One of the three webcomics from the creative team of Ryan Sohmer and Lar DeSouza (the others being Looking for Group and The Gutters). The award-winning Least I Could Do is mainly a gag-based comic strip (although every month it features a Story Arc or two that last about a week) about the misadventures of a group of longtime 20-something geek friends living in the city. The stories mainly revolve around sex, love, modern life and all things geeky from Star Wars to Star Trek to Lord of the Rings to comic books to video games and back again.Mostly, though, it's about the sex.The main character is the incredibly promiscuous Rayne, who, if you were to judge lecherousness on a scale of one to ten with ten being the highest a human could possibly be, would probably hit somewhere around a twenty-three. Throw in a lot of Idiot Hero, a few dashes of Man Child (with a few hints of Psychopathic Manchild), and a lot of Jerk Ass and you will have a pretty good idea of what to expect from Rayne, although there are many occasions where he shows greater depths behind the intentionally and unapologetically shallow face he presents to the world.The rest of the main cast consists of:
Issa, one of the few women to ever refuse Rayne's advances (and who has done so since at least their teens) or that Rayne has expressed deeper feelings for, and perhaps the closest thing he has to a confidante. (For example, she knows about some heartbreaks a young Rayne went through that no one else does). Can be a voice of reason, although she's not above joining in on the antics of the others or using her sex appeal to manipulate Rayne. Has been a neglected character in recent years.
John, Rayne's oldest friend and a near polar opposite in views of love and dating. He serves as Rayne's most direct foil, but just as Rayne's commitment phobia is examined, so are John's issues with emotional neediness and his determination to find a wife or see anyone who comes along as a potential long-term relationship, regardless of their suitability for that.
Noel, a Deadpan Snarker who tends to fall somewhere between Rayne and John in views on life and dating. Although added onto the strip several years into its run, he long supplanted John's role as Rayne's foil while also becoming Rayne's primary wingman.
Mick, the overweight, tech-savvy and good-natured friend who has the misfortune of being Rayne's punching bag. He is perhaps the most socially awkward of the group, but although Mick's inability to pick up women has frequently been a source of jokes, he nonetheless has had the best luck in healthy and committed relationships.
Adult Fear: Rayne's secretary panics when it seems like Noel's son ate some of Rayne's prescription drugs (turns out the kid was eating blue M&M's). Rayne once faced the possibility of suffering from clinical depression that was giving him stomach pains. And there's his underlying fear that he will end up a lonely old man. After suffering a serious heart attack and being made aware of his own mortality, Rayne has trouble keeping up his Man Child act.
Art Evolution: Sohmer picked up artists who were progressively more skilled, and said artists' also styles evolved over time.
The comic had three artists prior to Desouza. Chad Porter and Trevor Adams quit on their own accord. J. Horsley III was also involved, but he left before the comic was published, believing himself not to be prolific enough for a webcomic.
Although it leaves out Lar's own personal Art Evolution, this strip nicely shows the difference in artists for LICD. The anime-style Rayne is from the very first artist, Marcus, from before the series had started or had a title yet. Not much is known about Marcus as of this time.
Art Shift: Least I Could Do and its weekly offshoot "Least I Could Do: Beginnings" are in two markedly different styles.
Author Avatar: Rayne Summers has an awful lot in common with Ryan Sohmer. Even their names are pretty similar (Rayne = Ryan, Summers = Sohmer). Also, Rayne's jerkass brother Eric looks like Sohmer, (and is the character Sohmer has claimed represents him) while Harry The Homeless Artist was modeled on deSouza, who was homeless for a time before he began collaborating with Sohmer.
Author Filibuster: A not-uncommon criticism, especially regarding the infamous rant against the various things the writer doesn't like about the rest of the webcomics industry.
Rayne woke up one day from a bad hangover to find a naked Cyndi in his bed.
And when he wakes up in this bed, well... let's just say that it add questions about Rayne's sexuality. He seems a bit uncomfortable about the whole thing, though. In Rayne's words, "Not the sandwich I wanted to be the meat of".
I think this truly removes any doubts about how far Rayne is willing to go.
Captain Obvious: In one series of strips, Rayne is asked to arbitrate a dispute between IDS' union and the management. He asks what they want: the unions want a 4% pay increase, the management is offering 2%. After a facial Flat "What." and a near-facepalm, Rayne asks if either of them thought to compromise at 3%. Their response is "I don't follow you."
Contest Winner Cameo: Every Valentine's Day there's a contest where the winner gets to go on a date with a character of their choosing (and yes, several of them have gotten busy). Rayne has only gotten two dates in seven years; one was with a gay man, and the other was a near-disasternote She was German, and the guys tricked him into dressing as a Nazi; only Katie's intervention kept her from walking out; the rest has been a pretty even distribution of cast members (John, Mick, Issa, Eric, Cyndi and Jumpmaster Julie have all been picked once).
The Fun in Funeral: Rayne at one point takes it upon himself to make a funeral entertaining with his usual antics due to a combination of boredom, awkwardness (he barely knows the coworker whose grandfather's funeral it is), and irritation that the deceased's supposed loved ones are acting even more selfish and insensitive than he is.
Future Loser: Subverted. Rayne is shown a vision of how he ends up as an old man. It shows him sitting by a fireplace, alone, with just a servant tending him. But then the story is more fleshed out and we see Rayne is stupidly well-off, and he shows nothing but the utmost hospitality and generosity to his old friends, their families, and his own niece. About the only thing that hints at it being played "straight" is Rayne never had any wife or kids of his own, but then again, probably didn't want either one anyway.
Happy Ending Massage: Discussed; Rayne's sent to a massage therapist, and the masseur isn't what he expected it to be (read: a guy named Rudy). After it's over, he comments that Rudy "made [Rayne] feel like a girl. With your big strong hands."
Rayne: ...no sucky-sucky? Rudy: No sucky-sucky.
It's not entirely certain who he's suggesting sucky-suckies who, either.
Ignored Epiphany: The arc with Marcy's boyfriend made it look like Rayne might come to terms with his man-whore behavior, after realizing that he missed his chance with Marcy because he assumed she would just wait for him to make his move and never find any other men. But then he gets over it by watching Lord of the Rings with Ashley, and by next week he's back to normal.
Rayne's mastery of picking up chicks was originally a strong case of this. Virtually every strip featuring him hitting on a girl showed his asinine pick-up lines, childish behavior, and utter shoot-downs from the girls. 95% of the time, his hook-ups were only shown AFTER they'd already happened. Sure, Rayne was supposed to be good-looking, but it was more than a little obvious the writer didn't really know how a master pick-up artist works, and it was implied that Rayne merely used the "Shotgun approach" (A Tao of Rayne strip pointed out that the one girl who said yes was more important than the 99 who said no).
Later strips partially fixed this. On very rare occasions, Rayne has shown signs that he can be more subtle and sneaky about pickups. The implication is that usually he just doesn't bother. Plus, the cute, charming, and childlike angle does work for some. His pick-up of the hot cougar at the bar was a much nicer change of pace, showing his style and smoothness in place of his general idiocy.
Jerkass Fašade: Rayne can be quite a dick sometimes. But if he really trusts someone, or sees someone in he cares about in what he perceives as danger, he will stop at nothing to help them, even if it reveals his nice side. A few examples are
Whenever his niece is having trouble, he will instantly help her like a mature adult...most of the time. He even told her "Avoid guys like me" because he wants her to be really happy when she's older, and not get hurt. Given what he threatened to do to Mike for making Issa frown, one must shudder to think what he'd do to a guy who hurt his niece by making her a one night stand.
When Rayne is having a possible heart attack, he keeps his facade of being horny and silly up all throughout the procedure, until he's alone in the ambulance with his secretary, then he drops it and expresses his pain.
Lyrical Dissonance: The (proposed) opening theme to Least I Could Do: The Animated Series is rife with this—it's a cheery, upbeat tune about desiring to live life while facing absolutely none of the consequences or repercussions for one's actions.
Motive Decay: Rayne's original reason for getting a job with IDS was because he saw a news report about Marcy (a very attractive and rich CEO) and made it his personal goal to bed her. The last mention of his quest was during the vacation arc in early 2007. Briefly reversed in by arc in September 2011, where Rayne gets jealous over Marcy's new boyfriend and he admits that he was interested (which she responds to by saying he should have done something, and that his inaction meant he missed his chance).
Not so Above It All: Issa in a few situations, such as the series where Rayne and Eric have a bet and Eric's prize is sleeping with Issa. When the others observe how mellow she's being about being used as a trophy, her response is effectively "He's a doctor, of course I want to do him."
Odd Couple: You do wonder how some of these friends/roomies can put up with each other...
Only Six Faces: Chad Porter was especially bad with this. It was literally impossible to tell most women apart aside from hair, and Rayne wasn't any more notable than any other guy.
Out of Focus: John, for years, thanks to Real Life Writes the Plot (see below). A more recent example is Rayne's secretary, who was shown giving birth, then having problems at home, and then vanished for the most part.
The Red Stapler: Defied; one of the strips in the arc about Rayne's Alternate History novel shows his Nazi assistant wearing a Hawaiian-style shirt with swastikas on it. The header text for that comic reads "No, you can't have a shirt".
Remember the New Guy: One day, Noel simply knocks on Rayne's door out of nowhere to become the number two character in the strip, replacing John as Rayne's foil and main talking post. He was given an immediate backstory that stated he was Rayne's best friend.
Status Quo Is God: For major, and more serious events, averted. Played straight with Rayne's Zany Antics arcs. Lampshaded when he has flashbacks to sleeping with a sadomasochist and throws popsicles at a hot girl who tries to talk to him, but Noel expects the "issues" will go away by Monday (and double-subverted only to bring it up the next Friday, to find by the last panel that it's an Intercourse with You speech).
A recent storyline where Rayne helps his old paper reinvigorate itself into a new format seems to be a way for Sohmer to express his dissatisfaction with newspapers as a medium and the way they are run, containing more than a few Take Thats to newspaper owners and publishers.
We've also got an arc where Rayne shows up to give a lecture for TED on fear, materialism and entitlement. Given that this is Rayne speaking, you may be experiencing some dissonance.