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  • Made Myself Sad: Sven joking about his relationship troubles.
  • The Magazine Rule: Punchbot reads Punches Monthly.
  • Magic Feather: The Worry Hat is obviously one, but that doesn't mean it isn't effective.
  • Magic Skirt: Averted.
  • Make Me Wanna Shout: Yelling Bird, as its name might imply.
  • Malaproper: "I might not be the sharpest bulb in the box but I'm not THAT gullible." The sharpest bulb in the box being the broken one, of course. Of note is that Raven has previously used this correctly.
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  • Male Gaze: Heck, it's the title of strip 2290.
  • Mama Bear:
    • Marten's Mom warns Faye off of hurting him.
    • Later on, when Marten's mom found out about his break-up with Dora and is on the plane to visit.
      [Dora shivers violently.]
      Dora: Eesh, I feel like a goose just walked over my grave.
    • And once they finally meet, it turns out to be a subversion, since she actually hugs Dora and says she's sorry it didn't work out.
  • Master of the Mixed Message: Faye to Marten.
  • Matchmaker Crush: In the earlier strips, Faye was telling Marten how Dora liked him and Dora was giving Marten advice on Faye.
  • Mathematician's Answer:
  • Meet Cute:
    • Amir and Natasha first met in a mosh pit, when she kicked out one of his teeth. She saved the tooth, happened to bump into him a few days later and offered to return it kicking off their romance. If you're a metalhead you'll go "Awww!" and if you're something else you'll go "WTF!!".
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    • Also played with with Steve and Cosette , though technically she already had his number.
    • Name dropped by Marten after Claire attempted (and failed) to invoke it to secure a second date with Emily for her brother, Clinton. (This is despite Jeph Jacques claiming to despise TV Tropes).
  • Men Don't Cry: Angus thinks it's perfectly fine for a guy to cry over cartoons.
  • Milholland Relationship Moment:
    • Dora/Faye after Dora got together with Marten two days after Faye told him "Not now."
    • Numerous others, including just about any time someone confesses something to Marten.
    • A Marigold example.
  • Milking the Giant Cow: Marten being melodramatic.
  • Mills and Boon Prose: Parodied in Jimbo's romance novels.
  • Mistaken for Cheating: Dora finds Marten and Faye on the couch in their bedclothes hugging and jumps to the entirely wrong conclusion. The setup starts here.
  • Mistaken for Gay:
  • Mr. Seahorse: Randy is male, yet is drawn with a pouch, which he's used for his babies.
  • Modesty Bedsheet: Played straight most times that two characters are depicted having sex, but averted when two characters are depicted AFTER having sex.
  • Modesty Towel: Worn by Sven.
  • Moment Killer:
  • Mood Whiplash: Frequent. This comic has a habit of throwing in a punchline even into the most dramatic of moments (although there are exceptions).
  • Most Fanfic Writers Are Girls: Two female fanfic writers, Tai and Marigold; Tai's stuff is apparently good (she writes a raved-about Harry Potter piece), Marigold's, not so much. After a near miss where lesbian Tai hits on straight Marigold, the latter seeks to make up for the awkwardness by posting a story to Tai wherein Hermione and Ginny "go all the way."
  • Mr. Exposition: Momo fills this role in regards to the history of AIs in the QC universe. Jeph clearly has some pretty clear ideas about the universe, and Momo is often used to share them with the audience.
  • Mundane Made Awesome:
  • Mundane Utility:
    • One of two possible explanations for caped superheroes who deliver food. A third explanation, speculated about in-universe, is that they are special superheroes whose specific power is delivering food.
    • More recently, a combat AI chassis strong enough to punch a Bradley AFV to shards is very helpful when moving furniture.
  • Mushroom Samba: "When you say big words, smoke comes out of your nostrils."
  • Must State If You're a Cop: Parodied in the Title Text to #3243.
    If you ask someone if they're a murderer, they have to tell you
  • My God, You Are Serious: Episode 1559 definitely qualifies as an example of this.
  • My Hair Came Out Green: Raven tries to bleach her hair blond to appeal to Sven, but instead it comes out "all orangey and gross", so she has to settle for dyeing it neon-pink.
  • My Significance Sense Is Tingling: Here.
    Dora: You know how animals can sense a tsunami coming before humans notice? I'm like that, only for sexy things.
  • My Sister Is Off-Limits!: Many of the characters are protective of their families and loved ones:
  • Naked Apron: At 24 North Pine Island Road.
  • Naked People Are Funny:
  • Names to Run Away from Really Fast:
    • Coffee of Doom's basement is called "The Spider Zone" for a reason.
    • Calling “Deathbot 9000” “Stupid-Twat-Bot 6900” wasn’t one of Pintsize’s best ideas.
  • Nerds Are Virgins
  • Never Lend to a Friend: In a moment of desperation, Marigold insists that Momo owes her a favour because she paid for Momo's new chassis. This goes down extremely badly, because Momo interprets it as "guilt-trip[ping] me over a debt I am already repaying".
  • Nice Guy:
    • Marten, to a fault.
    • Dale plays by Mook Chivalry in video games (which most people avoid) and gives May a second chance.
      Jeph Comment: Dale is too nice for his own good.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero!: Faye is disturbed by the changes Dora has made to Coffee of Doom, in the interests of making it a kinder and nicer place. As a direct result of Dora trying to reassure her, Faye almost falls off the wagon.
    Dora: Change can be good! Look what's come from you leaving the shop. You've got sober, you've got a job that utilizes your skills, you're helping a giant muscular Robo-Valkyrie make her way in the world...
    Faye: Whoa, you're right. I haven't thought about havin' a drink for, like, a while.
    Dora: See? Good for you!
    Faye: [seething] Not good for me! Now I'm aware of it and I want one!
  • The Nicknamer: Faye invents (often insulting) nicknames for most of her friends:
    • Marten is "Assbutt" or "Marty" (his mother's pet name for him, which he considers embarrassingly childish).
    • Dora is "Spookypants" or "Spookybutt" (less so since she toned down her gothy tendencies).
    • Sven is "Smarmosaurus".
    • Hannelore is "Hanners" (which is soon adopted by all the cast and which Hannelore seems to like).
    • Marigold is "Mar-Bear" (again, she seems to have no objections).
    • Raven is "Ray-Ray" or "our savant" (a reference to her Genius Ditz characteristics).
    • Penelope, who would prefer to be called by her full name, thank you very much, is "Penny" or "Pen-Pen".
    • Angus is "Argument Guy", long before Faye ever finds out his real name.
    • Bubbles is "Bubs", but only because she completely ruled out "Miss Bubbles", "Palkyrie" and "Large Metal Friend".
  • Ninja Pirate Zombie Robot: Referenced by Faye.
    Robot bacon zombie coffee ninja UGH
  • No Antagonist: Being primarily a Slice of Life Romantic Comedy, there are no evil or antagonistic characters in this comic. The conflicts mainly come from relationship problems. At least until we and Faye meet Corpse Witch, the manager of the semi-illegal AI fighting arena, who crosses into flat-out villain territory with her treatment of Bubbles.
  • No Celebrities Were Harmed: The Linux AnthroPC appears to be based on Richard Stallman.
  • No Indoor Voice: Yelling Bird. It even goes over to Make Me Wanna Shout once.
  • No Social Skills: Hannelore is neurotic and quite at sea socially. She even has trouble with basics such as smiling. She was raised by a clinically Mad Scientist and a Bad Boss on a space station, and her psychological issues were much more severe when she was young.
  • Nobody Over 50 Is Gay: Averted. Marten's dad, Henry, was introduced as happily engaged to a guy named Maurice, and they eventually got married. Also, seeing as he got married and had a son before coming out, he must have figured out his sexuality pretty late in life.
  • Nobody Poops: Inverted; bodily functions of all types are part and parcel of the characters' daily lives, and are frequently plumbed for Toilet Humour.
    • Hannelore's introduction was when Marten drunkenly mistook the women's restroom at the local bar for the men's, leading him to do his business in a sink and note that he thought the urinal was rather odd-looking when Hanners mentioned it.
    • Tai was actually shown on the toilet at an...inopportune moment.
  • Noodle Incident:
  • No Punctuation Is Funnier: Very occasionally, a character might make an exclamation or short statement like this.
  • Nosebleed:
  • Not a Date
    • Hannelore goes out with Sven just to see what dates are like. Nothing romantic or sexual is expexcted to happen, and it doesn't.
    • Tai follows Marigold back to her apartment on what she thinks at first is a date, until she offers to kiss her.
  • Not Evil, Just Misunderstood: Marigold has convinced herself that Dale is a jerk. He isn't; she was way into World of Warcraft when they first met, and he mentioned he was in the Alliance, so she, being in the Horde, slammed the door in his face. He then started a Friendly Rivalry with her, but she took it the wrong way, and now assumes he's a jerk. It's at the point she'd rather assume he's stuck her with a bill than wait for him to come out of the bathroom.
  • Not Good with People:
    • Marigold and Hannelore, type 1.
    • To a much lesser extent, Dora and Faye, type 2.
  • The Not-So-Harmless Punishment: Hanners is checking some bookkeeping for her Corrupt Corporate Executive mother, trying to find the source of an error. Faye asks her what will happen to the employee who made the mistake once he's found, and Hanners replies that he'll be fired.
    Faye: That's not so-
    Hanners: Out of a cannon, into a volcano.
    Faye: Oh.
  • Nothing Is the Same Anymore: Following strip 500, the entire nature of the comic was redefined.
  • Not What It Looks Like: Elliot walks in on Brun crowding up against Clinton and mistakes it for an intimate moment when actually, she was just sniffing his deodorant.
  • Number of the Beast: Strip #666, complete with Black/Death Metal references.
    [Dora and Faye are both dressed in black outfits and wearing corpse paint]
  • Obfuscating Stupidity: Many fans suspect ditzy Raven is doing just this, especially since she returned to school to get a degree in Physics.
  • Obvious Object Could Be Anything: Faye argues at one point that a large envelope could contain a collapsible pony.
  • Ocular Gushers: Momo. Presumably synthesized in a similar way to the Anime Sweat Drop.
  • Odd Friendship:
    • Marigold and Hannelore. One's shy, sullen, and a complete slob, the other's a perky, hyperactive clean freak with OCD. They've become the best of friends.
    • May and Dale, a nice pizza-delivery guy and an abrasive AI on parole from jail. They bring out the best in each other somehow.
  • Off-Model: As an artist with an evolving art style, Jeph produces comics from time to time where single characters look a bit strange and then return to their normal self in the next one, such as the brief addition of visible lips for Claire.
  • Oh, Crap!: For Science! Pintsize and Winslow's faces in the last panel. Natural conclusion of strip #1555.
  • Oh Crap, There Are Fanfics of Us!: Marigold hits FanFiction.Net in Jeph's Tumblr.
  • Older Than They Look: Amir is thirty-five but looks like he's in his mid-twenties. He claims "good genes".
  • Ominous Visual Glitch: Hannelore and the space station A.I. stay up all night tracking a weather pattern. The station burned out a few processor banks trying to trace it back, and its holographic avatar displays this.
  • One Steve Limit:
    • When Marigold is introduced, her first words are "Damnit Angus, I told you I have a raid!". Sure enough, it is later revealed that recurring character Angus is her roommate. Dora even says "I thought she said your name earlier!" as if there was only one person named Angus in the world.
    • And, of course, literally, since there's only one Steve in the cast.
    • Averted with Claire. Back in her goth days, Dora knew a Claire who would check Cosette for curses since every place she worked before Coffee of Doom either went out of business or was about to, mostly due to illegal actions on the owners' parts. Shown here.
  • One-Two Punchline: Used periodically; #1812 is one example.
  • Only Sane Man:
    • Marten...for a debatable definition of "sane."
    • Penelope is definitely this in the Coffee Of Doom staff.
  • Only Six Faces:
    • In his guest comic John Campbell lampshades his minimalist drawing style for the punchline.
    • When new cast was added in the form of another coffee/bakery shop, they all look like the previous regular cast except they're black. Maybe intentional, maybe not.
  • Open Mouth, Insert Foot:
    • Marten does a fine job.
      Faye: Holy crap, Marten. If your foot were wedged any further down your throat, you'd be choking on your own femur.
    • An even more severe example occurs when Faye, in a jealous rage, jumps to the conclusion that a woman in Sven's apartment is first an innocent, inexperienced girl he's seducing, and then thinks she's a prostitute. She turns out to be Sven's lawyer, to Faye's complete mortification.
  • "Open!" Says Me: When Bubbles hears Claire cry out in the other room, she promptly springs into action and proceeds to "breach the room". After realizing there was no danger, she promises to refine her "Claire Threat Evaluation Protocol".
    Martin: The door...
  • Open-Minded Parent: Veronica Reed (Marten's mom) and Mrs. Augustus (Claire and Clinton's mom).
  • Orphaned Punchline:
  • Orwellian Retcon:
    • There was an early strip in which the word "rape" was replaced with "hump". Apparently, someone managed to explain to Jeph that being shy and submissive is not the same as wanting to be sexually assaulted by a random barista.
    • When Dora makes fun of Raven for apparently styling her hair with Crisco, Raven objects that she'd never use Crisco because of "cute vegan boys." When someone pointed out to Jeph, or he found himself upon checking, that Crisco not only is vegan, but came about as a vegetarian substitute for animal tallow, Jeph changed the word to "lard."
  • Out of Focus: An omnipresent case in the comic, especially in the last couple of years. Once-major characters, subject to huge character arcs, often vanish at the end of them, so that Jeph can write a new character (characters like Marigold, Claire and Bubbles receive a ton of focus after their introductions). In other cases, Jeph simply stops using characters for a chunk of time.
    • Steve; once a major character, he'd all but disappeared for a year, leading many readers to e-mail Jacques asking about his whereabouts, leading in turn to a Lampshade Hanging strip and a request from the cartoonist to stop asking. The worry was he'd been Put on a Bus. It wasn't the first time, either; early in the strip he disappeared for nearly a hundred pages. Then again, it is Webcomic Time... He returned a few months after a Lampshade Hanging, having had some rather interesting adventures while he was gone. He then slipped into the background again, only to return in another strip, titled "You Needed To Know".
    • Angus McPhee also qualifies, though this is arguably justified by Faye's and Sven's frenemies-with-benefits relationship. He then started appearing as a semi-regular again, then finally became a regular character, while Sven slipped into the background somewhat. However, he soon was written out, moving away and ending his relationship with Faye.
    • Raven has fallen into this as well. She was once a major recurring character and the butt of numerous jokes. Eventually, however, she was completely overshadowed by others and was written out. She often goes months or years between appearances now (between strip 1510 and 1939). The occasional appearance has been limited at best.
    • Deathmøle returned in strip 1985 but has faded into nonexistence since then.
    • Marigold came into the strip as "Angus's Roommate", and very quickly became Jeph's favorite character to draw — she soon gained a ton of focus, got a huge Character Arc based around her social anxiety and various personal issues, then finally entered a relationship with Dale. At the completion of this Arc... the character largely-vanished, appearing now only once every month or so. She's still around, but her day in the sun is over (newer characters like Claire and Bubbles now receive more focus).
    • Even Marten falls victim to this for an extended period starting around the beginning of 2016. He goes for more than a year with no storyline of his own and only periodically pops in to react to what's happening to everyone else before disappearing again.
  • Paid-for Family: Referenced - Hanners once admits that she's secretly worried that the rest of the cast are just skilled actors paid by her (ludicrously wealthy) parents to give her the illusion of a normal life.
    Faye: Well, if we WERE, we wouldn't be allowed to admit it, so there's not much point in worrying about it, is there?
  • Painting the Medium:
  • Parody Sue: Dave, the ex-boyfriend of one of Steve's girlfriends, is ridiculously perfect, from studying to be a doctor to "help the children" to avoiding telling his girlfriend he was going to church because he didn't want to force his spiritual beliefs onto her. He's also a major milquetoast; that plus feeling inadequate in comparison to him is why Mina broke up with him.
    Steve: Next you'll be telling me he donates all his money to charities and spends twenty hours a week feeding the homeless.
    Mina: Only fifteen. He's gotta sleep some time.
  • Pardon My Klingon: "ASDF" and "QWERTY" are offensive robot profanities, the latter so much so that it shocked Winslow and even Pintsize into silence.
  • Pass the Popcorn: Penelope
  • The Password Is Always "Swordfish": The password to get into the underground robot fighting ring is...
    Faye: "1 2 3 4 5 6 7." And your password system sucks.
    Bubbles: I have made management aware of this on multiple occasions.
  • Percussive Maintenance: Marten to Pintsize when excess RAM triggers his Motor Mouth.
  • Percussive Therapy: Faye, after almost falling off the wagon. Coupled with Berserker Tears.
  • Performance Anxiety: Marten suffers from it. Especially when, on the occasion of his father's remarriage, he's called upon to give an impromptu speech, which quickly descends into Inane Blabbering.
    Marten: ANYWAY. Ma-marriage! Yes! Marriage yes. Good job marriage. Good dads. Yes. Thanks.
  • Perky Goth: Formerly Dora, although Dora and Raven each abandoned the goth look a long time ago now.
    Dora: [listening to music] Why do I suddenly want to dance around giggling like an idiot while a smiling man in a white suit throws confetti at me?
    Faye: That feeling is what we non-goths call "happiness". This record is its most condensed form. It is like a crack-rock of pure joy!
  • Pet Homosexual: Scott, Tai, and probably any future bosses Marten will have.
  • The Pig Pen: Nat rarely showers; her body odor is frequently commented on. The comic's cast page even describes her as "VERY crusty" whereas Amir is "somewhat crusty".
  • Pink Elephants: The Tequila Monster and Beast of Bourbon. The former looks sorta like a psychedelic weasel, the latter...well, it's yellow, that's all that's definite.
  • Pink Means Feminine: Hannelore's Roomba's wife...don't ask.
  • Pizza Boy Special Delivery: Hannelore and Dale subvert this, though anyone familiar with Hannelore's character would never expect her to play it straight anyway.
  • Plot Tumor: Robots and AI have always been part of the strip, but they were mainly used for one-off jokes and Funny Background Events for the first several years, while the more serious long term stories were about mundane human relationships. With the space station arc and the original May arc, AI stories started getting longer, more serious, and more thematically central, culminating with the Bubbles storyline all but taking over the strip for weeks at a time.
  • Plucky Comic Relief: The robots in general and Pintsize in particular.
  • Porn Stash:
    • Marigold had one. Now it belongs to Hannelore.
    • Pintsize consists of one, and is certain he will become one when the Singularity hits.
    • Marten's is Played for Drama. Dora insists that he tell her about the contents and steals his laptop to go through it when he refuses. Marten understandably is infuriated about Dora invading his privacy on a whim and being unable to take no for an answer. This becomes the primary catalyst for their break-up.
  • Post-Kiss Catatonia: Two, both lasting an entire strip.
    • Faye after getting a surprise kiss from Angus.
    • The first time Tai and Dora kiss, both get stuck blushing and only able to say things like "I. Um. Wow."
  • Power Glows: Some really good whiskey.
  • Precision F-Strike: Although they curse a lot, seeing it come from Hannelore was just awesome.
  • Pregnancy Test Plot: Hannelore's test comes up negative but she spends the day "drinking water and striving for statistical rigor."
    Hannelore: You have to PEE on a STICK!!!
  • Projected Man: Spaceship and Station's Digital Avatar is in this form.
  • Punctuated! For! Emphasis!:
  • Punny Name: The World of Warcraft addict and all around dork, Marigold Farmer.
  • Puppy-Dog Eyes:
  • Put on a Bus: According to Word of God, the following characters have been permanently written out of the strip: "Sarah, Ellen, Nat, any chance at happiness for Marten." There are other cases where this is averted, as some characters will disappear for extended periods of time only to reappear hundreds of strips later.
    • Also apparently on the bus: Gabby, Dr. Corrinne, Meena, and Bailey. Gabby is still listed on the cast page but hasn't been seen in a long time.
    • Eventually, Hanners and Winslow leave on a journey of self-discovery.


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