Characters: Sally Forth (Howard)
Sally ForthA married, middle-class American working mother.
- Brainy Brunette: Of the "generally quiet, but definitely smart" variety. Particularly noticeable in the arcs involving her work place.
- Deadpan Snarker: Her sense of humor is wry, and she does not suffer fools silently.
- Family Versus Career: Averted. She juggles both quite handily (usually), and no one expects her to choose between them.
- Happily Married
- Housewife/White Collar Worker: She successfully balances the two most of the time. Her office job is middle management in marketing at a fairly large company, but what the company does or makes is unknown.
- Women Are Wiser: Especially compared to the current version of Ted.
- Deadpan Snarker: Not as much as Sally but it seems her sense of humor has rubbed off on him.
- Happily Married
- Heroic BSOD: Almost had one when he found a college-era journal of Sally's where she writes that she never wants to get married. Later became a Call Back when Sally found out he was still hurt over it.
- Man Child / One of Us: After the writer changed Ted became very into pop-culture and a little insane. On his own website Marciuliano implies that Ted takes psychiatric drugs.Hilary: Just for the record, you do know you only have one kid, right?Sally: Your dad is currently driving 80 miles to a store that still sells Quisp cereal and Astro Pops, so that number changes from time to time.
- What, Exactly, Is His Job?: Played with. Nobody, least of all Ted, seems to know what "strategic sourcing" actually is.
- White Collar Worker: Most of the time, with a stretch of unemployment that lasted about a year when he was downsized from his job in "strategic sourcing", as well as a stint at a Bland-Name Product version of Wal-Mart.
- Deadpan Snarker: How she puts up with her childish dad.
- The Eeyore: Upon realizing that yes, she's got a boyfriend:Hilary: So I guess we're going to make a lot of mistakes then, huh?
Jon: Or we'll have a great time together.
Hilary: Oh. Right. I like your way of thinking much better.
- Jon: I came to cheer you on for the [softball/little league] championship.
Hilary: Wow, is that what boyfriends and girlfriends do? Support each other?
Jon: What do you think they do?
Hilary: Get into petty arguments. Cheat. I've seen a lot of bad television.
- Genre Savvy: Her Meet Cute with Jon is so unbearably cliche that she puts a stop to it and tells him what will likely happen next and tries to avert it as much as possible. Her parents even comment on how savvy she is.
- It's All About Me: She's shocked that Faye — who has divorced parents, no money, and no boyfriend — doesn't support her when she complains about going to Rhode Island for Christmas and missing Jon. Calling Faye her best (and/or only) friend when Nona is right next to them doesn't help Hilary's case.
- Leaning on the Fourth Wall: Hillary is surprised that Jon is a year older than her since she feels like she's been repeating the sixth grade for ages.
- Yandere: She's usually level-headed but was strangely cold and defensive towards Jon, then becomes close once he reveals he already knows Faye. Her weird behavior is explained as nervousness and "a lot of bad TV".
- Crazy Cat Lady: Years of unsuccessful relationships have her on the verge.
- May-December Romance / Odd Couple: To Sally's horror and confusion she not only hooked up with her boss Ralph but also seems to be quite happy with him.
- And now they're getting married, which caused Sally to bluescreen.
- Evil Matriarch: Is not exactly nice to Sally and loves insulting Ted.
- Odd Couple: Laura is sharp-witted, judgmental, and nasty; her husband (Sally's stepdad) is such a senile Cloud Cuckoo Lander he makes Ted look normal.
- Alliterative Family: Ted's brothers are named Timmy, Tommy, Terry, and Tate and they're all Jerk Jocks (at least to Ted).
- The Eeyore: Ted's mom can be counted on to find the worst in everything, even if it's not there.
- Ted's Mom: Was the flight dreadful?
Ted: Actually it was pretty smooth.
Ted's Mom: Yeah, air travel is always a nightmare.
- Later, Sally says she doesn't want help making Christmas dinner because she wants to complain about it later.
- Man Children: All four of Ted's brothers are sports fanatics and live with or near their parents.
- Sibling Yin-Yang(-Yang-Yang-Yang-Yang): Ted's a Fan Boy pop-culture lover; his bothers love sports.
- They Really Do Love Each Other: Ted's dad admits that he likes oddball Ted because Ted was the only one who shared his father's (Ted's grandfather's) love of art. He quickly takes it back, though Thank god for smartphones.
Sally's coworkersRalphSally's former Pointy-Haired Boss, then her co-manager until he left the company under early retirement. He now teaches Business class part-time at a community college.
- Odd Couple: Not only with Sally's sister but with Ted since they both have a love of pop-culture.
- Blonde, Brunette, Redhead: Alice is blonde, her daughter is a redhead and her son is brunette.
- Imagine Spot: How she survives the daily grind.
- Heroic BSOD: She briefly questioned her friendship with Sally during a round of layoffs and, despite not getting fired, was still disturbed weeks later.
- Put on a Bus
- Write Who You Know: The writer based her son on his brother. His brother's only request was that the kid be "as insane as possible".
Hilary's friendsFayeHilary's best friend.
- Blonde, Brunette, Redhead
- Cloud Cuckoo Lander: Nona. She's basically a red-headed Luna Lovegood.
- Dark and Troubled Present: It's implied that Faye's homelife isn't pleasant which is why she hangs out with Hilary so much.
- Poor Communication Kills: After Hilary calls Faye her best/only friend in front of Nona, Nona stops speaking to them. Wanting to give her some space (and then just being too scared to talk), Hilary and Faye wait so long to apologize they discover Nona has already found a new pair of blond and brunette friends.
- Those Two Girls
Other charactersAriaTed's co-worker.
- Everyone Loves Blondes: Aria is/was a major temptation for Ted: not only is she young and beautiful, she's also as much of a pop-culture lover as he is and once got him something (I think it was a lunchbox) that he'd always wanted.