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  • `AI Is a Crapshoot: It's really impressive how those adbots share what they've learned with one another and amass information so quickly.
    • Taken all the way to the traditional, malevolent definition with HOWARD, before looping around to what may well be heroism, as it becomes clear that disrupting FPOU's "classes" isn't the the worst thing he could be doing.
  • Black Comedy
  • Blipvert: We don't actually see the class she's taking, but reportedly, "FPOU offers thousands of classes that are only 45 seconds long, and they start constantly, so it's convenient, like taking the bus. Everyone loves taking the bus."
  • Bread, Eggs, Milk, Squick: Before they're specifically (and cheerfully) explained later on, there are a number of Freeze-Frame Bonuses where, as a matter of course, the "students" are rewarded for things like the act of reporting each other, anyone who even knows who Howard is, or, in particular, the deaf.
    • ...among other things. However, the presenter never does expand on trumpeting FPOU's lack of "anti-Israel professors".
  • Buy Them Off: As much as FPOU loves money, they apparently tried to "placate" HOWARD with a hundred million of their "Thoughtcoins", and everyone agrees that, therefore, they "gave him what he wants".
  • Cataclysm Backstory: It sounds like something big happened to make FPOU seem attractive, but it's mostly described in such terms as the bygone days of "crumbling campuses"... twice. See One Nation Under Copyright.
  • Continuity Snarl: A series of newspaper headlines illustrate a very... strange, and not necessarily linear life on the part of USAdude1981 up until he came to FPOU. A moment later, he's seen logged in as USAdude1978.
  • Create Your Own Villain: Worst enemy, anyway.
  • Creepy Monotone: Just for a moment, when the presenter tells us, in so many words, how FPOU isn't a scam like real college. "Come. Profit with us."
  • Dark Is Evil: The FPOU treats HOWARD as the most dangerous thing on two legs, and his avatar is solid black.
  • Designated Villain: Howard, possibly more in-universe than out. Especially considering what FPOU itself is like, despite one student going so far as to specifically say that he has legitimate grievances, but his actions are unconscionable, it's never made clear exactly what HOWARD does to be so feared, let alone the all-consuming subject of everyone's life and work as an "online gardener", which is the only job FPOU ever seems to get for anyone.
  • False Reassurance: FPOU is unaccredited. "That means that we're beholden to no one except for your money."
  • Freeze-Frame Bonus: If you're so inclined, there is a lot to read.
  • Fun With Acronyms: With For-Profit Online University, or "FPOU", itself, not so much. Played with where HOWARD is concerned — whatever he began as, it had the acronym "H.O.W.A.R.D.".
  • Insane Troll Logic: "Facts On Demand.  Whether stored on the brain or a hard drive, all knowledge is structurally identical... Every fact you learn is yours forever, as long you pay our Monthly Active Alumnus Fee."
  • Just for Pun: FPOU's representatives occasionally hype up how great their services are with wordplay.
  • Nice Hat: For a small fee, one of the many ways you can customize your avatar at FPOU.
  • No Name Given: All of the characters are only known by their screen names due to how, with the rise of HOWARD, one of the rules of FPOU is to never, ever, ever give your real name to anyone at all. Express yourself with a fun avatar instead!
  • One Nation Under Copyright: It's never explicitly stated, but For-Profit Online University seems to have somehow achieved national, if not global dominion, despite nominally being an online college. Panera Bread incidentally seems to have some kind of a monopoly on food distribution under FPOU, but their relationship is... strained. (So strained, in fact, that one of the links on FPOU's homepage is "Report Panera". The presenter adds that they'll mail you a sandwich if you fill out the form.)
  • Snake Oil Salesman: One of FPOU's outdated CAPTCHA codes is "SNAKE OIL".
  • Suspiciously Specific Denial: "I am not afraid of Howard."
    • On the affordability of FPOU: "I lost my job, which wasn't my fault... I was missing car payments, which wasn't my fault, either..."
  • Talkative Loon: The local data-harvesting adbots may be there to "subsidize" your education and clue you in to some pretty great deals, but they end up communicating in varying degrees of barely-comprehensible gibberish. Excepting HOWARD. One, despite the class (like seemingly all of FPOU's classes) being about war, seems to be saying something about A Modest Proposal.
  • Troll: One of the few things HOWARD is known, or at least rumored to actually do is order massive amounts of sandwiches that nobody ever picks up, which, in turn, leads to all kinds of arguments... though the infomercial actually treats the opportunity to represent FPOU while arguing with a restaurant manager as a selling point.
  • We Will Use Wiki Words in the Future: All sorts of things around FPOU come back to "Thoughtcoins", which are kept in an "f-pouch". Don't ask what an "f-pouch" is.