Recap / Penny And Aggie Shoposphere

"My identity is not for them to define. And it's not for you."
— Sara

This arc is told through Sara's point of view, as she does her Christmas shopping online, revealing her assumptions about her friends, acquaintances and parents, as well as her uncertainty about her own identity in all its aspects.

Following "Shoposphere" in the archive is "Names: A Study Primer," which is not a narrative arc, but a guide to the webcomic's Loads and Loads of Characters, particularly those whom many readers found difficult to tell apart. It also names, for the first time, several characters who'd been introduced in previous arcs, as well as a few that would be introduced later.


  • Bratty Teenage Daughter: Sara behaves this way toward her parents, particularly her father.
  • Foe Yay: In-universe example. Sara, still under the impression that Aggie asked Penny out in The Ticket and then stood her up, sends her a set of paints anonymously. "Chew on that, Little Miss Mixed Messages."
  • Limited Wardrobe: Sara lampshades this with regard to Michelle, who more often than not, throughout the comic, is shown wearing the same baseball shirt-and-jeans combo: "That girl's wardrobe needs a system upgrade worse than Microsoft." (In fact, Michelle's family is financially struggling, due to her father's unsuccessful business venture, and therefore she no longer has the money to spend on more varied and stylish clothes.)
  • Lower-Deck Episode
  • Suspiciously Specific Denial: When Sara, as a result of searching possible gifts for Penny, receives a pornographic spam e-mail ("Hot blondes do trix with pennies"), she takes it personally and becomes indignant that a "spambot" would presume to know what she is.