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  • Complete Monster: Duke; completely amoral and willing to cross any lines to get what he wants, for himself or for his clients.
    • Jeff Redfern has become this with his Red Rascal scam. Especially after his sadistic gloating to his long-suffering father (who called him out on his lack of shame) about how his scam has paid off, having landed him work for a Blackwater proxy group.
      • President King (head of Walden University) has become this; he doesn't care one bit about giving kids an education and purposely only recruits students who are too dumb to get into real colleges and who have rich parents who can pay for years of expensive "college education".
  • 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.
  • Critical Research Failure: Most of this strip. Pretty much everything about Biblical Creation that they mentioned is either misleading or outright incorrect, and Louisiana never had a law passed that required teachers to teach Biblical Creation.
  • 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.
    • Similarly, the Red Rascal storyline has been criticized as another way for Jeff Redfern to be pushed down fans throats.
  • Discontinuity: Trudeau has pretty much disowned strips from the early years of the series, which involve B.D. joking about date rape, refusing to let them be collected in book format.
  • Ensemble Darkhorse: 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.
  • Family-Unfriendly Aesop: The whole point of Mister Butts' existence.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Unfortunate Implications: Trudeau's take on Generation Y is not a pretty sight: Zipper is a narcissistic slacker who has been at Walden for a decade but not advanced past freshman status, has zero ambition except to bankrupt his mom with her paying thousands of dollars on tuition so that he can remain in school and play video games all day. Jeff Redfern is a sociopath who treats his parents badly, lies all of the time about his accomplishments (which got him work as a CIA agent via an internship), and engaging in a massive scam to get work as a black ops agent after his CIA bosses realized how much of a fuck-up Jeff is and fired his ass. Even Alex, who is a thousand times better than Zipper and Jeff, is shown from time to time being a rich kid that has little social skills interacting with people who grew up middle or lower class financially. Even Toggle (prior to being injured in combat) was shown to be a money grubbing cad in the Army, making mix tapes for Army members and got his nickname from the fact that he owned a credit card scanner so that high ranking officers could pay for his CD mixes with credit cards.
  • Values Dissonance: Joanie is introduced as a woman who broke her husband's nose for saying something sexist, then left him and their young daughter, divorcing him from afar, and not seeing her daughter again for over a decade. (Worse, when introduced, she implicitly had several children, since lost to retcon.) To modern eyes, she comes off as an abusive spouse who abandoned her child. At the time, she was supposed to have the audience's sympathy.
  • 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.
    • It Got 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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