Webcomic / Housepets!

http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/binoportrait_8029.png
Bino is the official mascot of Housepets! Not Fido. Bino.

"Any problem can be solved with the correct application of pressure to a stupid person's face."
Grape Jelly Sandwich, Housepets

We all love our pets, don't we? Now imagine this: your pets are sapient, anthropomorphised, and have the height of a small child. What would they be doing all day? Housepets portrays such a scenario. This comic by Rick Griffin portrays pets virtually as children who are almost human besides height and differences in clothing style.

The main characters are Peanut Butter and Grape Jelly, the beloved dog and cat of the Sandwich family. In a twist on the classic "smart cat, dumb dog" setup, Peanut and Grape are actually fairly similar in intellect with similar interests, and their subtle personality differences shine like a beacon. Peanut is the sensitive and slightly silly one. He's childlike and excitable and loves playing all kinds of games. Grape is the lazy and pragmatic one, though sometimes she is too sensible for her own good.

Initially, the story centered around the pets of Babylon Gardens and the wacky hijinks they found themselves in, but about a year into its run, Griffin started to include more mature themes. While never falling prey to Cerebus Syndrome, much of the comic has dealt with the implications of a world where animals and humans are similarly intelligent, including but not limited to: naming pets as heirs, wild animals deciding to live a civilized life, Interspecies Romance, an African micronation which humans never colonized and is run entirely by animals, and novels marketed towards animals and the associated subcultures that they give rise to.

However, life in Babylon Gardens is not exactly normal, as several members of the cast have become embroiled a great supernatural game played by a set of three demigods, the Great Kitsune, the Astral Dragon, and Pete the Griffin. At the center of this story is King, a human turned into a dog to serve as Pete's avatar in the game, which occasionally intersect with the pets' normal lives. After the game's introduction, it is often hard to tell which is the comic's central story.

According to the author, the comic was initially inspired by childhood drawings made by Griffin of a dog named "Bino". Bino appears as a character in the comic, as the leader of Babylon Garden's "Good Ol' Dogs Club." Portrayed as an antagonist more often than not, he is the middle brother caught between his popular older brother, police dog Officer Fido, and his quirky younger brother, Joey.

Check it out here.

The artists other website also hosts further art and another comic 'A&H club'.

This comic provides examples of:

  • A Form You Are Comfortable With:
  • Aborted Arc:
    • The author decided to prematurely end a story arc which depicted catnip use as similar to smoking marijuana because it would break the self-imposed PG rating, although catnip itself is still available as seen in later strips.
    • Two other arcs were aborted by acts of god. "The Arc Specifically About Being Naked" was killed by a broken computer, and "All Hallow's Ween" was ended by a medical emergency.
    • Subverted with "All's Fair". He had a flare-up that led him to urgent care, but it timed perfectly with the Year 7 milestone. So he decided to take a week off, then he did a week-long Spot arc, then resumed the arc with a Part 2.
    • In-Universe, Peanut realizes the Guys and Dolls Imaginate Show Within a Show is running long and ends it with a cardboard sign saying "Everyone Gets Married. The End.".
  • Abusive Parents: Sasha's dad is a drunk who yells at her and locks her outside all night in the snow.
  • Accessory-Wearing Cartoon Animal: Pretty much all of the cats, dogs, and rabbits wear collars as their only attire.
  • Adorkable: Several characters qualify, most notably Peanut, Joey, Tiger, Sasha, Truck and King.
  • Affectionate Nickname
    • Sasha uses them frequently. She calls Fox "Foxie-bon", and Bino "Biney-bon". We haven't heard one for current boyfriend Kevin yet.
    • Grape calls Maxwell "Maxie". She also expressly forbids Peanut from calling Maxwell that.
    • Bailey calls King "Kingy".
    • Bino tries calling Duchess by a pet name, but she won't allow him to do so in public.
  • All Animals Are Domesticated:
    • Not exactly, as the wolves moving into the neighborhood caused quite a stir, but if they're friendly enough they seem to be able to integrate without too much trouble, and they're all sentient, so it works.
    • There is also mention of a feral level of animals, most notably Joel's former pets.
  • All There in the Manual: The official names of several characters are only given within the tags of each comic. As well as any official monickers a character may have (such as "The Other Daryl" to refer to a Big Eater wolf who happens to have the same name as another character).
  • All Just a Dream: Typical ending of any of the mortals' dealings with the celestial nerds.
    • Keene even called Pete out on it once.
      Pete: Then I must ask something of you, mortal.
      Keene: And that is?
      Pete: Wake up. *snaps his fingers*
      Keene (waking up in his bed): DON'T YOU PULL THAT IT-WAS-ALL-A-DREAM THING ON... ah crud
    • Then in the end of the "Heaven's Not Enough" Great Kitsune surprises everyone by not doing that, which also leaves all the mortals involved in the middle of Australia.
    • Defied when it's revealed that all the main characters are NPCs in a Dungeons & Dragons ripoff. The deities are quick to point out that the universe and everyone inside it existed before they turned it into a game setting, so it's all just as real as before.
  • All of the Other Reindeer: Joey, most acutely. He even plays Rudolph in a Christmas pageant.
  • Alternate Appearance Aura: Peanut, Grape, Max and Tarot in the Pridelands Imaginate, thanks to Tarot's powers.
  • Alternate Reality Episode: THE GALLIFRAX PROTOCOL, in which Tarot, Peanut, Grape, and Max visit an alternate Earth where they resemble "normal" animals instead of their normal Funny Animal appearance.
  • Alternative Number System: Spo came from a very large family. How large? The sibling born immediately after him was named Spp.
  • Alt Text: Especially in the later comics, the alt text occasionally provides a secondary punchline for the strip, or some other humorous comment. As of the website redesign in 2016, however, most of the alt texts are missing.
  • Amazing Technicolor Wildlife: For example, you have normally-colored Peanut alongside Grape, a purple cat.
  • Amazingly Embarrassing Parents: Not quite her parent, but Bill is this to Bailey.
  • Ambiguous Gender: While the Biggelsworths also have this description, Fiddler and Keys. We know one is male and one is female, but no real indication of who's who to this day. When Breel, the marten masseuse, was introduced the forum erupted in debates as to the nature of their gender.
    • Peanut had this problem with Grape early on, just automatically assuming she was male until she revealed otherwise, which was hard for him to process.
  • Ambiguously Gay: Bruce and Roosevelt, judging from this strip where they're practically cuddling on the couch while watching (American) football. Later, they share a rather intimate moment in what looks to be a hot tub but turns out to be the otters' pool with the heater cranked. Their status has become less ambiguous with this comic.
    • Cory the skunk, who in his first appearance flirts with Zach.
  • Amicably Divorced: Never married per se, but Sabrina used to date Maxwell, and they're still on fairly friendly terms with one another.
  • Anchored Ship:
  • Animal Jingoism: Not outright hatred, per se, but the Good Ol' Dogs Club only admits dogs, and then there's the interspecies romance taboo...
  • Animals Not to Scale: Almost all dogs, cats, rabbits, and raccoons are the same size (about waist height on a human) while mice are about real life size, and ferrets (plus King and Tarot) are on a scale somewhere in between those, the wolves are huge and musclepacked, apparently from living in the wild, while real wolves are smaller than some dog breeds. Equines and kangaroos, despite being sapient the same as everyone else, are no more outwardly anthropomorphic than their real life counterparts, and are of the same size as them; the consistency is all over the place with this comic.
  • Animal Stereotypes:
    • Played with to a degree, but the cast act more like children then animals to the point where Rick sometimes adds in stereotypical animal behavior specificly for people who look for it.
    • In the first Christmas strip, after Joey gives his girlfriend Squeak a block of cheese, she tells him straight out "the whole cheese thing's a stereotype".
    • Based on his first appearance, some readers assumed that Cory was on the way of joining the long list of cartoon skunk bad guys. They ended up being right.
  • Animation Bump: Most notably, the switch to color, but the drawing style has been improving overall.
  • Animal Wrongs Group: PETA, during the "A Sinister Shadow" arc.
  • Arranged Marriage: Not a marriage (yet), but the whole reason Peanut and Tarot ended up together is because Spirit Dragon asked Tarot to attract Peanut. This was to keep Pete from trying to take Peanut as an avatar.note 
  • Arson, Murder, and Jaywalking: Tarot, especially early on, tends to follow dire predictions with more mundane inconveniences, like this one:
    Tarot: The truth shall be brought to light, and I fear that day, for all who do not hold love in their hearts shall perish, and their souls will be broken into shards as countless as all the sand on the face of the earth. Plus it's terrible for your complexion.
  • Art Evolution: Compare this comic to the next day's. A second evolution was implemented around October 2012, this one a conscious decision by the artist for a new art style.
  • Art Shift: Played for laughs In-Universe within "That's Why Your Save It For The Cover", where the last panel of the Show Within The Show "Spot (Superdog)" was drawn well by Joey, causing it to heavily stand out from the rest of the normally Stylistic Suck comic. The Punchline of that comic is that said drawing was a actually commission Peanut didn't expect to have to pay.
    • In a meta sense, with Rick's shift to a more comic book-like style of page with the 101st "chapter", there are some changes- the colors are more muted, the backgrounds more detailed, and the female animals (at least the dogs, from what's been seen so far) have more noticeable... assets.
  • Artifact Title: Rick seems to be introducing more and more characters (the Wolf Pack, Itsuki, the Galactic Nerds, the Forest creatures, the zoo creatures, Karishad) who wouldn't exactly be considered 'house pets'.
  • Aside Glance:
    • Peanut in the fourth panel of this comic glances at the audience after Grape solves his problem by simply breaking the remote controler to Bino's shock collar, cutting off Peanut's rambling panicked explanation so she can take a nap in peace.
    • Bruno the bear gives one when Bino challenges her as part of his attempt to become an honorary wolf, displaying her disbelief that such a small canine like him seriously thinks that waving around a stick is going to scare her off.
  • Ass Kicking Pose: Employed by Miles and his pack when coming to Fido's defense near the end of the "Jungle Fever" arc.
  • As You Know:
    Bahamut (Dragon Judge): Explain your actions in seizing the fate of a mortal.
    Pete: You're omniscient...you tell me.
    Bahamut: Technically, we all are, but that sorta makes it hard to tell a story.
  • Author Tract: In-Universe, lampshaded by Grape in "The Boring Adventures Of Spot":
    Grape: Don't you think you're editorializing a bit much?
    Peanut: A little, but that's why people make comics, right?
  • Bears are Bad News: Bino's encounter with Bruno, as part of his efforts to become an honorary wolf, does not go well. After the audience gets an Aside Glance from her, in disbelief that Bino thinks his challenge is a serious threat, she then simply falls onto him, squishing the dog beneath her.
  • Bear Hug: Fox gets one from his new partner Mungo, as seen here.
  • Becoming the Mask:
    • Heavily implied that this is happening with Spirit Dragon
    • Even though he didn't want it at first, after falling in love and marrying Bailey, it's safe to say Joel/King has decided he wants to be a dog. At the end of the Cosmic Game, he chose to remain a dog and stay with Bailey, Fox, and all the friends he's made.
  • Berserk Button:
    • Parodied out of Universe. At one point, Rick left a comment stating he would "e-strangle" the next person to mention how much more buff Fido looked after a minor style revision. A few comics later Rick then commented himself how buff Fido was looking, leading readers to wonder if Rick would now e-strangle himself.
    • If you should ever find yourself in the comic's universe, here's a handy list of things you should not do:
      • Don't tease Tiger about having the name of a big cat.
      • Don't wake Grape from a nap.
      • Don't be a cat or cat-lover in the Good Ol' Dogs Club when Bino's around.
      • Don't mention the name Joel around Fox, he's quick to get angry ever since he was kidnapped (or rather dognapped). Then there's Heaven's Not Enough...
  • Big, Bulky Bomb: Played with in this strip, in "The Great Water Balloon War" story arc, in the form of an absolutely huge water balloon requiring much of the contents of a pool to fill it.
  • Big Eater: Tiger. RL dogs are basically walking garbage cans, after all.
  • Bigger on the Inside: In this strip, even Zach, who's been in the temple in the back yard of Mr. Milton before, is absolutely stunned by how huge the place looks like from the inside, far in excess of the external dimensions.
  • Big Red Button: Ferrets love 'em.
  • Bilingual Bonus: The line from the Japanese comedy show in this strip is, ‘Call a doctor!
  • Black Dude Dies First: Parodied as Max, who has all-black fur, plays the first victim in the And Then There Were None Imaginate.
  • Bland-Name Product:
    • One of the books Peanut uses to get caught up on the Pridelands series of books is Pridelands for Imbeciles.
    • Nothing goes as well with a game of Universes and Unrealities as a fresh bag of Doritas.
  • Bouquet Toss: Tarot caught the floral bouquet thrown after King's wedding, with the help of Karishad.
  • Brain Bleach: Evoked by King in response to Miles' Christmas party plans
  • Bread, Eggs, Milk, Squick:
  • Brick Joke: They happen from time to time.
    • When Peanut is done up as the ghost of Banquo in their Macbeth imagination play, Maxwell screams like he did when he was freaked out by Sabrina and her spiritual connections.
    • Most recently, the alt texts of this and this. More specifically, the joke's about Pete really wanting to use a ballpoint pen instead of a "writing wedge".
    • The comic of 8/18/2010, and this one just over three years later, is a Brick Joke concerning Tarot's prophesy of Sabrina nearly drowning.
    • In "Heaven's Not Enough, Part 2", Tarot can be seen using her cellphone to make a text message. Come part 3 of the same arc, and it's revealed she was messaging Kerishad, the local Cloud Cuckoo Lander.
    • The first thing King ever said to Bailey was, "Please don't sniff my butt." Apparently she obliged, because come his proposal to marry her which she accepted, she suddenly remembers, "I never got to sniff your butt!"
    • Fox is pretty big on believing he's the protagonist of a summer blockbuster adventure. That comes up a few times, especially when he goes on the run to try to prove Sasha didn't attempt to kill Keene Milton and is being reprimanded for it. In response to being told that the case wasn't a summer blockbuster type thing, he exasperatedly asks:
    Fox: Why does everyone keep telling me that?!
  • Call-Back:
  • Canada, Eh?: Res
  • Carnivore Confusion:
    • Usually played straight. It's accepted as a fact of life that predator species kill and eat prey animals for sustenance (something that gets pointed out more than once and even happens on-panel); however, it should be noted that like the predators, the prey species are also fully sentient, able to talk to and even hold lengthy conversations with the animals who want to eat them.
    • Except for some, like the cows, which seem to be either non-sapient, or just don't care.
    • Illustrated by the title and cover of the second book Housepets! Hope They Don't Get Eaten featuring a picture of the wolf cubs seasoning an understandably concerned looking Zach.
    • One of the Bigglesworths attempts to eat Squeak and Spo, only to be foiled (and disturbed) by Squeak's foot (macro?) fetish.
  • Cassandra Truth: Grape was right that last time about Pete...
  • Catch-Phrase: For Peanut: "_______ is/are a thing, isn't it/aren't they?"
  • Cat Concerto: Fiddler and Keys
  • Cats Are Mean: By and large downplayed, since Grape is only mean compared to Peanut. Sometimes played straighter for comedic effect.
  • Cat Up a Tree: Grape has been trapped up a tree by angry dogs at least once.
  • Censor Box: Parodied with Bino during "The Arc Specifically About Being Naked".
  • Chair Reveal: Those ferrets sure love showmanship, with a twirl of a tall-backed chair revealing the instiagtor of the big water balloon war.
  • Chained Heat: Zach and Jessica end up in a trap, both dirty, injured, and cold, so they snuggle for warmth. Cue Keene showing up thinking he caught a gargoyle.
  • Chekhov's Gun:
    • The last panel of this just seems to be a throwaway gag, involving the reactions of Peanut and Grape to seeing what Fido is up to with Sabrina. A year and a half later, it turns out it's not.]
    • The golden statue of himself the Great Kitsune sent to King within "Never believe it's not so" eventually comes to prominence within the "Housepets 5000 BC" arc when it was used to contact the Great Kitsune about Satau managing to find himself within the present. It's revealed within this arc that the statue is the Great Kitsune, himself, disguised as a golden statue using shapeshifting magic.
    King: Have you been in there the whole time?!
    Great Kitsune: No! ...not anymore than I'm everywhere all the time.
  • Chronic Hero Syndrome: Sabrina is compelled to save any wayward animal she finds.
  • Cloudcuckoolander: Throwaway character Delusional Steve.
    • Also Sasha if her bookmark is any indication.
    • Tiger and Karishad are probably the biggest examples of this yet.
  • Clarke's Third Law: The unwitting time traveler Satau is marveled by the various "magical devices" of the future. When pointed out by Peanut that they actually run on electricity, Satau said out this doesn't seem much different from magic.
  • Cluster F-Bomb: The audience doesn't see the words used, but King's response to being included on a quest with Tarot and Grape includes "a crescendo of creative profanities".
  • Comically Missing the Point: Spo in Wham Line.
  • Comically Small Bribe: Max tries to bribe a pet store employee to sell him catnip (which pets aren't allowed to buy) with a quarter. It works in an ironic way.
  • Completely Missing the Point: Peanut in particular happens to be prone to this, as shown in this strip where he asks about a trivial issue instead of about the fantastical world he and Sabrina are descending into.
  • Contrived Coincidence: So, it just so happens that the moment Peanut and Grape's relationship might be heading somewhere interesting, another dog shows up having been told by the spirits themselves that Peanut would need a companion.
    • Three years later, we find out that Tarot had been sent by Dragon as part of her gambit to prevent Pete from acquiring an avatar. In fact, it seems most of the coincidences and plot holes found throughout the series have been caused directly by the Great Game.
  • Cool Down Hug: Cerberus brought Pete down from a Villainous Breakdown with a simple paw on his shoulder.
  • Corner of Woe: Grape plays this during the Imaginate play for And Then There Were None. Adds in Shower of Angst for showing rain clouds over her.
  • Cosmic Chess Game: Or rather Universes & Unrealities. King even says it word-for-word; it's the trope page quote.
    Spirit Dragon: To compare the game to chess would be like comparing all of civilization to an amoeba!
  • Could Have Avoided This Plot: After Fido's fight with Jata, Ralph says (at least professionally) he had no issues with Fido being involved with Sabrina, and only wished he had known beforehand what Fido had planned, instead of dragging the K-9 force into a potential international incident.
  • CPR: Clean, Pretty, Reliable:
    • Played with in this comic, when a police dog, Sgt. Ralph, douses an apparently non-breathing Fox with water to revive him after being smothered by Joel's boss.
    • In this comic it's neither clean nor pretty: the moment Fido gives Sabrina a breath after her near-drowning, she barfs water in his face.
  • Crazy Cat Lady: The owner of the Mr. Bigglesworth cat group.
  • Crazy-Prepared: Peanut brings a backup generator to the country to power his Nintendo DS.
  • Crossover: Ponbon, a small yellow creature from another of Rick's works makes a number of appearances from time to time - as a novelty ice cream pop, as a Macy's balloon, and in person in this arc.
  • Curse Cut Short
  • Cut a Slice, Take the Rest: "Four Finger Discount" Jack does a variation here.
  • Cuteness Proximity: Let's be honest. King and Zachary in the same room could be used as a weapon. The ferrets have their moments too. In Itsuki's case however, it's just one more annoyance as his fellow students insist on hugging the fluffy tanuki.
  • Dances and Balls: The Yarn Ball, a new year's dance celebrated by cats.
  • "Dear John" Letter: Uh oh, Bino...
  • Sliding Scale of Animal Communication: Almost all animals can talk with one another and with humans, with no real issues with understanding one another.
  • Sliding Scale of Anthropomorphism: Of the Civilized Animal school.
  • Smart People Wear Glasses: Miles (who somehow managed to get a pair of reading glasses while in the wild), and Marvin (while calculating Tiger's nutrition rates in this strip.
  • Something Else Also Rises: Zach's ears and tail when Jessica kisses him.
  • Something We Forgot: King gets this feeling when the group sails from Australia back home. That's because they forgot Bruce and Roosevelt.
    • Totally averted, but played seriously by Peanut. He can't remember how many puppies he had to babysit for King and Bailey, but since he can't get a straight answer he continues to worry endlessly until the poor guy is left shaking out of needless worry until King and Bailey come home.
  • Spider-Sense: When a hunky cheetah steps out of a taxi cab that brought him to Babylon Gardens, Grape comments that her "hunk sense" is tingling, to which Peanut replies "That's Spider-Man's power, actually."
  • Spit Take:
  • Spontaneous Choreography: Somewhat here (Neither one knows who "Uncle Reuben" is, yet they're dancing about going to see him.)
  • Squee!:
  • Stable Time Loop:
    • Peanut had unwittingly set up a stable time loop during the PsyCon2: PsyConner arc by telling his past self he visited the Gate of Mystery after he, himself, traveled through it due to his future self telling him he went through it.
    • It's implied that Dragon's crush on Peanut is the result of him failing to hide himself in time behind the lantern that's supposed to hide his presence (as he isn't supposed to be within the time period he was accidentally sent to alongside the rest of his friends).
  • Starving Student: Implied in this strip as the reason Itsuki invites the Sandwich family to his apartment. He also invoks the trope during a hot dog eating contest.
  • Stealth Pun:
    • The "father" of the Sandwich household is named "Earl". His full name has never been said in-comic.
    • There's also an Uncle Reuben.
    • The main two characters, also in the Sandwich family, are ingredients for a sandwich.
    • And then there's the "mother", Jill.note 
  • Stock Animal Name: The Messrs. and Misses Mr. Bigglesworth, a group of identical Siamese cats.
  • Stop Being Stereotypical: Kangaroos Bruce and Roosevelt are expected by the zoo staff to speak in incredibly cringeworthy Australian lingo when patrons are in earshot. They despise every second of it.
  • Straight Gay: Bruce and Roosevelt, the kangaroos that work at the zoo, cuddle while watching manly sports together. In case you're wondering how we know they're a couple.
  • Suspiciously Specific Denial: Peanut certainly did not see Bino's shock collar remote.
  • Take That!: Any page that has Tiger or Marvin "Arbelt" is almost certainly a parody of Garfield.
    The cast page for Tiger: I hate Thursdays. I like pizza. I hate cockroaches. I like my teddy bear Poom. That’s characterization, right?
    • Several of Peanut's Spot(Superdog) comic strips are pretty much Rick taking jabs at storylines or plot elements of questionable quality from superhero comics. This storyline is a Take That towards Superman: Grounded, for instance.
  • Tarot Troubles: Discussed in this strip, where Tarot explains to Peanut the real meaning of the "Death" card, and adds that "The Tower" is the card that really signifies actual death.
  • Tempting Fate: While looking out the window to his office, Keene claims in this strip that the water war he started couldn't be stopped with all the water in the neighborhood. The sky then opens up in a torrential downpour.
  • Tertiary Sexual Characteristics:
    • Lampshaded in this comic.
    • It wasn't until two months after the comic started that Peanut (and 96% of the audience) even realized Grape was a girl.
  • That Was Not a Dream: Standard celestial policy - after a mortal has a run-in with one of the Cosmic Nerds they are told to "wake up" and immediately do so in their bed. However an item is always left which tells the mortal it was not a dream.
  • Theme Naming: Earl Sandwich is clearly fond of this. It seems to be a common practice on his side of the family, but it's usually lost on his wife.
  • Thief Bag: The Milton Ferrets award the contest prize to Daisy in a traditional white sack with a dollar sign on it, which is lampshaded by Rick in the comic's title.
  • The Last of These Is Not Like the Others: Listen, learn, avoid being eaten by an eleven-headed grognak, and be polite.
  • Third-Person Person: Spot (Superdog) in this comic
  • This Is My Human: Many of the animals treat their owners more like parents, although this isn't universal.
  • Through a Face Full of Fur: This is a Furry Webcomic, after all. In one comic, Peanut's entire face turned red from embarrassment.
  • Those Two Guys: Tiger and Marvin, who spend most of their time either in one-off hijink comics or as crowd extras. They're virtually always seen together, though. Tiger got his own arc in mid-2014 that at least gives him (and presumably Marvin by extension) a bit more character and roundness.
  • Time Skip: Towards the end of the "Real Stories of the K9PD" arc after the central conflict has been resolved, the comic skips ahead six months to Christmastime since it began in July 2016 and ran until December 21 even though the story itself took no more than a full day to happen. Lampshaded in the title of the strip that takes place six months later.
  • Too Incompetent to Operate a Blanket: Parodied in this strip, the ad selling a product aimed at people supposedly too stupid to operate a regular drinking glass.
  • Too Much Information: Apparently, All of Joey's personal life elicits this kind of reaction.
  • Trial by Combat: Jata invokes this trope to the T twice for Sabrina. Not hard for him, seeing how built and well-trained he is.
  • True Meaning of Christmas: The pets sometimes try to debunk the idea behind Santa.
  • TV Never Lies: The occasional one-off strip involves unusually truthful TV commercials.
  • Uncanny Valley: Referenced in this strip with the CGI Dick Clark.invoked
  • Unflinching Walk: Played with in this strip with the characters doing this away from a massive water balloon explosion, in the story arc "The Great Water Balloon War", complete with Cool Shades for extra coolness points.
  • Universal Translator: The justification for how Satau, one of the Spirit Dragon's past avatars who accidentally got himself trapped into the future, managed to suddenly learn modern day English. This is a spell cast by Sabrina, in case you're wondering.
  • Unsettling Gender Reveal: Happens with Grape, both to Peanut and Maxwell.
  • Unsound Effect:
    • Played with here in the first "Imaginate!" story, with Grape and Peanut using a sign reading "Explosion!".
    • PAUNCH
    • The "explosion" of the big water balloon towards the end of the "The Great Water Balloon War" story arc uses "EXPLOOSHION!" as Peanut, Grape, and Zach emerge with an Unflinching Walk.
    • SUPLEX
    • FACE
    • Poor Max gets BOOT not once but twice!
  • Unwanted False Faith: The woodland critters following Zach as the "Opener of Ways".
  • Valentine's Day Episode: Every Valentine's Day brings a set of four paper valentines featuring characters from the strip. They're mostly meant as jokes, but they're also provided in a large printable format so you can give them out.
  • Vomit Discretion Shot: In this strip King loses his lunch after a stomach-upsetting trip on an amusement park ride, with the resultant spew out of view of the audience.
    • Happened to Itsuki in the same arc. Apparently, it was his first time eating hot dogs.
      Itsuki: YABA-I! IS THAT WHAT HOT DOGS TASTE LIKE?!
  • Vomit Indiscretion Shot: We don't see the act, but we do see the vomit.
  • Wacky Cravings: Way to freak out your husband, Bailey.note 
    • Later, when it's for real... note 
  • Wall of Text: In this strip Sabrina's explanation of her past produces a wall of text separating the second and third panels; lampshaded by the Alt Text.
    Alt Text: Yes, it is literally a wall of text between panels 2 and 3. Get your tl;drs ready
  • Water Guns and Balloons: Housepets had an entire story arc based on a water balloon war, "The Great Water Balloon War", between the titular creatures that was used to parody military and wartime tropes, starting here.
  • Webcomic Time: Lampshaded herenote 
    Fido: —FOX! Er, when did you get back from Kansas?
    Fox: Uh, like the first week of January? I don't ask to be the center of your attention but come on
  • Wedding Day: King and Bailey. Plus a Bouquet Toss caught by Tarot.
  • Wham Episode: This series has several of them, each of them changing the comic forever, as more and more of the plot is revealed:
    • The first is very early, setting up the possibility for romance between Grape and Peanut, the two original protagonists of the comic. That entire arc sets up Peanut's "cat lover" status, as well as displaying the prejudices of the pet world.
    • The second is A Sinister Shadow, the first real darkness in the comic, where the status of pets as people is first seriously questioned, as well as showing the first human face in the form of Joel. While not obvious at the time, this arc kicked off the second major conflict of the comic, the status of pets in the human world.
    • The third became evident with this comic from Oops I Arced. A dream that had occurred earlier in the comic had Grape meeting a gryphon named Pete, and when she woke up, she had a gigantic feather from it despite it being (supposedly) a dream sequence. This was later followed up by the appearance of Tarot, who confirmed that magic existed in-universe, but the girl seemed a bit crazy. However, the existence of Pete was confirmed by the aforementioned comic from Oops I Arced, setting off another central conflict to the comic as Pete is unleashed, and then turns Joel (from the A Sinister Shadow arc) into a dog and gives him the name of King. Rather than being an odd one-off event, King becomes the third major protagonist of the comic, with many arcs following his struggle of fitting into the world of pets as an ex-human.
    • King's arc gained special significance a few arcs later, with dog days of summer revealing that Tarot is actually the avatar of a higher order being, a Dragon who is Pete's counterpart. She seems much more benevolent than Pete, but, along with the Great Kitsune, ultimately it is revealed that all three of the higher order beings - the gryphon, the dragon, and the kitsune - are ultimately playing games with the lives of mortals, and not only is King caught in the middle of it, but Tarot is shown to be not just a silly creature, but actually the avatar of a being of immense power. King rejects his role as a mere piece in a game run by bored demigods, and as such is set off on his own, stuck as a dog until the game is over, but given the promise of a reward at the end of the game, as all avatars receive. It is also implied that the dragon has an interest in Peanut beyond Tarot's interest, with the demigod herself wanting to be his girlfriend.
    • The next lies in Imaginate, Too!, when Grape reveals that she knew that Peanut had a crush on her all along, and the pair are forced to attempt to articulate what their relationship means to each of them. When Peanut eventually fesses up to the fact that he wants to be her boyfriend, Grape challenges him as to what more he could want - and declares that he is her best friend in the world, before kissing him. This adds a great deal of ambiguity to their relationship, as from there on the pair are seen snuggling periodically, calling into question both of their extant relationships as well as the exclusivity of it. While it is obvious that Grape and Peanut are taking their boyfriend and girlfriend considerably more casually than humans do, other relationships in the comic range from being of similar seriousness (Bino and Sasha) to being much more serious (Fido and Sabrina), and it is not really clear that Maxwell understands the depth of their relationship - though Tarot said from the very beginning that Grape could take him if she was willing to reject Maxwell, something she didn't want to do.
    • More than twenty arcs later, the Trial in Heaven reveals that not all is what it seems with the game of the gods. While Pete had been shown time and again to be a jerk, self-concerned, conceited, and ultimately appearing to care little for mortals, this is all turned on its ear as it is revealed that not only does Pete care, or at least has cared about mortals in the past, but it is revealed that the Dragon is not the kind-hearted creature that she seems - it is heavily implied that not only has she been meddling in the affairs of mortals, but in their love lives, with two of her followers dating two creatures that Pete was interested in, and the ex-boyfriend of one of said followers dating a third - all conveniently ruining Pete's own plans, but implying that all of their relationships may be, to some extent, a sham set up by the Dragon to prevent Pete from winning. Worse still, it is implied that the goal of the game that Pete and the Dragon had disagreed upon hinged upon the equivalence of humans and the other animals which inhabit the world - and Pete, not the Dragon, was on the side of the equivocation of human and animalkind, with the Dragon opposed to it. Thus, rather than the black and white conflict as it had appeared before, both sides were painted in gray - Pete is a jerk, but the comic is meant to lead the readers to sympathize with the pets, and King's arc in particular shows the difficulty of the transisition between human to animal - as well as the fundamental difference between the mindset of many animals and many humans, though the wolves had also worked to blur that line in the other direction by living as people, and far more responsible people than the ferrets, their benefactors, do. It also sets up for Pete having some sort of backup plan, but because of the Unspoken Plan Guarantee, we still don't know whether it has come to fruition.
    • Who can forget about Jungle Fever? This Arc focuses on Fido who finally confess his love of the cat name Sabrina in front of everyone in Babylon Gardens. Some are shocked while some already knew that.
    • The big storyline of 2014, Heaven's Not Enough. King has finally figured out that Pete still has an ace up his sleeve, which in a condensed form means that Pete is not forfeiting the cosmic game he's playing. Furthermore, he doesn't actually need him to fight as his avatar. However, it doesn't stop Pete from continuing on with his contract to King, just to torture him some more. Except, in a completely unexpected twist, Bailey takes the fall for King and signs Pete's contract, becoming his avatar. Now she has been whisked away to who-knows-where to duel against Spirit Dragon, where it is expected that she will be gone for a very long time from reality's point of view. Then Fox finds out who his best friend really is...
      • The arc takes on three parts. In Part 2, King and Fox head to Heaven so King can sort things out with the higher-ups. While King has a cryptic meet-and-greet with the big boss, Bahamut, Fox has a dalliance with two female husky angels. Part 3 has King disrupting the Cosmic Game and bringing it to its conclusion, leading to both Dragon and Pete losing their wager, and King winning permanent status as a dog.
    • In 2016, Arc 100 is The 4 Animals You Meet in Heaven, where Keene suddenly finds himself dead. Those four animals: a marten masseuse named Breel; the previously-known Cerberus; his mother; and his owner, Henry Milton, who has decided in Heaven to become a ferret himself. In the end, Cerberus discovers that Keene met his end prematurely, and sends him back to a moment shortly before his death, when his limousine was pushed into a reservoir, allowing him to escape alive.
  • Wham Line:
    • Joel: "I was kidnapped by my own pets once." Made more dramatic by the fact that this page is the first time that an entire human face is shown.
    • Later on Joel's alter ego King gets one when Tarot tells him " Sorry, I don't date humans."
    • Jungle Fever has this: " READ MY LIPS YOU TACKY FUTURE TAXIDERMY! I AM IN LOVE WITH SABRINA D'ANGELO!"
    • "Heaven's Not Enough" has two Wham Lines:
      • " O Pete who art in Heaven... I Have a great burden on my mind, and I cannot bear it any longer... ...So I'm calling your bluff, MOTHER PHEASANT."
      • Upon Fox finding out his best friend is Joel: "...King?"
    • "Well don't worry. Wherever we end up, your big sister will take care of you."
      Pete: That only dredges up emotions worse than fear.
      Dragon: Yeah, I know.
    • Then at the End of Year Seven, we learn that Bailey is pregnant with a litter of THREE puppies!
      Bailey: I usually don't go for fried food, but I am eating for four now!
      King: *freezes for a beat*
      Bailey: Did I forget to mention that?
    • "Isn't that Kevin's girlfriend?"note 
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: What a number of readers were asking after this scene in the Imaginate version of Guys and Dolls.
  • Where the Hell Is Springfield?: Someone coughs over the name of the state during King and Bailey's wedding ceremony.
  • Wide Eyes and Shrunken Irises: Happens to Peanut with his Sanity Slippage since he forgot how many pups King and Bailey had.
  • Wrestler in All of Us: When trying to prevent Peanut from answering the door before her, she hoisted him up and away in a German Suplex.
  • X Meets Y: In universe, it seems that the Pridelands series is The Lion King meets Warrior Cats.
  • Your Favorite: In one of his intros to an early strip, Rick mentions that Bino's favorite food is pizza.
  • Your Television Hates You: Some inconvenient scheduling affects a snowed-in Bruce and Roosevelt in "Snowed In, Part Two":
    Bruce: Sure the power's out, but we got food, we got blankets, we got each other, and it's not like we have any place to be! What's got you riled up?
    Roosevelt: What was the marathon we just watched? The Thing, The Shining, Storm of the Century, 30 Days of Night, Misery
    Bruce: You could have changed the channel at any time!

http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/WebComic/Housepets