And also, Bunlop is about the cutest thing I've ever seen. (Review of Tweep)
(Playful banter from Tweep)
Ever wonder what would happen if you took a combination of Seinfeld and Friends, made the characters about 50% nicer to each other, and then threw in the cutest little bunny you've ever seen?
You'd get Tweep. Tweep is a really sweet strip about friends who care about each other, relationships that make sense, and, of course, The Rabbit Detective. And I've gotta say, I'm loving it. It's not as edgy as Questionable Content, it's not as funny as PvP. It's definitely not as dramatic and emotionally charged as Megatokyo. While all of those strips qualify as relationship strips, in them the relationships are the vehicle by which the purpose of the strip is delivered, be it humor or drama. In Tweep, the relationships ARE the strip, and any drama or comedy that arises is simply the result of natural interaction between the characters. When I read other storyline based comics, I feel like the author is specifically going somewhere, that they are pushing their characters with some ultimate goal in mind for the story. When I read Tweep, it feels more like Ben (the author and artist) is just a casual observer of the characters lives, and he's just drawing stuff as he sees them doing it. It's a great, laid-back feeling that almost gives a sense of coziness to the strip.
The premise of the strip is simple. Three friends, Milton, Jack, and Kate, who live together in a house. They've been friends since grade school, and, in Milton's own words: "We drift apart from time to time, but we always seem to end up back together." Milton is a struggling writer, Kate is a struggling artist, and Jack is a struggling programmer (which makes me wonder how they got the house... I suspect foul play!). In order to help pay the bills, Milton gets a job at the local coffee shop, where he meets Julie, an employee at the record store down the street. He and Julie hit it off pretty well, and now are beginning to date. Through Julie the whole gang also gets to meet Lily, another employee of the record store who is quite hyper and a big fan of the Rabbit Detective. She may also be interested in Jack (although nothing has happened yet). Oh, and there's also a rabbit named Bunlop who lives with Milton, Kate, and Jack. He belongs to Kate but seems to be friendly with all the characters, although he has been known to raise Jack's ire for chewing on computer cables.
Those are the main characters around which the story revolves, and much like Seinfeld or Friends, the actual story itself is really a sidenote to the relationships of the characters. They go through their days and engage in various adventures ranging from visiting the computer store to having lunch in the park to struggling to make blueberry muffin mix. They do the things that normal people would do, and they do them in normal ways. And it's absolutely brilliant. Because through it all, you see Ben (the author and artist, remember?) pulling out the humor in the mundane, the fun in the tedious, the silly in the average. It feels like you're hanging out with your own friends, with the people that make your life seem interesting and funny and silly even when it's not. And so you can relate to the characters, because, in a way, they are relating to you.
This is the sort of thing that could never make it on TV today. It's far too nice, with people being nice to each other and having fun without it being at other people's expense (ok, maybe the flash mob was a bit cruel, but hey, it probably helped the business a lot that day). And I'm glad there's a medium such as webcomics where a person can communicate a story like this.
Oh, and in case I forgot to mention, Bunlop is the cutest thing I've ever seen.