Webcomic: Hyperbole and a Half
Hi. I'm Allie.
If I had to explain myself in six words, those words would be "heroic, caring, alert and flammable." That's only four words. Oh well, I guess I should have thought of that before I started writing. Too late now.Hyperbole and a Half is a hybrid blog/Journal Comic by Allie Brosh. The journal and its attendant comics detail the life—past and present—of its writer, in a surreal, sketchy style. The humor is random, the stories even more so, and the comics, sketchy as they are, somehow have a distinct appeal.Read it here. Or click the link above. Either works. Also see the wiki here. Allie also created a forum where her readers could gather, though it has spun off into its own community only tangentially related, you can find it here.Brosh also released a book in 2013, entitled Hyperbole and a Half: Unfortunate Situations, Flawed Coping Mechanisms, Mayhem, and Other Things That Happened. The blog has been on hiatus since late 2013, though in 2015 Allie appeared on an episode of the YouTube Geek & Sundry series Spellslingers, where she showed her geek cred by coming within just a few HP of defeating host Sean Plott in a game of Magic: The Gathering.
This work contains examples of:
- Amazingly Embarrassing Parents: Allie's mom is not usually this, but her reaction to Allie getting her first period was... eccentric.
- Arson, Murder, and Jaywalking: The first two Games You Can Play With A Brick involve throwing bricks at people, probably causing severe Amusing Injuries. The third game is "Jump Over The Brick."
- Art Evolution: The page image doesn't really resemble Allie's art style anymore.
- Art Shift: Normally, the illustrations are drawn in MS Paint with a calculated childishness, but in "Wolves", the background trees, snow and wolves are actually pretty beautifully drawn, even though they're still rough.
- Attention Deficit... Ooh, Shiny!: Allie has ADHD. On the occasions where she makes posts while off her medication, it tends to get rather eccentric.
- Badly Battered Babysitter: Benny, in "Wolves".
- Bears Are Bad News: Allie is apparently obsessed with bears. And terrified of them. According to "The Rural Montana Survival Guide", there's no point in fighting a bear. Bears always win.
- Big Friendly Dog: The Simple Dog, with the attendant lack of common sense.
- Blatant Lies: Her excuse for peeing in the woods in "Skeleton Man".Mrs. Davison: Allie! What are you doing?
Me: Looking for ants.
- "I have a fucking trophy in my living room. For all of my accomplishments. It says "Allie: BEST FUCKING PERSON EVER!!!!!!!!!!" and it totally has all of those exclamation points too."
- Calvinball: "Baby Uterus Wall Ball", conceived by Allie as the explanation behind one of the Google queries leading to her site being "baby uterus not sticking to".
- Clothes Make the Maniac: The dinosaur costume in "Menace", which has a similar effect on young Allie as the Venom symbiote on Spider-Man.
- Cloud Cuckoolander: The Simple Dog, who apparently cannot understand any words, among other things. Child Allie as well, if her stories are even half-true.
- Corner of Woe: When Allie is depressed◊.
- Creepy Child: Young Allie comes across as one remarkably often. "Wolves" features not just her but her entire group of friends acting like Creepy Children.
- Dada Comic: There's really no explanation behind most of what goes on in the Spaghatta Nadle universe, but it resonates with people anyway.
- Deadpan Snarker: Boyfriend.Me: "The rules of Baby-Uterus-Wall-Ball are extremely rigid."
Boyfriend: "You need a job."
- The Ditz: Simple Dog. Yes, even for dog standards.
- Dogs Are Dumb: Her dog, named "Simple Dog", as described in "Dog." She fails several basic canine intelligence tests, but nonetheless manages to be endearing. She also has another dog who seems to be of normal intelligence for a dog, but makes up for it by being incredibly neurotic. Or hating other dogs, if her book is to be believed.
- Dog Walks You: Allie's dogs have a tendency to pull on the line, forcing Allie to explain to them why they are on leashes.
- Drop-In Character: Dubbed the "Well-Intentioned Social Terrorist" in one post.
- Emotionless Girl: What depression eventually turns Allie into. She finds it great at first, but then it gets bad. This is a common, and well-known, extension of clinical depression."The beginning of my depression had been nothing but feelings, so the emotional deadening that followed was a welcome relief. I had always wanted to not give a fuck about anything. I viewed feelings as a weakness — annoying obstacles on my quest for total power over myself. And I finally didn't have to feel them anymore.But my experiences slowly flattened and blended together until it became obvious that there's a huge difference between not giving a fuck and not being able to give a fuck. Cognitively, you might know that different things are happening to you, but they don't feel very different."
- Everyone Calls Him Barkeep: Boyfriend, Simple Dog and Helper Dog (Boyfriend's real name is Duncan Hendrick, and they married in December 2012).
- Genki Girl: Allie. Partly due to her ADHD, partly to her sense of humor.
- Grammar Nazi: In order to repress her grammarian tendencies, she invents reasons why people on the Internet type the way they do—one of which has alot of popularity.
- Hero of Another Story: Duncan(her boyfriend and later husband). It was his attentiveness and caring that helped pull Allie out of her depression enough to get treatment for it.
- Hilariously Abusive Childhood: Self-inflicted. Her parents tried to raise her well, but Allie managed to get into all kinds of hilarious and mildly traumatic trouble as a child. See The Fish Story, The Easter Bunny Story, The Party, The God of Cake, Bicycle, and Wolves, to name a few.
- Hoist By Her Own Petard: "The Scariest Story".
- Hunting the Most Dangerous Game: Poor Benny... apparently, when six year old Allie and her friends play "Wolf Pack", they take it rather seriously.
- Identity Amnesia: Happens to Simple Dog after being terrified of a statue of a horse, running off and having an adventure that completely displaces her former memories.
- Improbable Hairstyle: The yellow triangle on young Allie's head isn't a hat, but her intentionally bad representation of a ponytail.
- I Was Told There Would Be Cake: "The God of Cake". Allie's mom made a cake for her grandfather, but made it with multi-colored icing and decorations, thus rendering it irresistible to Allie.
- Ill Girl: Allie has a noted propensity for becoming "dramatically ill."
- Intoxication Ensues: In one childhood story, she had a birthday party on the same day as major dental work. During her state of heavy sedation following the surgery, she manages to mortify her mother in public with her drugged-up antics.
- Journal Comic: Posts vary between funny stories from Allie's past and Allie's latest hijinks. Downer entries include several dealing with her depression.
- Kids Are Cruel: Or at least have very twisted ideas of fun games. The "Wolves" example is especially weird, since the kids absolutely love the guy for playing with them and even make sure he gets an extra-large slice of cake as thanks.Unfortunately for Benny, we had not yet developed the ability to empathize with the pain and suffering of other people, and his terrified fleeing was pretty much the most fun thing that had ever happened to us.
When I was a child, one of the things I enjoyed doing was hitting other children with a stick. Many of my classmates also enjoyed doing this. We would walk through the forest in back of our school, trying to find the biggest stick we could feasibly wield as a weapon. When we found the right stick, we would lure an unsuspecting child out of the teacher's sight during recess and attack them. We called this game Stick War and it was the best game ever as long as you weren't the one being beaten mercilessly.
- And from "Please Stop":
- Limited Wardrobe: Allie almost always draws herself wearing the same pink sheath dress.
- Long Title: The full title of the book is Hyperbole and a Half: Unfortunate Situations, Flawed Coping Mechanisms, Mayhem, and Other Things That Happened.
- Memetic Badass: In-Universe, with Kenny Loggins.
- Mercy Kill: "How A Fish Almost Destroyed My Childhood". Allie accidentally leaves a pet fish out of water. After failing to rehydrate it, she decides to end its misery with a knife. It goes wrong. Horribly, hilariously wrong.
- Mundane Wish: After she has the revelation that her depression means she no longer cares what anyone thinks of her and she can do anything she wants, she... rents six horror films and buys dozens of bags of Skittles.
- Nightmare Fetishist: Allie accidentally made her little sister into one while trying to terrify the latter into staying up at night.
- No Name Given: She refers to her dogs as Simple Dog and Helper Dog, and her boyfriend as Boyfriend (although his real name is occasionally mentioned). She also mentioned the simple dog's name here. It's Kellie, but nicknamed Roo. In a Reddit thread, she gives a name to the helper dog: which is Nyah, but nicknamed Toady.
- Non-Mammal Mammaries: "Tricera-topless."
- Older Than They Look: In Texas, Allie tried to buy beer to celebrate for her 21st birthday, but the gas station refused to sell to her even with an ID because she "looked like a goddamn 16-year old." Eventually, one of her friends had to buy booze for her - a younger friend, with a fake ID.
- Pyrrhic Victory: A story of her younger self who devoured an entire cake and was sick for the rest of the day. She obviously considered it Worth It.
- Rant-Inducing Slight: Described here as a "sneaky hate spiral", i.e what happens when one too many things goes wrong on a bad day.
- Reactive Continuous Scream: Or rather, reactive continuous dog freak out.When we were loading the dogs into the car, the constant, high-pitched sound emanating from the simple dog finally broke the helper dog. The helper dog wailed in anguish, which alarmed the simple dog. In her surprise, the simple dog let out a yelp, which further upset the helper dog. And so it continued in a wretched positive-feedback loop of completely unnecessary noise.
- Rouge Angles of Satin: Her coping mechanism for poor internet grammar involves inventing the "Alot," a strange creature that resembles "a cross between a bear, a yak, and a pug," with whom people declare their interactions. ("I like this alot.")
- Spiders Are Scary: ...and it's okay to be afraid of them.
- Stick Figure Comic: Not exactly, but pretty close. Just look at the page image.
- The Straight Man: Boyfriend, almost to the point of The Comically Serious. Well, at least most of the time...
- Stylistic Suck: The artwork. She often draws the same illustration ten times just to get it to look the right kind of terrible. The effort shows — the poses, expressions and so on are often perfect in a way a genuinely bad artist could never produce on a regular basis.
- Sweet Tooth: Allie as a child, big time. In "God of Cake" she recounts how she went to absurd lengths to get to a cake before it was supposed to be served, and then ate all of it.My need for sugar would become so massive, that it would collapse in upon itself and create a vacuum into which even more sugar would be drawn until all the world had been stripped of sweetness.
- Testosterone Poisoning: In "How To Make Showering Awesome Again". The post is full of ridiculous shower products:
"Thanks to Xtreme Muscle Product, I can explode a seagull with a single punch!"
- The "Shower Hammer", which works by bleeding the germs off.
- "Hammerspice Deodorant: More extreme than skateboarding in front of a surfboard in front of a flaming mountain while shooting arrows out of your armpits at a shark!"
- The vaguely defined "XTREME MUSCLE PRODUCT!!!!"
- Varbal Tac: Spaghatta Nadle, the main character of a series of nonsensical comics with the same name, replaces most vowel sounds with "A".
- Vomit Indiscretion Shot: Allie drew a picture of Simple Dog tossing her kibble in "Dogs Don't Understand Basic Concepts Like Moving."
- Word Salad: One of the Google search queries that led to her site was "i drew pictures of sharks instead im sorry for calling you small", which Allie claims to have kept her up all night searching for meaning.
- Writer's Block Montage: In one sequence. Unlike most writers' blocks, though, Allie's is obsessed with bears and outer space.