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Pondus is a comic strip created by the Norwegian cartoonist Frode Øverli. Since its start in 1995, it has become one of the most successful comic strips in Scandinavia. The strip has its own monthly comic book both in Sweden and its native Norway, and has been translated to several other languages, including English, French, German and Latin.
The comic is centered around family man Patrick a.k.a. Pondus and his best friend, former layabout Joachim "Jokke" Jacobsen. They both obsess about the English football league, classic rock (especially the hard kind) and beer. In the early years, the strip usually centered around Pondus' and Jokke's bar discussions as well as Jokke's adventures in womanizing (which, half the time, got him smashed to a pulp by grotesquely ugly women, and the other half, got him in bed with them). But ever since Jokke got into a steady job and (for a while) a steady relationship, the strip is becoming more and more ensemble-oriented.
Includes examples of the following tropes:
- The Beautiful Game: The most Serious Business of them all. On more than one occasion, Pondus has seriously questioned why any other sports than football even exists.
- Bi the Way: Turid-Laila a.k.a.Tammy-Sue. Which the usually homophobic Pondus thinks is more than okay.
- Big Ol' Unibrow: The ultimate Butt Monkey moment (in a long series of Butt Monkey moments) for Hugo came when he developed a unibrow overnight. And there is no cure.
- British Footy Teams: Pondus is a Liverpool fan. Jokke holds with Leeds. Camilla (shock and horror!) favours Manchester United. Their bickering gets Played for Laughs.
- The Cameo: Nemi, a character from the series with the same name has appeared in a few strips. Mads Eriksen, Another Norwegian comic book artist was given semi-Take Thats in the strips as a result of a minor war between the two. The famous comic character Gaston Lagaffe has made a cameo as the only customer who didn't get ripped off by the strip's recurring car repairman.
- Casanova Wannabe: Hugo, through and through. All women rejects him, including the ugly girls that Jocke used to get some action from.
- Casual Kink: This comic has a lot of this. Often used as a tool to create awkward situations (Jocke and Camilla walking in on Jocke's mother and stepfather doing a scene), but sometimes just for cuteness (Pondus. wife bringing home her nurse uniform from the hospital in return for him taping her favorite Soap Opera).
- Categorism as a Phobia: The titular character Pondus excels at this. He doesn't seem to have much real bigotry or even prejudice, it's just that he has this crippling fear of homosexuals and homosexual sex acts. He has nightmares about making out with guys, he starts shivering with fear at the sight of real life gays, and so on.
- At one point, his friend Jocke felt like messing a bit with him. So Jocke asked him if he had ever masturbated, and of course Pondus said yes. Jocke then proceded to inform Pondus that Pondus had actually had sex with a man: himself. In the next panel, Pondus is screaming psychotically while washing his right hand, and Jocke is laughing at him.
- The Chew Toy: Jokke
- Crossover: Pondus' wife Beate is a nurse at a hospital. One of the doctors there is a character from a previous hospital-themed comic Øverli did, called Riskhospitalet.
- Deadpan Snarker: Pondus
- Flamboyant Gay: Most gays in this strip are very easily detectable by the way they dress and behave. They don't want you to guess what their sexual orientation is - They want you to see it from a mile away!
- Funetik Aksent: Günther'z zibilantz are alwayz voized.
- Freudian Couch: Dr. Zimmerknaben is a big fan of having his patients lying on couches.
- Gratuitous English: Quite a few of the strips rely on English phrases and puns for the punchline to work.
- Heterosexual Life Partners: Pondus and Jokke (Pondus would probably add: Emphasis on heterosexual).
- In Vino Veritas: Happens a lot to Jokke.
- Kayfabe Music: Pondus believes that a certain rock band truly lives the creed of "Drugs, Sex & Rock'n'Roll". In one strip, the band is shown working out and eating healthy food. Suddenly their manager come in and yell at them that the journalists will be there any minute. And thus, they quickly trash themselves down to look as if they have been partying and boozing up all night. Then the scene switches to Pondus and his wife watching the television. A journalist is (or probably rather is pretending to be) surprised that the band members manage to stay healthy with this lifestyle. The singer explains this with "It's rock'n'roll", baby. It becomes a lifestyle." and Pondus tries to get his wife to accept this message as gospel.
- Little Miss Badass: Pondus' toddler daughter Frida deserves a mention in this category for the no-nonsense way she's handling the colony of monster living inside her closet.
- Meaningful Name: Pondus is Norwegian for belly, and Pondus is somewhat overweight. Jokke is a slang term for humping, hinting at Jokke's love for picking up women.
- Not Allowed to Grow Up: Played with. Both of Pondus' kids, Frida and Påsan, age, but Påsan has aged more rapidly than Frida.
- Nothing Is the Same Anymore: Now, let's see: Jokke got a steady job, then he got a steady girlfriend, Camilla, then they had a kid. Meanwhile, Pondus quit his job as a bus driver and became a bartender. Then Jokke and Camilla broke up, before they got back together again. Oh, and the kids are getting older.
- Real Men Wear Pink: Completely averted, at least from Pondus' own POV. He has a set of strict rules for proper male behaviour, and if you break any of them, you don't deserve to be called a real man. Do you like music with synths? You're gay. Do you wear necklaces of any kind? You're gay. You don't like football? You're gay. Do you - ARRGH!! - wear your sweater around your neck!!?? It doesn't matter what your sexual orientation is, because you're a freakin' eunuch anyway!!
- Suspiciously Similar Substitute: After Jokke got together with Camilla and quit picking up ugly women in bars, the comic faced a problem in that the sequences with ugly women were highly popular among the coimc's fans. The solution? The supporting character Hugo, who had previously only been noted for his bottle cap collection hobby, was suddenly shown taking great interest in women of Jokke's standards, using the same horrible pick-up lines with the same luck.
- With even less luck, actually.
- Seinfeldian Conversation: Pondus and Jokke are having a lot of these. And sure enough, they are both Seinfeld fans.
- Serious Business: If you want to be taken seriously as a man in Pondus' world, you need to have an opinion on hard rock and football.
- Take That: Øverli is a Liverpool FC supporter, so naturally he takes shots at Manchester United supporters whenever he can.
- He also makes it pretty darn clear that he doesn't like U2. Not to the point where Bono is revealed to literally be the world's greatest turd, but still.
- There Are No Therapists: Double Subverted and maybe played straight! Dr. Zimmerknaben is a therapist, but he is usually the one needing therapy after listening to the problems of his patients, often taking happy pills. This was lampshaded in two strips, both involving Jokke (who used to see him on a frequent basis) taking the role as the "therapist" and Zimmerknaben taking the role as the "patient", with Jokke doing the job somewhat better than him both times.
- What Do You Mean, It's Not Camp Gay?: As a little league coach, Pondus won't let the boys stretch after exercise - It's "very feminine".
- Why Did It Have to Be Snakes?: Pondus used to have an above-average fear of homosexual men. Hilarity usually ensued.