[[quoteright:258:[[DopeSlap http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/CtrlAltDel.jpg]]]]

''[[http://www.cad-comic.com/ Ctrl+Alt+Del]]'' is a TwoGamersOnACouch {{webcomic}}, following the adventures of two guys, a girl, and a robot who alternate between sitting around playing video games and getting up to [[HilarityEnsues wacky hijinks]].

The comic alternated its updates between story-based strips and video game-specific ones, until on November 24, 2012 the comic [[http://www.cad-comic.com/cad/20121124 concluded its main storyline, wrapping up the stories of Ethan, Lilah, Lucas, and Zeke]]. Following this conclusion, [[{{Retool}} the comic has become almost exclusively video-game jokes]], now starring the four colored players [[AscendedExtra previously seen in occasional earlier joke strips.]] This was used as placeholder content until the main storyline was rebooted, now featuring Ethan and Lucas as a gaming-themed superhero team, with a marked change in drawing style, being much more dynamic and detailed.

Not to be confused with the three-finger-salute/[[Franchise/StarTrek Vulcan Nerve Pinch]].

There is also an animated adaption, [[TitleTheAdaptation Ctrl+Alt+Del: The Animated Series]]. Its site is [[http://www.cad-series.com/ here]].

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!!This webcomic contains examples of:

* AcheyScars: On Ethan's shoulder and caused by Rory -- which has only been mentioned once and never again.
* AcidRefluxNightmare: [[http://www.cad-comic.com/cad/20030402 This strip]]. "Blame the microwave burrito you ate before bed!"
* AffablyEvil: Rory. Maybe too affable.
* TheAlcoholic: Ethan, when he's depressed.
* AloofOlderBrother[=/=]JerkJock: Rory.
* AltText[=/=]FootnoteFever:
** The [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IjnozEUrmek Annotated Series]].
** Before the revamp, the alt-text was just repeating the name of the strip. Post-revamp, it's now the de facto name of the strip since they're now untitled.
* AnimatedAdaptation: Uses different storylines than those of the comic itself. Wasn't well recieved, [[LeastICouldDo Blind Ferret Entertainment]], who produced season one had this to say:
-->'''Ryan Sohmer:''' We produced Ctrl+Alt+Del season one. Never again. Lost HUGE amounts of money.
* ArtEvolution: A slow one, but after stagnating for quite some time, the comic has gotten much more dynamic, moving away from its [[{{Hatedom}} infamous]] CutAndPasteComic status. The Analog and D-pad arc in particular shows a drastic change (for the better) in art quality.
* AscendedExtra: The colored "players" are the main recurring characters post-reboot
* AtomicFBomb: Ethan lets one loose in the cartoon.
* AuthorAvatar: The main character, Ethan, has an outstanding physical resemblance to Buckley, and Buckley admitted he based the character on himself just how most of the cast are based on real life friends of his.
* AxeCrazy: The Four Players, but mostly Two and Four.
* BabiesEverAfter: [[spoiler: For Lucas]]
%% * BadFuture: In an alternate timeline Zeke conquers the world
* BearsAreBadNews: Poor [[ButtMonkey Faildruid]].
* BecomingTheMask: Meta example, but the current SomethingAwful mock thread has moved on to drawing fan art ([[IncrediblyLamePun ban art]]) of Buckley's characters, often in an attempt to fix the flaws in his writing/art/characterisation. This has led to the horrible realisation:
-->We ''are'' the CAD fans!
* BigDamnHeroes: Rory saves Ethan with a fire extinguisher attacking the Hawaiian Mafia.
* BittersweetEnding: The ending of the the main storyline. Ethan gives his life in a HeroicSacrifice to stop the annihilation of two universes, never making it back home, never getting to say "I love you" to Lilah one last time. Everyone mourns his death, but eventually moves on. Zeke reveals himself, saying that he's just "trying to find his place in the world." Lucas learns to love again, marrying Kate and having a son which he names after Ethan. His legacy is remembered in the form of "The Ethan [=MacManus=] Church of Gaming". We're left with an image of Lilah looking up at said church with a proud but sorrowful smile.
* BoundAndGagged: Happens to Lilah in one strip when she's kidnapped.
* BreakingTheFourthWall: Done quite literally [[http://www.cad-comic.com/cad/20070720 in this strip]].
* BrokenAesop: The comic makes it clear it's wrong to be a "console fanboy," in one strip even having God personally squash one. Fine. We'll buy that; a bit {{Anvilicious}}, but an adequate Aesop of its own. However, there are issues with this, since the fanboys are ''always'' gamecube fans, the evil Gamer King in an early strip used a staff with a golden Gamecube controller on top (versus Ethan's XBox one), Ethan playing a Gamecube is referred to as a "sin against the gaming gods," he mentions that turning the Gamecube into a robot would result into a girl robot, and doing the same to a Playstation would produce a gay one while the Xbox appears to be perfect and sinless.
* ButtMonkey:
** Rob. Very seldom will anyone say anything remotely nice to or about him. Ethan once pushed a vending machine on him purely ForTheEvulz and then [[KickTheDog jumped on top of it with Rob still laying under it]]. Rob's hideous crime? He's a "frat boy" who only likes a handful of super-popular games like ''WorldOfWarcraft'' and ''{{Halo}}''.
*** And Counter Strike. Lots and lots of Counter Strike.
** Faildruid, a hapless WorldOfWarcraft player/character who happens to be a {{bear|sAreBadNews}} (and later an [[DungeonsAndDragons owl-bear]]). His crime is basically being a very naive newbie.
* CainAndAbel: [[JerkJock Rory]] and [[ManChild Ethan]].
* CaptainObvious: Author's comment in the infamous miscarriage arc:
-->And I know that it [the miscarriage]'s often much harder on the woman than on the man.
* CerebusSyndrome: Since the miscarriage, there have been more purely dramatic strips and less gags, culminating in the GrandFinale where [[spoiler: Ethan dies in a HeroicSacrifice to save two timelines.]]
* ChainsawGood: This strip: [[http://www.cad-comic.com/cad/20061115]]
* CharacterDevelopment[=/=]CharacterDerailment: [[spoiler:Ethan suddenly acquires competence when he uses his cellphone as a wire. It's been theorized that this has something to do with Ethan and Lilah moving from boyfriend-girlfriend to married couple, where Ethan's behavior wouldn't really work. Or he did it as part of his daily seven seconds of focus.]]
* CheatersNeverProsper: Ethan trying out an RPG-themed rewards system (one of his rare, not-actually-that-bad ideas) at his game shop when he encounters a GamerChick who's trying to manipulate the system by buying ten games at once to get an eleventh one at a discount and then returning the first ten games. Ethan seems to get the upper hand after he sorts out the rules, but then she moves on rigging the tabletop games by, um, paying the entrance fees for a band of hobos for a prize that's only a percentage of the money she paid.
%% * ChekhovsGun: "Once you put this on, you get one James Bond quote. '''One.'''"
* ChooseYourOwnAdventure: Once or twice a year, the author will come out with a storyline where he decides what the character's actions will be or what plot branch to take in the next update based on the number of emailed votes he receives.
* ColorCodedForYourConvenience: The Four Players.
* ComedicSociopathy: Ethan displayed it a ''lot'' in the past, which is biting the comic in the arse now CerebusSyndrome has kicked in and he's meant to be a little more sympathetic and at least ''trying'' to mature. The Four Players, especially Two and Four.
* ComicRolePlay: In one strip, Ethan freaks Lucas out by wearing fake breasts when playing his girlfriend.
* ComplainingAboutRescuesTheyDontLike: Ethan reacts to being saved from the mafia by Rory by being outright furious. Somewhat justified since Rory caused the mafia to show up in the first place, but that he reacts this way just a couple of seconds after Rory had saved him from bodily harm, and maybe even death, by knocking out the mobsters, makes Ethan seem angry about being saved.
* ContinuityCreep: Starts out as your standard issue gamer comic, eventually descends into lengthy storylines.
* {{Cloudcuckoolander}}: Ethan borders between this and TheDitz.
* ConvenientMiscarriage: Lilah's miscarriage that spawned a thousand flame wars.
* CreatorCameo: In the animated series. HilariousInHindsight; ''CityOfHeroes'' eventually ''did'' put out a Mac Edition with special goodies and much fanfare.
* CutAndPasteComic: To a fairly infamous degree, especially during a con demonstration of how he works his comics, it's shown that he keeps a file full of different eyes and mouths to copy and paste from, along with differently shaded body parts. [[ArtEvolution Eventually]] Buckley has moved away from it, with much more dynamic angles and poses.
* DeadGuyJunior: [[spoiler: Lucas' child is named for Ethan.]]
* DontExplainTheJoke: Often criticized of violating this rule. Occasionally goes the opposite way and has comics with no punchline, other then [[ComedicSociopathy violence]], [[PrecisionFStrike profanity]], and/or [[GagBoobs lol boobs]][=/=][[GagPenis lol penis]].
* DullSurprise: Common enough to spawn the B^U MemeticMutation
* DramaBomb: The infamous miscarriage arc.
* DramaBombFinale: The [[http://www.cad-comic.com/cad/20121124 "Endings...And Beginnings"]] strip.
* EeriePaleSkinnedBrunette: Lucas, [[strike:concentration camp Lucas]] Barry (Ethan's old boss), [[strike:Scott]], Lucas' murderous girlfriend, Christian's agent Shannon, and Abby the GamerChick who's gaming Ethan (does the author have some kind of thing against brunette women?).
* EvenNerdsHaveStandards: [[http://www.cad-comic.com/cad/20050420 Seen here.]]
* EverythingsBetterWithPenguins: Ted, [[CanonDiscontinuity if he existed]].
* EvilPlan: Christian buying the video game store, which was all part of a scheme to [[spoiler:steal Lilah away from Ethan]].
* EvilRedHead: Two of Four, possibly Christian and Kate, who's more of a misguided redhead.
* FacelessMasses: Averted during the wedding.
* FalseCause: [[http://www.cad-comic.com/cad/20110502 Rogues take less damage from falls. Rogues wear light clothing. Therefore, no clothing would be even better.]]
* FanSpeak: "Life dropped an [[WorldOfWarcraft Epic Husband]]..."
* FastRoping: The sheer amount of places that you can do in the VideoGame/RainbowSix: Vegas games is jokingly explained [[http://www.cad-comic.com/cad/20080321 here]].
* FillerStrip: Ironically the only time when the comic is about video games (WordOfGod says the actual strip is about game''rs'', i.e. the main characters).
* FourIsDeath: The Four Players to each other, usually [[RedOniBlueOni Player 2 to Player 1]].
* GamerChick: Lilah, played completely straight and one of the earliest examples of it.
* GeniusDitz: Despite being a total idiot, Ethan has constructed a fully sapient (albeit rather misanthropic) robot (out of an Xbox no less), a set of super-strong robot hands, and a hermetically sealed chamber with a chair capable of sensing biorhythms to discourage sleep or inattentiveness. He states that for seven seconds a day, his mind can focus granting him virtually unlimited insight into how the world works, allowing him to build his technological wonders and dispense incredibly good insight into other people's relationships. He then puts pineapple rings over his eyes, saying "heh...Pineapple Goggles."
* GISSyndrome: One of the more prominent users.
* GoldenMoment: Lilah and Ethan finally [[http://www.cad-comic.com/cad/20081031 talk to each other.]]
* GrimReaper: An extra in the Sillies; has his own [[TheMerch T-Shirt!]]
* HeroicSacrifice: [[spoiler: Ethan deactivates the time machine to save both timelines, knowing he will be killed when the vortex closes.]]
%% * HypocriticalHumor
* IdiotHoudini: Ethan's devolution to this is in large part why the comic has such a hatedom. In early strips, other characters put up with his stupidity only to the extent necessary to keep him as a character in the webcomic. By the time Winter-een-mas rolls around, the universe is bending over backward to turn all of his stupid ideas into outrageous successes. At the comic's end, he did end up getting some comeuppance by getting killed off trying to fix the consequences of his actions. The author admitted the decision behind this was that he was overdue to get some backlash after having things go his way for so long.
%% * IronicEcho: The Animated series has [[spoiler:Heal me!]]
* ItCameFromTheFridge: [[http://www.cad-comic.com/cad/20030204 this]] strip
* JerkAss:
** Ethan when it comes to customers and Rob due to their limited experience or ignorance of videogames.
** Rory to his little brother [[SuperMarioBrothers Maowio]], at least when they were kids.
* KarmaHoudini: Ethan, Rory, and to a minor extent Lucas.
** KarmicTwistEnding: Ethan's years of escaping consequences for his actions end when a time machine he created is used to show him a Bad Future resulting from his creation of Zeke. When the same time machine overloads, Ethan is forced to commit a HeroicSacrifice.
** Also seen in a few of the deaths from the Space Archaeologist Choose Your Own Adventure arcs.
* KickTheDog: Christian. His whole post-miscarriage store plot was to set up Ethan so he could get Lilah back. Putting so much effort to frame a moron so you can get back a girl who left you is both petty and evil, especially when all the money he spent on that asinine plot could have gone into getting whores or dating sites.
* KillStreak: Parodied in the strip "Perky", with ''ModernWarfare2'' having a perk that lets you play as Franchise/RoboCop after 30 kills.
* LifeEmbellished: Tim Buckley describes Ethan as a "stylized version" of himself (his avatar looks more or less like Ethan with shorter hair), and Lucas likewise of his best friend. Ethan has gradually evolved away from this (or so we hope considering how stupid he is). It's visually apparent in [[http://www.cad-comic.com/cad/20070615 this comic.]]
* LimitedWardrobe: ''Nobody'' in this strip changes their clothes except for plot reasons.
* LongBusTrip: Scott the Linux guy and owner of the penguin, who became {{Ensemble Dark Horse}}s. Buckley insists they were meant to be one-off characters. Bringing him up on the forums is grounds for instant banning. Strangely they're both featured in the opening of the animated series and occasionally have walk-on roles.
* [[WebcomicsLongRunners Long Runner]]: It's been running since 2002 and shows no signs of slowing down.
* TheMafia:[[spoiler:The ''Hawaiian'' mafia no less.]]
* ManChild: Ethan. With hints of PsychopathicManChild.
* ManipulativeBastard: Christian and Rory.
* TheMerch: Mostly character and Wintereenmass T-Shirts, although those [[Series/BattlestarGalacticaReimagined "Starbuck's Fresh Roasted Cylon"]] mugs might be a bit iffy.
* MoodWhiplash: The strip directly after the dramatic, bloody GrandFinale is about the Gameloft My Little Pony game.
* MoralDissonance: Lucas tells Kate they can see other people, then is hurt and offended when she actually ''does''. Then has the balls to make her apologize to him when it was ''his'' idea to move to casual in the first place.
* MyOwnPrivateIDo: [[spoiler:Ethan and Lilah]] of the Elope First, Plan Later variety. Zeke eventually finds out and uses it as blackmail fodder.
* NerdNanny: Lilah.
* NiceHat: [[http://www.cad-comic.com/cad/20100419 This hat is Nice.]] [[http://www.cad-comic.com/cad/20100514 He's got a whole closet of them, apparently.]]
* NinjaPirateZombieRobot: [[http://www.cad-comic.com/cad/20100210 "This]] is how the world ends". No, ''[[http://www.threadless.com/product/648/THIS_Is_How_The_World_Ends#zoom THIS]]'' is.
* NoodleIncident: We never ''do'' find out just what Zeke said to make Ethan so mad at him in [[http://www.cad-comic.com/cad/20080618 these]]-[[http://www.cad-comic.com/cad/20080702 three]] [[http://www.cad-comic.com/cad/20080704 strips]].
* OnlySixFaces: One face and/or [[DullSurprise expression]] commonly called "[[http://i171.photobucket.com/albums/u320/LBO_photos/CAD2.gif B^U]]" or "Buckleyface".
* OrwellianEditor: Several characters have been removed from the series, some with explanations ([[PutOnABus Zeke, Embla]]), some without ([[BrotherChuck Scott, Ted, Chef Brian]]). Regardless, no matter what, [[{{unperson}} if you mention any of those characters on the CAD forums, you're banned for life.]]
* ParentalFavoritism: Rory > Ethan -- even when Ethan's ''getting married''.
* PeekABangs: Kate; her FanNickname is "One-Eye".
* ProductPlacement: In addition to videogames, movies, and TV, [[spoiler: Ethan produces a Droid cellphone that wasn't avalable when the wedding arc started.]]
* ProudToBeAGeek: Ethan
* PutOnABus: [[spoiler: The robots disappeared into the night; Rory's going to jail.]]
* RealLifeWritesThePlot: (Rapidly-approaching deadline - any planned script) + Alcohol = Chef Brian
* RecklessGunUsage: [[http://www.cad-comic.com/cad/20100908 Ethan demonstrates]] why UsefulNotes/GunSafety rules exist.
* RecycledInSpace: [[http://www.ctrlaltdel-online.com/comic.php?d=20080331 ''Idiots in Space'']] is ''CtrlAltDel'' [-IN SPACE-]!
* {{Retool}}: After the conclusion to the "Save the Future" Arc.
* RichBitch: Christian. He's rich, and he's a bitch. He's also [[DracoInLeatherPants one of the most liked characters in the comic]].
* SaltAndPepper: Embla and Zeke
* ScrewTheRulesIHaveMoney: Christian.
* SecretTestOfCharacter: Kate does this to Lucas [[spoiler:by showing up for their date in a fat suit; she wants a guy who doesn't care about appearances]], and it appears that he passes [[spoiler:subverted in that his thoughts show he clearly doesn't, which leads to a BrokenAesop.]]
* ShoutOut:
** Featured a character strikingly similar in appearance to Tyler Durden from the movie ''Film/FightClub'' speaking for the character Ethan with the line "he fell down some stairs" to explain to a doctor the reasoning behind some suspicious facial trauma.
** Similarly, there's a strip where Ethan imagines himself in a "happy place"--a frozen cave with Ted's hated pet penguin, and a giant mallet. The penguin's even panicking and thinking, "...slide?"
** To ''TheBigBangTheory'' in [[http://www.cad-comic.com/cad/20110919 this strip]].
** A rare subtle example is a small vocal tic for Embla, which according to seasoned gamers is a match for [[SystemShock SHODAN]].
* SexySantaDress: [[http://www.cad-comic.com/cad/20061225 This strip.]]
* TheSmurfettePrinciple: Of the 4 people (and one penguin) living in the main characters' house, Lilah is the only female.
* SmugSnake: Similar to the above example, Christian is smug, and a snake.
* SnarkyNonHumanSidekick: Zeke, who was made out of an Xbox. Also something of a RoboticPsychopath when he debuted. Now, he's just downgraded to a snarky RobotBuddy with [[DistaffCounterpart Embla]] as the new Psycho.
* StatusQuoIsGod: Eventually {{averted}} but maintained for years.
* StepfordSmiler: Lilah is starting to look and act like one. It's -- unsettling.
* SuddenVideogameMoment: The fourth panel in [[http://www.cad-comic.com/cad/20030318 this strip]].
* TertiarySexualCharacteristics: Embla. Strangely, Buckley said she's not necessarily female.
* ThatMakesMeFeelAngry: Ethan's reaction to the resolution of a Christian Arc: "That is, all at once, unexpected, hilarious, and extremely satisfying."
* TooDumbToLive: Ethan. According to [[RobotBuddy Zeke]], if you run the data from Ethan's various misadventures, his life expectancy comes out negative. Negative ''forty''.
* TwoGamersOnACouch: Lampshaded in the very first comic, even. They eventually get armchairs, but whatever. Following the revamp, now four players on the couch.
* UncannyValley: Invoked. The mouth on Zeke's human disguise doesn't move because Ethan couldn't get it to look natural.
* TheUnfavorite: [[http://www.cad-comic.com/cad/20091118 Ethan.]]
* UnsympatheticComedyProtagonist: Ethan, through and through.
* WallsOfText: [[http://www.cad-comic.com/cad/20081029 A particularly extreme example.]] At least [[http://www.cad-comic.com/cad/20081112 one strip]] used this to [[LampshadeHanging deliberate comedic effect.]]
* WayPastTheExpirationDate: Ethan consumes breakfast cereal that expired in May 1985. Lucas hypothesizes that consuming mold-culture cereal has made Ethan more delusional and sociopathic than usual.
* WeWait: Lilah and Lucas' plan for dealing with Ethan's big brother-induced alcoholism. [[spoiler: It works. Ethan seeing Lilah with her wedding dress was enough to convince him to get cleaned up, at least for the day.]]
* WebComicTime: One day in the comic equals ''at least'' four months in real life. [[WordOfGod Buckley]] says he draws the plot out so people doing {{Archive Binge}}s can spend more time with the story. The oddest manifestation of this is [[spoiler: Ethan saving the day with a cellphone that ''didn't exist'' commercially before the arc started.]]
* WhatHappenedToTheMouse: Lucas' girlfriend Kate, last seen in the background of Ethan and Lilah's wedding.
* WhereAreTheyNowEpilogue: The final comic of the main storyline is this for Lilah, Lucas, and Zeke.
* WordSaladHumor: Anything involving the strangely surreal Chef Brian.
* YouMeanXmas: Wintereenmas... sort of.
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