I don't really need the perfect shoes. It's just fun to pretend that I do.
- Ambiguously Bi: It's hinted from as early as "Campaign Trail" that she is possibly bisexual, but she doesn't approach the issue until the start of the Grand Finale. See below under If It's You, It's Okay.
- The Charmer/The Social Expert: The Queen Bee and trendsetter of Belleville High, and not without good reason. She's more analytical about it than people might think, too; she prides herself on reading people (and rightly finds it unnerving that she can't get Cyndi).
- Defrosting Ice Queen/Sugar-and-Ice Personality: Penny, while she certainly likes male attention, has trouble early on with actual intimacy. By the end of the comic, she turns a shouting match with Aggie into violently passionate rage sex that demolishes a room and most of the girls' clothes.
- Fallen Princess: When she loses, during "The Popsicle War", she falls some way.
- Foe Romance Subtext: to Aggie until they become friends, Homoerotic Subtext afterward, followed by a Relationship Upgrade.
- Freudian Trio: She's The Ego to the trio she leads.
- Guile Hero: Especially evident when dealing an implied preemptive strike against her rival upperclassman, Meg.She tries a similiar strategy when dealing with Cyndi, a considerably more dangerous foe.
- I Can Change My Beloved: The main thrust of Penny's romantic relationships with Rich, Duane, and Aggie, until the latter puts her foot down. They Get Better.
- If It's You, It's Okay: Word of God says that Aggie is Penny's one exception to her preference for men.
- The Kirk: She's the blonde, instinctual star of the show.
- Lovable Alpha Bitch Aggie and friends see her as a straight-up Alpha Bitch for much of the comic's run, but they're mostly wrong.
- Obfuscating Stupidity: Occasionally, in the earlier arcs, she plays up the "dumb blonde" style to this effect.
- The Prima Donna: Although it's a fairly mild case, she does have an ego on her which surfaces periodically.
Sometimes doing the right thing hurts. But that's when you have to.
- The Aloner: Aggie nearly ends up as this in a dream.
- Ambiguously Gay: Aggie's first crush in the comic is on a guy, and she evidently assumes she's straight at that point. But not only does Karen assume she's gay for a full year, and Lisa briefly consider Sara's theory of attraction between her and Penny, but as of "There Are No Rules", Aggie herself seriously thinks she may be gay. And as of the Distant Finale, she is shown wearing a masculine outfit and is said to be dating girls exclusively.
- Bifauxnen: In the Distant Finale.
- Cool People Rebel Against Authority/ Former Teen Rebel: Aggie actively cultivates a rebellious attitude in memory of her former hippie mother. As she matures, she learns there are other ways to speak truth to power than through protesting and modern art. She ultimately becomes a lawyer.
- Dreaming of Things to Come: Aggie's dream about being in love with a female mannequin.
- Granola Girl
- Hypocrite: Preaches acceptance and understanding, but she's done things like attempting to slut-shame Lisa for being bisexual ("Any lips of any gender'll do?").
- Ineffectual Loner: For a while, Aggie has a hard time making and keeping true friends, for fear that they will replace her...
- In the End, You Are on Your Own: Defied. After a horrible nightmare, Aggie learns that this trope is, in the words of her mother, "bullshit."
- Missing Mom: Aggie has difficulty letting go of her mother's memory.
- Single-Target Sexuality: In the early arcs, she's uninterested in either gender until she meets Marshall.
- The Snark Knight: Her defining style in the earlier arcs.
- Soapbox Sadie: Very much how she's seen, with some justice, especially in the earlier arcs.
- True Art Is Angsty: In-universe, Aggie's rigid adherence to this attitude helps her to produce florid poetry and abysmal videos, and blinds her to the fact that she's quite good at drawing.
Penny's and Aggie's rival and Marshall's girlfriend
Pretty people get to do what they want!
- Big Bad: During "The Popsicle War".
- Big Fun: Maximizing this image is part of what helps her dethrone Penny as Party Queen.
- Beautiful All Along: Played with. Karen might've gotten pretty on the outside, but it doesn't help her self-esteem, improve her outlook, or make her a better person; it just reaffirms her belief that image is everything.
- Drama Queen: Karen exhibits symptoms of Histrionic Personality Disorder, craving novelty and excitement, constant seeking of reassurance or approval, hypersensitivity to disapproval and criticism, a desire to be the center of attention, making rash decisions, and being easily influenced by others.
- Fat Bitch: Heavy and amoral at the start of the strip, Penny's makeover and Karen's Freudian Excuse (and careful weight management at Bronzo's gym) transform her into a curvy, machiavellian powerhouse.
- Freudian Excuse: Karen lagged behind her driven family socially as well as academically, intuitively grasping the Darwinist behavior of animals and cutthroat management style of her workaholic mother, who would order takeout with her in an attempt to bond with Karen.
- I Just Want to Be Beautiful/Power Fantasy/Be Careful What You Wish For: Being made over into a prettier, more socially successful person gives her everything except what she needs most.
- Last-Second Chance: A chance to pull back from the moral brink is pointed out by her shoulder conscience early in "The Popsicle War"; however, she chooses to ignore it.
- Manipulative Bastard: A talent which Karen develops fast when she gets the chance.
- Pygmalion Plot: Her starting point.
- "Not If They Enjoyed It" Rationalization: She gives Marshall involuntary manual stimulation in the shower, and takes his physiological reaction as consent, ignoring his clear discomfort before and after.
- The Social Darwinist: Karen deduces from her personal experience that society is a game of winners and losers.
- Static Character: Karen doesn't develop much past her initial plot arc.
- The Glasses Gotta Go: Part of Penny's makeover of Karen. She follows this up with laser eye surgery.
- Villainous Breakdown: At the end of "Popsicle Wars." Everyone gets sick at her party from popsicles laced with laxatives, she practically flashes everyone in a desperate attempt to have them still find her attractive, she physically assaults Aggie, and Marshall breaks up with her.
- What Happened to the Mouse?: Karen is last seen being interviewed by the FBI agent regarding her whereabouts on the day Cyndi disappeared. She remarks that she was in English class, then adds, with evident regret, "It wasn't a very interesting day."
- Wrong Genre Savvy: She thinks she's in Heathers or Jawbreaker. She's really in Clueless or Legally Blonde.
Penny's best and oldest friend
My identity is not for them to define. And it's not for you.
- The Spock: Sara plays this role to Penny's Kirk — though at times she's more The McCoy.
- Token Good Teammate: People who don't get along with Penny's clique tend to see her like this. Rich remarks that he's always liked her because of her honesty, Aggie protests that 'Sara is ok' when the Omegas bad-moth the Pennies, and Charlotte states that if there was one of the Pennies she didn't find repulsive, it was Sara.
- Took a Level in Badass: An non-violent instance, brought about by growing confidence.
- Transparent Closet: Lisa, Penny and Cyndi can all guess what's going on with Sara.
- Tsundere: Type A.
Penny's other closest friend
Ignorance is bliss. Well, usually.
Aggie's best friend
I'm just...open. Whatev, you know? Screw labels.
Aggie's friend and Penny's platonic boyfriend
If you're gonna dream a hopeless dream...go all out.
- Black and Nerdy
- Hollywood Nerd: Duane is academic and cerebral, and maybe a little shy — but his looks and good nature make it perfectly plausible that girls could be attracted to him. And in fact, both Charlotte and Michelle develop feelings for him.
- Hopeless Suitor: Double subverted in his stuttering relationship with Penny.
- I Didn't Mean to Turn You On: His response to Charlotte.
Friend to Aggie, Lisa and Fred; Sara's girlfriend
I'm not always a great person, but my friends make me better.
Friend to Aggie, Lisa and Daphne
This feeling's always been with me, that things will be all right. I like it too much to fight it.
- Large Ham: Fred does rather over-play things on stage.
- Pet Homosexual: Fred seemingly comes close to becoming a pet for a group of girls.
- Perpetual Smiler: Well, he smiles most of the time.
- Straight Gay/Camp Gay Fred seems straight at first glance, but tips into camp when rehearsing, performing, or just tipsy. The epilogue shows that he mellowed out considerably after high school.
Karen's boyfriend and Aggie's first crush
I like weights. If a weight is about to crush your heart, you can feel the pressure. You know it's coming. With people, you're never sure.
- Abusive Parents His hedonistic mother verbally berates him in public for being an obstacle to her.
- Bishōnen: Subverted and deconstructed; Marshall looks the part, but ultimately doesn't act it.
- Chick Magnet: The only girl never attracted to him, even momentarily, is Penny. Even Sara finds him attractive prior to her realizing that she's gay.
- Disappeared Dad: Marshall has no idea who his dad even is.
- Lets Wait Awhile: Marshall has a rationally cautious approach to relationships.
Penny's first love
I think what's important is for a man to stop takin' the world's crap and start pushin' back.
Rich's wingman and Penny's rival/Friendly Enemy
No, wait! I don't have a complex psychology! I'm just in it for fun, chicks, praise and bling!
Stan's best friend and Rich's other wingman
I think I can be a good man for her. I think so. Get close to her level, at least.
Penny's friend and Jack's girlfriend
We put so much passion into these day-to-day dramas, and the decisions that tell us who we are... those go almost unnoticed.
- Egocentrically Religious: Played with. Katy Ann views God as not caring about earthly strife because, from His point of view, everything's fine. We soon learn that Katy Ann has a hard time comprehending that bad things can happen to good people, understanding other's moral failings, and grasping the horrifying extent of abuse that people are capable of.
- Genki Girl: In a fairly controlled form; she's mostly just sweetly energetic.
- Not So Above It All: Katy Ann's one flaw is her insistence that, as a truly good Christian, she remains high above the "petty dramas" of her peers, and should remain so. As such, she goes through several downplayed instances of Break the Haughty, even forcing herself through one inadvertently when trying to understand Jack's alcoholism by binge-drinking to get a feel for Jack's mindset. (Jack had been sober for a while, the beer Katy Ann found in his room was a grim souvenier of his drinking days instead of his next binge.)
- Rightly Self-Righteous: Katy Ann holds herself to a very strict moral code, and agonizes over falling short of it.
- Saintly Church: A one-person embodiment and the diametric opposite of Charlotte's intolerant, near-psychotic fundamentalist nature, although sometimes her religiosity can be a source of angst as well as friction with others.
- Wise Beyond Their Years: A teenage example of the trope, she's easily the most mature character apart from Aggie's father Nick.
Penny's friend and Stan's girlfriend
I understand boys. Boys show what they feel. Boys' friends are their friends. Girls are the ones to watch out for.
Karen's onetime collaborator, and the comic's main villain after "The Popsicle War"
I do like to play.
Collaborator, at one time or another, with Karen and Cyndi
Maybe offence just comes naturally to a spoiled rich girl.
- Everything Is Racist: Samantha is quick to blame others' behavior on racism, and very slow to believe otherwise.
- Sassy Black Woman: Samantha may even be consciously playing to this trope.
- You Watch Too Much X: When conspiring with other girls to defeat Penny as the most popular teen in town, Samantha can only think of such ideas as cutting breast-holes in her blouses and having a boy pretend-seduce her on hidden camera. An exasperated Meg finally says to her, "Maybe we could rip off a movie plot."
Penny's onetime rival, Cyndi's friend, collaborator with Karen
I've outgrown this. I've outgrown you.
Downbeat friend, at one time or another, of Penny, Charlotte, Aggie, and Karen
If I'm being used...at least I have a use.
Onetime friend of Aggie and Helen, later friends with Duane
Sin is everywhere. This world is filth.
- Abusive Parents: Her mother, and implied with regard to her late father.
- Ambiguous Disorder: Charlotte exhibits the symptoms of borderline personality disorder, including violent mood swings, unstable relationships and self-image, black and white thinking, intense anger, and dangerous and impulsive behavior.
- Berserk Button: Do not criticize, or attempt to entrap, Duane in front of her.
- Broken Bird: A classic, extreme example, as it turns out.
- Defrosting Ice Queen: Double Subverted. She's introduced as Holier Than Thou, nutty, cold and eager to "punish" whomever she thinks deserves it, but her interactions with Duane show her getting mellower... Until The Stinger of the second chapter of the "Missing Person" arc reveals that she is the one who has kidnapped and Cyndi with intent to murder. Her interactions with Duane, however, are what inspire her to reform while in prison.
- Driven to Suicide: She survives.
- Egocentrically Religious: She sees "humbling those who misrepresent God's love" as her god-given mission in life.
- Freudian Excuse: Charlotte grew up in a strict religious sect, and was physically abused by her mother, and physically and sexually abused by her father.
- The Fundamentalist: Big time, but after befriending Duane she becomes gentler and more open-minded ... or so it seems, until she kidnaps and tortures Cyndi in what she believes is God's punishment for Cyndi's Manipulative Bastard actions.
- Interrupted Suicide: The climax of her story.
- Rape as Drama: Charlotte makes a false accusation against Sara; the real thing is also implied in her backstory.
Last and least of the Omegas.
- Fat Bitch: Unlike her friends, has little to no motivation other than doing things For the Lulz, or more accurately, For the Evulz.
- Fat Idiot: Serves as a Foil to both Karen and Cyndi, who are both far smarter at manipulating situations and emotions, respectively.
- Informed Ability: She's presumed to be a good coach, a good listener, and warm with her friends. There are only two short scenes highlighting these supposed positive traits.
- Static Character: By the end of the comic, she is Formerly Fat, having shrunk to slimness, but has not matured or learnt anything.
- Troll: Far more incompetent than Karen or Cyndi, her pranks can be easily traced back to her and her companions.
Nick and Melody D'Amour
- Deadpan Snarker: He may be a couch potato, but he's not dumb or unobservant.
- Jaded Washout: In the earlier strips, though that may be largely Penny's teenage view of him.
- Jerk with a Heart of Gold: His characterization when flirting with Lynda as a teenager.
- Mistaken for Cheating: Mistaken by Penny; the trope is subverted in that she's happy for him, thinking his "affair" will bring back the active, upbeat dad she used to have.
Marshall's mother and Nick's sometime girlfriend