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"Any problem can be solved with the correct application of pressure to a stupid person's face."—Grape Jelly Sandwich, Housepets
We all love our pets, don't we? Now imagine this: your pets are sapient, anthropomorphised, and have the height of a small child. What would they be doing all day? Housepets portrays such a scenario. This comic by Rick Griffin portrays pets virtually as children who are almost human besides height and differences in clothing style. They still play pretend, no matter how weird they make it out to be.
The story focuses around a cat and a dog living with the Sandwich family. The Dog is Peanut Butter or just Peanut and the Cat is Grape Jelly or just Grape. The classical setup, you think: stupid dog, smart cat, and crazy hijinks about how opposite they are ensue. But that's not what you get. Instead, you get two characters who are fairly similar in intellect with similar interests, whose subtle personality differences show off like a beacon. Peanut is the sensitive and slightly silly one. He's childlike and excitable and loves playing all kinds of games. Grape is the lazy and pragmatic one, though sometimes her logic is too logical for her own good.
The Sandwich family lives in a neighborhood filled with pets and strays that have their own quirks and clubs to mingle in, ranging from a mild-mannered dog that works in the police force to a dog that Cosplays as a cat. Although there are humans around, the comic mainly focuses on the animals with their adventures, trips, and problems.
Although Peanut and Grape are the main characters, it was inspired by childhood drawings made by Griffin of a dog named "Bino". Bino appears as a character in the comic, as the substitute leader of a neighborhood dog social club. He is the middle brother in another family caught between his popular older brother, police dog Officer Fido, and his quirky younger brother, Joey.
Needs more characters and tropes on the Character Page.
This comic provides examples of:
- A Form You Are Comfortable With: How King sees the Universes & Unrealities game.
- Aborted Arc: The author decided to prematurely end a story arc which depicted catnip use as similar to smoking marijuana because it would break the self-imposed PG rating.
- Abusive Parents: Sasha's dad is a drunk who yells at her and (locks her outside all night in the snow.)
- Accessory-Wearing Cartoon Animal: Pretty much all of the cats, dogs, and rabbits wear collars.
- Adult Child: The pets consistently have relationships with each other, organize events, and have jobs, and yet still act like children in the context of fun.
- All Animals Are Domesticated: Not exactly, as the wolves moving into the neighborhood caused quite a stir, but if they're friendly enough they seem to be able to integrate without too much trouble, and they're all sentient, so it works.
- All Myths Are True: Apparently
- Alternative Number System: Spo came from a very large family. How large? The sibling born immediately after him was named Spp...
- Alt Text: Especially in the later comics.
- Amazing Technicolor Wildlife: For example, you have normally-colored Peanut alongside Grape, a purple cat.
- Ambiguous Gender: While the Biggelsworths also have this description, Fiddler and Keys. We know one is male and one is female, but no real indication of who's who to this day.
- Amicably Divorced: Never married per se, but Sabrina used to date Maxwell, and they're still friendly.
- Anchored Ship:
- Animal Jingoism: Not outright hatred, per se, but the Good Ol' Dogs Club only admits dogs, and then there's the interspecies romance taboo...
- Animals Not to Scale: Almost all dogs, cats, rabbits, and raccoons are the same size (about waist height on a human) while mice are about real life size, and ferrets (plus King) are on a scale somewhere in between those.
- Animation Bump: Most notably, the switch to color, but the drawing style has been improving overall.
- Animal Wrongs Group: PETA, during the "A Sinister Shadow" arc.
- Arson, Murder, and Jaywalking: Tarot, especially early on, tends to follow dire predictions with more mundane inconveniences, like this one:
Tarot: The truth shall be brought to light, and I fear that day, for all who do not hold love in their hearts shall perish, and their souls will be broken into shards as countless as all the sand on the face of the earth. Plus it's terrible for your complexion.
Bahamut (Dragon Judge): Explain your actions in seizing the fate of a mortal.
Pete: You're omniscient...you tell me.
Bahamut: Technically, we all are, but that sorta makes it hard to tell a story.
- Becoming the Mask:
- Heavily implied that this is happening with Spirit Dragon
- Provided things continue this way, this will probably happen to Joel. He didn't want it.
- Big Bulky Bomb: Played with in this strip, in "The Great Water Balloon War" story arc.
- Bread, Eggs, Milk, Squick:
- Brick Joke: They happen from time to time. Most notably, when Peanut is done up as the ghost of Banquo in their Macbeth imagination play, Maxwell screams like he did when he was freaked out by Sabrina and her spiritual connections.
- Call Back: Remember how Sabrina dumped Spo off on Fido? Nearly 3 years later, turnabout is fair play.
- Carnivore Confusion:
- Usually played straight. It's accepted as a fact of life that predator species kill and eat prey animals for sustenance (something that gets pointed out more than once and even happens on-panel); however, it should be noted that like the predators, the prey species are also fully sentient, able to talk to and even hold lengthy conversations with the animals who want to eat them.
- Except for some, like the cows, which seem to be either non-sapient, or just don't care.
- Cassandra Truth: Grape was right that last time about Pete...
- Cat Concerto: Fiddler and Keys
- Cats Are Mean: By and large subverted, sometimes played straight for comedic effect.
- Chair Reveal: Those ferrets sure love showmanship.
- Chekhov's Gun: The last panel of this just seems to be a throwaway gag. A year and a half later, it turns out it's not.
- Comically Missing the Point: Spo in Wham! Line.
- Cosmic Chess Game: Or rather Universes & Unrealities.
Pete:To compare the game to chess would be like comparing all of civilization to an amoeba!
- CPR: Clean, Pretty, Reliable: Possibly deconstructed in this comic, when a police dog, Sgt. Ralph, douses an apparently non-breathing Fox with water to revive him after being smothered by Joel's boss.
- Crazy Cat Lady: See Planet of Steves
- Creator Couple: Fiddler and Keys are a pair of music playing cats that are dating and live together.
- Curse Cut Short
Spo: IS FIDO GONNA HAVE TO CHOKE A-
Fido: Not helping, Spo!
- And again in this strip, with Pete's curse interrupted by nearly getting a set of sharp teeth clamped onto his backside.
- Cuteness Proximity: Let's be honest. King and Zachary in the same room could be used as a weapon. The ferrets have their moments too.
- Dances and Balls: The Yarn Ball, a new year's dance celebrated by cats.
- Denser and Wackier
- Department of Redundancy Department: The theme park themed theme park.
- Did They or Didn't They?: dog Fido and cat Sabrina are heavily suggested to have done "something" in this comic.
Grape: We never speak of this again.
- Dissimile: It is Sasha...
- Does This Remind You of Anything?: In this strip, Bino responds with indignation to Fox's allegations that he has a small... neck. Keep in mind that the neck is the only area the pets seem to have any modesty about...
Fox: *snrk* I was wondering, how does someone with such a big head get by with a neck so pencilly?
Bino: It's comparable to the national average!
- Dropped a Bridge on Him: Played with literally. They nearly dropped a boat on CSI dog Terrance.
- Drowning My Sorrows: Keene Milton is prone to this. With orange soda.
- Drunk on Milk: Orange soda. To pets at least.
- Eldritch Abomination: How Grape sees the vet when she was young.
- Embarrassing Middle Name: Grape's shelter name.
- Enhance Button: Parodied here.
- Everything's Worse with Wolves: Averted.
- Excited Show Title
- Expressive Ears: Cats, particularly.
- Eyepatch of Power: One of Miles' cubs dons one during the water balloon war when acting as the 'leader' of the dog soldiers.
- The Faceless: "Parents" are never seen above the nose. Some non-parent humans, like Joel, do have faces exposed.
- False Start: Peanut goes to tell Grape how he feels about her, but before he can, he overhears her making a date with Maxwell.
- Fan Dumb: An In-Universe example. Lester is practically the poster boy for several varieties of Fan Dumb. He even mentions the trope by name in his rant.
- Fantasy Kitchen Sink: According to Sabrina, "everything is a thing". That would explain the presence of gryphons, dragons, Cerberus, and Norse frost giant Aurgelmir.
- Female Feline, Male Mutt: Grape and Peanut, Fido and Sabrina.
- Fictional Document: The Prideland Series. Its popularity, particularly among pets, is equivalent to that of Harry Potter or Twilight.
- Formally-Named Pet: at least ten cats called Mr Bigglesworth, due to their owner being a Crazy Cat Lady. They all look the same, though most are not related and some are female. They occasionally mess with other pets who don't know there's more than one.
- Four-Fingered Hands: The entire bipedal non-human cast fits this.
- Furry Comic: Gee, really?
- Furry Confusion: Subverted, for now.
- Furry Reminder: Every once in a while. According to Rick: “I do this partly because people want to see them act like animals for some reason."
- Glasses Pull: Used here to punctuate an Incredibly Lame Pun. (YEEAAAAAAAAAH!!!!!!)
- Gratuitous Japanese: Lampshaded here.
- Gross Up Close-Up: This bone
- Half-Dressed Cartoon Animal:
- The ferrets.
- Played with and lampshaded in this strip as well.
Miles: *after modeling several outfits to help him blend into human society* Is there any reason none of these configurations contain pants?
- Happily Married: Miles and Lucretia, although not married (as they're wolves), are official mates and are known to behave like a happy husband/wife. Mr. Earl Sandwich and Mrs. Sandwich are also the only known family in the series so far to be officially married.
- Heroic BSOD: Peanut is prone to these. So far it has happened when three cute barn cats ask him to have a slow-motion pillow fight with them, when Grape herself is invited for it, and once more when Grape tells him she knows about his crush on her.
- Heroic Sacrifice: Parodied by Max in the arc "The Great Water Balloon War", specifically in this strip.
- Hilarity in Zoos
- Holding Hands
- Get a Hold of Yourself, Man!: Attempted by Stripe
- New Powers as the Plot Demands: This comic and Spot's last line.
- Intercontinuity Crossover: In-Universe, Peanut is fond of crossing the Pridelands books with his Superhero, Spot (Superdog).
- When Things Spin Science Happens: Touched on here.
- Why Don't Ya Just Shoot Him: Played with in this comic.
- I Can't Believe It's Not Heroin!:
- To pets, orange soda acts like alcohol.
- And to cats, catnip acts like cannabis, to the point where Rick chose to abort an arc - an example being when one character proclaimed another "blew through his stash like kibbles!"
- Hypocrite: Joel's boss to Fox.
- Incredibly Lame Pun
King:Ha ha shut up.
- Instant Awesome, Just Add Dragons: Did I mention the awesome-meters suddenly going crazy?
- Interspecies Romance:
- A sensitive issue; within the context of the comic, interspecies relationships are considered taboo. Fido and Sabrina (a dog and a cat, respectively) are romantically involved; Peanut thought his crush on Grape was a secret, but she knew it all along. Joey (a dog) is involved with Squeak (a mouse).
- Peanut's character Spot dates a "dog" named Stripe. A possible early precursor can be found here. Yes, that's why Bino gives Peanut trouble about being a cat-lover.
- In all known cases the male is a dog.
- I Want My Beloved to Be Happy: Peanut helps Grape get ready for her date with Maxwell. Even though Peanut is in love with Grape
- Jerkass: Several, and not only just pets or just humans.
- Just Friends: Peanut and Grape. Subverted, here.
- Kids Are Cruel: The dogs in general towards Tiger's name.
- Let Us Never Speak of This Again: Grape's reaction when she and Peanut see the event mentioned in Did They or Didn't They?.
- Like Brother and Sister: Grape and Peanut in most cases.
- Little Miss Badass: Grape as a kitten.
- Loads and Loads of Characters
- Locking MacGyver in the Store Cupboard: In the story arc "Show Business", King finds himself trapped in a tool shed when being chased by Duchess. This strip even mentions MacGyver by name. The ultimate solution to his dilemma is, however, somewhat more directly violent than most of MacGyver's solutions.
- Love Hurts
- Love Is in the Air: King is smitten on Fox's cousin Bailey after she jumped into a pond to save his MacGuffin stopwatch.
King: Why does she smell even better now? 
Fox: I think that's in your head, lover boy.
- Luminescent Blush: Apparently, in the Housepets! universe facial fur can change colors, given that blushes show on the faces of several characters when they're embarrassed.
- MacGuffin: Joel's "fate", which is now a stopwatch King is holding on to.
- Meaningful Name: Brown dog and purple cat? Peanut Butter and Grape Jelly.
- Mood Whiplash: For one comic Rick decides to be not funny.
- Musical Strip:
- My Biological Clock Is Ticking: Played strictly for laughs two times, when female characters act out toward crushes:
- Never Say "Die": Parodied here
- Noodle Incident: See Power Perversion Potential.
- Not Blood Siblings: While Peanut and Grape treat each other as siblings, they aren't related; they're not even the same species.
- Oh Crap: Although somewhat more subtle than many Oh Crap faces, Sgt Ralph and Kevin get them when they see a stupendously large water balloon falling towards them in a water balloon war with the neighborhood cats.
- Only Six Faces: This was particularly bad during the comic's first year, but has gotten better following the style revision. It's not perfect, though; apart from a color shift and some differences in clothing, Peanut is a dead ringer for Fido.
- One Steve Limit: Lampshaded and outright named in the comments here.
- Or Was It a Dream?:
- Otaku: Joey has some signs of it. Of his group of friends, he may be the most normal.
- Pet Heirs: The six, now incredibly wealthy, ferrets inherited their fortune from the late Henry Milton.
- Planet of Steves: There lives on the block a woman who owns at least eleven siamese cats named Mr. Bigglesworth (yes, even the girls). They're not Inexplicably Identical Individuals, but even the Bigglesworths can't always tell one another apart, or tell each other's genders.
- Power Perversion Potential: Played with here, with an added Luminescent Blush. Sounds like an interesting time.
- Quirky Town
- Real After All: Where did that big feather come from`?
- Real Life Writes the Plot: A variant. After the first comic in what looked to be an amusing plot arc, the author's computer broke, triggering a two-week stretch of guest strips... after which the last comic in said plot arc appeared (as if the action had continued in the absence of the author). Except the characters acknowledged that no one had actually seen any of it happen and determined to recreate it for their benefit (well, Bino did). If the author's computer hadn't broken, presumably the arc would have taken a very different course...
- Reality Warper: Tarot in the Pridelands pretend arc.
- Relationship Upgrade:
- Only after Grape reveals she's a girl.
- Again later (sort of) when Grape says Peanut has earned the right to be "mushy" with her.
- Ret-Gone: Threatened.
Sabrina: Fido, if you don't go in there and stop this right now, I am going to make you never born.
Fido: D...don't you mean "Wish I was--"
- Running Gag: Peanut waking Grape from one of her naps when he needs her help on something.
- Also Bino getting thrashed when his jerk-assery goes too far.
Fox: By the way, Bino, have you ever wondered why injuring you is not grounds for expulsion?
- Samus Is a Girl: People often mistake Grape for a boy; she is, in fact, a girl. In fact, other cats sometimes have problems telling.
- Sapient Steed: Horses are on the list of sentient talking animals, so they become this.
- Self-Deprecation: Oh, you!
- Self-Insert Fic:
- Grape writes one of these and is incredibly embarrassed when Peanut reads it.
- Peanut also lifted a chapter of Pridelands for his Spot (superdog) comic because he liked a particular minor character.
- Then things go a step further when Tarot uses her imagination...
- Ship Tease: Peanut and Grape cuddling in a one-off
- To Homestuck, here. The title and Alt Text give it away.
- The link on the Cloudcuckoolander reference may feature a shoutout to South Park.
- And this link features a callsign, KPET, that was also used by the webcomic Newshounds.
- This link is an obvious shoutout to Garfield as Tiger tries to ship an annoying pup to the United Arab Emirates, which Abu Dhabi is part of.
- OOGAH BOOGAH BOOGAH! AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA
- Homestar Runner gets a few, including "Tish, You!", the word "nudule", and a Peanut Heroic BSOD.
- Hi I'm Daisy!
- The entire "Thematic Arc of Questionable Quality" is an homage to some of the better-known strips from Calvin and Hobbes.
- Possibly to Fiddler On the Roof, since that's where we first see Fiddler.
- "And this is my other brother Daryl." (sic)
- Following up on the theme naming of the rest of the Sandwich family, Mrs. Sandwich's name was revealed to be Jill in reference to the "Jill Sandwich" meme from Resident Evil.
- Shovel Strike: King finds himself trapped in a toolshed by Duchess, and uses a shovel found in the shed to knock her out, in this strip.
- Show Within a Show: In addition to Spot (Superdog), there is Pridelands
- Sleep Cute: More than one snuggle scene in this comic.
- Slice of Life
- Sliding Scale of Animal Communication: Level 6
- Sliding Scale of Anthropomorphism: Of the Civilized Animal school.
- Spit Take: "I e-mailed your fanfic to Res."
- Spontaneous Choreography: Somewhat here (Neither one knows who "Uncle Reuben" is, yet they're dancing about going to see him.)
- Stealth Pun:
- The "father" of the Sandwich household is named "Earl". His full name has never been said in-comic.
- Not to mention Uncle Reuben.
- The main two characters, also in the Sandwich family, are ingredients for a sandwich.
- Stock Animal Name: The Messrs. and Misses Mr. Bigglesworth, a group of identical Siamese cats.
- Suspiciously Specific Denial: Peanut certainly did not see Bino's shock collar remote.
- Take That: Any page that has Tiger or Marvin "Arbelt" is almost certainly a parody of Garfield.
The cast page for Tiger: I hate Thursdays. I like pizza. I hate cockroaches. I like my teddy bear Poom. That’s characterization, right?
- Tarot Troubles: The common use of the Death card is lampshaded in this strip, then uses the trope straight with the next card being The Tower.
- Tempting Fate: Here.
- Terrible Artist: The Adventures of Spot (Superdog), a comic strip drawn by Peanut.
- Clark Kenting: The only difference between Spot (Superdog) and his secret identity as Spot (Professor) is a cape and a pair of glasses. Even the name's the same!
- Tertiary Sexual Characteristics:
- The Third Of These Is Not Like The Others: Listen, learn, avoid being eaten by an eleven-headed grognak, and be polite.
- This Is My Human: Many of the animals treat their owners more like parents, although this isn't universal.
- Through a Face Full of Fur: This is a Furry Webcomic, after all. In one comic, Peanut's entire face turned red from embarrassment.
- Too Much Information: Apparently, All of Joey's personal life elicits this kind of reaction.
- True Meaning of Christmas: The pets sometimes try to debunk the idea behind Santa.
- TV Never Lies
- Unflinching Walk: Played with in this Housepets strip, in the story arc "The Great Water Balloon War".
- Unsound Effect:
- Valentines Day Episode: Every Valentine's Day brings a set of four paper valentines featuring characters from the strip. They're mostly meant as jokes, but they're also provided in a large printable format so you can give them out.
- Webcomic Time: Lampshaded here
Fido: --FOX! Er, when did you get back from Kansas?Fox: Uh, like the first week of January? I don't ask to be the center of your attention but come on