The strip has attained a degree of notoriety for its mixing of consideration of real-life topics with the lightness of being a teenager in high school. Evans has sprinkled in such topics as Luann's concerns about her first menstruation, Dirk's jealousy (which has led to emotional abuse of Toni and physical violence toward Brad), birth control, drunk driving, handicaps, and other social and policy issues that are of interest to young people. Evans drew praise and some criticism in 1998 for a series of strips based around Delta contracting Hodgkin's Lymphoma. After September 11, 2001, the layabout Brad was inspired by the actions of the FDNY to become a firefighter, and there have been extended storylines following him. On November 14, 2001, the satirical newspaper The Onion ran a story supposedly detailing Evans' struggle to address the events of 9/11 in his strip.