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  • Matchmaker Crush: In the earlier strips, Faye was telling Marten how Dora liked him and Dora was giving Marten advice on Faye.
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  • Matchmaker Failure: Claire tricks her brother Clinton into visiting his crush Emily at her workplace so he has no choice but to ask her out. She turns him down. Outside, he tells Claire off for manipulating and publicly embarrassing them both.
    Claire: W-wait! That's not how it was supposed to go!
    Clinton: It certainly went.
  • 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!!".
    • 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).
  • 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.
  • 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 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.
  • 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.
  • Names to Run Away from Really Fast: There's a notable split between cutesy AI names and intimidating AI names. This isn't usually a good metric for judging personality, though.
    Faye: Does every AI in this friggin' town have a cutesy name?
    Bubbles: I do not find "Crushbot" or "Gyarados Skullfucker" to be particularly cutesy.
    Sam: Wait, you know Miss Skullbleeper? She's my English teacher!
  • 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: ** 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".
  • 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 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 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.
  • Noodle Incident:
    • Hannelore finds a katydid in her burrito:
      Faye: Dora, we have a freaked-out naked chick scrubbing herself furiously in our bathroom.
      Dora: Meh, it's not the first time.
      Faye: I... I don't want to know, do I.
      Dora: Probably not.
    • June 14th, 1987. Apparently, it's so bad that it got Yelling Bird to break down into tears.
    • This incident. All we know is it had something to do with steampunk and that Marigold's father got it wrong somehow.
    • Momo and May talking about an incident last night with Marigold and Dale. The incident was shown in a bonus strip.
    • Melon and Arthur's stunt that ended up with Melon's butt in space and marine biologists yelling at the two of them.
    • Chaos Loaf was great. The world just wasn't ready for Chaos Loaf.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Only Sane Man:
    • Bubbles, to a considerable extent. She cuts a jarring figure in some ways, since her main problem appears to be a form of PTSD resulting from truly horrifying events which resulted in her military service being terminated, and subsequently a considerable section of her memories being erased. She has this under control, though, and generally seems a controlled and balanced figure.
    • Amanda, Faye’s sister, appears to consider herself the “sane sister” despite the evidence - failing her classes and transferring her major from pre-med to modern dance.
  • 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: 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...
  • 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 as time goes on. 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.
  • 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!
  • 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.
  • 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. Then the number of important AI characters and AI-centered subplots gradually increased, to the point where at times the robot subplots eclipse the human ones.
  • Porn Stash: 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.
  • 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.


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