Webcomic / Check, Please!

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Samwell Men's Hockey Team, Season 1 note 

"Hey y'all! Didja miss me? (Well I sure as heck missed you!)"
Bitty, introducing himself to his viewers

Check Please! is a tumblr-hosted webcomic by Ngozi Ukazu.

Eric Bittle—former Georgia junior figure skating champion, vlogger extraordinaire, and amateur pâtissier—is starting his freshman year at the prestigious Samwell University in Samwell, MA. And it’s basically nothing like co-ed club hockey back in the South. For one?

There’s checking.

It’s a story about hockey and friendship and bros and trying to find yourself during the best 4 years of your life.

To read the entire blog chronologically, start here. You can also read it here with accompanying tweets.


Check, Please! provides examples of the following tropes:

  • Aborted Declaration of Love: Bitty almost tells Jack how he feels at graduation, but chickens out.
  • Academic Athlete: Most notably with Shitty, Ransom, and Dex. Shitty majors in Gender Studies and Political Science and is going to law school after graduating, Ransom's study anxiety is because of his struggles to maintain a 4.0 average, and Dex's natural habitat is shown to be in a Samwell computer lab.
  • The Ace: Jack. Elected team captain three years in a row, the third time unanimously, a Samwell record. He's also the son of hockey star Bob Zimmermann and a constant subject of media spotlight.
    • Kent Parson is shaping out to be this. He's Jack's high school friend and apparent rival for the #1 draft in the 2009 NHL Draft. After being drafted 1st overall by the Las Vegas Aces in 2009 after Jack's overdose, Kent goes on to win the Stanley Cup for the Aces and the Calder Memorial Trophy, which is which is awarded to the player deemed most sufficient in their first year of competition in the NHL. To quote the comic “he’s probably tied for first when it comes to the best living hockey player right now - PROBABLY tied.”
    • Hints are strong that Kent and Jack were actually a variation of High School Sweet Hearts when they were teammates during the QMJHL who may have cut ties during or sometime after the NHL draft. It appears, however, that Kent may still be harboring feelings for Jack, as he cornered Jack in his room during the Epikegster of 2014, saying he misses him and tries to recruit Jack into playing for the Aces. Ngozi's chapter extra also support the interpretation that Kent still has feelings for Jack, and thus possibly making Kent harbor a Villainous Crush. In Junior Year #7 LVA @ PVD Part I Jack states that they "only hooked up a few times back in juniors" and denies it was "anything more than physical." However, Kent's opinions on the matter were never revealed, and many readers interpreted the update as Jack not being truthful, especially considering past extras showing Jack and Kent being intimate.
  • Addiction Powered: Part of Jack's back-story. Increasing amounts of anti-anxiety medication and binge drinking helped him become a Junior League hockey champion, but eventually he overdosed, wound up in rehab, and was taken out of the NHL draft.
  • Adorkable: SWEET BABY CHOWDER, who Bitty basically adopts. He also happens to be the only protagonist with a girlfriend, which is simply adorable.
    • Bitty himself, the loving gay country boy.
    • Tango became an instant fan favorite after his first appearance, which mostly consisted of him asking adorable questions during the Haus tour.
  • Always Someone Better: Kent Parson to Jack, possibly. It certainly turned out that way.
  • Art Evolution: The art style and character designs got a lot cleaner and more stylized over time. Most notably, Bitty's eyes have gotten about 300% bigger than they were originally. YMMV on whether or not this makes him look like a child.
  • Arc Words: Year 3, particularly has "Let's talk about it" and "communication" being commonly used, this reflects Bitty and Jack's relationship, which is heavily based on talking with each other about their doubts and desires.
  • Benched Hero: Bitty after he gets a concussion during the playoffs.
  • Berserk Button: Bitty is usually averse to physicality and avoids fighting. Unless you don't appreciate Beyonce.
  • Big Damn Kiss: In 2.18-19, Jack and Bitty finally kiss
  • Big Brother Mentor: Jack counts as this, primarily through how he used to coach peewee hockey to 11 and 12 year olds during his recovery period who used to call him Coach Z. It's pretty adorable.
    • He somewhat becomes this to Chowder, but he and Bitty and more like his mom and dad than anything else. Bitty even calls him "my dear son" at one point on his Twitter.
  • Bilingual Bonus: Jack is from Montreal and speaks fluent French at home. If you translate the phone call he has with his dad it reveals a lot about their relationship and a partial source of Jack's anxiety.
    • On the fluffy side, Jack tells Bitty in French that he won't get out of revising his French flashcards even if he made French cuisine.
    • Marty, another player for The Falconers is also Canadian and he and Jack, when alone, often speak in french.
  • Book Ends: Jack's first and last appearance during Bitty's freshman year both end with the line "Eat more protein."
    • Sophomore year is bookended with Bitty singing "Halo."
  • Borrowed Catchphrase: Chowder saying the SMH's signature catchphrase "S'wawesome!" before he even enrolls at Samwell.
  • Breaking the Fourth Wall: Johnson the Metaphysical Goalie does this constantly, and the other characters get in on it occasionally too, though very rarely since they usually aren't aware of the fourth wall.
    • A perfect example is here when Bitty breaks the fourth wall to explain checking and how it relates to what is happening to him at that moment.
  • Broken Ace: Jack. His anxiety and reliance on medication led to an overdose and him missing the 2009 NHL Entry Draft. He then went back to school at a small college in Massachusetts (read: Samwell) where he sought to redeem himself and win back his father's love, which he (wrongly) believes he lost when he got cut. It doesn't help how it's implied that he gets frequently criticized on his mistakes and choices by the media, even after (especially after) he makes an amazing play. Made even all the worse when you read his backstory comic and learn all about the shit he fought through trying to fix himself, and which also implies that Bitty might help him figure all of that out.
  • Canadian Equals Hockey Fan: Jack is from Montreal and Ransom's from Toronto. They both have a, erm, strong pride for their home country, as shown in the extras.
    • Jean-Claude and Nicolas.
  • Can't Hold His Liquor: Somewhat. Because of Jack's history with alcohol, he seems to distance himself from substances and parties. He was the lowest ranked drunk during 2.4: Hazapalooza (moreso when compared to fellow Haze victims Dex (5 stars) and Chowder (12 stars)), and purposely doesn't go to parties so he won't get drunk.
    • Sweet, sweet Chowder already had a mad flush after one Natty Light at Hazeapalooza.
  • Cast Full of Pretty Boys: And don't even get us started on their butts.
    • Jack has been chosen as Samwell's 50 Most Beautiful for his freshman and junior years, just barely missing in his sophomore year. His ass also has an apparent fan following and it's own tag on the omgcheckplease tumblr.
    • John Johnson, the metaphysical goalie, got elected for all four years. Probably because of his abs.
  • Character Blog: Bitty's Twitter kept readers informed between updates, but has been locked for over a year now, to avoid spoilers since the comic has fallen so far behind real time.
  • Cliffhanger: 3.9 shows Bitty talking in a voice message about how hurt he is with hiding his relationship from everybody on the team, ending with Jack worriedly calling him and ask what's wrong only for Bitty to say "Can we talk?".
  • Coming-Out Story: 1.13-14 aka, The Closet Story, for Bitty. It's honestly the first time he's explicitly said, even to himself, that he's gay. Shitty takes this in stride and replies with how five people came out to him in his sophomore year. Guess Bits was right about the Samwell reputation.
    • Shitty says five people came out to him in one week during sophomore year.
  • Cute Ghost Girl: The Haus ghosts Jenny and Mandy, who died during a sorority rush event. They are quite fond of Ransom.
  • Defrosting The Ice King: Bitty towards Jack. By sophomore year, it seems to have worked, so much that they've become close friends, Jack frequently shows affection and worry towards Bitty, and Bitty develops a raging crush on him, which Jack returns.
  • Did They or Didn't They?: Lardo and Shitty increasingly become this in junior year, most notably in 3.11.
  • Do You Trust Me?: Jack uses a more downplayed version of this sentiment in 1.19, when he tells Bitty that he "has his back." Of course, this didn't end well since Bitty ends up with a concussion and the boys lose in the next round of the playoffs but it was adorable as well as an excellent example of Ship Tease.
  • Erudite Stoner: Shitty and Lardo.
    • Also applies to Johnson in more of a metaphysical, breaking-the-fourth-wall sort of way.
  • Excited Show Title!: Check, Please!
  • Everybody Knew Already: Turns out they were already making bets when Jack and Bitty would tell them.
    Shitty: All right, so it looks like everyone owes Lards since it's before winter break. But Ransom... Oh yikes, no, it's the weekend, I forgot. Holtzy, you owe me too.
  • The Faceless: Johnson the metaphysical goalie. As a self-aware minor character who is not allowed to openly communicate with the main characters, you usually see his back, his face hidden by a hat (even at black-tie banquets), or his face so tiny it's impossible to get a distinct image of it.
  • Foil: Ngozi has stated that Bitty and Parse are meant to be plot foils. Dex and Nursey are also a good example. The two D-men hate each others' guts because they never agree on anything. Dex thinks Nursey is crazy because he's so chill about everything and Nursey thinks Dex is too uptight. They look and act completely different and fight over who gets to hang out with Chowder frequently. It tends to mess with their plays, which worries Chowder.
  • Food as Bribe: Bitty bribes his way into a senior seminar course on Women, Food, and American culture with pie.
  • Fourth-Wall Mail Slot: Handled very neatly with the way the characters respond to questions on Tumblr: asks and replies sent to omgcheckplease are, in-universe, sent to the official Samwell Men's Hockey blog.
  • Friendly Rivalry: One of many possible interpretations of Jack and Parse's relationship.
  • Full-Name Ultimatum: Played for laughs with Bitty and Jack; when Jack refers to the song "Halo" as a Justin Bieber song because of his Pop-Cultural Osmosis Failure, Bitty apparently splashes him with water and yells "Jack Laurent Zimmerman, do not blaspheme!"
    • Again, Bitty uses this against Nursey. ("Derek. Malik. Nurse! I did not just see you spit on this locker room floor!")
    • Used jokingly by Mama Bittle in one of the Extras when she asks Bitty "who's got [his] phone making that racket."
  • Gay Guy Seeks Popular Jock: Bitty's eventual crush on Jack. Jack isn't a social butterfly, but being the son of Bad Bob Zimmerman and a former junior hockey champion means everyone knows who he is.
  • Gayngst: Bitty develops a crush for Jack, fully convinced Jack is straight.
  • Gosh Darn It to Heck!: Bitty's swear vocabulary consists of "Goodness," "Bless your heart," and "See if I ever bake y'all's favorite cookies again." There are some exceptions, such as Bitty's impersonations of other players, but compared to the rest of the team, Bitty is pretty Disney in his speech.
  • Gray Rain of Depression: 3.9 goes on while Jack is in the middle of the rain. Although it's only show through Bitty's window, it's also raining in Samwell, and the entirety of the episode is a huge Tear Jerker.
  • The Grovel: Kent pulls one of these on Jack during Epikegster 2014 saying he misses him.
  • Hard Work Hardly Works: Turns out to be this for Bitty, but more because he got a concussion checking someone in the playoffs, which meant no hockey over the summer and a worsening of his checking fear, and was forced into his sophomore year on a clean slate.
  • He Is All Grown Up: Jack was a weird-looking baby and a chubby kid before puberty kicked in, gave him cheekbones, muscle, and a 6"1' body that made him hot enough to get picked for Samwell's 50 Most Beautiful twice.
  • Heterosexual Life-Partners: Holster and Ransom. Ever since they got their nicknames. (YMMV on just how heterosexual it is.)
  • Hunk: Ngozi explicitly describes Jack as one.
  • Implied Love Interest: Ransom and Holster tease Shitty about "holding out for Lardo" when trying to find dates for Winter Screw.
  • Initiation Ceremony: Of the hazing variety. Skipping it is not an option.
    • And even the manager isn't free from the initiation.
  • In-Series Nickname: Nicknames are given with wild abandon and enforced through Hockey tradition.
    • So far: Bitty (Eric Bittle), Jack (Well, Jack Zimmermann, it's unknown how he missed out; still an exception because people are usually known by their last names), Shitty (B. Knight, apparently it's (not) a long story), Holster (Adam Birkholtz), Ransom (Justin Oluransi, another exception), Lardo (Larissa Duan), Chowder (Chris Chow), Dex (William Poindexter), and Nursey (Derek Nurse). Non-Samwell Hockey team members include Jack's dad, Bad Bob (Bob Zimmermann), Falconers Assistant General Manager George (Georgia Martin), and Parse (Kent Parson).
      • And then there are the nick-nicknames: Bits, Shits, Holtzy, Rans, and Lards.
      • Before coming to Samwell, Holster was called 'Birker' and Ransom was 'Ranser'. (See Heterosexual Life-Partners, above.)
    • "Zimms" for Jack, but only by Parse.
    • And in return, "Kenny" for Parse, but (presumably) only by Jack.
    • "Zimmboni" is the Falconers' nickname for Jack once he signs with them.
  • In Touch with His Feminine Side: Bitty. He creates goodie bags, makes team dinners from scratch, re-does the entire Haus, bakes, dresses the boys, chaperones Chowder and Farmer's first date, possesses many stuffed animals, and listens to a variety of female pop singers.
  • Last-Name Basis: Most nicknames come from their last names. If not, then they're usually called by their last name. Nobody knows Shitty's first name, and it's a miracle we know anyone else's. The only person who is consistently called by their actual first name is Jack and it's because he doesn't have a nickname.
  • Large Ham: Holster, by Word of God, is LOUD.
    • Shitty can count as this too.
  • Leaning on the Fourth Wall: Johnson, the Metaphysical Goalie. However, in bonus materials, he tends to just outright break it.
  • Life Isn't Fair:
    • Jack overdosing before the NHL Entry Draft, while his best friend/hookup/ex gets drafted first and goes on to win the Stanley Cup
    • Samwell losing in the NCAA playoffs Bitty's Freshman year
  • Love Epiphany: Bitty in 2.6. Oh baby. But, as quoted from the chapter notes:
    Ngozi: "What does Bitty like? Well-built young men and baking ingredients. What did Bitty do? Took a well-built young man and covered him in baking ingredients honestly I don’t know what he expected."
    • At graduation, Jack's dad makes him realize how he feels about Bitty. Naturally, it took a hockey analogy for him to get it.
  • Married to the Job: Jack. A tweet from Bitty's twitter account pretty well sums it up; "If Jack could give a Valentine's Day card to the 24 years he's spent playing hockey, I'm sure he would." Jack wakes Bitty up for extra practice before sunrise, attends training camps when he's not playing hockey at school, and nags the rest of the team about their dietary choices.
  • Mellow Fellow: Nursey, really. Dubbed hipster and chill bro to all. His main complaint about Dex is that he's "uptight," while Dex just calls him crazy. He just seems calm about everything.
    • On twitter, however, Ngozi described Nursey, Lardo, and Kent Parson as "giant dweebs" despite coming off as very chill.
  • Multiple Demographic Appeal: One of the best things about Check Please! is that just about anyone could enjoy it. Hockey fans, sports anime fans, and comic geeks alike all enjoy the comic.
  • The Nicknamer: Shitty's well-crafted nicknames created the power couple that is Holster and Ransom.
  • Never Gets Drunk: Lardo is a flip-cup champion and has beaten all of the hockey boys at various drinking games, but never appears drunk and is always cool as can be.
  • Official Couple: Jack and Bitty are dating as of Junior Year.
  • One of the Boys: As student team manager, Lardo attends all of the boys' official hockey functions, but also hangs out with them in the Haus, at the library, team meals, and Haus parties. At 5'1" she is also Haus champion of beer pong and flip cup.
    "'Ransom: Like, Lardo just throws one back and just winks at me and Holtzy and just like murders our last cup with some MJ fade-away bullshit- then goes and burps in Holsters face for like 8 seconds.'"
    "'Holster: I was disgusted at first, but then I realized it was a show of respect.'"
  • Only Known by Their Nickname: Shitty. He's been interrupted a few times trying to explain. The closest we have is B. Knight, which have lead to a couple jokes from the authoress about his relations to Olympic medalist Hilary Knight and his obsession with her two gold medals.
  • Please Put Some Clothes On: Shitty is frequently naked. The list of people who have told him to get dressed includes Bitty, Mrs. Bittle, and most notably, Jack. Jack has even had to make a rule in the Haus that Shitty is not allowed to lie on Jack's bed unless he is wearing pants.
  • Pop-Cultural Osmosis Failure: Jack is completely oblivious to pop culture because he has been so focused on hockey his whole life. It is a running joke in the extras.
  • Porn Stache: Shitty, again.
  • Race for Your Love: Jack does this for Bitty after graduation, with Bad Bob's encouragement.
  • Real Time: The comics were originally updated to reflect this, although it's more obvious on the Twitter account. After the hiatus, the comics fell behind by approximately 8 months, and the gap is getting worse; it's unlikely that they will catch up again. As such, the twitter has been locked since summer '15.
  • Reality Ensues: Bitty and Jack's relationship is portrayed as healthy and strong, this is connected to the Arc Words they commonly use: "Let's talk about it" and "communication", a vital characteristic to couples that have strong relationships. They are both, particularly after 3.9, very open to each other about their fears, insecurities, desires and talk a lot before doing anything or telling others about their relationship.
  • Recurring Element: Everytime Bitty appears in a pink-orange panel on the comic, it's because he is about to put on his best Stepford Smiler performance and hide his feelings, no matter how miserable he is.
  • Red Oni, Blue Oni: Bitty or Shitty as the Red Oni to Jack's Blue Oni.
    • Dex as the Red Oni to Nursey's Blue Oni.
  • Running Gag: The color of Kent's eyes always changes, and it's probably on purpose.
  • Secret Relationship: Bitty and Jack. As of 3.1, they haven't told anyone they started dating after Jack graduated (except maybe Bad Bob, who doesn't need to be told). Justified due to the heteronormativity of sports, including hockey, and how much it must add to Jack's anxiety, not knowing how the league, media, and fans may react if he ever comes out.
    • Deconstructed, particularly on 3.9, as Bitty shows that hiding this from his friends has taken a tool on him, leaving him tired and miserable over how much he has to lie to everybody, even more considering that since nobody knows about their relationship, Bitty often hears thing that only worsen the situation. This eventually ends as they come out to the Team, Jack's parents and some of Jack's new teammates in the following updates.
    • Kent Parson and Jack Zimmermann were this.
  • Sensitive Guy and Manly Man: Bitty is the sensitive guy to Jack's manly man.
  • Ship Tease: Jack and Bitty, WHOO, Jack and Bitty. Like. Really. Even before Bitty's Love Epiphany in 2.6 it was pretty clear from page one that Ngozi views them as endgame and Ngozi says they are "destiny" "10/10 probably" as per Huddle vol 1. As the comic is in Bitty's POV, Bitty's Jack quotes on his twitter make is look as if Jack is flirting with him. Their checking clinics go from boot camps to what seem like dates. Jack hugging Bitty emotionally in the Celly Hockey Shit. Every quip Ngozi makes about Jack and Bitty touching butts. THE HUDDLE ZINE, which has Bitty wearing Jack's jersey. Sophomore year is BLEEDING with this. Resolved at graduation, when Jack finally realizes he likes Bitty and runs off to kiss him.
  • Shipper on Deck: There's only a minority of characters in the comic who aren't shipping Bitty/Jack at this point. The SMH all knew about their relationship and are very happy about it, not only because they see how happy they are with each other, but, as Shitty is particularly willing to lampashade, being with Bitty has been good for Jack, who is basically a new person after being with him. Bad Bob and Alicia are very happy with his son relationship, a comic note will show that Alicia is so happy she can't stop talking about it with Bob on how gladshe is her son is in a happy committed relationship, and also The Falconers are all very supportive of their relationship, particularly Georgia, who states that she will help Jack's coming out as much as she can.
  • Shout-Out: Jack's backstory is done in the style of DokiDoki CheckMate.
  • Singing in the Shower: Bitty apparently does this so much that Holster knows what day of the week he sings what artist. Jack is less than thrilled about this habit.
  • Southern Gentleman: Bitty, though he usually leans more towards its counterpart.
  • The Smurfette Principle: Lardo, George, Suzanne Bittle, and Alicia Zimmermann are the only female characters to get speaking roles in the comic, and George, Suzanne, and Alicia each only show up in a couple of pages. It is about men's hockey, though, mostly occurring in a frat house or during practices and games.
    • Chowder's volleyball girlfriend, Farmer, has now joined the fray.
  • The Stoic: Jack, at first. He's jokingly referred to as a hockey robot.
  • Supreme Chef: Pies are to Bitty what oxygen is to trees.
  • The Swear Jar: The Haus has a "sin bin" for PDA. A jar which Jack and Bitty have already been fined many times for, even beating Chowder and Farmer's record.
  • Take a Third Option: Ransom and Holster spend their whole junior year both saying the other one will definitely make captain after Jack leaves. They wind up getting elected as co-captains.
  • Team Mom: Bittle is the nurturing, pie-making variety.
    • Well seen during his interactions with Chowder, the tadpoles when he gives his tours, and any time he offers pie, which is a lot.
  • Theme Naming: Year 3 has new tadpoles: Whiskey and Tango, all are words of the NATO Phonetic Alphabet.
  • Training from Hell: How Bitty used to see Jack's checking clinics. They eventually got a lot better after they became friends and Jack started to warm up toward Bitty, so the practices seemed a lot less like checking bootcamp and more like actual clinics.
  • Vlog Series: Bitty has one in-universe, and it serves as a framing device for updates. It's mostly kept secret from the rest of the team.
  • Unlocking the Talent: Jack and Bitty work together to overcome Bitty's fear of checking throughout the series.
  • "Well Done, Son!" Guy: Bob Zimmermann is a hockey legend. His son is a perfectionist with severe anxiety.
    • A lot of Jack's earlier scenes, mostly spread out through season 1, involve his struggles to impress his dad.
    • Jack gets extremely upset after Bitty scores in an important game and overshadows him in front of his father. It nearly ruins their relationship altogether. Luckily, he gets over it and they become good friends.
    • It's worth noting that this is Jack's view of their relationship—Bob is actually shown to be quite supportive of Jack, even though he doesn't always say the right thing.
  • Wham Episode: 2.17, "Graduation". Bob knows Jack likes Bitty (and therefore knows Jack isn't straight), and Jack finally realizes this too.
    • 2.18, "Goodbye for the Summer". Jack kisses Bitty.
  • Wham Line:
    • 2.6, Bitty, during a vlog entry: "Never fall for a straight boy."
    • 2.7, Kent Parson, appearing in-comic for the first time: "Hey, Zimms. Didja miss me?"
    • In 3.9, Bitty: "Can we talk?"
  • Will They or Won't They?: Bitty and Jack. Bitty certainly has a crush on Jack, but Jack's sexuality is thus far undetermined. However, Ngozi has alluded to the fact that Jack will need an executive confidant later in the story, and no better than Georgia, who is "a woman in the NHL—a person in a position where they’re a minority blazing a trail."
  • You Called Me "X"; It Must Be Serious: Jack only ever calls Bitty by his last name, while every one else calls him by his nickname. The only times Jack uses Bitty's nickname is in highly emotional situations. This seems to be a once a year thing until they're in a relationship, at which point Jack starts using "Bitty" and "Bits" freely, though he still calls him "Bittle" occasionally.
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