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Webcomic: Housepets!

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. They still play pretend, no matter how weird they make it out to be.

The story focuses around a cat and a dog living with the Sandwich family. The Dog is Peanut Butter or just Peanut and the Cat is Grape Jelly or just Grape. The classical setup, you think: stupid dog, smart cat, and crazy hijinks about how opposite they are ensue. But that's not what you get. Instead, you get two characters who are fairly similar in intellect with similar interests, whose subtle personality differences show off 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 her logic is too logical for her own good.The Sandwich family lives in a neighborhood filled with pets and strays that have their own quirks and clubs to mingle in, ranging from a mild-mannered dog that works in the police force to a dog that Cosplays as a cat yet has a mouse for a girlfriend. Although there are humans around, the comic mainly focuses on the animals with their adventures, trips, and problems.

Although Peanut and Grape are the main characters, it was inspired by childhood drawings made by Griffin of a dog named "Bino". Bino appears as a character in the comic, as the substitute leader of a neighborhood dog social club. He is the middle brother in another family caught between his popular older brother, police dog Officer Fido, and his quirky younger brother, Joey.

Needs more characters and tropes on the Character Page.

Check it out here.

This comic provides examples of:

  • Expressive Ears: Cats, particularly.
  • Eyepatch of Power:
    • One of Miles' cubs dons one during the water balloon war when acting as the 'leader' of the dog soldiers. According to Rick this is somehow the same eyepatch worn by Delusional Steve, a one time character seen in a flashback to Grape and Peanut's first meeting. Unfortunately for Steve, any signs of Power seem to be averted in his case.
    • Eyepatch of Power vs Hungry Cat - Hungry Cat wins.
  • The Faceless: "Parents" are never seen above the nose. Some non-parent humans, like Joel, do have faces exposed.
  • False Start: Peanut goes to tell Grape how he feels about her, but before he can, he overhears her making a date with Maxwell.
  • Fan Dumb: An in-universe example. Lester is practically the poster boy for several varieties of Fan Dumb. He even mentions the trope by name in his rant.
  • Fan Fic: In-universe, Grape's Pridelands fanfic is a recurring theme. Complete with an Author Insert named "Gapre".
  • Fantastic Racism: African Prince Leopard Jata 'complements' Jeeves by saying "Thank you, pale're a credit to your species."
  • Fantasy Kitchen Sink: According to Sabrina, "everything is a thing." That would explain the presence of gryphons, dragons, Cerberus, and Norse frost giant Aurgelmir.
  • Female Feline, Male Mutt: Grape and Peanut, Fido and Sabrina.
  • Fictional Document: The Prideland Series. Its popularity, particularly among pets, is equivalent to that of Harry Potter or Twilight.
  • Foot Popping:
    • In this strip, it's King's foot that rises when going for the kiss with Bailey, instead of the usual gender roles for the trope.
    • In this strip, Sasha's foot rises as she kisses Fox's cheek, wishing him goodnight.
  • Formally Named Pet: at least ten cats called Mr Bigglesworth, due to their owner being a Crazy Cat Lady. They all look the same, though most are not related and some are female. They occasionally mess with other pets who don't know there's more than one.
  • Four-Fingered Hands: The entire bipedal non-human cast fits this.
  • Free Range Animals: The housepets are allowed to roam Babylon Gardens for the most part unattended. When they go somewhere such as the mall or the zoo they sometimes are required to wear leashes, however are allowed to wander about freely if they hold on to their own leash.
  • From Bad to Worse: King's choice of turning back into a human. At first if he turned back into a human he'd have to deal with being an escaped convict, but now if he turns back into a human he's more or less told that he is literally going to hell, and the only way he can have a pass is to stay a dog as they are judged less harshly by heaven than humans.
  • Full Body Disguise: Fox and Karishad in a halloween strip.
    Fox (as Karishad): This was his idea.
    Karishad (as Fox): Oh no you don't, this was MY idea!
  • Funny Background Event: Some readers would like a reverse comic telling what exactly is happening here.
  • Furry Comic: Gee, really?
  • Furry Confusion: Subverted, for now.
  • Furry Reminder: Every once in a while. According to Rick: “I do this partly because people want to see them act like animals for some reason."
  • Getting Crap Past the Radar:
  • Glasses Pull: Used here to punctuate an Incredibly Lame Pun. (YEEAAAAAAAAAH!!!!!!)
  • Giant Foot of Stomping: One of these is used to demonstrate what Squeak sees in the 'Big Noses'.
  • Gratuitous Japanese: Lampshaded here with Itsuke, a tanuki hired by the auto shop near Babylon Gardens.
  • Gross Up Closeup: A bone chewtoy of Peanut's is given a close-up shot of the gnarled, chewed-up end.
  • Growling Gut: Truck manages to play music on his growling stomach on one strip.
  • Half-Dressed Cartoon Animal:
    • The ferrets.
    • The police dogs, when on duty, wear a vest onto which their badges are pinned.
    • Fox has been known to sometimes wear a leather bomber jacket, such as when he first meets King.
    • Itsuki, possibly to retain the PG rating given certain tanuki anatomy characteristics.
    • When preparing food, Lucretia wears a "Sniff the Cook" apron.
    • Played with and lampshaded in this strip as well.
      Miles: [after modeling several outfits to help him blend into human society] Is there any reason none of these configurations contain pants?
    • Grape may need a security blanket after the trauma she suffers in this strip.
  • Happily Married: More than a few of the regular cast.
    • Miles and Lucretia, although not married (as they're wolves), are official mates and are known to behave like a happy husband/wife.
    • Mr. Earl Sandwich and Mrs. Sandwich are the only known human family in the series so far to be officially married, and by all available evidence it's a happy marriage.
    • Another pair of wolves, Rodney (Miles' cousin) and Snow, are mates as well, without any signs of it being an unpleasant pairing.
    • As of the finale for the fifth year of the strip, King and Bailey, although how happily the marriage will go on remains to be seen.
  • Heroic BSOD: Peanut is prone to these. So far it has happened when three cute barn cats ask him to have a slow-motion pillow fight with them, when Grape herself is invited for it, and once more when Grape tells him she knows about his crush on her.
  • Heroic Sacrifice: Parodied by Max in the arc "The Great Water Balloon War", specifically in this strip where he throws himself onto a water balloon to shield others.
  • Locking MacGyver in the Store Cupboard: In the story arc "Show Business", King finds himself trapped in a tool shed when being chased by Duchess. This strip even mentions MacGyver by name. The ultimate solution to his dilemma is, however, somewhat more directly violent than most of MacGyver's solutions.
  • Loophole Abuse: Laws require that housepets be on a leash when out in public places, but it doesn't specify anything about who's holding the other end of the leash, which the pets exploit by going out holding their own leashes.
  • 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".
  • 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
    • 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.
  • Wacky Cravings: Way to freak out your husband, Bailey.[[labelnote:*:She claims a "pickle and cherry milkshake" is something her mother made for her when she was a pup.[[/labelnote]]
  • 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.
    • And now, as of April 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...
  • 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."
    • Probably the last Arc of King has 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?"
  • 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.
  • Would Hit a Girl: Rightly or wrongly, a number of readers were shocked that the Friend to All Living Things would pull the old Time Out-Time In gag on Bailey.
  • 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.

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alternative title(s): Housepets
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