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Faux Pas (pronounced Fox Paws) is a webcomic about the adventures of the red fox Randy and the other Green Mountain Studio Animals. Most of the animals have been trained by humans; Randy himself is an actor who has appeared in ads, TV shows and movies.
Many story arcs deal with the result of Randy's sheltered upbringing; he's innocent and gullible, can't avoid traps or track scents, doesn't eat his fellow animals, and has no idea how to treat Cindy, the wild vixen he has a crush on -- or Dusk, the less scrupulous wild vixen who has a crush on him.
The webcomic has a strong continuity, so reading through the archives will help you understand the current story lines. A new comic appears every Monday, Wednesday and Friday.
Most of the cast has picked up a lot of human characteristics, even though they are portrayed at least semi-realistically.
- Myrtle the hen, who can write (in chicken-scratch, natch), can't type (though she can hunt and peck) and is addicted to soap operas
- Arthur the glasses-wearing horse
- Stu and Edie (rabbits) and all of their offspring - the humans didn't know Edie was a doe
- Mighty Thor the mouse
- Kira, Toast and the other 142 cats, who love to play with Randy, which usually involves tying him up or turning him into a giant ball of yarn.
- Cocky the cockatiel, who can speak Human. Unfortunately it's mostly in French.
Then there are the animals outside the studio:
- Cindy, the wild vixen Randy has a crush on; she's slowly adapting to living in a human-made environment.
- Dusk, Cindy's cousin and rival
- Ricky and Al, two raccoons who have escaped from an animal center and recently paid a visit to GMSA.
- Birdy, a bluebird friend from Cindy's childhood.
- April, Randy's sister recently arrived from Australia (with kits Amber, Ember, and Leaf). The fallout of confusion from her arrival has yet to settle.
Humans leave the animals mostly alone, although Randy has been doing some acting jobs for them. The animals can't communicate with the humans beyond Myrtle's very bad handwriting and Cocky's very bad translations, although everyone except Cindy understands English.
Being produced by two professional writers and illustrators, the webcomic and artwork are of great quality. It is suitable for all ages, and contains occasional references and quotes from TV shows. As of early 2012, the archive contains about 1400 comics.
Not to confused with, well, faux pas.
Faux Pas provides examples of:
- Action Girl: Cindy and Dusk.
- Aerith and Bob: Some of the names of the bunnies. Betty, Barbie, Barney, Bitsy... and Frank.
- Ambiguous Gender: Often. Justified since most of the main cast are animals without strong sexual dimorphism.
- Randy was Miss April on a wildlife calendar.
- Edie (female rabbit) was originally "Eddie." When she and Stu started a family (as of Week 201, they have 53 kids) the secret was out, but 'outside' animals still mistake her for male.
- Played straight and averted with Cindy's brief modeling career.
- Animal Talk
- Art Evolution: The earliest strips didn't usually have backgrounds, unless they were important to the plot. Instead you'd see a wall of white and another color. Or just white. Or maybe a colored circle.
- Ascended Extra: Toast starts off as a nameless member of the "cat herd", but eventually becomes integral to the storyline. He actually makes quite a few appearances before his name is revealed, 20 weeks or so after his debut.
- Fluffy, the oldest child of Stu and Edie.
- Penny began as a nameless child of Stu and Edie, who became a semi-regular thanks in no small part to the fact that she's got a future mate, Jon. (Penny is the oldest daughter).
- Ass Shove: Off-camera, but Cindy is very surprised when the vet takes her temperature.
- Betty and Veronica: Cindy is Betty and Dusk is Veronica.
- The cats use "Mary Ann" and "Ginger" in coded reference to the two vixens. The overwhelming favorite is Mary Ann, since "Ginger" is too scary.
- Beware the Nice Ones: Played straight on the one or two occasions we can see Cindy is a wild vixen. Subverted on one memorable occasion with Randy, who showed up to chase Dusk off with a rifle. (He was sleepwalking at the time.)
- Big Eater: Myrtle, when she and Randy go on a trip away from home to find Cindy. She has a tendency to pause every 20 minutes or so for lunch, even though (since she's riding Randy) the fox is doing all the work.
Myrtle: With the sandwiches all gone, at least the load is lighter, eh?
Randy: All that food went out the pack, and into you! You didn't lighten the load-- you just raised the center of gravity.
- Big No: It's Toast's turn to "play" with Randy, but he wouldn't dare do so with Cindy around. When he's told Cindy is heading to the woods, he gets excited because he's been waiting forever, but he lets out a big "NOOO!" when told that Randy's going with her.
- Bucket Booby Trap
- Butt Monkey: Randy, so very much.
- Caffeine Bullet Time: Happens to Cindy after Myrtle doses her with some "triple s press o".
- Carnivore Confusion: Though used to catching her own food, Cindy promises not to eat any of Randy's friends (eating Lamb 'n' Rice Medley fox chow is a-ok with both of them, though).
- Cats Are Mean: The barn cats think Randy is a fantastic source of entertainment, though Kira and Toast are more sympathetic than otherwise.
- Chaste Hero: Randy personifies this trope. He knows he's attracted to Cindy, and that the feeling's mutual, but is completely clueless in the ways of courtship-- he still believes babies come from storks.
- Cloudcuckoolander: Myrtle, and how.
- Clueless Chick Magnet: Randy, to some extent.
- Completely Missing the Point:
"By the pricking of my thumbs, something wicked this way comes..."
"Is he going on about thumbs again??!" "Looks like..."
- Cunning Like a Fox: Definitely Dusk, probably Cindy, utterly averted by Randy.
- Description Cut: So, so many times. A character will frequently say something like, "I can't believe [x] would do something like that," and then we cut to [x] doing exactly that. Or, "I wonder what so-and-so is thinking."
- Double Agent: Toast is an unwilling double agent of Dusk for a period of time.
- Embarrassing First Name: Fluffy, the eldest rabbit of Stu and Eddie's first clutch, would much rather be called Vlad, Attila or Thundarr.
- The Faceless: We've never seen a human face in the comic.
- Feather Fingers: Myrtle
- Fish Out of Water: Cindy
- Furries Are Easier to Draw: Humans are rarely seen and are in a low quality.
- Furry Female Mane: The female foxes have longer fur on their necks to suggest hair.
- Glomp: Cindy does this to Randy in the final strip of Week 190, after Randy's pain drugs have (finally) worn off.
- Heel Face Turn: Toast, eventually.
- Horrible Judge of Character: Myrtle. Randy's sister April is leaning this way, thinking Dusk would be a better mate for Randy than Cindy.
- Humiliation Conga: After taking Myrtle's advice on how to snare Randy, Dusk winds up dyed purple and green, reeking of perfume, and suffering (at the very least) a massive headache from being startled whilst under a desk. She beats a strategic retreat shortly afterward.
- I Think You Broke Her: When Myrtle's television is taken away, she stands staring at where it used to be, in a catatonic state. When a remote control is put in her hands, she mindlessly clicks it, repeatedly. Eventually, the cats start using her to play Living Statues.
- The Illegible: Myrtle is this to the other animals; she does the record-keeping because no one else can read her chicken scratches. The humans can read it, somewhat, even though they mistake "Myrtle Dehen" for "Meghan Dalton." Eventually they find her a typewriter.
Myrtle: Hey -- that's just my unique penmanship!
- Incredibly Lame Pun: When Myrtle asks Kira where Randy is, she replies that he's doing quite well. It turns out the cats tossed him down a well.
- When Myrtle finds Randy after looking for him for hours, Randy says, "I was tied up all morning." Myrtle is furious, saying that Randy had promised he'd be helping her, when they overhear a cat telling Kira that her fox got loose -- yes, Randy was literally tied up all morning.
- Lampshaded later when Randy overhears the cats overusing the words "well", and decides to make a last-minute trip away from the farm.
- "I'm th'orry! Can I get you an ath'pirin?"
- I Never Said It Was Poison: Cindy didn't tell Randy what happened. But Myrtle just did!
- Intellectual Animal: Primarily Cindy, Dusk, and the cats. The less feral Green Mountain Studio Animals cast think more like humans.
- Is It Something You Eat?: Cindy's response to most human things, especially at first.
- Love At First Sight: Randy is immediately tongue-tied around Cindy. It takes him a long time to admit his feelings, though.
- Love Triangle: Triang Relations Type 4.
April [to Randy]: It looks like you have two healthy, willing vixens to choose from as a mate. Way to go, brother mine!
- Maybe Magic, Maybe Mundane: Stu was a magician's rabbit and is implied to have some magic of his own, but we're not sure how much.
- My Life Flashed Before My Eyes: Played with by one of the cats who hadn't yet learned of Cindy's presence, and thus thought Randy was the only fox around. Focused on dumping a bucket of green paint on Randy, Cindy inadvertently snuck up on him, causing him to dump the paint on himself.
Cat: Criminy! Three of my lives flashed before my eyes!
- A Man Is Not a Virgin: Averted so very hard.
- Noodle Incident: When Randy is in the barn recovering from being doped up, and Cindy and Toast go out to try and find Stu, the cats see it as an opportunity to play with Randy, and such opportunities have been hard to come by now that Cindy's living in the barn. When next we see Randy, he's inside a giant ball of string. We don't see how he got there.
- Old Shame: Arthur always freaks out when a human tries to ride him. The old horse has been doing this for years, to the point where, in his TV career, he was always cast as "Runaway Horse #2".
- Paper-Thin Disguise: Arthur dons one of these when one of his new human owners tries to ride him, he panics, and she ends up colliding with a covered bridge.
- Percussive Maintenance: Stu repeatedly kicks a computer monitor to demonstrate that the humans sometimes use it for exercise.
- Puppy Dog Eyes: Frequently. Weaponized here.
- Running Gag: Randy getting tossed down the well by the cats.
- "Talking about the weather". See below under "Unusual Euphemism".
- Schedule Slip: Sadly, real life often intrudes on this strip. When it does, the creators will offer up some nicely done filler art and an explanation of the reason they haven't updated. Always ended by some variation of "And be of good cheer".
- Schmuck Bait: Which Randy falls into nevertheless.
Kira: It's amazing you lived so long to be so trusting!
- Selective Obliviousness: Randy's innocence about sex is drifting from 'painful naivete' to 'deliberately maintained ignorance,' though Cindy apparently has plans to give him an education.
- Shout-Out: Here by the cats, of all characters to Star Wars, of all things.
- There is a very subtle one during the second car commercial shoot; the crew are shown wearing outfits resembling some of the Scooby Doo cast.
- Cocky quotes Lord of the Rings and Serenity while drunk
- While Ricky's practicing his acting, he holds a head prop of Skeletor from He-Man.
- After Dusk, still brightly colored from her Humiliation Conga, returns to the farm, one of the bunnies remarks that the new colors make her look "twenty percent cooler", quoting Rainbow Dash almost word for word. Dusk herself imitates Fluttershy's Flat Joy "yay."
- Take That: Myrtle places the completed supply order forms under a rock, deep in the mud, because she heard that's how Microsoft handles its customer support.
- Talk About the Weather
- Talking Animal
- Tempting Fate: Myrtle with this internal monologue:
Myrtle: This is just great. Randy's terrified of the cats, we have a new set of owners... what else can go wrong here?
[One of the human owners tries to ride Arthur, who gallops at high-speed in a panic.]
Myrtle: I give up!
- This strip also provides an example.
- Tertiary Sexual Characteristics: Female characters have long eyelashes. Justified since they're animals and there's no sexual dimorphism in the species (rabbits, cats, foxes) which the major characters are.
- Aside from the aforementioned eyelashes, the vixens also have a little mop of extra fur on their necks, making it look a bit like they have human hair. In addition, Dusk's fur pattern makes her look like she's wearing eyeshadow.
- Third Person Person: "Thor demands atonement!"
- Too Dumb to Live: Randy, sometimes.
- Trademark Favorite Food: Cindy loves ice cream.
- Trauma Conga Line: When Cindy first comes to live in the barn, she is bashed on the head with a bucket of water from a doorsill trap, frightened away by the "cannons" section of the 1812 Overture played at full blast, catches cold from a miserable night in unfamiliar territory, and finally is overdosed with cold medicine in a misguided attempt by Myrtle to make her feel better.
- Tsundere: Eddie plays Type B for all it's worth. Made worse when she's pregnant, naturally.
Eddie: Kids? One thing. We're all worried about your father. He may need your help getting home. If he's hurt, then help him get back, any way you can. However-- if you find he's having fun while I'm home worrying, I authorize you to subdue him and drag his fuzzy tail home! Is that clear??!
- Unusual Euphemism: When Randy takes Cindy to see his human owners so he can translate what they're saying, the humans start wondering out loud whether Randy and Cindy will mate and raise a family, which embarrasses Randy no end. He translates it for Cindy as "talking about the weather" -- which soon becomes code, among the guys, for sex.
Cindy: I don't understand any of this, Kira.
Kira: Must be a guy thing.
- Virginity Makes You Stupid: Randy has no idea.
- Webcomic Long Runner: The archive is well over 1300.
- Weirdness Censor: Cocky is a bird who can speak conversational English and French, and it's been proven that he can translate what Randy is saying. And the humans let it pass without a whole lot of commenting!
- Weirdness Magnet: Raccoons Ricky and Al lampshade this quality of Randy's when he asks how they found him at the farm:
Al: Well, first we saw a rainbow-colored, grumbling vixen...
Ricky: And a cat covered in feathers, running for its life...
Al: ...then we tailed a fat chicken crawl-jogging by midnight... it seemed like your kind of crowd!
Ricky: Plus, there's the sign out front.
- Why Waste a Wedding?: Penny and Jon appear headed this direction, after Cindy and Randy decide to wait, since foxes only mate in the winter. Myrtle needs someone to get married, after all her preparations.
- Will They or Won't They?: Randy and Cindy. Promotional art suggests that They Do -- eventually. But since the comic's about miscommunication and the slow advancement of Randy and Cindy's relationship, there's no incentive to hurry things up.
- You Do NOT Want to Know: A variation of this was used by Dusk when a rabbit asks her what she likes to eat. "Kid... never ask a question if you won't like the answer."