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Webcomic: Housepets!
aka: House Pets

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.


This comic provides examples of:

  • Locked in a Room: Zach and Jessica get trapped in a relocation cage during "Rabbit's Foot".
  • 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", complete with Cool Shades for extra coolness points.
  • 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.
  • Wacky Cravings: Way to freak out your husband, Bailey.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.
    • 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."
    • Jungle Fever has this: " READ MY LIPS YOU TACKY FUTURE TAXIDERMY! IM 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.
  • 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.


Broken Plot DeviceTurnOfTheMillennium/Web ComicsAGENCY
Hotblood!Furry WebcomicsInherit the Earth
Star ScraperImageSource/Web ComicsTake Our Word for It

alternative title(s): Housepets
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