Something*Positive

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Jason: Do you wake up every morning and say, "Today, I'm going to find someone's dream that's come true and put an end to it"?
Davan: I look at it like this: the holiday season may have a phenomenally high suicide rate, but we can't hope to maintain that level of excellence if everyone doesn't do their part.

Aubrey: Davan, this has to stop, okay? You're always so negative and angry, and it worries me. You're not nearly the bad person you think you are, and things will get better. You've got to do something positive with your life.

Something*Positive is a Slice of Life webcomic by R.K. Milholland based on the life and trials of Davan MacIntire, a put-upon, misanthropic author stand-in, and his best friends Aubrey Chorde, Pee-Jee Shou, and Jason Pratchett, who originated as caricatures of Milholland's real-life friends. The supporting cast includes Davan's acerbic but loving family, African-American Wiccan Kim Anansie, Pee-Jee's long-time gay man-crush Jhim Midgett, "pint-sized bisexual" T-Bob, reformed obsessive geek Mike Dowden, vain waste-of-space Kharisma Valetti, and Davan's hairless, amorphous cat Choo-Choo Bear. The cast is enormous, and various members pop in and out over the years.

Most of the comic's humor is incredibly dark and cynical, with glee for potential offense; few demographics have avoided skewering by the author's strawman constructs -- it is remarkably fair and balanced in that approach. However, moments of sympathy sometimes rise to the surface, as the characters may be jerks (an admitted fact by Milholland himself), but they do love each other deeply, and go out of their way to help one another. Common elements include the stupidity of the common man, geek culture, tabletop gaming, and Davan's seemingly endless parade of psychotic girlfriends.

Expect a lot of Take That. To fans of the comic (particularly stupid e-mails are almost always revealed to the fans on the comic's web page, or even in actual comics), to fans of certain shows or genres, and especially to Milholland himself, as well as his comic. It's equal-opportunity cruelty at its finest and most vulgar.

The title was created when the real Aubrey told Milholland to do "something positive."


Tropes used in Something*Positive include:

Fluffmodeus: YOU'RE GONNA DIE!

    • The "benevolent" facade has been pretty much dropped as of this strip
  • Black Comedy
  • Black Comedy Rape:
    • Kim and Davan.
    • Mike and the Redneck Trees [also portrayed as teaching him a lesson]. Initially, nothing actually happens to Mike. Deep-Immersion Gaming is a visual device, not something that actually affects the characters. It's not shown how graphically it was described to him, although based on his reaction, probably "very".
Then, thanks to Davan's good memory, it was reenacted. And he was actually almost publicly sodomized by a man in a tree costume. But since he was an unsympathetic Jerkass, it was played for laughs... and then it happened again.

Davan: Before I post your bail, tell me: Was it a female koala you had sex with?

Nancy: Davan, wake up. I have a problem.
Davan: You live on the fifth floor; you've got a long stairwell that'll fix it for you.

Kharisma: I don't know! I don't know anything! I swear! It's a life choice!

"Seriously? Davan and PeeJee? That wouldn't last five minutes."

  • Jumping the Shark: An in-universe example. When Davan loses interest in his online comic, instead of just ending it he deliberately shark-jumps it to try and make everyone hate it. Considering that Davan is an Author Avatar for Randy Milholland, one has to wonder...
  • Kaleidoscope Hair: For a long time, Peejee would have constantly changing hair, until Randy got tired of changing it.
  • Kavorka Man: Jason. Davan also has aspects of this, on the occasions that he actually cares enough to try. For example, the first words he spoke to Branwen (whom he would later go on to date for over a year) were something along the lines of "Hey, want to go have sex?" to which she answered in the affirmative. Despite supposedly being hideous, Davan has slept with about five or six attractive women in nine years, two of them very regularly -- not a bad run.
  • Karma Houdini: Pretty much every major, and some of the minor, characters in the strip. They have all done and said some really nasty things and suffered few consequences for them. About the only one really suffering for her actions is Kharisma, except she's in jail for a murder she didn't commit, but was trying to commit... and with the intended victim's blessing, at that.
  • Keet: T-Bob.
  • Killed Off for Real: Faye
    • As well as anyone seen in Hell, such as Pepito.
      • Averted with "Santa Claus", seen in Hell but alive (if not "well") later
  • Lamarck Was Right: Half of Choo-Choo's kitties are gooey and boneless like him, despite his condition being a result of chemotherapy.
  • Lampshade Hanging: Davan's Speech Bubble is covered up for a second time when he tells PeeJee who he called at the con (see Painting the Fourth Wall below), this time by Choo-Choo Bear bursting out of his ice cream. PeeJee reasonably says that this makes no sense:

Davan: He's a 30+ year old pudding cat who can travel through drains but this is where your ability to believe is gonna be taxed?
PeeJee: Even so, there's a point where reality dictates--
Davan: How'd that woman in your job die again?
PeeJee: This ice cream could use sprinkles.

Aubrey: "Woogie, where's all your stuff? It's like we're in a comic strip but the cartoonist is too goddamn lazy to draw our background like he normally does."

Jason:Lemme back track to where you were s'posed to be freaked out.
Aubrey:We'll need a big pot, but I'm sure we can get one on the way to the animal shelter.

  • No Good Deed Goes Unpunished: Davan, so very much. Nearly every instance of him trying to behave altruistically comes back to bite him in the worst possible way.
  • Noodle Incident: Whatever Mike did to get Tamara to leave him at that Nerdrotica Christmas Party.
  • Noodle Implements: Averted most times, as we get to see the resulting carnage from the characters' schemes. Played straight with the above Noodle Incident.
  • The Not Love Interest: Davan and Peejee.
  • Not Quite Dead: Kestrel.
  • Not So Stoic: Here.
  • Obfuscating Stupidity: Ollie. Spoilered because it came out of nowhere. Monette -- of all people -- even plays it for laughs.
  • Oblivious to His Own Description: Davan tells Peejee he used to have a crush on a girl, but she didn't return the sentiment. They became really good friends and it ended up being for the best. Peejee insults the girl for not realizing Davan's great, he replies that, no, she's one of his favorite people. He walks away. Peejee catches on and blushes.
  • Official Couple: Jason/Aubrey.
  • One of the Boys: Monette's girlfriend Lisa attended Jason's bachelor party at a strip club
  • Out of Focus: With the aforementioned Loads and Loads of Characters, this happens a lot. The occasional minor character will only appear a total of five times in six years [Davan's Furry friend Andy], and often a year goes by between Jhim or Anna's appearances, and both were once major characters (Jhim especially, once a part of the core cast). Clair, a previously major cast member, disappeared for years, and then showed up engaged and about to move away. Kim and Kestrel, major co-workers of Aubrey's and former major cast-members, also fall out of focus for six months at a time.
    • Most of this is done to reflect on Real Life: It's (sort of) based on Milholland's experiences. People do vanish from your life only to reappear out of nowhere.
  • Paedo Hunt: Mike triggered this by putting video of a play Aubrey was in on the internet. The play was The Hobbit, and Aubrey wore a nude, glittering bodystocking. Oh, and she was 15 at the time.
  • Painting the Fourth Wall: Aubrey enters Davan's apartment and asks "Where's your furniture? It's like we're in a comic strip, but the artist is too goddamn lazy to draw in the background like he usually does." Of course, there's a perfectly good explanation: it's in storage.

Wil Wheaton: I was on Star Trek. I'm familiar with crazy fans. This is a fan revolt. The result of years of being jacked about by those they adored.
Jason: Like when a webcomic intentionally dangles a plot but refuses to ever resolve it?
Davan [on phone]: You mean the world to me--
Wil {{[[[The Un-Reveal]] covering Davan's}} Speech Bubble]: YES! Seriously, it doesn't get dickier than that shit!

    • Pee-Jee once asked the question, "Why does everything that happens around here revolve around sex?" Daven mumbles, "Bad writing." But, like the first example, he was reading a book and muttering to himself to justify the fourth wall breakage.
    • Multiple examples in this strip, with regard to Helen of the then just-concluded webcomic Penny and Aggie. Jason wonders where comic characters go after their strip ends. One of Aubrey's suggestions is "the background of another crappier comic," a reference to Helen having already long since left her original comic for S*P, but mostly remaining in the background since then. Kim mentions that she'll be interviewing Helen for a Nerdrotica position. Having met her already, she tells Aubrey that Helen's "okay, but whenever she's around, people get really pissed for some reason," an allusion to Milholland's ongoing problem with P&A fans who complain to him about how he writes her. Aubrey says she doesn't want her business to be a "dumping ground for other people's damaged goods." This refers to the reason P&A writer T Campbell gave Helen's character to Milholland: he felt her problems now ran too deep for his own comic's setting and characters to help her out of them. Kim tells her she sounds like Kestrel; this alludes to the Queen of Wands protagonist who ended up herself working at Nerdrotica.
  • Paste Eater: Monette ate crayons until she was in her early twenties, and Davan made reference to turning the habit into a fetish by finding a girl willing to "make herself an off shade of green and tattoo 'Crayola' on her ass."
  • Pet the Dog - Kharisma for one, prior to character development when she was a minor or supporting role. Most of the time on screen she spent as either making conversation or being the Alpha Bitch, but when she left the Medicade company that she and Davan worked at she got a moment where she was actually, intentionally, nice to Davan telling him to quit the job for his own good as she wouldn't wish it on the worst person in the world let alone him.
  • The Pig Pen: Jeremiah Kinsley, apparently.
  • Platonic Life Partners: Davan and Pee-Jee. Pee-Jee even refers to herself as Davan's "Platonic Life Mate."
  • Prima Donna Director: Avogadro. Such is his flamboyance that even being bedridden does nothing to his hamminess.
  • Protagonist-Centered Morality: From an objective point of view, the protagonists are not just as bad as many of the people the comic considers antagonists... they're worse. The majority of behaviors that are often decried in the more serious moments... emotional abuse, dishonesty, disrespect, hurling insults, assault... are things that the main characters do for fun the rest of the time. Because being rude to people in your gaming group is terrible, but convincing random children that their parents don't love them is hilarious.
    • This is part of what invokes Fridge Logic on all the Wangsting Davan does about his job in the early years of the strip, and portraying his bosses as literally in the service of Satan. Yes, it's painful to have to call up dead peoples' loved ones and charge them for ambulance rides... but it's not as if it's personal, the emotional pain the company inflicts is just an unfortunate side effect of doing business. Meanwhile, Davan likes to go out and deliberately inflict emotional pain on anyone that crosses his path purely for his own amusement.
    • Another example: Davan and Aubrey visit HP Lovecraft's grave, and Aubrey becomes incensed to find that someone has been doing "gothic" rituals over it. She rages that Lovecraft had a hard enough life without his grave being defiled as she cleans it off. Lovecraft is thusly turned into The Woobie because Davan and Aubrey like his writing... nevermind that he would likely have been far more disgusted and offended to have an Asian woman touch his headstone than he would have been at the ritual.
  • Psycho Lesbian: One of Vanessa's exes shows shades.
  • Puppy Dog Eyes: "So, what's the going rate on buying back promises from Kindergartners these days?"
  • Real Life Writes the Plot: Milholland has confirmed that at least one character has left the strip for a while for 're-tooling', as the real-life friend the character was based off of had 'betrayed' him, and he felt he couldn't write the character the same way. Spin-off strip "Midnight Macabre" was put on hold for the same reason - implying that Lisa was the character in question.
  • Really Seventeen Years Old: Helen tries to get a job at Nerdrotica despite being underage. Nancy catches her out because of her crappy fake ID.
  • Red Shirt: Referenced here.
  • Refuge in Audacity: Both in the humor and in the characters' actions.
  • Relationship Reboot: Halloween 2004.

"Hello, I'm Pee-Jee."
"Hi, I'm Mike. Sometimes I'm an asshole."
"That's fine by me. The interesting people always are."

Rory: Mr. Sanderson explained it all to me! You put your penis in her vulva and then she... ejaculated uterine linin' after you... you shed your X chromosomes. Then her placenta was born and you both thought it was a baby and you both thought that baby was me but it wasn't! Didn't you?!
Davan: I don't know if I should punch you for telling him I had sex with his mom or for how bad a job you did explaining what that means.

"Meth Song, Meth Song,
This is the song I sing when I'm about to get meth."

  • Thermometer Gag: Davan demands his doctor take his temperature orally during a checkup, to which the doctor responds "Fine, but you're the first person to ask me to stick a rectal thermometer in his mouth."
  • Too Dumb to Live: Several, but special mention to Kharisma, who openly bragged about a murder bet she made with Avagadro...which bites her right square in the ass when she's convicted of his murder, even though he died of natural causes.
  • Too Much Information (Also a kind of Shutting Up Now): Vanessa's mouth sometimes runs away with her, and ends up in terrible places.

PeeJee: Stop...talking.
Vanessa: I DON'T KNOW HOW.

  • Transparent Closet: Lisa was never fooling her family for a second, though she thought she was and was deathly embarassed of her orientation.
  • Troll: Davan and Jason. Especially when working together.
  • True Companions: Davan, PeeJee, Aubrey and Jason compose the core of the circle, with something like a dozen other characters forming the periphery. Lots and lots of snarking and bitching, but they've demonstrated a willingness -- nay, an eagerness -- to commit felonies on behalf of one another.
  • Unfortunate Names: Mike's kid Shazam Wil-Wheaton Dowden and the Santa actor Shirley Koklik. To some extent, Davan himself, as nobody knows how to pronounce it (it's Dah-van, not Dave-N).

PeeJee: Why would you call me "Penny-Jenny" and then act shocked that I'm prone to violent outbursts?

  • Vitriolic Best Buds: The whole cast.
  • Wall of Text: One of the worst offenders, though it's part of the comic's charm, and the producer of some of the better strips. Let's just say that Milholland REALLY likes his characters with Backstory. Like this word-wall.
  • Webcomic Time: Which bounces back and forth: events generally keep up with the dates on which they take place, albeit a few days before and after.
  • Webcomics Long Runners: Coming up on nine years, as of Dec. 17, 2009.
  • Welcome to the Big City: A character moves to the city and is helped by a kindly old lady, only to later discover said sweet old lady had relieved her of her wallet.
  • Wham! Episode: "Just Today."
  • What Do You Mean It's Not Heinous?: Apparently, Davan's and Vanessa's opinions of Hard Lemonade fall into this trope.
  • Whatevermancy: Aubrey, in the January 9, 2002 strip, refers to using sex appeal to get into a club without paying a cover charge as "Vaginamancy".
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: A few subplots have been dropped over the years, as different parts of character's lives get ignored (or just not focused on). Davan and Jason were initially supposed to be producing Titus Andronicus (even auditioning for it), but it got dropped when he moved to Texas. Later strips involve a play Davan re-wrote instead. Certain subplots seem to have been dropped, only to reappear later on (such as Monette's "Big Secret" -- which turned out to be her TV show, and Davan and Jason's work on Neko-Neko Holy-Chan). New character Bian was introduced, but then went several months before actually meeting any of the recurring cast.
    • The most epic (and possibly deliberate) use was Monette's baby -- she had a big pregnancy storyline, and then one strip showed her sad while somebody mentioned that she "lost her baby". It was done either really clumsily, or very Magnificent Bastardly by Randy, to the point where fans re-scoured recent Archival updates to find out when the baby really died. Turns out, that was the first time it was mentioned.
  • Word of God: A veritable ton of information is available about the strip and the backstory behind it by Milholland's interviews and commentaries. Just which situations are based off of real events, and which characters are based off of specific people, is often answered.
  • World of Snark: Virtually everyone has some sort of sarcastic jab they can pull at someone else.
  • Write What You Know: Among other details, Davan's awful job in Medicaid billing ("I phone people and tell them that while we're sorry their son died in a drive-by shooting, here's an $800 bill for the ambulance") was what Milholland did for a living before S*P became profitable enough to support him.
  • Write Who You Know: Most of the main characters, and some of the secondary cast, are based on Milholland's friends and family. Davan is based on Milholland himself as he was several years earlier, and Aubrey is based on Clarine Harp, now a fairly well-known anime voice actress. Milholland has explained that various other characters are based off of "combinations" of people he knew. Specifically, Eva was based off of two separate people (one nice girl, one a basket case), as was Mike (one got better from his misogynistic whiny geek phase, the other got worse).
  • Yandere: The catgirls.
  • Yaoi Fangirl: Aubrey encourages PeeJee to become one to get over her crush on Jhim. Also, this.
  • Zany Scheme: Aubrey. Her friends realise they can only ride the wave until she loses interest or it all falls apart - until one of them works.
    • Later on, when said zany scheme is self-sustaining enough, she gets tired of it and goes back to her old notebooks to see if she can try again on some of her old ideas...only to discover that they all suck.
  • Zombie Apocalypse: But with catgirls!