Comma comma comma comma comma chameleon

WARNING. Discussion about punctuation to follow.

There is this little thing called the comma. Perhaps you’ve heard of it.

Oh, the comma, it putteth me into a coma. I am so fried from combing through my April release–Love Handles–that I’ve forgotten how to ignore the punctuation when I read anything. I now question any writer’s use of the little curvy thing, and, find, my confidence, regarding my own, writing, to have messed, up my natural flow, and ability, to write.

When in doubt, leave it out. Maybe.

You probably have your own opinion about the serial comma. As Vampire Weekend sings, “Who gives a fuck about an Oxford comma?” So for this post, I will avoid this particular point of commatroversy.

Instead, I’m wondering how people feel about the comma for introductory clauses in fiction. For instance, I could have put in the comma after so:

“So, for this post I will avoid this particular point of commatraversy.”

Because it’s such a short intro, I’m confident I can take out the comma depending on how I feel about the flow and speed of the voice inside my head as I write. (As opposed to the voice saying “Go get more sugar-free watermelon gum and stretch your shoulders.”)
Or we can look at this sentence I’m writing right now. Or, maybe not. (Comma after Or? Or not?)
Then there are the sentences that seem to need a comma but … maybe they don”t. How about this sentence from Love Handles–which version do you prefer?
1. He cleared his throat and to her surprise sat down on the edge of her bed.
2. He cleared his throat, and to her surprise, sat down on the edge of her bed.
3. He cleared his throat and to her surprise, sat down on the edge of her bed.
4. He, cleared his throat, and to her, surprise sat down on, the edge of her bed.
5. He cleared his throat and, to her surprise, sat down on the edge of her bed.

Trick question. Obviously, #4 is best. I mean, Obviously #4 is best.
Okay, going nuts with this. Back to my book. Any comma-ents, please share. Puns encouraged.

*Image attribution: By steffen (fRedi); andreas (andi.vs.zf) (originally posted to Flickr as the modern pet) [CC-BY-2.0 (www.creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

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