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Benjamin Oliver: So, what do you think?

Noah Vanderhoff: I think it's two chimps on a Davenport in a basement.
Wayne's World

Two Gamers on a Couch is an archetype of the Web Comics medium. Many of the most popular webcomics (and the people who read and write them) have an interest in Video Games, and the two gamers on the couch, playing games and shooting the breeze about whatever crosses their minds, is the purest expression of this fanbase/author background.

Two male friends, frequently Author Avatars of the artist and writer of the series, play computer games and have hijinks, mixing in political ideas and unexplained or explainable phenomena that surround their lives. Hilarity Ensues.

The two roommates/friends will often borrow from the archetype of the Comic Trio: One will be wacky and insane, whose passion for computer games and other aspects of nerd culture will result in stupid, crazy, illegal and (hopefully) amusing repercussions. The second will be more down to earth, calm and intelligent -- not above being pulled into the wacky one's schemes, but usually knowing when to pull out. He usually has a stable, "normal" career whereas the wacky one will either be unemployed or painfully incompetent at whatever they do. They are usually accompanied by one or more characters who provide context or perspective, like a Talking Animal, a Dungeonmaster's Girlfriend, a Gamer Chick or a Nerd Nanny, a Robot Buddy, Monster Roommate, a Time Traveller or some other unexplained supernatural or Sci Fi element that serves as a plot device. Most of these series are set in the "real world" and these fantastical elements are handwaved as really cool.

Love interests as stand-ins for the authors' actual wives or girlfriends (assuming that the author has spoken to a girl in his life) are common as are actual Author Avatars who appear in one-off strips and comment on production or philosophical nonsense.

Examples of Two Gamers on a Couch include:

  • Penny Arcade: The flagship Two Gamers on a Couch series. Gabe and Tycho (who switch between crazy and sane depending on the plot) are the gamers. This series is the most politically active, making massive amounts of cash from their comic and related projects; they run a gaming expo and a children's charity on the back of the comic. They publish SPIN-OFF comics of their comics, have also produced their own computer game, and have been featured as an expansion of a moderately successful collectible card game.
  • Ctrl+Alt+Del: Wacky guy Ethan and straight man Lucas are roommates. Zeke the Xbot is their wacky Robot Buddy who wants to Kill All Humans. Lilah is the down-to-earth gamer girlfriend of Ethan. Hilarity Ensues.
  • Garnet and Gure features Garnet, a buffoonish latter-day gamer and Gure, a painfully emotionless old-schooler.
  • Brawl in the Family: King Dedede discusses the flaws of Super Smash Bros Brawl to Kirby, who's happily playing the game on the couch. Lampshaded Fridge Logic, how King Dedede is complaining about the game where he made his first SSB debut. [1]
    • Comic 357 "Bowling" features Kirby, Diddy Kong, and Adeleine playing Wii Bowling on a couch.
  • Pv P: A clear inversion. Despite it also centering around gaming, none of the main characters are gamers on a couch, and there USED to be two guys named Robbie and Jase who used to do just that. Then Robbie won the lottery, moved into a huge mansion, and had a falling-out with Jase.
  • Rob and Elliot: Elliot is the sane/normal school teacher, Rob is the wacky and over-the-top drama queen. Of course, Elliot is only sane in relation to Rob; one arc revolved around his being Not So Above It All when trying to find a new roommate. Doctor Doom(sday) is their megalomaniac next door neighbour, who frequently gets in trouble with the Justice League.
    • More like two guys sharing an apartment, as gaming doesn't actually factor into it, but otherwise it fits the trope.
  • Apple Geeks: Started off as a TGOAC comic but quickly evolved into a more dramatic model. The wacky hawk (Mad Scientist Superhero) was the crazy one and he had many friends who took on the sane side of the dynamic. After the creation of Eve, the Mac-based andoid, the series changed dramatically into a serious action/drama series, and recently became wacky again.
    • A slightly alternate interpretation involves copious amounts of Unreliable Narrator. The squirrel does talk to him, after all.
  • Megatokyo: Like Applegeeks, quickly broke out into a different medium and is now a romance Shounen (but not the Dragon Ball kind) manga-style comic.
  • VG Cats: The avatars of two cats who "act the part" of characters in different computer and console games -- we never actually see the couch, just the two characters inside the game, but it fits the same format.
    • The cats are occasionally seen in the real world, when parodying tabletop games or buying a new videogame.
  • Life of Riley: Started as a gag-a-day Life Embellished series about two of the members of the 'Clan Bob' online team, rife with in-jokes and innuendo about their girlfriends, but became an increasingly surreal mix of adventure and religious symbolism, before suddenly vanishing off the face of the 'net.
  • Real Life Comics: Gaming is part of the overall geekery of the author's interests. Cast of Characters has fluctuated on the author's real life associations. Usually the Author Avatar is wacky, while his wife is sane -- but for some situations, it's reversed.
  • Spoofed in Homestar Runner, in which Strong Bad quips that most webcomics are about "slickly drawn college roommates [who] make nothing but video game inside jokes"; cut to a Penny Arcade-like comic of Strong Bad and Strong Sad doing just that.
  • Shredded Moose arguably owed everything to Penny Arcade except its sense of humor.
  • Animation example: Megas XLR is two gamers on a couch, even if their 'couch' as well as the 'game' is sometimes a giant robot.
  • Movie example: Shaun of the Dead starts off two one of the two guys (Shaun) questioning his half of the couch, and throughout the movie, tries to reorganize his life and his relationships... but in the film's final scene, he's back where he's happiest, sitting on the couch playing video games with Ed, who's now a zombie but still able to play Time Splitters.
  • Spoofed in this Slackerz strip, which parodies the format in general and Ctrl+Alt+Del in particular. Later, it was revisited.
  • Draw Write Play references the trope and then cites why they do it better. [2]
  • The Webcomic 2 guys sitting on a sofa holding game controllers. Exactly What It Says on the Tin. Lines were submitted by readers, the pictures were ALWAYS the same.
    • To elaborate, since it can no longer be accessed properly (the above link takes you to an error page with a version of the strip with two Beat Panels and a character saying "Umm...NO."), Panels with text added to them were divided into first panels, second panels, and third panels. Each time you looked at the page, a first panel, a second panel, and a third panel would be randomly chosen. And hopefully, the combination would be funny. Hopefully.
  • Sluggy Freelance was arguably this for its first week of strips, with Torg checking in each day on Riff's computer problems, such as summoning the Devil and the archangel Chuck onto his hard drive, who proceed to get into a Quake death match. The series quickly expanded far beyond this, however. Video games and random conversation between the Heterosexual Life Partners do still appear in the strip, but are only one aspect of the increasingly bizarre and complex storylines.
  • Skin Horse pokes fun at the ubiquity of this trope in an early strip.
  • UG Madness is more Two Gamers At A Table Playing Magic: The Gathering. Basically replace the controllers with a few cards and the TV with the table and you got the idea.
  • Cyanide and Happiness parodies the trope.
  • ~F@nb0y$~: Pretty much follows the formula except both of the main characters are equally wacky.
    • Although the series continues though, the couch becomes less of a focal point and more character-driven (or just wacky-shenanigans-driven) multi-strip arcs develop.
  • MTV Germany's video games show Game One could be considered this as it features two gamers as moderators and the studio even has a couch, they rarely sit on it though.
  • The 40-Year-Old Virgin brought the trope to the film, with a good mix of Volleying Insults. In fact, a picture of said gamers, plus the line "You know how I know you're gay?", has become a Memetic Mutation, such that anyone asking the question merely posts the picture.
  • Jollyjack's Sequential Art comic, at his website Collected Curios, falls into this at times.
  • Suzixemma: Sort of an inversion, as the protagonists are girls and they don't just play videogames. And they have yet to actually sit on their couch... but it's the same basic principle.
  • In El Goonish Shive, the NP stories are starting to show shades of this.
  • Gorillaz short Game of Death has 2D and Murdoc playing a fighting game, with Noodle and Russell as their respective characters.
  • Sweet Bro and Hella Jeff is ostensibly this, as it started life as a direct parody of a generic Two Gamers on a Couch comic posted on the Penny Arcade forums. In practice, while the theme is still definitely there (as far as anyone can tell), it's not quite as focused on gaming - only a small number of episodes make reference to playing games, and the only time Bro and Jeff are actually seen on a couch playing games quickly descends into... something else.
  • Slapdash Application of Verbiage's Jennings is eager to avoid this.
  • Virtual Shackles: Various strips follow this format, with variations such as the two creators, two video game characters, one of the creators with their wife, etc.
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