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Context YMMV / DumbingOfAge

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1* AngstWhatAngst≤** 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.≤** Becky tends to shrug off any [[ moments of sadness easily]]. In general, Becky would rather hide her pain than let people know she is hurting. She does that both with her dad (as a defense mecanism) and Joyce (mostly because she doesn't want to make her sad). Every now and then, though, her facade breaks.≤* AlternativeCharacterInterpretation: Almost all but the very worst people in this comic have some shade of grey to them, since they almost always have [[FreudianExcuse some kind of reason]] for their actions. Of course views on the characters are going to fluctuate.≤** Walky and Dorothy, specifically in their relationship. Is Walky being an insensitive {{Jerkass}} to his girlfriend [[ who just wants him to open up]] or is he trying to protect himself [[ from getting hurt]] by a relationship [[ he knows has a deadline]]? On the other side, is Dorothy expecting too much from a relationship [[ she herself insisted wasn't serious]], is she [[ changing her mind]] about this being just for fun, or is the fact that her only other prior experience [[ was Danny]] causing her to have a skewed view of how to handle things?≤** Roz: is she a cruel opportunist who intentionally sabotaged her Robin's congressional campaign as some of her dorm mates allege, or a CruelToBeKind HypocriticalHeartwarming little sister who decided a relationship with Leslie would benefit Robin as well as serve the greater good? It all hinges on whether you believe Roz took or posted the incriminating photographs.≤** As noted below, some readers view Mary as less of a PoliticallyIncorrectVillain and more of a IneffectualSympatheticVillain. This mostly depends on whether you view [[ her]] [[ various]] [[ comeuppances]] as DisproportionateRetribution or not. ≤** When Ross discharged his gun on campus was he just making a dumb incriminating decision or did he do it to put pressure on Becky to get in the car, essentially holding ''himself'' hostage with the threat of the police coming for him after firing a gun? Ross's two major characteristics are that he's a manipulator and an idiot so it depends on which trait the viewer believes he acted on.≤** Because he's mainly used as a PlotDevice and is a FlatCharacter otherwise, people are hard pressed when it comes to analyzing Mike. His flashback chapters renewed interest in just what makes him tick, and have led to some wildly different interpretations. Some believe he's dead inside and acts like a dick legitimately to those that deserve it, and uses it as a front for making others aware of their flaws. Some think he's just TheSociopath and is playing everyone around him for [[ForTheEvulz his amusement]]. Others TakeAThirdOption and think that while he is TheSociopath, he has a soft spot for Amber and Ethan, but isn't afraid to call out them or anyone else that pisses him off. Just what makes Mike tick is effectively a riddle for the ages.≤** Viewers are divided on just what Jocelyne was thinking [[ here]], in these beat panels after [[ArmorPiercingQuestion Joyce asks if her mother is a good person.]] While it seems universally agreed upon (and obvious) that she doesn't trust her mother, the specifics of what exactly are going through her head are... less so.≤--->'''Fart Captor:''' The heartbreaking part is that I canít tell whether Jocelyne is lying to herself, trying to be gentle on Joyce, or hiding what she really thinks about Carol because she still isnít sure how much she can trust Joyce.≤* BaseBreakingCharacter: ≤** Is Joyce an adorable Christian who needs to [[InnocentBigot 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 ''[[ImportantHaircut 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 [[TheScrappy scrappy territory]]. While some understand why Amber has such negative feelings toward Sal, many feel that she is being overly [[{{Wangst}} 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 [[spoiler:kidnapping her with a gun]]?≤** Mike has been getting hit with this regarding whether his actions are a form of necessary ToughLove, if he's merely an abusive bully who frequently pulls KarmaHoudini routines, or whether both are irrelevant and he's just meant to be a FlatCharacter for comedy's sake.≤** Joe and the kind of humor he brings. He's either funny in a CrossesTheLineTwice sort of way or he's annoying and his jokes are at odds with the rest of the comic. Him falling OutOfFocus is either a good thing or a waste.≤** Rachel. While normally a RecurringExtra, she became this after giving Ruth a TheReasonYouSuckSpeech. She's either entirely right in her speech, partially right, but mainly in that she doesn't know all the details surrounding Ruth, a {{Hypocrite}} who chose to hit Ruth while she was down, or is suffering from a DarkAndTroubledPast and was triggered by Ruth's attempt at redemption.≤*** Made more complicated is her idea of redemption being non-existent.... saying it in front of several characters that for one reason or another are desperately trying to redeem themselves.≤* BrokenBase: ≤** 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.≤* CrossesTheLineTwice: [[ The strip]] in which Joyce recaps "the whiteboard ding-dong bandit" incident to Becky.≤-->'''Becky:''' ''This is the best day of my life.'' (beat, as she [[spoiler:glances down at the corpse of her murdered father]]) Okay, top five.≤* DracoInLeatherPants:≤** 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.≤* EnsembleDarkhorse:≤** 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 CoolHat 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 CoolTeacher 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 [[CheerfulChild 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 [[GoodParents 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 [[spoiler: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.≤* EscapistCharacter: 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.≤* FunnyAneurysmMoment: Billie's drinking is played for laughs starting in ''the third strip''. Later we see she's a full blown alcoholic who's really suffering because of it and she has a DUI in her past that almost killed someone.≤* HarsherInHindsight: ≤** 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 [[Disney/{{Frozen}} Hans]] in this [[ strip]] is funny at first, but [[spoiler:a plucky, over-sheltered girl falling for a man who she wants to marry immediately who turns out to be a vile sociopath who only wants to use her]] is definitely not funny...≤*** Hell, the entire arc where Joyce was nearly {{date rape}}d counts as one, [[ as Dorothy's research predated the current outrage over campus assaults]] by a good few years.≤** [[ "Outrage"]] Roz's comments in the last panel were already harsh, but [[spoiler: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.]]≤* HilariousInHindsight: The alt-text of [[ this strip]] is "We're never getting feathered Dinobots ever". Just over a year later, [[ much to Willis's delight...]]≤* HoYay: ≤** Besides linking to a slash fic between Billie and Joyce, Willis seems to enjoy teasing the fans.. [[ Joyce's behavior towards Billie is a bit too friendly, to say the least... Shower buddies? Really?]]≤*** [[ Becky may have skewed Joyce's perception of what a platonic lady friendship should be like.]] ≤** [[ Don't make it awkward,]] Billie.≤** [[ And now it's official.]]≤** [[ Danny learned something about himself that day.]]≤** Becky's behavior around Joyce (not to mention her vagueness while [[ talking with Walky about Dorothy]]) has got some of the fans questioning her motives for coming to see Joyce. Answered when [[ this happens]]≤* MemeticLoser: Danny's loser status, while present in canon, is a running joke among fans regarding when, and how badly, he will "Dan something up."≤* MemeticMutation:≤** [[ FAAAAACE!]]≤** Whenever Amazi-Girl showed up, the guesses would deliberately be everyone ''except'' Amber, due to the PaperThinDisguise. Finally became a DiscreditedMeme [[ in this strip]]'s AltText.≤--->this is when you guys stop making the spider-car and ultra car jokes forever, by the way, hint hint≤** [[ 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 ShowWithinAShow "JustForFun/DexterAndMonkeyMaster" [[ 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".≤** Following Willis's pattern of naming each book after a bizarre quote from one of the characters, the comments section now suggests ''any'' funny or weird bit of dialogue be the title of the next book.≤* MisaimedFandom: 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 ''Theatre/{{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 JerkAss [[TheFundamentalist fundamentalist]] father, a triumphant and hopeful moment for the character. The problem is, in the musical the song is a form of DramaticIrony, 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.≤** However, the aftermath shows there has been damage to people involved in the event who weren't Becky, namely Amber and Joyce, the former due to being saved by Sal, and Joyce's attitude taking a serious hit thanks to her mother supporting Ross's actions.≤* {{Moe}}: Much to Billie's surprise (and the readers'), Ruth turns into one after [[spoiler:getting help at the hospital. She also realized that deep down, she doesn't want to die, and is tearfully begging Billie to not let her die]].≤%%** Dina.≤* MoralEventHorizon:≤** 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]].≤** Linda Walkerton, already established to be in the running for "Crappiest Mother" in the webcomic, taking money from Sal that Sal had been saving up to pay for medical care for Marcie simply because she didn't ''like'' Marcie, while also brushing off any of Sal's concerns.≤** Blaine's is when he kidnaps Danny to use him as leverage against Amber.≤** Ross spends all of "To Those Who'd Ground Me" flying over the line when he [[spoiler:kidnaps his daughter at gunpoint because of her rebellion against his extremist fundamentalist views]].≤** Carol crosses it at the end of "Sometimes the Sky Was So Far Away" when she helps provide bail money for Ross, who [[spoiler:threatened her own daughter at gunpoint]] in the above incident.≤* MorePopularSpinoff: ''Webcomic/{{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 Film/MadMax. 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 DeusExMachina in the form of Sal rushing in to save the day.≤** Blaine [[spoiler: starting to recruit other antagonists, as if he were a supervillain assembling a LegionOfDoom. Narm intensified when, after being found out by Mike (and threatening to beat him to death with a hammer), the readers get a chase scene... with Mike and Blaine on electric kick-scooters. And ''then'', when Amazi-Girl steps in, Blaine responds by putting on a supervillain get-up.]]≤* OneTrueThreesome: Plenty of readers are hoping for Amber / Danny / Ethan after "[[ Thoughts]]."≤* RescuedFromTheScrappyHeap: ≤** New!Roz was a lot better received than her Scrappy ''Webcomic/{{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. [[spoiler: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 [[spoiler: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.]]≤** DownplayedTrope, in that she is more of a BaseBreakingCharacter now, some consider Ruth rescued after the brutal stuff she's been forced through, her HiddenDepths, [[TookALevelInKindness Taking a Level in Kindness]], and pure sympathy for her.≤* RonTheDeathEater: 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 DracoInLeatherPants treatment detailed above.≤* ShippingGoggles: In-universe: Joyce is apparently convinced that [[LikeBrotherAndSister 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.≤* TheyWastedAPerfectlyGoodPlot: Sal's thoughts and feelings about being her parents' [[TheUnfavorite unfavorite]] and her attempted convienience store robbery spent a ''long'' time addressed only in passing, as did Ethan's feelings about being held at knifepoint, leading to complaints of this. The 2018 storyline "[[ Flyin' to the Red]]" finally gave us Sal's perspective alongside numerous flashbacks, as well as exploring Ethan's (lack of) trauma.≤* TheyWastedAPerfectlyGoodCharacter: [[spoiler:Jocelyne]], is a mtf trans character who has not come out to her family and has not done any transitioning or attempted passing in the main comic, something very rarely seen in media. Unfortunately, due to having already graduated, she's rarely in the main comic and her status as trans is never explored.≤* UnintentionallyUnsympathetic:≤** 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 be accused of being homophobic or transphobic.≤** Ruth occasionally gets this reaction from readers who feel that her previous acts of abuse tend to be swept under the rug. That she was in conflict with somebody she's [[ previously assaulted]] does not help either. Overlaps with her being a BaseBreakingCharacter.≤* UnpopularPopularCharacter: Walky. The entire cast seems to like insulting him (''especially'' Billie and Joyce), but fans love him.≤* TheWoobie:≤** 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 her alter ego was developed as a way to violently deal with them. Unfortunately, this didn't do anything but make her consider her normal persona to be "evil" and "broken", not helped by the fact that she inherited some traits from her [[AbusiveDad asshole father]].≤** Ethan can't accept himself and would rather live a painful lie.≤** Poor, poor Sal. [[spoiler:Being TheUnfavorite as a child led her to hang around with some questionable people, and when her best friend was permanently handicapped, her attempt to raise money to pay for her surgery ends in her mother stealing the money to try and force her to break things off with Marcie. This pushes Sal over the edge and leads to her trying to rob a gas station with a knife, earning her a permanent scar on her hand from Amber stabbing her. Then she gets sent off to a boarding school by her parents as they continue to pamper Walky instead of giving her the attention she needs. Things still aren't over for her in the present day, as Amber continuously stalks her as Amazi-Girl, picking fights with her until her best friend, whom she ruined her own life for in the first place, starts to distance herself from her.]]≤** Ruth and Billie have set themselves on a path that can only end badly with all the alcohol involved, and nearly did in Ruth's case. While Ruth is getting help, Billie isn't out of the woods yet.≤** 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 [[spoiler: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.


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