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- Aborted Arc: A lot. A few of these get picked up again later. Many semi-regular character relationships end up this way, but as it IS a webcomic with Loads and Loads of Characters, this is to be expected to some extent.
- Marten had a blog at one point, but then the plot thread got dropped and we never found out what happened to it.
- There was a character named Sara working at the coffee shop early on, but then she disappeared.
- Deathmøle looked like it was headed this way, but as of strip 1985 it is back minus Nat. And it's gone again, with Marten admitting that he's givin up on the dream of being a musician in favor of doing instrument repair.
- At one point it looks like Raven is going to return to The Coffee of Doom, but this is quickly dropped.
- Abstract Eater: When Marigold speculates whether Emily could design a website that would work backwards in time, Emily quickly sketches on the Coffee of Doom blackboard the mathematical reasons why you can't do that, whereupon the following dialogue ensues:
Emily: ...And that's why you can't send information back into the past! Simple!
Balding Professorial-Looking Customer: [looking at the blackboard] Ooh, you have Lorentz factors today? One medium, please!
Dora: That's not—
Emily: On it! [leaves]
Balding Professorial-Looking Customer: How much do I owe you?
Dora: [increasingly baffled] Um...four fifty?
Emily: [returns and hands a cup to the customer] Here you go! Have a nice day!
Balding Professorial-Looking Customer: Danke schoen!
Emily: [as Dora and Marigold look at her with WTF expressions] This job is very satisfying.
- Accidental Misnaming: Tilly is repeatedly called Taffy by Hannelore after her mother calls them that.
- Adjective Noun Fred: In comic 3425, Dale and Marigold are watching an anime titled "Ass Swordsman Tetsuo", being the story of a demon-fighting swordsman who can pull swords out of his ass. When May says that sounds interesting, they tell her that it's actually so full of boring filler and exposition that as of episode 22, the main character has yet to pull a single sword out of his ass. Marigold can't decide whether it's a brilliant deconstruction of Shonen anime tropes or just garbage.
- Aerith and Bob: Mostly split between human and AI. You have humans named Marten, Faye, and Dora, then AI named Corpse Witch, Crushbot, and Beepatrice. There are exceptions to both camps, though.
- A.I. Getting High: The AI of a space station is able to get drunk via emulation (to socialize with a real drunk person). He mentions (drunkenly) that all of the critical systems are running on an autonomous subsystem, so nothing was hurt.
- Pintsize and friends appear in an early strip, getting stoned on video drivers
- May apparently downcycles her CPU to achieve a similar effect at a party, and Momo tries a tequila emulator provided by Pintsize (which turns out about as well as might be expected)
- Officer Roko appears in a cops at a bar arc in which she, and her buddy OMalley, appear to be using USB drives as though they were shot glasses (which implies that A.I.s have USB ports in their mouths)
- Air-Vent Passageway: Raven attempts this starting here. It does not go well.
- All Just a Dream: Momo seducing Sven.
- All There in the Manual: Claire wanting to get her ears pierced was mentioned on her twitter before it was in the comic.
- Almost Kiss: Marten and Claire get very close to kissing in strip #2801, but Claire backs off, because he's drunk.
- Amazingly Embarrassing Parents:
- Ambiguously Brown: When a fan asked what race Tai was, the artist's answer was "tan".
- Amicable Exes:
- Marten's parents, who split up when his father realized he was gay and are still on good terms with each other.
- Marten himself and Dora progress to this after some initial awkwardness, and are both supportive of the other's new relationships.
- Jim and his ex-wife.
- Steve and Tortura.
- Anachronic Order: This guest strip, by Danielle Corsetto of Girls with Slingshots, depends on being told backwards.
- Analogy Backfire: Averted.
- ...And That Would Be Wrong: Nat uses this when Hanners tries to disembowel herself with Nat's guitar.
- Angrish: Marigold on this page.
- The character's expressions on occasion.
- Momo, a Japanese AnthroPC specifically designed to be animesque, pictured here, here, and here.
- Another example is Marigold's adorable little :3 smile.
- Per Jeph, one of the biggest influences on QC is Azumanga Daioh. It's not hard to see some of the parallels. He also reads a lot of Yotsuba&! which is by the same author - Marigold even has a poster of her in her bedroom.
- The comic went through a subtle animesque Art Shift in the late 10s, with characters eyes getting proportionally larger and the occassional beat panel now featuring simplifed expressions.
- Anthropomorphic Personification: Jeph drew an Anthro of QC for the 8th anniversary.
- Anything That Moves / Depraved Bisexual: Pintsize zig-zags both of these repeatedly. He flirts with/harasses women throughout the comic, steals Faye's underwear, and compliments random women on their breasts, but he has had at least one relationship with another male. Since it was a male robot, it might not count, though. Possibly subverted in that he seemed to actually care about him.
- Averted in that Pintsize doesn't actually realise that the other robot is male until well into the date, and isn't too happy when he DOES realise
- Pintsize also remarks that robotic gender is more a matter of opinion than fact, that robot "sex" is basically electronic and it's entirely possible to have 'sex' without actually knowing the gender of the other, and generally making it clear that his male-perv persona is basically an artifact of his programming
- Arc Words: Of all things, "Hmm", during the Bubbles subplot, with this being exclaimed by both Bubbles and Corpse Witch regarding different interactions. Jeph even gets in on it in his commentary.
- Arkham's Razor:
- Marten and Dora take a long lunch, and return with Marten wearing some of Dora's clothes. Everyone assumes that they had done something naughty, but Marten claimed that they had been ambushed by Shaolin Monks and spilled spaghetti sauce on his clothes and needed to change at Dora's. Everyone laughs it off, but a strip later he is proven correct when a battered monk arrives at the coffee shop and recognizes Marten.
- Also occurs in the explanation for Steve's infrequent appearances for a long stretch of the comic. The two possible explanations were "he got drunk and dicked around for a while" or "he became a secret agent and blew up an island," and it was implied that not even he knew for sure which was true. Until later, when he ran across The Baroness from his story.
- Armor-Piercing Question: What was her name? This puts Marten's recent one night stand in the proper context, since he CAN'T answer the question.
Marten: "Hannelore's dad sent her this weird DEVICE and we can't figure out what it's for."
- Arson, Murder, and Admiration: Tai thinks that Jimbo's book is "trashy, poorly-written, incredibly sexist towards BOTH genders, and the most entertaining thing I've read all year."
- Arson, Murder, and Jaywalking:
- Art Evolution: The art style has and continues to evolve, and comparing the newest strip with the first one shows how striking the development has been.
- Jeph has redrawn (in his new style) a number of early strips for his books, as he'd lost the original high-resolution art. The result is... striking.
- The Artifact: Pintsize. The presence of intelligent robots in the strip's setting has undergone major Cerebus Syndrome over the years; most robot characters now have humanoid bodies and major plotlines have centered on robot psychology and ethics; and yet Pintsize himself remains Marten's comic-relief pint-size Robot Buddy. As of Winslow's chassis upgrade, he is the only AI in the main cast not either have a humanoid chassis or some kind of humanoid holographic projection. This has in-character justification- he's fully aware that looking like a cute robot baby lets him get away with his incredibly crass behavior, while looking like a human means being held to a human standard.
- Artificial Limbs: Clinton got his robotic hand after a childhood accident involving fireworks.
- Artistic Licence Economics: Faye and Bubbles business venture, Union Robotics. Neither seems to have any idea how a business operates.
- Dora, supposedly the most business-savvy of the main cast, guaranteed their lease with no sight of a business plan; this, despite one of the robot characters (well known to both Faye and Bubbles) being a Chartered Accountant.
- Faye has TWICE allowed Sam, a minor, to handle power tools, once resulting in an accident.
- Bubbles keeps some sort of cost/income records, apparently.
- The Millefueille/Mee-foi butt implants running gag indicates that Faye has carried out quite major internal alterations without knowing quite important elements of Mee-fois construction.
- There appears to be no consulting room or even screens. Characters are simply undressed on benches in the workshop. Either A.I.s are treated as regular people, or they arent.
- Art Shift:
- Ascended Extra: Angus. He appeared multiple times as a joke character, then popped into focus after Faye dropped Sven. He then appeared regularly, and had important relationships with other characters, particularly Faye.
- Claire. Once a simple intern, now Marten's girlfriend.
- Ass Shove: Happens to Pintsize, but he may like it◊.
- Audience Surrogate: The thanksgiving turkeys.
- Author Appeal:
- The once-constant, then numerous, then all but vanished indie rock references.
- "Will I ever get tired of drawing my characters in Victorian-era-esque clothing? All sources point to "no"."
- Invoked and subverted here.
- The term "schadenfreude" and made-up derivatives thereof.
- An anime addict (see Expy below) and her anime-design robot.
- "Oh, Dune references, will I ever get tired of you? (The answer is no.)"
- dancing comics every day, forever
- Short-haired girls. Jeph had to promise when Penelope was introduced not to "cut all her hair off" in an art-style change like he did most of the others (Hannelore once lost nearly all of her hair in mid-conversation with Marten & Steve as Jacques changed his mind on how it should look).
- You could count "girls with issues" into the Appeal-factor as well, considering how nearly the entire cast features them (Robot Girls included.) The men are generally more weird and dumb/confused than neurotic.
- In interviews, Jeph has attributed to the high proportion of female characters in the cast to his finding female forms more interesting to draw, in contrast to male forms which are more flat and, in his opinion, boring.
- Butt jokes and fart jokes.
- Author Avatar: Averted - Marten is not Jeph Jacques, to the surprise of fans who meet him. He once posted a picture on LiveJournal of them meeting: Rule 34 responded quite quickly. It's something of an inverse of what happened to Penny Arcade — As Jeph has stated, Marten started out as his mouthpiece but grew into a completely different person.
- Author Filibuster: Claire's desire to get a septum piercing involves her talking about how cool septum piercings are, and about how body art is an expression of control over one's body, mirroring Jeph's opinions on the matter.
- Backhanded Apology: May's apology to Dale.
- Backing Away Slowly: In 'Nothing Good Can Come', Martin demonstrates a textbook example of backing away slowly when asked to weigh in on a lover's quarrel between his ex-girlfriend and his current boss. The eyes really sell it.
- Badass Fingersnap: How Spookybot starts the torture of Corpse Witch, as seen here.
- Bait-and-Switch Comment:
- In this comic Marten is suffering from food poisoning and jokes about needing "...a copy of War and Peace and a gun with a single bullet, just in case." When Dora passes the comment along, Faye is horrified:
Faye: Th-that's terrible.
Dora: Huh? [remembers that Faye's father shot himself in front of Faye]
Dora: Oh — oh God, Faye, the gun thing, I didn't mean, I mean Marten didn't —
Faye: What are you talking about? I meant the War and Peace part. I fuckin' hate Tolstoy.
- Bare Your Midriff: Shows up occasionally, and for a while in the early days of the strip it was almost a standard feature of the female characters, especially Dora, Faye, and Raven.
- The Baroness: Tortura seems this type.
- Bathos: The comic often adds comedic interludes to serious plotlines about the characters' lives, aided by the World of Snark cast. Lampshaded when Faye deals with The "I Love You" Stigma by getting sloppily drunk, is accidentally punched in the face, and is stuck stanching a nosebleed while she talks things out.
Marten: [snrk] Sorry, sorry, it's really hard to have a serious conversation when you're all stuffy-sounding.
Faye: I do lag a cerdain grabitas ad the mobent.
- Bears Are Bad News: Om nom nom nom. Averted in that the bear was actually a trained circus animal and not very dangerous as long as no one was stupid enough to anger it.
- Beard of Sorrow: Steve, after a break-up.
- Beat Panel:
- Beautiful All Along: Invoked, lampshaded, and torn to pieces.
- Be a Whore to Get Your Man: Faye and her mother discuss the benefits of this.
- Behind the Black: Happens a few times.
- Elliot tends to quietly loom just out of frame. It's a problem.
- Faye comments that she hasn't seen Penelope and Cossette for a while (ie, they haven't appeared in the strip lately) only for them to point out they've been just to her left all day, out of frame.
- Jeph Jacques, the comic's author, has claimed a couple of times that Coffee of Doom always has lots of patrons, just off-screen, where he doesn't have to draw them.
- Belligerent Sexual Tension:
- Faye and Sven before they hooked up.
- For a while, Faye and Angus. However, they became friends long before they hooked up.
- Marigold and Dale.
- Belly Button Less: A.I.s don't have navels, as shown when some of the female A.I.s wear midriff baring outfits.
- Benevolent Boss: Scott, Dora, and Tai.
- Beware the Nice Ones:
- Bifauxnen: Tai, especially in early strips when she bound her breasts.
- Big Brother Instinct: Doubles over with Papa Wolf for Marten when Samantha wanted to test out Momo's electronic defense capability.
Marten: That girl is a bad influence.
Padma: Hee hee, you really do sound like her dad.
- The Big Damn Kiss:
- Big "NO!": Winslow gets one upon finding Momo's old (and unbeknownst to him, empty) chassis and immediately concluding that something awful has happened.
- Faye too gets one when she uses the word "wicked" as an intensifier and Angus points out to her that, therefore, she is "officially a New Englander now."
- Big Ol' Eyebrows: Strip #21 provides a good example of how Marten and Steve used to look in the comic's early days.
- Bilingual Bonus:
- Birth/Death Juxtaposition: Happens twice, at least from a relationship standpoint.
- Black Comedy: Guest strip artists love to make jokes about Faye's father's suicide. Jeph has gone on the record and said that he finds them hilarious.
- Black Speech:
- Erm... are you all right, Hanners? As best as anyone can figure out, this translates to "I want to fill your scrotum with spiders and broken glass."
- Dora exhibits fluency a second later.
- Hannelore speaks it again in a later comic. This one now reads "Disturb me and I shall summon a horde of shoggoths to rend your flesh."
- Bland-Name Product: Angus considers auditioning as a correspondent to The Nightly Show, which (according to the strip's title) features Jon Steward.
- Blue-and-Orange Morality: Spookybot outright says that they have very few moral principles, but those that are enforced appear to be strongly so. They treat Bubbles, everyone who associates with her, and Corpse Witch's employees with magnanimity and kindness, but ruthlessly shut down Corpse Witch herself and even torture her, then give Officer Basilisk the evidence needed to bust Corpse Witch.
- Bluff the Eavesdropper: Faye, Dora and Marten do this against the Vespavenger.
- Body Horror: Pop! And incidentally...
- Bondage Is Bad: Averted here, and most other times that the subject of Marten's mother's profession comes up.
- Brain Bleach:
- Bread, Eggs, Breaded Eggs:
- Bread, Eggs, Milk, Squick:
- Break the Cutie: Marten after strip 1800.
- Break Them by Talking: Bubbles to Pintsize via "The Reason You Suck" Speech, to a degree that even Faye feels a little sorry for him.
- Breakout Character: Hannelore won a character poll by a landslide naming her as the most popular character, shocking the author. Quite a ways for what was a supporting one-note character added to an already sizeable cast.
- Brick Joke:
- Pintsize gets hit with a Sonic Hip Attack.
- Maybe if we put on a spoiler it will go faster. It came back again and looks to be starting a new plot line. Chekhov's Boomerang, perhaps? (All signs point to yes.)
- Marten's beast of Bourbon came back after four years. Made even funnier (and potentially creepier) by the Beast's similarities to Fluffmodeus.
- Less bricky than a lot of these examples, but still qualifies. Doubles as a Funny Background Event, since it's very easy to miss Pintsize being thrown in the first strip.
- Dora's response to Raven in panel three of this strip comes up again in panel four of this one. Apparently, Raven is convinced Marten's junk is spectacular.
- Tai missed out on Dora's first move, and enthusiastically joins in for the second. For obvious reasons.
- Hannelore grounding Marigold.note It ends forty-three strips later, as soon as Marigold can't take it anymore.
- Return of Holopony!
The entire Holopony concept may have been a set-up for this gag.
- Apparently, this comic happened 96763 seconds (which is a bit more than a day) after this one. Either that, or Raven's calculations were a little off.
- The Vulcan Boob Squish is put to good use.
- Also, Steve and Marten really had talked about that!
- The Awkward Zone being defeated with fancy outfits.
- Bluebirds and spontaneous musicals occurring when Marten has positive lady-developments in his life
- Hanners wishes to teach you how to draw a kitty.
- Pintsize whispers something in Marten's ear while he's sleeping. A few strips later, the payoff sends him running back to his bed in a panic.
- Hannelore makes Bubbles some tea and the aroma causes her to see a unicorn. She asks to see a pegasus next time, and indeed she does.
- In this strip, Angus says he would prefer if Faye left him, it should be for a girl. Pintsize jokes that it should be a girl robot. Five and a half years later, after Faye and Angus have broken up, Faye gets together with Bubbles.note
- This one may hold the record for length of time between deployment and punchline, though it's possibly a a coincidence. In 1001 Marten mentions that if nukes were sentient, they'd probably need counseling. Almost 3000 comics later in 3907, Lemon mentions that while she works as an AI therapist, most of her time is spent dealing with depressed nuclear reactors. Not exactly the same thing since one blows up and the other avoids blowing up to provide power, but close enough.
- Broken Aesop:
- Sven's sexual encounter with a country music star and the impact it had on Faye seems to be a lesson about treating women with more respect and how womanizing can cause harm. After telling Faye that he'd slept with another woman, she was terribly hurt, and the entire cast treated him like a complete jerk for it. However, Sven was always completely up-front about his intentions and the fact that he reserved the right to sleep with other women, something he repeatedly reminded Faye about. He didn't even have to tell her he'd slept with someone else, but did out of respect for her. Ultimately, it means he was shunned by his own sister and her friends for being honest and upfront with everyone, the moral of the story being that telling the truth only makes things worse.
- In-universe. After hearing about the childhood accident that gave Clinton his robotic hand and that he actually prefers it, the others reflect the moral this teaches kids is that "messing around with fireworks gives you cool robotic limbs!"
- Bromantic Foil: Steve to Marten.
- Brutal Honesty: Name-dropped by Marten.
- Buffy Speak: Raven, while explaining global warming.
- Bunny-Ears Lawyer: Raven. Shows signs of deep intelligence and seems to be doing well in school but is quite the Cloud Cuckoo Lander.
- Burger Fool: Notably avoided; Dora is the owner and the others are all non-teenagers who wear what they wish. Uniforms appeared briefly in the beginning of the strip, but they were swiftly abandoned.
- The Bus Came Back:
- She was put on a bus to college years ago, but Raven finally shows up again, and she sounds like she wants to stay. It doesn't stick.
- Amir reappeared after a long absence as well. It also doesn't stick.
- And now, Dale's favorite AI.
- Renee was originally a very minor character who served the purpose of "Faye-clone" at the Secret Bakery, but she gains more importance and a unique appearance when she returns much later in Brun's arc.
- Faye's sister Amanda shows up again after a long absence.
- But for Me, It Was Tuesday: Elliot to Clinton. Clinton refuses to blame Elliot for accidentally breaking his prosthetic hand, citing a previous incident where Elliot had defended Clinton in his role as a bouncernote . But Elliot has completely forgotten.
Clinton: You don't remember?
Elliot: Sorry. That happens, like, once a week.
- But I Would Really Enjoy It: Faye towards Sven after they "break up".
- But Not Too Gay: It used to be, but it's changed since Tai and Dora started dating.
- Buxom Is Better:
- Marigold's breasts are described as "a positively Homeric set of bosoms" and the largest seen in the QC setting so far. Pintsize and May both take special note of this.
- Faye. As per Sven: "I was never really into curves, but once you hit that other girls just seem flat."
- Three hundred strips later, Raven still thinks Marten is rather...gifted.
- Dora wants to be the flower girl.
- "Sorry, the government made dad take the lasers out." "You too, huh?"
- On her resume, Momo lists eel handling among her skills.
- Marten and Steve's conversation of getting paid for ogling chicks is referenced in the title of a later comic.
- Strip 2016 calls back to the very beginning of the comic, when Faye is caught ogling Marten's butt.
- Strip 2227 calls back to Dora's math skills.
- The current record for longest callback is strip 2340 being a reference to strip 5!
- Number 2350 calls back to number 1526. "Doctor Heteronormative" is indeed a good name for a villain.
- Twisting proverbs, though only from some thirty strips earlier.
- When asking her father if she can bring Marten and Marigold to his birthday party aboard the space station, she says that she knows Marten is safe and even has a blood sample to prove it, and has reason to believe that Marigold is not a secret robot either.
- In 805, Winslow states that his eyebrow graphics are in beta. In 890, they seem to be glitching, being replaced by the word "beta".
- When Marten tells to Faye he's not sure how he feels about Claire falling asleep on him, she responds: "Look on the bright side - at least you didn't get barfed on and headbutted in the junk. This is also called back in the title of this comic when Marten vomits on Faye.
- Emily's first reaction to meeting Pintsize is to punch him. So is Sam's, which Emily remarks on.
- Going out for ice cream to stave off a sexual encounter.
- the return of the Malaysian Battle Spatula.
- Steve eating cereal.
- Pintsize's Underwear Ninja guise.
- Angus sneaks in on Marigold's dance, and surprises her here, and Marigold does the same to Angus here.
- Hiding bodies in the quarry.
- "Happy birthday, Grandma!"
- In the last frame of this comic:
- Calling the Old Man Out: When Hannelore goes to visit her mother, she does not pull her punches in giving her a verbal smackdown.
- Calling Your Bathroom Breaks: Faye cuts Dora off this way, mid-apology.
- Cannot Spit It Out: Played with. Although she can acknowledge they're dating, Faye is having trouble calling Angus her "boyfriend":
Faye: You're my boafregh. My boyfremb. You're my borthreim. You're... you're my boyflingDAMMIT I'M SORRY
Angus: No no, keep trying! This is way cuter than I was expecting.
Raven: I want a boyfling!
- The Casanova: Sven. Even the robots want him. Also deconstructed, as he loses interest in casual sex after his thing with Faye falls apart; he ignored an attractive girl trying to pick him up while he was eating, then asked the barman for a fresh napkin because, "this one's got phone number all over it". Footnotes also mention that that may have been the THIRD such napkin that night.
- Cassandra Truth:
- Marten and Dora have at least twice come up with ridiculous stories as to why they were running late, one involving a bunch of Kung-fu monks, another a Deathbot 9000 that Pintsize had insulted on the internet. Marten individually seems to have a knack for winding up in situations like this.
- Marigold blurts out what she doing after realizing lying about being in the bathroom instead for that six hours is an Embarrassing Cover Up. Marten and Hannelore don't believe it (would you believe she was eating cookies and watching anime with the head of security instead?), and assume she's having digestive problems.
- After blatantly lying about his activities, Pintsize admits to Marten what he's really been doing, but without changing his delivery. Marten assumes he's still lying.
- When Dora asks Sven what happened to his long hair, and specifically if he was attacked by an enraged ex-lover with a pair of scissors, Sven truthfully replies that he had sex with a robot (May) and her joint lubricant corroded his hair. Dora replies "So I was right about the angry scissor-wielding ex, huh." Sven replies, deadpan, "I can't believe you saw through my lie."
- Catapult Nightmare: In this strip and the following one.
- Catchphrase: The phrase "Hurr hurr hurr!", meant to sarcastically imitate laughter from stupid or inane people, has been uttered by nearly all of the main cast at some point. Jacques clearly does it himself, judging by newsposts.
- Cats Are Mean: Pintsize thinks this about Dora's cat, Mieville, especially when Mieville teams up with baby Roombas to torment him further. Hanners, on the other hand, disagrees.
- Cat Smile:
- Censored for Comedy: A couple strips of butts with censor bars over them are followed by a Thanksgiving strip where a turkey's eyes, chest, and crotch are covered with censor bars in a way that suggests some absolutely absurd genitalia.
- Cerebus Syndrome: The strip started as a boy and his robot, but in no time moved to sarcasm and joking about music and music fans, while developing the relationships between the characters before taking a turn for the dramatic about #500, while retaining the joke-a-day format. Jeph lampshades this in the commentary/news for strip #1481.
- Character Blog:
- Marten had a music blog for a while, but it's long been defunct.
- Hannelore had her own Formspring but like Marten's blog it hasn't been used in a long while.
- The main characters have Twitter pages, all communicating with each other in occasional bursts of activity.
- Word of warning: If you decide to go read the Twitters, keep a jug of Brain Bleach nearby if you go anywhere near Pintsize's or Yelling Bird's.
- Characterization Marches On:
- Hannelore was certainly odd when first introduced, but she becomes a much different character than she was before, explained by her trying out new medication which doesn't mess with her demeanor as much. It's lampshaded and mentioned in-universe by Dr. Case as she recounts Hannelore's childhood.
- When Faye first appears, her behavior is fairly run of the mill, if somewhat short tempered (her response to being asked if it's ok for Marten to ogle her: "If I sense any ogling, I will stab you and then poop in the wound"). After a while, she becomes perky and cheerful, but violently short tempered, (she once threw Pintsize across the room for a comment about her ass), and also stopped using contractions. Then after a while, she became the cynical snarky person she is now. She's also using contractions again, despite the fact that trait got an explanation in-comic. Comparing Faye today with one of her two earlier incarnations, one could very easily be forgiven for thinking them totally different characters.
- Then there's her relationship to alcohol. She goes from being an enthusiastic social drinker to a full-blown alcoholic whose drinking at work gets her fired, then she goes into hospital with alcohol poisoning, then becomes a Recovered Addict who goes to AA meetings, then acquires sufficient self-discipline that she can throw a party at which (practically) everyone else is drinking and not touch a drop, although it's an effort for her.
- Finally, there's her difficulty with personal relationships. She goes from being someone who doesn't feel she can be anyone's girlfriend at all, to having a brief relationship with Sven and then a somewhat deeper but truncated relationship with Angus, to falling in love with Bubbles and coming out as bisexual. Admittedly, the person she falls hardest for ( Bubbles) is also the kindest, strongest, least selfish and most intelligent of all her partners, and has the biggest influence on Faye, prompting her to be more responsible, loyal and friendly to others.
- Raven is first introduced as mostly a moody trend follower to contrast with Dora, but after getting hired at Coffee of Doom she quickly shifts to being a quickly, perpetually cheerful Genius Ditz.
- Brun is portrayed as much more insightful, vocal, and deliberately rude during her introductory scene- later comics establish her as having shown extreme symptoms of autism (being unobservant of others' feelings and acting without any real malice) from at least high school. It's possible that this is due to the trauma of her workplace and apartment getting burned down causing her to regress somewhat.
- Check, Please!: Here.
- Chekhov's Gag: You gotta break some lions to make an omelet.
- Children Are a Waste: This is what many characters seem to agree on implicitly. In several cases justified since they came from families with significant dysfunction. However, apparently not even Marten Reed seems to think that the world needs another Marten Reed. Jeph has expressed the same opinion in the footnotes that accompanied one comic where this was expressed, so it's apparently an opinion he shares. Later on averted where Faye says she might consider having kids later in her life, indicating her view on the subject may have evolved.
- Chuck Cunningham Syndrome:
- Clingy Jealous Girl:
- Cloud Cuckoo Lander:
- Cluster F-Bomb: A handful of regular strips, especially the AI May, both before and after she got embodied (this one is lampshaded by Jeph), and anytime Yelling Bird shows up.
- Comically Missing the Point: This strip, when Marigold alludes to never having had a boyfriend:
Marigold: You can probably guess how many boyfriends I've had.
Marigold: You're off by six.
Hannelore: TWELVE?! WOW!
- Commuting on a Bus: This or Put on a Bus for many cast members.
- Raven in particular was focusing on scholastic pursuits, and didn't show up for ages, despite once being a huge part of the strip. She reappears in #1939, but it doesn't last.
- Steve; he'll play a major role, then not show up for months or years due to post-breakup alcoholism or secret agent recruitment.
- Compelling Voice: Hanners.
- Completely Missing the Point:
- Conspicuous Trenchcoat: Bubbles just bought herself one to maintain a lower profile... She has second thoughts.
- Continuity Nod: Common, and as this page demonstrates, very noticeable to longtime readers.
- Cooldown Hug: Faye's boobs are a powerful narcotic.
- Couch Gag: The specials board.
- Corrupt the Cutie: Hannelore, slowly but surely. (For the second link, you'll need to see the setup first).
- Costume-Test Montage: Marten, getting ready for a party. Most of the shirts are Continuity Nods of some sort.
- Covert Pervert: Momo.
- Crash-Into Hello: Marigold, into Sven.
- Creator Cameo: That 'stupid looking guy' in #1433 and #2066 looks an awful lot like Jeph.
- Critical Hit: Pintsize gets one laid on him here. Emily bonked his head for 9999 damage.
- Critical Staffing Shortage: Before Roko joins the AI rights non-profit they've spiraled down to a grand total of two volunteers.
- Crush Blush: Claire has a massive one as Marten scratches her head and back.
- Curse: Every place Cosette has ever worked at has shut down for one reason or another, so Dora calls in a witch from her coven days to take a look at her.
Claire: She's not cursed. But that dye job has fried her hair and she's got awful skin.
- Curtains Match the Window: Nearly all the AI characters in that have visible hair have visible irises that match their hair color.
- Except Spooky Bot and Melon cause she is just that weird
- Cute Bruiser: Faye, literally. Jeph noted that she is trained in Muay Thai after someone questioned her stance in this strip.
- Cute Clumsy Girl: Cosette, as shown here.
- Cuteness Overload: Dora holding Momo is the Trope Image.
- Cypher Language: Hannelore's Black Speech response to Sven's pick-up line.
- Dada Comics: Randy and Shelby do this.
- Dark-Skinned Redhead: Ellen in older strips: exhibit A; now that the other characters aren't so pale, Ellen's skin is not significantly darker: exhibit B; and Tai.
- A Date with Rosie Palms:
Therapist: Have you tried, ah, self-stimulation?
Faye: Oh yeah. I also drink seltzer when I want soda, eat rice crackers when I want chocolate, and listen to bluegrass when I want death metal. I am getting a freaking Popeye forearm. My right hand filed a RESTRAINING ORDER. I AM JUST A TINY BIT BORED WITH IT.
- Deadpan Snarker: Pretty much everyone, sans Marigold. Even Momo gets in on this.
- Deathbringer the Adorable: A very ordinary-looking robot named Corpse Witch. Her name is more indicative of her personality than her appearance. Later we discover that numerous A.I.s give themselves names like this including "Crushbot" and "Gyarados Skullfucker".
Sam: Wait, you know Miss Skullbleeper? She's my English teacher!
- Death from Above:
- Hanneloreoffers to invoke this after finding out that the basement of Coffee of Doom is full of spiders.
My dad will be in position to drop a tungsten rod on this place in 64 minutes. Dora:
Pretty sure Orbital Bombardment
isn't covered by my insurance.
- Station also offers this possibility to solve the Bubbles/Corpse Witch conflict.
- Death Glare:
- Don't get between Cosette and her date. Not ever.
Luna: I saw... I saw a tunnel of light, with my granddad waiting at the end, waving to me...
Marten: Jesus, I thought she was going to go all Temple of Doom on you and pull your heart out through your chest!
- Dora gives Penelope one after she makes a rude comment about Sven cheating on Faye without thinking.
Gee, that's a shocker. [beat] Penelope
: ...And I reeeeally need to learn to think before I speak.
- Emily gets in on the action when discussing her uninterest in high-heeled shoes.
Emily: I tried once, and fell over. Never again.
Claire: They take some getting used to, but you'll learn to—
Emily: NEVER. AGAIN.
- Faye turns one on officer Basilisk, the AI crime unit cop who wants her to be an informant. Basilisk is unfazed.
- Deface of the Moon: In one of the Sweet-Tits strips.
- Department of Redundancy Department: Skullmaster, master of skulls!
- Description Cut: Thanks to one of these, it appears that Sven and Dora don't need to worry quite so much about post-breakdown Faye:
Sven: [melancholy] I just...I hope things get better for her.
Dora: [equally so] Me too.
[CUT to Faye in the workshop holding a circular saw, standing behind a resigned-looking robot]
Faye: [smirking evilly] Okay, I'm gonna need you to hold real, real still.
- Destructo-Nookie: Played relatively subtly here after Faye and Bubbles' first time together. Somewhat justified in that Bubbles is a larger-than-human robot with a combat-rated chassis, but Faye is a normal squidgy human. There's no visible damage, but...
I fear we have fatally compromised the structural integrity of this bed.
- Deus Angst Machina: Parodied in one strip, and it involves bears, aliens, and the Illuminati.
- Deus Est Machina:
- Deus ex Machina: Parodied with the climax of the VespAvenger arc, and played straight with Spookybot in Bubble's arc. Justified, in the latter case, by Rule of Empathy: Spookybot makes it clear that they have zero tolerance for anyone who, like Corpse Witch, messes around with 'the whole "sanctity of mind" thing.'
- Did You Just Flip Off Cthulhu?: When Roko learns that Spookybot/Yay won't enter her mind to help her with her bodily integration issues because "it's just gross" and they and Roko couldn't be friends afterwards, she is so amused by Yay not having any friends that she calls them a "nerd" and gives them a wedgie.
- Did You Just Have Sex?: Lampshaded here, complete with Spontaneous Choreography.
- Digging Yourself Deeper:
- Disability Superpower / Instant Expert: Hanners' OCD-fuelled counting ability makes her a hell of a drummer, which she describes as "counting with your whole body." After a brief explanation by Marten, she's playing like an old pro. And if there was any doubt before that it was a superpower...
- Discriminate and Switch: Discussed in comic 2258: For Dora's father, bisexuality is just a phase, like wearing baggy pants. And he really doesn't like the pants.
Tai: I guess that's a somewhat tolerable kind of intolerance.
- Distracted by the Sexy: Raven does this to Sven.
- The Ditz: Raven is not the sharpest of minds, but shows hints of being brighter than she seems. Sometimes these are more than just hints...
- Does This Remind You of Anything?: After Angus and Marigold's spontaneous dancing...
- Dogged Nice Guy: Angus.
- Don't Explain the Joke:
- Don't Try This at Home: Played for Drama with the title of Strip #2876, "Never Do This", regarding Faye's not-so-slow spiral into full-on alcoholism, apparently having shown up for work drunk and intending to get more so as the day goes on.
- Doom Magnet: Cosette, big time.
- Doomy Dooms of Doom:
- The coffee shop at the center of the series is called Coffee Of Doom. The sign on its bathroom door says "Restroom of Doom!", exclamation theirs, though they once lovingly referred to it as "The Cave Of 40 Asses".
- The news post for this strip.
- Toast Fire of Doom
- Dope Slap:
- Double-Edged Answer: In comic #2067, Faye gives one because she's flustered and has issues about getting close to people.
- Double Standard: Abuse, Female on Male: Two separate zig-zags:
- Faye, who acknowledges that she used to be "a bitch with issues" but is now just "a bitch" used and sometimes still uses Marten as a punching bag for no reason. It's sort of lampshaded (the trope in general, not Faye's treatment of him specifically) by Marten. And Faye beats up on everybody, regardless of gender, but when she goes too far she's always put in her place, and she goes to therapy and actively tries to be a less crappy person despite her issues. Marten takes a lot, but he won't let her seriously hurt him, and he often hits back with his own brand of snarking. She is also verbally abusive to the coffee shop customers, but this actually gets good reviews and hipsters coming in for a daily dose of snark.
- This is eventually averted with Faye when she stops serving coffee and insults to random hipsters, and takes up repairing robots instead: her particular brand of snark is justified when she's telling off a robot for not taking better care of itself.
- The VespAvenger hunts abusive boyfriends, but the main cast doesn't think it's acceptable. They lampshade it by suggesting that a guy on a Harley who beats up abusive girlfriends would be unacceptable, but VespAvenger states she would hook up with such a character.
- An attendant trope in play is Abuse Double Standard Abuse Human On Robot. Entirely apart from Pintsize getting his head caved in, or being embedded in the wall (which is usually deserved), many of the main characters refuse to respect Momo's boundaries, e.g., Faye lifting Momo's skirt to check out her crotch ("Just curious!"), or Emily repeatedly poking her in the navel after it's revealed that this changes her hair and eye color, despite Momo telling her to stop.
- Double Take: Pintsize gives one in #1421
- Dream Sequence: Here, here, and here. To quote Deathmøle Jacques, "I could do one of these dream-comics for every single character and I STILL wouldn't be tired of the conceit. I am so weird."
- Drives Like Crazy: Tai gets much too involved in her thoughts while behind the wheel.
- Drop-In Character: Hannelore lives in the apartment above Marten and Faye and is a frequent visitor, not just there but eventually to the homes of other characters as well. Inverted here where Hanners comes home and unexpectedly finds visitors.
- Drowning My Sorrows: Happens quite often, what with all the issues and drama the characters suffer.
- Drugs Are Bad: The newspost in this strip says so.
- Dude, Not Funny!:
- In-universe, Faye calls this on suicide jokes. In response, Angus calls it on jokes about Marigold.
- Which she inevitably breaks less than two months' worth of updates later. As the linked comic demonstrates, her casually insulting sarcasm doesn't really have an off switch (aside from having her mouth duct taped shut).
- Dysfunction Junction: Primarily around the women in-universe — and reinforced over time, as the straighter characters have a tendency to get dropped by the wayside.
- Faye: Her father's suicide and her subsequent nervous breakdown. Still has issues with both anger management and alcoholism.
- Hannelore: Raised on a space station by a Mad Scientist, with a Corrupt Corporate Executive for a mother, and so obsessive-compulsive that she makes Adrian Monk look normal.
- Dora: Reasonably nice on the surface, but is a Stepford Smiler hiding Clingy Jealous Girl tendencies, which in turn led to her breakup with Marten.
- Marigold: Has extreme self-esteem issues due to her angst over her body image.
- Emily: Impulsive to the extreme, and strongly implied to come from a Friendless Background.
- Claire: Fairly well-adjusted, but most likely went through self-identity issues before she realized for good that she is transgender and brought her life in line with that reality.
- All of the other characters have more-or-less normal backgrounds, as far we've been told thus far. Yes, this is counting Marten's mother's job, as that doesn't seem to have caused Marten any trauma other than the occasional bit of needing Brain Bleach. It does seem to have given him a rather less-than-normal outlook on certain things, however.