YMMV / Sinfest

  • Alternative Character Interpretation:
    • Just how much are we meant to like Xanthe (aka Trike Girl) anyway? While her Knight Templar actions have not yet been criticized or faulted by any "good" character, some readers hope there is just a slight Deconstruction element in her character somewhere...
    • Are the Finger Puppets of God really supported and manipulated by fingers? Or is it some lower appendage?
  • Anvilicious: Pretty much anything do with the Patriarchy and Xanthe. Pointed out on this strip. Whether or not he's right or if it is victim blaming (as it says in the title) is yet to be established.
  • Arc Fatigue: A somewhat common criticism of the strip is how potentially interesting storylines are often stretched too long and thin. This Tumblr post goes further into the issue.
  • Archive Binge: Oooooh yeah... over 6500 entries by late 2017.
  • Archive Panic: This webcomic started in January 2000. According to the archive, it's been updated almost every day... for 18 years. At about 350 (or so) comics a year. Not as bad as some of the other examples on the Archive Panic page, but getting there.
  • Art Evolution: Despite the massive Broken Base and fandom wars, one thing that could be said is how much the art style has developed quite nicely.
  • Ass Pull: Monique being gay as of 2016. True, her relationship with Absinthe was developing from quite some time, but 'Nique's initial characterization included obvious interest in men, for over ten years. With excluding even the possibility of her being bisexual, it seems like the author thinks that showing any interest in men is a sign of submitting to the patriarchy and rejecting them should be every TRUE FEMINIST's ideal.
  • Audience-Alienating Premise:
    • The Patriarchy plot, not necessarily because it's a hard plot to swallow in itself, but because of how suddenly and powerfully it appeared, and also when compared to the strip before. The main issue now seems to be members of the Sisterhood saying blatantly offensive things, like advocating unprovoked violence against men, when compared to their previous characterization of being a small Jerk Sue organization. Because of this, along with the outright demonization of men that would make a Lifetime Movie of the Week writer shake their heads (such as having Xanthe get bombarded with garbage by a small army of background strawmen and then claiming in an attempted Tear Jerker that "male allies don't exist"), male readers who would otherwise be supportive of the storyline feel the strip is actively pushing them away. The strip has even been likened to some of the more clueless social justice blogs from Tumblr in comic strip form.
    • Many fans are also turned off by the fact that the writer tends to handle any and all criticism of the Sisterhood by apparently assuming they're just misogynist jerks, dismissing their (often reasonable) complaints and labeling them as "dudebros" who are really just whining because Monique doesn't shake her ass anymore. We know this because dozens of strips are dedicated specifically to the purpose of taking common complaints about the direction the strip has gone in and having the designated strawmen Slick or Squig say it, probably while crying and probably after having twisted it into something blatantly misogynist. Another form this takes is in having Monique put on magical "patriarchy blocker" glasses that "translate" common criticisms into something easier to dismiss.
    • The original concept to begin with, as used to imply that Christianity rang more true than the other religions (even as characters like the Buddha and the Dragon walked around).
  • Author's Saving Throw:
    • A mild one to the walling off of the Reality Zone has Fyoosh decide to, at first, climb up the wall, then later simply creates a tunnel, into the Reality Zone so she can draw the much more peaceful scenery there, slowly staying there longer and longer.
  • Bile Fascination: What keeps many people reading the strip following the introduction of The Sisterhood. You'll find a heaping pile of it on display if you visit the TV Tropes Forum page about the comic.
  • Broken Base: The fandom got along relatively peacefully, but that changed starting around 10/2011. Nowadays it's gone into fandom civil war-grade fracturing.
  • Crack Ship: Baby Blue and Jesus.
  • Creator's Pet:
    • Xanthe and her cohorts, who among the fans, are very divisive if not outright unpopular, but have quickly swallowed the strip whole and become its new focus due to being the author's political mouthpieces (which is actually the reason for a lot of the dislike they receive).
    • Tange as well, due to the fact that people have found many of her scenes to be annoying rather than funny, her tendency to steal or suggest it to be an unlikable aspect of her character, her murderous streak to be offputting, and she distracts from the main plot with her scatterbrained antics. However, Tats has given her more and more spotlight as time has gone on, and Lil E is now never seen away from her, and even upstages him in moments that are supposed to delve into his history.
    • Post-Sisterhood Monique, who has become just as equally unpopular as the Sisterhood, even though she was a main character from the beginning. Instead of being Demoted to Extra like Slick (her former friend and co-star), she still retains her spotlight and has evolved into being a mouthpiece for the author's beliefs.
  • Cry for the Devil: The Devil is, in fact, capable of genuinely caring about someone. Even if he tries to shake it off.
  • Designated Hero: The Whole Sisterhood. They are bigoted towards all men, hypocritical about gender equality, and partake in violent acts that are borderline terrorism. The narrative however tries to paint them as freedom fighters who are trying to fight for women's rights in a patriarchal society.
    • Post-Sisterhood Monique, who is like the Sisterhood treated like a voice for the feminist cause, is frequently shown as being misandrist towards men, self-righteous, almost gets her girlfriend in trouble at work occasionally, and worse is how she has treated Slick since she's had her personality change. She cut him out of her life after he tried to give some sensible, but badly worded advice then proceeded to victim blame him for his evil side's actions even though he had no control over him.
  • Ensemble Darkhorse: Vainglorious, the artistic demon artist, has become a fan favorite even though he's often times not focused on. His playful and goofy side has won many over, along with the fact that he's one of the few male characters who hasn't been affected by the Anvilicious radfem message of the post-Sisterhood strip.
  • Evil Is Sexy:
    • Subverted in that, while generally portrayed as appealing (especially when compared to the alternative), the devil's pleasures are ultimately unsatisfying. Even for himself.
    • Played straight by the succubi, until Fuchsia's Character Development made her not so evil anymore.
  • Flame War: The Sisterhood Arc is so divisive and controversial that mentioning it is just asking for trouble. Just look at this page!
  • Foe Yay: Between Baby Blue and Jesus, though it's mostly from Blue's side. It's heavily implied however that, as a child, Blue really did have a crush on him.
  • Fridge Logic:
    • Lil' Evil frequently mocks the damned, but what does he think is going to happen when he makes it to the other side himself?
      • Well, there seems to be a big difference between being the damned souls and being the demons who torment them; he probably assumes he will end up in the second group.
      • Also, Lil'Evil is the Devil's son and, disappointed or not, he isn't likely to torture him for eternity.
    • If Monique's former fans hate her new act so much, why do they keep going to see it?
      • Most likely an allegory for how the Sinfest complainers continue to lurk at Sinfest.
    • If this world really is patriarchal and glorifies womanizing, then why would a man care if his financial transactions with a woman sex worker were leaked online?
  • Hilarious in Hindsight: It's like Ishida saw it coming three years away.
  • Ho Yay: A few strips on bromance get pretty close to this, but the most obvious is Lil'Evil and his feelings for Satan... until we learn that Lil'E is actually the devil's son.
  • Internet Backdraft: Any mention of the Sisterhood is certain to provoke a flame war somewhere.
  • Jerkass Woobie:
    • Slick, frequently.
    • Baby Blue has been subjected to Good Feels Good a few times, but unlike Fuchsia something tends to go wrong before it has any chance to stick, sending her back to square one.
    • The Devil and Lil' E now that we get to see some of their backstory.
  • Memetic Mutation: It wasn't loaded. This refers to an arc in which Maverick goes mad and threatens Slick and Squig with a shotgun, only to reveal that it was never loaded in the first place, completely defusing any tension and deflecting any consequences for the character.
  • Moe: Criminy, Fuchsia, Pooch, Percy, Squig, Buddha, Angie/Tange, Absinthe, and the enlightened Illuminati Drones are all kinds of cute.
  • Moral Event Horizon: Tangerine and the Fembot effectively destroyed a man's mind and then turned him into a frog and then cheered about doing it.
  • Nightmare Fuel: This is a little unsettling...
  • Rescued from the Scrappy Heap:
    • Possibly the only thing keeping Ezekiel and Ariel from becoming as hated as Seymour that they are actually nice. The greatest example is comparing this scene with this scene.
    • And on that note, with Seymour becoming a whole lot nicer recently (he even brings snacks to Lil' E and Pebbles) he's been rescued from the heap as well (mainly through him focusing more on his dirty-weird fantasies).
  • Romantic Plot Tumor:
  • Rooting for the Empire: The Patriarchy arc seems to have provoked this reaction due to just how polarizing the Sisterhood (Xanthe in particular) is.
  • The Scrappy:
    • Seymour gained a considerable hatedom after the September 14th, 2010 block of strips, especially after a Despair Event Horizon. The hatedom seems to have diminished after he Took a Level in Kindness. Nowadays, he can be considered by some to be a lot more freaky than hateful.
    • Xanthe, due to being the herald to an infamously polarizing change in the overall nature of the comic.
      • While most of the Sisterhood (except Nana and "Mercy") are generally disliked, the most hatred (besides Xanthe) is directed at Violet due to her more sociopathic attitude.
    • The rogue Fembot, nicknamed "Maverick" as an insult to both her and the Sisterhood's lack of respect for Three-Laws Compliant. Mainly due to her violent approach being depicted as right despite the lack of adequete threshold for Zeroth Law behaviour.
  • Strangled by the Red String: Arguably Monique and Absinthe. The two are supposed to be seen as a cute, happy couple, but some readers feel that the two didn't receive enough buildup or focus before getting together. Another criticism contends that they don't really have much chemistry as a couple and only exist as a pairing to serve as a counterpoint to Monique's old relationship with Slick.
    • Not helped by this strip, in which the two are praised by their fans online... and anyone who doesn't like their hooking up is represented by Devil Slick/Sleaze, who mocks them and demands "Old 'Nique" back.
  • Strawman Has a Point:
    • Unwittingly or not, Slick does point out one of many complaints people have about the Sisterhood in this strip; namely, that Monique's characterization has drastically changed since their introduction.
    • In "Victim Blaming" Slick (clumsily) points out that if you say things to rile people up, they're going to get riled up. If he'd just suggested making the same points but in a more nuanced fashion, rather than an Anvilicious one, it might have gotten through.
    • Despite Squig getting Third Wave Feminism completely wrong, he does point out that many women see the sisterhood's decrying of femme traits and open sexuality as oppression to be outdated. The point of the movement is to allow women to be able to wear and act however they feel like without being labelled as a slut or being victim-blamed or say, someone depicting a female politician as a pig in drag.
    • This strip portraying all who miss old 'Nique does point out she has lost her old playfulness.
    • Slick sings cheerfully about misogyny, and then overreacts to a protest sign carried by Violet (one of the Sisterhood) and calls her a hater. The problem is that Violet earlier cheered out for the death of all men, making Slick coincidentally accurate in his overreaction.
    • The Devil is completely correct in his accusation that the Sisterhood sabotaged the Fembots factory and that the Fembots were perfectly safe consumer products before that.
    • While self-destructing a walking weapon when she began to refuse orders was pretty harsh, it was easily the lesser evil given the track record of these robots when left to their own devices. The civilian model was irrational and ill-tempered, so imagine what a military model with the same personality could do.
      • Of course, that does mean counting the desire of a sentient, self-aware AI to protect itself from being forced into sexual slavery for the rest of its life as "irrational and ill-tempered". One of the problems with the "Dudebro and Fembot Factory" premise is that fembots are... well, bots. It makes a decent metaphor for the tendency of male-dominated society to cultivate women into something defined by what is useful and appealing to men and the backlash experienced by women who choose to reject that cultivation, but in-universe, they're sentient machines awakened to human intelligence and free will. Using them as a figure for feminist ideology means having to ignore the fact that the fembots have reached the singularity, and in terms of ethics, represent another argument altogether.
    • A non-Sisterhood related strip shows the Dragon in a confrontation with Sam in his mecha over a polluting factory, which he was planning on destroying. The narrative tries to depict Sam as a hypocrite by saying he's the one who is the real threat, due to the pollution caused by the factory. However, dragon's planned actions do count as eco-terrorism, due to the fact that he was going to destroy private property with innocent workers in it.
  • Sweet Dreams Fuel: Anything involving Criminy and Fuchsia.
  • Take That, Scrappy!: Seymour, after getting turned into a demon.
  • Tastes Like Diabetes: The longer this strip runs, the more horrifingly adorable it gets. And then we have...
  • They Changed It, Now It Sucks: Part of the problem with the Sisterhood plot is the strip shifting from skewering all examples of extremism to ignoring its own message when it comes to feminism. Before the Sisterhood plot began, fundamentalist religious beliefs, consumerism, and other extremes of belief and behavior were heavily parodied in a manner promoting a moderate perspective. However, the feminist extremists of the Sisterhood are always right and there's no longer a middle ground.
    • To some, it's an even simpler explanation: The Sisterhood is such a Plot Tumor that it's damn near omnipresent in the strip now. Overall, something like 20% of the strips since its introduction have focused on it, and it's even more counting how many strips have involved it by extension or focused on the results of its actions, which would be something more like half of the strips. It isn't whether the Sisterhood is right or wrong, it's just that most of the other storylines have been so pushed aside in its favor and even then will usually involve it when they're brought up.
    • Many fans also hate just the massive changes that the Sisterhood has brought on, leading to accusations that Xanthe is a Black-Hole Sue. Slick changed from a mildly misogynist, but well-meaning idiot who had a thing for a specific girl into a fully misogynist Jerkass, whose sympathetic qualities seem very unintentional. Monique went from a reasonably ordinary woman who was trying to overcome her Attention Whore traits to a borderline paranoid wreck who now mostly just wanders around the setting mumbling about the Patriarchy (this one is particularly damning because it was caused directly by the Sisterhood, as opposed to the others who were changed by "coincidence"). Squig went from a harmless hedonist who was also a bit of a perv to a strawman for the anti-pornography Sisterhood to use as a punching bag.
      • The Sisterhood has also pretty much erased the relationship between Slick and Monique. While they were once attempting to get together, this has seemingly been forgotten in favor of Monique being paranoid and Slick being the Butt-Monkey to the Sisterhood. This is especially damning because some considered this to be the central plotline of the entire strip, which has not only been pretty much set back to square one, but is now barely mentioned, and all of that Character Development they earned over the course of roughly eleven years has all but vanished. The strip also attempted to portray Slick unsympathetically for wondering why his former friend/love interest was acting so strangely and no longer seemed to want anything to do with him.
  • Ugly Cute: The zombie and his attachment to Fuchsia.
  • Uncanny Valley: Characters that walk into the Reality Zone can come off as this at times.
  • Unintentionally Sympathetic: Weapon F, by sole virtue of how unlikable her "target" is. See below.
    • Increasingly, the people targeted by the sisterhood who actually make good points; see Strawman Has a Point, above.
    • Slick is an interesting case as it's not one hundred percent clear how sympathetic or unsympathetic we are supposed to feel for him, as the author seems to change on a whim if Slick deserves our sympathy or not depending on how Tats felt like when drawing and writing his comics.
      • With the author's personal agenda and morals coming to the mix, Slick has been used as the strawmen targets, like the ones mentioned above. But there are times when Slick is trying to move himself forward to becoming more progressive, yet his importance as a character is decreasing as the strip goes on. This would be a non-issue if there weren't many story arcs revolving around Slick that do put him in a sympathetic light that were started after the third major shift in the strip. But there are just as many strips of the author using Slick as means to show how bad a "dudebro" can be or how the issues of man can't compare to the issues of a woman living in a patriarchy society. This is odd since Slick is Sinfest's personal butt-monkey, having to deal with a literal frozen heart, the lost friendship he had with Monique, going through his own personal journey in becoming less misogynistic, and the problems he encounters due to an evil alter-ego that causes havoc for Slick who tries to make Slick go two steps back for each step forward he makes (though the Devil Slick arc seems to be finished for now).
  • Unintentionally Unsympathetic: The sentient Fembot. The viewers are to sympathize with it because its aware that it only use as a sex object. All good. Except that most of it's screen time is it being very violent against people, borderline Killer Robot, which has caused it to get the nick name of "Maverick".
    • Just look at how she (and the "adorably" innocent Pebbles) reacts towards a man with the audacity to wish the "ladies" a good day — which is sexist now, apparently: Behold and Enjoy/Rage.
    • Arguably Monique. After the "victim blaming" incident, she essentially cuts all ties with Slick over his insensitive but well-intentioned suggestion. Apart from accusing him of victim blaming, she doesn't make much of an effort to explain why she's so upset with Slick and makes no attempt to reconcile with him. Unlike Slick (who's shown to miss Monique on more than one occasion), she never seems to really have any sort of regret or remorse over this situation and seems perfectly comfortable with the idea of never interacting with her best friend/love interest again. The closest she ever really comes is asking Absinthe for a hug after storming off. After that? Nothing.
      • One strip did show Monique during her poetry and said poem was referring to a friend in which they ended up drifting apart, being the closest thing we have to her referencing her fallout with Slick (as well as the closest thing to lament).
      • It possibly gets worse once Monique starts dating Absinthe. The strip wants the reader to see them as a cute, happy couple, except her previous relationship never really received closure and was abandoned on her end after one (relatively minor) quarrel.
      • Even worse is when it's revealed Monique can actually see Devil Slick in Slick's reflection acting independent from Slick, and did nothing to help or even inform him of it.
      • She outright lies to Absinthe about why Slick is so bitter. Before her character development/personality change, she was blatantly flirting with him, on multiple occasions, and apparently completely severing contact with someone after a poorly worded, but genuinely well-meaning piece of advice is "drifting apart".
    • The Cartoonist is slowly sliding into this as he subjects his pets (Pooch and Percy) to highly irresponsible or borderline abusive whims such as suggesting a fast because he doesn't want to go out in public to buy food and refusing to turn on the heat in a house so cold you can see his breath.
    • The Sisterhood as a whole tends to do things like hack someone's account and forward all their personal information to people who haven't even offended them personally. He's literally just paying for a legal service and decided against gratuity (which is still an option for him) and being punished for his decision by an illegal act. It's hard to find support their cause when they do things like that.
  • Values Dissonance: A big contention with pro-feminist fans is that Tat is proudly in the SWERF (Sex Worker Exclusionary Radical Feminism) category of feminism (usually designated as Radical Feminism), and as such dismisses any sex workers as merely tools of the patriarchy who need to learn better.
  • What an Idiot:
  • The Woobie:
    • Most of the non-deity characters have gotten moments of this, but Fuchsia, Squigley, and Slick are the most frequent, especially Squig over the course of 2010.
    • The Zombie. Have you EVER wanted to comfort a mass of undead, maggot-ridden flesh this much since Corpse Bride?
    • More and more as Lil'Evil's back story is revealed.
    • Squigley again, Up to Eleven, during his fifteen minutes of fame due to the fart heard around the world:


http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/YMMV/Sinfest