Webcomic: College Roomies from Hell!!!
What was that sound just now? Oh, nothing, just the Freshman dorm exploding...CRFH
, formerly titled College Roomies From Hell!!!
, is a Web Comic
by Maritza Campos; it has run since 1999, and was one of the flagship series on the Keenspot
Three mismatched guys end up reluctantly rooming together when after showing up late to get a replacement apartment, and find themselves (and the three equally mismatched girls across the hall) thrown head-first into World of Weirdness
, with super-powered mutations, Cthulhu, were-coyotes, genies, mad scientists
, and oh yes, the imminent birth of the Anti-Christ
, just for starters. To call this series strange is an understatement; yet somehow, despite a severe case of Cerebus Syndrome
, it all seems to hang together and remain funny.
Provides examples of:
- All Men Are Perverts: Dave almost quotes this word for word at one point, and as for Mike's apparent fetish for "Gummi Bears in Leather Underwear"...
- Arson, Murder, and Jaywalking
" Chaos! Mayhem!
It's all flooded and the mermaids have gone berserk and the sharks are eating people and the turkey was dry
and there are explosions everywhere..."
- Art Evolution: And how! Exhibit A; Exhibit B. Those are the same six characters in both comics; granted, one of them is in a chicken suit in the first. And yeah, that one guy did pick up a tentacle for a left arm along the way. Just read the comic.
- Artifact of Doom: The evil staff. It's actually pretty loyal, considering. Apparently because Mike beat its boss in a fair fight. He is able to transfer its ownership to Marsha before he dies.
- Art Shift: Dream sequences are usually rendered in a much more realistic style than the rest of the series.
- Ascended Meme: The forums had a meme that every poll had to have an option for "Archbishop Thomas Cranmer (Deceased)". Then a cat was introduced into the comic by the name of Archie. Explained as being short for...
- Author Guest Spot: A cameo asoptician.
- Author's Saving Throw: When Maritza tried to kill off Dave, the outcry was so intense that she found a way out of it immediately afterward, leading to a significantly better resolution of the situation.
- Possibly also Mike's zombification; apparently the corpse Waldo and Steve reanimated was a lookalike that was planted by Hazel and Damascus while Mike's real body was kept in suspended animation at Dundun Island pending resurrection. It's not clear whether this twist was a genuine Author's Saving Throw or in fact planned from the start.
- Back from the Dead: Dave once, Mike twice.
- Badass Normal: Margaret.
- Battle Butler: Thaddeus, Hazel's lovestruck majordomo.
- Berserk Button: Do NOT say anything about Mike's nose. Seriously, don't even MENTION it.
- Big Damn Heroes: How about Roger shooting Satan with a shotgun to save Dave and Margarette literal souls?
- Big Red Button: One in Dundun Island. Roger can never resist taking the Schmuck Bait, even after learning what it does.
- Blind Without 'Em: Leads to Roger meeting Diana, through a wacky misunderstanding.
- Cargo Ship: Mike with the TV remote, in-universe.
- Cerebus Syndrome: Very.
- Cerebus Retcon: Pretty much everyone after the "Adversary" storyline, which marked the beginning of the Darker and Edgier era.
- Mike's manipulative nature is explained as a result of having an overbearing and abusive mother.
- In a throwaway gag early on, Dave is mentioned to be deathly allergic to bee stings. Later, when he and Margaret are running away from Satan, they have to walk through a field of sunflowers buzzing with bees.
- Margaret is initially depicted as a competitive overachiever. She is then Flanderized and turned Up to Eleven, going from competitive to aggressive to outright Ax-Crazy with her own military-grade stash of weapons. The reason behind all this is revealed to be the fact that Margaret has been preparing for the imminent Apocalypse ever since she had a vision of it years earlier.
- Roger goes from comically paranoid of being a were-coyote to actual were-coyote who is doomed to eventually lose all traces of humanity.
- The Chessmaster: Mike's Manipulative Bastard capabilities sometimes break through into this - notably where he has to bust his psychotic girlfriend Marsha out of the loony bin, he does so by means of a complex plan which involves making everyone else who was involved in a recent incident alongside Marsha also appear to have been driven insane by it, thus making the authorities think she wasn't in her right mind when she attacked her ex-boyfriend.
- Chuck Cunningham Syndrome: The eye in Roger's hand.
- Fridge Brilliance: Roger's been learning how to control his shapeshifting, and can change any part of his body—including his eyes.
- Clingy Jealous Girl: Marsha, primarily, though both Blue and — surprisingly — Diana have their moments.
- Cloning Blues: April, as explained in a print exclusive edition story; she is a duplicate of her 'sister' June created when her father's magic act went wrong.) ( Or is June the clone?.
- Cloud Cuckoolander: All of the Pepitone family, apparently.
- Apparently this is actually a deliberate tactic to control their anger, and thus their transformations. By occupying their minds with utter nonsense they're able to forget about the things that irritate them.
- Combat Tentacle: Mike.
- Crazy-Prepared: Margaret, with her closet full of weapons and survival gear; sometimes Roger as well, who will prove to have something bizarre on hand that proves inexplicably useful.
- Dysfunction Junction (and how.)
- Easy Road to Hell: Satan plucks out Dave's soul, for no sin at all, essentially just to show he can. Some supernatural force saves him through Margaret and Roger, but that wasn't the author's original plan. And then there's this exchange:
Satan: Now let's say I put you in a situation where you have to kill someone to save Margaret's life. Then you die and go to Hell. And once you're there, your ass is mine...
Dave: God would never allow that to happen!
Satan: Sssss. That's what you think. The Other Guy doesn't care if you live or die. You're supposed to settle for eternal life.
- Eek, a Mouse!!: Marsha, the Girliest Girl in the comic, is terrified of mice. This may be justified, however, as she does seem to have a actual phobia of them.
- Embarrassing Middle Name: Michael Redford Green.
- Evil Matriarch: Mike's mom, aka The Dragon.
- Eye Beams: Dave's mutation.
- Faeries Don't Believe in Humans Either: Referenced when Roger meets two centaurs who think humans are mythical creatures. However, they're actually genetically engineered creatures who have been given this belief (and a steady diet of drugs) by the Evil Genius in question to avoid them questioning their surroundings.
- Fake-Out Make-Out: With disastrous consequences.
- Fille Fatale: Blue.
- Filth: While on the Misery Journey, the guys at some point starred in a soft-core porno, which they didn't remember about when they were sober, until the other three stumble across a copy of the video. Later, when trying to find out how it happened, Mike and April nearly get blackmailed into making another one, with April cast as a Japanese Schoolgirl.
- Floating Advice Reminder: "Invisible Floating Wiser April", to whom the real April rarely listens.
- Freakiness Shame: Well, sort of. Just...see for yourself.
- Freudian Slip: All the time, especially during Dave's "brain warps".
- Friend to All Living Things: Parodied to the point of taking it into Disney Creatures of the Farce territory: Marsha hates her 'Snow White Syndrome', which causes her to get mobbed by cute fuzzy animals whenever out in the woods. She does turn it to her advantage on occasion, though.
- Funny Background Event: These two strips.
- Fun with Acronyms: When Mike starts Nobody's Organization for the Elimination of Satan, April proposes changing it to "Satan Elimination" to make the acronym spell "NOSE", as a jab at Mike's large schnozz. Mike is not amused.
- Gigantic Gulp: Margaret's bucket-sized coffee cup, formerly known as "The Suicide".
- God: He's definitely around, but He keeps a much lower profile than Satan.
- Good Angel, Bad Angel: Deconstructed. According to Dave's good angel, they appear proportionately larger and smaller depending on their relative influence on a person - so Mike's bad angel is man-sized, but his good one is doll-sized.
- Green-Eyed Epiphany: Margaret.
- Half-Identical Twins: Roger and Lily, the Trope Namers.
- Head-Tiltingly Kinky: Episode 2000-02-14, where they are watching a movie that the girls got by accident.
- Hooker with a Heart of Gold: Subverted: Diana loves being a prostitute, and seems to think she's doing a service by it.
- Hurricane of Puns: Three in one strip, courtesy of Waldo.
- Hypocritical Humor: Mike gets mad at his roommates for keeping some smelly clothes, claiming that they were probably touched by the Devil himself. This despite the fact that the whole argument started because they wanted him to get rid of his evil staff. You know, the one that Mike stole from Satan's own hand.
- I Love Nuclear Power: Dave and Mike both develop useful mutations after swimming in toxic waste. Roger also grows a third eye on his hand, but like his original two, it's very nearsighted and rarely comes in handy. Also, Marsha, much later, grows functioning wings from a radioactive potato.
- Idiot Ball: How obvious could it be that April has been brainwashed by The Dragon, yet Marsha, who should be Genre Savvy enough by now, doesn't twig. See for yourselves here and here
- Intoxication Ensues: The infamous 'blue mushrooms', which often seem to confer insight at the same time; the author has stated that this was strongly influenced by the writings of Carlos Castenada.
- It Makes Sense in Context: Just about everything.
- It's All About Me: Dave is a non-villainous example, but not so much recently thanks to Character Development.
- It Works Better with Bullets: Bad guy steals weapon, but it's unloaded. Subversion: It fires, and it's later explained that it was loaded all along.
- I Want My Beloved to Be Happy: Margaret, regarding Dave and Blue; unfortunately, it doesn't work out that well for any of them.
- Jerk with a Heart of Gold: While Mike is a bastard to the rest of the cast (with the exception of Blue and Marsha) most of the time, when push comes to shove, he is fiercely loyal and will protect his friends with his life.
- Law of Conservation of Normality: Pretty much the defining example.
- One would think that the characters could care less about their grades after all the crap they've been through, and yet they continue to drag themselves back to Mr. Dover's class and freak out about missing exams. Given that Mr. Dover seems to genuinely care about the kids despite wanting to cultivate his Sadist Teacher image, one wonders what would happen were they to honestly explain what is actually going on.
- Lethal Chef: Marsha; this is an especially sore point for her, since her father is a world-class chef.
- Let's Get Dangerous: Roger has these moments. Usually involving him transforming into a werewolf.
- Loud of War: Mike threatens to drive Dave into submission by poking them repeatedly and singing My Heart Will Go On in a very high-pitched voice.
- Love Triangle: Two of them; Blue-Dave-Margaret and Marsha-Mike-April
- Luke, I Am Your Father: It turns out Dr. Sydney is actually Margaret's father, thought to be long dead.
- Magic Realism: Impossible stuff just happens. Sometimes the characters try to find a meaning behind it. And fail.
- Manipulative Bastard: Mike, who can think on his feet to the point of being able to see through the Devil's plans while being tortured in Hell. Also Blue, as evidenced by her mind games when she first meets Dave. Apparently the Green children have been inadvertently trained in this sort of behavior since birth.
- Maximum Fun Chamber: The Trope Namer.
- The Men in Black: Hazel's agents, as well as a recurring The X-Files parody.
- Mistaken for Gay: Mike and Dave. Well, Mike and Roger too once or twice, but the running gag is Mike and Dave. Complete with compromising positions, unfortunate repetitive innuendo, and a spur-of-the-moment kiss  that leaves Dave a bit scarred. Mike uses it to his advantage later, striking out at his hypocritical conservative father by pretending to be dating Dave. Like everything else in this webcomic, it doesn't end well.
- Mistaken for Pregnant: This comic. Blue's talking about class periods and Dave takes it the wrong way.
- Mondegreen: In-Universe: Roger misheard the Rolling Stones' "Sympathy for the Devil" as "Chimpanzee for the Devil".
- Mood Whiplash: On a pretty regular basis.
- Mushroom Samba: On several occasions; oddly, there seems to be a grain of truth behind all the hallucinatory adventures.
- Must Have Caffeine: Margaret.
- My Girl Is Not a Slut: Subverted - Roger doesn't particularly mind that Diana is a hooker.
- It was played straight in her first appearance, though, where Roger goes Ax-Crazy when Mike 'tries to break it to him in a tactful way' (which consisted of saying "Roger, your girl's a ho").
- My Hair Came Out Green: Happens to April once, during the "Dementia" storyline.
- Nerds Are Sexy: Dave's devotion to his grades is apparently among the many things Blue finds attractive about him.
- Oh My Gods!: Cthulhu is the most commonly invoked, but others have been used as well.
- Our Angels Are Different: Damascus makes mechanical angels of the conventional Winged Humanoid model on Dundun Island.
- Also, more recent strips (late 2008/early 2009) indicate that Mike is actually the Archangel Michael incarnate. Apparently being in the body of a 19-year-old human severely limits his full knowledge and understanding of things, and his actions on Earth have been doing more harm than good as a result.
- Our Werebeasts Are Different: Were-coyotes
- Poor Communication Kills: On a very regular basis, and sometimes almost literally, as in the "Blue Madness" arc.
- Post-Kiss Catatonia: Dave's "brainwarps", which can be triggered by anything from a kiss to simply seeing a scantily clad girl.
- Psychic Nosebleed: Starts happening to Dave later in the series when he tries using his Eye Beams.
- Psycho Ex-Girlfriend: Marsha. A rare example where the ex-boyfriend isn't the protagonist or even a main character.
- Puppy-Dog Eyes: Marsha's 'anime eyes' ability, which borders on the superhuman when it comes to manipulating men.
- Running Gag: Several; one is that the guy with the hot dog stand is doing sex change surgeries for cheap.
- Sadist Teacher: Professor James Dover, known to his calculus class as "The Incredibly Sadistic Bastard"; actually something of a Trickster Mentor, though they never seem to realize it.
- Sarcastic Confession: Blue tries one on Damascus once. He sees through it, but plays along anyway.
- Satan: The Big Bad of the series, and definitely not one to be taken lightly. Whenever he shows up, you can bet no matter how badly things were going before, they will get worse.
- Shout-Out: Many fan traditions and in-jokes have made brief appearances in the comic, usually in the background.
- There are also occasional references to other webcomics, especially Sluggy Freelance.
- Soul Jar: Chester
- Stalker with a Crush: Blue acts like this when she first meets Dave.
- Summon Bigger Fish: When Mike is attacked by a large octopus, he realizes he doesn't stand a chance against it with the tiny knife he has, so he cuts himself to attract a shark with the smell of his blood.
- Supervillain Lair: Dun-Dun Island
- Symbol Swearing: One instance was later converted from symbols to written text to become "spiroratstar", a recurring Unusual Euphemism.
- Tempting Fate: Here.
- The Glasses Come Off: Justified for Roger, as he really is Blind Without 'Em in his human form, but not when he transforms into a were-coyote.
- Theme Naming: Hazel Green, Blue Green and Michael Redford Green.
- Later revealed to be Blue VIOLET Green.
- Time Skip: Two months, when Dave forgets them - pretty significant for a strip that, even after the skip, has taken over ten years to cover less than one year.
- Tonight Someone Dies: The author once went on record that she was going to kill off an (undesignated) character by the end of a specific arc. She carried through on the threat.
- Trash of the Titans
- Tsundere: Margaret.
- Twin Telepathy: Since they're only "Half-Identical Twins", Roger and Lily only have "half telepathy". When Lily tries to guess what's happened to Roger during the fall term, she's fairly accurate on the general ideas, but is pretty much precisely opposite on the details.
- The Unsmile: When April thinks she's cracking up.
- Unusual Euphemism: "Shtoinking" is commonly used to refer to sex, and there are several creative expletives such as "xlempaphroggin" and "spiroratstar".
- Wacky College
- Wax On, Wax Off: Roger's anger management training methods for Dave.
- Webcomic Time: Running since 1999, by January 30, 2012 (the last in-continuity strip before the Reboot), less than a full year has been covered, and everything since October 21, 2009 had been a single day.
- Winged Humanoid: Marsha, who develops wings after being bitten by a 'batato'.
- Why Do You Keep Changing Jobs?: Earl is the Anthropomorphic Personification of this Trope.
- Wolf Man: Roger, Lily and their mother are were-coyotes, while at least one minor villain is apparently a werewolf.
- Yandere: Marsha is violently jealous and has a history of stalking her ex-boyfriends, and April turns Yandere later in the series when she develops a crush on Mike. Then when Diana attempts to win Roger back, his new girlfriend tries to eat her.
- You Gotta Have Blue Hair: Blue and her mother, although it has never been confirmed whether this is their natural hair color or if they dye it that way for some reason.
- Considering Blue's oil treatment turned April's hair green, it's probably dyed.
- Zen Survivor: Margaret, who has lost everyone she has ever cared for due to diabolical machinations.