Follow TV Tropes


Comic Strip / Zits

Go To

"Zits is the worst name for a comic strip since Peanuts."
Charles Schulz

Zits is a comic strip written by Jerry Scott (creator of Baby Blues and one-time cartoonist for Nancy) and illustrated by Jim Borgman about the life of 15-year-old high school freshman Jeremy Duncan.

Jeremy lives with his parents, Walt and Connie, who both possess boring jobs and spectacular ignorance (according to Jeremy, anyway). He dreams of 'making it big' as a rock musician, but feels like he lives in the shadow of his highly successful college brother Chad.

Many strips deal with relationships with his friends, the sensible Hector and the extremist Pierce, not to mention his on-off girlfriend Sara. Notably for a teen strip, many of the comics also deal with Connie and Walt, and many of the funniest moments come from their perspectives.

Tropes present:

  • Aborted Arc: Oh no, Jeremy's parents saw his Facebook page, and aren't happy with the content! What's going to happen? ... Nothing, apparently.
  • Accidental Unfortunate Gesture: After Jeremy accidentally cut his middle finger, he was told to elevate it. The nurse quickly changes her mind after she overhears a few "Same to you, Duncan!" comments in the school halls.
  • The Ace:
    • Chad, a high-achieving straight A student who has won numerous awards for various fields of sports and extracurricular activities.
    • Jeremy has a 4.0 GPA, his own band, athletic skill, and a large circle of friends.
  • All-Cheering All the Time: A group of cheerleaders use cheers to encourage Pierce to put some litter in the bin, causing him to remark that "There is such a thing as too much school spirit!".
  • All Women Love Shoes: Sara blowing her top when Jeremy fails to notice her new shoes is a Running Gag.
  • The Alleged Car: Jeremy's 1962 VW Microbus. Most of the time, he and Hector just hang out in it, but once, they slipped the tires from Connie's station wagon on it and (barely) got it up and running. Once Jeremy finally got his license, it moved from being a hangout to an actual (somewhat) mode of transportation for good. It's still held together mostly by duct tape and prayer.
  • Aloof Older Brother: Chad was initially introduced as the super-perfect, yet distant, brother who is always busy when Jeremy wants to hang out with him. His character (both appearance and personality) has since been changed into a more relatable figure who occasionally gives Jeremy advice, even though he's still depicted as the overachieving son that Jeremy could never be.
  • Anachronism Stew:
    • While Walt and Connie being baby boomers with a teenage son was feasible in the '90s, it's become increasingly more of a stretch to buy it. In a strip where Jeremy used "OK Boomer" at Walt, Walt said he was Gen X.
    • Jeremy's clothing stays stuck in the grunge era. He got a minor update to his hair, and Hector has gotten a completely new hairstyle, which was badly needed — Jeremy's hair is (and mostly was) generic enough to pass anytime from the late 80's to today, but Hector's original 'do was pure '90s. The clothing issue was lampshaded in a December 2014 story arc in which Pierce pointed out that Jeremy had been wearing the same outfit for years, and encouraged him to try something new; Jeremy experimented with a more up-to-date style before settling on a selection from a new Vintage Nineties Grungewear Collection® which looked exactly like his old outfit (it didnt help that the modern, tight style of clothes just made his skinny frame even more obvious to the point that he almost looked invisible turned sideways).
  • And Then I Said: Used with some of Walt's stories.
    "...So I said 'If that's a chicken, I'd hate to see an ostrich!'"
  • Anyone Remember Pogs?: Walt attempting to describe tiddlywinks to Jeremy and Pierce.
  • Arson, Murder, and Jaywalking:
    • Jeremy's mother says there's something she wants to talk to him about. He then deadpans several wild guesses, including "You're having a sex change?" and "You and dad are cousins?" She gets increasingly frustrated and finally yells out, "No! We're changing salsa brands!" "...WHAT??"
    • Repeated a second time when his parents try and tell him they're changing toilet paper brands, which "seemed more monumental at the store."
    • Walt tells Jeremy that he lived through Nixon, the Cold War, leisure suits and Vietnam. Jeremy's reaction?
    "Whoa! Leisure suits!"
  • Art Evolution: The art was a lot more sloppy and sketchy early on.
  • Awkward Father-Son Bonding Activity: Walt and Jeremy's fishing trip, which Walt uses as an opportunity to have The Talk with Jeremy.
  • Be Careful What You Wish For: Jeremy whines to his parents about how "nothing ever happens here!" Cue Walt, tearing off his shirt and dancing around while singing "Shake Your Bon-Bon!"
  • Beach Bury: Jeremy and Sara bury Pierce on the beach, giving him a sand suit and tie and just about driving him into shock.
    Pierce: Even if I live to be thirty, I'll never get over it!
  • Big Beautiful Man: Hector finds himself as one of these after getting his fashion overhaul by Brittany and her friends; modern hairstyle, beard, contacts, new wardrobe, etc. He suddently gets a lot more attention from girls, much to Jeremy's jealousy.
  • Big Eater: Jeremy, like many teenage males. His friends, too, if the "All You Can Eat" buffet owner's closing shop as soon as he sees the gang is any indication. He and Hector are even shown to be capable of unhinging their jaws in order to swallow a giant burger whole, wondering why the girls freak out.
  • Big "NO!": As the front-loading washing machine runs far into the distance after a glance at Jeremy's smelly laundry: "Do appliance warranties cover desertion?"
  • Black Bead Eyes: All the characters have little black eyes unless they're making a shocked or angry facial expression, or wear glasses.
  • Boring Broadcaster: Jim Borgman's daily strip for Wednesday 27 December 2017 has apathetic teenager Jeremy riding in the family car with his father at the wheel. National Public Radio is playing, which Walt prefers. Jeremy, however, feels compelled to snark: "Just curious ... have you ever had a passenger die of boredom, Dad?"
  • Braces of Orthodontic Overkill: Body-modification fan Pierce soon came to love these, when Jeremy's dad (not a Depraved Dentist) called it "Getting your smile pierced." He then admonished Pierce for adding to his braces for decorative purposes.
  • Brain Bleach:
    • Jeremy is grossed out many, MANY times when he hears or sees something squicky concerning his parents. When Jeremy learns from his mother he was conceived to the song Stairway to Heaven, he actually sticks his head under a faucet and pours water into his ear to try to erase what he had just heard.
    • Hector reveals his own mother told him he was conceived while blueberry muffins burned in the oven. To this day, Hector can't even look at one without feeling sick.
    • After Connie comments that a song Jeremy's listening to is "catchy", he shows her the lyrics. In the final panel, Jeremy tells his dad, "I'm grounded for buying a CD and mom is at church for liking it."
    • In one strip, Jeremy peeks around the corner to find his mother in a leotard, practicing for her Zumba dance class (with her boobs jiggling in the air). He then asks his dad how to erase an image burned into his retina.
  • Bread, Eggs, Breaded Eggs: One strip has Jeremy said he would rather watch grass grow, or paint dry, or paint the grass and watch it dry as it grows.
  • Breakfast in Bed: One Sunday strip showed the progression of Jeremy bringing his mom breakfast in bed for Mother's Day, with the array becoming simpler as he grew up until by age 15, he just offers her a box of Pop-Tarts.
  • Brilliant, but Lazy: Jeremy is often depicted this way. Especially when it comes to how to spend the summer.
  • Brown Bag Mask: Pierce wears one when he has to drive Mrs Toomey's minivan home from the lake.
  • Brown Note: Pierce's drum solos have been known to cause spontaneous nosebleeds.
  • Buffet Buffoonery: An 'all-you-can-eat' pizza place hurriedly closes its shades and flips the closed sign when it sees a group of teenaged boys approaching.
  • Buffy Speak: Jeremy once described Sara's lips as "two moist, delicate, perfectly formed... lip-shaped things."
  • Car Meets House: In one strip, Jeremy manages to hydroplane the car while pulling it ten feet forward into the garage and puts it through the back wall of the garage.
  • Career Not Taken: Jeremy and his father attend a concert by Jeremy's favorite musicians, Gingivitis. While Jeremy looks for a way to get backstage for an autograph, Walt meets the band's two front men loading their equipment into a truck. Walt learns from them that Gingivitis would rather study dentistry, but dental school is expensive, so they tour as a rock band to scrape enough funds together to cover tuition.
  • Caught Coming Home Late: Jeremy is sneaking home after his curfew and thinking he's gotten away with it, but his parents are lying inside his bedroom in a sleeping bag. He faints.
  • Characterization Marches On:
    • Chad's evolution from the perfect, he-whose-face-can't-be-shown to more "normal"-looking but still perfect.
    • Pierce was also more of an angry punk in the strips that introduced him, before evolving into a fairly cool guy with a few eccentricities.
  • Chuck Cunningham Syndrome: Several.
    • Y.A., the original drummer in Jeremy's garage band. He just announced that he was quitting (sometime in the strip's second year, no less!) and never came back. He was never really given any character development anyway.
    • Chad hasn't been seen or mentioned in ages, either. And he's Jeremy's brother. The creators even joke frequently that they forget he exists. A lampshade was officially hung on this when Jeremy states that he "needs to start leaving his room more" on account of never seeing Chad, to which Chad responds, "That's what I keep telling your sister."note 
    • Tim, another member of Jeremy and Hector's band. He was given some Character Development in an arc where he showed sympathy for his mother, who was recovering from breast cancer; both Jeremy and Hector were shocked at this behavior, as they took Tim to be quiet, moody and indifferent to others' needs. However, Tim pretty much disappeared after that.
  • Cloud Cuckoolander: Pierce tends to act on impulse and generally has little grasp on reality.
  • The Cobbler's Children Have No Shoes: Connie's job as a child therapist seems to be of no help.
  • Comfort Food: When Jeremy isn't feeling well, his mother knows that it helps.
    Walt: Calorie therapy?
    Connie: When in doubt, apply food to the wound.
  • Comically Missing the Point: During the summer 2006 story line where Pierce has a Wild Teen Party that Jeremy attends, Jeremy's folks find out what's going on pretty quickly. After they help the boys break up the party and clean up, Connie tells Pierce he's lucky nothing bad happened, because if it did, his parents would have been held responsible for it since it's their home.
    Pierce: That's not fair! I do all the work and they get all the credit?!
    Jeremy: (Facepalm) Dude...
  • Comic-Book Time:
    • Jeremy has been 15 for over a decade. It's only since 2009 that he's turned 16, gotten a driver's license and moved up to being a sophomore.
    • This becomes problematic with Jeremy's parents, especially with Walt, as there are many references to him being a hippie in The '60s. When the strip started in 1997, it was not uncommon for a baby boomers to have a teenage kid. But since the strip is still going on, Walt should be at least in his sixties now, so he should be retired or close to retirement age. And since Connie is implied to be roughly the same age as Walt, this would mean she gave birth to Jeremy in her fifties, which, while not impossible, is extremely uncommon. One strip actually had Connie say she was sixteen at the moon landing in '69.
    • An early strip had Jeremy say he was ten in 1995. Obviously that has long since been discarded.
    • Now entirely rejected, as strips (2020-01-13 and -14) had Jeremy say "OK, Boomer" to his father, who angrily corrects him that he is Generation X (1965-1980), not a baby boomer.
  • Complaining About Things You Haven't Paid For: There was a short storyline where Jeremy is upset because a website he likes hasn't been updated for a while. His father goes from saying he should demand a refund to mocking his sense of entitlement when he finds out the site is free.
  • Cone of Shame: Pierce wears one to try to cut down his mobile phone usage.
  • Confusing Multiple Negatives: In the 2015-01-01 strip, Jeremy uses this to trick Connie into letting him go out.
    Connie: Behave yourself
    Jeremy: Don't worry. I'll only not do things you wouldn't not do.
    Pierce: So you can go?
    Jeremy: As long as we're gone before she counts the 'nots'.
  • Convenience Store Gift Shopping: Jeremy and Sara were exchanging gifts for Christmas, but Sara forgot. She quickly grabs the first thing she sees, wraps it and gives it to Jeremy. Cut to Jeremy and Hector examining the very loud, wide necktie:
    Jeremy: What do you think she's trying to say?
    Hector: I heart geeks?
  • Cool Old Lady: While playing in an old folks home, Jeremy and Pierce meet a hard-rocking, foulmouthed old lady who was session musician in the 60s and plays the drums better than Pierce. Pierce comments that if she was 80 years younger, he'd be dating her.
  • Corrective Lecture: Connie is frequently trying to correct Jeremy's behavior by lecturing her son on his bad habits and slothful nature. Unfortunately for her, she either runs into the problem of Jeremy tuning out and knowing when to look contrite or nod without actually listening, or, on those occasions when he does listen, he rolls his eyes at her, once to the comedic effect of them rolling out of his head and past his father.
  • Couldn't Find a Pen: Sadist Teacher Ms. Butcher writes Jeremy's grades in blood.
  • Crush Filter: Jeremy's crush on his guidance counsellor manifests this way, with him imagining her in a leopard skin bikini, draping herself across her desk, etc.
  • Cue the Flying Pigs: When Jeremy cleans his bathroom without being threatened, a flock of pigs take to the air and fly through the house.
  • Dagwood Sandwich: At one point Jeremy eats one that's so big he has to unhinge his jaw.
  • Deathbringer the Adorable: Sara's pet turtles are named Peaches and Mordoc, Lord of Unholy Fury. She got them at different times of the month.
  • Denser and Wackier: Recent strips have moved away from the slightly-exaggerated teenage-sitcom tropes and included improbable elements like a meeting with space aliens, Pierce inventing a hover app and earning millions selling it, Jeremy spending so much time in bed that he sprouted roots and got stuck to it, Jeremy growing three extra arms, and a sloth escaping from a zoo (somehow) and Jeremy passing it off as himself for a week. Okay, so one of those arcs turned out to be All Just a Dream, but still...
  • Did I Just Say That Out Loud?: Jeremy accidentally cheesed off Sara by saying that her freckles help hide her zits, then compounded it by asking what it's like having divorced parents. Both comments are represented by white-on-black word balloons that linger in the air.
    • Jeremy had this problem one other time: every time he opened his mouth, something stupid came out (which was depicted as a hillbilly-looking mini-Jeremy leaping out his mouth shouting things like "Shagadellic!" and "I think Adam Sandler movies will stand the test of time.") Eventually he goes to Britney for help, who illuminates him to the fact that most males go undiagnosed with this same affliction for years.
    • Another time, Jeremy is getting progressively angry with Sara about something. It culminates with him dialing her number, getting her voicemail, and screaming, "YOU SKANK!" into the phone. A panel later, he's covering his mouth in Stunned Silence, realizing the gravity of what he's just said.
    • In this strip, a literal "F-bomb" comes out of Jeremy's mouth, prompting him to ask this.
  • Did You Get a New Haircut?: Happens when Jeremy loses his retainer and becomes comically bucktoothed. Pierce was going to guess he had a new haircut.
  • Dinner Deformation: Jeremy unhinges his jaw to eat a giant burger.
  • Dinner Order Flub: Attempting to impress Sara, Jeremy orders the radicchio, "medium rare, of course". The waiter informs him that the raddicho is a salad and the chef prefers to serve it raw. As Sara and Connie dissolve in laughter, Walt attempts to make Jeremy feel better by saying that when he and Connie were dating he once ordered "jackets required".
  • Dissimile: Pierce's family life "is like a symphony. But there aren't any musical instruments, and the musicians just yell at each other."
  • Don't Do Anything I Wouldn't Do:
    Connie: Behave yourself
    Jeremy: Don't worry. I'll only not do things you wouldn't not do.
    Pierce: So you can go?
    Jeremy: As long as we're gone before she counts the 'nots'.
    • In another, his dad asks him to "don't do anything I wouldn't do" when going out with friends. Jeremy points out that he never does anything his dad would do, which doesn't give him a lot of room to do anything. Walt reveals he knows that, and is proud to have come up with the idea.
  • Early-Installment Weirdness: The art was a lot different early on; Jeremy and Hector's drummer was a black guy named Y.A., who never developed and was quickly dropped; Jeremy's mom was a child therapist; Chad was always drawn so that word balloons obscured his face; et cetera. Also, some early strips had Jeremy as a Character Narrator, but that aspect quickly disappeared.
  • Either "World Domination", or Something About Bananas: An unintelligible Pierce asks Jeremy for a favour after having the bands on his braces tightened. Jeremy remarks that he just agreed to either share his history notes or milk Pierce's hamster.
  • Elephant in the Living Room: In one Sunday strip, Jeremy's mother tells him that she's noticed he seems to have something on his mind, and assures him that he can talk to her about whatever it is, and he tells her that if there were something she'd be the first to know. Most of the canvas is taken up by the visual representation of what's on his mind — an enormous elephant sitting on his head waving a banner that says "Sex, duh!".
  • Embarrassing Hobby: Pierce is secretly a scrapbooker and spends a lot of time desperately hiding the fact.
  • Embarrassing Old Photo:
    • When Connie chaperones a school field trip, Jeremy's horrified when she starts showing all the girls in his class baby photos of him.
    • Jeremy frequently makes fun of old photos of his parents dressed in fashions from the 60s and 70s.
  • Embarrassing Tattoo: The peace symbol on Walt's butt.
    Connie: That peace sign is as big as a stop sign now.
  • Embarrassingly Painful Sunburn: Jeremy has done the 'fall asleep while sunbathing' version.
  • Enter Stage Window: Hector often comes in through Jeremy's (second-story) bedroom window, sometimes to hilarious effect:
    Hector (stuck in window): Jeremy! Help!
    Jeremy: Lift your leg!
    Hector: I'm trying! Grab my foot! The other one!
    [Hector finally gets inside]
    Jeremy: Why didn't you just use the door?
    Hector: I didn't want to trouble you.
    • It's even funnier because a reverse-angle shows Hector dangling outside the second-story window, and there's nothing there he could have climbed up; the wall is absolutely bare.
  • Even the Rats Won't Touch It: Pierce feeds a pigeon a corn chip, only to cause it to throw up.
  • Everything's Sparkly with Jewelry: Pierce.
  • Fashion Hurts: Sara's obsession with shoes often leads her into this territory.
  • Fat Best Friend: Hector.
  • Flanderization: Jeremy went from being a regular, believable teenager to just another TV Teen who only communicates in grunts, texts needlessly, and has a messy room.
  • Fishing Episode: An arc has Walt taking a less-than-enthusiastic Jeremy on a fishing trip, which ultimately turns out out to be a ruse to isolate him on a boat so they can have The Talk.
  • Five-Second Rule: Connie finds an M&M lost in the couch and scarfs it down. Walt, aghast, declares that she's clearly broken the Five-Second Rule. Connie replies, "You're obviously unfamiliar with the Chocolate Amendment."
  • Flipping the Bird: In one strip, Jeremy points out that Zuma (a member of the Posse) says all of her sentences like questions. When she gets offended, Jeremy claims he was just making an observation, causing Zuma to respond off-frame "Why don't you just observe this?"
  • Food Slap: When Jeremy suggests to Sara that she go to prom by herself and they just meet up and make out afterwards, she responds by jamming her bagel into his face.
  • Formerly Fit: Walt played varsity basketball in high school and used to be an absolute beanpole. These days he's overweight and gets exhausted and has his joints ache while attempting to play basketball with Jeremy in the driveway.
  • Free the Frogs:
    • In one strip, Autumn encourages Jeremy and Hector to let loose boxes of a total of 50,000 live crickets that were supposed to be dissected in biology class.
    • In a later strip, Pierce frees thousands of locusts that were to be dissected. Or rather, he lets them out into the hallway.
  • The Friends Who Never Hang: Hector and Pierce almost never interact with each other without Jeremy as an intermediary. In fact, even with Jeremy there, strips containing both of them, outside of band practice, are relatively uncommon.
  • Funny Answering Machine: Jeremy makes a message where he simply farts into the phone: "Leave a message at the sound of the 'frap'." And in an early strip, "You have reached the number you called. Blah, blah, blah. If you actually need further instructions, well, that's just pathetic."
  • Funny Conception Story: Two characters had the stories of their conceptions told to them, with horrible reactions.
    • Jeremy is in his room playing "Stairway to Heaven" on his guitar (he always liked the song for some reason) when his mother mentions that he probably likes the song so much because he was conceived to it. Within minutes, he's rinsing his ears out and boiling his guitar strings.
    • Hector's parents let slip that a batch of blueberry muffins burned during his conception. The very sight of a blueberry muffin results in severe nausea thereafter.
  • Garage Band: Jeremy, Hector, Tim and Pierce have one.
  • The Generation Gap: Source of much of the strip's humor.
  • Getting Sick Deliberately: Faced with the prospect of a test he hadn't studied for the next morning, Jeremy starts dancing around the yard at night in his underwear in order to catch a cold and stay home.
  • The Ghost: Chad, Jeremy's big brother, who is in college. He does appear from time to time.
  • Girls Like Musicians: While watching Jeremy and his band rehearse, Walt reminisces about his own days in a garage band, and says he doesn't know what it is, but girls seem to love a boy in a band. Meanwhile, Connie is staring at the band with a dreamy look in her eyes.
  • Girl Posse: The aptly-named "Posse" consists of Zuma, Redondo and LaJolla.
  • Give Me a Sign: During one story line, Jeremy contemplates stealing a street sign for a road that shares his name to use as a van decoration. In the middle of loosening it, he has a crisis of conscience and asks for a sign. He get his sign...specifically, the street sign, which falls on his head.
  • A Good Name for a Rock Band: Walt unwittingly suggested Goat Cheese Pizza for the name of Jeremy's garage band. He wasn't actually offering the name, but rather the pizza in question.
    • Earlier on, Jeremy had considered naming the band "Jughead's Hat," telling his mother that it was down to that or "Veronica's B-" "Stick to the hat!"
    • Later, they found another cool name based on something that sounded like a good idea at the time: "Creepy Clown Head Funeral."
  • A Good, Old-Fashioned Paint Watching: Walt talks about leaving Woodstock because it was raining and going to paint his grandmother's kitchen (which he seems to have preferred).
  • Gossipy Hens: The Posse.
  • Greeting Gesture Confusion: When Walt and Jeremy complete a project and attempt to celebrate, one goes for a high five while the other goes for a fist bump. Subsequent attempts to correct this with other gestures just result in more confusion.
  • Had the Silly Thing in Reverse: One of Jeremy's attempts to move the car without permission. It results in him knocking a door off the car, driving into the garage wall, and dumping paint (and a lawnmower) over the car roof.
    "N for neutral, R for reverse... and D for disaster."
  • Hair Today, Gone Tomorrow: Walt.
  • Halloween Episode: Since Halloween 2009, the last week of October has apparently become Zombie Week; specifically, Reasons Why Zombies Would Make Cool Parents.
  • Handy Feet: Jeremy's multitasking usually involves using his feet, as when he pushes buttons on his iPod with his foot.
  • Head Pet: Connie adopts a foster kitten whom Jeremy names Clapton and who takes to sleeping on his head.
  • Headphones Equal Isolation:
    • Subverted in one strip where the dad starts saying all sorts of outlandish things to the be-headphoned Jeremy, including a promise of new computer equipment and tales of an alien attack. After a short pause, Jeremy responds to everything Dad just said, even capping it off with "But the Martian thing sounds kinda unlikely."
    • Played straight in a Sunday Strip where Jeremy walks into the kitchen with headphones on. Connie gets on his case, ranting for three panels and asking, "Why not just save the headphones for those times when you want to block out unwanted noise?" The last panel is him with his headphones back on, blocking out her ranting.
  • Heavy Sleeper: Jeremy, who would sleep until noon if his parents doesn't wake him up. One strip actually had Connie feed, clothe, and drive him to school while he was sleeping.
  • Heh Heh, You Said "X": One Sunday strip is made of this trope, in which a museum guide calmly gives the class a tour on "the many wonderful examples of tools," causing Jeremy and Hector to mutter "Tools" at each other and dissolve into barely contained giggles. The guide goes on to explaining to the class on how "Some tools are very large... some are nearly microscopic," then asks them "Can you think of a tool you have in your pocket right now? What tool do you use every day?" It's a wonder they kept straight faces for as long as they did. Then after they get in trouble for it, Connie asks them what is so funny about the word 'tool', and we see Walt barely able to control himself. The Swedish translation translated it into verktyg, the Swedish word for tool. It didn't work very well.
  • Hidden Depths: Tim, the satellite guitarist of Jeremy's band was developed into a more sympathetic figure when he reveals his mother's struggle with breast cancer.
  • Hint Dropping:
    • On one occasion, Sara attempts to obliquely invite Jeremy over while she's babysitting. He fails to pick up on it.
      Jeremy: Some people are going to a movie tonight... Wanna go?
      Sara: I can't. I'm babysitting.
      Jeremy: Oh.
      Sara: Until midnight. By myself. At 6539 Windmill Lane. It's a light gray house. With a big comfy couch and a kid who goes to sleep at 8.
      Jeremy: So you're busy then, huh?
      Sara: [thinking] Sara, he's a GUY... You have to be more obvious.
    • And on another occasion, when Jeremy makes his approval of one of his friends' girlfriend's making cookies for him known.
      Jeremy: Yessir, nothing says I care like a delicious home-made plate of cookies!
      Sara: And nothing says "knuckledragger" like the sexist expectations of a boyfriend.
  • Hormone-Addled Teenager:
    • Jeremy frequently finds himself ruled by his hormones — there was even a compilation book titled Lust And Other Uses For Spare Hormones. On one occasion (before he got his driver's license), he took the car in the middle of the night and drove past a girl's house some 50-odd times. When he says "It was just a random romantic impulse" his mom almost forgives him.
    • Perpetual Make-Out Kids Richandamy are literally always embracing, and usually kissing. The only times they physically separate are when they have separate classes or have to use the bathroom, and every time it's treated like a tearful goodbye.
  • Human Notepad: Jeremy tends to write on himself a lot, to the point that Connie once called him a "walking Post-It note". The cover of the compilation Rude, Crude, and Tattooed even has him doodling all over his own skin.
    • Taken even further with Pierce, who tattoos class notes on himself. In one strip, it's revealed he has the periodic table tattooed in his armpit.
  • Humiliating Wager: The bets in the poker games between Jeremy and his friends usually involve humiliating forfeits such as "one conspicuous nose pick in front of a hot girl".
  • Hurricane of Excuses: Jeremy's explanations for why he's late.
  • Hypocritical Humor: In one series of strips, Jeremy explains to Connie that he's reconsidering getting his driver's license due to environmental concerns. This causes Connie to complain to Walt that Jeremy's being selfish...when the only reason she's angry is because Jeremy not having a license means she'll have to keep driving him everywhere.
  • I'll Take Two Beers Too: In one strip, Connie asks Jeremy to get the dessert bowls while she gets the pie. Jeremy asks how many he should get:
    Connie: Well, there's you, your father, and me.
    Jeremy: I'll get three then.
    Connie: Good choice.
    Jeremy: How many do you guys want?
  • Improbably High I.Q. / Improbably Low I.Q.: Parodied. Jeremy and Hector once took an Internet IQ test with Jeremy scoring impossibly low and Hector scoring impossibly high, despite their virtually identical educations. Jeremy began to wonder if he was really that stupid and Hector started treating him like a dolt. Jeremy was only convinced the test was flawed after his father scored even higher on it.
  • Improbably Predictable: Jeremy comes down for breakfast with a stack of cards, and answers each of his mother's questions ("Orange juice? Eggs?") with the next card. Finally she insists, "I am not that predictable!" and he reveals the card which reads, "Wanna bet?"
  • Informed Flaw: Tim is always portrayed as quiet, agreeable, and low-key, at least in person. However, literally every time Jeremy is shown speaking to him over the phone, he furiously comments on what a jerk (or "prong") Tim is.
  • Innocently Insensitive: One early set of strips involved a close friend of Walt's suddenly passing away. In an attempt to comfort his dad, Jeremy says that the friend "lived a long, full life." Unfortunately, this only angers Walt, since his friend was Walt's age when he died.
  • Instant Humiliation: Just Add YouTube!: Jeremy tries to tell a friend about an embarrassing incident in the cafeteria, only to find it's already on the internet.
  • I Need a Freaking Drink: A frequent reaction from Walt and Connie after having had to deal with Jeremy.
  • I Never Said It Was Poison: When Jeremy comes home and finds a note in his room moved, he asks his mother about it and she claims she would never read a silly note from a girl. Then Jeremy asks how she knew it was from a girl.
  • Irrevocable Message: The angry "YOU SKANK!" Jeremy leaves on Sara's voicemail.
  • I Take Offence to That Last One: This exchange:
    Jeremy: You're acting like a jerk, and your girlfriend is a parasite.
    Hector: Really? I'm acting like a jerk?
  • It's All About Me: Part and parcel of being a teenager is Jeremy's firm conviction that the entire world exists solely to humour him.
  • It Tastes Like Feet:
    • In one strip, Jeremy commented that Walt's health drink tasted like licking the underside of a lawnmower.
    • Pierce's burps taste like caterpillars, apparently.
    • According to Pierce, if you dip Salisbury steak in pudding it tastes just like squirrel.
  • I Was Quite a Fashion Victim: Jeremy asks his dad what he was like at 15. Apparently, he had a large poofy afro, bell-bottom pants, ridiculously tacky jacket and shirt, and had braces and granny glasses. Oh, and he played the clarinet. The image scares Jeremy enough that it gets rid of his hiccups.
  • I Was Quite a Looker: One of the early strips had Jeremy look through a scrapbook and discover, with total shock: "My mom used to be a babe!"
  • Jerkass: If Jeremy wasn't their kid, they would have beat the shit out of him years ago. Of course, his parents veer into this area now and then too.
  • Jerks Use Bodyspray: This strip shows the unfortunate results of 'Body-Spray Brandon' and 'Too-Perfumed Pam' passing too close to each other and their fumes mingling. It's not pretty.
  • Kids Shouldn't Watch Horror Films: Jeremy watches Scream (1996), The Exorcist, and The Blair Witch Project when he's home alone, and every little sound in the house starts terrifying him.
    Connie: (to Walt) Check the fuses. Every light in the house is going to be on tonight.
  • Last-Minute Project: Any and every homework assignment Jeremy is given.
  • Last Place You Look: Connie does this with her car keys on occasion.
  • Least Rhymable Word: Jeremy's musical book report runs into problems when he realises that nothing rhymes with 'Gatsby'.
  • Likes Older Women: Hector is attracted to middle-aged women.
  • Limited Wardrobe: Split down the middle; the male characters have this trope while the women avert it. Connie even lampshades it.
    Men don't shop-they tivo their closets!
  • Literal Metaphor: Pierce tells Jeremy that he is sure he flunked that last exam because he couldn't "regurgitate the answers". Jeremy sympathetically asks him if he had a mental block, and Pierce replies that, and he accidentally swallowed his cheat sheet.
  • Ma'am Shock: When a little kid calls Jeremy "Mister", he goes into shock and complains that nothing will ever be the same. His mother Connie responds:
    I'm still smarting from my first "ma'aming".
  • Makeover Torment: Jeremy sneaks into the house where Sara is babysitting, but gets busted by the young girl she is minding. The price for her silence is being allowed to paint Jeremy's finger and toe nails. With glow-in-the-dark nail polish.
  • Mars and Venus Gender Contrast: Boys are all clueless slackers, and girls are all uptight neurotics. It's a lot more pronounced among hormonal teenagers than with adults, realistically enough, but Connie and Walt still show remaining signs of the dynamic sometimes.
  • Meaningful Name: Pierce, who has a body full of piercings.
  • Meat-O-Vision: When Hector goes on a three day juice cleanse, he starts to hallucinate Jeremy's head as a giant hamburger.
  • Men Can't Keep House: A frequent joke with Jeremy's room.
    • Walt also degenerates into this if Connie is out of town.
  • Milking the Giant Cow: A long series of panels shows Jeremy "dancing" by jumping up and down while pumping his fists. Hector says he looks like he's milking a kangaroo.
  • Mistaken for Junkie: Or, in this case, mistaken for pothead.
  • Mister Seahorse: Played with. In one two-week arc, Jeremy, Hector and Pierce wear weighted vests that simulate the weight gain of pregnancy. The whole two weeks play out as if they actually are pregnant, with the first strip in the series featuring "pregnant" Jeremy, Hector and Pierce walking down the hallway, without any context as to why they're that way.
    Walt: Oh, hi mom... no, nothing much new. Connie is just teaching Jeremy some Lamaze techniques.
  • Must Have Caffeine: Phoebe may well be the embodiment of the trope. She lists "caffeine" as her religion when she applies for a job at Fourbucks Coffee, and has an espresso machine in her locker. In one strip she's carrying a latte as big as herself down the hallway with a dolly, and in another, Jeremy taps her on the shoulder to ask her something and she hits the ceiling — literally — in shock, having drunk more than usual for finals.
  • My Beloved Smother: From Jeremy's perspective, anyway.
    • Zig-zagged with other characters, who have both remarked that Connie is pretty overbearing, but also a great mom.
  • Narm: In-universe. Jeremy's voice mutation makes Sarah find his attempt at the blues funny.
  • Never Say That Again: "Do me a favor, dad, and just act like the middle-aged white guy you are."
  • The '90s: A major indicator of when this strip was first created is the clothing/styles of the main characters. Jeremy wears baggy flannel shirts, and Hector has his hair parted at the middle in a classic 90s hairstyle.
    • Although they did change Jeremy's hair a few years ago to something more modern. In time, Hector got a well-deserved makeover too.
    • Jeremy briefly attempted to update his wardrobe for the 2010's, only to discover he's too skinny to pull off the iconic tight clothes of the era, and ends up choosing the new retro-90's fashion line that's just coming out.
  • Ninja Prop: In one strip, the insincerity of Jeremy's promise to behave is represented by his speech bubble featuring several footnotes leading to disclaimers in unreadably small print. His mother physically takes hold of the speech bubble and brings it closer to her face so she can read the fine print.
  • Non-Answer: When Connie asks Jeremy whether he was at Pierce's house instead of going to a movie like he claimed, Jeremy says that he is not going to lie to her. When Connie points out that is not an answer, he points out that is also not a lie and she can't punish him. He's wrong.
  • Nostalgia Filter: Played for laughs in one arc in which Walt brings Jeremy and Connie to a cabin that Walt has nothing but fond memories of. Jeremy meanwhile finds that Walt hated the cabin as much as he does... there was a carving of "I hate this $@#% dump!" that Walt had apparently carved when he was Jeremy's age.
  • Not a Morning Person: Jeremy loves to sleep. The longer and later, the better.
  • Nothing Exciting Ever Happens Here: Jeremy has complained on a number of occasions how dull his town is. In one case, he and Hector play a game in which they spin a globe around and randomly point at different cities or towns that are more exciting than their own. On another occasion, he laments this aloud pretty much word-for-word. In response, his dad takes his shirt off and dances around singing "Shake your bon-bon" while, well, shaking his bon-bon. When he's done, Jeremy goes to wash his eyes out while his mom warns him to Be Careful What You Wish For.
  • "Not Wearing Pants" Dream:
    • Parodied. Jeremy has a dream that he's at school naked, and decides to play it cool instead of panicking. Cue Hector saying, "What makes you so sure this is just a dream?" just before he wakes up.
    • Another time, he said that he wasn't sure what was worse: dreaming that he was naked, or the fact that nobody ever noticed.
    • A third time, he realized he was naked, but then noticed his old teacher Ms. Templeton was there and wanted to "discuss his grades privately", only to be interrupted by a loud BRRRRINGGG.
  • Opposites Attract: Jeremy is a hapless slacker, while Sara is wound tighter than a bedspring. They're still a couple (albeit often of the on-again-off-again variety).
  • Organ Autonomy: Jeremy's brain goes on strike (and jumps out onto the desk to taunt him) right before a big test. It jumps back in 15 minutes before the deadline.
  • Orphaned Punchline: A number of strips open with the tail end of one of Walt's stories, with the rest of the strip dealing with Jeremy's reaction.
  • Out of Focus: Many of the gang's classmates in the earlier years don't show up so much anymore, including Jeremy's self-appointed self-help guru Brittany, Zuma and her Posse, and the caffeine junkie Phoebe. (Phoebe admittedly did show up once, when she sold her soul for a 4.3 GPA.)
    • Lately, the strip has taken on the parents' perspective a lot more than it used to, resulting in more jokes at the expense of teenagers and perceived teenage behavior. As a result, many of of Jeremy's friends are seen a LOT less.
  • Overcomplicated Menu Order: Done a few times. One strip observes that the more complicated the coffee order, the more high-maintenance the girlfriend.
  • Parental Hypocrisy:
    • One strip has Walt become angry at the music Jeremy's listening to, declaring that he's sick of newer music being nothing but lyrics about drugs and sex. In response, Jeremy begins name-dropping older songs such as "Lay Lady Lay," "Purple Haze," "Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds," and "Brown Sugar."
      Walt: Hey, that's different! Those are classics!
      Connie: Ouch. One point for the teenager.
    • One series of strips has Connie grounding Jeremy after he lets it slip that he's going to play beer pong with his friends. As Connie rants to Walt about it, Walt casually quips that Connie did the same exact thing at Jeremy's age, causing Connie to sheepishly grumble "I knew I should have hidden my trophies better!"
  • Parental Sexuality Squick:Another one of Jeremy's hang-ups. In one strip he walks in on what sounds like his parents making out on the couch. He is so appalled he flees immediately. (They were actually trying to retrieve a popcorn kernel that had fallen down the back of the couch.)
  • Parents Walk In at the Worst Time:
    • One strip had Jeremy and his girlfriend studying in the kitchen, so of course Jeremy's parents come in every five minutes, getting "good, clear water!", taking out laundry, changing light bulbs, dusting the top of the fridge...
    • Connie and Walt also witness Jeremy and Sarah share a romantic goodnight kiss on the porch... only to see them quickly spiral into something much more passionate.
      Walt: I'll get the hose.
  • The Password Is Always "Swordfish": Connie's password is PASSWORD1. Later on it's 2201, their home address number.
  • Perfumigation: Jeremy's overuse of cologne is a Running Gag. In one strip, Jeremy uses some of Walt's old musk oil, and the resulting stench is shown by depicting Jeremy as a musk ox.
  • Perky Goth: More like perky punk. Pierce looks a little scary, but is harmless.
  • Pet's Homage Name: Jeremy adopts a cat he names 'Clapton'.
  • Ping Pong Naïveté: Regarding Jeremy's knowledge of classic rock. Didn't know what his dad meant when he complimented Jeremy and Hector's songwriting as having a Lennon/McCartney thing going, other strips has him referencing Jimi Hendrix or Eric Clapton.
  • The Pirates Who Don't Do Anything: References were made to Connie's work as a child psychologist, but only one strip ever showed her working.
    • Several strips show her attempting to write a book on Psychology that Jeremy keeps interrupting.
  • Pocket Dial: Jeremy's dad once found that not only was he butt dialing, but also the phone would call different people he knew depending on how he sat.
    Walt: My butt knows more about my phone than I do.
  • Pop-Up Texting: Done frequently, since Jeremy, being a child of the 21st century, quite often communicates via text. The strip often uses these to satirize modern teen's near-dependence on texting, even when there's another person mere feet from them.
  • Popcorn on the Cob: Jeremy uses the microwave to pop baby corn on the cob, which he then eats using a pair of tweezers.
  • Poster-Gallery Bedroom: Jeremy's bedroom, aside from Trash of the Titans, has posters of his favorite bands, especially Gingivitis.note  The Goodnight Moon parody in one of the collections, "Goodnight Dude", also draws attention to "a poster of a woman with some big bazooms".
  • Poster Patchup: Jeremy and Pierce accidentally knock a hole in the wall playing football indoors, and move a framed picture to cover it. Of course, two inches above the floor is an unusual place for a picture to be, and they're quickly found out.
  • Priceless Paperweight: By sheer luck, Jeremy's dad ends up with a guitar pick used by the lead guitarist of the most famous in-universe band, Gingivitis. At the time Jeremy finds out, his dad had been using it to clean out his ears.
  • The Promposal: A plot has Jeremy brainstorm some ways to ask Sara to the prom. His successful attempt is making a print in her latte.
  • Psmith Psyndrome: Sara can tell when someone is saying her name with an 'H' on the end.
  • Punctuation Shaker: D'ijon, whose real name is Dionne; she "started doing the punctuation thing in seventh grade." After finding out her real name, Pierce decides to change his name to "P'ierce," to which D'ijon responds, "N'o."
  • Put Off Their Food: Hector has been nauseated by blueberry muffins ever since he learned that he was conceived while a batch of blueberry muffins burned in the oven.
  • Real Men Wear Pink: Pierce harbors a secret love of scrapbooking.
  • Reality Is Unrealistic: When it lampoons parents and teenagers, people always laugh because so much of it is true. Like the teenager trying to give advice on parenting to his parents or parents interpreting "Leave me alone" to meaning that they want to talk.
  • Reasonable Authority Figure: Jeremy's parents, much to his chagrin. Even their attempts to censor what music he listens to were dropped when they realized how tame it was.
  • Rhetorical Request Blunder: In one weekend strip, Jeremy comes clomping down the stairs like an elephant, and his father asks sarcastically if he could make any more noise. Jeremy apologizes, goes back up the stairs, and comes down again, this time making enough noise for a herd of elephants riding skateboards and playing musical instruments.
  • Ridiculously Long Phone Hold:
    • There's a story where Jeremy calls a company and is told "please hold while we jack you around from department to department." He declares that it's nice to see some corporate honesty.
    • In another, he turns it around on the person calling by asking them to hold while he finds a pen, and then going to the store and buying one.
  • Ridiculous Procrastinator: Jeremy is a master of this. In one instance, he stays up all night working on a playlist to listen to while writing a huge paper that's due the next day; he plans to start actually writing at dawn.
    • Pierce tops Jeremy, frantically finishing his paper while his teacher is taking it away.
    Pierce: Panic is my muse.
  • Rise of Zitboy: Jeremy has suffered the occasional freak-out over acne.
  • Roadside Wave: Happens to Jeremy and Sara in one strip as they discover that walking in the rain is not nearly as romantic as the songs make it sound.
  • Romantic Rain: Jeremy and Sara walk hand in hand through an increasingly heavy storm. After getting completely drenched and being subjected to a Roadside Wave, they decide that walking in the rain is far more romantic in songs than it is in Real Life.
  • Roses Are Red, Violets Are Blue...: In one strip, Jeremy tried to apologize to Sara about some insensitive remarks he made by writing a ridiculously bad poem. Sara's response?
    Blue is the violet,
    Red is the rose.
    You're still a big jerk,
    And your poetry blows!
  • Rube Goldberg Device: A Sunday strip has device for getting teens out of bed that starts with the sun focusing through a pair of spectacles on the windowsill and ends with Jeremy getting hit in the face by his phone. One of the intermediate steps involves a squirrel nibbling stale pizza.
  • Rule of Funny: Whether or not Jeremy's a great student depends on the joke of the strip: he occasionally aces tests, or claims to have "straight-As" and is considered a bright student, but at other times he struggles and/or fails.
  • Sadist Teacher: Ms. Butcher, who seems to have a vendetta against Jeremy — she gave both Hector and Jeremy 97% on a test, but Hector's was an A and Jeremy's, a C-. And she wrote Jeremy's grade in blood.
  • Satellite Character: Both Y.A. and Tim pretty much show up only to be in Jeremy and Hector's band and are almost never seen in strips where the band isn't involved.
  • Scenery Censor: In the strips where Jeremy decided to march around the living room naked, there's always some piece of furniture hiding his private parts.
  • Self-Deprecation: Twofold on the back of the first treasury, Humongous Zits. On the back is a quote: "Zits is the worst name for a comic strip since Peanuts." The quote is from Charles Schulz.
  • Separated by a Common Language: Connie wants to wear thongs, but not the underwear variety...
  • Series Continuity Error: Connie was a child psychologist in early strips. This in a comic which has featured tons of jokes about how Connie doesn't understand Jeremy or how he works. In the January 27, 2012 strip, she outright says that she might need a job outside the house, so apparently her job isn't canon anymore. At one point she was spending her time writing a book on the topic in her home office.
  • Severely Specialized Store: A Sunday strip features an establishing panel of the inside of the local mall; stores named Just Burlap, Wineglasses in an Hour (a parody of Glasses in an Hour), and Things That Start with Q can be seen in the background.
  • Short-Distance Phone Call: Post-Flanderization, it has become a running gag in the comic.
  • Shower Shy: Jeremy hates having to shower with the seniors after gym.
  • Sickeningly Sweethearts: Richandamy, based on a real couple from the authors' lives, who appear to have achieved some kind of symbiosis and seem locked in a permanent embrace. The other characters' attitude towards them alternates between a strange sort of admiration and utter disbelief. In one strip where they temporarily break up, the other characters can't pronounce their names separately, saying "Richand Amy" or "Rich Andamy." The mere attempt causes physical pain.
  • Sluggish Sloths: One arc had Jeremy find an escaped sloth in his closet. He had it dressed up as himself and attend school, and no one noticed, the joke being that Jeremy is as lazy as an actual sloth.
  • Smelly Feet Gag: Jeremy's sneakers have been known to make Odor Eaters throw up.
  • Soapbox Sadie: Hector's former girlfriend Autumn was like this. Usually she was the Straw Vegetarian type, giving Jeremy the whole "meat is murder" routine (which he always seemed to have a clever comeback to) but there was one storyline where she tried a Free the Frogs variation with locusts, at their school. (Surprisingly Realistic Outcome occurs when the Hazmat unit shows up.)
  • Spaghetti Kiss: Sickeningly Sweethearts Richandamy eat spaghetti for lunch every day for exactly this reason.
  • Spontaneous Mustache: Hector is able to grow facial hair by concentrating for a short time, which is a cause of jealousy from Jeremy whose inability to grow noticeable facial hair is a Running Gag.
  • Spraying Drink from Nose: Connie has this reaction when Jeremy hits Walt with a good zinger.
  • Starbucks Skin Scale: Pierce (white) tells his girlfriend D'ijon (black) that her skin is "like brushed mahogany. But not hard like mahogany. Like that skin that forms on caramel pudding when you leave it out for a week." She's not amused.
  • Straight Gay: Billy, a character seen now and then in the background mentioned once that he's homosexual, but it's never joked about or mentioned in any other strip.
    Jeremy: Wow that outfit looks so gay!
    Billy: But I am gay. So...?
    Jeremy: No, no, like your outfit is gay. It's gay. Lame, I guess.
  • Straw Vegetarian: Hector's girlfriend Autumn is an animal lover and a fanatical vegetarian. The first time she saw Jeremy eating a burger, she got a hysterical fit as if she truly had never seen anything so terrible before.
  • Subliminal Seduction: Jeremy tries this on Sara with predictable results.
    • Although who knows what happened after it was given to his father on carpool day...
  • Sucks at Dancing:
    • Jeremy is so bad at dancing that his girlfriend Sara advises him to "dance like everyone is watching". This was later used as the title of one of the collections.
    • His mother isn't any better. One time, she is mistaken for having seizures.
  • Suntan Stencil: One time, Jeremy spelled out 'SARA' on his stomach in sunburn using an actual stencil. This worked well till Sara was so touched by his gesture that she hugged him.
  • Symbol Swearing:
    • One strip involved Jeremy getting scolded for swearing (represented by grawlixes), and then commenting that he's the only guy he knows who has a less colorful vocabulary than Beetle Bailey.
    • Another strip has Jeremy saying "Star-Asterisk-Fishbone!" when he hurts himself, and when Hector comments on it (apparently it's the equivalent of Gosh Dang It to Heck!) he explains that his mother will kill him if he says [string of grawlixes].
  • Synchronized Morning Routine: One strip alternates between Jeremy and his girlfriend's morning routines, showing her putting on makeup, combing her hair, etc. while Jeremy takes several panels to emerge from sleep. The final panel has Sara, now a living exhibition of cosmetic technology, asking Jeremy how he gets his hair to look as if he got out of bed, to which he confusedly replies that he gets out of bed.
  • Tacky Tuxedo: In an attempt to persuade Sara to go to the prom with him, Jeremy borrows a tuxedo that used to belong to Hector's grandfather. Only when Hector gives it to him does he discover that Hector's grandfather had been in a mariachi band.
  • The Talk: Walt takes Jeremy on an early fishing morning trip as an excuse to have The Talk with him.
    Walt: Your mom and I just want to make sure that there's no risky behavior going on between the two of you.
    Jeremy: Don't worry. You can't have "risky" behavior if there's no behavior in the first place.
  • Talking with Signs: Zits does a non-speechless version of this. Jeremy comes down for breakfast with a stack of cards, and answers each of his mother's questions ("Orange juice? Eggs?") with the next card. Finally she insists "I am not that predictable!" and he reveals the card which reads "Wanna bet?"
  • Tall Poppy Syndrome: One strip shows that Jeremy fears this when he at first is glad to have gotten an A on a test, only to instead have a fantasy where his parents are proud of him and say that from now on, they'll expect an A on every quiz. The next panel, he says he thinks he blew it.
  • Taxman Takes the Winnings: This happens when Jeremy receives his first paycheck from the movie theatre. He starts ranting and storms off. Walt watches all of this and comments that he might just have seen the birth of a conservative.
  • Technically a Smile: One strip showed a progression of school photos for Jeremy, each one showing a gradually less obvious smile. Another time, he propped the corners of his mouth upward with his fingers when Connie suggested that he smile instead of scowl.
  • Technologically Blind Elders:
    • Connie and Walt tend to be pretty clueless when it comes to technology, much to the perpetual embarrassment of their son.
    Jeremy: I can't believe it doesn't have Bluetooth!
    Walt: <opens the flip phone slightly, peering inside looking for teeth> What color tooth does it have?
    • In another, Walt diagnosed a problem with Jeremy's computer as "a loose fan belt on your search engine".
    • In one strip, Connie claims that it's her parents' generation who really don't understand technology, which is Instantly Proven Wrong when Jeremy says "that's not what grandma said in her podcast".
  • Telecom Tree: We don't see the actual tree, but Pierce calculates that in order to get 700 people to turn up to his Wild Teen Party he has to inform exactly one person (Brittney) and let the word spread. It works.
  • That Came Out Wrong: A history teacher saying "And the Vikings in their pillaging made off with lots of booty." Needless to say the class was over after she said it.
  • Theme Naming:
    • Jeremy and Chad are named for the musical duo Chad & Jeremy. Both Walt and Connie blame the other for such a ridiculous idea.
    • The Posse are named after Southern California beaches: Zuma, Redondo and La Jolla. And Zuma's last name is actually "Beech".
  • This Ain't Rocket Surgery: Walt names this trope exactly while being congratulated. The congrats die down quickly.
  • Tied Up on the Phone: Jeremy has done this by moving from phone to phone in the house, stretching out the cord on one phone till he can pick up the receiver on the next.
  • Totally Radical: Jeremy had to teach his dad not to say "What's up, dood?" Unfortunately, though he could pronounce "Whatup, dude?" (relatively in use at time of publishing), he had no idea what it meant.
    • Parodied in one strip where Jeremy tries to get a slang word of his own invention to catch on: "Plasmic". It works about as well as you'd expect. Which was just plasmic with everybody.
  • Trash of the Titans: Jeremy's room, despite Connie's best efforts.
    • Pierce's locker is possibly even worse than that. But it has killer chi.
  • Truth in Television: Honestly, whose teen hasn't done some of that stuff like running a blender without the lid or texting people who're in the same room as them? And whose parents haven't done that sort of stuff like trying to talk to someone who says "Leave me alone"?
  • Tsundere: Sara.
  • Two Decades Behind: It's played for laughs a few times that Jeremy's taste in music is severely outdated. One example had Walt meet Jeremy's favorite musicians, and they all have kids Jeremy's age. Another had Connie go through his music collection looking for anything objectionable and ultimately commenting that it was all pretty tame.
  • Ugly Guy, Hot Wife: Husband Walt is shown as bald and cartoonishly obese, while his wife is much thinner and not altogether unattractive, having a body type resembling the teenage girls of the comic. This is actually lampshaded by Sara who comments "Isn't it weird how your Mom and I have like identical bodies?" (Cue the awkward moment) Connie's still not gorgeous given the art style, but it's a notable difference over Walt.
    • And an older strip Lampshaded it when Jeremy asks Connie, "What is it about him [Walt] made you say, "This is what I want to wake up to for the rest of my life." which ends with Connie staring at Walt with a disturbed expression.
  • The Unfair Sex: Invoked. Sara has regularly broken up with Jeremy on a whim, gotten mad at him for dating other women afterwards ("When I said we [should see other people], I meant me!") yelled at him for innocuous comments or even things he's never done, and is generally rather flippant about his emotions, while the absolute worst thing we've seen Jeremy do is call her a skank. Of course, Sara is a hormonal teenage girl, so while it's unfair from a storytelling standpoint, it's by no means inaccurate.
  • The Un-Favourite: Chad > Jeremy.
  • Unmanly Secret: Pierce has a secret addiction to scrapbooking that he is very determined to keep secret.
  • Unmoving Plaid: Jeremy's purple shirt sometimes exhibits this, mainly in the earlier strips.
  • Unsound Effect:
    • "Essay! Essay!" for Jeremy writing an essay.
    • INHALE!
  • Unspoken Retort:
    • We enter one strip with Connie chastising her son, Jeremy, for some infraction or another, with her concluding her rant with a, "Well?". Jeremy rolls his eyes so hard they actually come off of his face and roll over to his father, Walt, himself no stranger to Connie's rants. Walt thinks to himself "Wow! That must've been a really stupid question."
    • One strip is Jeremy doing this entirely through another of his mother's rants, with him mentally telling himself how to respond, "Good eye contact. Slight tilt to the head...Lift eyebrows to show a little concern. Contrite nod...Brave but warm smile. I may not be a good listener, but I'm an attentive ignorer."
    • Connie is sarcastically responding to Jeremy sleeping in during summer break. Jeremy thinks to himself, "It's not summer unless your Mom is ragging on you about your sleeping habits."
    • After Connie adjusts Jeremy's clothing he thinks to himself, "Everything my Mom touches turns to Dork."
    • On one occasion, Jeremy actually compliments his Mom and calls her awesome. She then has a look of sheer bliss on her face, to which her husband thinks, "That look usually costs me a dozen roses and a half a bottle of wine."
  • Verbal Tic: Parodied in one instance? Where Jeremy and Hector criticize a girl? Who seems to talk? In questions?
    • And then parodied again at the end of the same arc, when Jeremy asks Hector to point out if Jeremy ever develops a verbal tic — all the while, both of them are generously peppering their sentences with enough "dude"s to annoy Mordecai and Rigby.
  • Visual Pun: Quite often. For example...
    • When Connie "talks [Jeremy's] ear off," his ears, and other pieces of his face, literally fall off his head and onto the table.
    • In an early strip, Jeremy's parents have a bumper sticker on their car that reads "We [Heart] Our Son," to which Jeremy respond with an "I [Stomach] My Parents" sticker on his backpack.
  • Wangst: Jeremy in-universe, though he tends to get mocked for it.
  • Way Past the Expiration Date: In a 2013 strip Jeremy finds a box of chocolate wafers at the back of the freezer with an expiration date of 2009. He eats them anyway.
  • What Are Records?: From Jeremy of course.
  • What Were You Thinking?: Word for word, from Connie to Jeremy.
    Jeremy: Everything's about cause and effect with you, isn't it?
  • Wild Teen Party: Pierce throws one of these, inviting 700 people over to his house and went so wild that his roof actually came off. (Jeremy was a little wary before it even started, saying, "I don't know whether to go to this or just watch it on the news.")
  • What Did I Do Last Night?: Jeremy wakes up one morning with his boxers over his head. He resolves to try and remember his dreams.
  • Where the Hell Is Springfield?: There are slight clues to the Duncan family's residence, all suggesting that they're somewhere in the Midwest. Jim Borgman lives in Cincinnati, Ohio (and is a Pulitzer-winning editorial cartoonist for the Cincinnati Enquirer), and many locals have always assumed that Zits was set in Cincinnati. Interstate 70, Bucyrus, and Grater's Ice Cream have all been referenced at various points, further suggesting this.
    • All but confirmed in one strip (about Jeremy buying a surfboard) where Walt says "Surf's down in central Ohio". This line makes no sense if they're not in central Ohio.
  • X Called; They Want Their Y Back: In one strip, Connie looks at Jeremy's room and says "The landfill called. It wants its reputation back".
  • Yandere Couple: A downplayed and Played for Laughs example. While Richandamy don't demonstrate the psychosis traditionally associated with yanderes, the other characters find themselves alternatively bemused or disturbed by the obsessive level of devotion they show one another.
  • You Need a Breath Mint:
    • In this strip, Jeremy passes on Hector's offer a breath mint, and then his breath causes Sara to faint. He then turns back to Hector and says "On second thought, I'll take that breath mint".
    • In another strip, Jeremy does a breath check on himself, and in a thought bubble, he sees a dead fish. So he pops a breath mint and does the check again. This time, his thought bubble is a dead fish on skis.
  • Your Door Was Open: In one strip, Connie comes downstairs in the morning to find Pierce drinking coffee in her dining room. They had invited him to dinner that day, but he decided to show up early.
    Connie: Was our door unlocked?
    Pierce: Not at first.