Webcomic / Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal
Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal
is an episodic daily strip by Zach Weiner. The strip has only a few recurring characters, including God, Jesus, a fictional U.S. President, and a fictional Pope. Usually appearing in "voteys", the bonus panel beneath the comic, are the crazed, always-naked author and his long-suffering wife (and eventually, baby).
Much of the strip's humor comes from setting up a situation and then subverting either the established premise or the audience's expectations
, often going with a Black Comedy
punchline. The cartoonist is self-described as having the abilities of Gary Larson
and a sex offender.
Zach also does videos
under the name SMBC Theater
. There's less sociopathy in them, though. (Or more, depending on your point of view.)
Compare The Perry Bible Fellowship
. No relation to Chocolate-Frosted Sugar Bombs
This strip provides examples of:
- Abusive Parents: Victorian Dad!
Victorian Dad: "A Smarting Blow to The Inner Ear ought to fix that!"
- Accuse the Witness: Here. Accuse the judge if there is nobody else to accuse.
- Affably Evil: Felix, as he genuinely doesn't seem to know how much misery he's causing.
- A.I. Is a Crapshoot: Parodied here, where robots, upon achieving sentience, are shocked that humans thought they'd default to wanting to destroy humanity. Doubles as a Self-Fulfilling Prophecy, as this disturbs the robots so much they decide to do this anyway.
- Aliens Are Bastards/Amusing Alien/Benevolent Alien Invasion/Sufficiently Advanced Aliens/Superior Species: The Zorblaxians play a lot of roles, depending on the Rule of Funny.
- All Men Are Perverts: And HOW! There is no depth they wont sink to in order to get their rocks off. They also hate condoms.
- All Women Are Lustful: To a slightly lesser extent than men apparently, but not by much.
- Alternate Aesop Interpretation: "The Tortoise And The Hare" is actually a fable about small sample sizes.
- Alternative Character Interpretation:
- Alt Text: Most cartoons have a bonus panel, called the votey, that you see if you mouse-over the red button at the bottom of the main cartoon. Called such because you used to have to vote for the comic in a poll about webcomics in order to see it. Comics after number 3680 have a more traditional hover-over, as well.
- Always Chaotic Evil: Apparently, economists.
- Anti-Villain: Downplayed. He's mugging to feed his family. "So who do I punch?"
- The Anti-Nihilist: A good reason for becoming this is given by metaphor here.
- Apocalypse How: One strip starts off with the death of all humans, except for people at frat parties.
- Arson, Murder, and Jaywalking: The votey (seen by clicking the red button at the bottom) of this comic is an example.
- Artistic License: This comic covers several varieties and explores the problems of criticizing it blindly.
- Ascend to a Higher Plane of Existence: Dungeons And Dragons is always the first step.
- Author Appeal: The comic keeps returning to the idea that the universe is a simulation, and that there are probably more that one level up.
- Author Filibuster: In-Universe, this is used as a punishment for Philosophers who go to Hell. They have to read Atlas Shrugged 2, the sequel that gets longer for every page you read.
Satan: "Every time you read a page, it gets two pages longer! And John Galt's Monologue gets Three Pages Longer!"
- Author Avatar: Zach Weiner is redheaded and naked, with some exceptions to the latter part (all in the strip proper; he's always naked in the voteys he shows up in, and that's where he mostly shows up).
- Author Tract: Many strips savage organized religion, in particular Christianity. To be fair, Zach often pokes fun at atheism/agnosticism in the same breath. He's also not above taking a potshot at both simultaneously.
- The Baby Trap: Batman dislikes condoms.
- Back to Front: Done many times as a form of comedic reveal.
- Badass Grandpa: In this comic, a man in a car mistakenly believes that an old man in a wheelchair is playing chicken with him. The votey implies that the old man WON that game of Chicken.
- Bad Boss:
- Bad Date: "Date Wars" is a bad date summarized in an actiony death-ray battle.
- The Bad Guy Wins: "I can't say this story has a happy ending. Felix won't let us speak."
- Bad Santa: Sometimes kills good kids to ensure his business doesn't suffer.
- Bait and Switch: As said above, one of the comic's claims to fame is subverting the audiences expectations, or even double-subverting them. Taken to ridiculous extremes (to the point of self-parody) in this strip.
- Batman Can Breathe in Space: But Peter Pan and company can't.
- Batman Gambit: Supervillain knows what his old English teacher can't resist doing.
- Bears Are Bad News: The Most Dangerous Game (also a subversion of... yeah).
- Beat Panel: Four in this comic.
- Beautiful All Along: Parodied here, where someone tells a woman she's suddenly beautiful after she took off her glass and let down her hair. Cue a reveal that it's because she has freak ears.
- Belligerent Sexual Tension: This comic cites this trope as the route to the best possible sex.
- Berserk Button: Not serving this mans wife the correct meal.
- Better Than Sex: Television, apparently. Sex is considered to be "almost as good as TV," but it "depends on the station", obviously.
- Beware the Superman: A Running Gag in the comic is Superman abusing his powers, ranging from setting fire to brothels so he can save the sex workers, to threatening to smash the moon into the Earth if he isn't granted access to Earth's Women, to demanding the key to the city because "I just stopped Superman from killing everyone", to sexually harassing a woman he's saving, to running for president and then threatening to kill everyone with lasers if forced to abide by term limits.
- One comic actually has the Kyrptonians invoke this by sending Kyrptonian Babies to alien planets to destroy rival civilizations. Oddly enough, this comic defied the trope by having the now reformed Kyrptonians discover that Superman never had a chance to become a tyrant simply because he was too busy fighting all of Earth's Omnicidal Maniac's.
- Bigger Is Better in Bed: At first, the point of this strip.
- Actually a Running Gag in the comic, men will obsess over penis size, while women will prefer average size, since that doesn't involve getting torn open.
- Birds of a Feather: Subverted in "Uncomfortable Truthasaurus". It's kinda cruel, but those two nerds who date each other? They want, like all people, someone hot and with better social status than themselves.
- Bizarre Alien Biology: It makes giving the aliens one million children in exchange for their advanced medical knowledge a poor decision in hindsight.
- Black and White Morality: Invoked and deconstructed in this strip, where the lack of clear morality causes humanity to make a horrific clearly evil monster just to make things black and white.
- Blue and Orange Morality: Exploited by the Neuroethecist to avoid getting arrested by Wonder Woman.
Wonder Woman: "Should I punish you or what?"
Neuroethecist: "It's Complicated! Everything's Complicated! Ahahahahahahahaha!"
- Black Comedy: A lot. A real lot.
- Bolt of Divine Retribution: On occasion.
- Born Unlucky: Little Sprat, who can only eat Unflavored Deproteinated Soy Slurry due to inheriting both his father's inability to eat fat and his mother's inability to eat lean.
- Brain Monster: Parodied, where a Mad Scientist discovers that his creation, a T-Rex with its brain in a giant jar, is anything but terrifying.
- Bread, Eggs, Milk, Squick: Plenty of examples. Here's a literal example.
- Breast Expansion: Taken Up to Eleven here, where someone who finds a genie wishes that a woman's breasts grow until they're infinite.
- Bunny-Ears Lawyer: Or rather, Bunny Ears Doctor.
- Buried Alive: And given a funeral too!
- Book Dumb: The people Jesus preached to. When he caused rock to produce new energy out of nothing (a violation of the Fundamental Laws of Reality), the people dismiss it on the basis that "sometimes rocks are hot". They were significantly more impressed with his ability to create more wine though ...
- Call Back:
- Cessation of Existence: Bad people only go to Hell for sixty seconds, after which they fade into non-existence. While they might have some panicked questions in those sixty seconds, Satan only sings Teenage Pop Music instead of answering them.
- Chest Burster: With puppies.
- Clarke's Law for Girls' Toys: Pointed out here.
- Coming-Out Story: With a genuinely unexpected twist.
It's okay! The less concentrated your love gets, the stronger it- [SLAM!]
- Compensating for Something:
- Courtroom Antic
- Crapsack World: Where all doctors and lawyers are incompetent, all economists are evil, all relationships are dysfunctional, all Unicorns are racists, and where suicide, murder, and hardcore drug use are apparently common pastimes. It is also a world where God is arbitrary at best and evil at worst, and where any innovation automatically leads to The End of the World as We Know It (no matter how innocuous or even beneficial that innovation might seem). In some cases though, the doctors are competent sociopaths, and the dysfunctional relationships work due to nightmare fetishism.
- Crazy Cat Lady: This one combines thousands of cats to create a Hive Mind. Sadly, it immediately flew into the Sun and burned up.
- Crapsaccharine World: On occasion.
- Create Your Own Villain:
- Creepy Crows: They are an omen for death, but not the only bird you want to avoid.
- Creepy Child: Here.
- Cry Laughing: Doctor Apocalypse does this while vowing to stop Turboman from killing toddlers.
- The Cycle of Empires: The entirety of Human Civilization follows this, and we are currently in the 628th cycle. The "Expansion" and "Stabilization" phases are caused by Badgers, while the "Decay" and the "Long Night" phases are caused by modern art.
- Dating Catwoman: Though not with Catwoman herself.
- Deal with the Devil: Several; usually it turns out the mortal was cheated.
- Death World: Earth, for SUPERMAN's species. They sent overpowered babies to worlds in order to take over those worlds, but later they had a culture shift. In each and each world they went to get superpowered beings back, they had all been tyrants of that world... except Earth. Earth have so many supervillians that Superman was just too busy keeping Earth intact.
Superman: "They're everywhere! Evil is everywhere! AAAAHHHHHHH!"
- Detective Mole: Here:
Gonna kill your wife tonight. With this machete. I'm the detective.
Not detective Larson! He's the detective!
- Disproportionate Retribution: A crime deterrent!
- Disposable Sex Worker: Strippers hate inflation more than anyone else.
- Dirty Communists: Bob Barker used to be one.
- Dirty Old Man:
- Dogged Nice Guy: Mocked in this comic.
- Doublethink: Parodied in this strip.
- Double Standard: Discussed here
- Double Standard: Rape, Divine on Mortal: Well ... Super on Normal, but the same principal applies. Superman and Batman both invoke this trope at points.
- Dramatic Gun Cock: In this panel
- Dream Within a Dream: Taken to ridiculous extremes.
- Driven to Suicide:
- This strip implies it of a teacher's wife.
- This one describes it as being how a normal person fixes his lycanthrophy.
- Do Not Do This Cool Thing: Don't smoke, because you don't have super lungs like Superman.
- Dying Declaration of Hate: This comic, which chronicles the process of math theory going from being rejected by academic old guard because it challenges the conventional wisdom of the time to becoming the accepted truth, features a member of the academic old guard denouncing it on his deathbed.
I will never understand it. I will never believe it. As I go into death, with my final breath I spit upon your theorem.
- Early Installment Weirdness: Early comics frequently lacked a votey. Eventually, Zach went back and gave them all voteys, varying between the usual punchline-extender and a "Reading this whatever years later" one where he reacts to it.
- Earth All Along: There's quite a few comics that portray the increasingly ridiculous results of the introduction of a technology or concept. Occasionally, the punch line will be that our world is the end result of that bizarre sequence of events.
Narrator: The world is now largely a population of scared, confused people ruled by atavistic sociopaths with no sense of history, ethics, science, beauty or truth. But then, you already knew that.
- Easy Road to Hell: There was one strip about a priest being sent to hell... for this reason.
- Eats Babies: Used so often, you'd think it's Author Appeal or something.
- The Eeyore: He's the one under the paper bag.
- Elder Abuse: "My research on bone density in the elderly is going extremely well."
- Erotic Dream: Epictetus trained himself to have one whenever something bad happens to him, whether it's something big like getting banished from Rome or something small like being told his discourse is informal. His fantasy is a Three-Way with Venus and Helen of Troy.
Epictetus: "Be gentle ladies. I've never done that before!"
- Even Evil Has Standards: Here.
- Everybody Laughs Ending: Here.
- Everyone Is Jesus in Purgatory: In-universe, the victim of a Take That in this comic.
- Everything's Better with Dinosaurs: ...And funnier too! note
- Evil Counterpart: Carl Sagan has one. Nobody liked him.
Evil Carl Sagon:"There is carbon in your body that was shat out of Hitler's ass!"
- Evil Teacher: This one murders students who give the wrong answer on tests.
- Exact Words:
- Excuse Boomerang: This comic, in which a woman protests that arresting her ego for smoking marijuana is unjust, when other parts of her mind and body were responsible for the deed. The police officer handcuffs the woman and tells her his hands are just obeying the frontal lobes in Congress.
- Expospeak Gag: In weaponized form.
- Eyes Always Shut: Snobs tend to be drawn this way.
- Fail O'Suckyname: Can prevent you from naming an element you discovered after yourself.
- Another sad day for Dr. Oinky Hitlerballs.
- The Film of the Book: Played for Laughs Here.
- Fish Out of Temporal Water: Going to the Renaissance Fair to Roleplay as a Victorian Time Traveler.
- Fling a Light into the Future: Gone catastrophically wrong.
- For Happiness: One strip start out with featuring a Straw Character version of For Happiness. He soon becomes a Totalitarian Utilitarian, however.
- For Science!!:
- Freakier Than Fiction: Lies. Just add a monkey dressed as Hitler to anything, and it becomes stranger and fictional.
- Funny Animal: Inflatable Bananapig!
- Future Imperfect: Invoked. Apparently, Don Quixote's true exploits were quite different from what is written on the novel. note
- Gag Boobs
- Gambit Pileup: A psychological experiment ends in this.
- Geeky Turn-On:
- Girlfriend in Canada: Saint Anselm uses his ontological argument to prove that she exists.
- Girl-on-Girl Is Hot: As briefly explained by Professor Ferman.
- God Is Evil: Actually, he runs the gamut from all-loving to unspeakably cruel, as fits the gag.
- God Test: A variant in one comic strip.
- Goggles Do Nothing: The votey of this comic.
- Good Angel, Bad Angel:
- Good Girls Avoid Abortion: The Children's Book, "Safer Sex Thru Abortion", has not fared well on the market.
- Gravity Is Only a Theory:
- A combination of two strips plays creationism for laughs by invoking the idea that the theory about the earth moving around the sun rather than vice versa is only a theory. The first strip joke about creationists demanding to put "evolution is only a theory" stickers in biology textbooks. The next strip joke about a guy from the 13:th century demanding the same kind of stickers in astronomy textbooks.
- Also played with in this strip.
- In a much later strip, a character argues that history is only a theory. More specifically, he does no believe in "the theory of revolution": According to his religion, all states were created in their current form. Turns out he's only saying this to prove the point that the nutjobs he has to deal with are more problematic since he can't bitchslap them down with a small mountain of concrete evidence.
- Hates Everyone Equally: Parodied with the tale of Bobby and the Gurg. Also, subverted at the end.
- Half-Human Hybrid: Attempted and failed.
- Heart Is an Awesome Power:
- With puppies.
- The most effective superhero in the League as populations increase? Speedsheet, who can analyze spreadsheets far faster than mortal men. Superman suspects she isn't even super, just really boring.
- Heroes Want Redheads: The votey contains such information.
- Heroic Sacrifice: SAVE YOURSELF, MAMMAL!
- Hilariously Abusive Childhood: A great deal of the humour is this.
- Hitler Ate Sugar: You know who else didn't floss? You know, probably.
- Hitler's Time Travel Exemption Act: A possible reason is given here.
- Historical-Domain Character:
- The British Prime Minister in this comic looks suspiciously like Neville Chamberlain.
- Hitler makes several appearances.
- Hollywood Atheist:
Parent in Costume: "Boo! I'm Jesus Christ! I'm here from 2000 years ago to tell you how to run your life! Boo!"
- This kid, meanwhile, likes to interrupt Church to taunt Jesus.
- How We Got Here: Frequently used, where the punchline comes in the form of a panel happening just before the events of the rest of the comic.
- Humans Are Bastards: Overlooked by the scientist in this strip
- Hunting the Most Dangerous Game: As seen here, the real most dangerous game is playing tennis with lit dynamite while riding a bear.
- Hurricane of Puns: CHEMISTRY puns no less.
- Hyperspace Is a Scary Place: Well, not really.
- I Ate What?: One comic featured a box of "Everything But Urine-Os" cereal, with the line of dialogue "You put what in my cereal?"
- I Banged Your Mom: With a frequent subversion. So much so that it's a running gag.
- I Did What I Had to Do: The Trix Rabbit needed the Trix Cereal to correct his blood sugar and avoid dying. In the Votey, The Trix Rabbit killed the kids because they were going to withhold the cereal and let him die.
- Ignorance Is Bliss: Life was easier to understand when Humans thought they were at the center of the Universe.
- I Have No Son: Well, goodnight Susie.
- I Love the Dead: So much so that it ruined some poor couple's safari.
- I'm a Man, I Can't Help It: Justified ... kind of. The man's woman colleague had just finished disproving free will.
- Incest Is Relative: Bonobos ...
- Insult to Rocks: Implied here.
- Impossible Task Instantly Accomplished: What if God took away sex?
- The Internet Is for Porn: Er, in the future, The PornBox Is For Porn that is.
- It Makes Sense in Context: Some of the panels and/or the dialogue in them can be really bizarre before you read the caption, or in some cases the bonus panel.
- It Will Never Catch On: The internet was just a fad. The real big thing is chewing on skunks.
- I Want Grandkids: Marrying off children does that.
- Jackass Genie: This strip. Could be considered to overlap with Literal Genie as well if not for the third wish.
- Just Friends: Peer reviewed?
- Kick the Dog: "I'm beginning to wonder if Fred had an ulterior motive in buying me a puppy for Christmas".
- King in the Mountain: This one's votey claims it is George Washington.
- Lampshaded the Obscure Reference: This joke about economics has an Alt Text that says "SHAME ON THE THREE OF YOU WHO ENJOYED THIS JOKE".
- Large Ham: Has happened a few times.
- LEGO Genetics: Subverted and mocked.
- Lensman Arms Race: Taken to its logical conclusion.
- Long Runner: So you like the latest strip. You click to the one before. It has a big number in the URL. (2000 as of September 14, 2010.) Then the one before that. Big number minus one. Oh Crap!.
- The Lost Lenore: This father, when asked by his daughter what "1 + 1" equals, goes into a Tear Jerker monologue about how he believes he will see his dead wife again one day. He even goes so far as to state that if the only thing after death were Cessation of Existence (in other words if his wife was gone forever), he would just kill himself and be done with it all. Or as he puts it:
"If her being weren't written on the book of truth, waiting some day to be read again, no quantity of hope could keep me living in this vast cold universe."
- Love Dodecahedron: Or rather, "Lust Infinigon."
- Low Culture, High Tech: Particle Physics is an old science.
- Madness Mantra: I know what you did.
- Mad Doctor: When Doctor Sloan says you have two weeks to live, you have two weeks to live!
- Magic Versus Science: Bullets Win.
- Man of Steel, Woman of Kleenex: Gender-inversion in this strip, along with A Man Is Always Eager.
- Mathematician's Answer: Literally.
- Metaphorgotten: Dad never really bothered to explain his metaphors.
- Men Can't Keep House: Or even feed themselves, apparently.
- Melodrama: Funky Fries ... BUT AT WHAT COST???
- Mind Screw: One strip shows an alternate universe where existence is impossible, populated by sentient beings composed of absolutely nothing.
- Miscarriageof Justice: To date, Sherlock Homes has sent 439 innocent men to the gallows.
- Mistaken for Gay: Inverted.Mistaken for Strait, until you read the votey.
- Mistaken for Racist: When Lex Luther posions a community that happens to be made up of ethnic minorities, Superman suspects it's not a coincidence.
Lex Luther: "I just wanted to kill people!"
Superman: *rolls eyes* "Yeah, a certain type of people."
- Mix-and-Match Man: Subverted and discussed * on this strip.
- Modesty Bedsheet: Lampshaded in this comic. Click the big red button (the 'votey') under the comic.
- Monster Clown: STAY SAFE!
- Moon-Landing Hoax:
- Muggles Do It Better: How do you stop a werewolf from going on a rage-fueled killing spree whenever the moon is full? Psychopharmacology! note
- Mundane Made Awesome: Copyrights.
- Mundane Utility: The best way for Superman to save the world is to convert his powers into cheap energy by spinning a big magnet around really fast... at least up to a point.
- My Beloved Smother: Public Health Advocates are this to everyone else. Fortunately they lack legislative power.
- My Brain Is Big: Horton, from the very first comic. Sadly, two thirds of his brain was comprised of the little known "stupid lobe".
Horton:"Two times Two is Three."
- My New Gift Is Lame: If you find a Magic Lamp of Unadorned Wood, then a Calvinist Genie will grant you Three Wishes! Actually, your grandchildren are the ones who will recieve those wishes. And that is only if you and they both work ceaselessly every day of your lives. And if you live to see your grandchildren, you didn't work hard enough. Also your actions have no effect on whether or not God decides to let you into Heaven, but finding a Genie is probably a bad sign. And no wishing for anything fun!
- Nice Hat: Jokes with the Pope frequently revolve around his hat. This is a good example.
- Nice Job Breaking It, Hero:
- Nightmare Fuel: Being surrounded by a horde of densly packed Hitlers at all time, all the while unable to see them because they're just outside your field of vision.
- Nightmare Retardant: In-universe. The most horrible monster of all time!
- Noodle Implements: At the end of this, also at the end of this.
- Nostalgia Filter: Addressed here, here, and here.
- Obliviously Evil: Buttercup Man! He thinks he is tickling criminals into submission with a flower. He's actually stabbing them to death because someone switched his flower with a knife and he never noticed the difference.
- Obviously Evil: Inverted here and subverted here.
- One-Two Punchline: There's an entire bonus second-punchline panel accessible by hovering over a red button at the end of the strip. Many of the main strips also have multiple punchlines, especially from the time before Zach started drawing voteys. Lampshaded in this strip, which had three punchlines in the main strip, and then got a votey drawn years later saying nothing but "Do you really want another punchline, you greedy bastard?"
- Only Six Faces: Though in this case, it doesn't really matter.
- Opposites Attract: Truthasaurus from "Uncomfortable Truthasaurus" explains you, kids, that this is a common misconception. Everyone wants someone hot and someone rich.
- Overly Long Gag: Tends to pop up (see Dream Within a Dream) and, when it does, the bonus panel tends to show the artist looking at his now decrepit/withered/burnt hand after having drawn that many panels.
- Oxymoronic Being/Paradox Person: The sentient nothing that populates the Nothingverse.
- Painting the Medium: Right here, subverting your expectations again.
- Pet the Dog: The Joker tries to do something good, but then Batman gets involved ...
- The Pennyfarthing Effect:
- Picked Flowers Are Dead: This comic from explains the human ritual of flower-giving, as understood by aliens. Supposedly human males mutilate the hated plant-life to show off their prowess... and it goes downhill from there.
What are "hippies"?
The most violent humans in history.
- Pink Elephants: "If I drink less, I'll stop having vivid hallucinations, Chuck."
- Poe's Law: Lampshaded in the votey for Bobby and the Gurg.
Dear Voltaire's Ghost, please let everyone recognize this as irony.
- Poke the Poodle: This strip.
- Popcultural Osmosis: Schrodinger's Cat
- Prank Call: Inverted with this one, where the victim turns it around on the caller.
- Precious Puppies: Using Heart as an awesome power.
- Prisoner's Dilemma: Discussed.
- Prophecy Twist: Played with here.
- Puppeteer Parasite:
- Racist Grandma: employed as a tool here.
- Rage Against the Heavens: There's a reason why we're not observant enough.
- Raising the Steaks: How the war was lost.
- Reality Ensues: Superman's attempt to spin the Earth backwards to reverse time didn't work out as well as it did in the movies.
- The Real Heroes: They're much easier to kill.
- Reckless Sidekick: Agreeing to be Batman's sidekick IS pretty reckless.
- Recurring Characters: Several:
- Batman (and some of his villains).
- The POTUS is almost invariably a black, bearded, bald, bespectacled man.
- The Zorblaxian aliens.
- God (drawn as a communion wafer).
- Recycled Script: This comic is identical to an earlier one, save for a different punchline.
- Robosexual: This woman.
Sally: What? You're the robot! Robots are incapable of love. It's what makes sex with them great.
- Robot Buddy: This one is a Yandere.
- Rule of Cool: A number of punchlines revolve around the idea that, for engineers, Rule of Cool overrides all other considerations.
- Rule 34: Here.
- Running Gag:
- Zach getting hate mail.
- Killing/eating children.
- Casual murder.
- Communion wafer God.
- Jesus using his "superpowers".
- And whenever the author is drawn, he's naked (if he's in the votey. In the actual strip its more 50/50).
- The votey on this comic, in the site comments. Mostly because it was left up for weeks.
- Graph jokes.
- Absolutist dystopian what-if jokes usually involving mind control, hive-mind, sociological/socioeconomic experiments and alternative forms of sex. Zach is rather fond of destroying society.
- Aliens (called Zorblaxians) looking down on human society and customs.
- The same aliens trying to make kidnapped humans mate.
- Two children having a philosophical conversation under the starlight while lying on their backs in a hill. It sometimes includes a Zorblaxian alien.
- Attempts at avoiding paternity claims and/or child support
- Illustrating "difficult" things as applied to everyday life. For example, regulatory capture.
- Having fun when parenting (at the expense of the kids). Among others, there are two specific routines:
- Harsh twist endings.
- Pick-up-lines with science.
- Playing not entirely serious what-if. What if TV ads could be skipped for a fraction of a penny?
- In the voteys, unfavorably comparing himself to the XKCD guy.
- Zach laughing at his own sometimes incredibly obscure/convoluted joke theme saying "there's not enough _____ jokes!" or "people/everyone love(s) _____ jokes!".
- Zach drawing himself with a broken hand after a long comic.
- Using the votey to completely change the tone and theme of the comic.
- He frequently shows his wife glaring at him over his shoulder or making fun of him for the latest comic (particularly vicious here). After his child was born, it became her holding their baby... who is also glaring at him.
- Economists are evil.
- "This is exactly how (topic) works."
- Safe Word: One strip teaches us that introducing safewords in nonsexual contexts is a fun way of creeping people out.
- Screw Yourself: Here.
- Screw You, Elves!: In this comic, it is described in detail how the Zorblaxians are literally the center of the universe. The Universes Pulsar Emissions, when expressed as musical tones, even spell out the Zorblazian Anthem! The Humans then spend thousands of years devoting their society to science and technology, flying Earth to Zorblax Prime with giant rocket boosters, and blasting the Zorblaxian Homeworld to oblivian with a giant laser.
- Seen It All: This guy, where sex is concerned.
- Self-Deprecation: Fairly common in the mouse-over bonus strips. Often this shows the artist's partner puncturing his pretensions or mocking him.
Garfield: "I love lasagna."
Zach, drawing Comics at 3 AM: Nothing I've ever drawn is funny!
- Self-Made Orphan: The Headless Horsemen here.
- Shut Up, Hannibal!: Superman is told something that requires a little introspection. So naturally, he punches the dude in the face.
- Silly Reason for War: Two soldiers die in battle, and God has to decide which one was on the right side ...
First Soldier: "We were fighting them because their form of Economy is not as Market-Oriented as ours, according to some metrics!"
Second Soldier: "We were fighting them because the use of their navy in relative proximity to our borders may have indicated that a larger ally of their was establishing a hegemony over our octant of the globe!"
- Slippery Slope Fallacy: One comic has a girl ask her father if there is a puppy heaven. Her father proceeds to point out that if he says yes, it becomes impossible to decide what doesn't get a heaven, eventually suggesting that there is a meme heaven for ideas that die. Then the father uses the fallacy again to prove the exact opposite thing - that since a meme heaven is ridiculous, so is a heaven for slightly more complex things, gradually getting to the point where there's no reason for a human heaven. That the line might be drawn at humans, or even at biological life, never seems to occur to him.
- Stealth Cigarette Commercial: Superman subtext with this
- Sophisticated as Hell: Here's one example.
- Spin the Earth Backwards: Subversively deconstructed. Or... deconstructively subverted, or something.
- Spoof Aesop: The votey of this strip.
- Spoonerism: A particularly unfortunate one. Also serves as that page's image.
- Spurned into Suicide:
- Stating the Simple Solution: A medieval variation in this comic.
- Straw Feminist:
- Subverted Rhyme Every Occasion: Best shown here.
I find a little rhyme can really take the edge off bad news. Which reminds me, I've been meaning to tell you... there once was a man from schmonorrhea. You have AIDS. Ucket.
- Subverted Trope: Too many to count; half the strip's humor comes from doing this in a bizarre manner.
- Double Subversion: Many, many gags involving something turning out to not be what you think it is, and then turning out to be what you thought it was after all.
- Suicide as Comedy: Quite a few times, like this comic, which also falls under What an Idiot and Tarot Motifs (if you look closely).
- Super Cute Super Powers: One comic has a little girl guarding Fort Knox who has the ability to make puppies appear. Which she uses to deadly effect. Because she never specified where the puppies will appear from. Such as from inside the villain.
- Take a Third Option: "I have a fantastic attorney."
- Take That: Often accompanied by a "BAM!" in the Author's Notes.
Plato: "And countries should all be run by me!"
- Tampering with Food and Drink:
- Teens Are Short: This college freshman looks more like a high school freshman next to his dad.
- Teeny Weenie
- That's What She Said: While the consequences were great, it was worth it.
- Think of the Children!: Invoked by a Senator regarding gay marriage, then twisted with Insane Troll Logic by the reporter ("Got it. So your code of ethics is to oppose things that are hard to explain to kids"), with an appropriate headline and votey based on that logic.
- Time Travel for Fun and Profit: The real reason why Scrooge was so generous at the end of A Christmas Carol.
- Too Dumb to Live: Too dumb to die.
- Thanatos Gambit: Several examples of how to use this just to mess around with people, such as here. Or like this. Or this.
- There Can Be Only One: The Ultimate Diet. It even says so in the votey.
- This Isn't Heaven:
- Unfortunate Names: Nobody will ever name anything discovered by Dr Oinky Hitlerballs after himself. He resigns from science. Attempt at invoking this with the Dickballs Theory to keep science terms from being appropriated by homeopathic remedies. It didn't work.
- Unsound Effect: Lamp!
- Unwanted Spouse: "Countdown to Divorce: 25 months, 14 days, 3 hours, 27 minutes, 22 seconds.".
- Virgin Sacrifice: Invoked then brutally, brutally subverted here.
- Walking Shirtless Scene: Zach's Author Avatar in the bonus panels.
- We Come in Peace — Shoot to Kill discussed here.
- Weirdness Censor: Here.
- What We Now Know to Be True: A Mother's Love: Nature's Deadliest Poison
- When All You Have Is a Hammer: Used word for word in one strip to explain the lengths some men will go to for sexual gratification.
- Who Names Their Kid "Dude"?: Or "Asshole"?
- Who's on First?: 57 panels worth of chemistry puns.
- Wishing for More Wishes:
- Women Are Wiser: Somewhat. They are slightly less neurotic about their genitals at any rate.
- The Woobie: "Happy Birthday to Me!"
- Worth It: On the alt panel of this comic, as well as the alt panel on this one.
- Would Hurt a Child: God, apparently, according to this comic's votey.
- Wrong Genre Savvy: Invoked as a way of coping with simple problems.
- X Meets Y: Apparently, Pac-Man is the result of Kafka writing an H.P. Lovecraft story.
- You Cloned Hitler!: Now on Deconstructive Parody flavor! Check it here.
- Your Cheating Heart: Infidelity is a frequent source of humor in the comic.
- Zig-Zagging Trope: What is this, middle school?