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Webcomic / C'est la Vie

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Donna and Mona
Jennifer Babcock's Slice of Life webcomic about living in Los Angeles. The two principal characters are Mona Montrois, a Paris-born immigrant to the USA, and Donna, her Valley Girl housemate and best friend. Mona is a would-be Sartre or Camus. In contrast, Donna is a lovable airhead.

Supporting characters include Mona's brother Pierre, an illegal immigrant to the USA who is looking to get his green card by marrying Donna. While Donna is aware of this. she does concede that Pierre has a certain French charm about him. He has used his charm ruthlessly and has left a trail of American exes behind him.

There is Lucas Lamoureux, desperate failed actor who is attracted to Mona; and Monsieur Smokey, Mona's favourite childhood toy, a stuffed rabbit with which she has long, meaningful conversations. Other recurring characters include Lucas' bitch-queen from Hell Vietnamese-American ex girlfriend Tiffany Nguyen, and Michael, the socially inept single man from downstairs, who is into mediaeval re-enactments in replica armour and knits his own chain-maille.

In March 2015, Jen announced the scaling-down of her commitment to the strip as her professional life and other commitments are taking centre-stage in her life, and she wants to try other creative avenues. She may revisit it with occasional episodes, but will no longer update daily. Thank you, Jen, and may everything work out for you!

This webcomic strip provides examples of:

  • All Women Love Shoes:- Donna's anguish while being courted by an older richer man who she does not find attractive, but who buys her all the label brands she can't afford for herself.
  • Art Evolution: The very first strips are necessarily cruder, and Jen's signature lettering style has yet to appear.
  • Art Shift:
    • Flashback episodes where Mona returns to her childhood in France are executed in a pencil and pastels style which is wholly different to "present day" strips.
    • Jen also periodically does homage to great art, for instance, The Mona Lisa on the bridge in the style of Edvard Munch's The Scream, or Donna floating to shore in a scallop shell with only hair to protect her modesty and a disgruntled nymph for company (a scowling Mona), in the style of Sandro Botticelli's The Birth of Venus.
  • Berserk Button: Donna, confronted with cruelty to puppy dogs and little kitties. Mona, when not allowed to smoke — her French birthright — by repressive American laws. And Mona's French soul is further affronted when, during a picnic on the park, Donna has to explain that American law prohibits drinking alcohol in public - hence no wine...
  • Concealing Canvas: Mona and pierre's inheritance from their artist uncle. Which is more than it seems at first glance.
  • Cone of Shame: A human character, Michael, is forced to wear one as he cannot help picking at an operation site... Michael, we should add, is a little bit "strange" anyway; the author may be building him up into somebody asocial and undersocialized.
  • Creepy Doll: Monsieur Smokey's rather, er, grown-up fixations and preoccupations. In one arc he comes over as Serge Gainsbourg to Jane Birkin, with a new female stuffed rabbit doll.
  • The Ditz: Donna. although she sometimes subverts this role by showing flashes of far deeper insight and intelligence that even leave Mona surprised.
  • Dirty Foreigner: both Mona and Pierre are exemplars of this trope. Donna compliments Pierre for the fact he has bothered to shower on their wedding day, to which he replies "Well, hey, it is a special occassion!" (strip for 23/12/11).
  • Everybody Smokes: Mona refuses to bring food to Michael's pot-luck supper on the grounds that she can't cook. She does offer a carton of cigarettes instead.
  • Girls Love Stuffed Animals: Mona's relationship with Monsieur Smokey, her childhood stuffed rabbit, who has something of a life and mind of his own.
  • Good Angel, Bad Angel: * here. In which Donna's demon on the shoulder takes the form of her cynical and caustic best friend, Mona, berating an angel who is a small helpless version of Donna.
  • Heterosexual Life-Partners: Donna and Mona.
  • Loser Protagonist: Lucas. Might also apply to Michael. Although the difference is that Lucas is a loser who fears he's never going to win. Michael is a guy who hasn't properly realised he's already lost.
  • Meaningful Name: Lucas Lamoureux; l'amoureux means "the lover" in French.
  • My Beloved Smother: Mona's unseen mother, who still seeks to exert control from several thousand miles away in Paris.
  • Nightmare Face: What happens to Donna and Pierre in Mona's night-terror dream sequence.
  • Opposites Attract: Mona and Donna are complete opposites. One is an introverted chainsmoker who cannot accept fools gladly and has a somewhat fierce, scowling attitude to life; the other is a cheerful, ditzy airhead with a far more shallow and materialistic attitude to life.
  • Psycho Ex-Girlfriend: Mona, whose attitude to Tiffany over Louis gets more and more alarming and finally dangerous.
  • She Cleans Up Nicely: despite her usual somewhat casual attitude to life and personal grooming, Mona manages to upstage the always-stunning Donna on a beach holiday in Hawaii, when Donna realises who all the guys are looking at - and it ain't her...
  • Subverted Kids' Show:- dogsbody character Louis Lamoureux gets his big break into television - inside the Reading Rabbit costume, which, as the name implies, means he has to turn kids on to the magic of books by reading stories to them. But some of the kids have other ideas...
    • Similarly, in the very first couple of episodes of the comic, anti-heroine Mona Montrois establishes her character as a cynical snarker by getting sacked from a nursery teacher job. She tells the kids the fairy-tales as they originally were, shorn of froth, glamour and happy endings...
  • Talking to Plants: In early strips, Mona has conversations with Carl, her pot plant, who replies that she's completely mental if she thinks a plant can sustain a conversation.
  • The Odd Couple: Mona has a relaxed attitude toward laundry and housekeeping, spraying her bed linen with Febreze every so often. Her feet have attracted comment, from her one previous significant other. She is also something of an intellectual. Donna is fastidiously neat and well presented.
  • Unexpected Inheritance: the paintings Mona is bequeathed by her eccentric uncle, which turn out to be more than they seem.
  • Webcomics Long-Runners: Has run continuously since November 2003 to early 2015 with only two very brief breaks.