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YMMV: Ctrl+Alt+Del

  • Angst Dissonance: Ethan hates Rory because Rory constantly manipulated him as a child, injured him for his own amusement and always got what he wanted with zero consequences. Meanwhile, Ethan regularly abuses his employee Rob and the customers in his store for his own amusement and has been known to attempt to ruin a friend's career so he can get a game several months in advance.
  • Anti-Sue: Ethan. Despite being not particularly heroic, childish, unemployed at the beginning of the series, and the resident Butt Monkey of the series with almost no social skills. He winds up:
    • Married to the girl of his dreams, which would be fine if there were a good reason for it, but Ethan never really displays that towards Lilah.
    • Constructing not one, but two robots that perfectly mimic human life—by accident. Consider that even the most intelligent scientists find doing this on purpose impossible, and Ethan did it twice.
    • The founder of his own holiday, Winter-een-mas, and religion, the Church of Gaming, and Lucas and Lilah, both supposed to be the Straight Man, fully accept and support this endeavor as Serious Business, even sticking up against other religious figures, saying that they're no more likely to be right than Ethan.
    • Easily defeating and outwitting all of his opponents, eventually owning and running a successful gaming store, despite having no business knowledge, never doing his paperwork, and treating his customers and employees like crap.
    • Frequently being apologized to for things that were his fault to begin with, with nary a consequence unto him.
    • Bearing an eerie resemblance to the comics creator, Tim Buckley, they're even drawn the same, and up until recently, they had the same haircut. They even have the same tongue piercing.
  • Anvilicious: Notoriously the "gamer religion" arc. In a different way, the introductions of Emma and Christian get their respective characters across with all the subtlety of anvil pie to the face.
  • Author's Saving Throw: "Endings...And Beginnings" is one, after the Internet Backdraft that arose following "...Will", the intended Grand Finale of the on-going Ethan storyline.
  • Bile Fascination: People who dislike the comic still read every strip Buckley releases.
  • Critical Dissonance: Despite that the comic is hated (So much, the main tropes page was even locked!), its readership is large enough that Tim Buckley is able to live off of this comic and related events. Note that for webcomics, this is very rare.
  • Designated Hero: Christian is a jerk, doing some incredibly slimy things, but considering that Ethan's antics have also screwed over people whom he considers his friends for selfish reasons and have even put people's lives in danger, it gets harder to root for Ethan.
  • Dude, Not Funny!: Episode 5 of the animated series has a sketch where a female original model Nintendo DS is called a fatass by two male PSPs, throws up in the restroom and then comes out as a hot DS Lite.
  • Family-Unfriendly Aesop: Kate attempts a Secret Test of Character on Lucas via a fat suit during their blind date to make sure he isn't dating her for her body. He politely indulges her for the evening but is just about to dump her when she reveals she's not fat. He then changes his mind at seeing her real body and they end up becoming a couple. There's really no way this couldn't end in a Broken Aesop or a Family-Unfriendly Aesop.
  • Fan Haters: OODLES.
  • Fan Nickname:
    • Fans nicknamed the "cheating" Goth-ish Gamer Chick Gaz.
    • Or possibly Sydney or Akasia.
    • "Side Panel Sid", for an unnamed, awkwardly drawn character in a strip about CPUs.
  • Flame Bait:
    • Do NOT go on a forum and say "Ctrl+Alt+Del? It's okay." Not to mention much of it is Bandwagon Hate due to the infamous Convenient Miscarriage arc.
    • Opinions on the cartoon range from "simply bad" to "insult to basic human intelligence." It's even flame baitier than the comic.
  • Harsher in Hindsight: Buckley used to send people cease-and-desist letters over fan animations, even when they didn't turn a profit. He was (at the time) hoping to get into that himself, wanted to be sure it was done right, and didn't want his comic's name attached to something subpar. The official animated adaptation did eventually manifest, to near-unanimous critical scorn. It was such a commercial failure that its production company nearly declared bankruptcy.
    • May or may not overlap with Hilarious in Hindsight: The lengthy C&D letters included a poorly-done drawing of Ethan complaining about being "drawn by an amateur." Years later, he came under fire for designing a character whose traits were all taken straight from an easy-to-locate painting of a punk rock girl.
  • Heartwarming Moments: Despite any other complaints you may have about the comic, it's hard not to smile at this strip.
  • Hilariousin Hindsight: The OUYA's failure as a console basically makes this strip hold true to whoever owns one.
  • It's Popular, Now It Sucks: Though of the most read webcomics on the web, you wouldn't know this by hearing what people have to say about it.
  • Memetic Mutation:
    • B^U after his infamous method for character design that has nearly every face easily approximated by it. The general consensus is that it is pronounced aloud as "bee-you", like a foghorn.
    • CADbortion after the miscarriage arc. It's even better when reenacted with abstract shapes and pictures.
    • Lucas' Expressive Shirt (pocket is the eye, crease is the mouth; apparently Shirt is a silent Deadpan Snarker).
    • "Loss Edit" which involves replacing the last panel of any other comic (including comics other then CAD) with the last panel of "Loss".
    • Ethan's "hairbird" (his hair looks like a bird), after someone noticed the resemblance between Ethan's hair and another goon's photoshopped avatar of Nicholas Cage with the caption "My hair is a bird, your argument is irrelevant!". In an odd coincidence, Ethan's hair has become more bird-like since the haters started using the "hairbird".
    • For The Annotated Series: "HOOOOOOORSE CUM!" (a mondegreen(?) of the expy-Swedish Chef's nonsense dialogue), "Jackie" (an girl Tim Buckley was accused of mailing obscene photos when she was a teenager).
    • $150.20, after the amount Buckley gained (out of $3000) in con funds. It was started by Something Awful, whose members chipped in, one penny per member.
    • "You have been banned. Reason for ban: None given. Date ban will be lifted: Never." apparently in reference to the trigger happy nature of CAD's forum mods.
    • "WORDS WORDS WORDS" in reference to the webcomic's frequent walls of text.
  • Never Live It Down: The miscarriage. Abbygate. See Unfortunate Implications below.
  • Nightmare Fuel: Let's just say the Grand Finale isn't pleasant.
  • No Such Thing as Bad Publicity: Owes a good deal of its popularity to its haters.
    • To the point where Buckley did a guest comic for another comic that pointed this out.
    "Just remember every time you bash Ctrl-alt-del I gain more page views and more money. Suckers."
  • Seinfeld Is Unfunny: Although he predates Twisp and Catsby by years, Chef Brian is still cited as an example by those who think Ctrl+Alt+Del is a Penny Arcade ripoff.
  • Snark Bait: A general rule amongst regulars of Image Boards is that nearly any comic ever made can be made up to 500% funnier by removing the second and third panels. Likewise, this is often done in reverse to other comics by padding the dialogue out into enormous balloons by meticulously explaining every single detail, including the joke, and manipulating all the characters' faces into the same bland expression used by Buckley in his comics.

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