On first readThis strip seems like just a silly throwaway joke. In the intervening time, the comic has changed a lot, and several characters have gained explicit magical powers, the nature of which is determined by their actions and personalities, abilities usually awakened or enhanced by random strange events (such as getting turned into a girl, or slaying an almost-vampire, or saving a lover from a deranged mage). The training at the Anime-Style Martial Arts Dojo actually helped two of them unlock that power. All by "participating in difficult, overly complex, and fairly ridiculous activities that shouldn't yield such fantastic results yet somehow do." What looked like Lampshade Hanging on Rule of Funny now turns out to be epic foreshadowing of how the EGS magic system works, before the comic was even revealed to HAVE a magic system.
When Susan was a little girl, she saw her father cheating with another woman. The reason she got up was because she wanted her dad to read her a book because she couldn't fall asleep. The book? "Sleeping Beauty". The quintessential Damsel in Distress who needs to be rescued by her man, and the type of story older Susan would despise. This just illustrates how traumatic this event was to poor Susan, since she actually liked those kinds of stories before, and now her hatred of tales like that is one of her main character traits.
The comic and LGBT+. It's pretty nice, of course, considering the Gender Bending that gets tossed around. For the LGB portion, we actually get a straight treatment of serious relationships, and a brilliant arc on bullying. Then we get to the T+ part, which is treated almost as a non-issue by the characters. If you pay attention, though, we get an even more in-depth look on what they go through. We have a character who identifies as "her" self, regardless of gender, a character who was bullied for being girly when he identifies as male (and may, with no relation to his appearance, be TG anyway), someone who seriously considered permanently transitioning for love(despite being cisgendered), and someone who was effectively transgendered from "birth." The whole thing, though, is never treated as a big deal. Unless they are forcibly transitioned. In its own roundabout way, after having many different expressions of transgenderism, the story finds its own unique way of saying that finding yourself the wrong gender is terrible, and that nobody should have to go through it. Thanks Ted.
Sciuridae is not pronounced "Skwur-uh-dey". But Grace, like everyone else in the strip, is a Midwesterner. Of course the pronunciation of her surname has been flattened and twisted over the generations.
There are a lot of questions about Magus, such as why he suggests that Ellen is his daughter. But the answer lies in how Ellen was created and Magus's only current ability. Magus can boost the emotions of people, and the reason Tedd used Female Variant #5 on Elliot was a supposed surge of testosterone as he transformed back into a guy. That effect has never been observed since, and its absence has even been commented on in story. The answer is that Magus used his abilities to boost Tedd's rage. All of this was part of the plan to restore Magus to human form. He and Pandora knew how the gem worked, that Tedd would use it, that Ellen would be created, and somehow Ellen using he powers on Elliot will help Magus return. He considers himself Ellen's father because he put the events into motion that led to her "birth." Magus following Nanase around after the fight with Ellen may even tie in. He needs Ellen already upset so he can boost her anger more, so he boosted Ellen and Nanase's emotions during their fight. Had the day continued without Abe attacking the school, she would have gone home angry and he could have used those emotions to trick her into zapping Elliot.
You typically think that Tedd is embarrassed about his middle name just for Rule of Funny. But then again, Drew starts with the letter D. Try saying "Tedd D. Verres" 12 times without going too fast and accidentally saying "Teddy" instead. Now remember the fact that Tedd's used to getting bullied for having a girly face. Any mass realization of this fact about his name, can't be good for his issues. Also, if you say it fast enough, the V starts to sound like a B...
Mrs. Kitsune's semi-tolerant attitude towards her daughter Nanase being a lesbian, waving it off as 'Just a phase', is a fairly common attitude towards that sort of thing in Japan - where romantic attraction between high-school girls is often viewed as a 'safe', training-wheels relationship that gives girls a chance to practice before they're ready for PROPER relationships with men.
Mrs. Kitsune's attitude towards women's roles—that they must become housewives and support their family, even though her daughter is a trilingual athlete with straight-A grades—makes a lot more sense when it's stated outright that her sister abandoned Ted and his father. She refuses to hurt her own family in the same way, and won't let her daughters even consider it as an option.
Justin can't find any openly gay men in Moperville South, whereas half the men in Moperville North that Sarah asks about Ronin are openly gay. Contradiction? No. Moperville North contains Elliot. It's safe to come out as gay. No one dares make trouble over it lest Elliot hear. He's had that big an effect.
Female Variant #5 lasts about a month if allowed to run its' course. What do you think of when you think "female" and "a month"...does Aunt Flo bring Uncle Richard and the boys back with her...?
During this episode, Sarah was a bit bummed out about missing out on getting magic, but according to what was established in this strip, she also missed out on a chance to never need birth control ever!
Giving people magic marks and initiating their Dreaming without their knowledge. Ok, not that Fridgey, since the horror is mentioned in-comic, but it still deserves a mention. Dex, Justin, and Rhoda all get their marks without their knowledge and without their consent. That leads to things like, say, Rhoda accidentally enchanting a boar and making it massive If it's happened to these three, think of how many other people it could happen to. It's actually pretty terrifying if you think about it, giving people strong, unbelievable powers without their permission and without them even knowing about it. Remember this comic?Oh Crap.