Comic Strip: Pondus

Pondus is a comic strip created by the Norwegian cartoonist Frode Øverli. Since its start in 1995, it has become one of the most successful comic strips in Scandinavia. The strip has its own monthly comic book both in Sweden and its native Norway, and has been translated to several other languages, including English, French, German and Latin.

The comic is centered around family man Patrick a.k.a. Pondus and his best friend, former layabout Joachim "Jokke" Jacobsen. They both obsess about the English football league, classic rock (especially the hard kind) and beer. In the early years, the strip usually centered around Pondus' and Jokke's bar discussions as well as Jokke's adventures in womanizing (which, half the time, got him smashed to a pulp by grotesquely ugly women, and the other half, got him in bed with them). But ever since Jokke got into a steady job and (for a while) a steady relationship, the strip is becoming more and more ensemble-oriented.


Includes examples of the following tropes:

  • Banned in China: In a way. The strip has been found "unfit" for an American audience. The "ugly ladies" are a mite too ugly.
  • The Beautiful Game: The most Serious Business of them all. On more than one occasion, Pondus has seriously questioned why any other sports than football even exists.
  • Bi the Way: Turid-Laila a.k.a.Tammy-Sue. Which the usually homophobic Pondus thinks is more than okay.
    • She discusses it with both Pondus and Jocke on separate occasions; neither has any trouble imagining people being attracted to women, but find it baffling that anyone can be attracted to men.
  • Big Ol' Unibrow: The ultimate Butt Monkey moment (in a long series of Butt Monkey moments) for Hugo came when he developed a unibrow overnight. And there is no cure.
  • British Footy Teams: Pondus is a Liverpool fan. Jokke holds with Leeds. Camilla (shock and horror!) favours Manchester United. Their bickering gets Played for Laughs.
  • The Cameo: Nemi, a character from the series with the same name has appeared in a few strips. Mads Eriksen, Another Norwegian comic book artist was given semi-Take Thats in the strips as a result of a minor war between the two. The famous comic character Gaston Lagaffe has made a cameo as the only customer who didn't get ripped off by the strip's recurring car repairman.
  • The Casanova: Eddie, a recently introduced character, who gets all the chicks he could ask for - and the pretty ones to boot.Subverted when Pondus challenged him in the case of one of the most hideously violent females in the bar. Eddie rejected the offer, stating that although he was fond of challenges, he was not a moron (cue the busdriver cap of Hugo flying through the room, followed by a pint of his blood).
  • Casanova Wannabe: Hugo, through and through. All women rejects him, including the ugly girls that Jocke used to get some action from.
  • Casual Kink: This comic has a lot of this. Often used as a tool to create awkward situations (Jocke and Camilla walking in on Jocke's mother and stepfather doing a scene), but sometimes just for cuteness (Pondus. wife bringing home her nurse uniform from the hospital in return for him taping her favorite Soap Opera).
  • Categorism as a Phobia: The titular character Pondus excels at this. He doesn't seem to have much real bigotry or even prejudice, it's just that he has this crippling fear of homosexuals and homosexual sex acts. He has nightmares about making out with guys, he starts shivering with fear at the sight of real life gays, and so on. He is aware of it, and actually makes an effort to deal with it when a gay couple moves in next door with him.
    • At one point, his friend Jocke felt like messing a bit with him. So Jocke asked him if he had ever masturbated, and of course Pondus said yes. Jocke then proceded to inform Pondus that Pondus had actually had sex with a man: himself. In the next panel, Pondus is screaming psychotically while washing his right hand, and Jocke is laughing at him.
    • Played for laughs when a weird combination of fat north Norwegian fisherman, black man and Sami entered the bus, making a gesture with his white stick while swearing in a Muslim way. At home, Pondus stated that while he was a quite tolerant guy, "blind, overweight fishermen-muslim-sami-negroes" might be more than he could handle (by the way, North Norwegian fishermen are a cathegory all by themselves, and this particular strip is therefore quite untranslatable).
  • The Chew Toy: Jokke
  • Cloud Cuckoolander: Some of the women Jocke dates in the early strips were certifiably crazy, but one character who really stands out is Roger, a comic book artist and friend of Pondus. His comics certainly attest to this (see Stylistic Suck below).
  • Cross Over: Pondus' wife Beate is a nurse at a hospital. One of the doctors there is a character from a previous hospital-themed comic Øverli did, called Riskhospitalet.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Pondus
  • Fan Disservice: The strip excels in the drawings of ugly women, all of Jokke`s early dates included. And then there is Else, his mother - when she loosens her bathing robe.
  • Flamboyant Gay: Most gays in this strip are very easily detectable by the way they dress and behave. They don't want you to guess what their sexual orientation is - They want you to see it from a mile away!
  • Funetik Aksent: Günther'z zibilantz are alwayz voized.
  • Freudian Couch: Dr. Zimmerknaben is a big fan of having his patients lying on couches.
  • Gratuitous English: Quite a few of the strips rely on English phrases and puns for the punchline to work.
  • Heterosexual Life-Partners: Pondus and Jokke (Pondus would probably add: Emphasis on heterosexual).
  • In Vino Veritas: Happens a lot to Jokke.
  • Kayfabe Music: Pondus believes that a certain rock band truly lives the creed of "Drugs, Sex & Rock'n'Roll". In one strip, the band is shown working out and eating healthy food. Suddenly their manager come in and yell at them that the journalists will be there any minute. And thus, they quickly trash themselves down to look as if they have been partying and boozing up all night. Then the scene switches to Pondus and his wife watching the television. A journalist is (or probably rather is pretending to be) surprised that the band members manage to stay healthy with this lifestyle. The singer explains this with "It's rock'n'roll", baby. It becomes a lifestyle." and Pondus tries to get his wife to accept this message as gospel.
  • Limited Wardrobe: Hugo and Ivar are almost never ever seen wearing anything besides their work uniforms - not even when they're off the clock.
  • Little Miss Badass: Pondus' toddler daughter Frida deserves a mention in this category for the no-nonsense way she's handling the colony of monster living inside her closet.
  • Meaningful Name: Pondus is Norwegian for belly, and Pondus is somewhat overweight. Jokke is a slang term for humping, hinting at Jokke's love for picking up women.
  • Miss Fanservice: Turid Laila (a.k.a. Tammy Sue) is by far one of the most attractive characters in the comic and usually wears revealing tank tops.
  • Not Allowed to Grow Up: Played with. Both of Pondus' kids, Frida and Påsan, age, but Påsan has aged more rapidly than Frida.
  • Nothing Is the Same Anymore: Now, let's see: Jokke got a steady job, then he got a steady girlfriend, Camilla, then they had a kid. Meanwhile, Pondus quit his job as a bus driver and became a bartender. Then Jokke and Camilla broke up, before they got back together again. Oh, and the kids are getting older.
  • Real Men Wear Pink: Completely averted, at least from Pondus' own POV. He has a set of strict rules for proper male behaviour, and if you break any of them, you don't deserve to be called a real man. Do you like music with synths? You're gay. Do you wear necklaces of any kind? You're gay. You don't like football? You're gay. Do you - ARRGH!! - wear your sweater around your neck!!?? It doesn't matter what your sexual orientation is, because you're a freakin' eunuch anyway!!
  • Self-Deprecation: After yet another one of his comics is rejected, comic book artist Roger mentions that the publisher told him they gave up toilet humor when they shut down the magazine Python and "would rather bring back Gengis Khan and Hitler" than bring back that magazine. Pondus says he remembers "that rag" and wonders what happened to the guys who made it. In case you haven't guessed it, Øverli worked on Python.
  • Suspiciously Similar Substitute: After Jokke got together with Camilla and quit picking up ugly women in bars, the comic faced a problem in that the sequences with ugly women were highly popular among the comic's fans. The solution? The supporting characters Hugo and (to a lesser extent) Ivar, who had previously only been noted for their bottle cap collection hobby, were suddenly shown taking great interest in women of Jokke's standards, using the same horrible pick-up lines with the same luck.
  • Seinfeldian Conversation: Pondus and Jokke are having a lot of these. And sure enough, they are both Seinfeld fans.
  • Serious Business: If you want to be taken seriously as a man in Pondus' world, you need to have an opinion on hard rock and football.
  • Stylistic Suck: In the later comics, Overli sometimes showcases comics done by comic book artist Roger, all of them invariably crappy. At first they were just short, crudely drawn strips (including an obvious Calvin and Hobbes ripoff), but later Overli made whole, multi-page stories about "Tanga-Tore", a thong-wearing male vigilante. All of them feature lame wordplay for jokes, painfully generic mad scientists with destroy-the-world machines for villains, bizarre plot developments and are usually resolved with a Deus ex Machina (including a surprise appearance by MacGyver).
  • Take That: Øverli is a Liverpool FC supporter, so naturally he takes shots at Manchester United supporters whenever he can.
  • There Are No Therapists: Double Subverted and maybe played straight! Dr. Zimmerknaben is a therapist, but he is usually the one needing therapy after listening to the problems of his patients, often taking happy pills. This was lampshaded in two strips, both involving Jokke (who used to see him on a frequent basis) taking the role as the "therapist" and Zimmerknaben taking the role as the "patient", with Jokke doing the job somewhat better than him both times.
  • Those Two Guys: Hugo and Ivar, Pondus' busdriving colleagues. Especially after they fill Jokke's shoes as Casanova Wannabe.
  • What Do You Mean, It's Not Camp Gay?: As a little league coach, Pondus won't let the boys stretch after exercise - It's "very feminine".
  • Why Did It Have to Be Snakes?: Pondus used to have an above-average fear of homosexual men. Hilarity usually ensued.
  • Wrong Name Outburst: One strip had Pondus talk to a man trying to set things right with his wife after he accidentally cried out the wrong name when they were in bed. The fact that he cried out a man's name didn't help.