Sandra On the Rocks is a webcomic written by Dave Lumsdon (aka Dave Zero1) and drawn by Remy "Eisu" Mokhtar. It started as a separate production on April 2, 2013, although the earliest strips now appearing on the site go back as far as December 2011; they were originally created as filler strips in Sandra's parent comic, Ménage à 3. The lead character comes from there, but Sandra has a different artist and a somewhat different atmosphere; it's less a Slice of Life and more of a joke about the clichés of the modelling and computer games businesses. And while Ménage à 3 and its earlier spin-offSticky Dilly Buns are set in Montreal, Canada, this comic is set in Paris, France, at least to begin with.The first page is here. Note that some other pages may be at least marginally NSFW; although Sandra so far lacks the explicit sex and nudity that characterises Ménage à 3, it does feature some buttock-cleft and Side Boob glimpses, along with a little BDSM and some ... interesting ... lingerie.The title character, Sandra Arden, was originally a member of the second-line cast in Ménage à 3, a waitress and workmate of first-line character DiDi. In that comic, through a drunken accident, she found herself transported from Montreal to Brazil in the company of transsexual model Senna. Unable to get home, Sandra became Senna's personal assistant, soon discovering that Senna is a boss from hell. Her salvation comes in the form of international fashion photographer Domenico Pedrazzini, who whimsically decides that her freckles make her interesting, declares that she will be his next great discovery, and ships her off to Paris to live in his own penthouse while he and his team mould her into a model.Unfortunately, once there, Sandra discovers not only that Domenico is an unpredictable flake, but that his team includes his PA, Tatiana Likhachyova, a semi-closeted dominatrix and Beta Bitch type who treats Domenico as her alpha and who has an unrequited crush on him. Tatiana quickly becomes insanely jealous of Domenico's interest in Sandra and determined to drive her off or destroy her. However, Sandra wants to stay, if only because she soon finds romance in Paris. So to begin with, the comic became a contest between Sandra's innocent luck, resilience, and occasionally displays of gumption, and Tatiana's determined attempts at evil — until Tatiana mellowed a very little, and Sandra encountered some other interesting characters and situations.
"Be Quiet!" Nudge: Necessarily demonstrated by Sandra, in the painful elbow-to-gut form, here, when Gary is being Gary.
Beta Couple: The relationship between Alex and Marie is a background sub-plot, while Sandra's romances (mostly with Pierre) are a foreground concern. However, the trope is inverted in one important respect; Sandra and Pierre have a fairly straightforward relationship, whereas Alex and Marie have problems, mainly due to geeky adolescent inexperience.
Marie, the teenage fan girl, bears a startling resemblance to cosplay model Marie-Claude Bourbonnais (minus her super powers), with the same spiky blonde hair and big eyes. However, Word of God says this is a total coincidence.
Cleavage Window: Present on some of the showier fashion outfits seen in the comic — notably on Zoé's clubbing outfit here. Which may be a little unwise of her, given that she usually opts for "stylish", and this dress reminds us that she's got quite a bit of cleavage to show.
Coitus Uninterruptus: No, Cammi doesn't care that she's just been caught having sex with her boss' ex-husband by her boss, she just wants ten more minutes to finish up.
Cosplay: The crossover with Ménage à 3 involves some cosplay-related complications, though most of the specific events are shown in the other comic. After Sandra models as in-universe videogame heroine "Carmen Chamelia," she finds herself a geek idol, and uses Gary from the other comic as a consultant on geek culture. He explains cosplay to her, just as Tatiana is forming a weird plan of her own that involves making Sandra dress up in a white dominatrix outfit for a fictional shoot that Gary interprets as perfect Emma Frost cosplay. When Senna uploads the pictures from the shoot to Sandra's Website, Alex and Marie also interpret them that way, rather than as bondage gear.
Cross Over: As well as spinning off from Ménage à 3, this comic has crossed over with that one. The story in question was foreshadowed by a couple of strips in the parent comic, but really began with a double image of the same moment here and here. Subsequently, for a while, alternate strips from each would begin with a re-drawing of the last panel from the other — though either comic could be read on its own and still make sense. Then the plot threads diverged a little more, although they continued to run in parallel for a few more strips.
Dangerously Short Skirt: This being a comic about the modelling business, any of the female characters may be willing and able to flash a good pair of legs from time to time, although as this isn't an action-oriented comic, they don't usually have to worry much about unintended flashes. However, Tatiana evokes the trope more significantly; 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.
Death Glare: Demonstrated by Zoé on an unfortunate paparazzi, to useful effect, here. She should be at a situational disadvantage, but her build helps, and perhaps she actually turns even her state of dress to her advantage somehow.
Enemy Mine: A three-sided conflict brews up over Gary during his crossover visit from Ménage à 3, from about strip #66 (late September 2013) onwards, involving Sandra, Senna, and Tatiana. Such fights tend to involve a lot of (unstable) temporary alliances.
Fanservice: All of the major characters are more or less good-looking, and the plot and context provide plenty of opportunities for some of them to get down to underwear.
Fanservice with a Smile: Appears in slightly variant form, when Sandra (an ex-waitress) acts as a "booth babe" at a series of trade conventions (some of which happen to be connected with the food industry) as part of her training.
Alex and Marie, two teenage fans who Sandra acquires when she blunders into the videogames world, function as the comic's baseline geek presence. Their blog may play a significant part in the rapid growth of Sandra's online popularity.
Gary, who appears in a guest appearance from/crossover with Ménage à 3, is also quintessentially geeky, and indeed serves as Sandra's consultant on geekdom.
Generic Cuteness: Widespread in this comic — not entirely surprisingly, given that it centers on the modelling business. For example:
Sandra is treated as an ugly little peasant by Senna, Tatiana, and her model coaches, despite being a very cute young woman. That being said, these people are in a business where freckles alone are usually considered a deal-breaker.
Cammi, the agency's driver, looks like she ought to be one of its models. Her total self-confidence helps, but she has plenty to be confident about.
Meanwhile, Alex and Marie, a pair of geeks with no evident connection to the fashion business (until Marie is recruited by Zoé), are just adorkable. Even Lavali, an office assistant at a games company who lacks the glamor and confidence of most of the cast, only needs a well-chosen dress and a few minutes with a stylist to be able to go out clubbing with three models without looking out of place.
Give Geeks a Chance: A least somewhat implicit in Marie's view of Alex and especially in Sandra's view of Gary. However, neither relationship has yet fully developed, and both guys are adorkable to Hollywood Nerd levels.
Certainly, their chief designer seems to be rather flaky, and readers don't see a very large staff in their Paris office, considering that they appear to be a major games company. However, some staff members could simply be off-screen, and some elements of the depiction, notably the faintly sinister chief executive, can be considered deliberate parodies of the trope.
It is, though, pretty obvious that the creators haven't the slightest idea what happens during a MoCap session. Of course, there probably wouldn't be as much room for comedy if they did the research.
Hollywood Nerd: Various characters in the comic are presented as geeky or nerdy. Three such characters, though, are Gary, Alex, and Marie — all total Hollywood nerds — and other the geeky types, while often plump, are rarely really hideous.
Tatiana's frothing rage at Sandra makes her pretty ridiculous. However, she still manages to make Sandra's life hard at times.
Tristan's attempts to recreate the "Carmen Chamelia" videogame franchise in line with his personal artistic vision rapidly collapse in the face of Sandra's impromptu popular revolution.
Jerkass Has a Point: Few readers sympathised much with Senna when Gary was a bit careless of her feelings, or even when he accidentally dumped her. However, when he made a joke of the latter incident, some felt that he deserved the slapped face this earned him.
Karma: It's noticeable that characters in this comic sometimes get what's coming to them, for good or ill, rather more promptly or reliably than was the case in the parent comic. It may not be true karma, but it's a slightly more conventional, "karma"-prone sort of comedy storytelling.
Later, when she returns for the Ménage à 3crossover plotline, Senna is quick to assume (wrongly) that Sandra's modelling career has failed, and looks forward to seeing where Sandra is now living, so she can gloat. That sets her up for humiliation without anyone else having to help.
There's also Tatiana's smart idea of burning all Sandra's old clothes as part of her campaign to drive Sandra away. When Sandra does then decide to leave, she has literally nothing to wear to the airport, and Tatiana ends up stripping down to her underwear and lending Sandra her own clothes. To add to her humiliation, Sandra then decides to stay anyway.
Tristan's public disdain for girls playing videogames earns him the ire of Marie and Sandra (the former is ready to "mess him up" while the latter grabs the mike), and thus leads to the audience turning against him. This soon leads his boss to decide to dump Tristan's ideas for the game he's just developed.
Legacy Character: Sandra models as in-setting video game character "Carmen Chamelia", who, it turns out, she adored and idolised fourteen years ago. Note: Carmen is described in the comic as a "legacy character", but it's not entirely clear whether she fits the strict TV Tropes definition of the term, or whether she's simply a Continuity Reboot of the old character.
Lingerie Scene: As a trainee model, Sandra gets a few of these. She also manages to inflict one on Tatiana.
Shown on Zoé here. As Zoé is far from sweetly naive, this suggests that Domenico's teasing, and the reminder of her past, have affected her fairly strongly.
Also suffered by Tatiana of all people here, as an opportunity arises to indulge her more secret and embarrassing interests.
The Many Deaths of You: Parodied in the "Carmen Chamelia" game trailer shown at the videogames convention, which evidently shows Carmen dying in multiple gruesome ways, though readers don't see them. Seeing this causes Sandra to voice her concerns to game designer Tristan; he dismisses them (and insults female gamers in the process), leading Sandra to hijack the presentation.
Most Gamers Are Male: Tristan, creator of the new "Carmen Chamelia" game seems to think so, to the annoyance of female gamer Marie, who is in the audience; others who see the video footage evidently agree.
Naked People Are Funny: Nudity and near-nudity are a recurrent source of humor in this comic, while simultaneously also being a source of (scenery censored) Fanservice. Zoé and Cammi have no detectable nudity taboos, and jokes with them come from their willingness to get naked in "inappropriate" situations if necessary while refusing to look worried about it, whereas Sandra still has some body modesty (unless she's drunk, in which case all bets are off), and the comedy with her comes from her attempts to prove that she's capable of handling the requirements of a modelling career.
Alex and Marie — technically perhaps more geeks than nerds — are both distinctly adorkable, and Marie (who picks up a fairly plausible offer of modelling work not very far into her time in the comic) is clearly attracted to the more clueless Alex.
The hopeless Gary shows up in a crossover with Ménage à 3 as Senna's toyboy, as she finds him physically attractive; after he then gives Senna some instruction in geek lore, she begins to find him at least potentially somewhat interesting.
Non Sequitur: Gary, out of his depth and almost literally torn between two women, erupts with "To Belgium!" But then, subsequent strips reveal that the trope is being averted, as Gary does actually take the two women off on a train to Brussels.
Not So Different: In this strip, Domenico listens to Zoé ranting about Sandra's faults (not taking her job seriously, doing as she pleases, defying authority), then comments with a laugh, "It reminds me of a certain headstrong model I used to be married to." She suffers a Luminescent Blush at this. He further teases, "Just think of her as the daughter you never had." Zoé's response? A Face Palm and "I hate you."
Tristan gets a moment when he realizes he just insulted all the female members of the audience at a videogame show — and again when the president of the company calls during Sandra's "revolution".
Tatiana gets one when she sees that Sandra's website counter is suddenly over 1.5 million views, when previously it was at just one. (This is probably a result of Marie's actions following Sandra's "revolution" at the videogame show, but Tatiana wouldn't know about any of that at the time.)
Ojou Ringlets: Rather curiously, Sandra wears this style in the sequence beginning here. It's probably just meant to be coincidence — there's no reason to believe that her stylist is aiming for a Japanese look — but Gary is around, and has recently been teaching Sandra about manga, so this could have an in-universe explanation.
One Steve Limit: Somewhat averted by the presence of a Sandra and a Senna. However, it doesn't suffer as badly as its parent comic, as Sonya from over there hasn't made any guest appearances yet.
Savvy Guy, Energetic Girl: Sandra's so-far-platonic friendship with Gary invokes this trope in a slightly unusual way; Sandra respects and needs Gary for his savviness in the geek world, and energetically pushes him into pursuing a career in videogames (and into Domenico's drinks cabinet).
Scenery Censor: The comic walks a fine line between maintaining a "no nudity" rule to keep advertising revenues up, and plots involving fashion models changing, skinny-dipping, and quite overt sexual situations, As a result, it often employs finely-judged scenery censorship. For example:
A steering wheel preserves Cammi's (non-existent) modesty here. It does seem like the female characters in this comic must have rather small nipples.
Other strips also feature characters being screened by polite camera angles or costumes so weird they basically act as scenery censorship.
Sex Comedy: While the characters seem less obsessed with sex than those in the parent comic, sexual themes are often part of Sandra's comedy. For example, Sandra herself fantasises about Pierre and Gary (simultaneously), Tatiana has a kinky unrequited desire for Domenico, Domenico and Zoé can't keep their hands off each other, and Alex and Marie are going through a will-they won't-they teenage phase.
There was a hint of teasing possible shippers (who did indeed then manifest on the comics' boards) when Sandra was interacting with Gary during the crossover with Ménage à 3 — despite Sandra's developing relationship with Pierre. Then Gary went back to Montreal. Still, this plot strand may resurface one day.
Something on the lines of this trope may also be involved in the interactions between Marie and Alex — though that's really more of a simple, minor Will They or Won't They?.
Skinny Dipping: When Sandra gets drunk in a fancy Parisian nightclub with its own pool, skinny dipping ensues — soon involving virtually everyone present.
Slap-Slap-Kiss: Domenico and Zoé. They yell at each other for no more than ten seconds before pouncing on one another, making out, and starting to strip each other's clothes off with complete disregard for the fact that there are people watching.
Springtime for Hitler: Senna attempts to sabotage Sandra's career by uploading pictures of her in unfashionable bondage-style lingerie to her modeling website, in order to destroy her credibility. Senna doesn't realise, however, that said lingerie not only makes Sandra look like Emma Frost◊ of the X-Men, but that this will appeal spectacularly to Sandra's now-growing nerd fanbase.
Stern Teacher: Zoé, an experienced model assigned to help train Sandra in the profession, on rather short notice, decides that she has to adopt the tough approach. (Tatiana, on the other hand, is being nasty for its own sake, albeit with this as an excuse.) At times, she steers close to Deadpan Snarker status when dealing with Sandra:
Zoé: Do you have my cell number?
When Domenico tries to steer Sandra away from Zoé's plans for her "training and development," though, Zoé does step in to defend her charge and tell him off. Then things go all Slap-Slap-Kiss, and Domenico ends up "sexed into submission" by Zoé.
Toplessness from the Back: Seen from time to time as the strip preserves a teasing, just SFW approach. The male version also shows up occasionally, sometimes with a hint of buttock cleft.
Translation Convention: The linguistic situation in this comic is a little uncertain. It might seem that most of the characters would usually speak French; after all, it's set in Paris, and Sandra herself is a Canadian from Montreal who would be expected to speak that language. (The cast are an international bunch, though; for example, Domenico is Italian, Senna is Brazilian, and Tatiana seems to be Russian or Ukrainian.) But the rule seems to be that they usually speak English among themselves (a good number of jokes are English puns), with the use of other languages, including French, indicated by <translation brackets>.
Unknown Rival: The comic has its share of rivalries, many of which remain undeclared, ramping up the comedy.
Sandra is dating Pierre, but her brief platonic acquaintanceship with Gary did leave her wondering if he could be a romantic prospect, setting up a possible rivalry there, which the men aren't fully aware of.
More immediately, Cammi has her eye on Sandra. Whether Cammi would be more likely to treat Pierre as a rival or as extra spice in the mix remains to be seen. Sandra and Pierre are completely unaware of her intentions
Professionally, Eloise has sworn vengeance on Sandra for "stealing" her place at the computer games show and then building a lot of success on that basis. Sandra has quite likely forgotten that Eloise even exists, and is certainly unaware of her hostility — the original incident was entirely accidental, after all.
Working with the Ex: It is revealed here that Domenico and Zoé used to be married. However, it turns out that they are rather weird (mostly) Amicable Exes most of the time (despite Zoé's last line in that strip, and her Luminescent Blush). Things can get weird when they get into screaming arguments, though; these may transform into passionate make-out sessions, and then into competitive sex (last one standing wins).