Cindy explains while Randy chases MyrtleFaux Pas
(pronounced Fox Paws
) is a webcomic about the adventures of the red fox Randy and the other Green Mountain Studio Animals
. Most of the animals have been trained by humans; Randy himself is an actor who has appeared in ads, TV shows and movies.
Many story arcs
deal with the result of Randy's sheltered upbringing; he's innocent and gullible, can't avoid traps or track scents, doesn't eat his fellow animals, and has no idea how to treat Cindy, the wild vixen he has a crush on — or Dusk, the less scrupulous wild vixen who has a crush on him.
The webcomic has a strong continuity, so reading through the archives will help you understand the current story lines. A new comic appears every Monday, Wednesday and Friday.
Most of the cast has picked up a lot of human characteristics, even though they are portrayed at least semi-realistically.
- Myrtle, a hen who can write in English (in chicken-scratch, natch), can't type (though she can hunt and peck) and is addicted to television, particularly soap operas
- Arthur, an intellectual horse who wears glasses and panics when anyone gets on his back
- Stu and Edie (rabbits) plus all of their offspring — the humans didn't know Edie was a doe
- Mighty Thor, a wild mouse who comes to the barn for recompense after someone (Dusk?) eats a member of his family
- Kira, Toast and the other barn cats and kittens. They love to play with Randy, which usually involves tying him up or turning him into a giant ball of yarn.
- Cocky, a cockatiel who can speak Human. Unfortunately it's mostly in French.
Then there are the animals outside the studio:
- Cindy, the wild vixen Randy has a crush on; she's slowly adapting to living in a human-made environment.
- Dusk, another vixen; Cindy's cousin and rival.
- Ricky and Al, two raccoons who were former residents of an animal center and once paid a visit to GMSA. Ricky has dreams of a career in musical theater; Al is more grounded.
- Birdy, a bluebird friend from Cindy's childhood.
- April, Randy's sister recently arrived from Australia (with kits Amber, Ember, and Leaf). The fallout of confusion from her arrival has yet to settle.
- Rudy and Bruce: two Wolves at a Zoo. Rudy is a friendly red wolf. Bruce is a timber wolf who likes The Wizard of Oz and isn't as tough as he looks (or sounds).
Humans leave the animals mostly alone, although Randy has been doing some acting jobs for them. The animals can't communicate with the humans beyond Myrtle's very bad handwriting and Cocky's very bad translations, although everyone except Cindy understands English.
Being produced by two professional writers and illustrators, the webcomic and artwork are of great quality. It is suitable for all ages, and contains occasional references and quotes from TV shows. As of early 2013, the archive
contains about 1500 comics
Not to be confused with, well, a faux pas
Faux Pas provides examples of:
- Action Girl: Cindy and Dusk.
- Action Mom: April, who at one point punches a Timber Wolf two or three times her size when he threatens Randy.
- Ambiguous Gender: Often. Justified since most of the main cast are animals without strong sexual dimorphism.
- Randy was Miss April on a wildlife calendar.
- Edie (female rabbit) was originally "Eddie." When she and Stu started a family (as of Week 201, they have 53 kids) the secret was out, but 'outside' animals still mistake her for male.
- Played straight and averted with Cindy's brief modeling career.
- Animal Talk
- Are We There Yet?: Amber, when she was woken up at the zoo.
- Art Evolution: The earliest strips didn't usually have backgrounds, unless they were important to the plot. Instead you'd see a wall of white and another color. Or just white. Or maybe a colored circle.
- Ascended Extra: Toast starts off as a nameless member of the "cat herd", but eventually becomes integral to the storyline. He actually makes quite a few appearances before his name is revealed, 20 weeks or so after his debut.
- Fluffy, the oldest child of Stu and Edie.
- Penny began as a nameless child of Stu and Edie, who became a semi-regular thanks in no small part to the fact that she's got a future mate, Jon. (Penny is the oldest daughter).
- Ass Shove: Off-camera, but Cindy is very surprised when the vet takes her temperature.
- Betty and Veronica: Cindy is Betty and Dusk is Veronica.
- The bunnies and the cats use "Mary Ann" and "Ginger" in coded reference to the two vixens. Randy does too, confiding once in Stu that "Ginger" is way too scary.
- Beware the Nice Ones: Played straight on the one or two occasions we can see Cindy is a wild vixen. Subverted on one memorable occasion with Randy, who showed up to chase Dusk off with a rifle. (He was sleepwalking at the time.) Played straighter here.
- Big Eater: Myrtle, when she and Randy go on a trip away from home to find Cindy. She has a tendency to pause every 20 minutes or so for lunch, even though (since she's riding Randy) the fox is doing all the work.
Myrtle: With the sandwiches all gone, at least the load is lighter, eh?
Randy: All that food went out the pack, and into you! You didn't lighten the load — you just raised the center of gravity.
- Big "NO!": It's Toast's turn to "play" with Randy, but he wouldn't dare do so with Cindy around. When he's told Cindy is heading to the woods, he gets excited because he's been waiting forever, but he lets out a big "NOOO!" when told that Randy's going with her.
- Bucket Booby-Trap: With painful results.
- Butt Monkey: Randy, so very much.
- Caffeine Bullet Time: Happens to Cindy after Myrtle doses her with some "triple s press o".
- Carnivore Confusion: One of the driving tropes of the comic. Wild vixen Cindy has to learn to live among critters she would normally think of as food, while human-raised Randy has no predatory instinct at all and thinks eating a mouse roughly equivalent to murder.
- Cats Are Mean: The barn cats think Randy is a fantastic source of entertainment, though Kira and Toast are more sympathetic than otherwise.
- Chaste Hero: Randy personifies this trope. He knows he's attracted to Cindy, and that the feeling's mutual, but is completely clueless in the ways of courtship— he still believes babies come from storks.
- Cloud Cuckoo Lander: Myrtle, and how.
- Ricky, the raccoon mime, who debuted in Week 54.
- Actually, pretty much every bird in the series, from the Funny Foreigner Cocky, Proud Warrior Race Guy "Slayer" (a rather strange hawk), and Birdy, who is just kind of nuts.
- Clueless Chick Magnet: Randy, to some extent.
- Completely Missing the Point:
"Is he going on about thumbs again??!" "Looks like..."
- Cunning Like a Fox: Definitely Dusk, probably Cindy and April, utterly averted by Randy.
- Description Cut: So, so many times. A character will frequently say something like, "I can't believe [x] would do something like that," and then we cut to [x] doing exactly that. Or, "I wonder what so-and-so is thinking."
- Double Agent: Toast is an unwilling double agent of Dusk for a period of time.
- Double Subversion: After meeting Thor the field mouse, Randy expects the next thundering voice to belong to something small and harmless. It's a timber wolf.
- Embarrassing First Name: Fluffy, the eldest rabbit of Stu and Eddie's first clutch, would much rather be called Vlad, Attila or Thundarr.
- Hubert. At least, he wishes he had a much cooler name.
- Engagement Challenge: When mating season finally rolls around, Dusk holds one for herself, which Stu's son Fluffy apparently wins. (It makes sense in context. Sort of.)
- Evil Is Sexy: The in-universe reaction of some of the young male bunnies to Dusk.
- The Faceless: We've never seen a human face in the comic.
- Feather Fingers: Myrtle.
- Fish out of Water: Cindy concerning the life of humans, and Randy concerning the life of the wild.
- The Friend Nobody Likes: The other animals tend to think either "Eat her," "Destroy her," or "Accept her; she means well" of Myrtle.
- Furries Are Easier to Draw: While the strip's animal characters are rendered with loving care, human characters are rare, faceless, and drawn without much detail.
- Furry Female Mane: The female foxes have longer fur on their necks to suggest hair.
- Glomp: Cindy does this to Randy in the final strip of Week 190, after Randy's pain drugs have (finally) worn off.
- Glory Days: Averted for the most part; none of the animals seem to miss their showbiz days.
- Green-Eyed Monster: Myrtle toward Cindy, at first.
- Having a Heart: At one point the animals watch a horror B-movie with "lend me your ears" and "may I lend you a hand?" gags.
Penny: Eww..! I hate zombie movies!
- Heel-Face Turn: Toast, eventually (not that he was all that evil to begin with).
- He Who Must Not Be Seen: Human characters — even semi-important ones like the couple who own Green Mountain Studio Animals — are seldom seen, and when they appear their faces are never visible.
- Honorary Uncle: It's when the little bunnies call her "Aunt Cindy" that Cindy yields on the food matter. Even Dusk gets a pang of conscience when something she considers food greets her like one of the family.
- Horned Hairdo: Of a sort — Dusk's ears have a slight inward curve and a sharp point to suggest horns.
- Horrible Judge of Character: Myrtle. Randy's sister April appeared to be leaning this way, thinking Dusk would be a better mate for Randy than Cindy. Then she revealed she had Dusk's number a long time ago and was just playing along.
- Humiliation Conga: After taking Myrtle's advice on how to snare Randy, Dusk winds up dyed purple and green, reeking of perfume, and suffering (at the very least) a massive headache from being startled whilst under a desk. She beats a strategic retreat shortly afterward.
- Hurricane of Puns: The goat at the zoo. Dear God, the goat. He's mostly referring to Myrtle.
- I Think You Broke Her: When Myrtle's television is taken away, she stands staring at where it used to be, in a catatonic state. When a remote control is put in her hands, she mindlessly clicks it, repeatedly. Eventually, the cats start using her to play Living Statues.
- The Illegible: Myrtle is this to the other animals; she does the record-keeping because no one else can read her chicken scratches. The humans can read it, somewhat, even though they mistake "Myrtle Dehen" for "Meghan Dalton." Eventually they find her a typewriter.
Myrtle: Hey — that's just my unique penmanship!
- Incredibly Lame Pun: When Myrtle asks Kira where Randy is, she replies that he's doing quite well. It turns out the cats tossed him down a well.
- When Myrtle finds Randy after looking for him for hours, Randy says, "I was tied up all morning." Myrtle is furious, saying that Randy had promised he'd be helping her, when they overhear a cat telling Kira that her fox got loose — yes, Randy was literally tied up all morning.
- Lampshaded later when Randy overhears the cats overusing the words "well", and decides to make a last-minute trip away from the farm.
- "I'm th'orry! Can I get you an ath'pirin?"
- I Never Said It Was Poison: Cindy didn't tell Randy what happened. But Myrtle just did!
- Intellectual Animal: Primarily Cindy, Dusk, and the cats. The less feral Green Mountain Studio Animals cast think more like humans.
- Is It Something You Eat?: Cindy's response to most human things, especially at first.
- Kangaroo Court: Randy is afraid that the cats will subject Cindy to this.
- Kangaroo Pouch Ride: April, at some point in her life in Australia. Her kits ask the Brisbane the wallaroo for a ride, but April clarifies that only females have pouches.
- Literal Metaphor: "A little birdie told me."
- Love at First Sight: Randy is immediately tongue-tied around Cindy. It takes him a long time to admit his feelings, though.
- Love Triangle: Triang Relations Type 4. Not everyone sees this as a bad thing...
April [to Randy]: It looks like you have two healthy, willing vixens to choose from as a mate. Way to go, brother mine!
- Maybe Magic, Maybe Mundane: Stu was a magician's rabbit and is implied to have some magic of his own, but we're not sure how much.
- My Life Flashed Before My Eyes: Said almost word-for-word by a startled cat who was unaware there were two foxes in the barn.
Cat: Criminy! Three of my lives flashed before my eyes!
- A Man Is Not a Virgin: Averted.
- Noodle Incident
- When Randy is in the barn recovering from being doped up, and Cindy and Toast go out to try and find Stu, the cats see it as an opportunity to play with Randy, and such opportunities have been hard to come by now that Cindy's living in the barn. When next we see Randy, he's inside a giant ball of string. We don't see how he got there.
- Whatever happened the last time Randy and Myrtle visited the zoo, the zoo animals were ready to murder Randy on the off chance Myrtle was with him.
- Not What It Looks Like: Cindy takes the brunt of these, particularly when Dusk is around to 'help.'
- Odd Name Out: Some of the names of the bunnies. Betty, Barbie, Barney, Bitsy... and Frank.
- Old Shame: In-universe. Retired acting horse Arthur was always "Runaway Horse #2" because he panics and bolts whenever anyone gets on his back.
- Overprotective Dad: Stu.
- Paper-Thin Disguise: Arthur dons a hat and funny glasses after a misadventure involving one of his new human owners and a covered bridge.
- Percussive Maintenance: Stu repeatedly kicks a computer monitor to demonstrate that the humans sometimes use it for exercise.
- Poor Communication Kills: As befitting the title of the comic, the majority of the animals' misadventures is the result of characters misinterpreting or misunderstanding key pieces of information. Lampshaded here.
- Puppy-Dog Eyes: Frequently. Weaponized here; countered in the next strip by the barn cats, who also know of its power and have strength in numbers.
- Running Gag: Randy getting tossed down the well by the cats.
- "Talking about the weather". See below under "Unusual Euphemism".
- Schmuck Bait: Which Randy falls into nevertheless.
Kira: It's amazing you lived so long to be so trusting!
- Selective Obliviousness: Randy's innocence about sex. At first he seems completely ignorant about the facts of life. Then he seems actively resistant to learning. But ultimately it is revealed that Randy does know about "the birds and the bees," but all of his knowledge comes from human entertainment, so he's not so much "completely ignorant" as "completely wrong."
- Shout-Out: Here by the cats, of all characters to Star Wars, of all things.
- Sneeze of Doom: By a fox carrying half a dozen carrots in his mouth (long story).
- Something That Begins with "Boring": A pair of raccoons have progressed to "even more" and the inevitable "That's when I killed him."
- A Storm Is Coming: At least one plot arc has featured part of the cast caught or about to be caught outside in bad weather.
- Stylistic Suck: When we finally get a sample of Myrtle's storywriting...
- Take That: Myrtle places the completed supply order forms under a rock, deep in the mud, because she heard that's how Microsoft handles its customer support.
- Talk About the Weather: Something of a Running Gag. When humans talk about sex, Randy lies in his translation to Cindy, which gives her the impression that the topic of weather somehow bothers him.
- Talking Animal: Only Cocky can talk to humans, but the rest can all talk to each other.
- Tempting Fate: Myrtle with this internal monologue:
Myrtle: This is just great. Randy's terrified of the cats, we have a new set of owners... what else can go wrong here?
[One of the human owners tries to ride Arthur, who gallops by in a panic.]
Myrtle: I give up!
- Tertiary Sexual Characteristics: Female characters have long eyelashes. Justified since they're animals and there's no sexual dimorphism in the species (rabbits, cats, foxes) which the major characters are.
- Aside from the aforementioned eyelashes, the vixens also have a little mop of extra fur on their necks, making it look a bit like they have human hair. In addition, Dusk's fur pattern makes her look like she's wearing eyeshadow.
- Textile Work Is Feminine: Myrtle claims to like knitting.
- Third-Person Person: Thor, the field mouse. "Thor demands atonement!"
- Too Dumb to Live: Randy, sometimes.
- Trademark Favorite Food: Cindy loves ice cream and anything with ice cream in it. It's one of the few ways to circumvent her common sense.
- Trauma Conga Line: When Cindy first comes to live in the barn, she is bashed on the head with a bucket of water from a doorsill trap, frightened away by the "cannons" section of the 1812 Overture played at full blast, catches cold from a miserable night in unfamiliar territory, and finally is overdosed with cold medicine in a misguided attempt by Myrtle to make her feel better.
- Tsundere: Eddie plays Type B for all it's worth. Made worse when she's pregnant, naturally.
Eddie: Kids? One thing. We're all worried about your father. He may need your help getting home. If he's hurt, then help him get back, any way you can. However— if you find he's having fun while I'm home worrying, I authorize you to subdue him and drag his fuzzy tail home! Is that clear??!
- Unusual Euphemism: When Randy takes Cindy to see his human owners so he can translate what they're saying, the humans start wondering out loud whether Randy and Cindy will mate and raise a family, which embarrasses Randy no end. He translates it for Cindy as "talking about the weather" — which soon becomes code, among the guys, for sex.
Cindy: I don't understand any of this, Kira.
Kira: Must be a guy thing.
- Virginity Makes You Stupid: Randy has no idea about non-human sex. He thinks sex and romance work the same with with animals as with humans, and his "knowledge" of human sex comes from soap operas. No one has the heart to sit him down and set him straight.
- Webcomic Time: The March 2014 strips seem to take place in January, of the second year that Cindy and Randy have known each other, and the first mating season they've spent together.
- Weirdness Censor: Cocky is a bird who can speak conversational English and French, and it's been proven that he can translate what Randy is saying. And the humans let it pass without a whole lot of commenting!
- Weirdness Magnet: Raccoons Ricky and Al lampshade this quality of Randy's when he asks how they found him at the farm:
Al: Well, first we saw a rainbow-colored, grumbling vixen...
Ricky: And a cat covered in feathers, running for its life...
Al: ...then we tailed a fat chicken crawl-jogging by midnight... it seemed like your kind of crowd!
- What's a Henway?: This strip.
- Who's on First?: Confusion caused by Hubert's new nickname, Hue.
- Why Waste a Wedding?: Penny and Jon appear headed this direction, after Cindy and Randy decide to wait, since foxes only mate in the winter. Myrtle needs someone to get married, after all her preparations.
- Will They or Won't They?: Randy and Cindy. Everyone knows that They Do — eventually. But since the comic's about miscommunication and the slow advancement of Randy and Cindy's relationship, there's no incentive to hurry things up.
- You Do NOT Want To Know: A variation of this was used by Dusk when a rabbit asks her what she likes to eat. "Kid... never ask a question if you won't like the answer."
- Your Universe or Mine?: Downplayed version — Cindy is willing to stay at the barn to keep Randy, but she has some moments of depression and angst at the thought of raising her kits among human weirdness.