Pet The Dog / Newspaper Comics


  • Normally, Ms. Wormwood in Calvin and Hobbes is seen as rather unsympathetic or a constant obstacle. However, in one strip, Calvin freaks out because he's inside school on a beautiful day. Ms. Wormwood calmly leads him back to his seat, saying "Next time, take a few deep breaths and have a drink of water, okay?"
    • Calvin's biggest recurring nemesis in the strip is Rosalyn, who he sees as a Babysitter from Hell (she's closer to a Badly Battered Babysitter, but is also one of the only people who can put up with Calvin, and isn't afraid to extort his parents because of it). In her final story arc, though, Rosalyn makes a deal with Calvin: if he behaves himself, she'll let him stay up an extra half-hour and play whatever game he wants. Calvin chooses—what else?—Calvin Ball, and even finishes his homework early to make sure there's time to play. At first, Rosalyn is confused by the game's complete lack of structure, but once she figures out that making up new rules and doing silly things is the whole point, she takes to it very quickly. The two have a ton of fun, Calvin agrees to go to bed when she asks, and Rosalyn is officially no longer a monster to him. It's extra-sweet because this is Rosalyn's last appearance in the strip, so it suggests that the two will actually start getting along.
    • Bill Watterson in general tried to give side characters these moments. For as bright as Calvin is, he's still a Spoiled Brat, and all of the "villains" in his life are seen as doing bad things from his perspective. So you have strips where Calvin's dad puts away his work to build a snowman with his son even if it means staying up later to finish; his mother playing along with his games and treating him well when he's sick or sad; and Susie Derkins playing with Calvin on the teeter-totter and having a genuinely friendly conversation. Heck, it's arguable that Calvin is something of a Villain Protagonist given the messes and problems he causes, so seeing him do nice things for his parents, play with Susie, or be kind to Hobbes could qualify as this trope.
  • In one Far Side comic, a band of unruly Vikings, after successfully sacking a castle and stealing its women, are eagerly awaited at their ship by the crew's dog. As Gary Larson says on this in The Prehistory of The Far Side:
    "...I was trying to suggest that it doesn't really matter what you do for a living or how big a jerk you are, your dog still likes to see you come home."
  • Seen in both Garfield and Get Fuzzy, where the cats in those comics are horrible to their owners and the dogs they live with, but lavish affection on their stuffed bears, Pookie and Smacky, respectively. In one early strip, Garfield gives Odie a friendly pat on the head, then turns to the reader and says, "You didn't see that."
    • Bucky himself gets the rare one now and then. One that stands out in particular is when Rob and Satchel leave to go donate blood. They return to find that Bucky had baked cookies for them and decorated the living room with balloons and a banner welcoming them home.
    • Garfield has plenty of instances with Odie. In one strip, he finds the pup asleep and, noticing no one is around, quickly pats him on the head. Odie sighs happily and Garfield remarks "I like to keep my affection in the closet." In another, Garfield and Odie are out for a walk, and the fat cat sits down to ponder the meaning of life. As he quotes various philosophers and authors, Odie busily catches a butterfly in his mouth, then lets it go. Garfield notices and sighs "Odie, sometimes I envy you."
      • A particularly sweet moment comes in a Christmas strip. Jon gives Garfield all kinds of fancy presents. Odie then enters carrying a bone in his mouth, then spits it out in front of the fat cat. Garfield points out that the bone is quite literally Odie's only possession in the entire world, and he's giving it up for him—and then gives him a big hug and says "It's the expensive gifts that impress me."
  • In Luann, Tiffany is, from day one, an Alpha Bitch and the Veronica to Luann's Betty. However, one notable occasion, Delta is dropped from a field trip through the luck of the draw, and she not only volunteers for the fundraiser (albeit for vain reasons), but flat out secures Delta a spot after unintentionally sabotaging it.
    • In another strip, Tiffany is shown trying to hook up the teachers. What reason? She felt they would make a cute couple.
    • Dirk as well - he is pretty much a major Jerk Ass, but has been shown to be kind on the few occasions, and later on saw the error of his ways.
  • Lucy may be the resident "fussbudget" in Peanuts (and at times, a regular Jerkass) but she has her moments with this trope, sometimes literally. Examples here and here.
  • Rat from Pearls Before Swine is a perennial cynical, bitter, Jerk Ass, especially to his less-than-genius roommate Pig. After one incident where Pig convinced himself that he had metamorphosized into a butterfly and attempted to fly off the roof, Rat visits him in the hospital. When Pig wakes and asks what happened, Rat briefly considers telling him the truth- but instead comforts Pig by telling him that he flew so high he hit his head on the Moon.


http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/PetTheDog/NewspaperComics