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  • Acceptable Targets:
    • Promiscuity isn't portrayed very flatteringly (Raven is a ditz and serves as a comical role despite justifying herself as an Ethical Slut, and Sven is shown as a sex-obsessed cad and man-whore), hipsters (especially ones who take themselves too seriously), indie snobs, and stupid people.
    • Sven is an embodiment of a few, being depicted as a sleazy womanizer and a writer of country music. He's rarely given sympathy because of these aspects, but the former is treated more seriously.
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    • Averted by Jimbo, who despite his white-trash, redneck persona clearly isn’t as dumb as he looks. He seems to be a successful author of So Bad, It's Good Chick Lit (Tai appears to be a particular fan of this) and outdoes Sven in the “crass country music titles” department.
    • Furries often get a bad rap in QC strips with the fetish only being treated as a joke or considered gross or both.
  • Alternative Character Interpretation:
    • Marten. Is he an easygoing Nice Guy who sometimes needs to speak up for himself, or is he cripplingly passive and unable to take agency in his life because of the influence of his domineering mother? While he's portrayed as perfectly accepting and amenable, Marten's social life has been damaged at times by his inability to take action for himself.
    • Marten again. Is he really a passive nice guy who just has issues with standing up for himself, or is he a "Nice Guy" who knows exactly what he is doing? Note that during his relationship with Dora, whenever the subject of his interest in Faye is brought up by Dora, he doesn't actively deny his feelings towards her, but rather downplays them, and most of the early strips about his and Fayes Belligerent Sexual Tension, while his friendliness to her is kind of genuine, are about 70% fueled by his desire to eventually have Faye as a girlfriend.
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    • Marten's mom herself, who can be read as an atypical but loving mother looking out for the best interests of her son, or an interfering, overprotective, and embarrassing figure who may have caused some of Marten's social problems. After Marten breaks up with Dora, Mrs. Reed comes to visit without giving notice, offers to kill Dora for Marten, remarks that Hannelore seems more normal than he let on, and goes to visit Dora during their dinner without telling him what she was doing. Depending on the reading, this could be signs of a fiercely protective mother with some embarrassing habits who wanted to make sure both sides of the relationship were okay, but she could also be read as intrusive, overprotective, and dishonest.
    • Corpse Witch, Faye's boss at the underground robot league. Her displeasure with Faye fixing up May can be seen a number of different ways. Some fans are somewhat sympathetic, seeing her as a boss cracking down on malfeasance. This is especially true as bringing in an outsider to an illegal business could theoretically put the whole operation at risk. Others see her as an example of Fantastic Racism, abusing her human employee. But most simply take her at face value as a simple Jerkass. Later, Corpse Witch was revealed to be more clearly malicious in nature, settling the issue of her character.
  • Angst? What Angst?:
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    • After breaking up with Dora in strip 1799, Marten angsted a lot (almost 100 strips!) before visiting Coffee Of Doom again... only to find out Dora wasn't there. Then, after almost 60 strips later, when the two finally talk again, all Marten does is barely mention the fact in the second-to-last panel.
    • Marten appeared relatively unconcerned when Faye just told Angus about her issues after all the hoops she made Marten jump through from the start of the comic that also wrecked any chance of a relationship with her. He actually showed more of a reaction to the revelation that Faye hadn't told him what the secret menu was.
    • Mrs. Augustus' husband cheated on her, her son had his hand blown off, and she's raising a transwoman daughter. So far she hasn't shown any signs of stress or had an unkind word about anyone in the comic.
    • Clinton Augustus got his robot hand when a firecracker blew off his original hand when he was a kid. Claire doesn't feel too bad for him because he loves his new robot hand so much, and he even chooses not to wear a dermal covering on it to emphasize its nature.
  • Anvilicious:
    • A strip by the author dealing with Marigold's first date with Dale delivered a rather heavy-handed message that it's perfectly fine for women to have sex when they want, and that it doesn't make them a slut. Rather than having this revelation passed through revealing moments of characterization, it's simply delivered in a blunt single text bubble that feels a little like the author not the character is speaking.
    • Not surprising considering Jeph has personal experience with the issue, but Faye's struggles with alcoholism are fairly heavy-handed.
    • Renee’s “internet hookup”, who hits on Brun and asks about her ethnicity the next morning while Renee is there- even the commentary text just says “don’t be this guy”.
    • Some of the prevalence of LGBT issues can come across as this. This is addressed in this guest comic, where it shows that any anti-LGBT conflict would have to be caused by a straw character, since the main cast is so accepting by nature.
    • This strip, where Sam buys a microphone and puts the saleman in her place for assuming that it's for a man. Jeph himself tweeted afterwards that he's not happy with the comic because it was "hamfisted and preachy."
    • Winslow had the misfortune to be the target of a series of strips trying to make a point about privilege when he got a new humanoid chassis to replace his iPod with stub limbs. This despite it being years after Momo upgraded and about half a day enjoying being able to pick himself up when he fell. It's mitigated a bit by the fact that May is treated as being also in the wrong for dumping all over Winslow for one moment of insensitivity, but the whole series of exchanges still sorely lacks subtlety.
  • Arc Fatigue: Due to the large cast with attention being given to almost everyone, some arcs spotlighting characters may feel like they take up too much focus.
    • The parade of Tastes Like Diabetes strips focusing solely on Claire and Marten after their Relationship Upgrade (and continuing after They Do) garnered opinions that some valid plotlines were being Left Hanging in the meantime or otherwise going Out of Focus.
    • For roughly a year the comic bounced between Faye and Bubbles' issues with Corpse Witch, and slice-of-life comics featuring Brun and Renee, with the latter segments being disliked for focusing on two side characters at the expense of the rest of the cast.
    • One year largely focused on shipping Faye and Bubbles, which diverted the focus.
  • Base-Breaking Character:
    • Faye and/or Dora. There's a large contingent of the fans that love pretty much everything Faye does and still seems to hate Dora for "stealing" Marten from her, and will basically call for anything up to and including her death or being written out of the strip for evils such as not trusting Marten. Meanwhile, a rather smaller group would point out that if your boyfriend had lived for months with a girl he was hung up on, the girl was the one who said it wasn't going to happen but continued to live there, and when it came time for you to move in with said boyfriend he actually argued for allowing his old flame to keep living there, you might just have a right to some trust issues.
    • Marigold, with fans either considering her to be The Woobie who provides witty references to geek culture, or a festering ball of Wangst whose sole purpose is Pandering to the Base.
    • Tai. Some fans simply see her as a free-spirited and independent young woman whose bluntness is simply because she likes to speak her mind, as well as a great relationship partner for Dora. Other fans consider her to be an unrepentant jerkass, who despite being Marten's friend, never felt to hide her clear attraction to Dora while they were together, and did everything she could to hook up with Dora without regarding the feelings of anyone else.
    • Marten, depending on whether you find him to be too apologetic or not.
    • Claire. Is she an extraneous cast member in a crowded comic who doesn't bring anything new and is designed to pander to the audience, or is she a good personality and another positive way for Jacques to introduce more LBGT characters into 'mainstream' web comics? She is now in a relationship with Marten, which has the two sides claiming that she's being pushed so hard to pander to the base, or that she's just being treated as her own character respectively.
    • Spookybot. Some people on this very page consider them to be an Ensemble Dark Horse, while for others, their introduction and use to resolve Bubbles' plot is the worst kind of Deus ex Machina and They Wasted a Perfectly Good Plot.
    • Tilly, when they were introduced as an overzealous personal assistant to Hannelore. Some found them Adorkable. Others found them pushy and obnoxious, continuing to push their presence when it had been made clear they weren't wanted. However, once it became clear they were being used by Hannelore's mother and just following orders, opinions calmed down.
  • Big-Lipped Alligator Moment:
    • The 666th strip.
    • The "hell ass balls" couch.
    • Strip 1135 features Dora, Tai, and Marten with random mustaches for Cinco de Mayo. Jeph alluded to it on Twitter and forgot to mention it in the daily commentary, so many people had no clue what was up with that.
    • The Magical Love Gentleman strip.
    • Pintsize tries to invoke one for strip 1337, but it mostly falls flat. Later, this fancy dress incident occurs, which seems like it must be a BLAM, except they still have the suits in the next comic...and then this happens.
    • The Little Hats Saga, consisting of the linked comic plus the next two.
    • The guest drawn strips very rarely have anything to do with what is currently going on in the main strips and the characters in them even more rarely actually fit the personalities of their main strip counterparts.
  • Broken Base: While Claire herself is a Base-Breaking Character, her relationship with Marten has led to a divide that has even separated those who liked her:
    • On one side, you have those who think it's an excellent and bold move to put the main character into a relationship with her as an actual character and her transgender nature being incidental. As he says, he likes her and she likes him, which is an important message.
    • Then you have those that think it's Pandering to the Base and their Relationship Upgrade seemed forced, which made Claire less interesting as her own character for the purpose of being progressive. The overly cutesy date comics that followed for most of the subsequent hundred strips didn't help.
    • There are those dislike Claire altogether. And also those who don't like her specifically because she's trans.
  • Cargo Ship:
  • Catharsis Factor: Corspe Witch's punishment, with the robot finally getting her comeuppance.
  • Crazy Awesome: Hannelore. Two examples:
  • Crosses the Line Twice:
    • Every appearance of Yelling Bird. This is a representative example.
    • Any of the jokes regarding the suicide of Faye's father. Jeph fully endorses such humor.
  • Ensemble Dark Horse:
    • Hannelore quickly became one of the most popular characters in the strip even before she became a main character.
    • Emily, the Asian intern. Even the artist thinks so.
    • Mrs. Augustus (Claire and Clinton's mom). Plays professional-level 5-string bass, dates guys half her age, and makes kick-ass pancakes. The heck is HER story??
  • Foe Yay: Dale & Marigold over their Serious Business World of Warcraft rivalry. Dale acts like a boy teasing a girl he likes, and Marigold is in the role of the too-haughty girl who dismisses him for completely superficial reasons that seem all too likely to collapse someday. They eventually hook up.
  • Genius Bonus:
  • Harsher in Hindsight:
    • The Dora-freakout in the last panel presaging her breakup with Marten.
    • Here too, though it's much closer to the breakup.
    • When Hannelore jokes about the universe being just a social interaction training simulation for her, Claire replies, "If that's true then whoever programmed it is a dick." Later, we discover she's transgender.
      • Not to mention this! Jeph mentioned in the book commentary for the above strip that it's not the kind of joke he would make now.
    • Jeph has had issues with depression and alcoholism for a while now, but it became most visible when the above-mentioned Creator Breakdown happened. This makes it very uncomfortable when:
      • Any strip features characters drinking heavily to forget their troubles, or depression in general. Especially when the introverted, socially-awkward Marigold began drinking as part of opening up to her new friends — something Jacques later admitted he himself did as a part of his alcoholism. The "you should drink and open up more!" moral (made stronger when the only non-drinker was the shut-in weirdo with no friends) became really ugly in retrospect.
      • Any time Jacques angrily defends Dora in a newspost after forum-goers rip on her for having mental issues. Anyone who has little sympathy for someone with that amount of angst isn't going to come across well to a writer who often writes his own angst into his characters as a way of dealing with them.
    • When Jeph announced that he and his wife had gotten divorced. This can make all the breakups the characters go through seem much worse.
    • The preemptive description of Angus and Faye's breakup. Was the failure spectacular? Yes. Hilarious? God no.
    • In the last panel of this comic, Dora lays out some very simple rules for the newly-hired Hannelore and Cosette: "Don't show up drunk or high and try not to fuck up too much and you'll be fine." Just over a thousand strips later, Faye shows up drunk and is, indeed, not fine.
    • Any strip that makes jokes out a drunk Faye or even just shows her drunk are a lot more difficult to enjoy after seeing Strip 2881, where Faye nearly drinks herself to death.
    • A combat droid appeared in earlier comics, with the joke being that he had a very difficult time adapting to civilian life. Then Bubbles is introduced as a combat AI who is struggling with PTSD and is unable to adapt to civilian life despite being helped by "greater minds" than Faye.
  • Hilarious in Hindsight:
  • Hollywood Pudgy:
    • Faye. Jeph comments on this in a newspost within the first couple hundred strips; he specifically says that she really isn't fat, but she has a bad body image, partly because everyone she hangs out with is skinny.
    • Marigold. Even more insecure than Faye, in fact.
  • Ho Yay:
    Steve: "I love you, man! I love you!"
    Marten: "Dude we have talked about this"
  • Informed Wrongness:
    • When Sven sleeps with someone else and then says he was never dishonest with Faye, everyone acts like he cheated on her in a committed relationship and is a huge monster. But Sven is absolutely right... he was upfront with Faye about who he was and what he was likely to do, and she was the one who insisted they weren't really in a relationship and that it was purely sexual, resisting all his attempts to make it something more. Faye wanted all the benefits of a monogamous relationship without any of the responsibilities (including the emotional responsibilities), but Sven is still berated like he was at fault for not treating it like a real relationship.
  • Les Yay:
    • Faye and Dora, before Characterization Ensued.
    • Hannelore and Marigold currently, despite - and possibly because of - Jeph himself saying that said pairing is not, was not and never will be happening. Then again, when has Canon ever stopped the shippers? Note that they haven't exactly flirted or anything- they've just hung out and played their personality types off of each other. Lampshaded in Marten's comment at the end of this strip.
    • Since Momo got her new chassis, there's plenty between her and Marigold.
    • When Marten tells Claire that he and Dora dated, she goes "Luckyyyyy". It's not entirely clear to the audience if she's talking about Dora being lucky for having Marten, or Marten being lucky for getting Dora.
    • Faye and Bubbles strong friendship is seen through this lens by several character, including Claire, May, Clinton., and a visiting psychology PHD, who engages in some leading Social Engineering. During that time, Bubbles has an increasingly obvious crush on Faye, but Faye firmly feels that they are Just Friends. They eventually do transition into a romantic relationship.
    • When Roko Basilisk has a dream featuring the ghosts of her old and new bodies, the ghosts start to make out with each other and Roko looks startled and kind of thrilled—and then Melon wakes her up. Roko doesn't really remember the dream but comments to Yay "I also feel like I woke up right before it got to the really good part."
  • Memetic Mutation:
    • #1631 went through this with remarkable speed.
    • Yelling Bird's "And then they [all] fucked!" (from this guest comic) is popular on image boards like Funnyjunk or Imgur, as a response to posts containing romance or flirtation.
    • Photoshops of "You and Me" (and the phrase "You're beautiful" in its own right) thanks to Marten's bland expression.
  • Misaimed Fandom: You can tell that readers really weren't supposed to identify with Corpse Witch. Initially, her passive-aggressive personality was seen by many as appropriate for the setting and it was refreshing to see someone with authority put Faye in her place. Her sudden descent into over the top villainy and smugness can be seen as Jeph realizing that many readers were siding with Corpse Witch and needed to give more blatant, obvious reasons for her being the unlikable villain of the arc.
  • Moe:
    • Hannelore is Marten's neurotic but well-meaning neighbor. She has a number of disorders that make a normal life difficult at times, but she always tries her best.
    • The fucking spider robots.
  • Moral Event Horizon:
    • If this WARNING  Guest Strip were Canon, Pintsize would have crossed it.
    • Same with these two: also non-canon.
    • He may have crossed it here.
      • More like a thoroughly misguided attempt at cheering up Marten. He makes another attempt later that's in a similar vein, but a lot less traumatizing.
  • Narm: "You and Me" would be a lot more sweet and heartwarming if it weren't for Marten's glazed expression.
  • Pandering to the Base:
    • Claire Augustus is often cited by critics of Questionable Content as a character that is mostly there to pander. Considering she was known first as an awkward intern that had a more cynical view on life, after being revealed to be trans, some felt her personality changed to be an idealized representation of trans people. Her relationship with Marten proves mostly drama-free and perfect; when they do have a conflict, it's resolved in two to three strips, and she is not depicted as in the wrong in situations where it might be due. Her rant about having a hard life being transgender when Pintsize remarks that technology has advanced so much that ANYONE can change themselves on a whim without little to no repercussions is seen by some critics as Jeph retconning past strips (the fact that Marten, her mom, Clinton, and Emily are accepting of Claire's gender identity conflicts with her ranting about not having a supportive network of people willing to accept her new gender identity).
  • Portmanteau Couple Name:
    • The forums are sporadically abuzz with shippers for "Fayten" (Faye + Marten) or "Svaye" (Sven + Faye), and members smacking down the use of portmanteau names. However, "HanTai" for the gleefully pervy lesbian Tai and the OCD, extremely straight, easily squicked Hannelore (who Tai has an obvious crush on) is damn near universal for obvious reasons, even for people who find the idea ridiculous. Jeph dismisses it as stupid, and has (due to the Hantai meme), banned Shipmanteaus from the forums. Not that this has stopped anybody, of course.
    • The Crack Ship Marigold/Pintsize acquired the name... wait for it... Pint-o-Gold.
    • Discussed by the Thanksgiving Turkeys here, as they suggest "MariDale" or "Daligold" for Dale + Marigold, and give the other current Official Couples "Fangus" (Faye + Angus), "Tora" (Tai + Dora) and "Willelope" (Will + Penelope). Then "Bloodsize" for Pintsize and Blood Lord...
      First Turkey: Who the hell is "Blood Lord?"
      Second Turkey: YOU TOLD ME YOU READ MY FANFIC
    • "Clairten" for Claire/Marten and "Faybles" for Faye/Bubbles.
  • Romantic Plot Tumor: Relationship issues have gradually become front-and-center in the strip, eclipsing roommate drama and indie-rock references. Many welcome the shift, however, especially when they had no interest in the indie music scene in the first place.
  • Squick:
  • Strangled by the Red String:
  • Strawman Has a Point: Marten gets mad at Claire for her criticism of him when he's only trying to share an interesting anecdote. But like she says, what he said does sound a bit like indie snobbery.
  • Tastes Like Diabetes:
    • Meets Moe in this strip, last panel.
    • The strips focusing on Marten and Claire's Relationship Upgrade (and even beforehand). Some strips forgo anything resembling a punchline for the sake of showing them being sickeningly sweet. This one almost literally so. Later on, once they are firmly a couple, their strips go back to featuring actual jokes and drama (such as Marten's obliviousness to Claire's worries about her exams.)
  • Tear Jerker:
  • They Wasted a Perfectly Good Character: Corpse Witch. She's introduced as a jerkass running an illegal operation and while she's certainly not nice, part of the reason she was compelling is that everything that she did or said was grounded in some kind of reasoning, often being Pragmatic Villainy or even Informed Wrongness. Then suddenly all nuance goes out the window and she essentially becomes an out-and-out supervillain who is motivated pretty much by her own evilness.
  • They Wasted a Perfectly Good Plot: Some fans feel this about the Bubbles and Corpse Witch saga. A chance to explore the problems of PTSD and misunderstandings between humans and AIs post-Singularity (not to mention Faye's hotheadedness once again causing her trouble) are tossed away with an almost literal Deus ex Machina character popping up out of nowhere to help Bubbles and the revelation that Corpse Witch is straight-up two-dimensionally evil.
  • Ugly Cute: "How do you monitor myaaaAAAAAGH!"
    • And he has since reappeared! Although Hanners doesn't quite believe it.
  • The Woobie:
    • Hannelore. You just want to hug her, except that would only distress her more. Her childhood carves her Woobie status in stone. Apparently she spent a lot of her childhood freaking out, sedated, and completely crippled by her neuroses. Seems to be coping better nowadays, though.
    • As of #1483, Momo. "S-SQUIRREL!"
    • Marigold too. So moe.
      • Marigold started to go beyond merely woobie-riffic and into outright tragic on a level that would make Faye jealous.
      Angus: You shouldn't like a guy just because he's nice to you.
      Marigold: Why not?
      Angus: Well, I mean, what if he's only doing it so he can get in your pants?
      Marigold: I'd settle for that.
      Angus: Jesus, Marigold, are you trying to GUILT-TRIP me into making out with you?
      Marigold: What? No, no! I just - no! I'm sorry! *Beat Panel* Would... would that work?
    • As the strip has its source of humor and drama from cruelty to characters, everybody has both their moments as the Butt-Monkey and as the Woobie. Marten specially, before he and Dora got their break. As Jeph put it on the author's comment on this Marten-and-Dora-are-Woobies strip: "Awww! Poor Dora. Poor Marten. Poor Mieville, not getting petted by poor Dora."
    • And then in this strip, we see that, despite anything seen around the whammy strip 500, Faye still loves Marten platonically, and the mere thought of him moving scares her to death. You know you want to hug her.


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