Follow TV Tropes


Webcomic / Lovely People

Go To
From left to right: Marigold, Peony and Peppermint

Lovely People is a Furry Webcomic written by A Redtail's Dream and Stand Still, Stay Silent author Minna Sundberg.

The webcomic is set in a future world with a social credit system in place. The story begins right as the so-far opaque system becomes transparent and allows people to see both their scores and how many points they actually gain or lose through their words and behavior. The plot focuses on a group of three Best Friends, Peony, Marigold and Peppermint. Peony, the only one of the three still living the single life, intends to boost her score by becoming an influencer promoting the products of Alizongle, the MegaCorp with which World Council is cooperating to provide gifts and various financial rewards to people with high enough ratings. Marigold is a Happily Married House Wife and devoted Bible reader whose husband works at Alizongle. Peppermint is a teacher and single mother of three whose teenage daughter, Lavender, is a few weeks away from being old enough to have her own Alizongle account and social credit score. Out of love of her two friends, Peony is all too happy that her future high scores will affect theirs, as well.

However, that new transparency also shows a darker side of the "good person" ideal Alizongle and the World Council are promoting. This results in Peppermint finding herself needing to manage the fact that the parents of one of her students are political dissidents and the aspect of the system rewarding people for reading starts treating some books as less acceptable to read than others. The fact that the political dissidents are devout Christians and the censorship affects Marigold's Bible reading are good indications of the direction in which the story goes all while being a commentary on how a social credit system can go wrong.

The Alizongle content warnings for the webcomic are the following:

  • Author Tract: The comic makes no secret of having a strongly Christian message. Not only are severe penalties assigned for reading the Bible, but it's replaced with a more politically correct "2.0" version. The entire idea of social credit is criticized in the afterword, which says that people are infinitely sinful, and that only Jesus' sacrifice for our sins could redeem them.
  • Bait-and-Switch: The comic starts out as an exploration of the many dangers and potential abuses of Social Credit type systems but pretty quickly focuses solely on the threat that such a system would pose to evangelical Christianity.
  • Bland-Name Product: There's a social media platform called "Tooter," and a public transportation service called "Buuber." Alizongle's name also sounds like this trope applied to the hypothetical fusion between a certain big online retailer and a certain big search engine.
  • Blatant Lies:
    • After learning that her husband lent their copy of the Bible to a friend, Marigold goes to see the friend. After learning that the friend's situation is rather dire, and she can't access "disputed" material, Marigold claims that she has two more Bibles at home, and lets the friend keep hers.
    • After getting herself declared an Un-person, Peony leaves through the window of her apartment due to being unable to use the door, and tells her neighbors that she accidentally put superglue in the lock.
  • Bread and Circuses: After Bible study is downgraded to zero points, Marigold suffers the temptation to read all the other more 'positive' media on her e-reader: fur-grooming, ear perking, and makeup style guidelines.
  • By "No", I Mean "Yes": After Peony mentions that it's possible to gain points by buying Alizongle products and posting them on social media.
    Marigold: How much have you spent?
    Peony: Not that much! Maybe a few thousand bucks so far.
    Peppermint: Well, I'll take the non-bankrupting path.
  • Capitalism Is Bad: The biggest component of Social Credit is relentless conspicuous consumption of government approved goods.
  • Crapsaccharine World: The world seems like a good place to live, but is actually a nightmarish dystopia that enforces conformity and quickly turns dissenters into pariahs who can't even buy necessities.
  • Disaster Dominoes: The aspect of the system that has friends and family impact each other's scores is shown to cause this. Officially, it's meant to encourage people to keep those around them from doing things that lower their scores too much. In practice, it means that a person's score can be impacted by someone to whom they have no official relationship because they have a mutual connection (e.g. Cinnamon's brother to Marigold at some point in the past, Marigold's husband and Lavender to Peony in the story proper). It also means that being cut off by a high-score friend for having a low score results in a further drop in score. Marigold's husband also suffers this; by reading the Bible on the train, his score falls so low that he's forced to get off early and walk home. Before long, his score falls so low that he can't rent a bike, and he gets further penalized for being out after dark despite trying to get home.
  • Fair-Weather Friend: Peony's friends, with the exception of Marigold and Peppermint, only care about associating with her because she has a high score. When they abandon her in droves once her score starts to drop, she calls them out on their disloyalty.
  • Fascists' Bed Time: Below a certain score, people are under curfew.
  • Fictional Age of Majority: People get their own account at age fifteen. They are dependent on their parents up to that point. The latter is implied by Peppermint's first reaction to her score being having her suspicions about the reason her twin sons were rejected from the premium pre-school confirmed.
  • Forgiveness: A major part of the comic, which is natural given its Christian messages. Marigold's husband forgives her for denying her faith, saying that God forgave Peter for doing the same thing. Peony's friends forgive her for unfriending them after she ruins her own formerly robust credit score and goes into exile with them.
  • Greater Need Than Mine: When Marigold tries to get her hands on her paper Bible to get around the high penalty to listening to the Alizongle audiobook, she finds out that the friend who borrowed it has a score too low to be allowed to consult any electronic version and decides to let her keep it.
  • Half-Dressed Cartoon Animal: This is the case for both sexes. While some female garments look like dresses on their own, they cover as much as male top-only outfits when actually worn.
  • Honorary Uncle: Peony is a honorary aunt to Peppermint's children. Peppermint calls her "Aunt Peony" while talking about her to Lavender as a potential mentor for getting an early boost in her account.
  • Lecture as Exposition: Peppermint is a preschool teacher, which allows the one class she's shown teaching to inform the reader of a few basic facts about the Social Credit system.
  • MegaCorp: Alizongle, the retailer from which people should buy everything if they want good scores. There is no indication of retailers who aren't associated with Alizongle in some way existing at all.
  • Never My Fault: Tooter's advice on apology videos encourages people to claim that they didn't understand what they were saying, that they were tricked into saying it, or that their account was hacked. Averted with Peony, who expresses actual remorse and takes responsibility for her actions, just not for what Tooter wants her to apologize for.
  • No Fame, No Wealth, No Service: Taken to the extreme with the social credit system. The one restaurant seen in the story has different sections depending the customer's social credit and those with a too low score can lose the ability to purchase necessities.
  • Not Hyperbole: This turns out to be the case with "garbage people". There turns out to be section for them in the restaurant in which the main trio is seen at the beginning, but take a wild guess as what it's right next to.
  • One World Order: The ruling government is simply called the World Council, implying the entire world is ruled by a single political entity.
  • Pass the Popcorn: One of Peony's social media "friends" munches on popcorn when watching her "apology" video, apparently finding the whole thing amusing.
  • Pauper Patches: The Un-person encountered by Peppermint and Lavender has patches on her clothing as one of the signs that she hasn't been able to get new clothes for some time.
  • Plot-Mandated Friendship Failure: Just before the climax, Peony unfriends Marigold and Peppermint after the latter two ruin their credit scores, lest she lose her coveted Gold status by being associated with them. She regrets this decision almost immediately, and gets herself unpersoned before joining them in exile.
  • Political Overcorrectness: Everything surrounding the 2.0 update of the electronic version of the Bible is depicted as the inclusiveness policy of the ruling entities going too far. The Bible is first made to bring no points upon being read, then reading it takes points away. Next comes the 2.0 update, that people have to accept to not lose even more points. What little is revealed of the new content is portrayed in a negative light.
  • Professional Butt-Kisser: Praising the World Council on social media is an easy way to get points, but only if the algorithm decides the comment is sincere, which means people need to put real work into such posts if they are only after the score boost. Peony, who has the highest score among her group of friends, doesn't necessarily like the World Council; she's merely the best at saying what they want to hear.
  • "The Reason You Suck" Speech: Peony gives one to her "friends" on Tooter when they denounce her for posting anti-Alizongle messages, while recording an "apology video" as requested.
    "WHAT?!! You think you're BETTER than me!?! Oh, you're SUUUUCH good people! You're TOOOTALLY not fakers like I am! You totally weren't my "friends" because my score was good, and you didn't abandon me as soon as it went down! You know who wouldn't have abandoned me? My BEST FRIENDS, who I totally abandoned! Also, you wanna know what I really think of the World Council and Alizongle? This! (moons the camera)
  • Socially Scored Society: The comic is set in a society where the social ranking has just been made transparent, and the protagonists aim to improve their scores because those with high scores are rewarded (for example, a restaurant seen segregates by ranking). It becomes apparent that the social credit system helps push less savory societal conventions, since people are reluctant to act against them.
  • Strawman News Media: Journalists are verified by the World Council, and serve as mouthpieces for their propaganda.
  • Symbol Swearing: When Marigold's husband tells her the story of Peter denying Jesus three times, the part when Peter "began to invoke a curse on himself and to swear," is represented with an asterisk, ampersand, star and X.
  • Take That!: Tooter's advising people to make excuses in their apology video is clearly a shot at YouTube apology videos.
  • Un-person: The term is shown to be used for people whose score is so low they can't buy food. The system greatly discourages interacting with them in any way and tells upstanding citizens that such people are threats to society who are refusing to change for the better. Peony is implied to become one after doing something that definitely tanked her score into the high negatives, as she is promptly mistaken for a squatter in her own appartment, her phone resets to a state in which it acts as if it has no owner and the phone belonging to someone checking on her claims she doesn't exist.
  • Unstable Equilibrium: The fact that one's Social Credit score impacts that of one's friends, both positively and negatively, leads to situations like this. People with high scores will have an easier time making friends, since connecting with such people is beneficial for one's score. People with low scores suffer the opposite, with their friends and family cutting ties with those people to protect their own scores.
  • YouTuber Apology Parody: When Peony comes under fire for posting anti-Alizongle messages on Tooter, the site suggests that she make an apology video, advising her to say things like, "I didn't understand what I was saying!" "I was tricked into saying it!" or "My account was hacked!". Peony ignores this advice and proceeds to make an angry rant and moon the camera.
  • Your Approval Fills Me with Shame: After Peony unfriends Marigold and Peppermint, she is rather unhappy to see her so-called "friends" praise her decision on social media.
  • Your Makeup Is Running: Peony's makeup starts running when she cries after unfriending her two best friends.