Recap / Penny And Aggie Campaign Trail
"Vote for a winner, and you'll feel like one!"
Aggie finds that, in the wake of her outburst in The Race Card
, many of her peers still think she's insane. She also discovers that few people share her liberal political views. So when Penny tells her sarcastically that if she likes making speeches so much, she should run for president, Aggie decides to do just that, in the student council election. Seeking out Duane for advice on how to be better liked, she learns that he too is campaigning for president, and they begin a friendly competition. Aggie announces her campaign by comandeering the school P.A. system, enraging Principal Giuliani. His hands are tied, however, due to a loophole in school regulations, so he merely calls her father Nick who, as an activist himself, assures Aggie he's proud of her.
Penny is still seeing Duane platonically, but wonders why she's so reluctant to kiss him or otherwise take their relationship to the next stage. When Sara witnesses her avoiding an expected confrontation with Aggie for socializing with Duane, she erupts in frustration over Penny's failure to see what "everyone else" allegedly can: that behind her enmity with Aggie is a "seething, roiling bond" of love. Penny is stunned speechless.
Meanwhile, Stan tries talking Rich into running for president as an anti-establishment move, but when he refuses, Stan launches his own campaign, quickly eclipsing those of Aggie and Duane with slick but meaningless ads and promises, and personal attacks on his opponents. Aggie and Duane challenge him to a debate, which backfires on them when Stan proves quicker and wittier with words.
Following the debate, Penny considers how to let Duane down gently, when she spots Aggie and, still shaken by Sara's words, jumps out the ground floor window in panic. Aggie follows her out and tries to enlist her help in bringing down Stan, for Duane's sake if nothing else. However, Penny, collecting herself, instead loudly berates Aggie for becoming exactly what she despises: someone who cares about popularity. Then, once alone, she blushes and goes weak in the knees.
Stan, his victory seemingly assured, stuns everyone by abruptly withdrawing from the race, with a dubious story about a sick aunt, and endorsing Duane, who wins. Stan justifies this to Jack by pointing out that this way, no one will hold him to his unrealistic promises, while next year, the election will be his to win when he runs again, thus bolstering his college applications. Aggie is a good sport about her loss to Duane but wonders why she got as many votes as she did. Duane tells her she must have more friends than she thinks, which Aggie soon discovers for herself. Meanwhile Penny, not yet having heard the election results and assuming he lost to Aggie, once again contemplates breaking up with Duane. When he greets her with the good news, she gets so excited that she spontaneously kisses him for the first time...then immediately and silently regrets it.
- Accidental Kiss: Penny and Duane.
- Attack of the Political Ad: Stan's online video ad offers a downloadable ringtone of Aggie's "Worse than Hitler!" outburst.
- All Elections Are Serious Business
- Aggie runs on a campaign of "progress toward peace," apparently under the impression that a high school student council can end war.
- Zig zagged with Stan. He seemingly treats the election as a joke, filling his campaign with silly slogans ("Vote Stan. He's against nuclear testing in our schools"), posters of him in a superhero costume, and transparently unachievable promises ("a parking space for every car...a passing grade for anyone who wants it badly enough"). On the other hand, he and Jack seem to spend an inordinate amount of time and effort on all this. He then throws the election for a transparently spurious reason. Then he confides in Jack that this was all part of his long-range plan to win easy election the following year, for the more serious motive of bolstering his university applications.
- Blatant Lies: Stan's purported reason for dropping out of the race: that his aunt's health will be endangered if she finds out he's gone into politics.
- The Casanova: During the debate, Duane mentions, as evidence of Stan's untrustworthiness, his being seen "coming out of closed doors with six different ladies over the course of the semester." While Stan spins this as simply being a "people-pleaser" (with which Brandi audibly agrees), Jack nudges Bob and Elmer and holds up eight fingers.
- The Chessmaster: Stan.
- Chewbacca Defence: As the debate draws to a close, Stan says he'd like to move from discussing character to discussing the issues. "Are you in favor of them?", he asks his opponents. "I am. Are you?" Aggie and Duane both sputter objections to this nonsensical question before saying, as the bell rings, they're in favour of discussing them. "Good to see you on the bandwagon," says Stan, as an accompanying pie chart with poll results shows his strategy worked.
- Church of Happyology: In this strip, the Cloudcuckoolander later named Xena parrots Tom Cruise's views on psychopharmacology. (Note the logo she wears on her blouse.)
- Dork Horse Candidate: Low-key, prim-and-proper nerd Duane, in contrast to the rebellious, attention-getting Aggie and especially to the slick, people-pleasing Stan. In the end, Duane wins only because Stan strategically drops out and endorses him.
- Everyone Can See It: Sara's opinion of the supposed attraction between Penny and Aggie.
- Foe Yay: In-universe instance on Sara's part.
- Heroic B.S.O.D.: Parodied. The notion that she unconsciously finds Aggie attractive sends Penny into a stunned state that lasts figuratively until the end of time.
- Hippie Parents / New-Age Retro Hippie: Aggie's late mother Melody, as seen in flashback. Nick, with his long ponytail and similarly pacifist and progressive values, also qualifies. Note that the comic, in contrast to many instances of this trope elsewhere, consistently portrays their neo-hippie aspects subtly and sympathetically.
- Imagine Spot: Penny standing still in shock through several changes of season, two alien invasions and the heat death of the universe.
- Inspirational Insult: Penny's slamming of Aggie, for talking to an interested Sara about endangered species, has an unintented motivational effect.
Penny: If you like making speeches so much, run for president.
Aggie: Fine! I will!
Sara: That has to be the best comeback in the history of conversation.
- Let's Just Be Friends: Penny considers telling Duane this.
"Duane, I'm here to offer you a shoulder...a just-friends kind of shoulder." Yeah, that'll go over [well]...
- Seasonal Baggage: Penny remaining rooted to one spot through seasonal changes is a "montage" instance of this trope.
- Shipper on Deck: Sara, for Penny and Aggie.
- One of Stan's campaign videos incorporates the infamous Daisy ad from the 1964 Lyndon B. Johnson presidential campaign.
- During Penny's Imagine Spot in which she stands rooted in shock through time, some Androgynians, from Campbell's and LagacÚ's other webcomic Cool Cat Studio, have a cameo. Not an example of Canon Welding, as this is part of a fantasy sequence; also, the aliens behave out of character to the way they're portrayed in Cool Cat Studio, where they visit Earth but not for the purpose of invasion.
- Slapstick: Penny jumping out the ground floor window to avoid Aggie.
- Soapbox Sadie: When Giuliani angrily confronts Aggie as she commandeers the P.A. system, she smiles smugly at him and says, "Hello! Here to silence me?"
- So Proud of You: When Nick tells Aggie that Principal Giuliani called him about her unauthorized use of the P.A. system for her campaign, Aggie asks if Nick's angry with her too. His affectionately ironic response: "Standing up to authority for principle, trying to reach the kids who think like you...Your mother and I are furious."
- Wham Line: "Will you just. Kiss her. Already?"