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YMMV: Pearls Before Swine
  • Angst? What Angst?: Pastis loves to play this up for dark humor. The deaths of characters rarely elicit any sort of grief (and Pastis has killed many). Various crocodiles, the roommate Leonard, and even Pastis himself have fallen victim to this.
  • Base Breaker: Pig has resided in this position. For some, he's an endearing character whose innocence adds humor and heartwarming goodness to an otherwise dark and cynical strip. But for others, he's just an idiot whose stupidity becomes unbearable. It doesn't help that Pig can be frustratingly stupid and unclear at times.
  • Creator's Pet: Rat has a few shades of this.
    • To be sure, Rat is..."liked", and to note, Pastis has stated that Rat is his evil alter-ego and he often lets Rat say things he wishes he could. So, a possibly Justified version.
  • Crosses the Line Twice: The character of Alphonse the Porcupine revolves around pretending to attempt suicide to get attention.
  • Crowning Moment Of Awesome: "#$@&!* you, British Petroleum" - said by Pig.
  • Crowning Moment of Funny: So much, see here.
  • Crowning Moment of Heartwarming: Pastis has often said that Pig's sweetness is what keeps the strip from getting too dark:
    • Pig is sitting at a desk with a sign saying "Hold Me. Make my probblims go away." Rat calls Pig dumb for thinking that being held will make his problems go away. Pig then alters the sign to read "Hold me anyways."
    • Also, after Pig imagined that he was a butterfly and fell off the roof, Rat addresses him in the hospital and offers a rare Jerk with a Heart of Gold moment: "No, you dumb pig. You jumped out of the window and hit... (pause) ...the moon."
    • The December 1st, 2007 strip.
      Pig: Aw, Andy. It's... It's because you're —
      Andy: ... On a chain. A chain that gets a little weaker every time I pull against it... a chain that one day's gonna break.
      Pig, hugging Andy: Oh, Andy.
      Andy: Hey... Don't squish the hat.
    • There's also Pastis's touching memorial to his recently deceased father-in-law from February 2, 2010
    • The conclusion of an arc that has Junior Croc dating a girl zebra (Zebra's niece). When Junior finds out she's leaving he proceeds to break down his door (he was grounded at the time) and give her a goodbye hug.
      • Another one happens when the two string popcorn while Zebra decorates the tree after Billy runs away to spend Christmas with them.
      • Also involving Junior is this June 15, 2011 strip. Making it even more heartwarming is it was released a few days before Father's Day in many countries.
    • Given the strip's animosity towards Family Circus and Bil Keane, the December 25th strip was an oddly touching tribute...
  • Ensemble Darkhorse: Da Crocs. Also, Orca. Ironically, Pastis decided to kill him off when he thought he was unpopular. By the time he realized Orca was popular, it was too late. Nonetheless, the character has sporadically made a couple appearances here and there, with the usual explanation that he "un-died".
    • Pastis has commented that he gets letters if Danny Donkey goes to long without appearing.
  • Everyone Is Jesus in Purgatory: Parodied.
  • Family-Unfriendly Aesop: Every children's story Rat writes.
    • One that sticks with this troper is one of his Danny Donkey books. A group of Environmental Activists ask him to cut down on drinking beer, recycle, and he can help save the world. Danny replies, "Why? When the world is so full of lies and greed, why save it?". The Activists are awed by his speech and change the Save the World rally to a Destroy the World rally.
  • Fan Hater: Pastis claimed in an interview that he deliberately gets a rise out of these people. In response to angry letters, he sends them form letters of the "Thank You for Writing" variety, which only causes the complainants to send in more angry letters... in return for which he sends out more form letters...
  • "Funny Aneurysm" Moment: One strip featured a croc disappointed that Steve Irwin's head has never been bitten off, published just a few months before Irwin's real death from a stingray attack. Also, a fat joke about Ted Kennedy became much less funny after his death.
  • Hilarious in Hindsight: Rat found Saddam hiding in a spider hole... playing a Game Boy.
  • Magnificent Bastard: Rat can be this at times.
  • Moral Event Horizon: Rat has crossed this once, when he killed a random guy, just to stop him from reproducing.
  • Rooting for the Empire: Based on the comments posted on the Go Comics website, many readers want the Crocs to catch and kill Zebra.
  • Tear Jerker: Surprisingly common, however, the infamous "Israel bus" strip around Christmas one year is soul-crushing, as is Pastis' commentary on it.
  • What Do You Mean, It's Not for Kids?: The main characters are all Funny Animals who make Incredibly Lame Puns on a regular basis. Perfect for kids, right? Then they start talking about current events and issues kids probably don't know about. And then there are the deaths. And the (albeit censored) swearing. And a bunch of other family-unfriendly activity. Yeah, this is one of those few comics meant just for older readers than all ages.
  • The Woobie: Pig. So much. I mean, literally
    • Ellie the Elephant (one of the Rat's characters) who really, really wants a grand romance with her apathetic boyfriend and goes overboard trying to impress him or to make a lasting impact on the world, but ultimately resigns herself to romance novels.
    • Andy, a dog who's left outside on a chain day and night and never gives up hope of seeing the world.
    • Jerkass Woobie: Rat, who's sometimes even proud to be a jerk, has had his heart broken by his love, Farina, and fails at doing anything that would benefit others. There are even times that he worries that he is a worse person than he thinks.

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