is a Two Gamers on a Couch webcomic
, following the adventures of two guys, a girl, and a robot who alternate between sitting around playing video games and getting up to wacky hijinks
The comic alternated its updates between story-based strips and video game-specific ones, until on November 24, 2012 the comic concluded its main storyline, wrapping up the stories of Ethan, Lilah, Lucas, and Zeke
. Following this conclusion, the comic has become almost exclusively video-game jokes
, now starring the four colored players previously seen in occasional earlier joke strips.
This was used as placeholder content until the main storyline was rebooted, now featuring Ethan and Lucas as a gaming-themed superhero team, with a marked change in drawing style, being much more dynamic and detailed.
Not to be confused with the three-finger-salute/Vulcan Nerve Pinch
There is also an animated adaption, Ctrl+Alt+Del: The Animated Series
. Its site is here
This webcomic contains examples of:
- Choose Your Own Adventure: Once or twice a year, the author will come out with a storyline where he decides what the character's actions will be or what plot branch to take in the next update based on the number of emailed votes he receives.
- Color-Coded for Your Convenience: The Four Players.
- Comedic Sociopathy: Ethan displayed it a lot in the past, which is biting the comic in the arse now Cerebus Syndrome has kicked in and he's meant to be a little more sympathetic and at least trying to mature. The Four Players, especially Two and Four.
- Comic Role Play: In one strip, Ethan freaks Lucas out by wearing fake breasts when playing his girlfriend.
- Complaining About Rescues They Don't Like: Ethan reacts to being saved from the mafia by Rory by being outright furious. Somewhat justified since Rory caused the mafia to show up in the first place, but that he reacts this way just a couple of seconds after Rory had saved him from bodily harm, and maybe even death, by knocking out the mobsters, makes Ethan seem angry about being saved.
- Continuity Creep: Starts out as your standard issue gamer comic, eventually descends into lengthy storylines.
- Cloudcuckoolander: Ethan borders between this and The Ditz.
- Convenient Miscarriage: Lilah's miscarriage that spawned a thousand flame wars.
- Creator Cameo: In the animated series. Hilarious in Hindsight; City of Heroes eventually did put out a Mac Edition with special goodies and much fanfare.
- Cut and Paste Comic: To a fairly infamous degree, especially during a con demonstration of how he works his comics, it's shown that he keeps a file full of different eyes and mouths to copy and paste from, along with differently shaded body parts. Eventually Buckley has moved away from it, with much more dynamic angles and poses.
- Dead Guy Junior: Lucas' child is named for Ethan.
- Don't Explain the Joke: Often criticized of violating this rule. Occasionally goes the opposite way and has comics with no punchline, other then violence, profanity, and/or lol boobs/lol penis.
- Dull Surprise: Common enough to spawn the B^U Memetic Mutation
- Drama Bomb: The infamous miscarriage arc.
- Drama Bomb Finale: The "Endings...And Beginnings" strip.
- Eerie Pale-Skinned Brunette: Lucas,
concentration camp Lucas Barry (Ethan's old boss), Scott, Lucas' murderous girlfriend, Christian's agent Shannon, and Abby the Gamer Chick who's gaming Ethan (does the author have some kind of thing against brunette women?).
- Even Nerds Have Standards: Seen here.
- Everything's Better with Penguins: Ted, if he existed.
- Evil Plan: Christian buying the video game store, which was all part of a scheme to steal Lilah away from Ethan.
- Evil Red Head: Two of Four, possibly Christian and Kate, who's more of a misguided redhead.
- Faceless Masses: Averted during the wedding.
- False Cause: Rogues take less damage from falls. Rogues wear light clothing. Therefore, no clothing would be even better.
- Fan Speak: "Life dropped an Epic Husband..."
- Fast Roping: The sheer amount of places that you can do in the Rainbow Six: Vegas games is jokingly explained here.
- Filler Strip: Ironically the only time when the comic is about video games (Word of God says the actual strip is about gamers, i.e. the main characters).
- Four Is Death: The Four Players to each other, usually Player 2 to Player 1.
- Gamer Chick: Lilah, played completely straight and one of the earliest examples of it.
- Genius Ditz: Despite being a total idiot, Ethan has constructed a fully sapient (albeit rather misanthropic) robot (out of an Xbox no less), a set of super-strong robot hands, and a hermetically sealed chamber with a chair capable of sensing biorhythms to discourage sleep or inattentiveness. He states that for seven seconds a day, his mind can focus granting him virtually unlimited insight into how the world works, allowing him to build his technological wonders and dispense incredibly good insight into other people's relationships. He then puts pineapple rings over his eyes, saying "heh...Pineapple Goggles."
- GIS Syndrome: One of the more prominent users.
- Golden Moment: Lilah and Ethan finally talk to each other.
- Grim Reaper: An extra in the Sillies; has his own T-Shirt!
- Heroic Sacrifice: Ethan deactivates the time machine to save both timelines, knowing he will be killed when the vortex closes.
- Idiot Houdini: Ethan's devolution to this is in large part why the comic has such a hatedom. In early strips, other characters put up with his stupidity only to the extent necessary to keep him as a character in the webcomic. By the time Winter-een-mas rolls around, the universe is bending over backward to turn all of his stupid ideas into outrageous successes. At the comic's end, he did end up getting some comeuppance by getting killed off trying to fix the consequences of his actions. The author admitted the decision behind this was that he was overdue to get some backlash after having things go his way for so long.
- It Came from the Fridge: this strip
- Jerk Ass:
- Ethan when it comes to customers and Rob due to their limited experience or ignorance of videogames.
- Rory to his little brother Maowio, at least when they were kids.
- Karma Houdini: Ethan, Rory, and to a minor extent Lucas.
- Karmic Twist Ending: Ethan's years of escaping consequences for his actions end when a time machine he created is used to show him a Bad Future resulting from his creation of Zeke. When the same time machine overloads, Ethan is forced to commit a Heroic Sacrifice.
- Also seen in a few of the deaths from the Space Archaeologist Choose Your Own Adventure arcs.
- Kick the Dog: Christian. His whole post-miscarriage store plot was to set up Ethan so he could get Lilah back. Putting so much effort to frame a moron so you can get back a girl who left you is both petty and evil, especially when all the money he spent on that asinine plot could have gone into getting whores or dating sites.
- Kill Streak: Parodied in the strip "Perky", with Modern Warfare 2 having a perk that lets you play as RoboCop after 30 kills.
- Life Embellished: Tim Buckley describes Ethan as a "stylized version" of himself (his avatar looks more or less like Ethan with shorter hair), and Lucas likewise of his best friend. Ethan has gradually evolved away from this (or so we hope considering how stupid he is). It's visually apparent in this comic.
- Limited Wardrobe: Nobody in this strip changes their clothes except for plot reasons.
- Long Bus Trip: Scott the Linux guy and owner of the penguin, who became Ensemble Dark Horses. Buckley insists they were meant to be one-off characters. Bringing him up on the forums is grounds for instant banning. Strangely they're both featured in the opening of the animated series and occasionally have walk-on roles.
- Long Runner: It's been running since 2002 and shows no signs of slowing down.
- The Mafia:The Hawaiian mafia no less.
- Man Child: Ethan. With hints of Psychopathic Man Child.
- Manipulative Bastard: Christian and Rory.
- The Merch: Mostly character and Wintereenmass T-Shirts, although those "Starbuck's Fresh Roasted Cylon" mugs might be a bit iffy.
- Mood Whiplash: The strip directly after the dramatic, bloody Grand Finale is about the Gameloft My Little Pony game.
- Moral Dissonance: Lucas tells Kate they can see other people, then is hurt and offended when she actually does. Then has the balls to make her apologize to him when it was his idea to move to casual in the first place.
- My Own Private "I Do": Ethan and Lilah of the Elope First, Plan Later variety. Zeke eventually finds out and uses it as blackmail fodder.
- Nerd Nanny: Lilah.
- Nice Hat: This hat is Nice. He's got a whole closet of them, apparently.
- Ninja Pirate Zombie Robot: "This is how the world ends". No, THIS is.
- Noodle Incident: We never do find out just what Zeke said to make Ethan so mad at him in these-three strips.
- Only Six Faces: One face and/or expression commonly called "B^U◊" or "Buckleyface".
- Orwellian Editor: Several characters have been removed from the series, some with explanations (Zeke, Embla), some without (Scott, Ted, Chef Brian). Regardless, no matter what, if you mention any of those characters on the CAD forums, you're banned for life.
- Parental Favoritism: Rory > Ethan — even when Ethan's getting married.
- Peek-a-Bangs: Kate; her Fan Nickname is "One-Eye".
- Product Placement: In addition to videogames, movies, and TV, Ethan produces a Droid cellphone that wasn't avalable when the wedding arc started.
- Proud to Be a Geek: Ethan
- Put on a Bus: The robots disappeared into the night; Rory's going to jail.
- Real Life Writes the Plot: (Rapidly-approaching deadline - any planned script) + Alcohol = Chef Brian
- Reckless Gun Usage: Ethan demonstrates why Gun Safety rules exist.
- Recycled In Space: ''Idiots in Space'' is Ctrl+Alt+Del IN SPACE!
- Retool: After the conclusion to the "Save the Future" Arc.
- Rich Bitch: Christian. He's rich, and he's a bitch. He's also one of the most liked characters in the comic.
- Salt and Pepper: Embla and Zeke
- Screw the Rules, I Have Money!: Christian.
- Secret Test of Character: Kate does this to Lucas by showing up for their date in a fat suit; she wants a guy who doesn't care about appearances, and it appears that he passes subverted in that his thoughts show he clearly doesn't, which leads to a Broken Aesop.
- Featured a character strikingly similar in appearance to Tyler Durden from the movie Fight Club speaking for the character Ethan with the line "he fell down some stairs" to explain to a doctor the reasoning behind some suspicious facial trauma.
- Similarly, there's a strip where Ethan imagines himself in a "happy place"—a frozen cave with Ted's hated pet penguin, and a giant mallet. The penguin's even panicking and thinking, "...slide?"
- To The Big Bang Theory in this strip.
- A rare subtle example is a small vocal tic for Embla, which according to seasoned gamers is a match for SHODAN.
- Sexy Santa Dress: This strip.
- The Smurfette Principle: Of the 4 people (and one penguin) living in the main characters' house, Lilah is the only female.
- Smug Snake: Similar to the above example, Christian is smug, and a snake.
- Snarky Non-Human Sidekick: Zeke, who was made out of an Xbox. Also something of a Robotic Psychopath when he debuted. Now, he's just downgraded to a snarky Robot Buddy with Embla as the new Psycho.
- Status Quo Is God: Eventually averted but maintained for years.
- Stepford Smiler: Lilah is starting to look and act like one. It's — unsettling.
- Sudden Videogame Moment: The fourth panel in this strip.
- Tertiary Sexual Characteristics: Embla. Strangely, Buckley said she's not necessarily female.
- That Makes Me Feel Angry: Ethan's reaction to the resolution of a Christian Arc: "That is, all at once, unexpected, hilarious, and extremely satisfying."
- Too Dumb to Live: Ethan. According to Zeke, if you run the data from Ethan's various misadventures, his life expectancy comes out negative. Negative forty.
- Two Gamers on a Couch: Lampshaded in the very first comic, even. They eventually get armchairs, but whatever. Following the revamp, now four players on the couch.
- Uncanny Valley: Invoked. The mouth on Zeke's human disguise doesn't move because Ethan couldn't get it to look natural.
- The Unfavorite: Ethan.
- Unsympathetic Comedy Protagonist: Ethan, through and through.
- Walls of Text: A particularly extreme example. At least one strip used this to deliberate comedic effect.
- Way Past the Expiration Date: Ethan consumes breakfast cereal that expired in May 1985. Lucas hypothesizes that consuming mold-culture cereal has made Ethan more delusional and sociopathic than usual.
- We Wait: Lilah and Lucas' plan for dealing with Ethan's big brother-induced alcoholism. It works. Ethan seeing Lilah with her wedding dress was enough to convince him to get cleaned up, at least for the day.
- Web Comic Time: One day in the comic equals at least four months in real life. Buckley says he draws the plot out so people doing Archive Binges can spend more time with the story. The oddest manifestation of this is Ethan saving the day with a cellphone that didn't exist commercially before the arc started.
- What Happened to the Mouse?: Lucas' girlfriend Kate, last seen in the background of Ethan and Lilah's wedding.
- "Where Are They Now?" Epilogue: The final comic of the main storyline is this for Lilah, Lucas, and Zeke.
- Word Salad Humor: Anything involving the strangely surreal Chef Brian.
- You Mean Xmas: Wintereenmas... sort of.