The comic follows Dr. Benjamin "Ben" Rat and his family practice, with largely a Slice of Life theme. Events in the comic suggests it is located in the vicinity of Melbourne. It shows his interaction with his various patients. Since they are also different species of animals, this can be a source for much of its comedic fodder. There is also plenty of Australian humor, doctor humor, and dealings with Australia's Medicare universal healthcare system.
The main character is, obviously, a rat. The other main characters are Mary Scamper, his rabbit nurse, and Gizelle Thompson, his gazelle receptionist. There is also a rogue's gallery of regular patients which include koalas, numbats, kangaroos and a camel. Recently he married Daniella Hood, also a rat, who was previously his dentist and taekwondo instructor. Also listed is the local pharmacist, gorilla Phil Krubnuckle, though he's not featured as often.
Jenner created Doc Rat in the 1990s and drew one-offs in various Australian medical journals as requested. He created the organized web comic in 2006.
NOTE: The comic's website was recently rebuilt, and currently the archives are MIA. Many of the links in this trope page will be broken. A team is prepared to administer needed Wiki Magic Love the moment the archives return.update
This webcomic contains examples of:
- Actually Pretty Funny: Wilbur's jokes usually result in a Lame Pun Reaction from Ben, but occasionally he manages to land a hit...
- Adult Fear: Given the predatory nature of this webcomic (see: Crapsack World), this is ever-present. Daniella, Jasmine and Shirl have lost children to predators. Daniella still has a fear of losing the ratlings she had with Ben.
- To make matters worse, despite meat from non-sapient animals being available, it's common for predators to insist that this be a part of society, including some of Ben's fellow doctors.
- All a Part of the Job: CPR, rescheduling patients. . . .
- Androcles' Lion: Referenced, then defied. They don't try it on Charmane, despite the thorn in the paw. Instead, Mary overbandaged her for it to ensure she didn't take retribution. She hasn't been heard from since Ben sacked her.
- Ass Shove: Inevitable in a medical-themed comic. One example can be seen here, courtesy of a slight misunderstanding...
- Bad Dreams: Pippie suffers from horrible nightmares and wets the bed after most of her family die in a wildfire. She gets better thanks to her friendship with Jarrad.
- A Rare Sentence: At the end of the medical conference story (and yes, It Makes Sense in Context...):Jayant: You correctly guessed the number of balls in the giant cage just before it was blown to bits in the legendary battle of the superheroes.Ben: ...A phrase uttered reasonably uncommonly during the average medical conference.
- Bad Liar: Ben's whiskers twitch when he lies. The bigger the lie, the more his whiskers twitch, as demonstrated here
- Be Careful What You Wish For: The paramedics solemnly invoke this over a heart attack.
- Benedict Cumberbatch: A rabbit expy of him is pulled up when Jarrad and a friend look up "the greatest detective". Makes sense, since he stars in Sherlock.
- Big Damn Heroes: Ben and Daniella going to the Rabbit Bungaree in a hot air balloon to treat an injured Flopsy counts.
- This is later subverted when they try to save Flopsy and Jasmine from an illegal hunt but get separated from their backup, Pat the Tiger. Fortunately, a lucky Groin Attack from Ben to the wolf that was originally supposed to fight Flopsy neutralized the threat.
- The Big Damn Kiss: Ben and Danni's first kiss lasted four strips.Ben: (thinking) Words... who needs 'em?
Daniella: (also thinking) My thoughts exactly.
- Bigger Is Better in Bed: It was implied around the time of his and Daniella's engagement that Ben...isn't exactly small in that aspect.
- Bilingual Bonus: Wolf language is based on German.
- Flopsy the wolf's surname is Jaegermond, German for 'hunter's moon'.
- Boss alpha Blutenstein's name means "bloodstone". Could be a Meaningful Name, referring to how his plan to stop the hunting of intelligent beings takes a lot of effort, i.e. "like trying to get blood from a stone".
- The wolves' favorite swearword ("Scheiszgrrl" or variations thereof) is the German word for "shit" ending in a growl.
- Bond Villain Stupidity: The muggers who attacked Ben and Danni could've gotten away with all of their things—including Ben's engagement ring he was preparing to give to Danni. But they decided they didn't want witnesses, so it crossed over with Bullying a Dragon and they ended up getting their tails kicked.
- But We Used a Condom: Danni was on the Pill when she and Ben first got married, but that didn't stop her from getting pregnant.
- Call-Back: The first strip has Ben writing up a rather scathing report on a "Mr. Smith", who's disappeared by the time he's done. Later, we meet Mr. Smith:Ben: Now then, Mr. Smith, if you're quite finished...
Mr. Smith: (typing on his smartphone) Huh?
- During their fancy night out, they freak out the waiters again:Danni: The thing about life is we can't shelter from it forever. Sooner or later, we'll all be exposed.
Ben and Danni: Garçonification! Twenty points!
- Wilbur Fuzz's haemorrhoids, which caused his near-fatal heart attack long before, come back. At least he saw Doc Rat immediately this time.Doc Rat: And you didn't want to sit it out?
Wilbur: Doc, I couldn't sit it out!
- During their fancy night out, they freak out the waiters again:
- Calling the Old Man Out: Jarrad, age 7, to his mother after she finally goes too far with her homophobic attacks on Julian, the man who just saved Jarrad's life:Jarrad: Jeez, mom, I don't know who my father was, but I'll bet he was a whole lot smarter than you. He just had to be.
- Camp Gay: Pat, a dog, one of his patients. Not only pretty flamboyant, but also very nosy. Julian's boyfriend is more than a little campy as well. Pat's partner (also named Pat) on the other hand is a rather Manly Gay Ducati-racing tiger. And florist.
- Captain Superhero: Captain Kerpow.
- Carnivore Confusion: Not central but present on a few strips. Follows a less brutal variation of Kevin & Kell rules.
- Character Development: Brayden Katanning goes from "Shirl's latest shitty boyfriend" to "responsible husband and dad" over the course of the strip, helped along by some traumatic experiences and positive examples from those around him. Notably he "grows up" faster than Shirl did despite starting out more immature.
- The Chessmaster: Lord Lockley is one of the rare (more or less) heroic examples. He expertly manipulates a whole lot of characters into doing exactly what he wants without apparent effort on his part. And to really drive the point home, he does play chess and uses chess metaphors a few times.
- Cerebus Syndrome: Remember when the strip was just puns about medical conditions? That was quite a while ago.
- Cerebus Rollercoaster: It periodically has a new batch of pun-based "gag of the day" strips between story arcs.
- Conlang: Lapine, the Watership Down-inspired secret rabbit language has its own grammar and syntax structures.
- Cool Car/Cool Bike: Pat the Dog and Pat the Tiger share a love for fast conveyances. And Ben has experienced both.
- Cool Old Lady: Mavis the Koala and Lily Dryandra have their moments, but the overall prize goes to Lorna Lappin. Sassy, doesn't take any crap from anybody, rabbit Elder...and rather nasty with that cane of hers.
- Comic-Book Fantasy Casting: According to Jenner, the appearance and mannerisms of Boss Alpha Blutenstein are at least somewhat based on BRIAN BLESSED.
- CPR: Clean, Pretty, Reliable: In one arc in 2009, one of his patients, bear Wilbur Fuzz, has a heart attack in his office.
- "Reliable" part is averted: Ben and Mary do CPR on him for eight minutes until paramedics arrive to defibrillate him.
- Crapsack World: Where Kevin & Kell plays the concept of predating other sentient furries for laughs, this one plays it for drama. And it's become a major unfunny plot point.
- Crush Blush: Once while flirting with Daniella.
- Crying Wolf: Wilbur Fuzz feigned heart attacks to get emergency attention. Eventually, he actually has one. The paramedics who take him to the hospital—who happen to actually be wolves—even lampshade it.Wilbur: After all my jokes... I called a wolf just one too many time.
Paramedic: ...and we came. Mate, Be Careful What You Wish For.
- Dark Secret: Keeping from your girlfriend that you're married.details
- Several run-ins with the rabbits and wolves eventually led Ben to figure out Daniella had lost two children in the past.
- There's also Blutenstein's son faking his own death to help his dad and Lockley get peace between wolves and rabbits. Apparently, Quarrydog knows.
- Depraved Dentist: After Ben and Danni are in a relationship, Danni is forced to stop being Ben's Dentist. So she sends him to her associate, Doctor Bell - who happens to be an Anglerfish! See here
- This is later invoked when Ben sees doctors reviewing films about doctors, and Daniella pointedly asks him to look up films about dentists:Daniella: Why isn't anyone ever pleased to see us?
- This is later invoked when Ben sees doctors reviewing films about doctors, and Daniella pointedly asks him to look up films about dentists:
- Did You Just Have Sex?: Gizelle and Siobhan, their respective receptionists, quickly figured out after Ben and Daniella's first time together.Siobhan: Is your doctor smiling?
Siobhan: So's our dentist.
- Dirty Business: When Allan the security guard hits, and kills, the poisonous snake.
- Disappeared Dad:
- The father of Daniella's first set of ratlings (who were subsequently eaten) dumped her when she got pregnant, and used all his pull to keep her out of his life.Daniella: If there were any justice, he's been eaten.
- Jarrad's biological father has been missing, presumed...gone for quite some time. He would later return, only to arrange another disappearance.
- The father of Daniella's first set of ratlings (who were subsequently eaten) dumped her when she got pregnant, and used all his pull to keep her out of his life.
- Doctor's Orders: A good bit of the humor comes from orders falling victim to Malapropisms.
- The Don: The wolf clans are entirely legitimate (with occasional lapses into grey areas), but they still very much adhere to the style tropes of The Mafia. It's therefore entirely unsurprising that Boss Alpha Manfred Blutenstein comes across as this trope.
- Dude, Not Funny!: When Ben tries to joke about "secret bunny business" with Daniella after they got engaged, she smacks him. See: My God, What Have I Done?
- Everything's Better with Sparkles: Even packaging
- The Extremist Was Right: Lockley's justification for manipulating everyone and risking innocent lives in the process.
- Extreme Omni-Goat: Nichaud the baby goat - but not her mom.
- Faking the Dead: Happens quite frequently with the wolf pack.
- Blutenstein's son faked his death to assist with the peace between wolves and rabbits. He actually emigrated to America under an alias.
- Jarrad's biological father, the writer of the Dr. Krymp books, fakes his death with the help of the wolf pack so Jarrad can inherit his fortune. He also emigrated to America, and will continue to write Dr. Krymp books under a pen name.
- From the Mouths of Babes: A very serious example: while Ben still had a black eye from his fight with Willard, a piglet he was examining asked if his dad was angry at him. Ben called Mary in, with the implication that a call to social services was to follow.Piglet: Mummy?
Mom: I think we're going to get to make it better.
- Fur Is Clothing, Fur Is Skin: Averted. Fur is just hair. In every way.
- Furry Reminder: The source of much of the strip's humour.
- Good People Have Good Sex: Danni did not regret Ben insisting they wait to have sex, if the strips around their implied first time—after they became engaged—is any indication.
- Grotesque Gallery: When Ben called in an auditor to clean up after Charmaine's sacking, a couple sets of bones were found on her desk. While Ben, Mary, and Gizelle were horrified, the auditor was impressed that she "worked through her lunch breaks".
- Heart Warming Orphan: Pippie
- Heroic Sacrifice: When Boss Alpha Blutenstein has to launch his rule change before he's ready (thanks in part to Ben's attempt at a Heroic Sacrifice), he is immediately challenged by members of his pack. His son Alfon comes to his rescue by issuing his own challenge, which takes precedence, and losing, therefore settling the matter. For his efforts, Alfon ends up dishonored and outcast, a Fate Worse than Death in wolf society.
- High-Class Glass: Lord Lockley wears one. Comes with being very high up in the rabbit hierarchy and living in a huge mansion.
- Hope Is Scary: Hope hurts!
- Honor Before Reason: This is Zig-Zagged in Ben and Danni's mugging. Initially, Danni is the one to say they should just surrender their belongings instead of fighting, primarily because their attackers were armed. Of course, per Bond Villain Stupidity, that ended up all for naught and they had to fight anyway. By the end, Danni wanted to kill them, and Ben became the voice of reason, insisting they wait for the police. This, of course, led them to find out the muggers were the same individuals who attacked Julian.
- The Insomniac: See Zombie Apocalypse
- Interspecies Romance: Flopsy (wolf) and Jazmyn (rabbit), something of a big deal considering wolves normally eat rabbits and Flopsy ate Jaz's ex-husband.
- Interrupted Suicide: After Flopsy's big secret comes to light ( He and his pack ate Jaz' first husband) he tries to throw himself off a cliff. Ben isn't having any of that.
- Lame Pun Reaction: With several cast regulars (particularly Ben himself and recurring patient Mr. Fuzz) being notable Pungeon Masters, every now and then you get one so bad even the other characters acknowledge its lameness.
- Leaning on the Fourth Wall: Daniella couldn't help but give an Aside Glance when Ben admitted to her that he accidentally let some rabbit language slip in front of Mary.Daniella: I feel a fresh adventure coming on.
- Longest Pregnancy Ever: Danni was pregnant with her and Ben's ratlings for years. She found out she was pregnant in November 2010, and gave birth in January 2015.
- Love Hurts: So do martial arts.
- Love Triangle: Daniella, with taekwondo students Ben and Willard. Eventually, Willard was cut out when he showed lack of control in her dojo, and knocked Ben out in a fight.
- Ludicrous Gibs: When watching a horror film, Ben quips, "Huh. Nobody's got an artery there."
- Magic Genetics: Largely averted, until a rabbit and wolf apparently conceive. They regard it a miracle.
- Malaproper: A frequent source of humor in the one-off strips as well as Jarrad's misadventures.
- Massive Numbered Siblings: Rabbits. Rats. Other creatures. And yet, they've got nothing on flies. (Has a tragic side, too.)
- Milestone Celebration: There hasn't been particularly special strips for "kiribans" like the 1000th strip. But a special color strip was made for the strip's 10th anniversary which was celebrated as Ben's birthday.
- Mistaken for Afterlife: Doc himself, in the dojo:Ben: (coming to, only seeing a bright light) I'm dead... (sees Daniella) I'm in heaven. (sees Willard) Hang on... call security.
- Mood Whiplash: This comic can go from deliberately terrible puns through nightmare fuel to heartwarming at the drop of a hat, sometimes all within the same three-panel strip.
- Moral Myopia: Carnivores.
- My God, What Have I Done?: Danni had this reaction when she smacked Ben after he joked about "secret bunny business" to her. He didn't know that a previous boyfriend of hers was a rabbit and his family forced him to break up with her, something she still felt bitter about at the time.
- Never Trust a Hair Tonic: Mr Pigg complains to the chemist that the tonic he'd purchased which promised to "add body to your hair" caused him to sprout hair everywhere. Turned out he'd read the label upside down; it actually said "adds hair to your body".
- Nobody Poops: Averted here.
- No Celebrities Were Harmed: The real name of "Pat the Tiger" is Ravi Patel. Jenner later disclaimed that there is no connection to the American actor of the same name.
- One Steve Limit: More Played With for Pat the Dog and Pat the Tiger, since Pat the Tiger's actual first name is Ravi.
- OOC Is Serious Business: Ben's father, Winston, suffers dementia, usually responding to everything with "That's nice", with the occasional inquiry about his wife, who's been dead for years. But when he first met Daniella, he had an exceptional moment of clarity:Daniella: Mr. Rat...can I call you Winston?
Winston: That's nice.
Daniella: What's your trade?
Winston: Tax planner.
Daniella: You old rascal. Can I call you Dad?
Winston: Sure can. And if you stick with my son Ben, he'll make you a mother of some extraordinary children.
Daniella: Ohhh... Dad!
Ben: He's never done that before!
Winston: That's nice.
- Ben later noticed this when Jarrad's behavior began to change, and Shirl and Brayden initially tried to get him on ADHD drugs for it. Ben diagnosed it as a sleep disorder, and eventually Jarrad had his tonsils removed.
- Our Ghosts Are Different: They haunt orphans.
- Papa Wolf: Flopsy, literally. Two of his stepkids got eaten by a fox. He broke the offending vulpine's legs and then paid for his medical treatment.
- Percussive Therapy: When they get rejected from further reservations with Mondo Venezio for accruing two no-shows, Daniella takes a bat to her training dummy and ultimately beats its head off.
- Perfect Solution Fallacy: Discussed, including Ben paraphrasing Voltaire's quote on the trope page, when he and Wilbur discuss the latter's cardiac arrest.note Wilbur: So, when I had my cardiac arrest, then you and th'rabbit gave me CPR?
Ben: That's right.
Wilbur: No bull?
Ben: No bull.
Wilbur: Aw, c'mon! A bull must've had a hoof in it somewhere.
Ben: Perfect is the enemy of good, Wilbur.
- Pet the Dog: After years of Jerkassery, Brayden finally comes around after the "death" of Jarrad's biological father, getting a good job as a delivery truck driver for a store, and paying for extracurricular activities for Jarrad out of his own wallet instead of using the trust fund set aside for him.
- Pre Asskicking Oneliner: Forty of all people gets a good one when dealing with a pair of leopards who tried to kill his delivery driver.Forty: Oh, and while I've got you - Apex Ethical Meat has a reward program for loyal customers.
Forty: You're not in it. *offscreen sounds of horrible violence*
- The Problem with Pen Island: The demographic site IRateCustomers.com isn't as positive as hoped.
- Pungeon Master: A common trait among the cast. Just about anybody, from main characters to one-scene extras, will launch into a Hurricane of Puns if given the opportunity, but the most egregious example has to be waiting room regular Mr. Fuzz. His constant punning is so awful even Ben, no slouch in the pun department himself, can't take it.
- Punny Name: Many. Some even get commented-on in-universe, such as recurring extras Pat the Dog and Pat the Tiger.
- According to the cast page, Pat's real name is "Pat O'Kake".
- Ben's receptionist is a Thompson's gazelle named Gizelle Thompson.
- Read the Fine Print: Some fine print was included in the dialogue between Ben and Daniella on one of their early dates.note another note further note
- Reality Ensues: When Ben and Daniella get mugged and robbed, and the muggers decide taking their things isn't enough:Ben: What happens now?
Daniella: Well, now they've taken what they want, they'll leave, and no-one gets hurt.
(the muggers approach Ben and Daniella)
Ben: That's not what's happening.
Daniella: GOD, GET READY TO FIGHT! THIS IS REAL!
- Real Life Writes the Plot: When the Black Saturday bushfires occurred in 2009, Jenner incorporated them into the plot with one of his patients losing a brother and almost his entire family in the bushfires, and later adopting his remaining niece.
- The Reveal: Ben finding out Daniella, his taekwondo sensei (and someone he had a crush on), is also a dentist.
- Romantic Candlelit Dinner: Doc recommends it -- and the bird takes his wife out for a candlelit dinner on a buffalo's back.
- Running Gag: Two words: Mondo Venezio. It's a really chic restaurant Ben repeatedly has issues getting Danni to.
- The first time sees Danni worrying Ben is going to break up with her, when it turns out he's going to pop the question. She realizes this when they get mugged on the way there, and she discovers what was among his effects:Mugger: Ooh, look't this!
Daniella: Was that a diamond ring?
- After they get married, their second attempt to go to Mondo Venezio succeeds. They discuss a few things, and Danni glosses over a couple past children (which we'd learn more about later). The next morning, she ends up with morning sickness, leading directly to them finding out she's pregnant.
- Their third attempt to go to Mondo Venezio is interrupted when they end up having to intervene with a situation involving Jasmine and Flopsy.
- The fourth time, Ben is refused a reservation because he had accrued two no-shows. Flopsy finds out, and pulls some strings with Lord Lockley to get them an all-expenses-paid first-class dinner night at the restaurant.
- The first time sees Danni worrying Ben is going to break up with her, when it turns out he's going to pop the question. She realizes this when they get mugged on the way there, and she discovers what was among his effects:
- Second Super-Identity: Captain Kerpow's secret identity is Awesome Possum, another crimefigher.
- Serious Business: Played with. "Secret Bunny Business" is initially set up as a running joke following this trope (with Ben thinking it's all about rabbits taking their sex lives way too seriously) but turns out to actually be very, very serious business indeed that ties strongly into several of the strip's more dramatic storylines.
- Sexy Discretion Shot: Repeatedly, since the strip often deals with adult themes but tries very hard to remain safe-for-work.
- Doc and Daniella's first time together. After Daniella makes her intentions clear, the next strip shows nothing but two rat tails forming a heart shape.
- On their honeymoon, the scene switches from the couple drinking Nettlefrisk Tea (implied to be a very strong aphrodisiac) to them lying next to each other, utterly exhausted.
- Sexy Silhouette: The premonition of their first time: the strip before their Sexy Discretion Shot shows their silhouettes at dinner, and Danni looks like she's about to jump over the dinner table at Ben.Ben: Did you bring dessert?
Daniella: Did I ever.
- To Kevin & Kell here, as part of the Magic Genetics incident.
- Julian Sands's name may be a Shout-Out to Julian & Sandy, making it a Meaningful Name.
- Readers have thought that it could be to the actor◊, but the author says he hadn't heard of the actor when naming the character.
- To Astérix in this scene. Not only is the brawl very reminiscent of the gauls' usual amusements, two of the characters are clearly channeling Fulliautomatix and Cacofonix there.
- Simon the teenage wolf's new Pack Name is "Quarrydog"...a double reference to The Beatles: Before they settled on their final band name, they were known for a while as first "The Quarrymen" and then "Johnny and the Moondogs". It gets a lampshade hung on it by Simon himself who notes that "it sounds like a rock group".
- Species Surname: In some cases (e.g., Doc himself) but not all.
- Spit Take: A few:
- Straight Gay: Julian Sands, a camel. When it's discovered he is gay, however, it causes all sorts of issues for him and for Ben.
- Tattooed Crook: An elephant.
- Tears of Joy: At the wedding. Ben lampshades it:Ben: We've already chosen each other as a couple. This bit is just a legal formality. A transaction. A piece of paper. I wish I could stop crying.
- Tempting Fate: A rabbit talking about how many of her babies are still alive.
- Textile Work Is Feminine: A fly knitting for her maggots.
- That Came Out Wrong:
- Ben and Danni's conversation at a restaurant. Hilarity Ensues.
- Also this. "He's a very sick mannote and they had to take him awaynote ."
- This exchange between Ben and Pat when they're racing to stop the release of Julian's attackers:Pat: It's the lawyer in me.
Ben: Yes, I think we've all had a lawyer in us, at one stage or another.
Pat: *Death Glare*
Ben: Oops... Sorry.
- Wilbur is also occasionally prone to this...Ben: Wilbur, have you had your colonoscopy yet?
Wilbur: No, we haven't been able to fit it in.
*Ben breaks down laughing*
Wilbur: Admittedly, I could have phrased that better.
- Think Nothing of It: "Just doing my job."
- True Love Is Boring: Daniella was concerned during their courtship that Ben's seeming lack of desire to have sex with her was a sign that their relationship was going south. As it turns out, Ben simply didn't see sex as a pre-requisite for them to develop a deeper relationship. They finally had sex after they became engaged.
- Ungrateful Bitch: Even after Julian saves her son's life, Shirl hopes he dies.
- Wacky Marriage Proposal: With the originally-intended engagement pre-empted by a mugging, the ball finally got rolling when Ben casually referred to Daniella as his fiancée during an argument with her family. As they were leaving, he affirmed it quickly by asking her for real:Ben: Psst—marry me?
- After all the drama with his biological father, Jarrad asked Shirley and Brayden to get married as a reward for after his tonsillectomy. Brayden popped the question right there, and Shirl said yes.
- What the Hell, Hero?: At the end of an arc where Ben had an ingrown incisor that was life-threatening—as in, growing back into his mouth and about to puncture his brain—and waited until a lack of patients ended to see a dentist, Mary made her distaste for his stupidity crystal clear.
- Whoopi Epiphany Speech: An orphan gets over her nightmares through drawing a picture, and seeing a boy draw one.
- World of Pun: Most of the strips that aren't part of a storyline (and even some that are) are nothing but high-speed punning.
- Zombie Apocalypse: Fought on a video game — to turn into a walking dead the next day.