Ménage à 3 is a webcomic created and drawn by "Giz" (Gisèle Lagacé), and co-written by Giz and "Dave Zero1" (David Lumsdon). It started on May 17, 2008. Ménage à 3 centers around the life of Gary, Montreal resident and 29-year-old virgin. Upon losing his old roommates Matt and Dillon at short notice (when they decide to become an official gay couple), Gary is desperate to find a couple of new roomies to pay the rent. Luckily, Matt and Dillon put an ad in the local paper to find new people in need of shared living quarters, and before long, the search pays off. Things change drastically for Gary when two girls, Zii and DiDi, suddenly start sharing his apartment. Zii, obviously perplexed by Gary's (unwanted) purity, declares that her goal is to make him more confident and help him lose his virginity. But life proves full of distractions for all three of them, as other characters and objectives come and go through the story.The comic has a sitcom atmosphere and a predilection for sexual jokes, with a touch of Slice of Life style at low-key moments. Almost all the main characters, males included, get their naked shots, and many of the storylines revolve around characters' sexuality or relationships. It's also worth mentioning that one of the important plot elements is a kissing technique called the "Swirly-Go-Round", or "swirly" for short, which is initially used for gay male seduction, and subsequently turns out to be a really effective form of cunnilingus. That's kind of typical of the comic, and knowing it will help make sense of some of the entries below.In short — it's Three's Company, just with more nakedness, and no Don Knotts (too much comedy of errors as it is!). Or, The 40-Year-Old Virgin in webcomic form. (It also maybe has elements of American Pie when it comes to the sexual hijinks some of the characters get up to.) Most of the characters embody various tropes familiar from American comics or Japanese manga, though sometimes with personal twists; see the Characters page for lists of identifiable tropes specific to individual cast members.Even the first page is NSFW, so we'll link to the second.This page should not have direct NSFW links.Ménage a 3 now has one spinoff called Sticky Dilly Buns featuring former side-characters Dillon, Amber, and Chanelle, and a second, featuring DiDi's ex-colleague Sandra, entitled Sandra On The Rocks.
This webcomic provides examples of the following tropes:
DiDi has so many boyfriends that she can't remember their names. For example, she calls Erik "Armand", "Philippe", "Derick" and "Jerry". In fact, this quickly becomes a Running Gag.
Sonya mangles new character Peggy's name heavily here and here, simply because she's very drunk at the time. (This also generates an In Joke reference to Giz's past work on Penny and Aggie.) She still hasn't got Peggy's name quite straight the next morning.
Adults Are Useless: While the characters in this comic are all legally adults, the twentysomething main cast mostly act like teenagers at best. The occasional older characters are rather a hopeless bunch, with one or two small exceptions (such as Gary's sympathetic boss). Some, such as Nathan or the troll's parents, are enthusiastic adulterers, and when the lead characters mention their parents at all, they usually turn out to have caused them problems such as Gary's puritannical religious upbringing or Yuki's childhood exposure to her father's tentacle porn work.
Actually, everyone is promiscuous...except (to begin with, anyway) Gary, who wishes he was. (Promiscuous, that is. Although...) And even there, there's been some Character Development.
Somewhat averted with Dillon. He's certainly been around (and has the photographs to prove it), but he also seems to be more interested in relationships than one-night stands, and to be very much against cheating. On the other hand, he's a compulsive flirt, so a casual observer could be forgiven for thinking that he's promiscuous.
Men who aren't major characters are completely incapacitated if DiDi so much as walks past, let alone when she turns up (fully clothed) at a strip club.
Gary varies things a little, though. He does have mildly kinky thoughts, but given his Nice Guy status he is rather tame about these things. In fact, Sonya eventually discovers that he's far less kinky than she hoped, to a point that satirises or subverts the trope.
All Part of the Show: Jung seems to think this about all the off-stage drama at the play he reviews, and other audience members may well think the same. (In fact, the weird unplanned drama proves so popular that it is subsequently written into the play.)
All Women Are Lustful: While both sexes are generally quite lustful in this comic — and the men aren't as cerebral as this trope really requires — the lead female characters do tend to be interested in sex in ways that cause them trouble, so the comic could be said to at least play with the trope.
Zii might be called a poster girl for the concept here. Indeed, her enthusiasms sometimes cause her problems in ways that fit the trope. She tries to break these habits, but that only works until she gets drunk one night.
And Zii apparently inspired Amber to go into the porn business for the sex.
DiDi's entire character arc eventually becomes a search for an orgasm.
Peggy is actually something of an Only Sane Woman by the comic's standards — but within seconds of her first appearance in a strip, she gets into a flaming row with her boyfriend over her desire for oral sex, drops him, makes a pass at Erik, and gets dragged into the comic's usual shenanigans.
Yuki:(kicks Gary in the shins) That's for lying to me, you jerk! (kisses him on the cheek) And that's for being my knight in spandex earlier.
Animal-Eared Headband: Zii was obliged to cosplay as an anime catgirl while at work. (This may initially not have been entirely to her taste, but she soon discovered that it had the pleasing effect of disabling most of the customers.) Then the cute kitten-ear headband became a prop in her seduction of Sonya and Sonya's boyfriend. Then Sonya acquired more animal-eared headbands in order to seduce Zii. Then, later, Jung incorporated this idea into his designs for Zii's band's costumes, which made Zii happy and caused Sonya's brain to get scrambled.
Anorgasmia: Strangely enough in a sex comedy, this trope appears and is played as much for drama as for laughs.
DiDi has, to date, been unable to reach orgasm during sex. This is largely because men are overwhelmed with her beauty (and assets) and can only last a few seconds with her, but on one occasion Peggy performed cunnilingus on her until Peggy's jaw went numb, without solving the problem; in addition, she appears to fake satisfaction to avoid disappointing her boyfriends. That reflects her (misguided) attempts to be nice, but in fact, she's something of a ditz who treats men with an unthinking casualness that verges on cruelty; they just invariably forgive her because of her gorgeousness. However, her desperate need for an orgasm has resulted in increasingly jerkish behavior from her, and she seems to have developed something of a sense of entitlement.
Sandra also admitted to problems reaching orgasm in an early strip, but this seems to be less of a problem for her; there are hints that she reaches climax sometimes when drunk, if only because that inspires her to bizarrely kinky sex. The problem certainly hasn't been mentioned since she moved to Sandra On The Rocks.
Anticlimax: After three and a half years (real time — 2-3 months comic time) of Gary trying to lose his virginity, Kiley jumps him on a whim, with him barely registering what's happening (unless giving cunnilingus counts, in which case there's a bit more fanfare). At least it's still a climax.
Anything That Moves: Because the characters tend to Generic Cuteness, it's hard to say whether any of them manifest this trope or not. Some, certainly — especially Matt and Zii — are quite sexually omnivorous, but in practise, all their partners tend to be quite good-looking. Matt especially seems to be a sucker for good looks, and is a little sexually snobbish in his comments about Gary (who is actually far from ugly). It looks like everyone would certainly say that they had serious standards; it's just that a lot of other people meet them.
Aren't You Going to Ravish Me?: DiDi was extremely frustrated (both sexually and ego-wise) that despite having spent days posing naked for Gary's drawing practice, he never noticed that she wants him badly.note Well, Gary WAS in a committed relationship with Yuki at the time, and Yuki IS prone to violence. The fact that Yuki not only LET Gary see DiDi naked, but actually encouraged it could understandably be more than enough for him.
And Dillon follows that up with another (strip #668, November 6, 2012, NSFW), albeit an accidental one.
Matt pulls one on Kiley here, or at least demonstrates the emotional perceptiveness that's a part of his characterization. Note the resulting classic Spit Take.
Art Evolution: The art style overall has remained pretty consistent for such a long-running comic, though the series slowly shifts away from a straightforward Archie Comics style and occasionally incorporates a few manga features like enlarged eyes.
DiDi is defined to be an impossibly statuesque and voluptuous sex goddess. In her early appearances (e.g. here), this means that she looks like a giant inflatable living Barbie doll. Artistic evolution eventually makes her much more plausible (as here), if still something of a fantasy figure.
Even Gary's had some work done. In early strips he was gangly and a little goofy-looking with shaggier hair but now he's Adorkable and Grade-A Mr. Fanservice. Then again, part of that could be the audience (and a handful of characters) realizing that he looks pretty good naked.
Artifact Title: The title was arguably this for a while when Dillon moved back in, but when he moved out a second time, the household became a ménage à trois ("household of three") once again. On which logic, when Yuki moved in, it went back to fitting this trope, but now she's out again. On the other hand, the apartment nominally always has three rent-paying residents, so the title is arguably generally accurate, even if they do have a lot of friends to stay for varying periods or occasionally go away for a few days.
Depending on your position on the sliding scale of prudery vs. perviness, Giz's id is either frighteningly skanky or Crazy Awesome.
The comic, and at least the language of one character, contains authentic French. Look at the name of the artist!
Bare Your Midriff: Given the number of skimpy costumes seen in the comic, most of the women (and the men) inevitably end up flashing a little midriff from time to time. Deliberately midriff-baring designs come up less frequently, but are seen occasionally. A few examples:
The anime-style "Magical Tralala" costumes created by Jung and seen initially on Zii, and later on three female cast members simultaneously here, feature anime-style centre sections.
Senna carries off the style with casual fashion model ease in sequences such as this one. On that occasion, incidentally, she may be going for a "bohemian" look — she tends to match her style to her location, and just there, she's in Montreal.
Basement-Dweller: Played with. Primarily, we have Gary, who has many of the signifiers associated with the trope, but who has at least left home and got a job; he's presented as neither totally hopeless nor despicable. (He still spends a lot of money on toys and collectibles that he may originally have meant to spend on things like art lessons, though.) We also have Jung, who apparently does still live in his mother's basement — but who sustains not only a job but a certain amount of snarky geek cool.
Notably, Gary loses his unwanted virginity — but remains Gary, a hopeless geek, and gets a more complicated and emotionally stressed life in consequence. For that matter, the girl who perhaps most resembles his fantasies, the daughter of his artistic idol, turns out to be an unstable bundle of bizarre psychoses.
Likewise, DiDi and Sandra get the experimental lesbian adventure that they've both fantasised about, only for it to be a disaster that threatens their friendship.
And Zii, after lusting after DiDi for months, finally gets an offer, just in time for it to imperil her big serious relationship with Erik.
Gary wakes up in bed with Dillon after a nightmare.
In strip #696 (January 17, 2013), Yuki calls Kiley, who's in bed. The last panel reveals that her bedmate is Matt.
One could consider that Sandra gets two non-bed variants of this type of event — first on a couch with Matt (yes, he Really Gets Around), and later on a beach with Senna.
Beta Couple: Various couples form and then split up in the course of the comic's plot, sometimes in the background as compared to other characters — although any of them can move to the foreground for a while. For example, Matt and Dillon started the comic as secondary characters who were shacked up at first... Later, Zii and Erick filled this role in relation to Gary's relationships — though that coupling arguably then moved to foreground/alpha status at times. Then, just as the three primary characters were going through various traumas and foreign trips, it turned out that Matt and Kiley had got together, seemingly fairly seriously — a relationship which provided a few strips' worth of sub-plot.
Zii and Matt, definitely. As those strips show, they're both so relaxed on the subject that their friends and lovers don't tend to find out until the subject arises in passing.
DiDi and Sandra thought they were, but changed their minds after a bad mutual experience. After that, Sandra seemed to be confirmed heterosexual, but DiDi remained ambiguous, with stray thoughts hinting at bisexual impulses even before her drunken encounter with Peggy.
Maybe subverted (or Jossed) by Gary. At one point, everything seemed to be conspiring to put him in situations with Dillon, and Senna quite literally kissed him stupid. However, an ad hoc analysis session with Matt brought him to the conclusion that he wasn't gay, he just had an artist's eye for anything beautiful, which could include attractive men — and that's fitted his behaviour ever since, despite Dillon's hopes. The fact that he still finds Senna highly sexually desirable (if confusing) seems simply to show that he can classify her mentally as female, despite her non-standard anatomy.
Yuki, though it's far from By the Way with her. Zii, who knows her as well as anyone and was her lover, always categorised her as bi, but not actively so because of her psychological issues. The Cast Page confirms this. Subsequently, Yuki sets out to resolve these issues because of her romantic feelings for Gary.
Sonya initially defined herself as straight with an exception for Zii. It seems that she just didn't want to identify as "lesbian" in any way. When someone finally happened to mention the word "bisexual" in her hearing, she decided it might fit herself perhaps partly reinforced by the fact that she was in close proximity to DiDi's boobs at the time. Oddly, she hadn't thought of this for herself — but she's not the brightest character in the comic.
Jordan is at least mostly gay, but some readers suspect that he wouldn't turn down a night with an attractive woman.
Amber had a lesbian relationship with Zii in school, and certainly did whatever was required in her work as a porn star. She seemed to be limiting herself to men for a while, in this comic and in Sticky Dilly Buns, but then she started a friends-with-benefits relationship with Zii. Her attitude may be "women for fun, but men for more serious relationships."
Amber's friend and former colleague Chanelle defines herself as "Not Picky", though exactly where her off-duty preferences run remains unknown.
Angele is a suburban wife and mother ... who proves very happy to have a one-night stand with Zii.
Possibly averted with Senna; Sandra woke up naked next to her, but it's not clear exactly what happened between them between getting wasted in a strip club in Montreal and waking up on a beach in Brazil. (The usual guess among fans is "nothing sexual".) The Cast Page has her down as bi, but all of her sexual activity seen so far in the comic has involved men. (Which, given her self-identification as female, counts as heterosexuality.)
Kiley is straight, and says that she wouldn't contemplate bisexuality — because of her body image issues. Whether that means she'd turn bi if she had more self-confidence, or whether she was just paying a subtle throwaway compliment to Matt, is unclear. It's probably the latter.
Peggy apparently self-identifies as straight because she generally prefers men. But... She admits to some lesbian experimentation in college, is quite happy to switch back for DiDi, and isn't too discomfited by the idea of sex with Sonya.
And later, ahem, strips have Sandra and later still a drunken Zii and DiDi attend male strip shows, which aren't toned down either. Though DiDi for one isn't impressed (she's had the guy on stage, and wasn't satisfied by him), and she and Zii soon leave.
The title of the story Yuki's father wrote for her, "Yuki's First Snow", is a pun as "yuki" is the Japanese word for snow.
The comic's title itself, which can also rate as Gratuitous French. In case you don't get it, "ménage à trois" literally means "household of three," referring to three people living together — but the term often carries erotic connotations, referring specifically to Three-Way Sex, which can be taken as a reference to all the sex being had in this comic. Giz has said in an audio interview that the title was indeed intended to tease English-speaking readers who'd assume sexual implications, when it's a bit less of a loaded phrase in French.
In an early appearance Yuki shouts "触手 (shokushu)!" This, of course, means "tentacles". She produces more Japanese speech bubbles in later strips, usually when in a psychotic rage.
Senna can speak five languages, and most of her dialog before she revealed she could speak English was in Brazilian Portuguese. Later, she occasionally throws Portuguese phrases into some mostly-English dialogue (although the comic doesn't always get this right first time, leading to updates after bilingual readers offer corrections).
Bishie Sparkle: The kind of thing that comes up in manga-influenced comics...
The first volume opens with Gary coming home early from work, having a soon-to-be ironic thought just before opening the door, and walking in on Matt sodomizing Dillon, which is when he finds out that they're gay. Matt and Dillon move out shortly afterward. It ends with Dillon coming home early from rehearsal, having a soon-to-be ironic thought just before opening the door, and walking in on Sandra sodomizing Matt. Dillon moves back in with Gary shortly afterward.
The second volume opens with Gary having an Erotic Dream about Zii, which turns into an erotic nightmare when it's revealed it's a male version of Zii, because of the influence of Dillon's presence in the bed. It ends with Yuki in bed with Zii and having an erotic dream about a female Gary.
The third volume opens with Sandra waking up on DiDi's boobs, and ends with her waking up on Senna's.
The fourth volume opens with Yuki surprising Kiley in the shower, and ends with DiDi surprising Yuki in the shower.
The fifth volume opens with Dillon stunned to be called into a room where Chanelle is sitting naked and with thighs apart (apparently requesting oral sex), and an also naked Amber is standing around; he then gets kissed on the cheeks by the two women. The penultimate strip of the volume has Erik and Jim walking in on several naked women, notably Peggy with her thighs apart (receiving oral sex from Sonya); the last strip has Gary stunned to be called into a room which contains a naked Senna and clothed Sandra, both standing around, before he gets kissed on the cheeks by the two women. This breaks the pattern a little, in that the echo is arguably spread across two strips, and none of the characters from the first strip recur, but it's close enough.
Breaking the Fourth Wall: When Dillon finds Amber in the room where he's supposed to meet Nathan, he says "DID I SKIP A PAGE?!". Though it's arguable whether this is truly fourth-wall-breaking so much as Dillon seeing his life as a drama, and looking for a metaphor for his confusion.
In strip #618, Yuki tells Gary that, eventually, he may kiss her "down there". As of strip #645, Gary has done it.
Broken Aesop: Zii's little speech about consent to sex would have all been well and good, except that she was lecturing Gary on it when he had just been TRICKED INTO GIVING A WOMAN ORAL. Zii did not think that Amber pretending to be Dillon to trick Gary into performing the SGR was a problem at all. Frankly, though, the comic isn't big on morals; the characters are prone to situational morality at best. Anything that looks like an Aesop will probably be broken, subverted, or highly debatable.
The technique is arguably also used accidentally by Senna on Gary when they're on the 'plane to Paris. She doesn't seemingly set out to get him drunk — his demolition of several cocktails is the result of a misunderstanding — and she is probably too vain about her appearance to think that she needs to get a man drunk to have her way with him. For that matter, Gary had indeed shown multiple signs of finding her attractive before this scene. However, given Gary's confused but very conventional tastes, Senna's non-standard anatomical arrangementsmight have proved a problem when the clothes came off, if he hadn't been too drunk to care.
Call Back: The authors are fond of using a callback to the beginning of a volume to wrap it up. See Book Ends above for more detail.
The porn stars who Zii interrupts on set in one flashback (strip #74, November 10, 2008, NSFW) look an awful lot like Stan, Jack and Rich from Penny and Aggie.
Blair from Eerie Cuties shows up (as an inanimate doll) in one strip (#230, November 25, 2009, NSFW).
Liz from Cool Cat Studio, one of Lagacé's previous works may also appear, in strip #253 (January 22nd, 2010, NSFW).
When Yuki goes on her groin-kicking rampage, Stan from Penny and Aggie is unfortunate enough to get in her way, while a surprised Lisa looks on. You can see a similarly-injured Jeremy and his girlfriend Belinda from Cool Cat Studio in the background of the same strip.
It's revealed in flashbacks that Zii had sex with many of the people who auditioned for her earlier bands before the comic's story began. She may not have thought of this as a casting couch process; whether any of the other parties involved did so is less clear. She does at least look embarrassed at the recollection when she's accidentally reminded of this while auditioning Sonya for her new band, but that's because she's trying to avoid being seduced by Sonya.
DiDi suffers one when her over-active conscience notices her interest in Gary. (January 12, 2009, strip #96, NSFW.)
Yuki has two regarding "Garii". (May 13 & October 29 2010, strips #300 & 370, NSFW.)
Zii has one (actually two, in a Dream Within a Dream) after Peggy comprehensively messes with her head. (February 06, 2014, strip #847, NSFW.)
Cat Fight: Dillon and Sandra when Sandra taunts Dillon about her relationship with Matt. Not a real catfight, of course, but it looks like one, since Dillon is dressed, very convincingly, as Black Canary.
Censor Suds: These may show up occasionally throughout the comic, but Amber puts on a truly astonishing demonstration of the trope in strip #662 (October 23, 2012), which probably has to rate as NSFW, despite the fact that nothing is actually showing.
Chandler's Law: Applied in comedy soap opera form at the end of chapter 5 and beginning of chapter 6, when the story had perhaps fallen into a bit of a rut (or maybe the writers had got a little bored with things). First, Erik came through a door (and into the middle of a lesbian orgy) with a startled expression, and then, one strip later, it turned out that Gary had just come through an international plane flight with a transsexual, and now he came through a door — in Paris.
Chekhov's Gag: DiDi's ability to lift heavy weights easily is used for minor gags in two early strips, and then comes back when she lifts Zii out of the way so she can offer herself to Gary.
Chekhov's Gun: The Swirly-Go-Round, which Dillon teaches Gary early on, comes in very handy when Gary wants to satisfy Kiley. In fact, it is now a Chekhov's Boomerang, as Gary has also used it on several other women.
Cliffhanger: The comic throws in a few of these, at the comedy/soap opera level. Two guys discover their girlfriends in a lesbian orgy, with one of the girlfriends just achieving orgasm and the other professing her undying love for one of the other two women present? Naturally, the next strip cuts to three completely different characters on a different continent...
Coitus Uninterruptus: Most or all of the cast are pretty shameless at times, or have weird priorities:
Gary and Yuki walk in on Jordan while he's receiving a blowjob from an understudy backstage at the theater. Unfazed, he says: "Oh, hi! You must be Gary!" Then Yuki has one of her moments.
Matt answers the phone while getting a blowjob from Jordan.
DiDi calls Sandra to ask her to meet for a talk, and Sandra takes the call ... while she's having sex with Matt.
The cabin crew interrupt Senna and Gary having sex on the private 'plane to tell them to return to their seats for landing. Senna tries to insist that the 'plane should circle while they finish.
Comedic Spanking: During a disagreement about access to Gary, the somewhat deranged Yuki hogties DiDi with NES controller cords and tells her she'll only be released when she admits that Gary is Yuki's boyfriend; she doesn't, so Yuki spanks her. When DiDi seems to be getting into this, it perhaps becomes more Kinky Spanking. (See strip #612, June 12, 2012, onwards — NSFW).
Comic Book Time: A minor possible case. The comic has been running since 2008, but only a few months have passed within its universe. Mostly, the dates of events in the story are unstated and ambiguous, but there are occasional hints that the current date is close to the real-world date. For example, Gary is a "brony" — a fan of comics that weren't being published yet in 2008.
Gary: Uh... Don't cry... I'm sure your IQ's much bigger than your breasts!
The Conscience: Mostly notable by its absence, as most of the cast are a little too frenetic and amoral (though not usually downright immoral) to either play this part or accept a Conscience's advice. Certainly, none of them act solely as the Conscience. However...
The role is avoided (and hence the trope is averted) by Gary (who has plenty else to do) in this strip. Zii, desperately seeking something to reduce the difficulties between herself and DiDi (for whom she has just admitted an uncontrollable sexual passion) thinks of Gary, referring to him as "the human cold shower" (quite unfairly, really, at this point in the story). Then she discovers that he's unavailable because he's currently in Paris.
Corrupt the Cutie: Given that many characters in this comic are enthusiastic about sex and a bit amoral, while some others are cute but less experienced or more confused, it's not surprising if this is a fairly frequent source of character motivation, especially for one of the lead characters.
Zii's offer to get Gary laid could be a case in point. It's not that Gary needed corrupting, exactly, but he needed help in getting to act on his impulses — and Zii occasionally fantasised about him becoming rather more bisexual than he himself seemed to want.
Zii also had hopes about DiDi, although her actions there were perhaps less systematic. In fact, it soon came to seem that DiDi had been hanging out with Zii for too long, as her capacity for good-natured mischief increased, followed by her less good-natured active pursuit of an orgasm. Admittedly, given things like her pre-existing love of cross-dressing guys and horror movies, it may not have taken much.
Zii probably barely thought of her seduction of Sonya as "corruption"; she was just encouraging Sonya to express her bisexual side. However, the effects were more dramatic (and less fun for Zii) than she expected. Sonya not only took to bisexuality and group sex, she became obsessed with Zii, and used increasingly amoral tactics to catch her.
Matt may have hoped to "corrupt" Sandra, though he soon discovered that she became every bit as kinky as he wanted when she'd had a few drinks.
Senna made it plain from the first that her aim with regard to Gary involved making him question his sexuality — by getting him into bed. Her problem for a long time was getting to be in the same city as him, and by the time she managed that, he was a little less inexperienced than at their first meeting. But he was still cutely confused by her, and not long after she caught up with him, she was semi-accidentally getting him drunk and then getting hot and heavy with him.
Creator Provincialism: Gary's favorite porn star, the daughter of Gary's favorite manga artist, and the troll screwing with Zii, all happen to live in or fairly near to the same neighborhood of Montreal, Quebec.
The June 4, 2013 strip (#750, NSFW), the Cliffhanger ending of volume 5, drops Gary into the context of Sandra On The Rocks. The crossed-over story then really gets underway with a double image of the same moment here and here. For a while then, alternate strips from each actually begin with a re-drawing of the last panel from the other — though either comic can be read on its own and still make sense. Subsequently, the plot strands sometimes diverge a little more, though still running in close parallel for a time.
Late in volume 6, Zii's band ("Zii and the Troublemakers") have their first booking, and Zii invites all her friends. This sets up a crossover with Sticky Dilly Buns; see the notes on Gambit Pileup for some idea as to the consequences.
Dangerously Short Skirt: Most of the female characters in the comic have good legs and aren't ashamed to show them, although as this isn't an action-oriented comic, they don't usually have to worry much about unintended flashes. Tatiana may evoke the trope most blatantly; she's supposed to be a quiet, reserved personnel assistant, but she always wears a (very mini) miniskirt — giving a large hint that there's a side to her personality that she's trying to keep hidden.
A Date with Rosie Palms: It sometimes seems that when any character in this comic isn't having sex, they're missing it, and often looking for some kind of substitute (though it's taken as read that it's a poor substitute at best). Examples:
Gary, several times.
Zii, watching all-male pornography while calling DiDi's name. She doesn't notice the contradiction there (probably being too horny). Later, she acquires an electrical massager with a view to relieving her tensions after a (brief but passionate) kiss from Yuki.
Then there's Yuki and DiDi's discussion of batteries when both are suffering some degree of frustration, and Zii's suggestion to Sonya when she's got the same problem (though Sonya soon has a better idea)...
Delayed Reaction: Gary suffers several hours' worth of delay ending in strip #784 (August 29, 2013, NSFW), when he realises that the gorgeous woman he had sex with (admittedly while he was drunk) the night before was in fact a pre-op transsexual, complete with a penis. He was actually fully aware of this all along, but only now does he suffer the sort of confusion that this would cause many men.
Disproportionate Retribution: Zii gets trolled on the internet, so she drives to the kid's house, has sex with his mom, and convinces her to break up with the troll's father (of course, he'd been having affairs with his secretaries for years, so it wasn't just Zii).
Dominatrix: Any of the characters may imagine others into this role in moments of fantasy — see, for example, Zii's idea of what Sonya might have done to Gary in strip #467 (June 20, 2011, borderline NSFW) — but for one who's actually committed to the image, readers had to wait for the crossover with Sandra On The Rocks and the guest appearance of Tatiana from that comic. However, when Tatiana attempted to cast Sandra in the role (while Sandra was sober), Sandra proved somewhat inadequate (strip #809, October 29, 2013, NSFW if Gary in minimal leather worries you).
Dope Slap: DiDi's Good Angel gives her one when she fantasizes about punching out Yuki to get Gary to give her an orgasm.
After hearing Gary slept with Kiley instead of Yuki, Zii is ready to tear into him for cheating, despite the fact that Zii has had no apparent problem with breaking up established relationships before.
Dramatic Drop: Being around the main characters can be a bad idea when you're holding something fragile. Allie for one has demonstrated the trope more than once, thanks to Sonya.
Dramatic Irony: Exploited for comic effect during Gary's visit to Paris early in volume 6, mostly at the expense of Senna and to a slightly lesser extent Tatiana. Senna's initial sense of superiority over Sandra depended on her ignorance of the plot of Sandra On The Rocks, and her delusional belief that Gary was setting Sandra up for failure as a model depended on her ignorance of Gary's deep cluelessness — all things well known to most readers. Likewise, Tatiana was slow to understand Sandra's Internet popularity, and her attempts to experiment on Gary's submissive nature depended on Sandra being less naive than Tatiana should have known.
Dream Within a Dream: Zii suffers this effect after Peggy comprehensively messed with her head. (February 06, 2014, strip #847, NSFW.)
Dysfunction Junction: As per Rule of Funny, everyone is screwed up in some way or another. If someone appears normal and well-adjusted, that just means that they haven't had enough screen time yet.
Ear Ache: When DiDi insults Kiley, Zii drags the former away by her ear.
Editorial Synaesthesia: A "splash" effect around a male character's speech bubble is used as visual shorthand for "has an orgasm while saying this".
Eiffel Tower Effect: The trope-naming structure appears in strip #750 (June 4, 2013; NSFW) to confirm that a (very surprising) sudden scene shift is, in fact, to Paris.
Embarrassing Cover Up: When Yuki needed Gary to take a day off, she called his boss and told her that Gary needs to have a foreign object removed that he had inserted into his butt. ("Who'd make that up?") This eventually got Gary into trouble when he ended up in a hospital (for completely different reasons) and met his boss there.
DiDi not only gets keen attention from open bisexuals like Zii and Yuki, and the slightly more confused Sonya; she causes the straight Sandra to at least contemplate going gay. Gay men certainly notice her, too. Peggy eventually makes the point completely explicit in strip #741 (May 14, 2013, NSFW):
Peggy: I guess I could fall on a one or a two on the Kinsey scale. But I mean, look at you! You can easily make any girl into a three!
Zii is an extremely skilled seductress who can apparently get practically any woman into bed, regardless of whether or not they've ever shown any lesbian or bisexual tendencies before.
So far every single character who's shown any sexual tendencies at all — yes, even Dillon — has shown hints of of being attracted to both sexes. Though Dillon's one hetero-experiment was a bust, as it turns out.
Somewhat (hilariously) subverted by Sandra and DiDi when they agree that they are just two straight girls with poor boundary issues. Though DiDi later revises that position in her desperate quest for an orgasm.
Also subverted by Gary. Matt helps him realize that he isn't sexually attracted to men, though he does appreciate beauty in general.
Failed a Spot Check: DiDi completely overlooks the labeling and color of a bottle of Tabasco sauce before pouring it on Matt, in an intimate situation.
Failure Is the Only Option: Subverted. It seems like Gary never will lose his virginity, and then ... he has sex completely out of the blue. Which said, having actually had sex with more than one woman, he faces another problem; experience. He lasts all of 43 seconds his first time, and 45 seconds on other occasions not long after. Sonya even breaks up with him due to his complete satisfaction with doing almost nothing in bed but fondle her. Whether and how he — or someone else — can resolve this remains to be seen. He did appear to last longer when he had sex with Senna; being drunk may actually have improved his stamina there.
Fainting: Gary used to pass out rather often in sexual situations, but he gradually got over it.
Several of the characters are routinely described as karma houdinis by outraged readers.
Yuki suffered weird emotional traumasin childhood that her family apparently never really noticed and certainly never had effectively treated, leading her in turn to commit a series of violent assaults on both friends and strangers, without ever being locked up.
Nor did Gary ever seek treatment for his emotional problems.
Flash Step: When Erik walks in on Sonya seducing Zii, Sonya not only executes a flash step, she takes Zii's jacket to cover herself on the way.
Foreign Cuss Word: When DiDi gets mad at Yuki for not listening to her, she finally explains that she wants to borrow Gary by saying "I want sa queue in my plotte!". The translation should be pretty obvious.
Four Lines, All Waiting: The comic develops personal plots for several characters over time, and often features a bit of cutting back and forth, but this trope really kicks in at the start of volume 6 (strip #751 onwards). There's a certain amount of interweaving, but at one point at least, there are four geographically distinct scenes/locations for the story to cut between, before the focus finally shifts firmly to just one for a while:
Gary is in Paris with Sandra and Senna.
Zii has just broken up with Erik and is worrying about her now-publicly known infatuation with DiDi, while DiDi is worried about the same and about her possible bisexuality.
Sonya just starts thinking about her next move with regard to Zii when Peggy shows up asking for somewhere to sleep for a few days.
Kiley and Matt are working on mutual "psychotherapy" when Yuki comes along showing some progress with her problem and wanting more help.
Appears occasionally in routine use, if only in Kiley's fantasies about her future career as a therapist, as here.
Played with and somewhat lampshaded in the June 13, 2013 strip (#753, NSFW), which appears at first to show a classic Freudian therapy session, complete with couch. But it turns out that the characters have ... other uses for that couch.
Gambit Pileup: The first public performance by "Zii and the Troublemakers" is carefully set up to be an epic pile-up, partly due to various characters' gambits:
Zii and Yuki mostly just want the gig to be a success. However, the other band playing, "Pretty Boyz with Electric Toyz", happen to be led by their old rival, Angel (on a guest appearance from Sticky Dilly Buns), and they aren't going to back down from any confrontation there. (Angel used to work with them. Yuki doesn't know that the relationship broke down when Zii had sex with Angel's boyfriend.)
DiDi regards the gig as an opportunity to seduce Gary.
Sonya is in the band, but has brought Peggy along to seduce Gary — but in disguise, as she also wants to preserve the fiction that she and Peggy are in a relationship, so as to make Zii jealous.
Amber, visiting from Sticky Dilly Buns, regards the gig as an opportunity to seduce Gary. Initially she hopes that Dillon will be absent, clearing the way for this; later, Zii just points out to her that Dillon really should be over his own crush on Gary by now.
Angel wants to crush Zii, and has summoned an old friend and former lover, Jerzy, to provide moral support.
Dillon, guesting in that Sticky Dilly Bunscrossover, is there to see what his boyfriend Jerzy is up to with Angel, but is prone to being distracted by his crush on Gary, whatever anyone may hope.
Ruby, also visiting from Sticky Dilly Buns, doesn't really want to be there, but Dillon brings her to provide some kind of cover.
Matt brings Kiley to meet his friends. Largely thanks to some slightly peculiar anonymized conversations, neither realizes that Yuki (who they both know) is in the band, that Kiley has already met Zii and DiDi briefly, and most importantly that Gary is the subject of both their sets of peculiar obsessions, which they've been helping each other work through.
Erik is now managing Pretty Boyz with Electric Toyz; his feelings for Zii since their traumatic break-up are as yet undetermined.
Gary was planning a guys' night out with Jung, and is largely oblivious to others' intentions.
Jung is there to deliver the band's stage costumes, hang out with Gary, and be snarky. He may not realize how good the opportunity is for the last.
The reason why Zii got a job in the comic book shop. Also, how else you could explain the costumes? (Strip #190, August 14, 2009, NSFW.)
Not so much a turn on, but when Gary gives Yuki a bouquet of faux flowers he made out of drumsticks and Mario mushrooms she warms up to him considerably and even starts showing genuine if platonic affection for him. Except in her erotic dreams, where he's morphed into a combination of himself and Zii.
In fact, the mutual interest between Gary and Yuki seem to be powered at least as much by their geeky turn-ons as by their respective physical attractions (although neither is exactly ugly). At their first meeting, Gary sees Yuki as like a fantasy girl out of the anime he loves, and then discovers that she's a wannabe manga writer with family connections in the industry; for her part, Yuki initially sees Gary purely as a potential professional partner, but she's pleased that he likes her father's non-porn work, and she subsequently falls for him partly because he puts up with her so well (which is arguably because he's a desperate and compliant nerd).
Generic Cuteness: Giz seems to have difficulty drawing a really unattractive character, unless it's a total grotesque like Eulice. Even Jung, the comics-store-manager geek, could be considered pleasant enough in a well-fed way, and his nameless nerd customers are just gawky adolescents. To certain extent, this is perhaps the point of the comic; it's an amiable Sex Comedy with a significant fanservice element.
Zii lands her job in the comics shop by exploiting this effect ruthlessly.
And in strip #173, July 7, 2009 (NSFW), two clothed girls hugging distract a crowd of men from a naked stripper. Though the crowd's reaction may come more from Cuteness Proximity than from Distracted by the Sexy. (The stripper manages to regain the crowd's attention in the following strip by exploiting The Sexy.)
Good Adultery, Bad Adultery: Both types (at least arguably) appear, although the comic generally has a relaxed attitude to sex and to open relationships. (On the other hand, it has few married characters.) The general assumption seems to be that cheating (in marriage or other committed relationships) is bad, but if the wronged partner subsequently cheats themselves, that's forgiveable revenge. So Angele, who had been putting up with a cheating husband for years, is in effect rescued by Zii, whereas Nathan's adultery is just part of his general obnoxiousness. (But Sonya letting herself be seduced by Zii, despite being in a relationship, is treated as just something that happens, and Amber and Dillon aren't judged much if at all for sleeping with Nathan, even though they know that he's married.)
Zii hasa pair. The trope is occasionally subverted, as the two are sometimes shownworking together. However, at other times, the devil has the angel Bound and Gagged; at others again (strip #846, February 04, 2014, NSFW), her shoulder figures are simply a pair of naked women — she's not getting any moral or immoral ideas from anywhere, she's just being driven to the point of insanity by temptation.
DiDi's bad angel gets called up for the first time since the third grade (due to her contemplating a little manipulative lesbian adventuring), and is promptly impressed by her own bust. However, it's scared off by her gigantic good angel. (DiDi sees herself as a very good person, at least at this point.) Later, her angel — operating at more normal size — actually manages to smack her hard enough to sting for having bad thoughts.
Good Bad Girl: Routinely averted, in the sense that nobody in the comic seems to bother judging any of the female characters for their (mostly very active) sex lives. Some of them are more ethical about it than others, at various times, but that's at most judged on a case-by-case basis.
Later, Yuki goes on an epic rampage after a psychotic breakdown when Sonya produced a strap-on — right after Yuki almost got over her condition enough to go down on Gary. She almost calms down, then she overhears some guys talking about art her father drew of two characters based on her having tentacle sex together...
Gary first tries to use a pillow, then, when DiDi takes it away from him (in her sleep), Lita (which, according to Zii is a really bad idea), then finally, when Zii startles him and he drops Lita, his hands.
Matt mentions the end of a funny story about Gary where he ends up using a jar of pickles this way.
Notable in that she doesn't invoke the trope until later that night ... while eating Zii out.
After that, she mentions it quite obsessively, on a daily basis. That is to say, she apparently eats girls out, on a daily basis (her boyfriend has taken to bringing other girls home for threesomes), while invoking this trope.
Sonya: Thanks to you, I eat pussy on a nightly basis!
(*CRASH* as Allie overhears and drops a pot of coffee)
Sonya: I'm... I'm really not a lesbian!
She continues to invoke it occasionally after becoming a major character in the comic, apparently classing her love for Zii as an exception (to the amused confusion of Allie, her friend and colleague), although eventually someone mentions the word "bisexual" in her hearing, and she apparently decides that this may be an acceptable label for what she is. (She's not overly bright.)
Heroic Blue Screen of Death: "Heroic" is a debatable adjective for any character in this comic, but the writers seem to like using this effect for comedy, although the blue screen effect rarely lasts very long.
DiDi can induce a BSOD in many people by walking into a room in a tight top. (Strip #10, June 06, 2008; NSFW, because it's DiDi in a tight top.) In one sequence of strips, when Zii is feeling especially susceptible and DiDi persistently fails to comprehend the problem and keeps being careless about clothing, Zii ends up in a series of incoherent blue-screen states; see, e.g., strip #854, February 22, 2014 (NSFW).
Much of the point of Kiley's character. Somewhat averted or at least played with, in that her skill at psychology is arguably rather questionable. She does do quite a lot for the seriously deranged Yuki in one month flat, and she analyses Sonya and rewires her brain in a few sentences, but she seems to suffer from intermittent wild overconfidence on the subject.
Yuki's "delusions" follow Hollywood logic. She's entirely sane (if abrasive) all of the time except for one very specific trigger, whereupon she becomes completely psychotic and violent, then snaps back to normal as if nothing has happened. It's the usual Hollywood combination of schizophrenia with dissociative identity disorder (and possibly post-traumatic stress disorder), while Flanderizing psychosis (meaning out-of-touch with reality) into rampaging violence — all frequently Played for Laughs, although the idea that Yuki is tragically nuts does sometimes arise.
The way that various mostly-sane characters hallucinate Gary's face onto other people, often during sex, is something probably not much found in the annals of realistic psychiatry, either.
For a long time, every time it seemed like Gary might get laid, Status Quo Is God came into play, preventing him enjoying even the thought of a possibility of sex, if he even made it that far. (Whenever DiDi or Zii guilt-tripped themselves into the idea of giving themselves to Gary, one talked the other out of it; Amber wanted to repay him with a threesome — but with Dillon; Yuki and Sonya fought a tug-of-war over him, etc.). He finally succeeded with Kiley of all people pouncing him when he consoled her over her failure to help Yuki.
Further to that last, though — Gary and Kiley seemed made for each other, helping each other with their insecurities and problems. It seemed they had overcome their woobie tendencies with each other, only to discover that Yuki never left the country, and so Kiley ended things for her patient's benefit.
Also, every time it seems like DiDi will finally get an orgasm, something always prevents it, like guys just being unable to satisfy her, her first time with Matt being interrupted by Zii, or Yuki kicking Matt in her psychotic rage. Her first attempt to get Gary to use the Swirly-Go-Round on her is interrupted because there are other people in the house, while her next chance with Matt ends up in lots of pain for him over some "salad oil" that wasn't. Then, when she and Matt are actually in coitus, she ruins the mood with a Wrong Name Outburst, which also makes Matt hallucinate that he is in bed with a female Gary.
It's also interestingly averted later by nurse character Peggy, who, despite being as attractive and sexually enthusiastic as most of the cast, is depicted as practical, concerned for other people's health, and obliged to work insanely long hours — a plausibly realistic nurse, in other words.
Idealized Sex: A lot of characters in this comic have a lot of good sex, some of which may tip over into idealization. For example, in strip #780 (Aug 20 2013, NSFW), Gary manages an allegedly earth-shaking performance with Senna despite being very drunk, on an aircraft seat, and potentially distracted by Senna's transsexual anatomy. However, it's possible that Senna is piling on the flattery there, and also conceivable that Gary's previous Speed Sex problem has been mitigated by the booze.
Idiot Ball: Keeps passing from one character to the next. Semi-serious fan theory has some of the cast being somewhere on the autistic spectrum, but even the brighter ones can turn stupid when the plot demands it. Sometimes, the idiocy tips over into sheer insanity, as for example when Senna interprets Gary's enthusiastic explanations of geek culture to Sandra as him attempting to sabotage Sandra's career as a favor to her.
If It's You, It's Okay: DiDi, whose sex appeal verges on the supernatural, seems to induce this in women. Early on, the straight Sandra seeks to have an affair with her (though that ends badly). Then Sonya, whose only previous lesbian interest has been in Zii (itself seeming to be a possible example of the trope), is drawn magnetically to her breasts. Then Peggy offers her Pity Sex, but admits to being quite happy to do so; while Peggy's interest in lesbian sex is normally limited, it gets a lot stronger with DiDi in prospect. Ironically, DiDi herself is rather unsure of her own sexuality, but mostly pursues men.
I'll Be in My Bunk: Zii and Gary ... play guitar and rub their earlobes in strip #319 (June 25, 2010, possibly marginally NSFW).
I'm a Man, I Can't Help It: Funnily enough, the male characters don't generally bother much with this excuse, at least on screen; Gary is just too passive and confused to make coherent excuses for his occasional, largely accidental, philandering, and Matt just knows that he's a bastard. Anyway, the female characters are just as openly controlled by their hormones. However, Zii does point out to Yuki that Gary may tend this way, which may be why Yuki isn't too surprised to find a couple of naked women in Gary's wardrobe later that evening.
The Immodest Orgasm: Very few of the cast are exactly quiet at moments of climax, and sexual activity usually seems to be audible through closed doors. The Swirly-Go-Round technique, though, amplifies this, enabling Gary to induce the effect in Amber, and later in Kiley. And Yuki. And Sonya.
Gary and Dillon were surely never meant to be, despite Dillon's hopes. Dillon admitted this early on, but couldn't stop hoping or refrain from pushing his luck with Gary.
DiDi initially thought she was entirely straight, to the frustration of bisexual Zii. Then she decided that she might be gay or more likely bi, but friend-zoned Zii. Then she decided she was pretty definitely straight. Then she got experimental again, but was too terrified by Zii's ensuing declaration of passion to follow through there, especially once they had both sobered up. But anyway, in all cases, the result is a frustrated Zii.
Yuki and Gary seemed for a while like another case in point, despite Zii's belief that Yuki was bisexual. However, Yuki started having erotic dreams about a Gender Bent rendition of Gary, and set out to resolve the issues that kept her away from men. This led in due course to a not-fully-consummated relationship, but that ended unhappily. Still, with Yuki again seeking therapy, that story may well not be over yet.
Informed Poverty: Aside from a couple of successful models, the lead characters are mostly waitresses, a call centre worker (who may be making a bit more money, but who spends it all on geeky collectibles), a comics shop assistant (hired with minimal negotiation, albeit as "counter candy"), and suchlike. But the lead trio share what looks like a nice apartment, seem to have adequate free time, and rarely worry where the next month's rent is coming from.
In Harm's Way: The comic is a comedy soap opera, with a fair number of break-ups and screaming arguments, and occasionally physical violence (usually when Yuki runs amok). But it has become clear that some of the characters like things that way.
Sonya emerged from her original life as a naive waitress to become a competitive adrenaline junkie who not only chases the exciting Zii but deliberately provokes Yuki from time to time, breaks up with Gary because she finds him too inexperienced, and seems to regard DiDi as interesting competition.
Zii, who was developing a serious relationship with Erik, kept being tempted by her "irresistible poison" Sonya and by sex goddess DiDi.
Matt, who originally seemed to be merely a compulsively promiscuous sleaze, reacted to several minutes of very real danger of having his genitals maimed by Yuki, which had left him hyperventilating in fear, by engaging in enthusiastic animalistic sex with Kiley (who had put him in that danger in the first place). Apparently, it's the thrill of risk that really turns him on. note Which may explain his inability to stay faithful to one person, and why he never locks the door while having sex in the living room; in both situations, he maybe wants the chance of getting caught — as when he had sex with Sandra in the apartment he shared with Dillon, with the door unlocked. Stretching the interpretation to the limit, this may also serve as an even deeper reason as to why he cheated on Dillon. By not telling Gary about their relationship over the course of those three months, there was an ongoing risk of Gary catching them in the act. So once Gary found out, Matt cheated on Dillon for a new thrill after the old one was gone. He may have entered that relationship purely for the risk, somehow hoping to get caught by Gary.
Intimate Psychotherapy: Kiley and Matt meet while both undergoing therapy from the same professional (for problems that have more in common than they realise), begin comparing notes constructively, and rather rapidly end up in bed together. They both refer to this as "therapy", perhaps jokingly — but they do both reckon to be getting a lot of help from it.
In Vino Veritas: When Zii and DiDi went out for a girl's night out, Zii ended up consuming many of the drinks which men were buying DiDi, to save the latter from getting too drunk. As a result, Zii, who had been struggling for weeks to be more responsible and reliable, got drunk herself and reverted to her baseline personality, eventually succumbing to the seductions of sex with other women. Sonya and (despite Zii's efforts) DiDi also got plastered that evening, leading to a mass display of Alcohol-Induced Idiocy.
Jung was prepared to give the play in which Dillon features a horrible review, but after all the entertainment from Sandra's fight with Dillon over Matt, he pronounces it the "Best. Play. Ever."
When Amber describes to Zii how wonderful she felt when Gary used the Swirly-Go-Round on her, she says it was the "Best. Orgasm. Ever." Zii gets angry because she feels Gary has been holding out on her.
Gary thinks Yuki is the "Best girlfriend ever" when she tells DiDi that she must stay naked around him all the time.
I Think You Broke Him: See strip #82, November 28, 2008. NSFW; well, the breaking trigger is the offer of a threesome.
Just Friends: Zii seems to have stuck Gary firmly into the friend zone from very early on, basically because he's such a hopeless geek. (He perhaps regards her as unattainable, if only because she's made that clear.) Her attitude towards him is mostly sisterly at best, patronising at worst. There have been hints that this might change in the future, and Zii is certainly intellectually curious about Gary's peculiar sexual talents, but at present she finds the idea of sleeping with him ridiculous.
Karma Houdini: A label often attached to various of the characters by outraged fans, only for things to get more complicated as the story progresses. "Karma" just doesn't work simply or reliably in this comic, for anyone.
For example, in early strips, the biggest misfortune that the self-indulgent trickster Zii suffers is perhaps burning her tongue once. Then, though, things get much more complicated for her, with Sonya's relentless pursuit of her eventually destroying her relationship with Erik, and then Peggy out-manipulating her. See the Characters page for details.
Yuki, DiDi, and Matt all also get away with things that would probably be punished in a more "moral" story, though again, their actions do sometimes have unreliable or disproportionate consequences.
"Anatomy lessons" — an incident that perhaps started out more as Comedic Spanking, although it's not clear that DiDi ever actually intended to chastise the bound Yuki, who she thought was a burglar.
Yuki hogties DiDi with NES controller cords and tells her she'll only be released when she admits that Gary is Yuki's boyfriend; she doesn't, so Yuki spanks her. That may be more Comedic Spanking, but then DiDi seems to be getting into it, until Zii comes in. (Strip #612, June 12, 2012, onwards — NSFW).
Gary takes this line with Yuki (strip #523, November 8, 2011, NSFW), less out of moral restraint than because her dangerous psychosis is clearly still active. He repeats the sentiment later (strip #688, December 22, 2012, NSFW), for similar reasons.
Peggy initially falls in with Sonya's plans to make her Gary's new girlfriend, but, being less drunk (and generally saner) than Sonya, she has mild second thoughtswhen she gets the chance, and suggests that she maybe ought to at least get to know Gary before having sex with him. Sonya is having none of that, however.
Little Black Dress: Several of the women in the strip employ this style from time to time:
Loads and Loads of Characters: Although the comic has, by definition, a primary cast of three, the writers have never been entirely averse to adding supporting characters, and it has been running for long enough to accumulate a fair-sized secondary cast, some of whom have ascended from bit-part status quite dramatically. Even members of the core trio can drop out of sight for many weeks of strips sometimes as the viewpoint focuses elsewhere.
Lovable Sex Maniac: Many of the characters verge in this in their better horny moments, but see especially Yuki in relation to Zii, during her early appearances. Shortly after her introduction, she demands that Zii make love to her atop Gary's unconscious body. Later, she nearly succeeds in seducing Zii by targeting her "happy fun spot", and finally succeeds by nibbling her earlobe; after which Zii gives in and "polishes her pearl".
Everyone except Dillon is attracted to DiDi. Even Eulice commented on her attractiveness.
DiDi was attracted to Sandra (but that seems to have ended); is attracted to Gary to a lesser but non-trivial extent, and became obsessed by stories of his sexual talent; dated Erik, Matt, and apparently half the other men in Montreal; had sex with Peggy; and almost had sex with Zii.
Zii had a relationship with Yuki; had sex with Amber (years ago) and Sonya (plus Sonya's then-boyfriend Jake); is possibly slightly attracted to Gary; had a relationship with Erik; and was so enthusiastic about an offer from DiDi it made her nervous.
Yuki is attracted to Zii; had a relationship with Gary; is somewhat attracted to Sonya, despite hating her; and notices DiDi as much as anyone else (and they've each chastised the other at different times, but that wasn't sexual, really).
Gary is attracted to Amber and Zii; lost his virginity to Kiley; had a slightly weird relationship with Yuki; had sex and an abortive relationship with Sonya; and had sex with Senna.
Dillon had an actual relationship with Matt, a Casting Couch relationship with Nathan, and is attracted to Gary.
Matt had relationships with Dillon and Sandra; had sex with minor characters Jordan and (in a bonus print-only story) Jake, and with Senna; dated DiDi; and had sex and has started a relationship of some kind with Kiley.
Sandra had that relationship with Matt, thought she might be interested in DiDi despite being straight, went skinny dipping (apparently platonically) with Senna, and became friendly with Gary while using him as a consultant on geek culture (and a way to wind up Senna).
Sonya was originally in a relationship with Jake; is in love with Zii; was attracted to Gary until she found what he was really like; had the comic's standard reaction to DiDi; and wasn't averse to trying to seduce Erik, largely as a means to an end but also for fun.
Amber had sex with Zii back in school; worked in porn with Chanelle; had a Casting Couch relationship with Nathan; received oral sex from Dillon once in unusual circumstances; and received oral sex from Gary once and subsequently showed an interest in more of the same, and also possibly some kind of relationship.
Senna had sex with Matt, and subsequently chased and caught Gary.
Chanelle is a professional porn actress and "not picky" in her private life, gave Gary abortive oral sex, and probably wouldn't be averse to exploring his skills.
Peggy dumped Jim to make a pass at Erik; was persuaded to go after Gary instead until he turned out to be missing; introduced DiDi to lesbian sex as an enjoyable act of sympathy; and received brief but effective oral sex from Sonya, almost by accident. (And she's an only sane woman.)
Jung is (possibly) asexual.
Eulice and Rob are never in play.
Lover Tug of War: Giz makes no secret of her fondness for Archie comics, which sometimes shows up in things like use of this trope. Note that Gary's inability to resolve situations that lead to tugs of war indicates passivity rather than chivalry.
Luminescent Blush: Occasionally used in this comic as a visual sign that a characters is embarrassed. Perhaps a little unusually, the worst sufferer may be an adult male character — Gary, as for example here. This may sometimes be a Crush Blush, or rather the embarrassment may be triggered by badly-suppressed sexual desire — the cast aren't especially prone to adolescent crushes as such.
Matt appears to be very fond of using the sofa in any residence where he gets the chance, even if a perfectly good bed is available. He also persistently neglects to lock the door. His story seems to be that he enjoys spontaneity, but it looks like he really gets off on the risk of getting caught.
In the print volume 3 bonus strips, Zii and Sonya eventually progress from heavy make-outs to oral sex in the backroom of the restaurant where Sonya works as a waitress. (The strip in question eventually appeared as the "guest" strip for November 30, 2013; NSFW, strangely enough.)
Senna and Gary have drunken sex on an aircraft — specifically, on a private jet while the cabin crew are around. Senna gets quite annoyed when they tell her to sit down and buckle up for landing. Later, after Gary dumps her, she is glimpsed apparently having rebound sex with the pilot of the same plane, presumably either on the ground or while the co-pilot is at the controls.
Manic Pixie Dream Girl: The plot and style of this comic mean that this trope was bound to appear and recur quite frequently, but simply because it is such a natural part of the story so much of the time, it ends up being deconstructed, perhaps accidentally. Zii is the primary candidate for the role, and it's likely a large part of her self-image. She shakes up the lives of Gary, Sonya, and Angele, and to a lesser extent DiDi, and it's clear that Erik sees her very much as some kind of manic pixie fantasy. However, her manic pixie actions eventually have consequences, largely in the form of Sonya, who becomes infatuated with her. There are hints that her past relationship with Yuki may have followed a similar path.
Gary, for his part, is practically manic pixie bait, attracting not only Zii (as a friend) but also the dangerously deranged Yuki, the ditzy Sonya (briefly), and the narcissistic Senna. However, although he's the sort of man who dreams of having a manic pixie make his life more interesting, he has two problems; first, none of those girls get the trope quite right, but second and more seriously, he seems to be totally incapable of learning the sort of life lessons that a Manic Pixie Dream Girl is supposed to teach.
Early on, Zii volunteers to play Cupid for Gary. Unfortunately, she apparently keeps forgetting about this. Her one serious effort, introducing him to Sonya, is also intended to help Sonya find a new relationship — probably well-meant, but also serving the double purpose of getting the increasingly infatuated Sonya off Zii's neck. (Which doesn't work out too well.) Later, as Gary stumbles into various relationships largely by accident, Zii evidently decides that her help is no longer needed — until the night when she realises that Gary is currently unattached, and resolves to help DiDi get him. Which also doesn't work out as intended.
Sonya, very drunk, slightly irritated, and maybe bored because her attempts to seduce Erik are going nowhere, gets talking to Peggy, who's just dumped her boyfriend Jim, and promptly decides to help Peggy's love life by introducing her to Gary, on the logical basis that Peggy wants cunnilingus and that's the one thing that Sonya knows Gary is good for. Funnily enough, this is the same night as Zii decides to bring Gary and DiDi together, as mentioned above. In the end, it turns out that Gary isn't home, and things kind of go downhill from there.
Peggy, being kept awake every night by Sonya talking in her sleep about her soap-operatic issues with Zii, decides in sleep-deprived desperation to solve the problem by bringing the pair together properly. Unfortunately, she perhaps misunderstands the nature of Sonya and Zii's actual relationship, and decides that she can accomplish this by faking a relationship of her own with Sonya so that Zii will become jealous. Hilarity Ensues.
In a guest strip (August 2 2010, between #333 and #334, NSFW), Dillon claims to have joined it ... in the cockpit.
After having sex with Senna on a private jet, Gary asks if they've joined the club. (Strip #780, August 20th 2013, NSFW funnily enough. And the answer would be "yes"; penetration had occurred, and although the aircraft is on its landing approach before they really finished, they must have been at least a mile high when they started.)
Subsequently, on the rebound from Gary, Senna is seen (strip #821, December 03, 2013, NSFW) having sex with one of the crew on that same aircraft. Altitude at the time unstated.
Milholland Relationship Moment: Zii confesses to Gary that he broke his rare Transformers figure... which he immediately puts back together, good as new.
Gary: Trolling's a fishing term. It means to lure a fish in with bait. He baited you until you bit, and then you were hooked, which got you caught, and then you were banned like a halibut.
Mistaken for Gay: Amber thinks Gary is gay when he comes to her and Dillon's apartment so that the latter can teach him more about the Swirly-Go-Round (mostly because of Dillon's unreliable descriptions of Gary). This changes to "bi-curious" when Gary mentions that he wants to use the swirly with girls, and she decides to trick him into doing it on her.
Mistaken Identity: Amber inexplicably assumes that DiDi is Gary's abusive girlfriend "Yuki" when she meets them. She leaves before this can be clarified. This mistake has yet to have any major consequences; Amber swore to free Gary from said abusive girlfriend, but seems to have put that mission on hold (and now has a lead role in another comic anyway).
Sonya arrived (due to Zii trying to throw Gary aboner) just as Yuki was volunteering to model at least topless for him.
It seemed at one point that everything in the world was conspiring to keep Matt from giving DiDi a toe-curling orgasm, from nosy roommates to Japanese girls afraid of penises and accidents with chilli sauce.
Even Gary, supposedly a total geek, is usually described as cute by both other characters and readers, with or without a shirt. His bleary eyes and bed hair when he woke up in Paris for the first time (strip #783, August 27 2013, borderline NSFW) inspired some comments on the comic's discussion boards.
Domenico Pedrazzini, as seen here, verges on a parody of the trope.
My Girl Is a Slut: Erik seems to be quite attracted by Zii's history of free-spirited promiscuity (see. e.g., strip #738, May 07, 2013, NSFW), although he maybe thinks more about her lesbian adventures, and he apparently wants or prefers her to be monogamous now.
Naked Apron: Something of a favourite gag/sexy effect in this comic:
Dillon wears one for Zii (strip #154, May 22, 2009, NSFW).
One strip (#191, August 17, 2009, NSFW) has Matt wearing one for Sandra, though the badminton racket might be a partial motivator there too.
DiDi wears one during her date with Sandra (starting with strip #431, March 28, 2011, NSFW).
Peggy employs one while trying to make Zii jealous over Sonya (strip #835, January 09, 2014, NSFW).
Naughty Under the Table: Yuki and Gary take this to the extreme when she insists that he use the Swirly-Go-Round on her while they are in a restaurant.
Nipple and Dimed: A rarity among webcomics, this one actually contains a fair bit of nudity, including nipples (and areola, which is even rarer). It still uses a Scenery Censor or Speech-Bubble Censoring to hide anything full frontal, however. In fact, the trope was played straight early on; only later did the authors decide it was too much work and start showing nipples. You wouldn't notice going through the archives though, as they edited away some of the more dubious instances of censorship.
No Bisexuals: Despite the Everyone Is Bi effects mentioned above, some of the characters seem to think that this trope applies, sometimes in defiance of all the evidence.
Dillon classes himself as gay, even though he does stuff like rolling around naked with Zii, and he slept with two girls back in high school.
Dillon: ... but that was a threesome, so it only counts as one!
We do see this "threesome" later in the comic, and it's not as impressive it sounds.
Also, note thar he rolls naked with Zii ... in a pile of photos of naked guys. His pictures, that were wrinkled from him doing this so much. So really, yes, he's gay.
DiDi doesn't seem aware of the concept of bisexuality until Zii sets her strai— explains it to her.
...And she in turn later mentions it to the obviously bisexual Sonya, who latches onto it with enthusiasm because it allows her to be in love with Zii without being a lesbian.
No Name Given: Some of the cast's surnames remain persistently unrevealed. This doesn't seem to be a matter of systematic secrecy; it's just that characters are usually referred to by their first names or nicknames, except in situations where their surnames would just naturally be used. See the Characters page for individual examples.
DiDi has little or none, at least to the point of assuming that everyone sleeps in the nude. Her own "bathrobe" consists of a skimpy babydoll and a thong.
Of course, her assumption is right, at least in that household — even Gary, who for a time kept finding a gay man in his bed, didn't slip into a pair of sweats.
After she modelled naked for Gary at Yuki's request, Yuki asked her to be naked around Gary all the time. She acted innocent while agreeing, saying that she'd do it if it would help his art, although clearly she was still hoping to seduce him to experience his Swirly-Go-Round technique.
Matt and Senna don't bother with putting any clothes on when Sandra walks in on them having sex, although they do for Gary (in order to keep him from lapsing into a coma). Much later, in strip #815 (November 12, 2013, NSFW), Senna casually strips naked (with astonishing speed) rather than have Gary see her in unfashionable underwear.
Noodle Implements: In strip #161 (June 08, 2009; NSFW), Matt suggests to Sandra that they have a sexual encounter including a badminton racket, Tabasco sauce and Paddington Bear. Funnily enough, at least two of these items do appear in later strips.
Not a Date: When Sandra offers to take DiDi out for a dinner as friends, she interprets it as a date. Sandra, who is unaware that DiDi has a crush on her, doesn't catch on, even when she learns that they will go to a romantic restaurant; she thinks that DiDi has "so few female friends, she thinks girls' night outs are like her regular dates". When DiDi kisses her at the end, she's utterly shocked.
On her first appearance, Yuki sits astride Gary's face and then get handcuffed to him. That part isn't his fault; admittedly, he does then deliberately grope her breast while she's unconscious, but he's honestly convinced that she must be a figment of his imagination at the time. Then he finds himself lying on top of her, panting, just as she recovers consciousness. Much of this happens in public, but the real problem is Yuki's psychotic issues; this incident almost gets Gary killed.
Another spectacular case occurs in the strip #671 (November 13, 2012, NSFW). When Chanelle walks into a room to discover Amber and Gary both naked, and Dillon also present (but dressed), she instantly concludes that Amber must have got back into porn work. (Don't ask about the absence of cameras or film crew.) This probably wouldn't matter much, if she didn't also instantly volunteer to serve as Gary's fluffer, and start acting on the offer.
Later, Sonya does indeed do much the same thing, even more flagrantly (strip #676, November 24, 2012, NSFW).
Old Shame: Occurs in-universe. Gary feels this way about his past as an internet troll. Also, Zii suffers at least a brief twinge of guilt when she recalls her past borderline-Casting Couch approach to recruitment for her band, and hastily changes the subject (strip #605, May 24, 2012, somewhat NSFW).
Omake: Comics appear on pay site Slipshine with more explicit full-frontal nudity and sexual situations.
One Degree of Separation: Gary meets Zii and DiDi, who thus meet Gary's old roommates Matt and Dillon, and then Gary meets Yuki who is Zii's stalker and who ends up liking him, DiDi works with Sandra who becomes Matt's girlfriend and then Dillon becomes roommates with Amber who happens to be Gary's favorite porn star and then Sandra and Gary meet Senna who is Matt's friend and then Erik who is DiDi's ex-boyfriend falls in love with Zii and then Gary performs oral sex on Amber and Sonya who Zii seduced is set up to date Gary in competition with Yuki so together they decide to three-way him but Yuki needs to deal with her tentacle/penis fear and gets Kiley to help her which leads Gary to meet Kiley when Yuki leaves her phone lying around and oh no, I've gone cross-eyed ... and then Kiley jumps Gary ... and Zii was Amber's first lover in high school. And Sandra goes to Brazil with Senna and then to Paris, where Gary and Senna encounter her, while Kiley meets Matt at a ranch which may or may not be Erik's family place, and Sonya meets Peggy and tries to introduce her to Gary but Peggy ends up in bed with DiDi instead before she begs couch space for a few nights from Sonya...
One Steve Limit: Averted by the presence of Sandra, Sonya, and Senna. (And a Suzi, but everyone calls her "Zii".) The occasional confusion resulting on discussion boards may be as good a demonstration as any of why the rule is a good idea. For bonus points, some posters seem to insist on referring to Sonya as "Sonja".
Zii notes in an early strip that her real name is Suzi, but nobody ever calls her that. Strictly speaking, "Zii" is just a contraction of Suzi, but it's unusual enough to count. Her last name is only revealed much later.
Everybody calls DiDi solely by that nickname — except Sandra, who usually calls her Desirée. Again, "DiDi" is a sort of contraction of her real name, but it's both slightly unusual and highly descriptive.
A one-character-only version; Gary was originally referred to by Yuki solely as "Violator-San". However, after he gave her flowers (made out of Mushrooms and drum sticks), she started calling him by his real name. Or not.
Junghan and Amber have both played this part. However, Junghan never became as well-established a cast member as was probably intended, while Amber has her own eccentricities, and anyway she later mostly moved to the spinoff comic, Sticky Dilly Buns. Allie sometimes looks like an only sane woman when she's talking to her colleague Sonya.
Gary might be this if he wasn't so often the Butt Monkeyand/or the Accidental Pornomancer. However, he has his own issues that might exclude him from the role anyway.
New character Peggy demonstrates how this trope is performed here. A little later, in the May 09, 2013 strip (#739, NSFW), she perhaps realises that she's got the job. Her first scenes (including dumping a bowl of pasta over her boyfriend's head in the course of breaking up with him) suggest a degree of flakiness of her own, but by the standards of the comic, she seems to be a beacon of sanity.
Operation Jealousy: One is executed with uncommon skill — indeed, with manipulative genius by the usual standards of this comic — by Peggy on behalf of Sonya, under the name ''Operation "Hey, Jealous Zii."'' Unfortunately, she's running on flawed prior intelligence, but her plan may work even so; she wants to get Sonya and Zii together, and Zii proves susceptible to her mind games. Weirdly, all Peggy actually wants is to improve Sonya's love life enough that Sonya stops having loud soap-operatic dreams, because they're currently platonically sharing a bed, and Sonya is keeping Peggy awake. (Peggy may also feel that she's working off a debt of gratitude to Sonya.) Switching Sonya's bass guitar for a snow shovel, pulling off a naked apron show, and baking high-quality cupcakes, are all far less zany elements to the scheme than they sound. The only snag, apart from her unreliable prior information, is that she has to work with Sonya.
Orphaned Punchline: "And then Gary comes out of the bathroom ... wearing only a jar of pickles!" (Strip #458, May 30, 2011, NSFW.)
Parental Abandonment: Almost seems to be the norm in this comic. Logically, most of the cast of twentysomething characters would be expected to have living parents, and occasionally to talk to them, visit, receive visits from family, or whatever. But the only cast members with whom the subject has been raised are Gary, who describes himself as having escaped an oppressive religious upbringing, Sandra, who made a very brief reference to a visit by her mother, and Amber, whose parents were said in passing to be wealthy doctors, and who has admitted that she hasn't yet been able to tell them about her porn career. (In the spinoff comic Sticky Dilly Buns, her sister has shown up, and her lack of communication with their parents has become a minor plot point.) The rest of them just seem to be floating free.
Pinch Me: When Gary wakes up handcuffed to Yuki, he deduces that he's dreaming, so he tries to wake himself up by supplying his brain with a sensation that it can't replicate — groping her breast. Then he realizes that he's awake. This moment has Fridge Brilliance attached; he HAS groped breasts before, but not when he was awake — only when Zii and DiDi slept in his bed after he'd already passed out.
Lampshaded and averted when DiDi decides to deflower the hopeless virgin Gary. Various mishaps prevent her from doing so; later, Zii explains to her that she shouldn't do that, because Gary would associate sex with being pathetic. (Some readers suspect that this is also because she wants DiDi for herself, though note that, much later, Zii actively attempts to throw DiDi at the no-longer-so-virginal Gary.)
Much later, the trope is played (relatively) straight by Peggy, who offers DiDi sex out of pity for the latter's failure ever to achieve orgasm.
Poor Communication Kills: Much of the plotting around the time of the band's first gig was built around this trope. For example, Kiley and Matt had an affair that included mutual therapy sessions in which each dealt with some problems they'd had with other people — without ever mentioning those people's names, which would have allowed them to discover that they had several shared acquaintances. Then they went to the gig and met those people. Likewise, DiDi and Peggy managed to have a conversation about the former's previous and current boyfriends, without ever mentioning their names, with hilarious results. If they could all use personal names a bit more often, life would be much easier for them.
Porn Names: Amber previously worked as Amber-Amber, and Chanelle is Chanelle Numberfine.
These twin tropes are discussed in this strip and the one immediately following; Gary and Zii agree that they prefer porn with plot (although Zii for one seems to be amused by the sheer badness of porn plots), while implicitly acknowledging that some doesn't have any.
The subject is later also evoked in gags about Amber's past career; some of her work seems to have had plots, if only because the references can be made funnier that way — see, e.g., strip #652 (September 29, 2012, NSFW).
While it may be trying too hard to fit this trope to the comic's central characters, the fact remains that the menage fits the Big, Thin, Short Trio pattern (DiDi, Gary, and Zii respectively), and has strong hints of the Freudian Trio, with Zii as the self-indulgent Id, DiDi as the undirected Ego, and Gary as the consciously moralistic Superego. (Or, perhaps, DiDi as the vital but unthinking Id and Zii as the relatively balanced Ego.)
Also, the band (eventually named "Zii and the Troublemakers" when they finally suddenly realise that they need a name) is a classic Rock Trio (qv.). It doesn't quite fit other forms of power trio, except perhaps a twisted version of With a Friend and a Stranger (Zii having very accidentally recruited her old friend Yuki and slightly newer problem Sonya).
Practice Kiss: Gary, who had never kissed a girl, asked his (Camp Gay) friend Dillon for help. Dillon obliged by offering a practice kiss while cosplaying as Gary's favorite porn star, Amber-Amber, to help Gary get over his gender. This got strange when Gary actually met Amber and mistook her for Dillon, and she, to recreate the orgasm Dillon previously gave her (long story), blindfolded him so she could get him unknowingly "practising" between her legs.
Likewise, Yuki would almost certainly either be in jail for multiple assault offenses or forcibly institutionalized if she wasn't a main character. She doesn't just attack people she knows; she's been known to run down the street kicking every man she sees in the groin.
Sandra was on that plane. She was said to be set to come back to Montreal, but only after "several weeks". Given the short timeframe of the events in the strip, that always looked likely to take a while. In the end, after appearing in a few strips (mostly drawn by a guest artist), she got her own comic, Sandra On The Rocks. However, she then reappeared in the original comic at the very end of volume 5.
Likewise, Senna was on the same plane, and also appeared in those guest strips. She had a promise of a date with Gary, and occasionally sent him letters (and boudoir photographs of herself) to remind him, but this date too was a long time coming. Then she reappeared alongside Sandra, before a flashback revealed that she'd specifically claimed that date, and she re-entered the main plot of the comic with a bang (so to speak).
Everything involving Amber and Dillon's producer, Nathan, if only because he exploits his money and power so shamelessly. He certainly uses the Casting Couch to get sex, but the wannabe actors who fall for this aren't being flagrantly coerced. They are rather gullible, but so are a lot of this comic's cast.
Zii convinces two drunken straight men to perform an unspecified sexual act on each other; she talks about them "getting it on" the morning after, although Erik, at least, is anything but bothered. Zii also seems to have used borderline Casting Couch methods when recruiting musicians for her past bands, though as with Nathan above, the people who fell for that weren't actually being coerced.
Amber, thinking Gary is Dillon's boyfriend, and him thinking she's Dillon in a costume, blindfolds him and has him Practice Kiss her loins.
Dillon has been around almost as much as Zii, but not on-camera.
The trope gets a non-standard treatment with DiDi. Her harem of boyfriends runs into the dozens (none of whom satisfy her sexually), she may shrug and say "I've had him" at a male stripper in a randomly chosen club without surprising anyone — but she is in many ways the purest of all the major characters. If someone called her a slut as if it was an insult, she'd be extremely confused. And unfortunately for her, she doesn't come around.
Matt seems to have a different partner every time we see him, although he later gets into a couple of slightly more stable relationships.
Implied with Jordan.
Recurring Extra: The blonde guy at the comics store, and also the guy who works at the desk next to Gary (though he gets one or two speech and thought bubbles).
Right Through the Wall: Pretty much taken for granted as part of sex in the setting. It seems that every coupling includes at least one screamer.
Gary and Zii have to listen to DiDi and Erik; they eventually escape into a coffee shop.
A frustrated and eventually angry Gary hears Zii and Yuki.
In the strip's past, Matt and Dillon had sex to the sound of Gary's masturbation and tape recorded it for future use.
DiDi comes home to an earful of Kiley's second orgasm and unrehearsed testimony as to Gary's prowess.
Zii and Sonya hear Yuki's very intense orgasm, once again serving as testimony to Gary's skill.
Rock Trio: The band (eventually named "Zii and the Troublemakers" when they finally suddenly realise that they need a name) has Zii on guitar, Sonya on bass and lead vocals, and Yuki on drums.
R-Rated Opening: The comic is pretty mild-mannered and good-humored, really, but it's definitely rated R — and the first ever strip features NSFW gay sex, so no one can say that they were suckered in under false pretenses.
Rule of Sexy: Much of the comic's world runs on this. DiDi's enormous breasts, completely natural and free of sagging, are a key example, though far from the only one.
People walking in on Matt having sex on the couch is the comic's primary example. It quickly got to the stage of being lampshaded, in the sense that Matt and his partners will comment on his failure to use door locks.
DiDi's inability to keep track of her boyfriends would also count, though it faded slightly after a while.
People hallucinating Gary in place of other people's faces has threatened to fall into the category.
Dream sequences often feature at least one character getting gender-flipped, usually Gary.
Savvy Guy, Energetic Girl: This trope is repeatedly evoked but then deconstructed, mostly by Gary's relationships. He is "savvy" in the sense of being deeply knowledgeable concerning geeky matters, but not by any other definition of the word, while virtually any woman in the comic is energetic in comparison to him.
His relationship with Yuki seems to fit the trope, but hits the problem that Yuki isn't just energetic, she's flat-out and dangerously crazy.
His affair with Sonya rapidly collapses because she is passionate, with a love of excitement and novelty — things Gary is very much lacking in the ways she wants, leading her to dump him out of sheer boredom.
Senna energetically drags him onto a flight to Paris and seduces him, but she has no respect at all for his brand of savviness.
His so-far-platonic friendship with Sandra (mostly depicted in Sandra On The Rocks) actually invokes the trope quite strongly, in that Sandra respects and needs Gary for his savviness in the geek world, and energetically pushes him into pursuing a career in video games (and into Domenico's drinks cabinet).
The one exception is Gary's brief fling with Kiley, who is far more savvy than him.
And for variety — Erik seems to see his relationship with Zii in terms of this trope, but fails to anticipate the implications.
Saying Too Much: After Zii breaks one of Gary's Transformers and learns that it was a very rare Overlord, she tries to pin the blame on a cleaning woman she invented: "Tragic, I know. Poor Overlord ... never knew what hit him!" Gary than asks how she knew it was Overlord.
Scenery Censor: Flat-out abused at times, although the most obvious examples were edited out of the archived versions of the strips. Breasts and buttocks are fair game, though.
Sex as Rite-of-Passage: Subverted. Gary starts the story as a desperate virgin, and for a long time his personal story seems to be emulating this standard plot type. But then the story twists around (or the writers get bored with keeping Gary frustrated), and it becomes clear that Gary's real problem isn't that he's a virgin, it's that he's ... Gary. (In terms that he himself would understand, his virginity is at most a Disc One Final Boss.) And characters who have sex, perhaps even regularly, can have just as many problems, and be just as desperate, as virgins.
Sex Comedy: A lot of the point, a lot of the time, though arguably handled with some lightness of touch and irony. For example, the central protagonist's quest to get laid sometimes seemed to be forgotten — and then, when he succeeded, sex proved not to be as much of a rite of passage for him as anyone expected.
Sex Equals Love: Largely averted, but occasionally played with. Most of the cast have sex-for-fun quite often, and are clear that this doesn't have to mean that they're in love with the other person. However, this may sometime means that they underestimate the emotional significance of the act. Zii suffers from this the most; Yuki, Sonya, and Erik all become infatuated after flings with her, and whether or not this is due to her talent in bed, all three definitely think of it as love. Zii doesn't seem to return the feeling with Yuki or Sonya, but the only way that she can deal with the problem is by running and hiding from them. Then Peggy's Operation Jealousy attack triggers an outburst from Zii that implies that she does want to feel that these past conquests still love her. She does feel something for Erik, but can't then handle her attraction to other people properly, leading to trouble.
Sex Is Cool: This appears to be a theme of the comic, what with every major character except the hapless geek having lots of sex and generally thinking that they're cool and all, but the trope is actually averted over the course of the story. Sexually active minor characters like Nathan can be uncool, the seemingly sexless Jung can be an Only Sane Man, some characters are unhappy with their sex lives, and when the hapless geek gets laid — repeatedly — it doesn't make him any cooler at all.
Sex Is Good: Generally assumed by most of the characters, and the comic generally portrays sexual relationships in a positive light. However, they can sometimes lead to difficulties and messy complications — although these are generally treated in light comedy style.
She Is All Grown Up: DiDi's personal bad angel. "Wow! I don't think you've called on me since the 3rd grade... Holy crap! Check out the rack on me!" And that's nothing compared to her good angel, which has grown into a towering amazon — which is saying something, given DiDi's already considerable height.
Ship Sinking: Sandra and DiDi showed enough interest in each other to launch a very large fan ship. Then they actually tried sleeping together, and the ship sank catastrophically with all hands. Other possible relationships within the comic have perhaps been teased with varying levels of plausibility, but that one was comprehensively annihilated.
Shirtless Scene: Everyone, frequently. (Not just the men, but this is defined as a males-only trope.) Matt maybe gets the most; he is an underwear model, after all.
Gary's former roommates are named Matt and Dillon. Matt? Dillon? Huh...
For that matter, late-introduced character Peggy has a name which many readers assume is a callback to Penny and Aggie, on which Giz formerly worked. Especially as a drunken Sonya garbled it appropriately.
Zii wants to be called "Rico" when she's getting spanked (strip #188, August 10, 2009, NSFW).
Deadpool's wave of Wolverine Publicity got referenced when Gary tried to explain picking up a "girly" comic with "It's a Deadpool variant!"
Aside from the art, the Archie Comics references are also numerous: Betty and Veronica get mentioned ("Archie's marrying Betty AND Veronica?"), Sandra has been compared to Archie, and the comics themselves occasionally appear on-panel. Possibly a nod to Giz's sometime employer: she's drawn issues for Archie.
All of the characters seem to use snippets of real songs as ringtones on their mobile 'phones, providing shout-outs to the bands in question. (These ringtones often seem to be personalised to the specific callers, which can make for subtle jokes or callbacks to earlier strips. For example, Erik discovered Zii's liking for Cheap Trick the first time they met, took her to a gig shortly afterwards, and set his 'phone to plays their "I Want You to Want Me" when she called.)
Zii's hoped-for soapy hug from DiDi is intercepted (strip #186, August 05, 2009, NSFW).
Sandra's stint in the shower with DiDi was much more innocent than anyone eavesdropping their conversation would have believed (strip #240, December 18, 2009).
Gary's shower with Amber comes closest, but is interrupted just as it's getting really interesting (strips #662-666, October 23-November 01, 2012, NSFW).
Zii is working hard to restrain her lust for DiDi. Then the latter, who knows about the problem, nonetheless disregard Zii's feelings it in her haste to shower for work, leaving Zii making strange noises. (Strip #853, February 20, 2014, NSFW ironically enough.)
Shower Scene: Too many to count, and usually notable for featuring uninterrupted views of breasts and butts.
Skinship Grope: The female characters seem to end up sharing showers or just blundering in on each other in there fairly often, sometimes leading to invocations of this trope, usually with DiDi and usually fairly innocently. (It couldn't possibly be fanservice, could it?) See, for example, July 30, 2008 (strip #33, amazingly enough NSFW). It's a lot less innocent for Zii than for DiDi there, mind. DiDi also suffers from other women who just can't resist checking whether they're real in other circumstances; both Amber and Sonya have done so, and she implies it's happened before.
One could argue part of the reason Gary liked Kiley so much is she's about the only woman in his dating life who doesn't manifest this trope.
Slapstick: Not actually a terribly common source of comedy in this comic, but used occasionally, perhaps especially in early strips; see, for example, this one.
Sleeps with Everyone but You: Zii and DiDi are both very promiscuous, but for much of the comic's run, neither of them would sleep with Gary (or with each other, despite Zii's fervent wishes). Both came close, only to step back, primarily because they didn't want Gary to think desperation was the key to getting laid. However, much of that time, the only person giving Gary any sort of tutoring on the practical side of sexual interaction seemed to be Dillon, which made some readers feel that Zii was useless in her self-appointed "wing-girl" status, cementing the applicability of this trope in their minds.
DiDi's feelings on the matter changed after she overheard Gary make Kiley lose her mind, but complications ensued — although Zii encouraged her to pursue the option at times. Zii may occasionally have been tempted to change her position on this as Gary became more clearly a sexually active being, but made it clear in conversation with Amber that she saw Gary as too much like a brother to her, or perhaps as just too geeky. Gary, naturally, has always been completely clueless.
Zii's hopes of bedding DiDi were rekindled at least once, but it became clear that DiDi is only interested in lesbian experimentation as part of her desperate search for an orgasm, so Zii seems to have given up on that dream.
Strip #750 (June 4, 2013; nonetheless NSFW) uses this. It's maybe doubly necessary and doubly funny here because Senna is a transsexual, and casual readers may not realise exactly what they're not seeing.
Strip #756 (June 20, 2013, probably NSFW) also uses this. The added twist here is that Yuki can apparently see the thing which is covered by the speech bubble (confirmed in later strips), which would previously just have meant chaos, but which actually leads to an interesting character development for her.
Strip #780 (August 20, 2013; again NSFW) is another example, again with the twist that it's Senna whose "modesty" is protected.
Allegedly the only kind of sex DiDi has ever had, though this seems to be contradicted by at least one strip, and things are certainly different with at least one of her later partners. Still, it's a big problem for her.
Gary's first time lasts for 43 seconds. Later, he allegedly gets up to 45.
Tatiana thinks a Squee! while fantasising about Domenico in the "Sandra Interlude" guest strip #1 (April 02, 2013, marginally NSFW).
Gary is usually relatively reserved, or at least un-shrill, for a hopeless geek, but every now and again he slips, notably when Sandra models a videogame character, demonstrating all the symptoms except the specific sound effect — and one can guess that's present in his tone of voice.
Zii apparently has an aura which warps everyone around her into bisexuality. Can she really be that good? Noted cases include Sonya (a random waitress who ended up transformed into a second-string character) and an Internet Troll's mother.
Lampshaded (and parodied) in the "Bonularity" guest strip; the three lead characters are apparently going to be the focal point of an event causing every single person in Montreal to have sex with everybody else.
Gary becomes the object of both Sonya's and Yuki's attentions. To settle which one should get him, they decide to have a "sex contest", in which they date him for a month, then have a threesome with him, and he then picks one. This fails to resolve the problem, but then Gary accidentally takes a third option by losing his virginity to Kiley, Yuki's "therapist," who pounces him after he tries to console her about messing up with Yuki.
Played for Laughs a bit more when Gary and Senna meet Sandra in Paris. Senna and Sandra argue over whether to involve Gary in real (Senna) or geek (Sandra) culture. Gary suggests that both can be accomplished, by going to Brussels. (He has his own logic there.) Neither of the women takes it well.
Team Mom: Whenever DiDi or Zii slide into Jerkassitude the other leans toward this. Later, new character Peggy seems to reflexively take this job.
Teeth-Clenched Teamwork: Zii and the Troublemakers, the comic's resident rock band, apparently more or less runs on this. Yuki and Sonya can't stand each other (though Sonya quite enjoys provoking Yuki), and Zii finds both of them stressful to work with for various reasons — but they all enjoy being in the band.
Tempting Fate: Sandra gets carried away in an argument with Senna here, and suffers the comedy consequences.
Those Two Guys: Zii's flashbacks to previous escapades sometimes include two recurring characters, members of the band she used to be in. They generally go unnamed, although their names (James and Martin) can actually be deduced with a little digging, especially if one has access to the bonus strips in the print collections of the comic.
A Threesome Is Hot/Manly: See the examples listed for Three-Way Sex below, many of which are viewed as more or less hot, and with the Double Standard often averted. Occasionally, this trope and the double standard may deconstructed or subverted; for example, Amber offers Gary a threesome, and he's open to it until he realises that it'll involve Dillon rather than a second woman, and he'd be expected to do things with the other man, at which he goes from nervousness to Heroic BSOD.
Three-Way Sex: Occurs from time to time, with the Double Standarddefinitelyaverted; most possible permutations can and do happen. The men involved in the M-M-F groupings are sometimes twitchy about doing anything sexual with another man involved, but may get over it. Many but not all involve the often-busy Zii. Some go badly, some don't.
Flashbacks shows Zii's foursome with (male) triplets (exhausting) and her threesome with two male former band-mates (abortive due to male-male hang-ups).
Another flashback shows Zii's abortive attempt to organise a surprise six-way orgy for Yuki, which ran into the problem of the latter's phobias.
Zii gets a threesome with Sonya and Jake. The night ends badly, but no one is objecting at the start — and Jake subsequently develops an excessive taste for (mostly off-screen) group sex.
Matt manages to bag two cast members (one male, one female) from Dillon's play, simultaneously.
Nathan organises an encounter between himself, Amber, and Dillon (in drag), though he mainly just watches.
Zii gets Erik and Adrien into bed simultaneously, the first night that they all meet.
Amber offers Gary a threesome, and he fantasises about her and Chanelle. Unfortunately, she means with her and Dillon, which isn't to Gary's tastes, so that fantasy quickly ends.
Yuki and Sonya's "sex contest" for Gary's favours ends in a (pre-arranged) three-way encounter which ends when Yuki's issues kick in, again.
Zii, Sonya, DiDi, and Peggy, wind up in what has to be called a lesbian orgy, although that's mostly about two pairs at any given moment.
Yuki shows strong shades of this from the beginning with the "emergency handcuffs" she always carries. Later, when DiDi mistakes her for a burglar and ties her up with bedsheets, she tells DiDi to tighten the knots and asks Gary for some clothespins. Zii confirms that this is typical Yuki.
Translation Convention: Used with DiDi's French and Yuki's Japanese (brackets around English text). Averted with Senna's Portuguese (the forum provided translations have been copied to the trivia page).
Transparent Closet: At different times, both Nathan and Sonya fervently deny being gay, despite enthusiastically engaging in completely consensual gay sex and not hiding the fact very well from the people to whom they're talking. Actually, both seem to be functionally bisexual, but... It's Played for Laughs, of course.
Zii — not only in reality, but actually as a triplet foursome.
Nathan tries to invoke it by having Dillon dress up as Amber-Amber and inviting Amber herself to their "session". He says he doesn't want to make two actual sisters have sex — a case of Even Evil Has Standards, apparently — but he seems to think that this is just as good.
Two Decades Behind: For a comic about 21st century twentysomethings, some of them playing in a band, this one makes an awful lot of references to '70s/'80s hair-rock/Glam Rock acts. And while the characters use mobile 'phones and even computers, at least one of them uses snail mail when e-mail would do the job fine.
Unkempt Beauty: This tends to appear as a result of the art style. There are occasions when Zii or Gary wake up hungover and frazzled, and some of the fans get ... enthusiastic. Senna, who usually wears her hair in a heavily styled bob, can be even more distracting for some with bed hair or fresh from the shower. See for example strip #783 (August 27 2013, borderline NSFW).
"Wow! Dinah looks like a man without her wig!" ...Wait a minute. Technically speaking, this strip doesn't really fit the trope definition, because sexual attraction wasn't directly involved; however, several characters are nonetheless unsettled by the reveal in various ways. It's complicated.
A variant treatment of the trope subsequently appears with regard to the transsexual Senna, who presents as a very attractive woman — with a penis. On her first appearance, in strip #400 (January 14, 2011) onward (all definitely NSFW), both Sandra and Gary are startled to see her naked; Sandra merely needs a stiff drink, but Gary, who clearly finds Senna highly attractive, especially when she starts flirting heavily with him, is rendered nearly comatose. Much later, in strips from #770 onwards, Gary gets into a relationship with Senna, has sex with her while he's drunk, and then freaks out over her anatomy when he sobers up — sometimes quite dramatically when he's suddenly reminded (e.g. strip #815, November 12, 2013, NSFW).
Unsympathetic Comedy Protagonist: All of the characters in this comic are flawed in one way or another, and most of them will do morally questionable things to get something that they want badly enough, lack much self-control, or are just too dim to anticipate the consequences of their actions. This leads to a certain amount of dissonance for some readers, who describe it as a comic about horrible, unsympathetic people. Others say "fallible" rather than "horrible", and claim to find almost all the cast more sympathetic as a result. There may be a certain amount of Screw the Rules, I'm Beautiful/Draco in Leather Pants involved in this, too; this is an uncommonly good-looking collection of characters, and the ones who are shown most critically are perhaps the slightly less good-looking ones.
Gary partly averts this by virtue of being a mild-mannered geek and frequently seeming like a Nice Guy, but his passivity and tendency to self-pity manage to annoy many readers regardless.
DiDi seemed at the start to be sweetly innocent, in her way, and hence sympathetic, but she seemingly changed for the worse as her sexual frustration got worse. But then again, she always treated her boyfriends casually badly and had difficulty understanding other people's feelings; the "change" may just have been these tendencies coming to the fore. Arguably, at the worst, she's mixed up, and has been driven crazy by frustration. But she's definitely imperfect.
Unusual Euphemism: In general, this comic doesn't bother much with euphemisms; it's not unduly crude, but if characters are talking about sex, they call it sex. But...
And then, Matt and Kiley started providing each other with informal psychotherapy — while at the same time, very frequently banging each other's brains out, allegedly as part of the process. Hence, "therapy" and "therapist" rapidly became joke euphemisms in relation to those two.
Unwanted Harem: Gary ends up in a version of this situation. In fact, given the comic's extensive and conscious use of manga tropes, his plot strands in later volumes could be seen as a tribute to or parody of the Harem Genre.
At one point, he seemed to have feelings primarily for Yuki, but there were multiple problems with this. In the end, he found that he couldn't tell her that he loved her with any conviction, and she dropped him (possibly temporarily) because she recognised that she couldn't offer him satisfactory sex, but things are still open there. This drama ran in parallel with his interactions with other women (and men).
Sonya wanted him, initially because of how Zii talked him up and later to annoy Yuki, and because of what she heard about his oral skills. She eventually got him into bed, but soon dropped him because of his general cluelessness when it comes to sex.
Kiley impetuously deflowered him, looked at first to be heading for a relationship with him, and may still not have forgotten him.
DiDi and Amber have both expressed strong interest in him, the former because she's heard about the swirly, the latter because she's experienced it.
Chanelle's one personal interaction with him involved abortive fellatio.
The keen dominatrix Tatiana, guesting in a crossover with Sandra On The Rocks, identified him as "the perfect sub" within about five minutes of meeting him, and proceeded to investigate this phenomenon.
In the same crossover, Sandra became friendly with him while using him as a consultant on geek culture and a way to annoy Senna, although this may never develop beyond friendship.
Even Zii clearly feels twinges of curiosity about his oral skills.
And Dillon pursues him, despite supposedly knowing that it's hopeless.
It seems that DiDi hardly ever bothers with a bra. It's amazing she can walk, let alone jog... She's shown to be wearing one in one strip, but she's in disguise there. Later, she's shown putting one on, but it turns out to be too small for her (strip #854, February 22, 2014, NSFW).
Zii seems usually to go braless as well, as does Kiley, but they're both notably small-busted and really don't need support.
Vulgar Humor: Borderline. The comic's attitude toward sex can be described as "puerile shallowness" with much invocation of the Rule of Funny. But its fans tend to class this as frankness, and the approach tends to be good-natured and not usually reliant on the idea that someone somewhere might be shocked ... then we get moments like accidental face-sitting or Gary peeing out the window.
Wham Episode: The comic has a few of these, to various levels of Wham. Some fairly clear examples:
Zii gets a boyfriend who initially seems to have been set up as a one-night stand — and promptly embraces the idea of monogamy.
Gary loses his virginity — to someone whom he met barely an hour before.
A double instance near/at the end of volume 5: first, DiDi finally gets an opportunity to try Gary's oral talents — only to find not only that he's not home, but all his clean clothes are missing and no one knows where he's gone. Then, a few strips later, readers discover where he's gone; he's in Paris, for initially unclear reasons...
What Did I Do Last Night?: Several characters have been known to come round from binges with dim and worrying memories of the night before, but Sandra is a natural sufferer from the problem. She even invokes the trope title in strip #302 (May 17, 2010, NSFW).
What the Hell, Hero?: The comic features a few of these, in highly variant forms, as it's a bit short on heroes:
DiDi gets one from Zii when she tries to scare Kiley away so that she can get a chance at Gary, forgetting about Matt as well as being unfair to Gary and Kiley.
She gets another from the same source, in short form, when Yuki accuses her of trying to steal Gary.
Chanelle points out Amber's mistake in letting Gary go when she had a chance there.
Dillon calls out Gary for nearly cheating on Yuki with Amber after finding out that Gary and Yuki are dating. (After being cheated on himself, Dillon doesn't want Gary to do that to Yuki.) He also calls out Amber for trying to seduce Gary. (The implications get a little complicated there, though. Amber protests that Yuki isn't a good girlfriend to Gary, but Dillon dismisses her, saying that of course Gary wouldn't be dating Yuki if they didn't love each other. Gary then stuns both of them by admitting that he doesn't know, since no one has ever asked him that before.)
Wig, Dress, Accent: Parodiedhere, when Sonya wants to take Peggy to a concert where she can seduce Gary, without giving away the fact that Peggy isn't in a relationship with herself. (It's complicated...) Sonya, not the brightest character in the strip, suggests a (horrendous) wig and (too-)dark glasses. Peggy, suffering from being the Only Sane Woman, lampshades the problems with the idea.
Will They or Won't They?: Gary and pretty much anyone, especially Zii, DiDi, Sonya, and Yuki. Sometimes, this is answered eventually, and sometimes it isn't. At some points, the trope manifested in the relationships between DiDi and Sandra and DiDi and Matt, too.
Yuki's eyes become spirals when she goes into "TENTACLLLLES!" mode.
Hearts or stars appear in various characters' eyes at various times. Note that, in this comic, hearts sometimes indicate raw lust rather than love, as here.
With Friends Like These...: It's probable that without Zii in his life, Gary would still be surrounded mostly by gay men (though logically he might eventually have had a run-in with Amber, and maybe even Senna). However, some of the things Zii did (such as preventing DiDi from having Pity Sex with him) raised the question of whether she ever actually intended to go through with her promise of getting him laid by the time he was 30. At best, she tried when she remembered, but got distracted rather often. (Although she did eventually make herself useful.) In fact, when he did make progress, the encounters were often NOT set up by Zii: First Senna, then Amber, and crucially Kiley — while Sonya, who Zii did throw at Gary, quickly dumped him as not her type (especially as she was more interested in Zii).
Your Door Was Open: Matt, despite his habit of having sex in his front room with just about anyone, has the Canadian habit of leaving his front door open. This often leads to people, including Matt's current lovers, finding out about his latest sexual relations while they're happening.
Zany Scheme: A recurrent comedy device in this comic. Some examples by character:
Zii likes to think of herself as a great manipulator, but most of the time, she just improvises her way out of difficulties, and sometimes she makes things worse rather than better. For example, she brings Yuki into band rehearsals to disrupt Sonya's attempts to seduce her, but that of course brings Yuki into the band — which Zii had been specifically trying to avoid. Her schemes aren't usually wildly zany, but they're rarely as clever as she thinks.
Sonya is, as she says herself, fulla great plansh... uh, full of bright ideas — except that she's none too bright. Putting Peggy in a heavy wig and dark glasses to seduce Gary would just be one notable example.
For that matter — Peggy's Operation Jealousy scheme on behalf of Sonya may have been quite well-designed in itself, but it had to involve Sonya.
Tatiana's experiment to determine whether or not Gary really was "the perfect sub" tipped over the edge into lunacy. It actually sort of worked on its own terms, though, despite her failure to cover some details.