[[quoteright:289:[[SelfDeprecation http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/BI-2010-04-07-little-things-panel1_2618.gif]]]]
[[caption-width-right:289:Meyer demonstrates [[http://basicinstructions.net/basic-instructions/2010/4/7/how-to-take-pleasure-from-the-little-things.html "How to Take Pleasure from the Little Things"]].]]
A [[CutAndPasteComic cut-and-paste]] [[http://basicinstructions.net/ web-comic]] by Creator/ScottMeyer, which offers, well, basic instructions on modern living. And how to deal with moon invaders. Features cartoon/traced versions of Meyer, his wife, his friends and co-workers, random annoying strangers, moon invaders...

Falls somewhere between being a SliceOfLife and LifeEmbellished comic. Strips appear frequently on Website/{{Cracked}}. For a short time, Scott's best friend Rick had his own spinoff series, ''Asking the Wrong Guy,'' though lack of interest led to its cancellation.

In July 2015, After 10 years of comic creation, Scott [[http://basicinstructions.net/basic-instructions/2015/7/28/how-to-announce-the-imminent-end-of-your-comic-strip.html announced his decision to conclude the comic]], citing increasing difficulty in avoiding repetition as the primary reason, along with a desire to focus on writing full-length novels. The final strip was posted on August 24th, 2015 and the comic then began rerunning with creator commentary added.

!!Contains (mostly one-shot) examples of the following:
* AbstractScale: A ruler that measures [[http://basicinstructions.net/basic-instructions/2010/4/18/how-to-justify-investing-in-quality-merchandise.html?currentPage=2 disapproval]] in "milliscorns".
* AccidentalMurder: [[spoiler:It's less-than-subtly implied that Mr. Everywhere was killed by the Knifeketeer while he was training.]]
* TheAce: Mullet-Haired Boss and Jenkins... believe themselves to be this. Rocket Hat actually is.
* ActingUnnatural: [[http://basicinstructions.net/basic-instructions/2012/10/30/how-to-maintain-a-low-profile-rerun.html "How to Maintain a Low Profile."]]
* ArsonMurderAndJaywalking: "''Jack and the Beanstalk'' teaches kids the following: sell your parents' stuff for things you want. If a deal sounds too good to be true, take it. And worst of all, [[PainfulRhyme "fum" rhymes with "Englishman"]]."
* ArtEvolution: The earlier comics are simple and have less stuff in each panel; modern strips are generally more complex in their art and word bubble placement. More to the point, Rick apparently changed his look at some point, meaning there's "classic" Rick and "modern" Rick.
* AuthorAvatar: Scott shows up as himself in the comic, and is also "Omnipresent Man" for good measure. (And despite looking the same, [[TheAce Rocket Hat]] is [[http://basicinstructions.net/basic-instructions/2010/1/6/how-to-kill-off-a-fictional-character.html explicitly a different person]].) The real Scott considers his comic persona to be the closest thing the strip has to an overall villain, mostly because he's such a jerk.
* BadBadActing: Scott tries to disguise his yawn by [[LookBehindYou pointing away and asking, "Whatever can that be?"]] The person he wishes to distract does not look where he's pointing but says, "Whatever it is, it must not be very interesting."
* BeardOfEvil: The source of this trope [[http://basicinstructions.net/basic-instructions/2012/2/5/how-to-visit-the-mirror-universe.html gets referenced]].
-->'''Scott''': But the way [[AlternateUniverse it works]] is that in one universe everyone's normal and in the other everyone's cruel and selfish.\\
'''Alternate!Rick''': And some people have goatees.\\
'''Scott''': Yeah! [[HeelRealization Oh...]]
* BlessedWithSuck: Omnipresent Man. He's everywhere. ''[[http://basicinstructions.net/basic-instructions/2010/4/21/how-to-explain-a-fictional-technology-or-superpower.html EVERYWHERE ELSE.]]''
* BornUnlucky: Rick.
* BotheringByTheBook: [[http://basicinstructions.net/basic-instructions/2012/11/29/how-to-find-your-motivation.html Utilized here]] to sabotage Mullet Boss.
* ButtMonkey: Almost bordering on CosmicPlaything, the universe seems to have it in for Rick. Noteworthy example in [[http://basicinstructions.net/basic-instructions/2011/8/28/how-to-discuss-a-decision-with-which-you-do-not-agree.html this comic.]]
** This is ''fully'' intentional, [[http://basicinstructions.net/basic-instructions/2012/3/6/how-to-defend-an-artistic-decision.html with the blessing of the source material himself]]. He (apparently) had felt ''envious'' of his fictional self.
* TheChewToy: Again, Rick. Explained in [[http://basicinstructions.net/basic-instructions/2011/6/23/rick-ep2-full-groan.html this comic.]]
* CelebrityEndorsement: Scott Adams, creator of ''ComicStrip/{{Dilbert}}'', was a great fan of this strip right from the beginning and his support and endorsement helped establish it and spread its popularity.
* ClothesMakeTheSuperman: Rocket Hat. Not quite played straight, as while he needs the hat to fly to and from the Moon, he's perfectly capable of dealing out one-sided beatings without it.
* ComicallyInvincibleHero: Rocket Hat. And he does it without the audience ever seeing him move.
* ComicallyMissingThePoint: Many examples (Mostly with Jenkins), though Scott himself decided to take away a different lesson from a bird documentary in ''[[http://basicinstructions.net/basic-instructions/2008/12/8/how-to-face-your-fear.html How to face your fear.]] (Keeping in mind he has a fear of birds)
-->'''TV:''' Hunting and deforestation have endangered many of these beautiful, irreplaceable creatures.\\
'''Missy:''' They don't seem so scary now, do they?\\
'''Scott:''' No, clearly we have the tools to defeat them!
* ConservationOfCompetence: At the one end you have Mullet Boss. At the other, Rocket Hat. Which end is which? Rocket Hat can beat the Moon Men handily, frequently, single-handedly, and [[TheVoiceless silently]] (strangely). Mullet Boss... can kick a dog in its junk.
* CurbStompBattle: Pretty much any time Rocket Hat fights the Moon Men.
* DamnedByFaintPraise: The tourism slogans in [[http://basicinstructions.net/basic-instructions/2013/3/24/how-to-plan-a-vacation-rerun.html "How to Plan a Vacation"]], such as "Death Valley -- It's Better Than It Sounds!" and the apparently-real-life "Missoula -- We Like It Here!"
* DeliciousFruitPies: Scott once suggested that superhero movie [[TheStinger stingers]] could end with hero stopping the villain from stealing Hostess Fruit Pies.
* DescriptionCut: Pretty much every panel of every strip, with the "instruction" text clashing with the depiction of events.
* DidIJustSayThatOutLoud
* DiggingYourselfDeeper: Jenkins [[http://basicinstructions.net/basic-instructions/2012/7/26/how-to-give-performance-notes.html tends to specialize in this.]]
* DisSimile
* DoesntLikeGuns: Parodied with the Knifeketeer- his sole power is stabbing, which has actually left all his nemeses dead. Rather than being praised, he is a laughing stock due to his lack of worthy foes. Well, that and his boxing glove knifes.
* DontExplainTheJoke: One of the two problems [[http://www.gocomics.com/basicinstructions/2013/10/21#.UmV1QBDwrJs here]], the other being DudeNotFunny.
* DrosteImage: The [[http://basicinstructions.net/basic-instructions/2008/9/4/how-to-select-a-t-shirt.html infinitee]].
* EarlyInstallmentWeirdness: Very early comics had Scott giving the advice as himself, rather than as a neutral third party, and then following it to the letter in the illustrations. The more modern versions start at around [[http://basicinstructions.net/basic-instructions/2006/8/13/how-to-talk-to-your-kid-about-smoking.html here.]]
* EmbarrassingMiddleName: Scott Oscar Meyer.
* EnemyMine: [[http://basicinstructions.net/basic-instructions/2011/3/3/how-to-unite-against-a-common-foe.html How to Unite Against a Common Foe]]
** Another strip had the Emperor trying to force this, only to find his enemies were already friends with each other.
* EpicFail: In "[[http://basicinstructions.net/basic-instructions/2006/7/30/how-to-cheat-at-video-games.html How To Cheat at Videogames]]", Meyer spends 4 hours stuck on a boss everyone else says is easy. And then spends ''another'' 4 hours just trying to enter the KonamiCode.
* EveryoneIsJesusInPurgatory: Discussed in-universe.
* EverythingTryingToKillYou: [[http://basicinstructions.net/basic-instructions/2009/11/15/how-to-play-video-games-together.html Parodied.]]
* EvilTwin: One or two strips involve them.
* ExactlyWhatItSaysOnTheTin: [[http://basicinstructions.net/basic-instructions/2012/5/29/how-to-show-some-civic-pride.html "How to Show Some Civic Pride]]
-->'''Scott's Mother''': Why not talk about the Christmas Lighted Farm Implement parade?
-->'''Scott''': There's not much to say. They put Christmas lights on farm implements and have a parade. It's all right there in the title.
* FauxToGuide: The advice is generally good - or at least ''accurate'' - but the characters frequently follow it badly.
* FleetingDemographicRule: It only took three years to accidentally [[http://basicinstructions.net/basic-instructions/2011/4/14/how-to-run-a-joke-into-the-ground.html remake]] [[http://basicinstructions.net/basic-instructions/2008/3/10/how-to-create-a-running-gag.html this comic]].
* FlippingTheBird
* FreakierThanFiction: According to [[http://basicinstructions.net/basic-instructions/2012/3/6/how-to-defend-an-artistic-decision.html "How to Defend an Artistic Decision"]], Comic Rick is ''less'' of a ButtMonkey than Real Rick, because "people would never accept the grim reality of what it means to be you".
* GoldfishPoopGang: The Moon Men. [[CatchPhrase THE DETAILS ARE UNIMPORTANT!]]
* GoodAngelBadAngel
* AGoodNameForARockBand: [[http://basicinstructions.net/basic-instructions/2010/11/2/how-to-name-your-band.html How To Name Your Band]].
* GoodIsNotNice / AffablyEvil: [[http://basicinstructions.net/basic-instructions/2006/7/7/how-to-make-a-decision.html That's why I suggest doing the right thing in the most evil manner possible]].
* GratuitousNinja: One of Scott's coworkers was complaining about how her son wanted to be a ninja when he grew up. Scott spun it [[http://basicinstructions.net/basic-instructions/2012/1/19/how-to-help-your-child-pick-a-role-model.html in the most positive light possible]].
* GroinAttack: Discussed between Knifeketeer and his nemesis.
-->'''Knifeketeer''': Nah, Girl-illa won't talk to me after what I accidentally did to her sidekick.
-->'''Macra-Mayhem''' How is Cojon-Ape?
-->'''Knifeketeer''': Still trying to come up with a new name.
* HerCodeNameWasMarySue: Jenkins wrote a Franchise/StarTrek FanFic in which "Admiral Jenkins" saves the day.
** In another strip, Rick apparently replaced Literture/HarryPotter's name with his own in his first-edition books.
* HypocriticalHumor: In "[[http://basicinstructions.net/basic-instructions/2013/8/18/how-to-evaluate-another-persons-artistic-expression.html How to Evaluate Another Person's Artistic Expression]]";
-->'''Scott:''' By just making cat noises and calling it a guitar solo, you're claiming to do something without learning the skills to do it.\\
'''Rick:''' [[SelfDeprecation Like a guy who traces over photos and calls himself a cartoonist.]]\\
'''Scott:''' No, that's completely different.
* IdiosyncraticEpisodeNaming: "How to X". There are also a handful of exceptions.
* ILikeMyXLikeILikeMyY: Not actually in the comic (which is about Scott preferring coffee black rather than adulterated with other things) but the comments section to "[[http://basicinstructions.net/basic-instructions/2013/8/15/how-to-enjoy-something-for-what-it-is.html How to Appreciate Something for What It Is]]" has a wonderful collection of "I like my coffee like..." jokes.
* ImStandingRightHere: [[http://basicinstructions.net/basic-instructions/2012/5/20/how-to-explain-why-you-like-something.html Said twice by Rick.]] [[ButtMonkey Not that anyone cared.]]
* IncompetenceInc: Scott's workplace. Incompetent boss, apathetic employees, angry clients who keep inexplicably coming back for more. The corporate higher ups of the company send their worst employees there and deliberately provide them low funding.
* InsaneTrollLogic: Jenkins. Sometimes 'insane' is the more operative part of the term, sometimes 'troll' is, but most times you can never be sure.
* {{Jerkass}}: Jenkins.
-->'''Scott:''' [[http://basicinstructions.net/basic-instructions/2012/4/17/how-to-understand-someones-seemingly-irrational-behavior.html Poor Jenkins.]] Everyone he talks to is always angry.\\
'''Smitty:''' That's Jenkins' curse. He only deals with people who are, at that moment, dealing with Jenkins.
* ItSucksToBeTheChosenOne: [[http://basicinstructions.net/basic-instructions/2010/4/28/how-to-fulfill-the-prophecy.html Trope Namer.]]
* JustBetweenYouAndMe
* KilledOffForReal: [[spoiler:Mr. Everywhere, at the Knifeketeer's hands.]]
* KnifeNut: The Knifeketeer and (even more so) his [[http://basicinstructions.net/basic-instructions/2011/1/13/how-to-handle-exposition.html sidekick Stabby]].
* MartialArtsAndCrafts: "Macramayhem, master of the martial crafts!"
* {{Metaphorgotten}}: [[http://basicinstructions.net/basic-instructions/2011/7/28/how-to-face-the-consequences.html "There comes a time in every father's life when he has to fire one of his kids."]]
* MoneyDearBoy: InUniverse example in [[http://basicinstructions.net/basic-instructions/2011/4/10/how-to-give-constructive-criticism.html how to give constructive criticism]]:
-->'''Scott:''' You shouldn't write a book for the title.\\
'''Mullet Boss:''' I'm not. I'm writing it for the money.\\
'''Scott:''' Oh. That's okay then.
* MyFriendsAndZoidberg: [[http://basicinstructions.net/basic-instructions/2010/6/9/how-to-be-kind-to-the-least-among-you.html The Legion of Super Heroes, and the Knifeketeer,]] a collection of the world's mightiest crime-fighters. And the Knifeketeer.
-->'''The Judger''': We shall now be known as "The Judger presents the Legion of Super Heroes: featuring Rocket Hat and [[ColonCancer special guest:]] Omnipresent Man".\\
'''Knifeketeer''': Yeah, still feeling excluded.\\
'''The Judger''': I'm beginning to think your power is being unsatisfiable.
* NamesToRunAwayFromReallyFast: Stabby, who's something of a Comicbook/{{Robin}} to the Knifeketeer, except more dangerous.
* NoHeroToHisValet: The Moon Emperor does a poor job of convincing his Moon Minions that he cares about them.
* NoMatterHowMuchIBeg: Used (and {{subverted}}) by the Moon Emperor [[http://basicinstructions.net/basic-instructions/2011/6/16/how-to-face-certain-death.html here]].
* NoodleImplements: Parodied; Rocket Hat gained his abilities in a conspicuously unexplained "accident involving model rockets, a hot glue gun and a plastic souvenir Viking helmet". Despite it being transparently obvious how such items would create ''a'' rocket-hat, it doesn't remotely explain how it turned him into a BadassNormal superhero.
* NoodleIncident: Whatever [[http://www.gocomics.com/basicinstructions/2012/05/30 "the unpleasantness" of Sunnyside]] was, it made national news.
* NotSoDifferent: Scott likes to point this out with him and Mr. Ryan, much to the latter's chagrin.
* TheOmnipresent: Omnipresent Man.
* OneDialogueTwoConversations: Conversations between Scott and Mullet Boss often involve this. Perhaps exemplified best [[http://basicinstructions.net/basic-instructions/2008/3/3/how-to-explain-something-to-someone-who-doesnt-get-it.html here]].
* PointyHairedBoss: Scott's boss qualifies in every way. He even has a terrible hairstyle.
* ProductPlacement: Parodied [[http://basicinstructions.net/basic-instructions/2011/5/10/how-to-work-product-placement-shamelessly-into-your-narrativ.html here]] and played with [[http://basicinstructions.net/basic-instructions/2010/1/6/how-to-kill-off-a-fictional-character.html in the last panel]].
* PureIsNotGood: In the last panel of [[http://basicinstructions.net/basic-instructions/2013/5/26/how-to-argue-with-your-spouse.html this comic]].
* RealityIsUnrealistic: {{Invoked}} in regards to fictional-Rick's luck.
-->'''Scott''': It just didn't seem plausible that you'd never ever win. [[CosmicPlaything Ever.]]\\
'''Rick''': So you're making me more believable by lying about me.\\
'''Scott''': More "distorting" than lying. Seeing you as you are would damage people's world-view. You're like a positivity eclipse.
* ReminiscingAboutYourVictims: [[http://basicinstructions.net/basic-instructions/2006/8/23/how-to-fake-a-smile.html This comic]] about how to fake a smile suggests, in its final panel, just thinking of a pleasant memory and letting your face do the job by itself. What was the memory in question?
-->I remember the time I murdered that hobo and made a poncho out of his skin. Good times.
* RightHandCat: [[http://basicinstructions.net/basic-instructions/2006/7/27/how-to-negotiate-with-the-un.html Here.]]
* RougeAnglesOfSatin: A frequent issue of Scott's - the comment pages typically have a number of corrections in them, and he fixes misspellings as they are pointed out to him. Lampshaded in [[http://basicinstructions.net/basic-instructions/2010/5/5/how-to-bother-someone-back.html this comic]], which also serves as a TakeThatAudience.
* SelfDeprecation: [[http://basicinstructions.net/basic-instructions/2013/11/19/how-to-figure-out-what-went-wrong.html A]] [[http://basicinstructions.net/basic-instructions/2012/2/5/how-to-visit-the-mirror-universe.html few]] [[http://basicinstructions.net/basic-instructions/2012/2/2/how-to-reinvent-a-classic-character-for-modern-audiences.html comics]] break the fourth wall to mention Scott's drawing ability:
-->'''Scott''': I got sucked into a vortex this morning.\\
'''Rick''': What'd it look like?\\
'''Scott''': Like something only a skilled artist could draw.\\
'''Rick''': It's a shame I'll never see one.
* ShoutOut: Frequent.
* SocietyMarchesOn: His retrospective on [[http://basicinstructions.net/basic-instructions/2015/11/10/how-to-fake-a-smile.html this comic]] mentions how the joke went from absurdist to mean-spirited over time as "hobo" went from a reference to a 1940's itinerant laborer to a general term for the homeless in common usage.
* StealthInsult: Scott is fond of these. The third panel of [[http://basicinstructions.net/basic-instructions/2013/2/14/how-to-gain-perspective.html this comic]] is one example.
* StockholmSyndrome: [[http://basicinstructions.net/basic-instructions/2008/12/15/how-to-watch-a-movie-you-are-told-you-will-love.html Scott explains]] the {{Creator/Disney}} movie ''Disney/BeautyAndTheBeast''.
* StrawLoser: Rick.
* StreisandEffect: [[InvokedTrope Invoked]] when relating a story he'd heard from someone involving their having removed the keys from a handicapped woman's scooter and thrown them as far away as they could. But as he [[http://basicinstructions.net/basic-instructions/2011/11/17/how-to-form-your-opinion-of-another-human-being.html puts it in the last panel]]...
-->'''Scott:''' To the person who told me the story in panel one: I have not told anyone your name, nor have I drawn any likeness of you. You can never sue me, or even act offended without identifying yourself. I win.\\
'''Rick:''' In the most cowardly way possible.
* StupidSexyFlanders: [[http://basicinstructions.net/basic-instructions/2011/12/27/how-to-make-fun-of-the-opposite-sex.html The "Sexy Uncle Sam"]] costume (for women).
* SwordCane: The only way [[http://basicinstructions.net/basic-instructions/2012/2/19/how-to-disagree-like-civilized-gentlemen.html to settle a dispute among gentlemen]] is to ''compare'' them - perish the thought of possibly damaging one's sword-cane!
* SummationGathering
* SuperheroOrigin: Most of the alleged superheroes get a capsulized one, in an episode that explains JustForFun/HowToGiveACharacterSuperpowers.
** The Judger is a Non-Human Hero [[MySpeciesDothProtestTooMuch exiled]] from a race of SpaceElves for her judgements being "too vague and poorly-considered".
** The Knifeketeer is a BadassNormal whose pacifist parents were "slapped [[DeathByOriginStory to death]] by a hemophiliac, and I was powerless to save them."
** Omnipresent Man [[VoodooShark won his powers in a game of contract bridge]].
** Rocket Hat got his "[[ClothesMakeTheSuperman powers]]" in a FreakLabAccident involving a hot glue gun, some bottle rockets and a plastic Viking helmet.
* SustainedMisunderstanding: Scott [[http://basicinstructions.net/basic-instructions/2009/9/27/how-to-figure-out-what-someone-said.html mishearing]] "back waxing" as "bag wag sing":
-->'''Scott:''' I'm sorry, what was that?\\
'''Mullet Boss:''' My bag.\\
'''Scott:''' Yes.\\
'''Mullet Boss:''' Wags.\\
'''Scott:''' Uh, okay.\\
'''Mullet Boss:''' WAG SING! WAG SING, MY BAG!\\
'''Scott:''' I still don't know what you're talking about, but I'm begging you to stop explaining.
* TakeOurWordForIt: In every panel with Rocket Hat, he's in exactly the same pose[[note]]He does eventually prove himself capable of assuming a more overtly heroic pose, for a grand total of two[[/note]], facing the same direction. Anything he does is described after he's off panel.
* TechnicalPacifist: The Knifeketeer has several special knives for defeating a foe harmlessly, most prominently the "Fist-knife". It's actually very effective, as foes collapse from laughing too much.
* ThrowTheDogABone: Once in a while, Rick gets the better of Scott, generally in a meaningless way. Ironically, it appears that the real Rick does not like those occasions, because then he envies his fictional self.
* TownWithADarkSecret: Parodied - the people in Scott's hometown of Sunnyside never discuss "The Unpleasantness", [[http://basicinstructions.net/basic-instructions/2012/5/29/how-to-show-some-civic-pride.html but everyone else in the state of Washington did.]]
** OpenSecret: It made the national news.
* TranslationByVolume: {{Parodied}} in "How to Talk to Someone who Speaks a Foreign Language". To sum up, be patient and remember that people might stereotype. [[http://basicinstructions.net/basic-instructions/2008/8/11/how-to-talk-to-someone-who-speaks-a-foreign-language.html Read it here]].
* TrickArrow: The Knifeketeer uses a Boxing Glove Knife, being a parody of Green Arrow and other superheroes who have to rely on inventive stupidity to remain useful and nonlethal at the same time.
* TheUnSmile: A classic - [[http://basicinstructions.net/basic-instructions/2006/8/23/how-to-fake-a-smile.html "Your hide will make a fine poncho!"]]
** HypnoticHead: The same image returns [[http://basicinstructions.net/basic-instructions/2011/1/9/how-to-be-persuasive.html here.]]
* VideoWills: Sort of a running gag in the strip.
* VillainProtagonist: [[WordOfGod The real-life Scott]] [[http://www.basicinstructions.net/basic-instructions/2017/10/5/how-to-maintain-a-positive-attitude-about-an-unpleasant-task considers himself this in the world of the comics]].
* VitriolicBestBuds: Scott and Rick spend half their time insulting each other... and they're basically each others' only friends in-comic.
* TheVoiceless: The resident superhero Rocket Hat. [[http://basicinstructions.net/basic-instructions/2010/2/10/how-to-assemble-a-mighty-team-of-superheroes.html Lampshaded within the comic as well.]] Sorta. And subverted in [[http://basicinstructions.net/basic-instructions/2011/7/21/how-to-stage-a-hostile-takeover-of-another-strip-guest-strip.html a guest strip]].
* WhenAllYouHaveIsAHammer: The Knifeketeer's schtick, in that he stabs many of his problems into submission. When the Knifeketeer comes under suspicion of attempted murder, his "defense" is that he always wants to stab everyone. Turns out he thinks that "defense" is a kind of stabbing in its own right. The other superheroes consider him something of a joke because it's hard to maintain a rogues gallery when all your enemies are dead.
* WinYourFreedom: Rocket Hat occasionally has to go through this.
* WorldOfSnark
* YetAnotherChristmasCarol: [[http://basicinstructions.net/basic-instructions/2009/2/8/how-to-learn-the-error-of-your-ways-from-three-ghosts-that-v.html How to Learn The Error of Your Ways From Three Ghosts that Visit You On Christmas Eve.]]
* YourAnswerToEverything: [[http://basicinstructions.net/basic-instructions/2011/5/22/how-to-be-a-good-husband-during-ladytimes.html Getting kicked in the groin, apparently.]]