[[quoteright:225:http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/MirSitSm_3542.jpg]]

''[[http://outthere.keenspot.com/ Out There]]'' is a webcomic by R. C. Monroe. It focuses on the exploits of Miriam, a hedonistic, self-centered, self-destructive bartender with a good heart and a strong desire to change for the better—as long the change doesn’t interfere with her endless search for pleasure. Yes, she's a bit conflicted. ''Out There'' features an ensemble cast (Miriam’s various friends, lovers, ex-lovers, would-be lovers, etc.), some of whom are occasionally featured in their own arcs, but it’s mostly The Miriam Show, because she wouldn't have it any other way.

Using a four-panel (five in the early days), black-and-white {{Newspaper Comic}} format, ''Out There'' updated six days a week without fail from June 12, 2006 to June 4, 2011. The week of June 6-10, 2011 marked the beginning of a five week strip- the author citing time constraints and the inability to support himself solely on the strip as reasons why he cut the Saturday strip. As of June 2013, it's switched to one larger color strip per week, alternating with new comics ''In Here'' (an alternate continuity involving Miriam) and ''Cliché Flambé'' (Miriam and company BreakingTheFourthWall to present author rants about a new cliché each week).

''Out There'' is a "quiet" comedy; there's a punchline at the end of every strip, but the humor is generally subtle and understated. At its heart, ''Out There'' is a character drama, and its characters are well-developed, complex, and realistic.

Not to be confused with the IFC cartoon, ''WesternAnimation/OutThere''.

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!!''Tropes:''
* AbhorrentAdmirer: Sherry finds her admirer Clayton fairly abhorrent, and while he has many flaws (surly, shiftless, dishonest, alcoholic), the other notable female characters seem to like him.
* AccidentalMisnaming: James never uses Miriam's name, always referring to her as "Red". Sherry always calls her ex-flame Steven "Stevie". After Miriam breaks up with him, ''she'' takes to calling him "Stevie" as well, much to his annoyance.
* TheAlcoholic: Clayton; Miriam is better represented by the HardDrinkingPartyGirl
* AttentionWhore: Miriam is an unabashed attention whore. She is [[http://outthere.keenspot.com/d/20071126.html completely aware of it]], and often [[http://outthere.keenspot.com/d/20100824.html refers to it self-deprecatingly]]. At times she comments on how [[http://outthere.keenspot.com/d/20100821.html shallow and ultimately unfulfilling it is]], but [[http://outthere.keenspot.com/d/20100825.html that doesn't mean she doesn't still really dig it]].
* BareYourMidriff: Miriam commonly sports a t-shirt or tanktop that extends to about mid-ribcage. Far less frequently, the normally more modestly-attired Sherry [[http://outthere.keenspot.com/d/20100222.html follows suit]].
* BetterAsFriends: [[http://outthere.keenspot.com/d/20090203.html Miriam and Clayton]]. Although Miriam being Miriam, [[http://outthere.keenspot.com/d/20100904.html one never knows for sure about the "never happening again" part]]. Also, [[http://outthere.keenspot.com/d/20090701.html Miriam and Rod]].
* BlondeBrunetteRedhead: red-haired Miriam fits the FieryRedhead trope reasonably well, but also has some DumbBlonde tendencies; the usually dark-haired Sherry (who sometimes bleaches her hair blonde) can be seen as the BrainyBrunette; and the dark-haired Araceli, despite her occupation (she's an attorney) and hair color, is somewhat of a ShyBlueHairedGirl.
* ButIWouldReallyEnjoyIt: Miriam has this dilemma [[http://outthere.keenspot.com/d/20060707.html all]] [[http://outthere.keenspot.com/d/20080830.html the]] [[http://outthere.keenspot.com/d/20090128.html damn]] [[http://outthere.keenspot.com/d/20090228.html time]]. [[http://outthere.keenspot.com/d/20090417.html ALL]] [[http://outthere.keenspot.com/d/20090516.html the]] [[http://outthere.keenspot.com/d/20090828.html damn]] [[http://outthere.keenspot.com/d/20100405.html time]].
* ButLiquorIsQuicker: In a slight tweaking of the trope, [[http://outthere.keenspot.com/d/20090411.html Rod gets falling-down drunk while attempting to seduce Miriam, who is spending a rare evening abstaining from alcohol]]. Miriam doesn't want Rod to attempt to drive in his condition, so she insists he come home with her. Not wanting to be tempted, she gives him her bed while she sleeps with Sherry. [[spoiler: It is not until the morning, when both Miriam and Rod are completely sober, that [[http://outthere.keenspot.com/d/20090417.html she succumbs to his advances]].]]
* CareerVersusMan: Sherry [[spoiler: until [[http://outthere.keenspot.com/d/20090807.html she thought better of it]]]].
* CheatedAngle: Miriam has two strands of hair that stick out from the top of her head, and always do so at the same angle, whether she's facing you, in three-quarters view, or in profile, as [[http://outthere.keenspot.com/d/20100929.html this strip]] shows.
* CommutingOnABus: Arguably, John. He certainly ''seems'' like a main character during the strip's initial 6-7 months (he's in almost every strip), but once he and Miriam reach Portstown, we start to see him far less frequently; sometimes several weeks will go by between his appearances.
** The latter can be said for ''all'' the other characters aside from Miriam, though; the only difference is John's first "co-starring" arc is at the very beginning of the strip, and lasts for a long time. It seems to establish him as a main character when perhaps all it ''really'' establishes is the pattern of long arcs starring Miriam and one of her supporting characters. Sherry, for instance, has a co-starring arc of about the same length a year later.
* ContemplateOurNavels: Many of the characters get introspective and philosophical at times. [[http://outthere.keenspot.com/d/20081006.html Sometimes]] [[http://outthere.keenspot.com/d/20081007.html a]] [[http://outthere.keenspot.com/d/20081008.html whole]] [[http://outthere.keenspot.com/d/20081009.html week]] [[http://outthere.keenspot.com/d/20081010.html of]] [[http://outthere.keenspot.com/d/20081011.html strips]] will be devoted to someone's (usually Miriam's) inner monologue.
* CoolShades: James has yet to be pictured without his Ray-Bans (if that's what they are). You can't even see his eyes when he's in [[http://outthere.keenspot.com/d/20100724.html profile]]. Since you ''can'' see the eyes of the [[http://outthere.keenspot.com/d/20100922.html other characters]] when they're viewed from the side (even when they're wearing glasses), it's hard not to wonder: does James even ''have'' eyes?
** Yes. [[http://outthere.keenspot.com/d/20110226.html Yes he does.]]
* DidYouJustHaveSex: [[http://outthere.keenspot.com/d/20100602.html The insightful Miriam concludes that Sherry has broken her long dry spell upon observing the latter's visible discomfort with discussing the topic]]; [[http://outthere.keenspot.com/d/20100707.html James makes a lucky guess based on a similar observation]], and [[http://outthere.keenspot.com/d/20100708.html Clayton explains the most compelling reason she's unable to conceal what everybody else can see]].
* DisappearedDad: Miriam's mother makes occasional appearances, but [[http://outthere.keenspot.com/d/20091218.html the first time Miriam mentions her father]], she implies she hasn't seen him for awhile, if ever.
** Turns out [[http://outthere.keenspot.com/d/20110712.html there's a pretty good reason]].
* EthicalSlut: Miriam's promiscuous past is strongly hinted at, and she seems to be constantly at odds with the question of continuing along that path, or abandoning it. Her trepidation with the Ethical Slut lifestyle seems to be based not on moral or societal grounds, but with the fact that she finds it ultimately unsatisfying.
* FieryRedhead: Miriam
* FrenchMaid: Miriam decides the costume is ideal for cleaning [[spoiler: Ari's condominium, and also for seducing her]] [[http://outthere.keenspot.com/d/20100511.html]]
* FriendsWithBenefits: Most notably, Miriam and Steven, post-breakup. A few other pairings have taken place (or are implied to have taken place) as a part of the back story: [[http://outthere.keenspot.com/d/20080423.html Sherry and Steven]], [[http://outthere.keenspot.com/d/20071204.html Miriam and Wally]], and possibly even [[http://outthere.keenspot.com/d/20081126.html Miriam]] and [[http://outthere.keenspot.com/d/20100526.html Sherry]]; there is also a reference to a Friends With Benefits relationship between Miriam and a character named Carlos in one of the flashback stories in the third ''Out There'' book.
* GoodBadGirl: Miriam
* GoodSmokingEvilSmoking: Miriam gets the "Smoker is sexy" rule suspension
* HaremSeeker: Rod is rarely seen ''not'' hitting on Miriam, Araceli, Sherry, or some other nameless female who works in his office. He's successful far more often than he deserves to be.
* HairAntennae: Miriam
* HardDrinkingPartyGirl: Miriam
* IgnoredConfession: Araceli, who is drunk, is talking to Sherry. Ari likes Sherry, and [[IncompatibleOrientation Sherry is straight]].
-->'''Ari:''' I wish '''you''' could do whatever '''I''' want.\\
'''John:''' Aw, she's '''really''' drunk.\\
'''[[DeadpanSnarker Sherry]]:''' It's a bar, John. These things happen often. [[http://outthere.keenspot.com/d/20090404.html]]
** BiTheWay: Araceli does this with a man also. [[http://outthere.keenspot.com/d/20110729.html]]
* IHaveThisFriend: Ari is at Sherry's bar, commiserating:
-->'''Ari:''' I have a hypothetical question for you.\\
'''Sherry:''' Shoot.\\
'''Ari:''' ''[Incredibly detailed summary of her most recent character arc.]''
::Sherry, knowing ''everyone'' who was given a hypothetical persona, figures it out. [[http://outthere.keenspot.com/d/20090716.html]]
* IncompatibleOrientation: Rod and Araceli, Araceli and Sherry
* IncorruptiblePurePureness: John. It tends to drive everyone else (especially Miriam) nuts, but at the same time he is respected by all for it.
* INeedAFreakingDrink: Miriam ''always'' needs a freaking drink. Sherry, Araceli, Rebecca, et. al. ''sometimes'' need a freaking drink. Clayton never needs one, but he'll have one anyway, thank you.
* JerkWithAHeartOfGold: To varying degrees, almost ''all'' of the major male characters (the exceptions being John and Chuck). James is selfish and abrasive, arrogant, constantly borrowing money without paying it back; [[spoiler: he also volunteers at a homeless shelter]]. Clayton is surly, has been known to steal alcohol from his favorite bar, and is constantly seen mooching off of others; [[spoiler: but he refused to take advantage of Miriam when she was drunk]]. Steven and Rod are unrepentant philanderers, but are generally loyal and respectful towards their ex-flame-cum-best-friends (Sherry and Araceli, respectively). Wally is a ''repentant'' (and ''former'') philanderer. Considering the fact the main character, Miriam, has enough flaws to fill a book (while remaining unerringly sympathetic) ''Out There'' seems to be a world where everyone is a ''little'' bad, but nobody is ''too'' bad (although the near-saintly John is an idiosyncratic exception).
* LadyDrunk: Martha (Miriam's mom)
* LadyKillerInLove: Rod is genuinely in love with [[LipstickLesbian Ari]]. It's a bit more complex than a standard IncompatibleOrientation; he's still playing around, but has made it perfectly clear that [[ReformedRake he'd give it up in a heartbeat if she ever decides she wants him.]] [[http://outthere.keenspot.com/d/20090328.html]]
** Wally's philandering ways began well [[http://outthere.keenspot.com/d/20060913.html before]] his marriage to Rebecca, and continued [[http://outthere.keenspot.com/d/20070427.html after they were wed]]; when he quit playing around, however, it seems he [[http://outthere.keenspot.com/d/20100126.html quit for good]].
** Steven fell in love with Sherry, and later, Miriam, [[http://outthere.keenspot.com/d/20090605.html]], but was unable to maintain fidelity to either of them [[http://outthere.keenspot.com/d/20090220.html]] [[http://outthere.keenspot.com/d/20090815.html]].
* LampshadeHanging: [[http://outthere.keenspot.com/d/20130208.html This]] alludes to ''Out There'' having passed 2000 strips, although it itself appears to be strip 20'''10'''.
* LastNameBasis: The number of times Clayton's first name has been said can probably be counted on one hand. It's Craig.
* LeaningOnTheFourthWall: When Miriam is told that she's the best soap opera around, she replies with, "Sometimes I wish I was written better, but I do the best with the material I'm given." This could also double as SelfDeprecation on the author's part.
* LieBackAndThinkOfEngland: Sherry uses "while I think of my homeland" in reference to ''hand-shaking'', in a parody of this trope. [[http://outthere.keenspot.com/d/20090807.html]]
* LipstickLesbian: Araceli
* LittleBlackDress: A favorite of both [[http://outthere.keenspot.com/d/20100828.html Miriam]] and [[http://outthere.keenspot.com/d/20081225.html Sherry]].
* LoveDodecahedron: All of the major characters, with the notable exception of John, have at one time or another been infatuated with at least one of the other major characters. Miriam, as the main character, has dated, had flings with, or been otherwise at least temporarily fascinated with no less than 8 major characters: [[spoiler: '''John''' (unrequited love/lust), '''Wally''' (fling, as part of the back story), '''Chuck''' ("officially" dated), '''Clayton''' (aborted fling), '''Sherry''' (unconfirmed, but strongly implied, past fling and/or relationship), '''Rod''' (fling), '''Steven''' ("officially" dated), and '''Araceli''' (infatuation)]]; this doesn't even cover the list of characters (most of them minor or non-recurring characters) who have been at least temporarily captivated by ''her''. While Miriam holds the record in all love/lust categories, Sherry's list is almost as impressive (embarrassing?): [[spoiler: '''Steven''' (dated, as part of the back story), '''John''' (brief, and relatively mild, infatuation during a short period of essentially platonic dating), '''Chuck''' (big-time crush, finally culminating in an "official" relationship that is ongoing), '''Rod''' (brief interest until he "blew it"), '''Clayton''' (one-sided—he wants her, she's repulsed), '''Araceli''' (one-sided—Sherry is clueless about Ari's infatuation), and of course, '''Miriam''' (unconfirmed).]] ''Out There'' is unabashedly a soap opera.
* MileHighClub: Implied, subtly, [[http://outthere.keenspot.com/d/20070608.html here]]
* ModestyBedsheet: Characters (mostly the females) are sometimes shown bathing, undressing, or lounging in bed. Usually they are seen from the shoulders up, or from the rear (so that [[ToplessnessFromTheBack only a naked back is visible]]); otherwise, a bedsheet provides cover. Interestingly, Rebecca and Wally, the only ''married'' couple in the strip, are also the only people ever portrayed under the sheets ''together'' [[http://outthere.keenspot.com/d/20100428.html]]; non-married couples are usually seen fully clothed, laying on ''top'' of the sheets [[http://outthere.keenspot.com/d/20070928.html]]
* ModestyTowel: Miriam on occasion, others (like Sherry) less frequently [[http://outthere.keenspot.com/d/20070901.html]]
* MotorMouth: Miriam
* MsFanservice: Miriam, most obviously, who is often seen in states of [[http://outthere.keenspot.com/d/20100323.html undress]] or [[http://outthere.keenspot.com/d/20100325.html semi-dress]]; even when she's "fully" clothed she usually [[http://outthere.keenspot.com/d/20100305.html shows a lot of curves and/or skin]]. [[http://outthere.keenspot.com/d/20090403.html Sherry]], [[http://outthere.keenspot.com/d/20090324.html Araceli]], and [[http://outthere.keenspot.com/d/20100501.html Rebecca]] also have their showoff-y moments but not with the same frequency or intensity.
* MysteriousPast: John
* NoCommunitiesWereHarmed: The main action takes place in Portstown (Boston), with occasional sojourns to Los Vicios (Las Vegas) or Oceanic City (Atlantic City). It is a bit jarring to see Boston called "P'Town"...
** Also, Wally Green plays for the Arch City Starlings (St. Louis Cardinals).
* NoodleIncident: Miriam makes a list of wild things she's done and shows it to Chuck. We never see what they are but we learn that some of them [[http://outthere.keenspot.com/d/20080318.html seem impossible and require at least two people]]. One of them [[http://outthere.keenspot.com/d/20080319.html involved Sherry in some way, much to her embarrassment (and attempted denial)]]. Another one (which also involved Sherry) was [[http://outthere.keenspot.com/d/20080320.html "stupid", but apparently fun enough that Sherry would be willing to do it "once more", but "only once"]]. Chuck responds by writing down some things he did, one of which makes Miriam's eyes widen and results in this exchange:
-->'''Miriam:''' You are '''so''' doing that with me tonight.
-->'''Chuck:''' I don't think we can. The supplies are usually on back order. [[http://outthere.keenspot.com/d/20080321.html]]
** Some or all of these "Noodle Incidents" could also be examples of ComicSutra.
* NotADate: Sherry and John "didn't date" for awhile, awakening Miriam's curiosity [[http://outthere.keenspot.com/d/20080205.html]] and penchant for [[{{Shipping}} shipping]] [[http://outthere.keenspot.com/d/20080605.html]]. [[spoiler: It ended, painlessly, when Sherry decided she was interested in someone else.]] [[http://outthere.keenspot.com/d/20080915.html]]
* ObliviousToLove: Sherry is so oblivious to [[LipstickLesbian Ari]]'s attraction to her, she thinks that since Ari looks at her differently than she looks at Miriam, it means Ari's attracted to… Miriam. [[http://outthere.keenspot.com/d/20100601.html]] Meanwhile, Miriam, who has decided she's attracted to Ari, can't get Ari to realize it; Ari thinks she has embarrassed Miriam by offering her menial work. [[http://outthere.keenspot.com/d/20100407.html]]
* OneDialogueTwoConversations: A rather subtle example (keep in mind that Clayton's serious, and Sherry's just bantering):
-->'''Clayton:''' I can't believe someone as unconfident as you won't at least '''consider''' giving someone as unchallenging as ''me'' a shot.\\
'''Sherry:''' Another in a series of life's paradoxes. [[http://outthere.keenspot.com/d/20090923.html]]
* OOCIsSeriousBusiness:
-->'''Chuck''': Does this seem like a particularly awkward silence?\\
'''James''': ''[[LampshadeHanging Dude,]] '''[[MotorMouth Miriam]]'s''' [[LampshadeHanging not saying anything. It's the end times, man.]] [[http://outthere.keenspot.com/d/20081223.html]]
* ThePhilosopher: The whole cast occasionally takes turns playing this role.
* ReallyGetsAround: Miriam, Steven, Rod
* ReformedRakes: Rod offers this. [[http://outthere.keenspot.com/d/20090326.html]]
** And Wally ''does'' it...after being married a while. [[http://outthere.keenspot.com/d/20070427.html]]
* ShipSinking: Martha, echoing a large part of the audience, thought that Sherry and Miriam [[http://outthere.keenspot.com/d/20110913.html had been sleeping together in their younger years]]; Sherry [[http://outthere.keenspot.com/d/20110914.html shoots the idea down flat]], apparently genuinely surprised Martha thought so—although Martha herself [[http://outthere.keenspot.com/d/20110916.html still isn't convinced]].
* ShrugOfGod: Since sex is never actually depicted in ''Out There'', Monroe states in his blog that it's up to the reader to decide how far things go.
-->What I’ve tried to do with ''Out There'' is have it both ways. Whichever way you think it oughta be, you win. If you think that Miriam and Chuck should have had sex, and Araceli and Rod should have had sex, and Sherry and Steven ''must'' have had sex, then okay—they had sex. Everyone who you think should have had sex with whoever they should have had sex with, ''did''. You just didn’t see it. If, on the other hand, it makes you happier to think that Miriam and Chuck made out a lot but stopped before things got too out of hand, then that’s cool too—there’s nothing in the strip that proves otherwise. Winners everywhere.
* SignOfTheApocalypse: When Miriam stops talking. [[http://outthere.keenspot.com/d/20081223.html]]
* SorryImGay: It's ''very'' strongly suggested Araceli only started identifying as fully lesbian to escape Rod's advances.
* SpicyLatina: Araceli is an aversion to this trope. She's more shy and vulnerable than the other two (white) female leads, and usually dresses more conservatively. Less of a tomboy as well. And a lesbian, if that means anything.
** Sherry actually fits the trope reasonably well, notwithstanding the fact that she's not a Latina.
* ToplessnessFromTheBack: Miriam is seen shirtless from the rear occasionally [[http://outthere.keenspot.com/d/20091111.html]]; as are others (such as Rebecca), although less frequently [[http://outthere.keenspot.com/d/20100501.html]]
* VitriolicBestBuds: ''Out There'' is something of a WorldOfSnark, so many of the close friendships therein follow Type 2 (Miriam and Sherry, Sherry and Steven, Araceli and Rod, James and Chuck), and a few of the relationships seem to embody Type 1 (Miriam and James, Sherry and Clayton, Miriam and Clayton). The schizophrenic nature of these relationships is well represented [[http://outthere.keenspot.com/d/20100222.html here]]; Miriam and Sherry's volatile friendship borders on a parody of this trope at times; when they're not sniping at each other, they're often ''caressing'' each other.
* WhamLine: When Clayton lobbies for Miriam to get a job as a stripper, Miriam gets offended—not so much at the notion of being a stripper, but because she suspects Clayton is just trying to get her to leave Sherry's bar. Clayton, offended that Miriam has taken offense, attempts to elucidate: "Anyway, don't you think any of '''these''' losers wouldn't '''flock''' to see you [work as a stripper]? [[spoiler: Hell, I'm sure '''I''' would."]] The [[spoiler: kiss]] afterward serves the same general purpose. [[http://outthere.keenspot.com/d/20090124.html]]
* WhatDidIDoLastNight / DidTheyOrDidntThey: This trope is established early in the strip's run. On the first night they meet, Miriam and John end up spending the night in a hotel together after she ties one on [[spoiler: (nothing happens, except a [[http://outthere.keenspot.com/d/20060710.html REALLY good dream]])]]. In another arc about a year later, Miriam and Sherry go out drinking and the next day Miriam's memory of the night is so spotty that she can't remember [[spoiler: [[http://outthere.keenspot.com/d/20070707.html if she cut her own hair]] (she didn't; Sherry cut it [[http://outthere.keenspot.com/d/20070630.html while she was sleeping]])]]. Another time, a hung-over Miriam thinks she remembers Sherry sabotaging her one-night stand, and assumes she must be remembering wrong [[spoiler: ([[http://outthere.keenspot.com/d/20081105.html she isn’t]])]]. Not long after, Miriam and [[spoiler: [[http://outthere.keenspot.com/d/20090131.html Clayton]]]] end up in bed together, and Miriam needs a [[http://outthere.keenspot.com/d/20090202.html recap the next day]] to find out what happened. Later, while touring with Steven's band, Miriam gets drunk at a party and and is later surprised to find [[spoiler: [[http://outthere.keenspot.com/d/20090911.html a phone number written on her belly]] in [[http://outthere.keenspot.com/d/20090912.html indelible ink]].]] Still later, Miriam wakes up on Araceli's couch and has trouble remembering what they did the night before, but she [[http://outthere.keenspot.com/d/20100325.html figures it out on her own]], confirming (in her own mind) that she doesn't have a drinking problem, after all.
* WorldOfSnark: Almost all of the characters can be categorized, at least occasionally, as {{Deadpan Snarker}}s.
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