YMMV / Dumbing of Age

  • Angst? What Angst?: Zig-zagged. Sal is upset by her parents' neglect, Billie shrugs off her father trying to buy her love and has latched onto the Walkertons without expressing any issues with this arrangement. On the other hand, it's entirely in character for Billie to be openly dismissive of stuff like that, and her self-worth issues have become very, very visible over the course of the strip.
  • Base Breaker:
    • Is Joyce an adorable Christian who needs to break out of the effects of her sheltered life or an idiotic bible-thumping xenophobe?
    • Becky: Understandably living out after a lifetime of repression or a complete asshole?
      • Even her haircut has become this.
      • Becky and Dina's relationship. Cute and fluffy, or an annoying couple thrown together with no build up that now dominates the comic?
    • Amber/Amazi-girl, besides the fact that Amazi-girl is Amber's way of running from her issues, there are many that find her increasingly haughty attitude to be annoying, especially when she doesn't seem to realize that vigilantism is far more illegal than some of the crimes she claims to be against. Her treatment of Sal has pushed her to damn near scrappy territory. While some understand why Amber has such negative feelings toward Sal, many feel that she is being overly wangsty about their shared past and that she needs to get over it.
      • Also breaks bases in that she already got over her issues in Shortpacked, only to regain and have to retread them again in a new universe.
    • Ross MacIntyre: Loving dad afraid to lose his daughter (especially after his wife passed away) and willing to sacrifice his own life to "save" her, or misguided, violent and ignorant bigot who doesn't care about his daughter's feelings, so much that he went as far as kidnapping her with a gun?
  • Broken Base:
    • The whole Billie vs Ruth thing had people picking sides, until they became an item and it largely ceased to be an issue.
    • The storyline involving Sal and Walky's parents preferring Walky based on racial preferences created a massive outpouring of both complaints and support from fans.
    • "Outrage" has become a particularly polarizing strip amongst fans, with many saying that Roz was wrong to blatantly antagonize Joyce, especially after Leslie told her to stop several times. Others say that Joyce had it coming, and that Roz is right that she doesn't deserve a parade for the smallest of epiphanies. It got so bad that eventually Willis put in a filter to change all uses of "bitch" to "bongo" in the comments, which did serve to provide some much needed levity.
    • 'To Those Who'd Ground Me' has been the subject of debate. Either it's a fun piece of catharsis for people who have had to deal with misguided parents, or the fun moments such as clever girl and unlimited, coupled with the extensive car chase sequence, broke all the dramatic tension that had been built and ruined an arc that could have been well-written and realistic.
    • The Mary vs. Carla arc split fans so badly that Willis shut off comments for the strips. To make a long story short, a character the reader is supposed to hate, a character whose motivation is to annoy and be hated, and a character who is somewhat of a Jerkass herself come into conflict. Willis himself has made it clear who he intends to be the bad guy, but whether the situation was put together in a way to be judged so solely by the comic's events is up for debate.
    • The portrayal of Christians in the story has had some readers feel they are always being painted in a bad light while others counter this by pointing out that Joyce is frequently portrayed as a positive character, as well as several other positive Christian identifying characters, and most of the negative portrayals are based on real people.
  • Draco in Leather Pants:
    • The author has often lamented on Tumblr that a small contingent of people do this for Blaine O'Malley (who beat Amber's mom and emotionally abused Amber) and Ross MacIntyre (who is trying to drag Becky to conversion therapy.) In many cases, people claim that said parents only want what is best for their children, and that said children blow their flaws out of proportion. In almost all cases, their comments are not approved to be in the comments section.
    • Mary gets this a lot too. She has consistently shown herself to not be a very nice person, with extremely bigoted views. Still some fans have sided with her a few times and said that while she may be mean those she is mean to are not undeserving of her ire.
  • Ensemble Darkhorse:
    • Dina won the "favorite character" poll, despite having less than 40 strip appearances by the time the poll closed. For comparison, Walky had over 150, and Joyce over 250. The poll currently had her at 603 votes, 19% of the total amount. The second highest was Mike and he only has 482. That means nearly a fifth of the fan base loves her more than the main characters. She's featured in the banner ads for the comic, where she's hiding just out of frame (so just her Cool Hat is visible), pops up to stare at the reader for a few seconds, goes "Rarr!" and pops back down.
      • She's since won for a second year running, this time with a whopping 43% of the vote.
      • Dina is now the star of her own storyline, aptly titled "Walking with Dina."
    • Leslie. Despite her limited appearances, she is generally liked by the fans for being a Cool Teacher and having a great sense of humor.
    • When taking a poll on which character Willis should make an extra couple strip for Patreon about, Becky of all people won. Willis was completely baffled, especially since no one but him knew that Becky was going to make a reappearance just three weeks from the poll's end. Once she became a part of the story, her popularity skyrocketed.
    • Riley DeSanto appears in a grand total of eight strips, and has no lines in her last two appearances. Despite that, she is well-liked by the fandom, mostly because she's rather adorable.
    • Sayid, a character who was only added to give Amazi-Girl a skateboard to chase after Ross, was well loved by the fandom even when he first appeared in the preview panels, does fairly well in Patreon fan votes for a character with only three lines in the entire series, and was included in the "Tales of Sinterest" Slipshine comic due to his popularity.
    • Joyce's father Hank is very quickly earning the love of the fandom by being one of the few good parents in the comic, to the point where in spite of not fully understanding some of Joyce's newfound beliefs, will support them anyway since he believes she's her own woman now. It helps that unlike his wife, Hank doesn't try to defend Ross at all, outright saying that he's wanted to punch Ross a few times himself, even before his gun-point kidnapping of Becky.
    • Joyce's older sister Jocelyne is beloved by the fandom. Her return during When God Closes the Door was met with rousing cheers, and she frequently wins the Patreon fan vote.
  • Escapist Character: The author says Dorothy is at least partially one for him. Certainly, she is quite successful and ambitious, with quite possibly the only good parents we see during Freshman Family Weekend.
    Author Comment: [All my characters] take things from me on some level. [...] Some day, I hope I will be Dorothy. That is my end game. But I still have lots of stuff to work out first.
  • Harsher in Hindsight:
    • Walky's casual joke about Sal being blacker than him REALLY comes back to bite him.
    • The jokes about Joyce not liking Walky but still getting lunch with him take on a darker tone when you realise why she still hangs around him.
    • Becky apologizing to Joyce about Hans in this strip is funny at first, but a plucky, over-sheltered girl falling for a man who she wants to marry immediately who turns out a vile sociopath who only wants to use her is definitely not funny...
    • "Outrage" Roz's comments in the last panel were already harsh, but then Becky ends up homeless because of her orientation
    • Dorothy's mother trying to tell Linda Walkerton not to try so hard becomes a lot more uncomfortable when Dorothy tells us what Danny's mother used to do.
  • Hilarious in Hindsight: The alt-text of this strip is "We're never getting feathered Dinobots ever". Just over a year later, much to Willis's delight...
  • Ho Yay:
  • Memetic Loser: Danny's loser status, while present in canon, is a running joke among fans regarding when, and how badly, he will "Dan something up."
  • Memetic Mutation:
    • FAAAAACE!
    • With my penis tends to pop up in the comments of most strips involving Joe. It eventually become the response to any action, regardless of if Joe is in any way involved. Usually immediately followed by Mike's catchphrase "For a nickel."
    • The Show Within a Show "Dexter And Monkey Master" is often treated as if it were an actual show. Creating the most bizarre meta-fandom, as the show's "fans" argue about which episodes are the best, wishing the series had continued, even criticising Walky's and Leslie's lack of taste in episodes. Comics featuring D&MM will typically have a long comment chain featuring the input of an irascible and argumentative fandom for a show that DOES NOT EVEN EXIST. This mentality has even carried over to Joyce's favourite Christian cartoon, Hymmel the Hymnal!
    • Ever since Willis started doing comics for the porn comic site Slipshine, when something even mildly sexual happens in the strip, you can expect at least one reference to the site in the comments.
    • Sal's habit of breaking the rules is taken to hilarious levels here;
    • After Dina referred to Ross MacIntyre as a toe, commenters took to referring to him as "Toedad".
  • Misaimed Fandom: The name of the chapter To Those Who'd Ground Me, as well as the names of certain strips in it, is a reference to the song Defying Gravity from Wicked which is all about standing up to corrupt authority and striking out on your own. This is obviously supposed to refer to Becky finally being finished with her Jerk Ass fundamentalist father, a triumphant and hopeful moment for the character. The problem is, in the musical the song is a form of Dramatic Irony, since the audience knows by that point that the singer's rebellion will turn out to be just as fruitless and harmful to herself and others as her previous conformism was.
  • Moe: Dina.
  • Moral Event Horizon: Mary, while disliked by much of the fandom for having Joyce's fundie attitudes with none of her empathy or ethics, finally crossed it in the eyes of many when she escalated a simple noise complaint to destruction, bigotry, and blackmail.
  • More Popular Spin-off: Shortpacked! was this to the rest of the Walkyverse, and DOA is this to Shortpacked. Willis even said that DOA had twice the viewership of Shortpacked when he announced the latter's closure.
  • Narm: Amber's high-speed chase of Ross MacIntyre. A tense story about Becky's father kidnapping her at gunpoint turned into Mad Max. Featuring Ross climbing out of the window to shoot at Amber with a gun, leaving the wheel unattended; a random driver understanding and helping Amber when she crashes into her windshield; superhero gizmos to pop Ross's tire; a semi-truck out of nowhere; and a Deus ex Machina in the form of Sal rushing in to save the day.
  • Nightmare Fuel:
    • This is pretty much one of the most terrifying scenes in the series. The strips slowly changing into a reddish tint reflects this.
    • Amber's Slasher Smile in the last panel of this strip is a Flash Back to a few strips ago when she punched her dad. You only see a part of it, but it is absolutely terrifying.
      • It's becoming more and more obvious that Amber is becoming unstable, that Amazi-girl is becoming a separate personality, and that her past with Sal is causing Amber to see her as some sort of evil Arch-nemesis despite Sal no longer being the delinquent she once was. Then there is her blind rage that has caused her to stab an unarmed Sal when they were kids and to beat her abusive father half to death.
    • There's a reason that Joyce can't be alone outside...
    • Ross, while an asshole, was trivially easy for Dina to remove in his first appearance. Then he comes back with a GUN.
    • In a Patreon bonus strip, Dorothy goes to her class to reschedule a meeting with her professor. Her professor tells her about a shooting near the Showater Fountain...the same place Joyce was meeting her at. The look of horror on her face says it all.
    • Jocelyne's position once John makes his opinion of Becky and Joyce clear. She's getting to witness first-hand just how conditional her family's "love" is, and looks justifiably terrified.
  • One True Threesome: Plenty of readers are hoping for Amber / Danny / Ethan after "Thoughts."
  • Rescued from the Scrappy Heap: New!Roz was a lot better received than her Scrappy Shortpacked! counterpart. Unfortunately, New!Robin seems to have taken her place on the heap.
    • Sarah also got a lot more sympathy from the base once her full circumstances were revealed. She didn't call the cops or the school on her roommate, she called said roommate's father, and he pulled her out of school.
    • Danny saw a notable rise in popularity after he started hanging out with Ethan most likely due to the flirtatious nature of their interactions.
    • After his fiasco during Parent Day, Joyce's father Hank quickly won back the crowd later on when He immediately accepted Becky's status as a lesbian, even if he doesn't quite understand it.
  • Ron the Death Eater: Becky gets this in part for her somewhat abrasive nature, and for disobeying her father, even though said father kidnapped her at gunpoint. It coincides with Ross's Draco in Leather Pants treatment detailed above.
  • The Scrappy:
    • Ruth is disliked by a lot of fans for her rampant abuses of power and haughtiness.
    • Danny's behavior when it comes to relationships really rubs a lot of fans the wrong way. Not just that, but a lot fans admit that they dislike him because he reminds them of themselves at some point in their lives. Additionally, numerous fans accuse him of being facetious Nice Guy (being Neutral rather than Good) and having some of his decisions motivated by an It's All About Me attitude.
  • Shipping Goggles: In-universe: Joyce is apparently convinced that Walky and Billie are destined to be together eventually, no matter how many times they express their disgust at the idea. Either that, or she's doing a very subtle job of trolling Walky.
  • Strawman Has a Point: In this strip, Joyce treats John expecting Becky to know how to access her Social Security Number as unreasonable but the problem with this is that she and Becky live on a college campus in the year 2016. Even if the library didn't have the information, five seconds on google from a phone borrowed from either Joyce or Dina would easily tell her what she needs to do.
  • They Wasted a Perfectly Good Plot: The Sal/Walky feud brings up an excellent point about how racism can extend to parental favouritism. However aside from one conversation with Billie, this part isn't touched on again and only serves to say 'racism exists' rather than explore the idea of parents preferring a child based on racism in the 200 strips or so it goes on and the whole issue is swept under the rug very quickly.
  • Unintentionally Unsympathetic: Happens with characters like Becky and Carla. While we are meant to find them sympathetic, many readers find their personalities too off putting to want to take their side. Complicating the matter is Becky's status as a lesbian and Carla's status as a trans woman, which can cause some of the critiques of their characters to cross into homophobia and transphobia.
    • Ruth occasionally gets this reaction from readers who feel that her previous acts of abuse tend to be swept under the rug. That she is now in conflict with somebody she's previously assaulted does not help either.
  • Unpopular Popular Character: Walky. The entire cast seems to like insulting him (especially Billie and Joyce), but fans love him.
  • The Woobie:
    • Joyce, the world is tailor made to force her to deal with things she has no ability to deal with, starting with an attempted rape which leaves her with serious PTSD issues. Her worldview is constantly taking hits, she is seeing people being happy sinning while she is unhappy being "pure" which is causing her to feel hate towards her friends and to hate herself for feeling hate. She is in a relationship that even she is aware is both wrong and doomed to failure. Then to top it off her childhood friend confesses to her and Joyce ends up hurting her because she doesn't have the same feelings for her. Thankfully, her relationships with Ethan and Becky actually improve after some introspection and after she decided to be honest with them and herself.
    • Amber can't let go of her past to the point it's implied her alter ego was developed as a way to violently deal with them.
    • Ethan can't accept himself and would rather live a painful lie.
    • Sal lashes out at the world even as she tries to be accepted into it.
    • Ruth and Billie have set themselves on a path that can only end badly with all the alcohol involved.
    • Dina, to a lesser extent - while she has yet to go through the kind of trauma listed above, she is increasingly aware of her difficulties with social interaction.
    • Becky was forced to leave college after she was caught messing around with a girl (said girl decided to turn on her, claiming Becky was the one to put the move on her). Her father was not supportive at all of her homosexuality, and she decided to run away. She went to meet Joyce, her best friend since childhood, but also her long-time crush, and was devastated when Joyce didn't reciprocate her feelings. Becky being Becky, she was able to compose herself rather quickly and is now living with Joyce, but it is abundantly clear that she still has romantic feelings for Joyce, and that her situation affects her a lot more than she let on. Not to mention the guilt from watching Joyce lie to her parents for her sake, even though Joyce clearly tells her it's not her fault. And then there is the part where her dad kidnaps her at gunpoint...
    • In the same vein, Jocelyne. Having seen all of the above, being pre-op trans in a fundamentalist family, gradually learning just how conditional her family's love is, and knowing that she will almost certainly go through some of the same things is gonna give her some trouble sleeping at night.
http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/YMMV/DumbingOfAge