This is a mechanic that PVP relies on much too often, and almost always when a new arc is starting.
We find our characters quibbling over who will take the troll character for Christmas ("Not me!", "Not me!", "We can't stand being around this character because of his role as cute and cuddly foil!"), when out of nowhere...
There are relatively few punchlines in PVP -- it's mostly story-driven. This is fine, to a point, but the author has limited himself to an average of 4 panels per strip, which leads to Mary Worth Syndrome.
This requires lots of exposition, which usually means wasting the first panel. This means that the remaining three panels have to shoulder the burden of the story, which leads to melodrama.