Webcomic / Shotgun Shuffle
(first comic here
) is a webcomic about the perpetually lazy Ellie Buckingham and her roommate, Quinn Nicks.
The comic starts with Ellie (third youngest of seven sisters) getting kicked out of her mom's house for being an unemployed bum who spends every second of every day on social media sites. After some mostly unsuccessful apartment searching, she finds out that an old acquaintance from high school, Quinn, is looking for a roommate. Unfortunately, Quinn hates her. Ellie manages to worm her way into Quinn's apartment regardless, and quickly gets a job at a local WalMart-expy. When that job falls through due to insane managers, she gets another one at a restaurant that looks suspiciously like McDonald's. She nearly quits this one as well, until a blind customer convinces her to stay.
The comic follows Ellie's exploits in the workforce, Quinn's problems with school and her boyfriend, and the testy interactions between the two. Starts hitting its stride about when the blind customer is introduced. Updates Monday/Wednesday/Friday.
This series contains examples of the following tropes:
- A-Cup Angst:
- Quinn is either an A-cup or B-cup and is a bit sensitive about it. She is shown be very jealous of Ellie's figure.
- Subverted with Pumpkin, who is enraged when two other cosplayers mock her "baby cosplay" more because of what it says about cosplaying then what it says about her. But on the very next page she displays the kind of ambivalence common in teen girls: she actually wouldn't mind a more mature figure but does not want to be treated like a bimbo OR put up with the crap Ellie has to deal with, Foreshadowing further developments in Pumpkin's future
- The Ace: Tarragon, who manages to do nearly everything perfectly.
Quinn: So how does one win four gold medals in one event? And also in the same year?
Tarragon: My other three rowers came down with severe food poisoning.
Quinn: That's absurd. There's no way the committee would still let you compete.
Tarragon: I can be very persuasive.
- Alternate Self: Sister X is Tarra's alternate future self.
- Always Identical Twins: Subverted. Quinn is surprised to hear Ellie has a twin sister. Ellie quickly amends that they're fraternal, and when Cinnamon is finally introduced she bears the least resemblance to Ellie of any of the sisters.
- Always Someone Better: Tarragon, the second oldest sister, is unquestionably The Ace, being her parents' favorite, a quadruple Olympic gold medalist, and all around action hero. The only thing that scares her is Ginger, the oldest sister.
I really expected more from you, Tarra. Pumpagon: It's Pumpagon at the moment
Well, "Pumpagon" had better hope that $#!t wears off. Cause if I have to explain this to Mom, I'm kickin' your ass! Tarragon/Pumpkin:
- Animesque: This comic features Cross-Popping Veins, nose vanishing and many other Anime tropes.
- Apron Matron: Rosemary fits this trope to the 'T'.
- Art Evolution: Yes. It evolves a lot. Compare the first link to the last.
- Or you can just check out this redraw of the first comic.
- Artistic License – Animal Care: Played with. There is a reason why Ellie's cat is named Mr. Fatty McFatfat. Ellie loves animals. Unfortunately she likes to show her love and care for them by overfeeding critters until they resemble beach balls. The animals are shown to be negatively affected by being critically overweight, but it is Played for Laughs like how even a while after she was kicked out out the squirrels at her parents home are still too fat to climb trees and Mr. Fatty McFatfat is so obese Ellie actually has a kitty sized defibrillator for him. Realistically that kind of overfeeding would kill any animal rather than turn them into spheres of cuteness.
- Asexuality: After much teasing, Quinn diagnoses Pumpkin as either asexual or demisexual. Granted she's just a college student extrapolating from her textbooks but it seems to fit.
- Attractiveness Isolation: Quinn is rather surprised by the possibility that Ellie doesn't have a lot of dating experience despite her spectacular figure, but Ellie implies it's BECAUSE of her spectacular figure — guys are either intimidated or assume she's already taken.
- Beauty Mark: Ellie and her sisters all have a strange birthmark on both cheeks, unique to each girl. Ellie's are a pair of letter "N's," Juniper's are "S's," Ginger's are "T's," and so on. Apparently it sometimes skips a generation—their parents don't have any, but their grandfather has pi signs. Ginger's boys have punctuation marks that relate to their names.
- Boyish Short Hair: Pumpkin.
- Blush Sticker: Tarra's family birthmark came out like this. Word of God explains it, though there's no explanation why her birthmark projects off her face in traditional adorable Blush Sticker form, though.
- Brick Joke: The "provocative pics" Ellie's sending.
- Daniel gets arrested for possession of Montage.
- Brilliant, but Lazy: Calling Ellie brilliant is probably a stretch, but she's definitely smarter than she acts.
Ashlii: I go to school with Pumpkin. She says you're the stupid one.
Ellie: Please remind Pumpkin that we all agreed I'm the LAZY one!
- Broken Aesop: Deliberately joked with here. The page is even titled Broken Aesop. The Aesop in question is how Pumpkin argues that good cosplay for girls should not require sex appeal. . . then switches out of her adorable and conservative Tails cosplay and into a Rikku cosplay, which is considerably less conservative.
- Buxom Is Better: Subverted. While Ellie's large breasts gets her a lot of attention, she personally believes she's not as pretty as the more moderately endowed Quinn. Taken further, these strips imply that Ellie has little to no dating experience, as guys were too intimidated to ask her out.
- Subverted even harder with Pumpkin. She's growing into a figure to rival Ellie's and dislikes it so much she's taken to binding her chest and wearing hocdie sweaters to hide it.
- Played straight with Anise, who openly admits hers are fake.
- Burger Fool: Her first day at O'Jacks, seemingly a parody of McDonald's, leaves Ellie crying in a bathroom stall.
- Chekhov's Gun: This comic provides a very subtle one. Mr. Stevens makes them read their essays out loud, because he's blind and can't read them otherwise.
- Cloud Cuckoo Lander: ANISE. She's Big Eater Perky Goth tattoo artist with a beard fetish and a habit of tattooing phone numbers, grocery lists, and random doodles on her hands because she couldn't find a pen. The local mall cops know her by name and reputation due to her unfortunate habit of flashing her one true love, Mall Santa.
- Colour Coded Characters: Quinn is almost always seen wearing some shade of purple or lavender (which is humorous considering she is constantly at odds with Ellie whose real name is Lavender.)
- Code Name:
- The "sisterhood council" has awarded each sister a designation like "the perfect one" (Tarra) or "the slutty one" (Juniper). Baby sister Pumpkin's official designation is "Too Soon To Tell". Shades into Insistent Terminology when Ellie tells Quinn ("the honorary one") that she has to use the correct classifications, she can't just invent her own.
- Played with when their father gives them all color-based code names a'la Reservoir Dogs for their Black Friday shopping expedition. Ellie's is "Mr. Lavender", much to her distress.
- Cosplay Otaku Girl: Pumpkin for sure. She has been shown in a variety of cosplays, and runs a small cosplay business out of her home selling custom cosplay gear and wigs.
- Creepy Blue Eyes: Cinnamon has noticeably flat blue eyes and has been referred to as a 'dead-eyed troll'.
- Couldn't Find a Pen: In a much less gruesome example of this trope, Anise will tattoo notes onto her hand if she doesn't have a pen handy. She even says she couldn't find any and refers to her problem as, "like, a pen famine."
- Da Chief: Herb Buckingham is a police chief. Since he's been shown at work for only a single panel at the time of this writing, it's unknown how laid-back or how strict of a chief he is.
- D-Cup Distress: Pumpkin's chest is starting to become quite prominent, much to her distress.
- Defrosting Ice Queen: Quinn is defrosting quite nicely. She still has her sharp personality, but is far less hostile and bitter than she was when she was initially introduced.
- Didn't Think This Through: Danny did NOT think things though when he created the College Roommate Hotties site. The site itself was a good idea, having two girls 'star' in it without their knowledge or consent was not. It backfires on him spectacularly.
- The Ditz:
- Cinnamon, Ellie's twin. There's a reason she's referred to as "the dumb one." Her accomplishments include blaming Ellie for crimes that were obviously her own fault, insulting her parents while being allowed to live in their house for free, reminding her twin sister of "her" birthday, and claiming in complete seriousness that she's the only sister who's a twin. Her only success was finding a rich boyfriend (which she also managed to screw up somehow). Possibly Obfuscating Stupidity to some degree, especially considering her actions during the Black Friday arc where she released a swarm of ratchantulas on the mall.
- Juniper may be even dumber than Cinnamon (she was held back two grades in school), but she has an even more unfortunate defining character trait: "the Slut". She's probably smarter when she is neither drunk nor hungover, which is unfortunately rare.
- Everything Is Racist: Kat seems to think anyone who has a problem with a 23-year-old woman trying to sleep with their 15-year-old daughter is obviously just homophobic and doesn't really care about the age difference, they're just using it as a convenient excuse to disguise their bigotry as something more socially acceptable.
- Evil Twin: There's a reason Quinn refers to Ellie's twin Cinnamon as The Creepy One. Even if she turns out to not really be evil, she certainly is the more morally-questionable sister.
- Eyepatch of Power: Hello Sister X
- Fantastic Drug: Montage. Provides montage and musical transition to blur through your day.
- Family Relationship Switcheroo: Tag is Ginger's son by adoption, but Juniper is his biological mother. Ginger adopted him after Juniper got pregnant in high school and wasn't up to the task of actually raising him. This has caused some strife between the two in the comic, and may cause more in the future.
- Favors for the Sexy: It doesn't come up very often, but Ellie can get help rather easily.
- Fight Woosh: Used in this strip. A direct parody of Final Fantasy X's style.
- Fingertip Drug Analysis: Poppy does so here, confirming Danny's possession of Montage.
- Foolish Sibling, Responsible Sibling: With seven sisters, there's something of a sliding scale between the two. Ginger is probably the most responsible, with Juniper being the most foolish.
- Fusion Dance: Yes, this really happens. It appears Tarragon and Pumpkin are capable of merging their bodies into a Pumpagon.
- She has also done this with Ellie at least once. It turns out that's why Ellie's (and Pumpkin's) breasts are so huge — according to the FAQ, they're literally turning into replicas of Tarra.
- Future Me Scares Me: Sister X is a time-traveling Tarra with the self-assigned mission of eliminating various sisters for dubious reasons willing and capable of beating the snot out of her modern counterpart. Given she altered the timeline by going back, it's been confirmed that hers is now an alternate universe, so our Tarra will hopefully never become Sister X.
- Gold Digger: Cinnamon, most likely. The only thing really mentioned about her boyfriend before he dumped her is that he was rich. Given Cinnamon's personality, it is quite likely she dated him for his money.
- Green-Eyed Monster: Quinn has disliked Ellie ever since fifth grade, when the latter showed up after summer with boobs. It didn't really turn to hate until Ellie stole Quinn's boyfriend (though that turned out to be a misunderstanding).
- Green Eyes: So far Quinn, Juniper, and Ginger have these.
- Grumpy Bear: Quinn is usually in a sour mood, as well as Tired Guy.
- Hard-Drinking Party Girl: Juniper. She loves to drink and party, but her lifestyle is shown to have a heavy negative impact on her. She gave birth to Tag when she was 19, it's implied that she is homeless, and if her appearance at an AA meeting is anything to go by she is an alcoholic.
- Hates Everyone Equally: Presumably Caleb. Perpetually grumpy and insulting.
- Hidden Buxom: Pumpkin is self-conscious of her growing bust and binds them down with ace bandages.
- Hired for Their Looks: Ellie is aware of this trope.
- Hero of Another Story: Tarra apparently lives the life of an action hero when not spending time with her family.
- Heterosexual Life-Partners: Ellie and Quinn show the beginning signs of this trope. She even gets effectively adopted into the family after the events of the Black Friday arc and receives the Sisterhood Council designation "the Honorary One."
- Hypocrite: Kat. A misandrist who claims men are rapists and predators when she herself preys on teenage girls.
- Innocent Blue Eyes: Most of the Buckingham sisters have very pretty blue eyes.
- It Runs in the Family: The Buckingham's are fun and more than a little crazy. Even the 'normal' ones are only normal by comparison.
- Cinnamon likes to goad people just for the hell of it. It rarely goes well for her.
- Alex. He pursued Ellie and other women shamelessly while he was dating Quinn while blaming her for his wandering ways, and lashed out when Ellie rejected him.
- Kat. A manipulative hypocritical misandrist who is blatantly sexist against men and tries to get into Pumpkin's pants despite being 8 years older than her. Overall bullying and hostile.
- Danny. He is of the stupid variety. He seemed sleazy but decent until he crossed the Moral Event Horizon by setting up hidden cameras in Ellie and Quinn's apartment and making them the stars of a voyeur site called College Roommate Hotties. It doesn't end well for him.
- Lazy Bum: One of Ellie's bigger flaws and one that she is aware of and tries to fight.
- Loony Friends Improve Your Personality: Quinn's prickly personality has been getting more bearable with her introduction the the lunatics called the Buckingham family.
- Mama Bear: Rosemary and Ginger both fit this trope. Do NOT mess with their kids.
- Massively Numbered Siblings: Ellie is fifth of seven children, all girls, and one of her sisters appears to be trying to replicate that feat with boys.
- Marshmallow Hell: Quinn got a face full of Ellie's considerable chest during their big fight.
- Meaningful Name: On oh so many levels.
- Ginger's name matches her sharp personality.
- Tarragon rhymes with "paragon."
- Anise is esoteric and not the sort of thing found in most kitchens.
- Juniper is primarily used to flavor gin and game meats, both of whichfit with Juniper's role as the alcoholic and the "wild child".
- Lavender (Ellie) is the odd one out, being used more for perfumes and soaps than food. Another possibility is that while lavender has a sweet smell, it tastes very bitter, and Ellie is outwardly perky, cheerful and sweet, but inside she is insecure, self-loathing and, yes, bitter.
- Cinnamon's name is frequently shortened to "Cinn".
- "Pumpkin spice" is actually a mixture of spices; Pumpkin shows a mix of her older sister's defining traits.
- Missing Backblast: Averted. Sister X is introduced with a rocket launcher, and is shown to have fired from an open and elevated position with smoke trailing from both ends of the launcher. It may have been more intended as Rule of Cool than as an intentional aversion of this trope.
- Mistaken for Gay: Ellie is horrified when her oldest sister Ginger tells her on the phone that everybody assumed she and Quinn were a couple. Possibly subverted when the conversation is over, Ginger tells Juniper that she's just messing with Ellie's head.
- Mix-and-Match Critters: It started with a simple hybrid between rats and roaches called ratches, so horrible that they were classified as an 'Omega Pestilence' and their presence was enough to get O'Jacks shut down, razed and burned. Then Cinnamon got a hold of at least one, and bred it with her tarantula resulting in the ratchantula. Recent artwork shows at least one more creepy-crawly will enter the mix. As it stands they are aggressive, can fly, spits acid, spews some sort of gas, and are overall terrifying to the point where their presence results in a whole mall being evacuated.
- Mundane Fantastic: Slice of Life served with a side of eldritch conspiracy wierdness
- Nightmare Fetishist: Cinnamon, as shown by her taste in pets.
- Non-Indicative Title: Neither shotguns nor shuffling have played any part in the comic so far. The title is a music reference (in this case, a song title) like most of the character's names. For the curious, the song "Shotgun Shuffle" is a disco instrumental by K.C. and the Sunshine Band and it would make a perfect title track if this comic were ever animated.
- Noodle Incident:
- The Buckinghams eat all meals with sporks because "one sister losing an eye is enough". Just which sister lost her eye has not been revealed, though Ginger, Ellie, and possibly Pumpkin have all ruled themselves out through dialogue. It's finally revealed to be Anise.
- Ellie's screen name is "The9thSister" — what happened to the other four? (Ellie is the 5th of seven, there would have to be four sisters older than Ginger for her to be ninth.)
- No Sense of Personal Space: One of the things that infuriates Quinn about Ellie. It's later pointed out that with a family of Ellie's size, you just sort of...don't understand concepts like why eating someone else's ice cream is bad. And Quinn is exceptionally sensitive because her mother also refused to respect her boundaries.
- Not Good with People: Quinn burns bridges with numerous characters such as Alex, KK, and her own mother.
- Not So Different: Quinn and Ellie come to this realization as they work out their differences after their big fight. In particular, they parse out why they punch each other's buttons and sensitive spots. Quinn is especially struck by the notion that Ellie considers her the pretty one.
- One Last Job: The caper involving Tired Guy/Mr. Night, Quinn's father, and E-Symmetry has this air, especially given that Tired Guy is old and clearly very unwell.
- Only Sane Man: Ellie clearly views herself as the only sane member of her family, and initially appears to actually be so since she's the viewpoint character. But once the sisters get together it's clear that all of the Buckingham girls are varying degrees of nuts and the Only Sane Woman role is actually filled by "the honorary one" Quinn. The title of sanest Buckingham girl probably has to go to Pumpkin, if only by default, and even she has her moments.
- Ominous Message from the Future: While it probably wasn't the point of her jump back in time, Sister X mentions to Tarra that her Tarraforming attack causes cancer. Sister X is a future Tara with what appears to be a double mastectomy, so most likely it gave her breast cancer.
- Parental Abandonment: Juniper's neglect and seeming disinterest in her son Tag forced her sister Ginger to adopt him. Ginger chews her out for it later when Juniper claims shes still his mom, despite Ginger having taken care of him since he was a week old.
- Perky Goth: Anise, with a side of Cloud Cuckoo Lander.
- Planet Eris: Normally the comic is relatively low-key, (aside from the ratches and the iCloud), but the Black Friday story degenerates from a shopping trip played like a heist movie into a shootout with mall ninjas, time-travel, a Fusion Dance and Summon Magic.
- Polar Opposite Twins: Ellie and Cinnamon are quite different from one another both in appearance and personality.
- Poor Communication Kills:
- In the present, Ellie fails to explain to Quinn what the latter's boyfriend is doing behind her back, leading Quinn to think Ellie is seducing him.
- In the past, Quinn hears "that blonde Buckingham chick" stole her boyfriend, and doesn't realize that Ellie has a sister that goes to the same school (actually two, but the slutty one is dirty blonde).
- The first time we see the Ninja confront Tarra he's in a wheelchair and implies she put him there. The second time he's in a wheelchair and a halo brace. Turns out all he wants is a date; he's just really bad at asking.
- Reasonable Authority Figure: KK
- Reality Ensues: When Quinn and Ellie discover Danny has created an entire Voyeur site around them Ellie argues against calling the cops, since the news coverage would only make things worse. (though not wanting to get her father involved might have influenced her opinion).
- Ridiculously Cute Critter: Mr. Fatty McFatfat.
- Romantic Two-Girl Friendship: Pumpkin goes to Quinn for advice and winds up developing a serious but apparently platonic crush on her. Quinn spurns her when she starts showing Clingy Jealous Girl tendencies.
- Running Gag: The ratches, a monstrous rat/roach hybrid born in the depths of the O'Jacks, appears to be poised to become this. They seem able to breed with anything, having added tarantula to their gene pool so far.
- Self-Deprecation: Just look at the junk Rosemary is talking about on the computer screen in the last panel here.
- Seven Deadly Sins: Word of God states that each sister represents one of them. Ginger is Wrath, Tarra is Envy, Anise is Gluttony, Juniper is Lust, Ellie is Sloth, Cinnamon is Greed, and Pumpkin is Pride.
- Shadow Archetype: Word of God also states that the second three girls (Juniper, Ellie, and Cinnamon) are shadow archetypes of their older counterparts (Ginger, Tarra, and Anise) because they all have their origins as aspects of the original idealized version of Ellie. Pumpkin is the "bonus baby".
- Shared Family Quirks: According to Rosemary obsessive behavior is probably one of their shared quirks. The girls also definitely seem to share a taste for fighting.
- Shout-Out: All over the place, often in the form of a clever or subtle Funny Background Event, but the corker has to be an Affectionate Parody of the theme restaurant sequence from Pulp Fiction composed of two full pages of 90's pop cultural references. You know the guy is good when he can build a clever Homage to Quentin Tarantino out of Spice Girls, The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air and Jurassic Park references.
- Sibling Rivalry: Seven sister's worth.
- So Beautiful, It's a Curse: Ellie provides a light example of this trope. She has a pretty face and a knockout figure that attracts plenty of attention, but also a lot of trouble.
- Stalker with a Crush:
- Quinn's boyfriend, Alex, repeatedly pesters any of Quinn's roommates who stick around for too long, playing the victim card and trying to get in their pants. It has yet to work.
- It has also been noted that Mr. Stevens, AKA: The Blind Guy, also stalks Ellie a bit in a much less creepy fashion.
- A weirder example is Ellie's former teacher named Mr. Doogan who ended up breaking into her house and stealing her clothes. She runs into him during her early stint in Getmart still wearing ladies clothes. He did jail time for it though.
- Straw Feminist: Kat is quite obnoxiously an extreme feminist, complete with a man-hating attitude and an aggressively self-righteous personality.
- String Theory: "Tired Guy" has a large one set up in his apartment that strongly implies his primary target is Quinn, possibly because her father is a General. It also reveals (apropos of nothing) that he's also a fan of Hamtaro.
- Stupid Sexy Flanders: Ellie's response to how Quinn looks here.
- Take That, Audience!: Subtly Played for Laughs in the current arc, when Ellie and Quinn unknowingly become the stars of a voyeur site. Notice the title of the website in top of the comic? And see those unemployable losers who follow it? Yeah, those real screen-names and locations come from actual Shotgun Shuffle fans.
- Theme Naming:
- Ellie and her sisters are all named for herbs and spices. Ellie's birth name was Lavender Elinn, which she had legally changed to Ellie (L.E., get it?) when she turned 18, to her parents' annoyance. Their parents are Herb and Rosemary. Some of the main cast's last names are those of members of the group Fleetwood Mac.
- Ellie calls her father "Poppy", so he gets a double herb/spice reference.
- In a subtle joke on the food-themed names, early on in the comic Ellie calls Quinn Quince. Quinces are a hard, sour fruit that are used usually used in jams and jellies, and it fits Quinn rather well.
- The Glorious War of Sisterly Rivalry: Seven. Sisters. It's impossible for them to NOT have some level of rivalry going on.
- "The Reason You Suck" Speech: Ginger delivers a blunt one to Juniper when Juniper starts displaying "Mommy come lately" feelings towards her biological son/adopted nephew Tag.
- The Slacker: Ellie has this habit.
- The Tease: Ellie. All flirt, no action.
- The Unfavorite: passed around like a baton (with accompanying self-pity) until Ginger's "The Reason You Suck" Speech explains why it's Juniper.
- Tough Love: Seems to be Rosemary's thing. She strict with her daughters, but clearly loves all of them unconditionally. A good example of her brand of tough love was her setting off the plot of the whole comic by throwing lazy and unmotivated Ellie out of the house with a list of apartments for rent.
- Truman Show Plot: Used in one arc with Ellie and Quinn being recorded without their knowledge or consent for a voyeur site.
- Tsundere: Quinn is a mild example, often shown non-romantically when she interacts with Ellie but also seen with her (former) boyfriend Alex while they were still dating.
- Two Lines, No Waiting: "A" plot comics are free online. "B" plot comics are only available to patrons. Since the "A" plot is the main plotline you can enjoy the comic for free, if you are invested deeply enough to care about the B plots you should be willing to support the author.
- Vitriolic Best Buds: Ellie and Quinn are shaping up as this.
- Will They or Won't They?: Ellie and Mr. Stevens (Blind Guy) and possibly even Ellie and Quinn.