We all love our pets, don't we? Now imagine this: your pets are sapient, anthropomorphised, and have the height of a small child. What would they be doing all day? Housepets portrays such a scenario. This comic by Rick Griffin portrays pets virtually as children who are almost human besides height and differences in clothing style.
The main characters are Peanut Butter and Grape Jelly, the beloved dog and cat of the Sandwich family. In a twist on the classic "smart cat, dumb dog" setup, Peanut and Grape are actually fairly similar in intellect with similar interests, and their subtle personality differences shine like a beacon. Peanut is the sensitive and slightly silly one. He's childlike and excitable and loves playing all kinds of games. Grape is the lazy and pragmatic one, though sometimes she is too sensible for her own good.
Initially, the story centered around the pets of Babylon Gardens and the wacky hijinks they found themselves in, but about a year into its run, Griffin started to include more mature themes. While never falling prey to Cerebus Syndrome, much of the comic has dealt with the implications of a world where animals and humans are similarly intelligent, including but not limited to: naming pets as heirs, wild animals deciding to live a civilized life, Interspecies Romance, an African micronation which humans never colonized and is run entirely by animals, and novels marketed towards animals and the associated subcultures that they give rise to.
However, life in Babylon Gardens is not exactly normal, as several members of the cast have become embroiled in a great supernatural game played by a set of three demigods, the Great Kitsune, the Astral Dragon, and Pete the Griffin. At the center of this story is King, a human turned into a dog to serve as Pete's avatar in the game, which occasionally intersects with the pets' normal lives. After the game's introduction, it is often hard to tell which is the comic's central story.
According to the author, the comic was initially inspired by childhood drawings made by Griffin of a dog named "Bino". Bino appears as a character in the comic, as the leader of Babylon Garden's "Good Ol' Dogs Club." Portrayed as an antagonist more often than not, he is the middle brother caught between his popular older brother, police dog Officer Fido, and his quirky younger brother, Joey.
This comic provides examples of:
- A Form You Are Comfortable With:
- Aborted Arc:
- The author decided to prematurely end a story arc which depicted catnip use as similar to smoking marijuana because it would break the self-imposed PG rating, although catnip itself is still available as seen in later strips.
- Two other arcs were aborted by acts of god. "The Arc Specifically About Being Naked" was killed by a broken computer, and "All Hallow's Ween" was ended by a medical emergency.
- Subverted with "All's Fair". He had a flare-up that led him to urgent care, but it timed perfectly with the Year 7 milestone. So he decided to take a week off, then he did a week-long Spot arc, then resumed the arc with a Part 2.
- In-Universe, Peanut realizes the Guys and Dolls Imaginate Show Within a Show is running long and ends it with a cardboard sign saying "Everyone Gets Married. The End.".
- Abusive Parents: Sasha's dad is a drunk who yells at her and locks her outside all night in the snow.
- Accessory-Wearing Cartoon Animal: Pretty much all of the cats, dogs, and rabbits wear collars as their only attire.
- Adorkable: Several characters qualify, most notably Peanut, Joey, Tiger, Sasha, Truck and King.
- Affectionate Nickname
- Sasha uses them frequently. She calls Fox "Foxie-bon", and Bino "Biney-bon". We haven't heard one for current boyfriend Kevin yet.
- Grape calls Maxwell "Maxie". She also expressly forbids Peanut from calling Maxwell that.
- Bailey calls King "Kingy".
- Bino tries calling Duchess by a pet name, but she won't allow him to do so in public.
- All Animals Are Domesticated:
- Not exactly, as the wolves moving into the neighborhood caused quite a stir, but if they're friendly enough they seem to be able to integrate without too much trouble, and they're all sentient, so it works.
- There is also mention of a feral level of animals, most notably Joel's former pets.
- All There in the Manual: The official names of several characters are only given within the tags of each comic. As well as any official monickers a character may have (such as "The Other Daryl" to refer to a Big Eater wolf who happens to have the same name as another character).
- All Just a Dream: Typical ending of any of the mortals' dealings with the celestial nerds. It doesn't negate what happened, but it becomes a convenient way of ending an audience with the gods.
- Keene even called Pete out on it once.Pete: Then I must ask something of you, mortal.
Keene: And that is?
Pete: Wake up. *snaps his fingers*
Keene (waking up in his bed): DON'T YOU PULL THAT IT-WAS-ALL-A-DREAM THING ON... ah crud
- Then in the end of the "Heaven's Not Enough" Great Kitsune surprises everyone by not doing that, which also leaves all the mortals involved in the middle of Australia.
- Defied when it's revealed that all the main characters are NPCs in a Dungeons & Dragons ripoff. The deities are quick to point out that the universe and everyone inside it existed before they turned it into a game setting, so it's all just as real as before.
- Again invoked in the penultimate strip of "The Four Animals You Meet in Heaven". Cerberus does this to Keene when restoring his life and returning him to just a few moments before what was his death.
- The ultimate payoff of the "Temple Crashers" arc - everything actually happened, but this ends up being how Keene gets everyone still trapped inside the collapsing temple to safety, since in the temple he wields the power of dreams. Naturally, he's none too happy about the anticlimactic resolution.
- Keene even called Pete out on it once.
- All of the Other Reindeer: Joey, most acutely. He even plays Rudolph in a Christmas pageant.
- Tiger also qualifies as well, being a dog with the name of a cat.
- Alternate Appearance Aura: Peanut, Grape, Max and Tarot in the Pridelands Imaginate, thanks to Tarot's powers.
- Alternate Reality Episode: THE GALLIFRAX PROTOCOL, in which Tarot, Peanut, Grape, and Max visit an alternate Earth where they resemble "normal" animals instead of their normal Funny Animal appearance.
- Alternative Number System: Spo came from a very large family. How large? The sibling born immediately after him was named Spp.
- Alt Text: Especially in the later comics, the alt text occasionally provides a secondary punchline for the strip, or some other humorous comment.
- Aluminum Christmas Trees: A surprising number of fans were unaware of the existence of calming treats for dogs when Peanut spent the entirety of the arc "The Hot Springs Episode under their influence.Peanut: Hey Grape, something surprising is happening outside.
Grape: I know, it woke me up... Why aren't you freaking out like usual?
Peanut: I got bored, and it turns out there's a reason Mom only gives me one treat at a time from the medicine cabinet supply.
- Amazing Technicolor Wildlife: For example, you have normally-colored Peanut alongside Grape, a purple cat.
- Amazingly Embarrassing Parents: Not quite her parent, but Bill is this to Bailey.
- Great Kitsune invoked this vis-a-vis Craig and Draig when it's revealed he's helping Kix raise them.
- Ambiguous Gender: While the Biggelsworths also have this description, Fiddler and Keys. We know one is male and one is female, but no real indication of who's who to this day. When Breel, the marten masseuse, was introduced the forum erupted in debates as to the nature of their gender.
- Peanut had this problem with Grape early on, just automatically assuming she was male until she revealed otherwise, which was hard for him to process.
- Ambiguously Gay: Bruce and Roosevelt, judging from this strip where they're practically cuddling on the couch while watching (American) football. Later, they share a rather intimate moment in what looks to be a hot tub but turns out to be the otters' pool with the heater cranked. Their status has become less ambiguous with this comic.
- Cory the skunk, who in his first appearance flirts with Zach.
- Breel, who when introduced was very 'friendly' with Keene. Like with Bruce and Roosevelt, his status was eventually confirmed.
- Amicable Exes: Sabrina used to date Maxwell, and they're still on fairly friendly terms with one another.
- Anchored Ship:
- Animal Jingoism: Not outright hatred, per se, but the Good Ol' Dogs Club only admits dogs, and then there's the interspecies romance taboo...
- Animals Not to Scale: Almost all dogs, cats, rabbits, and raccoons are the same size (about waist height on a human) while mice are about real life size, and ferrets (plus King and Tarot) are on a scale somewhere in between those, the wolves are huge and musclepacked, apparently from living in the wild, while real wolves are smaller than some dog breeds. Equines and kangaroos, despite being sapient the same as everyone else, are no more outwardly anthropomorphic than their real life counterparts, and are of the same size as them; the consistency is all over the place with this comic.
- Animal Stereotypes:
- Played with to a degree, but the cast act more like children then animals to the point where Rick sometimes adds in stereotypical animal behavior specificly for people who look for it.
- In the first Christmas strip, after Joey gives his girlfriend Squeak a block of cheese, she tells him straight out "the whole cheese thing's a stereotype".
- Based on his first appearance, some readers assumed that Cory was on the way of joining the long list of cartoon skunk bad guys. They ended up being right.
- Animation Bump: Most notably, the switch to color, but the drawing style has been improving overall.
- Animal Wrongs Group: PETA is portrayed as this during the "A Sinister Shadow" arc.
- Arbitrary Skepticism:
- Lampshaded when Fido voices skepticism that Marion has been turned into a squirrel.Fox: How is this ridiculous to you!? You are dating a literal witch!Fido: Hey, just because I have direct evidence of ghosts, spirits, prophecies of the future, magic(k)al control over time and space- Okay, maybe you have a point.
- And again, this time with Lois.Lois: So there's demigods in this now? You expect us to believe that?Marion: Lois, everything about our predicament violates every known law of physics, so I think we can afford to suspend disbelief a little.
- Lampshaded when Fido voices skepticism that Marion has been turned into a squirrel.
- Arranged Marriage: Not a marriage (yet), but the whole reason Peanut and Tarot ended up together is because Spirit Dragon asked Tarot to attract Peanut. This was to keep Pete from trying to take Peanut as an avatar.note
- Arson, Murder, and Jaywalking: Tarot, especially early on, tends to follow dire predictions with more mundane inconveniences, like this one:Tarot: The truth shall be brought to light, and I fear that day, for all who do not hold love in their hearts shall perish, and their souls will be broken into shards as countless as all the sand on the face of the earth. Plus it's terrible for your complexion.
- Art Evolution: Compare this comic to the next day's. A second evolution was implemented around October 2012, this one a conscious decision by the artist for a new art style.
- Art Shift: Played for laughs In-Universe within "That's Why Your Save It For The Cover", where the last panel of the Show Within The Show "Spot (Superdog)" was drawn well by Joey, causing it to heavily stand out from the rest of the normally Stylistic Suck comic. The Punchline of that comic is that said drawing was a actually commission Peanut didn't expect to have to pay.
- In a meta sense, with Rick's shift to a more comic book-like style of page with the 101st "chapter", there are some changes- the colors are more muted, the backgrounds more detailed, and the female animals (at least the dogs, from what's been seen so far) have more noticeable... assets.
- Artifact Title: Rick seems to be introducing more and more characters (the Wolf Pack, Itsuki, the Galactic Nerds, the Forest creatures, the zoo creatures, Karishad) who wouldn't exactly be considered 'house pets'.
- As Himself: In-Universe example as Peanut is drafted by Grape to roleplay relationship-related interactions for Tarot:Grape: Maybe what we need here is a roleplay demonstration. I will be you (referring to Tarot), and Peanut will be Peanut.
Peanut: Woo, I get to be me!
- Aside Glance:
- Peanut in the fourth panel of this comic glances at the audience after Grape solves his problem by simply breaking the remote controler to Bino's shock collar, cutting off Peanut's rambling panicked explanation so she can take a nap in peace.
- Bruno the bear gives one when Bino challenges her as part of his attempt to become an honorary wolf, displaying her disbelief that such a small canine like him seriously thinks that waving around a stick is going to scare her off.
- As the Good Book Says......: Kitsune quotes Matthew 23:17, "You blind fools! Which is greater: the gold, or the temple that makes the gold sacred?" He referred to Jesus as a good friend of his.
- Ass-Kicking Pose: Employed by Miles and his pack when coming to Fido's defense near the end of the "Jungle Fever" arc.
- As You Know:Bahamut (Dragon Judge): Explain your actions in seizing the fate of a mortal.
Pete: You're omniscient...you tell me.
Bahamut: Technically, we all are, but that sorta makes it hard to tell a story.
- Attractive Bent Species: Played straight with Thomas when Sofia hits on him after he becomes a camel like her, thanks to Pete's cursed treasure. Inverted with King when he meets Bailey, since in that case he's the one who falls in love and wasn't of her species to start with. In both cases, it's Love at First Sight.
- Author Tract: In-Universe, lampshaded by Grape in "The Boring Adventures Of Spot":Grape: Don't you think you're editorializing a bit much?
Peanut: A little, but that's why people make comics, right?
- Awkward Kiss: Maxwell gets one. From Rufus, of all people. Especially because Rufus is a dog, which Maxwell has been shown to be quite smug around. Also because Rufus lives on the sandwich farm, there's a question of how he met Rufus in the first place. Also doesn't help that Grape wants to know all the fun,juicy details of why Rufus kissed him as Maxwell continues to turn more red.
- Backup Bluff: When superpowered Res is holding off The Forgotten, it's constantly saying it's hopeless, but Res replies he may just be stalling, while thinking to himself not to expose how terrified he is. As it turns out, he had the power to finish it after all.
- Baleful Polymorph:
- Joel, who starts out as a Jerkass, gets captured and turned into a dog named King by Pete, to serve as Pete's "pet". At first, we find it fitting considering Joel's established personality. But Pete didn't do it to force him to become a better person, he wanted to use Joel/King to his advantage. Once Jo— er, King falls in love with another dog and realizes how much he prefers his new life, he decides to stay this way once he's finally free of Pete.
- Thomas Milton, nephew of the late Mr. Milton, who breaks into Pete's temple to steal treasure. Turns out Pete placed a protective spell on it, one designed to deprive human thieves of their hands... which means turning them into handless animals, like a camel in this case (since Thomas came with a camel to help him get the loot). Thomas now has to figure out how to reverse its effects... but all the scrolls he could have used are buried under the temple once it comes down, forcing his camel Sofia to drag him out by his new tail to save him. Whether he'll also find true love and life as a camel to be better than his human life remains to be seen, as it does seem his camel companion Sofia has... a bit of a thing for him now.
- Then Thomas spreads it to Steward, who conspired with him to lift the loot from the temple. He angrily spits a single coin at Steward... and then it turns out the treasure's still cursed, so Steward turns into a badger.
- And now we have Marion Ward, a human who, one morning, woke up as a squirrel. His story is only just begun:
- And now Marion's girlfriend Lois has joined in by turning into a bobcat.Lois: Marion... my head feels kinda... fuzzy...
- Bears Are Bad News: Bino's encounter with Bruno, as part of his efforts to become an honorary wolf, does not go well. After the audience gets an Aside Glance from her, in disbelief that Bino thinks his challenge is a serious threat, she then simply falls onto him, squishing the dog beneath her.
- Bear Hug: Fox gets one from his new partner Mungo, as seen here.
- Become a Real Boy: When he is incarnated by Cerberus, Breel is shook when his heart starts beating.Breel: Hey, we've established I've been alive before, I can handle it
(Cerberus removes Breel's halo, and he immediately clutches his chest)
Breel: WHAT is that moving in my chest?!
Keene: You mean the breathing, or the heartbeat?
Breel: Does everyone have those?!
- Becoming the Mask:
- Heavily implied that this was happening with Spirit Dragon before Peanut broke her heart to stay with Tarot
- Even though he didn't want it at first, after falling in love and marrying Bailey, it's safe to say Joel/King has decided he wants to be a dog. At the end of the Cosmic Game, he chose to remain a dog and stay with Bailey, Fox, and all the friends he's made.
- Berserk Button:
- Parodied out of Universe. At one point, Rick left a comment stating he would "e-strangle" the next person to mention how much more buff Fido looked after a minor style revision. A few comics later Rick then commented himself how buff Fido was looking, leading readers to wonder if Rick would now e-strangle himself.
- If you should ever find yourself in the comic's universe, here's a handy list of things you should not do:
- Don't tease Tiger about having the name of a big cat.
- Don't wake Grape from a nap.
- Don't be a cat or cat-lover in the Good Ol' Dogs Club when Bino's around.
- Don't mention the name Joel around Fox, he's quick to get angry ever since he was kidnapped (or rather dognapped). Then there's Heaven's Not Enough...
- Big, Bulky Bomb: Played with in this strip, in "The Great Water Balloon War" story arc, in the form of an absolutely huge water balloon requiring much of the contents of a pool to fill it.
- The Big Damn Kiss: One between Keene and Breel frees them of their bonds.
- Big Eater: Tiger. RL dogs are basically walking garbage cans, after all.
- Bigger on the Inside: In this strip, even Zach, who's been in the temple in the back yard of Mr. Milton before, is absolutely stunned by how huge the place looks like from the inside, far in excess of the external dimensions.
- Big Red Button: Ferrets love 'em.
- Bilingual Bonus: The line from the Japanese comedy show in this strip is, Call a doctor!
- Black Dude Dies First: Parodied as Max, who has all-black fur, plays the first victim in the And Then There Were None Imaginate.
- Bland-Name Product:
- Bouquet Toss: Tarot caught the floral bouquet thrown after King's wedding, with the help of Karishad.
- Brain Bleach: Evoked by King in response to Miles' Christmas party plans
- Bread, Eggs, Milk, Squick:
- Brick Joke: They happen from time to time.
- When Peanut is done up as the ghost of Banquo in their Macbeth imagination play, Maxwell screams like he did when he was freaked out by Sabrina and her spiritual connections.
- Most recently, the alt texts of this and this. More specifically, the joke's about Pete really wanting to use a ballpoint pen instead of a "writing wedge".
- The comic of 8/18/2010, and this one just over three years later, is a Brick Joke concerning Tarot's prophesy of Sabrina nearly drowning.
- In "Heaven's Not Enough, Part 2", Tarot can be seen using her cellphone to make a text message. Come part 3 of the same arc, and it's revealed she was messaging Kerishad, the local Cloud Cuckoo Lander.
- The first thing King ever said to Bailey was, "Please don't sniff my butt." Apparently she obliged, because come his proposal to marry her which she accepted, she suddenly remembers, "I never got to sniff your butt!"
- Fox is pretty big on believing he's the protagonist of a summer blockbuster adventure. That comes up a few times, especially when he goes on the run to try to prove Sasha didn't attempt to kill Keene Milton and is being reprimanded for it. In response to being told that the case wasn't a summer blockbuster type thing, he exasperatedly asks:Fox: Why does everyone keep telling me that?!
- Ladies and gentlemen, the mother of all brick jokes:
- Call to Adventure: In "Temple Crashers 2", specifically when Tarot recruits Fox's help. He's a little reluctant, but ultimately joins.Fox: Resolving the fate of the world might be outside my wheelhouse.
Tarot: Nah, you'll be fine. Come on, we need to get you a hat.
- Then at the climax of the arc, Great Kitsune pulled one for Res.Res: Why can't you stop this?
Kitsune: Despite the omnipotence, there's quite a few things that I cannot change—it's beyond my paygrade, as it were. So if you act now, one of a dozen things is about to happen; if you don't, one thing will happen.
Res: What's that?
Kitsune: You'll find out! In about, oh, five seconds.
Res: (jumps into the mana pool)
- Then at the climax of the arc, Great Kitsune pulled one for Res.
- Call-Back: Rick Griffin could give Oda-sensei a run for his money at this trope.
- Remember how Sabrina dumped Spo off on Fido? Nearly 3 years later, turnabout is fair play.
- And Fox, when he was kidnapped in "A Sinister Shadow", let on that it wasn't the first time. We arrived at "the first time" in a flashback story.
- "Didn't I eat your guys' leader, once?"
- "You look distressingly familiar."
- "Would you like to see my giant blue gryphon feather?"
- In "Theme Park World", Tarot says Sabrina, three years from then, would nearly drown. A bit over three years later, not only does it happen, but we find out why.
- In "Separation Anxiety", Sabrina threatens Fido with a visit from this guy, possibly a fate worse than being retgoned.
- Fox told King that if he ever saw Joel again, he'd give him what was coming to him. He made good on it (sans the throttling).
- In "Housepets Babies!", a young Fox believed his life would become an action blockbuster. That's exactly how he described the vague memories that remained after his trip to Heaven in "Heaven's Not Enough".
- And then again after the mystery of the attempt on Keene Milton's life had been resolved in the most anticlimactic way possible well before Fox attempted a daring escape to prove Sasha's innocence, he's told that despite what the action hero in him wanted to believe, it wasn't as if the case depended entirely on him to be solved so that Sasha could be exonerated.
- "Let's just say, I know what it's like to be left behind."
- Bino shouts "I'll be one with the ferals!". Way back when the comic started, Grape references this quote to Peanut when they look outside their species for romance.
- Tarot uses a familiar-sounding euphemism in explaining what could happen if they don't win the treasure hunt in the epic "Temple Crashers 2" mega-arc.
- Canada, Eh?: Res
- Carnivore Confusion:
- Usually played straight. It's accepted as a fact of life that predator species kill and eat prey animals for sustenance (something that gets pointed out more than once and even happens on-panel); however, it should be noted that like the predators, the prey species are also fully sentient, able to talk to and even hold lengthy conversations with the animals who want to eat them.
- Except for some, like the cows, which seem to be either non-sapient, or just don't care.Peanut: (to Uncle Rueben's horses) Well, no offense, but you guys do look delicious.
Action Replay: None taken.
Money For Nothing: We also get that a lot.
Made of Win: Now that I think about it, that's probably why your cat friend was so eager to go riding.
(Smash Cut to Grape sitting on the fence of the cattle enclosure, shouting at a cow)
Grape: Hey... Hey, I'm gonna eat your innards... AT LEAST GET A LITTLE INDIGNANT?
- Illustrated by the title and cover of the second book Housepets! Hope They Don't Get Eaten featuring a picture of the wolf cubs seasoning an understandably concerned looking Zach.
- One of the Bigglesworths attempts to eat Squeak and Spo, only to be foiled (and disturbed) by Squeak's foot (macro?) fetish.
- Casanova Wannabe: As the wolves are told to get jobs or go to school, Poncho ends up with a part-time job at the Zoo. It's implied at the time that it has something to do with their breeding program, though we see later his job may be more mundane.
- Cassandra Truth: Grape was right that last time about Pete...
- Catchphrase: For Peanut: "_______ is/are a thing, isn't it/aren't they?"
- Cat Concerto: Fiddler and Keys
- Cats Are Mean: By and large downplayed, since Grape is only mean compared to Peanut. Sometimes played straighter for comedic effect.
- Cat Up a Tree: Grape has been trapped up a tree by angry dogs at least once.
- Censor Box: Parodied with Bino during "The Arc Specifically About Being Naked".
- Cerebus Retcon: Lucretia's remark to Miles: "Our life sucks." When introduced years earlier, it was just a funny, succinct way of explaining why Miles' pack chose to enter civilization rather than remain in the wild. When called back to much later on, it was in the context of showing how the friendship between Miles and Gale ended, implying it's his fault.
- Chair Reveal: Those ferrets sure love showmanship, with a twirl of a tall-backed chair revealing the instiagtor of the big water balloon war.
- Chained Heat: Zach and Jessica end up in a trap, both dirty, injured, and cold, so they snuggle for warmth. Cue Keene showing up thinking he caught a gargoyle.
- Chekhov's Gun:
- The last panel of this just seems to be a throwaway gag, involving the reactions of Peanut and Grape to seeing what Fido is up to with Sabrina. A year and a half later, it turns out it's not.]
- The golden statue of himself the Great Kitsune sent to King within "Never believe it's not so" eventually comes to prominence within the "Housepets 5000 BC" arc when it was used to contact the Great Kitsune about Satau managing to find himself within the present. It's revealed within this arc that the statue is the Great Kitsune, himself, disguised as a golden statue using shapeshifting magic.King: Have you been in there the whole time?!
Great Kitsune: No! ...not anymore than I'm everywhere all the time.
- Christmas Episode: The arcs "Housepets Christmas", "It's A Wonderful Dog's Life", "Hope of the Pridelands", "A Holiday at the Zoo", "The Unbearable Lightness Of Being a Dog", "Yes Jessica, There Is An Opener Of Ways", and "Pageantate!".
- Chronic Hero Syndrome: Sabrina is compelled to save any wayward animal she finds.
- Fox also had shades of this. As a young pup, he was said to envision making his life a "summer action blockbuster". Later in life, he did this as a K-9 as a coping mechanism to deal with Fido's relationship with Sabrina.
- Cloudcuckoolander: Throwaway character Delusional Steve.
- Also Sasha if her bookmark◊ is any indication.
- Tiger and Karishad are probably the biggest examples of this yet.
- Clarke's Third Law: The unwitting time traveler Satau is marveled by the various "magical devices" of the future. When pointed out by Peanut that they actually run on electricity, Satau said out this doesn't seem much different from magic.
- Cluster F-Bomb: The audience doesn't see the words used, but King's response to being included on a quest with Tarot and Grape includes "a crescendo of creative profanities".
- Comically Missing the Point: Spo in Wham Line.
- Comically Small Bribe: Max tries to bribe a pet store employee to sell him catnip (which pets aren't allowed to buy) with a quarter. It works in an ironic way.
- Common Tongue: Sabrina has to use a translator spell so they can communicate with Satau.
- Averted with Sofia the camel. She speaks Arabic, and Rick doesn't provide subtitles, leaving it to the fans to translate on the forum. Thomas seems to understand her, though Sofia has doubts.Sofia: هل تعلم اللغة العربية فعلا أم أنك تخمينت هذا الوقت؟ (Did you actually learn Arabic or have you been guessing this whole time?)
- Averted with Sofia the camel. She speaks Arabic, and Rick doesn't provide subtitles, leaving it to the fans to translate on the forum. Thomas seems to understand her, though Sofia has doubts.
- Completely Missing the Point: Peanut in particular happens to be prone to this, as shown in this strip where he asks about a trivial issue instead of about the fantastical world he and Sabrina are descending into.
- Cone of Shame: Bino ends up in one after his shenanigans at the Milton mansion.
- Contrived Coincidence: So, it just so happens that the moment Peanut and Grape's relationship might be heading somewhere interesting, another dog shows up having been told by the spirits themselves that Peanut would need a companion.
- Three years later, we find out that Tarot had been sent by Dragon as part of her gambit to prevent Pete from acquiring an avatar. In fact, it seems most of the coincidences and plot holes found throughout the series have been caused directly by the Great Game.
- Cool Down Hug: Cerberus brought Pete down from a Villainous Breakdown with a simple paw on his shoulder.
- Corner of Woe: Grape plays this during the Imaginate play for And Then There Were None. Adds in Shower of Angst for showing rain clouds over her.
- Cosmic Chess Game: Or rather Universes & Unrealities. King even says it word-for-word; it's the trope page quote.Spirit Dragon: To compare the game to chess would be like comparing all of civilization to an amoeba!
- "Could Have Avoided This!" Plot: After Fido's fight with Jata, Ralph says (at least professionally) he had no issues with Fido being involved with Sabrina, and only wished he had known beforehand what Fido had planned, instead of dragging the K-9 force into a potential international incident.Ralph: Who you decide to snuggle with after hours is none of the department's business nor concern.
- CPR: Clean, Pretty, Reliable:
- Crazy Cat Lady: The owner of the Mr. Bigglesworth cat group.
- Crazy-Prepared: Peanut brings a backup generator to the country to power his Nintendo DS.
- Crossover: Ponbon, a small yellow creature from another of Rick's works makes a number of appearances from time to time - as a novelty ice cream pop, as a Macy's balloon, and in person in this arc.
- Curse Cut Short
- Cut a Slice, Take the Rest: "Four Finger Discount" Jack does a variation here.
- Cuteness Proximity: Let's be honest. King and Zachary in the same room could be used as a weapon. The ferrets have their moments too. In Itsuki's case however, it's just one more annoyance as his fellow students insist on hugging the fluffy tanuki.
- Cute, but Cacophonic: Ace plays this with the Jurassic Park Imaginate in the role of Tim. Olive puts a bucket labeled "Silence Bucket" over her head.
- Dances and Balls: The Yarn Ball, a new year's dance celebrated by cats.
- Deadpan Snarker: Pete has moments of this. Sofia has shades of this when her Arabic is translated.
- Deal with the Devil: When Keene ends up in hell and is trying to find a way to escape and rescue Breel, he realizes too late that he has accidentally made a deal with a devil when the cute demon he has just made an agreement with suddenly speaks in a less cute voice and says "THEN THE CONTRACT IS SEALED". The consequences of this have yet to be seen.
- "Dear John" Letter: Uh oh, Bino...
- Department of Redundancy Department:
- The theme park themed theme park.
- One of the arc is titled "Temple Crashers 2: Temple Crashers, part 2"
- Diary: Zach keeps one, chronicling such things as his lack of ability to fit in with "brothers" Marvin and Tiger. His diary was also used as a framing device for the "Great Water Balloon War" arc.
- Didn't Think This Through: When the newly-emancipated Sasha was pawned off on King, he immediately asks Kevin why he, being her boyfriend, didn't take her in himself
- Did They or Didn't They?: Dog Fido and cat Sabrina are heavily suggested to have done "something" in this comic.
- Dissimile: It is Sasha, after all.
- Distracted by the Sexy: Grape, when Mungo walks by.
- Distracted by the Shiny: Daisy, looking at King's collar rather than King on the cover of the Third ''Housepets!'' book.◊
- Does This Remind You of Anything?: In this strip, Bino responds with indignation to Fox's allegations that he has a small... neck. Keep in mind that the neck is the only area the pets seem to have any modesty about...Fox: *snrk* I was wondering, how does someone with such a big head get by with a neck so pencilly?
Bino: It's comparable to the national average!
- Maxwell squeezes the pillow between his legs when Peanut and Grape are offscreen showing off their 'chemistry'
- Donut Mess with a Cop:
- Averted with Kevin in this comic when he was told he needed to go on a diet of donuts and whole milk because his BMI was way too low; he had too much muscle, and almost no body fat.Kevin (crying while eating a donut): This feels wrong.
Fido: My condolences.
- According to Sasha, Kevin took her to a donut shop for their first date. Unknown if Kevin ate any there.
- Fox and Mungo head to the donut shop here. The Alt Text says "Be as active as us and you too will be grateful for readily available and digested sugar-carbs."
- Averted with Kevin in this comic when he was told he needed to go on a diet of donuts and whole milk because his BMI was way too low; he had too much muscle, and almost no body fat.
- Don't Fear the Reaper: Cerberus assumes the mantle of the Grim Reaper for the sake of working with children, greeting a puppy who was thrown off a bridge by his owner and drowned with a giant cookie.
- Draco in Leather Pants: In-Universe example for Peanut: the Pridelands character Saso.Grape: So you lifted the entire plot of the eighth chapter and wedged Spot into it, just so you could rescue an unimportant minor villain you particularly liked?
- Dramatic Irony: Of a sort, when Bailey is griping about King's behavior at one point.Bailey: Sometimes I suspect he's a miniature human in a dog suit.
- Dressed in Layers: Tiger does this with a series of Halloween costumes.
- Dropped a Bridge on Him: Played with literally. They nearly dropped a boat on CSI dog Terrance.
- Drowning My Sorrows: Keene Milton is prone to this. With orange soda.
- Drunk on Milk: Orange soda. To pets at least. Lampshaded by Miles the first time a pet was depicted indoxicated by orange soda.Miles: I must say, I did not expect intoxication was possible from a can of orange soda.
- Deus ex Machina: Tarot had somehow managed to get a hold of a special lantern, that hides the presence of those around it from Pete and the Spirit Dragon, allowing the plot to be resolved quite easily. It is implied she was directly given the lantern by the Great Kitsune himself as part of his Batman Gambit.
- Dynamic Entry: Rightly or wrongly, a number of readers were shocked that the Friend to All Living Things would pull the old Time Out-Time In gag on Bailey.
- Edible Theme Naming: Earl Sandwich is clearly fond of this. It seems to be a common practice on his side of the family, but it's usually lost on his wife.
- Eldritch Abomination: How Grape sees the vet when she was young.
- Embarrassing Middle Name: Grape's shelter name, Princess Periwinkle.
- Embarrassing Relative Teacher: When Miles becomes a substitute teacher at his cubs' school.Miles: Go get'em, Rockstar! Study hard!
Student: So is Mr. The Wolf, like, your dad?
Rockstar Hawk: No, total coincidence.
- Enforced Method Acting: In-Universe: Peanut playing the ghost of Banquo in their Macbeth "Imgainate" play resulted in an unintended occurrence for Maxwell.
- Enhance Button: Parodied here, with a police dog calling for enhancing the actual scene of the crime.
- Exactly What It Says on the Tin: Quoted in the comments by Rick when people started implying that the term "slow motion pillow fight" meant something that went beyond the PG rating.
- Expecting Someone Taller: Lois and Marion have this reaction to Kitsune. He obliges them.
- Expressive Ears: Cats, particularly.
- Eyepatch of Power:
- One of Miles' cubs dons one during the water balloon war when acting as the 'leader' of the dog soldiers. According to Rick this is somehow the same eyepatch worn by Delusional Steve, a one time character seen in a flashback to Grape and Peanut's first meeting. Unfortunately for Steve, any signs of Power seem to be averted in his case.
- Eyepatch of Power vs Hungry Cat - Hungry Cat wins.
- The Faceless: For the longest time, the humans have never been seen above the nose. Some non-parent humans, like Joel, do have faces exposed. More have had their faces shown as the comic progressed, until a full reveal in the Christmas Day, 2015 strip.
- Face Palm: Marion does one when he overhears other students at his school claiming that he is part of some sort of conspiracy theory.
- False Start: Peanut goes to tell Grape how he feels about her, but before he can, he overhears her making a date with Maxwell.
- Fan Dumb: An In-Universe example. Lester is practically the poster boy for several varieties of Fan Dumb. He even mentions the trope by name in his rant.
- Fan Fic: In-universe, Grape's Pridelands fanfic is a recurring theme. Complete with an Author Insert named "Gapre".
- Fantastic Racism: African Prince Leopard Jata 'complements' Jeeves by saying "Thank you, pale human....you're a credit to your species."
- Fantasy Keepsake: All the Or Was It a Dream? scenarios use this, with decreasing subtlety.
- Fantasy Kitchen Sink: According to Sabrina, "everything is a thing." That would explain the presence of gryphons, dragons, Cerberus, and Norse frost giant Aurgelmir.
- Feather Fingers: While birds in this universe ( Tarot in the Pridelands simulation and Trinket for example ) can't use their wings for picking up or manipulating things, their wings do tend to take on a hand shape when pointing or gesturing.
- Female Feline, Male Mutt: Grape and Peanut, Fido and Sabrina.
- Fictional Document: The Prideland Series. Its popularity, particularly among pets, is equivalent to that of Harry Potter or Twilight.
- Flexing Those Non-Biceps: Max, after doing half a rep in weightlifting. Fortunately for him, Grape finds it adorkable.
- Foot Popping:
- Foreshadowing: Back when we first found out about the Cosmic Game, you can see the name of Pete's avatar has been scribbled out and replaced with King's. All you can see are the letters "GRA," but we later find out that Grape had been Pete's first choice for his avatar. Incidentally, this was set up way back in the first six months of the comic's run.
- "Introduce me to your sweetheart sometime."note
- At the beginning of "Temple Crashers", Res says the expectations for what he was planning to be the last book for Pridelands were crushing him. At the climax of the arc, he is literally crushed under the collapsing temple.
- Formally Named Pet: At least ten cats called Mr Bigglesworth, due to their owner being a Crazy Cat Lady. They all look the same, though most are not related and some are female. They occasionally mess with other pets who don't know there's more than one.
- Four-Fingered Hands: The entire bipedal non-human cast fits this.
- Lampshaded when King uses "hold up five fingers" as a test to confirm Marion the squirrel used to be a human.
- Four-Temperament Ensemble: Joey and his nerd friends:
- Joey is Melancholic as he's the artistic perfectionist of the group.
- Lester is Choleric as he's usually the most irritable and aggressive of the bunch.
- Dallas is Sanguine as he seems more cheerful and playful than the others.
- Squeak is Phlegmatic as she's the most laid-back of the nerds.
- Free-Range Children: The housepets, who even as adults usually have a childlike demeanor, are allowed to roam Babylon Gardens for the most part unattended. When they go somewhere such as the mall or the zoo they sometimes are required to wear leashes, however are allowed to wander about freely if they hold on to their own leash.
- From Bad to Worse: King's choice of turning back into a human. At first if he turned back into a human he'd have to deal with being an escaped convict, but now if he turns back into a human he's more or less told that he is literally going to hell, and the only way he can have a pass is to stay a dog as they are judged less harshly by heaven than humans.
- Full-Body Disguise: Fox and Karishad dyed their fur to appear as the other, in a halloween strip.Fox (as Karishad): This was his idea.
Karishad (as Fox): Oh no you don't, this was MY idea!
- Funny Background Event: Some readers would like a reverse comic telling what exactly is happening here.
- Furry Comic: Gee, really?
- Furry Confusion: Subverted, for now.
- Furry Reminder: Every once in a while. According to Rick: I do this partly because people want to see them act like animals for some reason." Taken to an extreme in a Saturday bonus pic that shows kangaroos Bruce and Roosevelt being shipped home from Australia in pet carriers after the ferrets inadvertently canceled their plane tickets home.
- Game Show Appearance: Great Kitsune as a typical Game Show Host stereotype here.
- Gender Bender: When Marion and Lois fell under the the influence of the curse and became animals, it also changed their gender:
- Marion was turned into a female squirrel, and didn't realize until Lois pointed it out.Lois: If this is seriously your senior prank, you're gonna have to explain why you're a female squirrel.
- Lois ended up turned into a male bobcat. Though Lois takes it more in stride because, compared with everything else, a sex change is pretty minor.Lois: Listen, for all the adjustments I may have to make to my life, this is the most lateral. Consider: I no longer have to plan around "that time of the month".
Marion: Oh, thanks for reminding me I have that to look forward to.
- Marion was turned into a female squirrel, and didn't realize until Lois pointed it out.
- Gender-Blender Name: The bear that Bino is supposed to challenge as part of becoming an honorary wolf is named Bruno, but has certain feminine characteristics that show the bear isn't male.
- This has led some fans to claim her name is short for "Brunhilde".
- Gender Flip:
- Giant Foot of Stomping: One of these is used to demonstrate what Squeak sees in the 'Big Noses'.
- "Gift of the Magi" Plot: Cruelly parodied. Bino shaves his fur to buy Duchess a cover for her iPhone. Duchess gets him a ten dollar gift voucher, then complains that the cover doesn't fit her phone.
- Gilligan Cut: "Discount" Jack is operating a ferris wheel at one point, and when he's questioned about his ability to do so, he points out that even if he has only one arm, the controls are simple and "What could possibly come from that?" Next panel, we cut to a news anchor cheerfully reporting civilians running from a runaway ferris-wheel, which seems to be going 60 MPH in the video.
- Glasses Pull: Used here to punctuate an Incredibly Lame Pun. (YEEEEEEEEEEAAAAAAAAAAAAAH)
- Gosh Dang It to Heck!:
- Literally in one strip that Rick edited after initially posting, turning the word 'crap' to carp'.
- He typically uses "carp" in place of "crap", "Dog" in place of "God", and "howl" in place of "hell".
- While "snuggle" is what Duchess said, the pink whip and handcuffs she's holding suggest something rather less wholesome than a snuggle, without breaking the author's self-imposed PG rating.
- And a couple bowdlerized Precision F-Strikes:
- "TUNA FISH ON A CRACKER!"
- And Cerbers refers to Hell as "the bad place".
- Gratuitous Japanese: Lampshaded here with Itsuki, a tanuki hired by the auto shop near Babylon Gardens.
- It extends to culture at times. In "The Hot Springs Episode", Itsuki spends his time alone in one of the "snuggle baths" because he doesn't want to risk being seen in the onsen, which was made unisex.
- Gross Up Closeup: A bone chewtoy of Peanut's is given a close-up shot of the gnarled, chewed-up end.
- Growling Gut: Truck manages to play music on his growling stomach on one strip.
- Half-Dressed Cartoon Animal:
- The ferrets.
- The police dogs, when on duty, wear a vest onto which their badges are pinned.
- Fox has been known to sometimes wear a leather bomber jacket, such as when he first meets King.
- Itsuki, possibly to retain the PG rating given certain tanuki anatomy characteristics.
- When preparing food, Lucretia wears a "Sniff the Cook" apron.
- Played with and lampshaded in this strip as well.Miles: [after modeling several outfits to help him blend into human society] Is there any reason none of these configurations contain pants?
- Averted when Marion puts his school clothing ensemble together.Marion: I am used to wearing pants, thanks.
- Grape may need a security blanket after the trauma she suffers in this strip.
- Halloween Episode: The arcs "Scardey Cats", "All Hallow's Ween", "All Hallow's Ween: Resurrection", and "Directed To Video". "The Case of the Aztec Gold" doesn't mention Halloween, but was released in October and features a ghost.
- Happily Married: More than a few of the regular cast.
- Miles and Lucretia, although not married (as they're wolves), are official mates and are known to behave like a happy husband/wife. At one point Miles acted pretty enthusiastic at the prospect of making it official in the eyes of human law.
- Mr. Earl Sandwich and Mrs. Sandwich are the only known human family in the series so far to be officially married, and by all available evidence it's a happy marriage.
- Another pair of wolves, Rodney (Miles' cousin) and Snow, are mates as well, without any signs of it being an unpleasant pairing.
- King and Bailey. They do have to fight for their life together, but other than the problems outside their marriage (namely Pete), they are happy together. King just has a few things to learn about being a father to puppies, that's all.
- "Help! Help! Trapped in Title Factory!" When Simon goes on a talk show, the Crawl reads "trapped in editing room send help".
- Heroic BSoD: Peanut is prone to these. So far it has happened when three cute barn cats ask him to have a slow-motion pillow fight with them, when Grape herself is invited for it, and once more when Grape tells him she knows about his crush on her.
- Heroic Sacrifice: Parodied by Max in the arc "The Great Water Balloon War", specifically in this strip where he throws himself onto a water balloon to shield others.
- Hidden Depths: Daisy. And how!Fox: Next... name please.
Daisy: Hi, I'm Daisy!
Fox: Last name?
Daisy: Hi, I'm—
Fox: Look, whatever—when was the last time you saw or had contact with Sasha Hartford? This is serious.
Daisy: *drops her smile* I spoke with her a few weeks ago, she was ruminating on the expectation of obeisance from all dogs, especially by her owner, and was having trouble reconciling the systemic reinforcement of her projected behavior.
Fox and Mongo: *Stunned Silence*
Daisy: What? Sometimes it's easier to put on a happy face, you know?
- Same can be said of Kevin, who is actually pretty good at serious police work, and is currently working on a case to get Sasha emancipated from her abusive owner.
- Hilarity in Zoos: Most storylines involving the Zoo end up in this territory, from otters getting frozen in their lake, to various shenanigans involving Bruce and Roosevelt. Karishad leaving to be employed by Keene did not relieve the hilarity.
- Hot Springs Episode: "The Hot Springs Episode", natch. Though it actually happens in a portable spa.
- Huge Guy, Tiny Girl:
- Joey (dog) and Squeak (mouse) are an extreme example. Fido and Sabrina are closer in size, though Sabrina's ex Jata is a leopard. Peanut and Tarot also probably count.
- Now includes Lois and Marion following their respective transformations; Lois is now a male bobcat and significantly larger than Marion who became a female squirrel who can now perch on his arm like a parrot.
- Humans Are the Real Monsters: While the majority of humans shown are actually quite nice, when there is the need for a villain (who isn't Pete) it's normally a human being. This also bleeds into the comic's depiction of heaven, where its spelt out that humans have to work extra hard to be permitted into the pearly gates, whereas the sentient animals generally get a free pass.
- Hypocrite: Joel's boss to Fox.
- Hypocritical Humor: Frequently! The best example comes from the Macbeth Imaginate during the scene involving Lady Macbeth's Sanity Slippage.Peanut (as a doctor): We might have a case of acute craziness.
Grape (as Lady Macbeth): (holds a placard referring to herself as a screwball)
Peanut: The washing of hands while sleepwalking indicates profound guilt. Not surprising, considering how much embarrassing fanfiction she tends to write.
Grape: (throws her placard at Peanut) OUT, D-WORDED SPOT!
- I Ate WHAT?!: Whatever Max fed Grape, it's certainly wasn't salad.
- I Can't Believe It's Not Heroin!:
- To pets, orange soda acts like alcohol. The Alt Text to one strip warns a Baleful Polymorphed human not to drink orange soda because "it does different things to animals for no discernable reason".
- And to cats, catnip acts like cannabis, to the point where Rick chose to abort an arc - an example being when one character proclaimed another "blew through his stash like kibbles!"
- Idea Bulb: Averted and lampshaded by Peanut in one of his Spot comics. He tries to use an asterisk instead, but his explanation is enormously unwieldy.
- Ignore the Disability: Peanut puts his foot firmly in his mouth when accidentally using a bunch of cliche phrases about hands and arms when talking with "Four Finger Discount" Jack, who is missing an arm. Jack looks angrily at Peanut over it but then lets up in the last panel, saying he was just messing with Peanut.
- I Have No Son!: The rare occasion it's Played for Laughs, when Marion is reunited with their mother after being recovered by the K-9's. (Though it's still true...from a certain point of view)Marion's mother: I can't... I can't believe I've lost my son!
Marion: I'm still your son, I'm just a squirrel now!
Marion's mother: I didn't give birth to a squirrel!
Marion: You also didn't give birth to a fully-grown seventeen-year-old boy, but you were okay with that two days ago.
Marion's mother: Don't talk back to your mother.
- I Have This Friend...:
- In this strip Fox asks his cousin Bailey about a hypothetical dog with a romance problem, but she in turn cuts straight to the chase and tells him to just go ahead and hook up with the object of his newly discovered affections.
- Bailey seems to get a lot of this kind of thing. In this strip King attempted something similar, and Bailey was similarly direct in her response.
- Incredibly Lame Pun: When King asks Fox what good a watch representing Joel's fate is for a dog, Fox replies that King could be a watch dog. King was not amused.
- Infinite Canvas: In a comic, Spot (Professor) explains Infinite Canvas thusly:Spot (Professor): Not only does it take advantage of UNLIMITED page space, but it's also impossible to anthologize! (Next frame shows Spot looking sad)
- Instant Awesome: Just Add Dragons!: Great Dragon's reveal would be awesome, according to King, if he hadn't wet himself in fear.
- Interspecies Romance:
- A sensitive issue; within the context of the comic, interspecies relationships are considered taboo. Fido and Sabrina (a dog and a cat, respectively) are romantically involved; Peanut thought his crush on Grape was a secret, but she knew it all along and it eventually develops into a real romance between the two over the years. Joey (a dog) is involved with Squeak (a mouse).
- Peanut's character Spot dates a "dog"note named Stripe. A possible early precursor can be found here.◊ Yes, that's why Bino gives Peanut trouble about being a cat-lover.
- Apparently there's at least one coyote in the other Daryl's family tree.
- And now we have Zach (rabbit) and Jessica (opossum)
- Arguably King and Bailey if you consider the fact that King used to be a human. Downplayed after King won the right to permanently be a dog.
- In Heaven, Keene's owner, Henry Milton, who has taken the form of a ferret, is attracted to Keene's biological mother.
- The moment Thomas was turned into a camel, Sofia instantly became attracted to him.
- Also in Heaven, Rufus is dating a familiar sabre-toothed cat.
- Intimidating Revenue Service: Cerberus threatens the Milton ferrets with an audit if Rock doesn't take Tarot, Sabrina and Bailey home from Australia with them.
- Interface Spoiler: The tags give out the official names of the characters before they have been formally introduced as such. Also, if the character's explicitly named within the tags, either they're recurring characters or will star in a major role later in the comic. Nowadays, you have to scroll down to see what the tags are, so perhaps this is less of a problem than it was before.
- It's a Wonderful Plot: The arc "It's a Wonderful Dog's Life", where Joel is turned into King. Joel even invokes it at the very beginning. In this arc, it proves to be a Deconstructed Trope: King's initial experiences (outside befriending Fox and Sasha) do not invoke any sort of epiphany, and Pete never intended to change King back into a human. He also explained to King that real life doesn't work that way.
- Arc #100, "The 4 Animals You Meet In Heaven", had shades of this, as Keene roams Heaven after apparently dying. In the end, it turns out to be a Near-Death Experience. And as the later arc "Temple Crashers 2" insinuates, he may not have learned his lesson.
- The more than year-long "Temple Crashers 2", another climax to the Celestial Nerds storyline where Keene and Tarot race to get to Pete's mana pool in the temple that Henry Milton imported. This also brings to a close several plot threads, such as Herman Steward's apparent chicanery, and Thomas Milton's quest for his uncle Henry's untold riches.
- I Want My Beloved to Be Happy:
- Peanut helps Grape get ready for her date with Maxwell, even though Peanut is in love with Grape.
- This is why Bailey took King's place as Pete's avatar. Which is strongly inferred to be Pete's intention ever since King proposed to her.
- Jerkass: Several, and not only just pets or just humans. Max gets explicitly called on it by Grape, with which he agrees readily.
- Jerkass Gods: Pete, definitely Pete. With all he's done to torment Joel/King in order to get a game piece. And Spirit Dragon's avatars have a few complaints too.
- King also worries that Kitsune is one, to the point that he won't let Bailey ask him to look after their three children while the couple have a night out to themselves. He won't even let Bailey say his name. You can't really blame King for being paranoid, but it's odd he would consider Kitsune the same kind of god as Pete, since while Kitsune did let Pete toy with him he did eventually step in to bail King out altogether once Pete had taken it too far, and was really only doing what was best for King all along.
- Just Friends: Peanut and Grape. Subverted, here.
- Kids Are Cruel: The dogs in general towards Tiger's name.
- Kiss of Life: After giving mouth-to-mouth to Sabrina after she fell into a pool and nearly drowned, Fido gets water barfed into his face.Fido: That wasn't very romantic.
Sabrina: Sorry to ruin it for you, hon. Now get me to the Vet before I die of pneumonia.
- Knights and Knaves: One of the puzzles in the temple has three idols, one tells the truth, another lies, the third is random and you need to figure out which one that is. But, they only speak an obscure language and say "bo" or "lal" instead of "yes" or "no", you only get two questions and then everything scrambles, and there might be some spiked walls.Peanut: Would you answer bo to the question "will you answer lal to this question?"
- Lampshade Hanging:
- To the point that the characters are beginning to show Medium Awareness.
- Rick has freely acknowledged that the characters of Housepets aren't really that much like actual housepets most of the time.
- The Alt Text for the comic Desert Jewel lampshades Grape lampshading them not "inoculating against ancient diseases", directly naming this trope in the process.
- "Last Supper" Steal: Breel has a meal with all the ferrets, and the first frame of the two comics looks exactly lke The Last Supper. Interestingly enough, Keene is in the Judas position.
- Lawyer-Friendly Cameo:
- Leaning on the Fourth Wall:
- Rex mentions the "computer issues" that thwarted The Arc Specifically About Being Naked, which was supposed to be the first Bino-centered arc.
- Peanut is literally leaning against the back wall as he talks about not seeing Crossover character Ponbon again in this comic.
- Peanut does so here regarding a common fan reaction to the type of plot that was being lead into.
- Joey looks out at us as Peanut says he is glad there's no one out there watching the Ten Little Indians Imaginate.
- During "Temple Crashers 2", Kitsune says he's usually "just off-panel" when he's casing Joey's LARP group in the temple.
- Lets Just See What WOULD Have Happened: In this strip Great Kitsune may or may not have let the Earth explode ( restoring it afterward ) in order to show Dragon what would happen if she were to modify an infinite-range detection spell to cause damage. (This is actually a call back to a much earlier strip in which one of the players in Fido's owner's D&D game tried the same thing.)
- Let Us Never Speak of This Again: Grape's reaction when she and Peanut see Sabrina and Fido kissing.
- Like Brother and Sister: Grape and Peanut in most cases.
- Literal Cliff Hanger: Zach in this strip is left dangling from a branch over a chasm.
- Literal Transformative Experience: The Celestial Pete transforms PETA member Joel into a Corgi named King. While this trope is played with at first, with Pete invoking it for his own ends, King does undergo a lot of Character Development over the course of the comic.
- Little Miss Badass: Grape as a kitten shows a fully grown alligator who's who and what's what, with just a broom.
- Locked in a Room: Zach and Jessica get trapped in a relocation cage during "Rabbit's Foot".
- Locking MacGyver in the Store Cupboard: In the story arc "Show Business", King finds himself trapped in a tool shed when being chased by Duchess. This strip even mentions MacGyver by name. The ultimate solution to his dilemma is, however, somewhat more directly violent than most of MacGyver's solutions.
- Loophole Abuse: Laws require that housepets be on a leash when out in public places, but it doesn't specify anything about who's holding the other end of the leash, which the pets exploit by going out holding their own leashes.
- List of Transgressions: In this strip, Spirit Dragon asks of both her mortal realm representatives what she had done to harm them. The first one replies in a way suggesting that there's a Long List of harm done, and the second has a list of harmful acts that's apparently so long that it's been compiled into a rather thick notebook labeled "Grievances".
- Love at First Sight: King for Bailey, to the point that it drives him to question whether he would want to remain a dog or become human again. Possibly reciprocated, since the first thing she does when he, in his own way, confesses his feelings to her, is drag him off for "snuggling".
- Love Hurts
- Particularly in play for Peanut in n-Ple Date, who helps Grape get ready for a date with Maxwell despite him having a crush on her himself.
- Also in play in Love & War, with Fox falling for Sasha. But a delay in telling her how he feels leads to her going out with Kevin first.
- Love Is in the Air: King is especially smitten with Bailey after she jumped into a pond to save his MacGuffin stopwatch.King: Why does she smell even better now? note
Fox: I think that's in your head, lover boy.
- Love Transcends Spacetime: When he dies, Rufus ends up dating Sabercat, the female sabre-toothed cat that received the Blinding Camera Flash from Peanut in "Housepets 5000 BC".
- Love Triangle: Or rather, Love Quadrangle. Peanut, Grape, Tarot, and Maxwell. And nowhere it is more explicit than in the arc "Hearts and Minds". While it's clear that Grape and Maxwell love each other, and Peanut and Tarot have a thing, the elephant in the room is the feelings Grape and Peanut share for each other and the obvious chemistry between them.
- In the first of those links, at one point, Max is blushing furiously and holding a pillow over his lap at an off-frame scene of "mushiness" between Peanut and Grape.Tarot: See, you have chemistry! Why can't I have that!
- Then again, it was pretty clear from the beginning of their respective relationships that this is where they were going to end up.
- In the first of those links, at one point, Max is blushing furiously and holding a pillow over his lap at an off-frame scene of "mushiness" between Peanut and Grape.
- Luminescent Blush: Apparently, in the Housepets! universe facial fur can change colors, given that blushes show on the faces of several characters when they're embarrassed.
- Peanut gets a full-face blush when Grape reveals more evidence of his crush on her.
- Zach gets a rather intense blush when Jessica first kisses him.
- Oh lord, do we get a good one when Grape lets slip her admiration for a canine.note
- And then there's Fox when Kevin walks in on him and Sasha smooching in Keene's portable onsen.
- MacGuffin: Joel's "fate" took the form of a stopwatch that dropped in on King from Heaven when Pete tried to steal and meddle with it. It evolved into a...
- Magnetic Plot Device: In the "Heaven's Not Enough" mega-story, the stopwatch ran out of power, and King became Joel. After his visit with Bahamut in Part 2, he was able to remain King back on Earth in Part 3 so long as he had possession of the stopwatch. At the end, Kitsune gave him a choice of whether to live as Joel or King. Those lives were represented by Tarot's lantern, and the stopwatch, respectively. He chose the stopwatch, and permanently became King.Joel Robinson: You do a nice job making a simple choice complicated.note
Great Kitsune: Sorry, that's kind of my thing~
- Mama Bear: This exchange between Bailey and Gale:Bailey: (having grabbed Gale by the throat) Touch my pups and you'll be wearing your digestive tract like a Mardis Gras necklace!
- Marshmallow Dream: Inverted by Tiger:Tiger: Okay so funny story, I had a dream I was eating my pillow
- The Matchmaker: If Pete is to be believed, Dragon is responsible for Grape/Maxwell, Peanut/Tarot, and Fido/Sabrina. Here's the thing. She only hooked them up as part of her gambit to screw over Pete in their game of Universes and Unrealities, though all three couples don't seem any less happy for it.
- Meaningful Name: Brown dog and purple cat? Peanut Butter and Grape Jelly.
- The mouse, often known to squick people out, is named Squeak.
- Milking the Giant Cow: Although it's happened at least once before with Bino, it's coming up a lot more frequently with the late-2012 art shift. Fox, Fido and Maxwell have all done it thus far.
- Miserable Massage: During "The Four Animals you Meet in Heaven" arc, Keene visits a weasel massage parlor where they cartoonishly stretch him out, twist him up and release, then flatten him with a rolling pin. Oddly he seems to enjoy it.
- Mood Whiplash: For one comic Rick decides to be not funny.
- Mouse World: Mentioned by name in the alt-text of this comic.
- MST3K Mantra: Invoked when Marion asks about Kitsune during the investigation of the transformation matter:Breel: So good to see you! You should really come over more often!
Great Kitsune: Oh I would, but you know how things are, when you have an infinite amount of time, the office expects an infinite amount of work put in
Marion: But if you have infinite time—
Keene: Don't, it's easier to just pretend it makes sense.
- Mundane Fantastic: Talking animals and telepathic dolphins. It also doesn't take much for people to believe in other Psychic Powers. Lampshaded within a guest comic in which Peanut decided to drew a comic starring them, only to dismiss the idea as being "too mundane" after saying the hijinks they've been through out loud.
- Mundane Made Awesome: The comic "Sweet Deal" advertises ordinary sugar as if it's a new fad, the joke being that the sugar rush one gets from eating it too much is "super awesome".
- Musical Episode:
- My Biological Clock Is Ticking: Played strictly for laughs when female characters act out toward crushes:
- Sasha begs to have Fido's puppies when he returns from K-9 school.
- Grape writes a fan letter to one of the actors who played in an adaptation of Pridelands, and begs to have his kittens.
- When Jata arrives in Babylon Gardens, all the female cats mob him, initially believing him to be an actor from Pridelands. At least one instance in the resulting Wall of Text is "I WANT YOUR", but cuts off on the edge of the panel. Probably not difficult to guess where that's going.
- Played With in the arc "Be Mine", with an awkward misunderstanding between King and Sasha.King: Okay, Sasha, for anything else we need to find a comfortable middle. You know I'm a married dog!
Sasha: Of course, Silly!
King: Good! Keeping that in mind, what else can I do for you?
Sasha: I want your puppies!
King: (face turns red) WHAT?! (faints)
Sasha: (picking up Rook) Your puppies are so cute! I could just take them with me! EEEE!
- My Girl Is a Slut: Sasha has always been laissez-faire with relationships, throwing herself on other dogs frequently. Especially Fido when she was Bino's girlfriend. But at least Kevin seems aware of her promiscuous nature, and doesn't mind as long as the other guy doesn't get any ideas of something more. That seems to be how Sasha approaches it as well: snuggling with others is okay, but Kevin is her boyfriend. Perfect example: they seemed perfectly okay with Sasha smooching Fox until Fox revealed he had a crush on her:Fox: Okay, you know what? It's been really hard not to just say something, and I'm tired of bottling it up! I wanna date Sasha and I have for eons!
Kevin: Woah, hey, wait, I thought you were just kissing her.
Sasha: Yeah, me too! That sounds like commitment!
- Naked People Are Funny:
- Averted within the strips themselves. While housepets are naked all the time, the fact is only occasionally pointed out, such as when Grape couldn't believe that Peanut didn't know she's a girl, or "The Arc Specifically About Being Naked" (aka losing one's collar).
- Played straight within the Alt Text in which the mention of the animals technically being naked (save for their collars) is a Running Gag.
- Invoked when Great Kitsune visits the Gardens during Keene's spa day:King: You dont have to draw attention to the naked part
Great Kitsune: Oh, this place is so silly. Youre walking around naked all the time and suddenly it gets a little awkward just cause someone can see your neck
- Narrative Profanity Filter: In this strip, Tarot is asked why King wasn't along for their adventure in the Housepets 5000 BC storyline. She replies with a comment that his emphatically negative response to being invited to join the adventuring group ended with "a crescendo of creative profanities."
- Near-Death Experience: In "The Four Animals you Meet in Heaven" Keene finds himself in Heaven with no explanation given. Then just when he's accepted being dead he wakes up half-drowned.
- Never Say "Die": Parodied here by the dog on Uncle Reuben's farm, using all sorts of euphemisms for dying in their literal, non-euphemism sense.
- Another Lampshade Hanging when Heavenly denizen Breel shows up to visit Keene on Earth.Keene: Aren't you... you know...
Breel: Dead. You can say dead.
- Another Lampshade Hanging when Heavenly denizen Breel shows up to visit Keene on Earth.
- Nice Job Breaking It, Hero!: Grape fears she may have pulled this herself after accusing the "author" of the Pridelands series of exploiting the work of her cat (the actual author of the series). She didn't.
- Nobody Calls Me "Chicken"!: The character amply named "what chicken" within the tags exist only to act as a Visual Pun when someone uses the word "chicken" in a figurative sense.
- No Longer with Us: Rufus single-handedly made this a Dead Horse Tropenote when he kept joking about the previous owner of Uncle Rueben's farm who happened to be his previous owner. It got so bad that, when he showed up dead much later, Grape kept thinking he was still joking with the death puns.
- Kix uses a less-jokey analogy of this variety at one point:Kix: I was a pet fox for half my life before my owner bought the farm! A fur farm, to be specific.
- Kix uses a less-jokey analogy of this variety at one point:
- Non-Mammal Mammaries: The comic started with female animals being given only a few Tertiary Sexual Characteristics to distinguish them from males, but years after the comic started Mr. Griffin started giving his female animals an upper torso with curves suggestive of human-style breasts, though they're still drawn with Barbie Doll Anatomy given the comic's self-imposed rating.
- Non Sequitur, *Thud*: "After King takes a tumble down the stairs, he greets Fox with:King: Oh, hello Mr. Elephant, let's take a walk down to the gumdrop lake
- When Camel!Thomas is pulled from the rubble of the collapsed temple by Sofia:Camel!Thomas: Mommy look, I'm a Bactrian elephant
- When Camel!Thomas is pulled from the rubble of the collapsed temple by Sofia:
- No OSHA Compliance: The way to Heaven is apparently a giant golden staircase without any railings. Luckily there's an equally giant three headed dog-god standing by to catch you in her paw if you trip and fall.
- Noodle Incident: Mentioned by Peanut, about a previous, off-screen session using Tarot's psychic powers to make their imaginations tangible that resulted in an embarrassing moment for Grape.
- Also, the birth of Miles and Lucretia's cubs, as mentioned by Jack and Elaine referring specifically to Lucretia's mother being the midwife."Four Finger Discount" Jack: Funny, you'd think the woman would get weaker in her old age.
Elaine: At least that moss patch was fortuitous.
- And then there's the bet between Joel/King's parents...
- Also, the birth of Miles and Lucretia's cubs, as mentioned by Jack and Elaine referring specifically to Lucretia's mother being the midwife.
- Not Blood Siblings: While Peanut and Grape treat each other as siblings, they aren't related; they're not even the same species.
- Obfuscating Stupidity: Daisy, with her limited vocabulary consisting solely of her introducing herself by name every time she speaks. She finally drops the charade when Fox and Mungo come around to ask the members of the Good Ol' Dogs Club what they know about Sasha.
- Ocular Gushers: Sasha after a series of intentionally bad dates as a ploy by Bino to get back into Sasha's good graces after she dumped him on Valentine's Day.
- Oh, Crap!:
- Although somewhat more subtle than many Oh, Crap! faces, Sgt Ralph and Kevin get them when they see a stupendously large water balloon falling towards them in a water balloon war with the neighborhood cats.
- King gets one when Pete finds out he went to the party against Pete's orders.
- Fox does some Spontaneous Choreography after a kiss from Sasha, but his singing fits in with the song "Maria". When he realizes that...Fox: And I'm subconsciously projecting myself onto the lead of West Side Story for a reason, aren't I?
Alt-text of that comic: Tony / I'll end up in a ditch just like Tony
- Jata in this comic. Also something of a Brick Joke after Jata dismissively regarded Uncle Deadeye earlier.
- Then there's Steward and Thomas when Keene reveals he knew (a) about Steward's chicanery, and (b) about the curse that turned Thomas into a camel.
- Oh My Gods!:
- Jessica occasionally does this to Zach, even though he disagrees (like her) in the "Opener of Ways" stuff.King: ...did you call me "shorty"?
Zach: She, uhh, heard it in a rap song.
Jessica: What in your name is a rap song?
- Spirit Dragon also did this in the past.
- Jessica occasionally does this to Zach, even though he disagrees (like her) in the "Opener of Ways" stuff.
- Older Than They Look: It's been hinted at that Sabrina is older than the other pet characters in the strip. Potentially much older. This could make her relationship with Fido a Stacy's Mom situation.Grape: ...wait, how old are you?
Sabrina: Not as old as you're going to feel when you're left eating wet Citty Cibble through a straw.
- Only Six Faces: This was particularly bad during the comic's first year, but has gotten better following the style revision. It's not perfect, though; apart from a color shift and some differences in clothing, Peanut is a dead ringer for Fido.
- One Steve Limit:
- Or Was It a Dream?:
- Otaku: Joey has some signs of it. Of his group of friends, he may be the most normal.
- Overprotective Dad: From the moment Bailey told him she was pregnant, King has been getting very concerned about her and their puppies. Most fans think it shows he'll be a great dad.
- Our Angels Are Different: When Breel shows up with a halo he says he's like an angel, but that term's a little overused now. And the Alt Text references the Old Testament's angels.
- Paper-Thin Disguise:
- Where's Truck?
- Grape pretends to be Sabrina's boyfriend wearing a beard that some readers didn't even notice until it was pointed out to them.
- Pet Heirs: The six, now incredibly wealthy, ferrets inherited their fortune from the late Henry Milton.
- Planet of Steves: There lives on the block a woman who owns at least eleven Siamese cats named Mr. Bigglesworth (yes, even the girls). They're not Inexplicably Identical Individuals, but even the Bigglesworths can't always tell one another apart, or tell each other's genders.
- Playing Possum: Jessica actually does this once.Zach: Nice one, Jess! Who's the dead weight now?!
- Power Outage Plot: This comic has two separate arcs where a blizzard knocks out the neighborhood's power: Snowed In and The Hot Springs Episode (so named because Keene ordered a portable onsen and invited all the neighborhood pets)
- Power Perversion Potential: Played with here, with an added Luminescent Blush about Tarot's "imagination made real" ability combined with a suggestion of indecent exposure for Grape. It's never clarified what actually happened.
- The Pollyanna: Sasha. No matter how badly her owner treats her, she still loves him and still has a permanently happy disposition (possibly verging on Cloud Cuckoolander at times).
- Precision F-Strike: A censored version, during the 2009 Christmas arc. Then a second one. And a third. So far, King seems to be the only character allowed to swear on-screen.
- Prince and Pauper: No Pauper involved, but Millionaire Ferret Keene Milton does four months as a ferret exhibit at the Zoo while everyone thought he was vacationing in Florida.
- "Psycho" Shower Murder Parody: We get one in "Be Mine", with King taking a shower trying to get away from Sasha, followed by her "attacking" him with a scrub brush
- Punny Name: Grape pretended to be Sabrina's boyfriend Concord.note
- Also works for Uncle Rueben's horses: Action Replay, Money for Nothing, and Made of Win.
- Puppy-Dog Eyes: Sabrina knows how to get what she wants.
- Quirky Town: Babylon Gardens is owned by ferrets (through a human estate trust), and has among other "oddball" characters two housepets who are servants of celestial beings playing a Universes and Unrealities with the subdivision.
- Rail Roading: How Pete "convinces" Joel to be a part of the Game, making it sound as if there was no other option for Joel.
- Rage Breaking Point: Tarot hits one when they end up several millenia back in the past and Max asks (again) about just telling Spirit Dragon about what happens. Losing her ability to "think in four dimensions" and being unable to solve the problem at-hand really stressed her out. Maxwell was just the final straw.
- Ready for Lovemaking: When King went to his room after a dog pageant, Duchess appeared on his bed, laying in a suggestive pose with a whip and a set of pink cuffs, asking for King to snuggle with her.
- Real After All: Where did that big feather come from?
- Reality Ensues: How the "True Stories of the K9PD" arc wraps up. If Fox had just let things take their obvious course he would have worked out that Sasha's innocence was pretty obvious to everyone in his department, but automatically assumed he had to go on the run - did he really think the police he worked for were that corrupt? More likely, he just didn't think it through and wanted to be a badass action hero - a recurring joke that crops up every now & then throughout the series.
- When Kevin realizes Fox's crush on Sasha, he explains the true nature of his relationship with Sasha, which involves him building a case against her abusive owner to get her emancipated.
- On a much more depressing note, Sasha tearfully notes that she misses her previous owner. Truth in Television, as many abuse victims can attest to still loving their abusers even after being separated from them.
- While trying to determine why he transformed into a squirrel, Marion cracked open an energy drink. The caffeine did not treat him well, as his mother found him curled up on the computer desk with a serious case of the jitters.Marion: I have nothing and my heart's about to explooooode...
- When Kevin realizes Fox's crush on Sasha, he explains the true nature of his relationship with Sasha, which involves him building a case against her abusive owner to get her emancipated.
- Reality Is Unrealistic: Quoted by Rick in the comments section when someone complained that the feline fangs were too far forward in the new art style, and he responded with a Wikipedia link.
- Real Life Writes the Plot: Invoked. After the first comic in what looked to be an amusing plot arc, the author's computer broke, triggering a two-week stretch of guest strips... after which the last comic in said plot arc appeared (as if the action had continued in the absence of the author). Except the characters acknowledged that no one had actually seen any of it happen and determined to recreate it for their benefit (well, Bino did). If the author's computer hadn't broken, presumably the arc would have taken a very different course.
- Reality Warper: Tarot in the Pridelands pretend arc.
- Red Eyes, Take Warning: Bailey gets them when Bino makes the mistake of interrupting an argument between her and King: Though he doesn't have time to 'take warning'...
- Gale certainly does though. She knows better than to mess with Bailey now.
- Red Scare: When Duchess first went after King, she had Boris, a large Russian-sounding dog, approach him, asking for his purebred papers. King, who was originally a human born during the tail end of the Cold War, thought he meant something else.
- Reincarnation: Mentioned as an option for the deceased to return to Earth, presumably Breel was allowed to skip some of the normal steps as part of his reward. While Pete and Spirit Dragon were forced to be born as mortals when they both lost their bet possibly as fox kits named Craig and Draig.
- The last part is confirmed later, when a mortal version of GK reveals he is helping Craig and Draig's mother, Kix, raise them.Craig: I'll have my revenge on you yet, Kitsune.
Great Kitsune: Please, kits, call me "daddy".
Craig: STOP BEING SO WEIRD!
Great Kitsune: Stop being so weird, "daddy"
- The last part is confirmed later, when a mortal version of GK reveals he is helping Craig and Draig's mother, Kix, raise them.
- Reincarnation-Identifying Trait: Implied. The fox kits Craig and Draig have the same eye colors as ex-demigods Pete and Spirit Dragon, currently sentenced to spend a lifetime as mortals.
- Relationship Upgrade:
- Only after Grape reveals she's a girl.
- Again later when Grape says Peanut has earned the right to be "mushy" with her and it sticks.
- Nobody saw what happened with King and Bailey coming.
- Recently teased with Peanut and Tarot in an odd fashion (which makes sense considering what else recently happened):Tarot: Guess who's sleeping in the doghouse for that "normal" jab, honey?
Peanut: We don't even live together!
Tarot: We'll see about that!
- "See you around, dummy."
- Relative Error: It turns out Pete and Spirit Dragon are siblings. Apparently quite a few readers thought they were exes or something.
- Ret-Gone: Threatened.Sabrina: Fido, if you don't go in there and stop this right now, I am going to make you never born.
Fido: D...don't you mean "Wish I was—"
- The Reveal:
- That one scene.....
- Fox being revealed as a police dog in training after he tackles Bino, who was caught trying to steal things from a baby.Fox: ...well no wonder that was so easy, you're like a magnet for this!
- And finding out Dragon and Pete, now resurrected, are the fox kits Draig and Craig, respectively. We meet them at the ruins of Pete's temple.Draig: What about my temple in Egypt?
Craig: Sure! Let me just pull out my mortal superpowers to fly us there OH WAIT...
- Peanut and Grape are lovers.
- Running Gag:
- Peanut waking Grape from one of her naps when he needs her help on something.
- Also Bino getting thrashed when his jerkassery goes too far.Fox: By the way, Bino, have you ever wondered why injuring you is not grounds for expulsion?
- "Right, I'm an idiot."
- It Was All Just a Dream. Or was it?
- Bailey's pickle-and-cherry milkshake, which started out as a Wacky Cravings joke.
- Sadistic Choice: Given to King by Pete. He must either become Pete's avatar or return to life as a human. The sadistic part comes from the day he chose to give this ultimatum: King's wedding day.
- Samus Is a Girl: People often mistake Grape for a boy; she is, in fact, a girl. In fact, other cats sometimes have problems telling. Even Peanut, Grape's best friend, couldn't tell.
- Sapient Steed: Horses are on the list of sentient talking animals, so they become this. Camels later turn out to be as well.
- Screw the Rules, I Have Money!: The Milton ferrets tend to take this view, buying whatever catches their fancy even if the law or rules don't allow it:
- Having a swimming pool filled entirely with grape gelatin (or alternatively chocolate mousse).
- Keene has contemplated getting a waterfall installed in their mansion.
- Keene also plunged the entire neighborhood into an extremely grandiose water balloon war just to test out a new line of water guns.
- And of course, taken to its logical conclusion with Keene: paying off the International Court of Justice to ensure Sabrina married Jata.
- Secret Relationship: Fido and Sabrina. Fido had to reveal it on live television to prevent an Arranged Marriage from ending it. Fallout still ongoing...
- Sequel Hook: At the end of Temple Crashers 2, we find out there's another mana source in the form of Dragon's temple, which is still in Egypt. And Badger!Steward still has that one cursed coin.
- Self-Deprecation: Rick takes a swing at himself over the occasional swings between Slice of Life Romantic Comedies and fantasy that the comic sometimes takes.
- Self-Insert Fic:
- Grape writes one of these and is incredibly embarrassed when Peanut reads it.
- Peanut also lifted a chapter of Pridelands for his Spot (superdog) comic because he liked a particular minor character.
- Then things go a step further when Tarot uses her imagination...
- Shapeshifting Squick: All the King shippers seem to forget and/or ignore that he was originally a human.
- Shared Family Quirks: Fido, is dating a cat named Sabrina. His youngest brother Joey is in a relationship with Squeak... the mouse. Associating with mice is another thing the Byrons seem to have in common. Fido has grown rather attached to Spo, a mouse he was volunteered to care after, by none other than Sabrina. And we've come full circle.
- She Is Not My Girlfriend: When Keene happens upon a trapped Zach and Jessica, he assumes Jessica is Zach's girlfriend. Of course, they officially become a couple a few strips later, but in this case Zach's attempt at a denial is interrupted by an irate opossum.Keene: Got lost, Zach? Introduce me to your sweetheart some time.
Zach: She's not—
Jessica: If it isn't Mr. Moneybags—Aren't you afraid you'll break a nail out here?
- Shipper on Deck: Fox actively encourages King to get with his cousin Bailey.
- Ship Sinking: Anyone who was shipping Pete with Dragon will be distressed to learn they're brother and sister.
- Ship Tease: Peanut And Grape are teased constantly over the years until they are more upfront with Maxwell about it.
- Shout-Out: Now has its own page.
- Shovel Strike:
- Show Within a Show: Pridelands, a fictional work of which Grape is fond. Also "The Adventures of Spot (Superdog)", which uses the following tropes exclusively.
- Big "NO!": Spot (Superdog) does this when things don't go his way.
- Clark Kenting: The only difference between Spot (Superdog) and his secret identity as Spot (Professor) is a cape and a pair of glasses. Even the name's the same!
- Get a Hold of Yourself, Man!: Attempted by Stripe.
- Intercontinuity Crossover: In-Universe, Peanut is fond of crossing the Pridelands books with his Super Hero, Spot (Superdog).
- Large Ham: Spot (Superdog) has his moments.
- New Powers as the Plot Demands: This comic and Spot's last line.
- Terrible Artist: Peanut's drawings are about on par with those of a stereotypical five year old.
- When Things Spin, Science Happens: Touched on here.
- Why Don't Ya Just Shoot Him?: Played with in this comic.
- Shy Finger-Twiddling: Peanut is prone to doing this.
- Sleep Cute: More than one snuggle scene in this comic.
- Slice of Life: A lot of the non-arc content, and even many of the early arcs, can be chalked up to this. It's even lampshaded at one point.
- Sliding Scale of Animal Communication: Almost all animals can talk with one another and with humans, with no real issues with understanding one another (besides geographical language barriers, such as Thomas and Sofia, as well as Satau initially). There is some confusion among livestock, though, as the horses imply that some (like cows) do not. This is discussed at one point among Uncle Reuben's horses and Peanut.Action Replay: Hey City Dog, how come you didn't want to come riding with yer cat friend?
Peanut: Uh, that's complicated. I guess I didn't expect domesticated ungulates to be so...expressive?
Action Replay: We get that a lot from city pets
Money for Nothing: They come down and expect all hoofed animals to be blithering idiots, don't know why they lump us horses into that
Made of Win: I blame the media—they keep portraying us as four-legged bicycles.
- Sliding Scale of Anthropomorphism: Of the Civilized Animal school.
- Smart People Wear Glasses: Miles (who somehow managed to get a pair of reading glasses while in the wild), and Marvin (while calculating Tiger's nutrition rates in this strip.
- Soap Punishment: Bailey gives King this once.
- Something Else Also Rises: Zach's ears and tail when Jessica kisses him.
- Something Only They Would Say:
- Subverted when Marion, who has been transformed into a female squirrel, tells his girlfriend Lois a deeply embarrassing story from his past in an effort to prove this squirrel is really him
but the idea that such a transformation could take place is simply so ridiculous that she jumps to a more logical conclusion instead.Lois: Marion told you about that?
- Marion gets his revenge later on, by popping this same question when Lois has been transformed into a bobcat herself, right before Marion's eyes.Lois: I swear I will eat you.
- Subverted when Marion, who has been transformed into a female squirrel, tells his girlfriend Lois a deeply embarrassing story from his past in an effort to prove this squirrel is really him but the idea that such a transformation could take place is simply so ridiculous that she jumps to a more logical conclusion instead.
- Something We Forgot: King gets this feeling when the group sails from Australia back home. That's because they forgot Bruce and Roosevelt.
- Totally averted, but played seriously by Peanut. He can't remember how many puppies he had to babysit for King and Bailey, but since he can't get a straight answer he continues to worry endlessly until the poor guy is left shaking out of needless worry until King and Bailey come home.
- Spider-Sense: When a hunky cheetah steps out of a taxi cab that brought him to Babylon Gardens, Grape comments that her "hunk sense" is tingling, to which Peanut replies "That's Spider-Man's power, actually."
- Spit Take:
- Spontaneous Choreography: Somewhat here (Neither one knows who "Uncle Reuben" is, yet they're dancing about going to see him.)
- Stable Time Loop:
- Peanut had unwittingly set up a stable time loop during the PsyCon2: PsyConner arc by telling his past self he visited the Gate of Mystery after he, himself, traveled through it due to his future self telling him he went through it.
- It's implied that Dragon's crush on Peanut is the result of him failing to hide himself in time behind the lantern that's supposed to hide his presence (as he isn't supposed to be within the time period he was accidentally sent to alongside the rest of his friends).
- Stacy's Mom: When caught in a trap set up by Poncho and North Star, who are essentially adolescents with no experience in the outside world, Gale starts flattering them to distract them while her son Pueblo cuts her free. Both fall for it hook, line, and sinker.
- Stalker Shrine: Natalie, a wolf who acts like a sullen teen, is shown to have one for Fido, which she quickly changes to Satau after running into him.
- Starving Student: Implied in this strip as the reason Itsuki invites the Sandwich family to his apartment. He also invokes the trope during a hot dog eating contest.
- Stealth Pun:
- The "father" of the Sandwich household is named "Earl". His full name has never been said in-comic.
- There's also an Uncle Reuben.
- The main two characters, also in the Sandwich family, are ingredients for a sandwich.
- And then there's the "mother", Jill.note
- Stock Animal Name: The Messrs. and Misses Mr. Bigglesworth, a group of identical Siamese cats.
- Stock Animal Diet: Invoked on occasion with the mice. Squeak has to tell her boyfriend Joey that the "mice like cheese" thing is a stereotype. And when Fido first gets Spo some oats instead of that, he states that he can't stand cheese.
- Stop Being Stereotypical: Kangaroos Bruce and Roosevelt are expected by the zoo staff to speak in incredibly cringeworthy Australian lingo when patrons are in earshot. They despise every second of it.Grape: Guys, it's okay! We're regulars.
Bruce: Oh thank goodness! Every single word feels like throwing up!
Roosevelt: "Shrimp on the barbie?" We're herbivores!
- Straight Gay: Bruce and Roosevelt, the kangaroos that work at the zoo, cuddle while watching manly sports together. In case you're wondering how we know they're a couple.◊
- An addendum to the above. Now with more couple-yness.
- Sunk Cost Fallacy: Invoked by Lois after she and Marion have been turned into animals.
- Surprise Creepy: If it were ever possible in text form, then the little demon that befriended Keene in "Temple Crashers 2" pulled it off when it agreed to help Keene and Breel escape "the bad place":Demon: I found Breel! He's chained!
Keene: That's nice, but I can't do anything about it unless I had my cap...
Demon: I can get cap for you! Just take me to Earth!
Keene: Fine! Whatever! Just be quiet about—
Demon: THEN THE CONTRACT IS SEALED
Keene: (widens eyes)
- Suspiciously Specific Denial: Peanut certainly did not see Bino's shock collar remote.
- Take That!: Any page that has Tiger or Marvin "Arbelt" is almost certainly a parody of Garfield.The cast page for Tiger: I hate Thursdays. I like pizza. I hate cockroaches. I like my teddy bear Poom. Thats characterization, right?
- Several of Peanut's Spot(Superdog) comic strips are pretty much Rick taking jabs at storylines or plot elements of questionable quality from superhero comics. This storyline is a Take That towards Superman: Grounded, for instance.
- The Shout-Out to Ghostbusters is followed immediately by a take-that to Star Trek V: The Final Frontier.Keene: Excellent use of a Ghostbusters reference.
Res: It was either that or a Star Trek V allusion.
Keene: You made the right call.
- Tarot Troubles: Discussed in this strip, where Tarot explains to Peanut the real meaning of the "Death" card, and adds that "The Tower" is the card that really signifies actual death.
- Tempting Fate: While looking out the window to his office, Keene claims in this strip that the water war he started couldn't be stopped with all the water in the neighborhood. The sky then opens up in a torrential downpour.
- Terrible Interviewees Montage: When King is looking for a babysitter for his pups.
- Tertiary Sexual Characteristics:
- That Was Not a Dream: Standard celestial policy - after a mortal has a run-in with one of the Cosmic Nerds they are told to "wake up" and immediately do so in their bed. However an item is always left which tells the mortal it was not a dream.
- Thief Bag: The Milton Ferrets award the contest prize to Daisy in a traditional white sack with a dollar sign on it, which is lampshaded by Rick in the comic's title.
- Thinking Tic: Happens a few times. Of note is Tarot's when thing of how to emulate his chemistry with Grape. You can practically hear the cogs turning.
- The Last of These Is Not Like the Others: Listen, learn, avoid being eaten by an eleven-headed grognak, and be polite.
- Third-Person Person: Spot (Superdog) in this comic
- This Is My Human: Many of the animals treat their owners more like parents, although this isn't universal.
- Those Two Guys: Tiger and Marvin, who spend most of their time either in one-off hijink comics or as crowd extras. They're virtually always seen together, though. Tiger got his own arc in mid-2014 that at least gives him (and presumably Marvin by extension) a bit more character and roundness.
- Through a Face Full of Fur: This is a Furry Webcomic, after all. In one comic, Peanut's entire face turned red from embarrassment.
- Time Skip: Towards the end of the "Real Stories of the K9PD" arc after the central conflict has been resolved, the comic skips ahead six months to Christmastime since it began in July 2016 and ran until December 21 even though the story itself took no more than a full day to happen. Lampshaded in the title of the strip that takes place six months later.
- Tiny Guy, Huge Girl: King and Bailey, a Corgi and Husky couple.
- Tongue Trauma: When Kevin walks in on Fox and Sasha smooching, Fox bites Sasha's tongue.
- Totally Radical: Gale sarcastically pulls one on her cub Pablo, which would be weird enough but at that point she basically has North Star's lovestruck body entwined with hers, essentially seducing two wolves when she's really just playing on how gullible she said they were in the previous strip.Pueblo: Hey Mom, I think you broke [Poncho's] brain.
Gale: [holding North Star] Nah, that's how young adults be sometimes.
Pueblo: Eww, MOM! Stop being so weird!
- Too Incompetent to Operate a Blanket: Parodied in this strip, the ad selling a product aimed at people supposedly too stupid to operate a regular drinking glass.
- Too Much Information: Apparently, All of Joey's personal life elicits this kind of reaction.
- Trial by Combat: Jata invokes this trope to the T twice for Sabrina. Not hard for him, seeing how built and well-trained he is.
- True Meaning of Christmas: The pets sometimes try to debunk the idea behind Santa.
- TV Never Lies: The occasional one-off strip involves unusually truthful TV commercials.
- Uncanny Valley: Referenced in this strip with the CGI Dick Clark.
- Unflinching Walk: Played with in this strip with the characters doing this away from a massive water balloon explosion, in the story arc "The Great Water Balloon War", complete with Cool Shades for extra coolness points.
- Universal Translator: The justification for how Satau, one of the Spirit Dragon's past avatars who accidentally got himself trapped into the future, managed to suddenly learn modern day English. This is a spell cast by Sabrina, in case you're wondering.
- Unsettling Gender Reveal: Happens with Grape, both to Peanut and Maxwell.
- Unsound Effect:
- Played with here in the first "Imaginate!" story, with Grape and Peanut using a sign reading "Explosion!".
- The "explosion" of the big water balloon towards the end of the "The Great Water Balloon War" story arc uses "EXPLOOSHION!" as Peanut, Grape, and Zach emerge with an Unflinching Walk.
- Poor Max gets BOOT not once but twice!
- Unwanted False Faith: The woodland critters following Zach as the "Opener of Ways".
- Valentine's Day Episode: Every Valentine's Day brings a set of four paper valentines featuring characters from the strip. They're mostly meant as jokes, but they're also provided in a large printable format so you can give them out.
- Vocal Dissonance: After nearly a decade, the comic implies that the ferrets have stereotypically small voices. This was previously Played for Laughs with Alan and the Ground Squirrels but only recently confirmed with the ferrets.Keene: Hey, at least you don't say literally everything in a small, squeaky voice.
- Vomit Discretion Shot: In this strip King loses his lunch after a stomach-upsetting trip on an amusement park ride, with the resultant spew out of view of the audience.King: The spirit is willing, but the flesh is a leaky chemical quagmire.
- Vomit Indiscretion Shot: We don't see the act, but we do see the vomit.
- Wacky Cravings: Way to freak out your husband, Bailey.note
- Later, when it's for real... note
- Wall of Text: In this strip Sabrina's explanation of her past produces a wall of text separating the second and third panels; lampshaded by the Alt Text.Alt Text: Yes, it is literally a wall of text between panels 2 and 3. Get your tl;drs ready
- Water Guns and Balloons: Housepets had an entire story arc based on a water balloon war, "The Great Water Balloon War", between the titular creatures that was used to parody military and wartime tropes, starting here.
- Webcomic Time: Lampshaded herenote Fido: —FOX! Er, when did you get back from Kansas?
Fox: Uh, like the first week of January? I don't ask to be the center of your attention but come on
- Wedding Day: King and Bailey. Plus a Bouquet Toss caught by Tarot.Grape (to Maxwell): Maybe we could get married sometime.
- Wham Episode: This series has several of them, each of them changing the comic forever, as more and more of the plot is revealed:
- The first is very early, setting up the possibility for romance between Grape and Peanut, the two original protagonists of the comic. That entire arc sets up Peanut's "cat lover" status, as well as displaying the prejudices of the pet world.
- The second is A Sinister Shadow, the first real darkness in the comic, where the status of pets as people is first seriously questioned, as well as showing the first human face in the form of Joel. While not obvious at the time, this arc kicked off the second major conflict of the comic, the status of pets in the human world.
- The third became evident with this comic from Oops I Arced. A dream that had occurred earlier in the comic had Grape meeting a gryphon named Pete, and when she woke up, she had a gigantic feather from it despite it being (supposedly) a dream sequence. This was later followed up by the appearance of Tarot, who confirmed that magic existed in-universe, but the girl seemed a bit crazy. However, the existence of Pete was confirmed by the aforementioned comic from Oops I Arced, setting off another central conflict to the comic as Pete is unleashed, and then turns Joel (from the A Sinister Shadow arc) into a dog and gives him the name of King. Rather than being an odd one-off event, King becomes the third major protagonist of the comic, with many arcs following his struggle of fitting into the world of pets as an ex-human.
- King's arc gained special significance a few arcs later, with dog days of summer revealing that Tarot is actually the avatar of a higher order being, a Dragon who is Pete's counterpart. She seems much more benevolent than Pete, but, along with the Great Kitsune, ultimately it is revealed that all three of the higher order beings - the gryphon, the dragon, and the kitsune - are ultimately playing games with the lives of mortals, and not only is King caught in the middle of it, but Tarot is shown to be not just a silly creature, but actually the avatar of a being of immense power. King rejects his role as a mere piece in a game run by bored demigods, and as such is set off on his own, stuck as a dog until the game is over, but given the promise of a reward at the end of the game, as all avatars receive. It is also implied that the dragon has an interest in Peanut beyond Tarot's interest, with the demigod herself wanting to be his girlfriend.
- The next lies in Imaginate, Too!, when Grape reveals that she knew that Peanut had a crush on her all along, and the pair are forced to attempt to articulate what their relationship means to each of them. When Peanut eventually fesses up to the fact that he wants to be her boyfriend, Grape challenges him as to what more he could want - and declares that he is her best friend in the world, before kissing him. This adds a great deal of ambiguity to their relationship, as from there on the pair are seen snuggling periodically, calling into question both of their extant relationships as well as the exclusivity of it. While it is obvious that Grape and Peanut are taking their boyfriend and girlfriend considerably more casually than humans do, other relationships in the comic range from being of similar seriousness (Bino and Sasha) to being much more serious (Fido and Sabrina), and it is not really clear that Maxwell understands the depth of their relationship - though Tarot said from the very beginning that Grape could take him if she was willing to reject Maxwell, something she didn't want to do.
- More than twenty arcs later, the Trial in Heaven reveals that not all is what it seems with the game of the gods. While Pete had been shown time and again to be a jerk, self-concerned, conceited, and ultimately appearing to care little for mortals, this is all turned on its ear as it is revealed that not only does Pete care, or at least has cared about mortals in the past, but it is revealed that the Dragon is not the kind-hearted creature that she seems - it is heavily implied that not only has she been meddling in the affairs of mortals, but in their love lives, with two of her followers dating two creatures that Pete was interested in, and the ex-boyfriend of one of said followers dating a third - all conveniently ruining Pete's own plans, but implying that all of their relationships may be, to some extent, a sham set up by the Dragon to prevent Pete from winning. Worse still, it is implied that the goal of the game that Pete and the Dragon had disagreed upon hinged upon the equivalence of humans and the other animals which inhabit the world - and Pete, not the Dragon, was on the side of the equivocation of human and animalkind, with the Dragon opposed to it. Thus, rather than the black and white conflict as it had appeared before, both sides were painted in gray - Pete is a jerk, but the comic is meant to lead the readers to sympathize with the pets, and King's arc in particular shows the difficulty of the transisition between human to animal - as well as the fundamental difference between the mindset of many animals and many humans, though the wolves had also worked to blur that line in the other direction by living as people, and far more responsible people than the ferrets, their benefactors, do. It also sets up for Pete having some sort of backup plan, but because of the Unspoken Plan Guarantee, we still don't know whether it has come to fruition.
- Who can forget about Jungle Fever? This Arc focuses on Fido who finally confess his love of the cat name Sabrina in front of everyone in Babylon Gardens. Some are shocked while some already knew that.
- The big storyline of 2014, Heaven's Not Enough. King has finally figured out that Pete still has an ace up his sleeve, which in a condensed form means that Pete is not forfeiting the cosmic game he's playing. Furthermore, he doesn't actually need him to fight as his avatar. However, it doesn't stop Pete from continuing on with his contract to King, just to torture him some more. Except, in a completely unexpected twist, Bailey takes the fall for King and signs Pete's contract, becoming his avatar. Now she has been whisked away to who-knows-where to duel against Spirit Dragon, where it is expected that she will be gone for a very long time from reality's point of view. Then Fox finds out who his best friend really is...
- The arc takes on three parts. In Part 2, King and Fox head to Heaven so King can sort things out with the higher-ups. While King has a cryptic meet-and-greet with the big boss, Bahamut, Fox has a dalliance with two female husky angels. Part 3 has King disrupting the Cosmic Game and bringing it to its conclusion, leading to both Dragon and Pete losing their wager, and King winning permanent status as a dog.
- In 2016, Arc 100 is The 4 Animals You Meet in Heaven, where Keene suddenly finds himself dead. Those four animals: a marten masseuse named Breel; the previously-known Cerberus; his mother; and his owner, Henry Milton, who has decided in Heaven to become a ferret himself. In the end, Cerberus discovers that Keene met his end prematurely, and sends him back to a moment shortly before his death, when his limousine was pushed into a reservoir, allowing him to escape alive.
- Then the grand year-and-a-half-long "Temple Crashers 2" arc, where Keene tries to invade the temple to get to its mana and fulfill Henry Milton's dream of human and animal equality, and only opens up several cans of worms as he gets the pets of Babylon Gardens and the denizens of Heaven involved.
- Wham Line:
Lois: Marion?... My head feels kinda... fuzzy...
- Joel: "I was kidnapped by my own pets once." Made more dramatic by the fact that this page is the first time that an entire human face is shown.
- Later on Joel's alter ego King gets one when Tarot tells him " Sorry, I don't date humans."
- Jungle Fever has this: " READ MY LIPS YOU TACKY FUTURE TAXIDERMY! I AM IN LOVE WITH SABRINA D'ANGELO!"
- "Heaven's Not Enough" has THREE Wham Lines:
- " O Pete who art in Heaven... I Have a great burden on my mind, and I cannot bear it any longer... ...So I'm calling your bluff, MOTHER PHEASANT."
- Bailey: "TAKE ME INSTEAD!" (Pete's original Cosmic-Dn D gamepiece was going to be King, until Bailey took the fall for him.)
- Upon Fox finding out his best friend is Joel: "...King?"
- "Well don't worry. Wherever we end up, your big sister will take care of you."Pete: That only dredges up emotions worse than fear.
Dragon: Yeah, I know.
- Then at the End of Year Seven, we learn that Bailey is pregnant with a litter of THREE puppies!Bailey: I usually don't go for fried food, but I am eating for four now!
King: *Heroic BSoD*
Bailey: Did I forget to mention that?
- "Isn't that Kevin's girlfriend?"note
- "Oh, hey Thomas. Enjoying the curse I conveniently forgot to tell Steward about?"
- Part 1 of "Save the Date" ends on a line that quickly turns out to be a subversion when it turns out the real conflict is that Peanut mistakenly thinks King and Bailey had four puppies, not three.Peanut: Hey, Grape? How many pups did we start with?
- Maxwell didn't know Peanut and Grape were lovers. Grape then has to assure him with this line:Grape: Maxie, I told you about my feelings for Peanut ages ago and you said it was "super cute"
Maxwell: Well it is, but this is a bit explicit!
- My Life as a Teenage Squirrel, Part 4, ends with Lois, the human girlfriend of the formerly-human squirrel Marion suddenly transforming into an anthropomorphic bobcat, due to Pete's curse.
- What Are Records?:
- What Happened to the Mouse?: What a number of readers were asking after this scene in the Imaginate version of Guys and Dolls.
- Where the Hell Is Springfield?: Someone coughs over the name of the state during King and Bailey's wedding ceremony.
- Who Wants to Live Forever?: At the end of "Temple Crashers 2", Breel wants to stay on Earth and be with Keene.Cerberus (Left Head): Oh dear, I think going to the bad place might have given him some serious trauma.
Cerberus (Center Head): I'm gonna have a word with Kitsune about screwing up the souls I let him borrow.
- Whole Episode Flashback: The arcs "Housepets Babies!" and "The Maxwell Thing".
- Wide Eyes and Shrunken Irises: Happens to Peanut with his Sanity Slippage since he forgot how many pups King and Bailey had.
- Wimp Fight: What Maxwell and Bino's 'fight' resulted in.Rick: Ok i'll be honest, I pretty much drew this just for panel three.
- Wrestler in All of Us: When trying to prevent Peanut from answering the door before her, she hoisted him up and away in a German Suplex.
- Writer's Block: Played for Laughs when Peanut gets it in a one-off:Grape: Hey Peanut, what're you—
Peanut: NOTHING! I HAVE NOTHING! I HAVEN'T BEEN ABLE TO THINK OF A SINGLE NEW OR ORIGINAL THING FOR THE LAST 12 HOURS! I'VE DRIED UP! THE MUSE IS GONE! I'LL NEVER BE ABLE TO WRITE ANYTHING EVER AGAIN, FOREVER! (runs off screaming)
- X Meets Y: In universe, it seems that the Pridelands series is The Lion King meets Warrior Cats.
- Your Favorite: In one of his intros to an early strip, Rick mentions that Bino's favorite food is pizza.
- Your Princess Is in Another Castle!: While the Cosmic Chess Game is over, and subsequently Pete's temple (the one Henry Milton bought) was destroyed, it's been established that Dragon also has a castle somewhere out there. Chances are good it'll eventually come into play.
- Your Television Hates You: Some inconvenient scheduling affects a snowed-in Bruce and Roosevelt in "Snowed In, Part Two":Bruce: Sure the power's out, but we got food, we got blankets, we got each other, and it's not like we have any place to be! What's got you riled up?
Roosevelt: What was the marathon we just watched? The Thing, The Shining, Storm of the Century, 30 Days of Night, Misery—
Bruce: You could have changed the channel at any time!