see a poster advertising troll horns.
- I must not laugh. Laughter is the Marten-killer. Laughter is the little death that brings about total obliteration by an enraged Faye...
- Hell, Jacques even works a reference to The Cask of Amontillado in this strip.
- Hitch Hikers Guide to The Galaxy: "Adam's Law".
- "Mawwage! Twue wuv!"
- Momo's original chassis is almost certainly a reference to Sumomo from Chobits.
- This comic appears to feature, in its third panel, a certain seven-year-old professor...
- Shortly after, a minor character by the name of Francis York appears.
- Marten refers to Clinton as Tom Servo during one particular moment of creepiness.
- Marigold has been shown wearing a "This Troper" T-shirt on Jeph's Tumblr.
- Shown Their Work: Fans from the Northampton area are continually impressed by the backgrounds of the city, since anyone familiar with the real Northampton can recognize the slightly-changed version of real places.
- Show Within a Show: The manga/anime Magical Love Gentleman; Marigold is a serious fan, and introduced Hannelore and Angus to it.
- Shrinking Violet: Marigold.
- Sickeningly Sweethearts: Referenced in #772.
- Significant Monogram: Penelope Gaines. Pizza Girl. Read into that what you will.
- Single-Stroke Battle: Parodied.
- Slasher Smile: Dora, what the hell?
- Slut Shaming: Inverted when Faye sleeps with Sven, she freaks out and calls herself a slut while her therapist reassures her that sex doesn't have to be bad and a casual relationship could be just what she needs.
- Smoking Hot Sex:
- Something Completely Different: Any one of Yelling Bird's strips.
- Sophisticated As Hell: The station computer here.
- Sorkin Relationship Moment: Partial trope namer.
- Spit Take:
- Spock Speak: Faye did this in the early strips, partly to disguise her Southern accent and partly as a defense mechanism. It went away when she was drunk, and has been phased out completely as she's gotten a better grip on her issues.
- Spy Speak: No, mother, the peaches are NOT ripe!
- Statler and Waldorf: Marten feels Dora and Faye are acting like this.
- Stealth Pun: Look closely at Winslow's eyebrows. 
- Stock Superhero Day Jobs: Inverted by Pizza Girl and Chinese Delivery Man. Inversion kind-of lampshaded here. Apparently the mundane is the new super! Though I suppose you'd have to be super to meet some of those delivery deadlines.
- Strictly Formula: Mostly averted, though because of its day-to-day life storytelling qualities, the same situations pop up with great frequency. One of the most common plot threads in the series was Dora freaking out on Marten over something, Marten reacting negatively, the two talking to other people about their argument, then both apologizing and making up (this has happened about five times in major arcs thus far). Steve has gone through a few "has awkward hook-up with new girl, they awkwardly go through the first stages of a relationship, then they break up" storylines so far. This is largely Justified Trope considering it's mostly Slice of Life, and real couples do do this sort of thing all the time.
- Stylistic Suck: Marigold's Harry Potter fanfic Hermione and Ginny versus the Space Wizards.
- Suspiciously Specific Denial: Used often, but Hanners is the creepy goddess of this trope.
- Sweat Drop: Momo can actually do this, by oozing a special liquid out of her scalp.
- Take That:
- Plenty to bands that Jacques doesn't like.
- SUCK IT, WILLIS
- Take That, Audience!:
- Occasionally to the Shipping fanbase.
- See the quote at the top of the page.
- Technically a Smile:
- There Are No Therapists: Averted multiple times.
- Hannelore has regular therapy sessions, and Faye started seeing Hannelore's therapist.
- In the wake of Dora and Marten's breakup, Faye demanded that Dora see a therapist because of the stupidity of her reason for the breakup, which she eventually did.
- This Is for Emphasis, Bitch: Strip 697
- This Is Sparta:
- I SAID SUMMON. THE. WHOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOORES
- "Go. Eat. A. Cookie."
- "You. Did. NOT. Just call me fat."
- Followed quickly by "I... am... going... to... KILL you."
- Strip 1862, Steve to Marten: "WE ARE BROS, MAN! WE! ARE! BROS!". With a crowd of three random dudes shouting "Bros! Bros! Bros! Bros!"
- Time Skip: Between 1310 and 1311.
- Toilet Humor: A surprising amount.
- Took a Level in Badass: At first, it was assumed that Steve's 'bus trip' was the result of a drunken stupor. Then he was more or less validated with this.
- Too Much Information: A common trope.
- Too Soon:
Pintsize: I know it's a little soon, but-
- Much later, after Dora breaks up with Marten, he gives us this delightful sight.
- Trash of the Titans: Marigold's epically messy apartment, until Hannelore got to it.
- Truth in Television: The turtle humping the shoe?It exists.
- Faye, from start to finish. Hannelore even gave her a shirt proclaiming such.
- Angus, at times. Lampshaded by Marigold's giggle.
- Turned Against Their Masters: Mentioned by Faye when she issued a death warrant to Pintsize at someone.
- 20% More Awesome: Fournier-Goldman Happiness Units.
- Twerp Sweating: Female version.
- Uncanny Valley: Hanners' robot boyfriend is described as such in-universe.
- Understatement: it's right there in the friggin' title of this strip.
- Unrequited Love Switcheroo: Sorta.
- Unsound Effect:
- Unwanted Harem: Lampshaded by Marten's mother.
- Vitriolic Best Buds: Faye and Dora and many others.
- Vomit Discretion Shot: Plenty, usually associated with all the drinking everyone does.
- Webcomic Time: Some stretches of years can be nailed down to a few days thanks to a particularly long stretch of 'later that day' or 'the next morning'-type events; problematized further by up-to-the-minute music references. When creator Jeph Jacques was asked about this on the comic's forum, he replied "You know how glass isn't actually a solid, but an extremely viscous liquid? Yeah.".
- Well-Intentioned Extremist: The VespAvenger, arguably.
- Wham! Episode:
- Strip 500.
- Dora and Marten breaking up.
- What Did I Do Last Night?:
- In strip #1081, after Faye wakes up after having hooked up with Sven between #1079 and #1080..
- Happens again later on, when Tai gets drunk and crashes on Hannelore's couch...and wakes up naked. They eventually find her clothes in the dishwasher.
- Marten says this to Faye the morning after his breakup with Dora; she decides not to tell him he was being a complete jerk.
- What Do You Mean It's Not Awesome?:
- "My name is Hannelore Ellicott-Chatham. I end messes" - go on, tell me you don't hear a cheesy action movie intro score there.
- Or the Terminator theme. Dun-dun-dun-da-dum!
- Momo vs. squirrel.
- Marten's story about the Arcade Fire drummer. "I AM MAKING MYSELF SOME CEREAL AND GODDAMN IF IT ISN'T GOING TO BE THE MOST DELICIOUS CEREAL IN THE HISTORY OF MANKIND!"
- Once subverted.
- "My name is Hannelore Ellicott-Chatham. I end messes" - go on, tell me you don't hear a cheesy action movie intro score there.
- What Measure Is a Non-Human?: Zig-zagged. A Is have been granted full civil rights and those which are "sold" in stores are ones that choose to meet and bond with people. Such contracts can be ended by either party and the cost is refunded to purchasing party. Generally speaking, they're treated like people, and this series is heavily on the idealistic side about human-robot interactions. However, people can and do return A Is that have bonded to them, though this is considered cruel, and Pintsize suffers a lot of violence in response to his Comedic Sociopathy that can only be justified by Rule of Funny.
- It's also an open question when robots got full civil rights since it's the first thing the first AI asked for. However, earlier in the strip Pintsize and Winslow shrug off the idea of equal rights since it would mean equal responsibility. There was also Linux-based AnthroPC PT410x, who was a robot parody of the minority revolutionaries and who rejected any name other than his serial number as a "slave name." A Is can also voluntarily end up in menial jobs as appliances like toasters, humidifiers, and trash cans, which would seem more like an And I Must Scream situation to a human.
- What the Hell, Hero?:
- Faye occasionally getting called on what a bitch she's being or some action of hers is probably all that's keeping her from sliding down the slippery slope towards being a complete Jerk Sue. Of course, since a Milholland Relationship Moment almost always turns her into a Karma Houdini, just how much she avoids it may be a matter of opinion.
- Later, after plenty of Character Development for them both, Faye delivers one to Dora.
- When She Smiles: Say it with me, d'awwwwwwwww.
- Who's Your Daddy?: Blink and you'll miss it. Dora and Marten evidently did. Though it's not unusual for uncles and nephews to look alike, the way it was phrased...
- Why Don't You Marry It?: Hannelore says this to Marten after he shows enthusiasm about a new coffee shop.
- Wide Eyes and Shrunken Irises: This is a standard expression of shock or surprise. Examples:
- Will They or Won't They?: The entire comic was built on the Unresolved Sexual Tension between Marten and Faye up until "the talk". This then happens with absolutely everybody else except Marten and Dora consistently after that.
- Wimp Fight: Angus and Marten's Scott Pilgrim impression.
- With Great Power Comes Great Responsibility: Marten quotes this, and Hannelore turns it on its head.
Hannelore: It actually doesn't. My mom never woulda gotten where she is if she thought she was responsible for her actions.
- World of Snark: This is a defining trait of a fair number of the characters.
- A Worldwide Punomenon: Everybody makes lots of puns.
- Worth It: Oh Marten...
- Wrench Wench: Faye mentioned that she used to make metal sculptures, but making a minature T-rex that poops espresso means she qualifies.
- Yaoi Fangirl:
- Marigold, first seen wearing a "YAOI ZONE" shirt, and whose favorite mangas, anime, and fanfiction (as well as several of her own efforts at fanfiction) are yaoi.
- And now, Hanners. To quote Deathmøle Jacques, "This cannot be good."
- Dora and Faye, apparently.
- You Can See That, Right??: Library spiders
- You Gotta Have Blue Hair:
- Dora took to dying her hair purple at one point.
- Momo has pink hair, since she is an AnthroPC.
- You Must Be Cold: Sven pulls this on Hannelore on their "date." This is a very non-sexual variation, though.
- You Need to Get Laid: Said almost word-for-word by Dora here.
- Younger Than They Look: Momo in her new chassis doesn't look 2.7 years old, but she is.
- Your Answer to Everything:
Dora: Yes, I realize that projecting my internal dialogue onto my cat is probably not the healthiest way of dealing with stressful situations.
- Also, a rather unconventional version in comic #2137.
- Yuri Fan: Dora, apparently.
- Zero-G Spot: Discussed in #2152: apparently the problem of zero-G sex isn't just physics, but killer robots as well.
Okay, I like one thing about TV Tropes, and that is the quote at the top of the page for QC.
- It says "Sincerely, Marten."
- Now, if the plot wasn't Marten-centric, and Marigold and Hanners weren't background characters, we could count this as a Story Arc, but as this isn't the case, it counts as as a Brick Joke instead.
- it's "Sincerely, Marten" -- there's no excuse for rude telegraphy.
- She also meets xkcd's author, Randall Munroe, in this strip... probably.
- If your screen resolution isn't up to it, they're the word "beta".
- For more information, see The Other Wiki