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A section to explain the slang, cultural references, and other bits

Frequently made-up questions

Miscellaneous stuff


Not quite of thousands, but pretty damn close...

Major characters

  Caroline Ulture - the heroine, after whom the strip is sort-of named. Naive and nervy, Caroline surprised everyone, including herself, when she decided to come to America, and has been semi-regretting the decision ever since. True, she was told the place was wild, but she never expected this, although she does seem to be settling down and getting used to it. Like most nervous people she can swing to extremes of temperament - from worriedly accepting to all out close-mindedness - and it's clear she can be easily influenced. Still, she has hidden depths, and who knows - maybe America will be just the tonic she needs. Or maybe she'll be dead in a ditch by Thursday. You can never tell with life...
The Fridge Monster - Basically a large, green, tentacled mountain of ick that lives in Caroline's fridge, the Fridge Monster would technically be considered evil if it wasn't for two peculiar quirks - its obsession with all thing British, and the fact that it is deeply, deeply stupid. The combination of these two factors helped Caroline not only escape being eaten by the beast, but also befriend it, when she convinced it that she was the Duchess of Gwent. It's assumed that the Fridge Monster was responsible for eating Caroline's cousin Tara.
Martin Knuttson - The first friend Caroline ever made in America - the Fridge Monster doesn't count on the grounds that it's slow-witted, doesn't understand irony, and you can't go clothes shopping with it. Tall and sardonic, Martin manages to avoid most stereotypes of gay maleness, except for the ones about being well-dressed, organised, neat,  and tending towards moments of bitchy queeniness. He  was the person who suggested  Caroline go for the job of programmer at Soulless Megacorp, despite the fact that Caroline knows about as much about computers as Martin does gynecology. Martin is the office manager in one of the big departments of Soulless Megacorp where he is an island of calm in a sea of characters. He's certainly proven himself able to handle Caroline at her weirdest, although whether calling her a freaking loon is the best way of doing so is another matter. He lives a few floors down from Caroline.
The Grinning Skull - Unsurprisingly, given his name, mask, and big knife, a serial killer, because everyone knows that there are masked killers everywhere in America.. The Grinning Skull first appeared at Frank's costume party, hiding in plain sight, where he probably claimed his first nameless victim. So far little is known of this unbalanced individual, except that he is clearly a killer (either that or he's very messy with the ketchup) and he's clearly got some interest in Caroline. And the key to her apartment. The only other fact of note so far is that he is referred to as 'he' because it's easier - in today's equal times he could be a she, he-going-to-she, she-going-to-he, it, or Dom DeLuise. He's not Dom DeLuise though.
Carla Black - There's a bizarre  rule of media, film, and drama that states that all disabled people have to be happy little Yodas spouting forth homilies from their own little Chicken Soups for the Soul. When Carla finds out who wrote this rule, she's going to do things to them that would make Jack the Ripper say 'Steady on! That's a bit uncalled for!'. Yes, Carla is mean. And sadistic. And bitchy, and occasionally petty, and willing to betray her friends, and dealing with some serious rage issues - basically she's living proof that just because you're in a wheelchair, doesn't mean you're nice. Unsurprisingly, Carla is the network manager in Caroline's department at Soulless Megacorp, although nearly everyone believes this is just a front for her plans to take over the world. Scary thing is, they may be right...
Kia Mankievich - Happy, outward going, non-agenda'ed, non-manhating, totally PC lesbian, Kia is one of the few human beings who can skip without being on hard drugs, and even poing on odd occasions. She gets on with everyone - yes, even Carla - and believes the world would be a brighter, happier place if everyone was just a little more open minded and a little bit kinder and more helpful; three philosophies that she subscribes to with a vengeance, often to much annoyance from others. It is this approach that kept her safely in denial when she became a supermodel, although they are also what made her quit once she found out exactly what was going on. The more cynical of her friends  suspect that no one can be this nice without having some serious issues buried deep down, and they might be right, but on the who Kia is a little ray of sunshine in an otherwise gloomy world. Ahhh.
Derek and Jerek Buttz - Not all  guys are a(*)**hole. Not all guys are stupid, beer-swilling, sexist, homophobic, disability mocking jerks. Unfortunately, that's not the case for Derek and Jerek. Twin brothers, they work for Soulless Megacorporation as...well, nobody's really sure, since all they seem to do is drink beer, make lewd comments and use the company facilities to download porn. Despite their being identical in almost every way, there are noticeable differences - Derek always wears his baseball cap the normal way round, whereas Jerek wears his back to front - and they have been known to have different views & approaches since just because you have  a twin doesn't mean you act exactly like them. Still, they seem to work in tandem most of the time, much to the annoyance/disgust/rage-fuelled hatred of their colleagues, although this didn't stop Caroline into talking herself into a date with Jerek.  
Cassiopeia Sawyer (Cass) - Although she works at Soulless Megacorporation in conjuction with the others, Cass isn't really a major part of the team. She's the secretary to Mr Beard, the infamously impatient and ungrateful boss who rules the other characters' lives (well..OK, not Carla's, since she does what she likes, or the Fridge Monster, since  he doesn't work there). Cass was clearly born on the day that the Creator was using nothing but curves, and boy does she make use of that, often to great effect. Perky, efficient, sweet and befreckled, and probably hailing from a state beginning with a vowel, Cass can also be ruthless, as shown when a certain person failed to get the message.


Minor characters

Jane Donaldson - Caroline's next door neighbor, Jane was a New Ager of the first order, and a total flake by order of Caroline. She believed in UFOs, Astral Projection, the face on Mars, the Celestine Prophecies, ESP, telekinesis, the Loch Ness monster, the theory of Atlantis, and everything she reads in the National Enquirer. Jane also claimed to have psychic powers; a fact that Caroline refuses to believe but which  has been borne out by the strips she appeared in. Good-hearted, if a total stoner, it's a shame that she was the Grinning Skull's first named victim. That didn't seem to stop her, however, as she was soon brought back as a zombie, albeit one with the same mind she had when she died. This isn't necessarily a *good* thing. 

Frank Kavanagh - Lives down the hall from Caroline in an apartment he shares with Martin's ex-boyfriend Jason. Straight but very queer friendly - he bonded with Jason over their mutual love of slasher films. Despite this little quirk, Frank seems from what little we've seen to be a charming, well-balanced young man who really didn't deserve Caroline screaming at him when they first met.
Jason Weems - Frank's gay roomie, and boy doesn't that sound like the title of a sitcom? Jason has naturally boyish good looks which would make him a babe magnet for whichever sex he perferred. Consequently he's remained very much himself after coming out since he had no need to fit into a role. Charming and mischievous as hell, he and Frank love to play with people's heads, although he often takes it one step too far, sometimes to Frank's detriment, but he also always makes up for it. Jason is also deeply into slasher films, which is why  he and Frank get on so well.
Rachel "Amarilis" Mankievich - Sixteen year-old daughter of Kia's brother, and consequently Kia's niece. Amarilis (as she insists on being called) is terrifyingly worldly, deeply cynical, and sometimes manipulative, with a weakness for softer material such as Snoopy Christmas Specials that belies her cynical routine. In other words, she's a fairly normal  teenage girl. Amarilis openly admits her anti-social behavior is more or less research for the great novel on alienation, although she does claim to be genuinely depressed as well. Last time she visited, she and Caroline became good friends and Caroline went over to the Goth side for a while. Since this was at Christmas and Amarilis claimed to have had a wonderful time, she is bound to return, sooner or later.

Site design, writing & characters  (c) Selena Ulrich 2000-2001 Art (c) Selena Ulrich 2000, Jo Wilson 2001. C.Ulture Shocked is hosted on Keenspace, a free webhosting and site automation service for webcomics. Feel the love!