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Why I like the Cosmic Nerds 
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Post Why I like the Cosmic Nerds
Right! So there are a few people who do not understand the 3 supernatural beings currently playing U&U in the Housepets! universe. Some people dislike (some hate) just one, and some both. I never really understood what in particular there was to dislike about these characters, but I didn't have the whole thing worked out as to why I liked them.
Now I have. So here we go.

Character:
Kitsune's character is hard to not like. He plays the neutral arbitrator, which means he's less subject to extremes and therefore subject to less extreme reaction from readers. He's an upstanding kind of fox without being uptight. He's straightforward when he needs to be but allows himself to enjoy life. He makes decisions that he feels are right. He takes the interests of others into consideration but is not afraid to do the right thing regardless. When there is no "right" or "wrong" way to do things, he takes a more middle ground approach and leaves things alone if others have already acted.

Dragon's character is also very likeable. She is the emotionally invested one, which means she will have extremes in reaction to what she cares about. She is kind and caring, hating to see innocents suffer. This causes frustration and anger toward people whom she sees as mistreating others. She delights in others' happiness, and she avoids conflict except when her sense of injustice is triggered, at which point she will step in seeking to right it (or stop it if she sees it coming).

Pete's character is much easier to find unlikeable. Pete is kind of a jerk. He is a bit arrogant and stubborn. He never backs down from a conflict. He is a rational thinker and plays to his advantage whenever possible. He also has a moral compass and uses it to make decisions. The issue many (including Dragon) have is that when he looks at his end goal, he takes the path he sees as most effective and pays little heed to the effects of his actions in between. He pays attention to what is morally right but is willing to ignore the feelings of those his actions influence because he has their best interest in mind at the end, even if they can't see it now.

The Game:
This particular game of U&U is being played to settle a dispute between Dragon and Pete. Looking at their characters above it seems likely that Pete, in his striving towards the end goal, upset Dragon by doing things she considered an injustice or mistreatment of the mortals in their prior game. Dragon is unafraid to speak her mind in these situations and Pete is unwilling to back down when his character is called into question. The dispute could not be settled with discussion, so a duel was chosen. The outcome will decide whose way of doing things will be upheld in the next game (and possibly subsequently), and the loser is also punished by being forced to live one mortal lifetime in a linear and objective fashion. This last bit is a little childish, but that's how arguments go sometimes.

Issues:
One of the main issues that people seem to be having with this whole thing is that it is a game. They are playing with mortal lives and yet the whole thing is somehow just a game. Worse, they're playing this game with mortal lives in order to settle an argument. Further, the argument over which they are playing this game with mortal lives is a personal dispute without any far-reaching consequences or serious effects, just a difference of opinion.

Then there's the actual meddling with mortal lives.
We have, the obvious, Pete hinting that his work with Joel is altruistic and will help turn his life around. It turns out he wants King as his avatar and actively makes his life difficult to foster discontent just to make him an even more amazing avatar.
We also have Dragon sticking her snout into everybody's love life. She manipulates people for her own gain by getting Peanut and Grape in a relationship so they're no good for Pete to use. She may even have done the same with Fido.
Kitsune isn't exactly exempt either. He's the Game Master. He should take some responsibility for keeping the players in line. Instead he lets them get away with messing around with people and only ruled against Pete's use of King because Dragon brought it up.
In fact, the whole game relies on using real people with real lives to do the will of the gods. It's all about manipulation and coercion and even bullying people who aren't capable of denying you into doing what you want.

My Reasoning:
So why do I like the Cosmic Nerds?

I like each of their characters separate from any other issues I may have with them.
Kitsune reminds me of myself in some ways. As he says, he plays this game because he likes the mortals. I would say they interest him, running about their daily lives. They're so small and different from the cosmic beings yet so similar in many ways. Kitsune would argue that he would step in if things ever got too out of hand, and King's case was a grey area because it is for his own good even if there are ulterior motives attached to the transformation. When the situation was phrased in the sense of King being tricked and coerced into implying his consent, he decided Pete had overstepped his boundaries and took action on the matter.

I find Dragon extremely hard to dislike as a character. As Sabrina notes, Dragon is compassionate almost to a fault. She doesn't want the mortals getting hurt, but that causes her to be less willing to act even for a good outcome if some pain is involved. How do I reconcile this personality with the issue raised over her? Dragon would argue that there was no coercion involved. While winning the duel is important to her, the win should not come at the cost of the mortals, else all she stands for coming into the duel is lost. Her first intent was to get Peanut and Grape to be together. This renders both Dream Sunderers pretty much useless for Pete, and they'd be so great together that it wouldn't be a problem. But since Grape went with Max, she had Tarot step in with Peanut. Really, Grape's relationship wasn't at all influenced by Dragon. She doesn't keep Tarot in the dark about what her immediate goals are, so Tarot is capable of making her own decisions. Peanut's a pretty likeable dog, and he and Tarot are happy together, so it really wasn't much of Dragon's doing at all. She may have set up the meeting, but the relationships happened on their own. Furthermore, dating relationships are as temporary or permanent as the individuals in the relationship wish them to be. This isn't exactly a life-altering thing she's set up (unless they end up spending the rest of their lives together, in which case it was certainly a good thing).
Also, Sabrina isn't the type to go along with a fake relationship just for the benefit of someone else. For that relationship to have gone on as long as it has, I can't imagine it is an act on her part.
Another way of putting this is: nullifying the threat of the Dream Sunderers was important for the game, but making sure that everything is for the good of the mortals is important for Dragon as a person. It's a bit of a balancing act, but it's an important balancing act.

Why do I like Pete? He's often cocky, cuts corners when he can, and is somewhat inconsiderate; but I just can't not like the guy. He's desperate by now, yet he's thought all his options through and he's going with the best plan he can come up with. He thinks everything through and then executes. He takes risks when they're warranted, and shows great confidence (and sometimes overconfidence) is his abilities. He's not a lot like me, but I admire that take action attitude he shows. Does that outweigh his faults? Well, Pete would argue that everything he does is for a good reason. He could have chosen any random human and transformed them into a dog. He could have chosen someone who already had a good life as a human who would really resent it being taken away. That would have certainly played right to his advantage. Instead he chose someone whose life was going in a bad direction. Even more, he chose someone whose life would most benefit being changed into a dog to get some new perspective. Yes, ulterior motives, but you can't always sweat the small stuff. He needed an avatar that could match Dragon's, and the best solution was the one he came up with. If it has to happen, it has to happen. At least he made sure to get a human for whom it would actually be a positive influence.
As for the equality thing, the animals have so much more potential than they are given the chance to show. In the end, if they could be considered equal with the humans, it would be a great opportunity for all of them. Yes, it will be a hard road. It'll screw everything up and throw everything into disarray. When everything eventually calms down, it'll be a good ending. Not that he really cares or anything (I mean the mortal universes are fun to play in and all, but they'd either get along fine without the equivocation or eventually bring it about by themselves) but hey, good cause.
Pete finds Dragon's balancing act too restricting. It's hard (and sometimes impossible) to make great changes when you gotta keep every person warm and cuddly while you do it. Change always brings some pain with it, and you can't go tiptoeing around all the time or you won't get anything done. Does he take it too far? Everyone else certainly seems to think so. But they're going to get their happy ending when all is said and done, so what does a little (or a lot) of pain matter for right now?

Am I saying they are great and wonderful people who are always right in everything they do? No. Dragon's looking like she's not going to help much at all on the animal equivocation thing, and Pete's ready to start a global catastrophe to bring it about. It's up to Keene to take the middle ground. So, I'm not going to say they're perfect, but they're not evil. Not by a long stretch. They're playing a game where it would be fairly easy to really screw a universe up, but they take care to not damage things. Nothing happens to the mortals they play with that life doesn't already throw at people. And they don't do this just because they might get in trouble for messing things up. They do it because they at least care that much about the puny mortals.

"But what gives them the right?" some people would ask. And, no, it's not just: "They're demigods. Deal with it." If you haven't thought about it from they're perspective, you should try it. It's a bit weird. The mortals' time in their universe is short. Ridiculously so. Here today, and gone tomorrow. However, when they die, they go on to the afterlife. That is where they spend the rest of eternity. This is why the "mortals continu[ing] to pass into eternity unmolested" is the big deal rather than "don't mess with the mortals while they live". Sure, having a good life on earth is great and all, but it pales in comparison to afterlife in heaven. In the end it hardly matters - like a drop of water in the ocean. Life on earth is complete misery in comparison, so what does having some demigod come down to ask you to be their avatar in some supernatural game really mean in the long run? I'm not trivializing anything here, and neither are they. From an earthly perspective, meddling by the gods is such a life-altering thing. From a heavenly perspective (the perspective of one with an eternity to live), it's simply not as big an issue.

Conclusion:
If you still don't think it's right, there's nothing else I can say on the issue. It'll do no good to argue about it, because I've already thought everything through and come to this conclusion, and if this doesn't sway you, I can't think of anything else that might.
I like the Cosmic Nerds because individually they are interesting characters that I like, and their actions are not objectionable enough for me to dislike them on principle. I like the game U&U because it brings an interesting perspective to roleplaying, and life in general. I like having to think, and I like having to analyze. This gives me so much to look at.

Rick, thanks for bringing these characters into the comic. I've had lots of fun with them (and hope to see them a little in the future).
If anything is off, or missing feel free to bonk me.

PS. The thing with Dragon's manipulation went around once already, and it got to where people were questioning if even Max was in on it. 'Cause we certainly don't know everything. Sabrina and Fido, Grape and Max, Peanut and Tarot, all could be sham relationships just to keep Pete from getting his Dream Sunderer.
This sounds horrible. And whenever something sounds horrible, I remember that this is Housepets! written by Rick Griffin. Horrible is outside the scope of this comic. Rick would never write something that horrible. At that point, I decide that it must not be so. Thus the relationships are real relationships and everyone really is happy with the relationship. If things break up later, it won't be because this was all a sham but for some other naturally occurring reason.

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Fri May 24, 2013 9:51 am
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Post Re: Why I like the Cosmic Nerds
The only thing I'm going to say here is that I understand the points your trying to make but to me it changes nothing. Really at this point there is nothing Rick or anyone can do to make me like them, baring maybe retconning 80% of the comic to rewrite the Nerds motivation for doing this. That would only make me like Dragon more really, Pete maybe I could like more but it would be harder. However I could never like any of them completely, and really my thinking behind all this is What if I was in Kings position and the nerds motivations and personality was exactly the same? The only thing I can think that I would do would be 'ruin these three' I would make it my lifes goal to ruin their game as much as I could anyway I could. I would gather as many people as I could to do it.

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Fri May 24, 2013 12:16 pm
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Post Re: Why I like the Cosmic Nerds
Nice article, Obbl. :) I agree with most of your points.
I remember when I read the arc with the cosmic nerds for the first time, I just thought "Wow... that was unexpected... and strange". In the meantime, I think they are a cool part of the story and I wouldn't want to miss them. :D

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Fri May 24, 2013 12:30 pm
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Post Re: Why I like the Cosmic Nerds
A lot of good points. I never "hated" any on the Cosmic nerds, but there were reasons why I disliked certain things Dragon and Pete do. Both are rather manipulative, although it's less obvious, and much less mean-spirited, with Dragon. At least with Pete he tells most of his motives. As characters, I do enjoy how their involvement with the characters causes so many arcs to happen.

You know, I keep thinking of Dragon, Pete, and Kitsune as aligned with Law, Chaos, and Neutrality from a game I've played, with each faction having their own ideals for how mortals should be treated.

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Fri May 24, 2013 1:15 pm
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Post Re: Why I like the Cosmic Nerds
Aaaaand, another one who over-analyzes the whole cosmic subject. I really don't know what's the big deal, it's not as harsh and complicated as people think it is. Besides, if this game hadn't existed then King wouldn't exist either.

Obbl wrote:
Pete's character is much easier to find unlikeable. Pete is kind of a jerk. He is a bit arrogant and stubborn. He never backs down from a conflict. He is a rational thinker and plays to his advantage whenever possible. He also has a moral compass and uses it to make decisions. The issue many (including Dragon) have is that when he looks at his end goal, he takes the path he sees as most effective and pays little heed to the effects of his actions in between. He pays attention to what is morally right but is willing to ignore the feelings of those his actions influence because he has their best interest in mind at the end, even if they can't see it now.


Okay, I didn't realize I was so similar to Pete till now. :shock:
You practically made a biography of me. :P

Quote:
PS. The thing with Dragon's manipulation went around once already, and it got to where people were questioning if even Max was in on it. 'Cause we certainly don't know everything. Sabrina and Fido, Grape and Max, Peanut and Tarot, all could be sham relationships just to keep Pete from getting his Dream Sunderer.
This sounds horrible. And whenever something sounds horrible, I remember that this is Housepets! written by Rick Griffin. Horrible is outside the scope of this comic. Rick would never write something that horrible. At that point, I decide that it must not be so. Thus the relationships are real relationships and everyone really is happy with the relationship. If things break up later, it won't be because this was all a sham but for some other naturally occurring reason.


About this, I think their feelings are true, so you can't call these as sham relationships. It's not like Dragon had washed their brains. However, my theory is that Dragon has the power to manipulate fate, and she has used this power not just to prevent Pete from gain the potential Dream Sunderers, but also to fulfill her own interest. She had been watching Peanut for a long time, and after getting to know so much of him, she couldn't help but fall in love of him. And since she is on Tarot's body, it's probably that both share feelings, thoughts and everything, so Tarot had no problem doing what Dragon wanted.
I mean, how I am so convinced of this? Because she could have sent Sasha or whatever other female dog (or cat), but she chose interfere herself. And if she was able to do this, then what prevents her from doing the same with Max and Sabrina so she could have free way to get Peanut? Maybe she was partly the reason why they broke up.
And if Dragon is able to use this power, why not Pete? Maybe Pete is playing with the fate of Fox and Bailey with the purpose of making King to feel attached to his dog's life. And when he accepts to be his avatar, Pete will use them to make his life miserable.

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Fri May 24, 2013 2:58 pm
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Post Re: Why I like the Cosmic Nerds
How many gods these days get into the simple modern act of shipping? *points to Spirit Dragon*

If there's a god that deserves to be one of us shipping fans, it's Dragon. I can just picture her squeeing when her favourite ship sails.

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Fri May 24, 2013 11:10 pm
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Post Re: Why I like the Cosmic Nerds
I like the cosmic nerds. Really they're amusing, and King's arc is a fun one.

I don't get why you wouldn't like them. Its not like the comic isn't silly anyway. Sure, you could have been upset when they first showed up, but by now? It is very much integral to the comic.

And really what's fun about it is that Pete, the guy who is the antagonistic one, is on the side of the readers - he wants to see the pets be more equal, and we LIKE that because we sympathize with the pets. Dragon, who is much nicer (well, on the surface - if you didn't notice, there are rather nasty implications that she had her followers become romantically involved with several members of the cast explicitly to ruin Pete's odds of getting them as useful avatars) is AGAINST such equality.

And hey, them playing games with the lives of mortals is what all gods do. They just are doing so explicitly. The jerks.


Sat May 25, 2013 9:13 am
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Post Re: Why I like the Cosmic Nerds
Titanium Dragon wrote:
I like the cosmic nerds. Really they're amusing, and King's arc is a fun one.

I don't get why you wouldn't like them. Its not like the comic isn't silly anyway. Sure, you could have been upset when they first showed up, but by now? It is very much integral to the comic.

And really what's fun about it is that Pete, the guy who is the antagonistic one, is on the side of the readers - he wants to see the pets be more equal, and we LIKE that because we sympathize with the pets. Dragon, who is much nicer (well, on the surface - if you didn't notice, there are rather nasty implications that she had her followers become romantically involved with several members of the cast explicitly to ruin Pete's odds of getting them as useful avatars) is AGAINST such equality.

And hey, them playing games with the lives of mortals is what all gods do. They just are doing so explicitly. The jerks.


Dragon is not against equality, but she doesn't want to force things as Pete wants. If Pete wins, probably will unleash a revolution, meanwhile Dragon wants everything go to its natural course. She know that mortals will reach equality in due time.

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Mon May 27, 2013 9:38 pm
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Post Re: Why I like the Cosmic Nerds
I like the Cosmic Nerds to. While Pete is pushy he does want what's best in his mind for the animals. Dragon is caring and considerate, her only fault is she's too soft sometimes. Then there's the Kitsune...he's just awesome, for reasons. There is one thing that comes to mind though...

The game they're playing is to decide who gets to pick which route they take right? So can it end...in a tie*? And if so what happens then? Do they meet each other halfway, or start another game? If they start another game isn't it possible that Dragon will technically win because depending on the longevity of the game, humanity could give animals full equality before they finish making the game itself meaningless? It also strikes me that if they actually asked the animals most if not all would probably end up wanting a halfway agreement, the humans don't get forced but gently nudged in the right direction...right? In the end their game seems more about satisfying their ego's rather than actually helping anyone which means that neither of them can truly be trusted...since Dragon wouldn't intervene even if humans were ruthlessly slaughtering animals who wanted equality, and Pete would happily mass murder humanity...or am I overthinking things? The whole game things made everything rather confusing. I hope should Rick finish the Comic, he goes out and makes a rulebook for the game they're playing, as I'd really like to read it.

*Asked by a guy who's never played Dungeons and Dragons

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Wed Jul 10, 2013 9:02 pm
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Post Re: Why I like the Cosmic Nerds
The game has nothing to do with creating equality or "helping" anyone. As stated in the Trial in Heaven here, the game is to use your resources to establish a following and get an avatar trained up and fight archdemons and all that. It's like any other game you could imagine us making here on earth. The only reason it's based in our universe is because they need a setting and, from Dog Days of Summer here, it's much simpler to use a preexisting universe as the area for play (and they happen to have chosen the Housepets! universe). Even this duel is not about the equivocation of animal and mankind. As stated here and here, equivocation is a promise Pete made to get himself out of the desert. Dragon doesn't agree with the way Pete intends to bring it about because it will cause mass chaos and upheaval and pain for lots of people, but Pete believes it will be worth it to the mortals since they all will "get [their] happily ever after" in the end.
Since this is a duel, I doubt they've left room for a tie. It seems likely the avatars will be the ones to settle this and there will be a clear winner and loser. The end goal is something they have specified beforehand, so it can be whatever they want.
Also, Pete wouldn't go about happily mass murdering humanity. Not only is it pointless game-wise, it's wasteful and possibly unethical even according to the Heavenly Order.

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Thu Jul 11, 2013 3:07 pm
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Post Re: Why I like the Cosmic Nerds
Obbl wrote:
Also, Pete wouldn't go about happily mass murdering humanity. Not only is it pointless game-wise, it's wasteful and possibly unethical even according to the Heavenly Order.

Pete isn't evil. *giggles*

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Thu Jul 11, 2013 6:51 pm
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Post Re: Why I like the Cosmic Nerds
If you reread the Trial in Heaven arc, you will see that one of his past avatars, and most liked, was a human.... the one he cried over?

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Thu Jul 11, 2013 8:55 pm
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Post Re: Why I like the Cosmic Nerds
Dissension wrote:
Obbl wrote:
Also, Pete wouldn't go about happily mass murdering humanity. Not only is it pointless game-wise, it's wasteful and possibly unethical even according to the Heavenly Order.

Pete isn't evil. *giggles*
So why does he antagonize people?

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Fri Jul 12, 2013 11:58 am
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Post Re: Why I like the Cosmic Nerds
Sleet wrote:
Dissension wrote:
Obbl wrote:
Also, Pete wouldn't go about happily mass murdering humanity. Not only is it pointless game-wise, it's wasteful and possibly unethical even according to the Heavenly Order.

Pete isn't evil. *giggles*
So why does he antagonize people?



Same reason Q did.... bored with immortality and omnipotence, wanting to be surprised or intrigued...

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Fri Jul 12, 2013 9:22 pm
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Post Re: Why I like the Cosmic Nerds
Aye Sir, you´re totally right. I really love the dragon and just wanna hug her (especially since the arc in the Gallifrax-dimension.). And the Kyuubi is cool, too. Even thought pete called Kyuubi `Boy` in the trial in heaven-arc, I like to imagine that Kyuubi is female, just alone from the colours of it´s speaking bubbles ^^
And Pete... Yeah, kinda hard to sort him in. I don´t dislike or hate him, but to like him is hard. Everything he did to King...

And about the game: Guys, this is a web-comic! Calm down and just enjoy the comic!


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