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  • Continuity Lock-Out: The strip is infamous for this; should be noted though that Trudeau at least attempted to reach out to new readers brought in via the maiming of BD, by repackaging his arc (and that of Toggle, a soldier who was partially blinded while serving in Iraq) into graphic novel format comics. But for those who are trying follow the main comic after reading the books, they will be massively confused.
  • Creator's Pet: Roland Hedley's Twitter obsession was rammed down readers throats for nearly two years and culminated in a "Best of Roland Hedley's Twitter Posts" book being released in the strip and in real life.
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    • Similarly, the Red Rascal storyline has been criticized as another way for Jeff Redfern to be pushed down fans throats. Unusual, though, for a Creator's Pet to be deliberately portrayed as a Jerkass.
  • Ensemble Dark Horse:
    • Mel, an army mechanic who B.D. befriended while seeking treatment for his post-traumatic stress disorder after the loss of his leg has become incredibly popular with fans to the point that she has received several major storylines within the strip.
    • Duke too.
    • Gary Trudeau considers Alex to be an ensemble darkhorse; in a recent interview with Charlie Rose, he talked about how shocked he was when he found out that fans liked her over Zipper and Jeff Redfern as far as the "next generation" characters that took over the strip in the early '00s.
    • Kim is quite popular too despite limited appearances. In fact, there are many readers who have left comments on the Doonesbury website saying how great it would be for Kim and Mike to have a child.
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  • Family-Unfriendly Aesop: The whole point of Mister Butts' existence.
  • "Funny Aneurysm" Moment: While Zonker was a member of the British House of Lords in the eighties he led the lords in a chorus of "Ding Dong, The Witch is Dead" after voting down a piece of Margaret Thatcher's legislation. After Thatcher's death in 2013 Conservatives tried to get the BBC to temporarily ban the song, because anti-Thatcher brits kept requesting it to be played.
  • Harsher in Hindsight: The "Return to Reagan's Brain" storyline, during the Iran-Contra investigations, given that Reagan was probably in the early stages of Alzheimer's at the time.
  • Hilarious in Hindsight: The strip portrayed "Proconsul" John Negroponte as wanting to take over the administration of Iraq when Paul Bremer was still in charge, well before he actually was put in charge in real life.
    • An April 2010 story arc beginning here that heavily involved a Captain Ersatz of Pinkie Pie is either this or "Funny Aneurysm" Moment, depending on whether you're a Brony or not.
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    • A storyline that took place during the Royal Wedding of Prince William and Kate Middleton involved some of the characters attending the ceremony and the character Sam being corralled into a holding area for "American girls who think they're going to marry Prince Harry" after successfully convincing security to let her in on the grounds that she was "destined" to marry him herself. Meghan Markle, the woman who would later become Harry's fiancée, is American.
    • In a 1992 comic strip in which Boopsie has given birth to a girl, she tells B.D. that the baby is "a perfect saint", and that "Her higher self told me that in her previous life, she was Mother Teresa," before B.D. tells her that "Mother Teresa's still alive." Although Mother Teresa died in 1997, five years after this comic, it would take another 19 years before she became St. Teresa of Calcutta. A bit of a perfect saint, regardless.
  • Misaimed Fandom: Alex apparently is this according to Gary Trudeau; to the point that he was shocked at the extent that fans liked her and considered her the "normal one" of the three main Gen Y characters he let take over the strip in the early '00s.
  • The Scrappy: Benjamin Doonesbury aka Sal Putrid; Mike's younger brother was introduced as a replacement for Mike to continue doing college based stories when the main cast graduated.
  • "Seinfeld" Is Unfunny: The strip's humor might seem stale and unoriginal because of many, many imitators.
  • Tear Jerker: Andy Lippincott's quiet death, as "Wouldn't It Be Nice" is playing from the newly-released CD version of Pet Sounds by The Beach Boys.
    • Dick Davenport, who dies alone but gets the picture he set out to get moments before his death.
  • True Art Is Incomprehensible: Almost everything J.J. makes falls under this.
  • The Woobie: Rick Redfern, who's currently been taken from an award winning newspaper journalist to unpaid blogger, and whose son continues to wave it in Rick's face that he's profiting from lying.
    • From Bad to Worse: Jeff is now getting a book deal after writing one based on his Red Rascal fantasies. So even after Jeff lost his credibility as the real rascal, he's still getting money and for what Rick is currently forced to do for free.
    • Mel also counts. Every time she appears to have successfully recovered from the trauma of being raped, something happens that causes her progress to backslide (like when she is given a desk job with a male superior, one who is unaware that she had been sexually assaulted and starts hovering over her and asking her to work late hours with him).


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