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Recap / Penny And Aggie Vertigo

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"How can people live in this much denial?!"
— Sara

Two characters' lives undergo serious changes in this storyline, set at a dance party. Rich's and Penny's eyes meet on the dance floor, several months after their breakup; however, his date (nicknamed by fans "Drunk Girl" and much later named Yolanda) cheerfully lays claim to him, spoiling the moment. Meanwhile, Katy-Ann asks a bashful, but interested, Jack to dance.


Sara, having been unsuccessful in getting Penny to act on her supposed attraction to Aggie, tries doing so with the latter. In contrast to Penny in previous arcs, the notion merely amuses Aggie, and Sara walks away in frustration, leading Lisa to wonder just who's in denial about her sexuality.

After requesting the "Linus and Lucy" theme so she and her friends can do the "Snoopy dance," Lisa notices Sara off by herself, still tense and unhappy. She walks over to her, kisses her finger, and touches it flirtatiously to Sara's nose, eliciting cries of "I've been kiss-raped!" As the band plays Lisa's next request—the theme from the lesbian Sitcom Exes and Ohs—Sara's friends take her into the hall to console her. Disregarding Penny's offer of revenge, Sara tearfully says there's someone she must talk to, whom Penny won't like. Meanwhile, Aggie chides Lisa for humiliating Sara, the only one of the "Pennies" Aggie respects. Lisa says all she did was touch her nose; it was Sara who made a big deal of it. As they debate whether Sara is in fact gay, Lisa brings up Sara's theory about Penny and Aggie once again, and admits she herself has "toyed with" it. Aggie is not pleased.


As the Pennies call it a night, Rich watches them go and says he hopes Sara's okay, because although she dislikes him, he's always respected her for being up front about her attitude toward him, like (in Rich's view) a guy, rather than going behind his back like a girl. At that very moment, Gary, whom Rich beat up in Uptown Girl, attacks him. Rich knocks him out, not realizing, until Stan points it out, that he has a knife in his chest and is bleeding profusely. He passes out. As Stan looks on stunned and worried, Jack calmly calls 911. Sara and Stan both take a day off school, while Michelle learns the news about Rich from Jack and tells her friends. Whereas Michelle, Brandi and Katy-Ann show concern, Penny's face is an unreadable mask.

In the archives, for scheduling reasons, this arc is followed by part two of The First Man I Ever Loved, treated together with the first part in this Recap section.



  • Ain't Got Time To Bleed: When Gary attacks him, Rich's initial reaction is simply to shout "Ow!", punch him out, and wonder whether Gary was trying to give him a "purple nurple." He doesn't notice he's been stabbed until Stan points it out. "Doesn't really hurt," he says, before losing consciousness.
  • Call-Back
    • When Sara urges Aggie to ask Penny out, Aggie replies, "This sounds suspiciously like a misunderstanding-based comedy of errors? I don't do those any more." This is a reference to the many misunderstandings, comical and otherwise, in "Dinner for Six". To further underline the point, the same panel depicts Super-Deformed versions of Penny, Marshall and Aggie in scenes from that arc. May also be an example of Painting the Medium, in the sense of an assurance from the creators that there won't be any more Farce based arcs, "Dinner for Six" having had a mixed reception by the fanbase.
    • Aggie attempts, unsuccessfully, to calm Sara down by pointing out that "'Rape' is a loaded word, kinda like 'Hitler,'" and therefore she should refrain from using it. Aggie is referring to her own "worse than Hitler" accusation against Penny in The Race Card, which she has regretted ever since.
  • Canon Welding: The band, Lucky Got Lucky, is Liz Adams's group from Campbell's and Lagacé's other webcomic, Cool Cat Studio. Liz's cameo is significant in that, unlike Sara at this stage, she's comfortable with and open about her lesbianism. (She's also visibly bemused at how Lisa words her second song request.)
  • Cerebus Syndrome: For some readers, this trope begins here, with one character facing death and another with her homosexuality inescapably confronting her after a long attempt to deny it. Others place its starting point later, in Whispers and Silence, or later still in Cyndi and Charlotte.
  • Coming-Out Story: Although there have been several hints earlier in the series as to her sexual orientation, Sara's path to acknowledgement and acceptance of it begins here as a major plot thread.
  • Department of Redundancy Department: In her song request, Lisa mischievously describes Exes and Ohs as "a comedy about lesbians. Lesbians. Lezzy lesbo lesbians."
  • Foe Yay: In-universe, Sara, once again, regarding Penny and Aggie. It's also revealed that Lisa's considered the theory herself.
  • Genki Girl: The first, but not the last, time Lisa is portrayed this way, in contrast to her earlier punkish, somewhat angry characterization.
    Snoopy dance Snoopy dance! Come on!
  • Gosh Dang It to Heck!: Aggie, who nearly always avoids "hard" profanity, expresses her anger over Lisa's stunt by saying, "What the hell, Lis? What the helling hell?"
  • Hard-Drinking Party Girl: Rich's date—nicknamed "Drunk Girl" by fans and, in the later arc "May," given the name Yolanda—is perpetually intoxicated and ecstatic.
  • Revenge: After several subversions and aversions in the comic (including Sara, earlier in this very arc, ignoring Penny's offer to get back at Lisa), this trope is finally played straight when Gary stabs Rich in retaliation for having beaten him up months earlier.
  • Shout-Out
    • The arc title references the U2 song, which Liz's band performs at the beginning.
    • This strip, building on Lisa's starting a group "Snoopy dance" in the previous comic, is an allusion to both A Charlie Brown Christmas (Lucy's reaction to Snoopy teasingly kissing her on the nose without warning) and the Peanuts Newspaper Comic (the signature scream "AAUGH!" as well as its Schulz-style lettering).
  • Transparent Closet: Sara, to Lisa.
  • Wham Episode: Neither Sara's nor Rich's lives are the same after this storyline.
  • Worst Aid: Averted. Jack, when calling 911, has the sense to ask whether he should leave the knife in Rich's wound. note 

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