Homestarrunner.net1... It's dot com!
The creators of Homestarrunner.com are 'The Brothers Chaps' - real-life brothers Matt and Mike Chapman who are residents of Atlanta, Georgia. They, (along with Missy Palmer, Mike's wife), conceive, write, make and do the voices for the cartoons.
Their idea came to them in 1996 when The Home Star Runner Enters the Strongest Man in the World Contest was their idea for a children's book. This was followed by Where My Hat Is At, both of which can now be viewed in the museum. These ideas evolved and eventually they made Mario-esque computer animations, also available in the museum. Finally, in 2000, the website of cartoons we know today was up and running.
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This does not look good for Homestar Runner.
The cartoons, or simply toons as they are called on the site, are Flash computer animations running anywhere between 30 seconds to over six minutes. The title character is Homestar Runner, a dim-witted athlete, although not all the toons centre around him. Other characters such as Strong Bad, The Cheat or Teen Girl Squad can steal the show.
There is no easy way to describe what the stories and characters are like. This is probably because there isn't anything else similar enough to compare them to. It is not as sophisticated as The Simpsons; much more family-friendly than South Park; and pretty much not at all like the Loony Tunes.
The artistry and appearance is also another unorthodox. The characters do not have a uniform appearance; some are barely even humanoid. Many of the characters do not even have visible arms; perhaps we can guess that they're what Salvador Dali might have created had he decided to become a syndicated cartoonist.
An interesting thing about the site is that the toons seem to appeal to, and are appropriate for, practically all ages. They are not necessarily aimed at small children - more like young adults and college-age people. However, it's possible for a 12-year-old and a 30-year-old to enjoy them equally.
The toons contain no swearing stronger than 'crap', 'freakin' and 'sucks' and the use of toilet humour is very limited. When it is used it is relatively tame and harmless, sparing graphic details and coarse terminology.
I know! Can you believe it?
Homestar Runner has long white legs and is extremely stupid. He wears a red shirt with a white star on it, and a ball cap with a propeller on the top. It has been scientifically proven that he has a stupid and ugly butt. He talks in a silly voice, often saying equally silly things like: Ah, what a great skillet nap, Strong Bad! And in an attempt to sound intelligent, Science! Science again! I say, science again!. His favourite food is the fictional brand Fluffy Puff Marshmallows and Mellonade.
Strong Bad has a head shaped like an egg and a round torso. He wears a Mexican wrestling mask, black pants, red boots and no shirt. He also wears a huge round pair of red boxing gloves at all times, which are a sort of trademark. He is convinced that he is the most impressive man around and that the ladies are 'all up ons'. He was educated at his completely fake college, Crazy Go Nuts University3 (CGNU). He despises Homestar and, well, pretty much all the other characters, excepting a few. He is the ruler of Strongbadia, which is in fact the back yard of his house. It is simply a field of dirt, a white picket fence, an old tyre and a cement block. Propped against this is a Stop sign black-spray-painted with the words: Strongbadia, Pop: Tire4. He lives with his two brothers and The Cheat.
Strong Mad is the oldest of the Strong brothers. He is basically a square with legs wearing a blue wrestling suit. He has no neck or head - instead, his facial features are on the front of his body. Strong Mad is not very intelligent. His attempts to broaden his horizons have failed miserably: crumpling up paper and claiming it is an origami praying mantis; a claymation cartoon about 'Doug the Dinosaur'; and reading a frozen waffle. He also shouts everything, making him difficult to understand sometimes. He spends much of his time down in the basement living room watching television. However, Strong Mad is one of the few other characters that Strong Bad actually seems to like.
Strong Sad is the youngest of the Strong brothers. He is obese, grey and has two elephant legs. He is extremely intellectual and brilliant, but he is constantly depressed and has no friends. No-one really likes him much and as with most younger siblings, he is tortured by his older brothers.
The Cheat lives with the Strongs and is a small, furry, yellow animal with black spots. Exactly what he is or where he came from is not known. He speaks in little squeaks. In the older toons, nobody can understand his squeaks, but later on it is apparent that they can. He is Strong Mad's best friend and Strong Bad's lackey. His hobby is making animations on his computer, usually about himself or the other characters. The Cheat is based partly on the Pokémon character Pikachu.
Marzipan is Homestar's hippy girlfriend and the only female in the entire cast. She is voiced by Miss Palmer. Marzipan is a vegetarian environmentally-friendly folk singer. She is shaped like a bell wearing a dress, and styles her hair in a pony tail.
Bubs is the local entrepreneur. He is the sole proprietor of the successful Bubs Concession Stand. Bubs has also taken on various additional professions such as providing an Internet service, TV/VCR repair and carrying out the roles of Paranormal Investigator and Normal Investigator5. Bubs is overweight, due to the consuming of his own concessions. His best friend is Coach Z.
Coach Z lives in the locker room and has a strange foreign accent, pronouncing words like job 'jorb'. It has been implied that he has on occasion been known to pat peoples' behinds. He is entirely green, except for his head and ball cap, and wears a large medallion on his chest with a 'Z' on it. He likes rap music and claims that he used to be a rapper himself.
The King of Town is not really a king, but dresses and acts like one. His main interest is eating, and he has been known to eat underarm deodorant, motor oil and a gigantic mound of salt. His favourite food is butter, or at least anything that involves the word 'butter' in its name. In earlier toons he was Marzipan's father, but that is no longer implied.
The Poopsmith is employed by the King of Town to shovel 'whatsit', which is... Poop, hence his name. The reasons for this task is unknown, and the Poopsmith has taken a vow of silence and therefore this character does not speak at all. Scenes with The Poopsmith are pretty much the only ones which involve toilet humour. He is generally disliked by everyone due to his revolting smell and hygiene, or lack thereof.
Pom Pom is a large yellow and orange ball, who moves simply by bouncing around. But despite appearances, he has been known to be extremely agile, particularly in martial arts. He is Homestar's best friend, who says that he and Pom Pom are like two breads and a biscuit. Pom Pom speaks in bubbling sounds, created by the Brothers Chaps blowing into milk through straws. This strange language is apparently understood by all the characters. He always has the latest electronic technology.
Homsar is the most surreal, bizarre character of them all. Nothing that he ever says makes sense. When interviewed about his childhood, he declares that he is a song from the 1960s, was raised by a cup of coffee and 'twas the pride of the peaches. He also claims to be the captain of the gravy train, and is a trendy tote bag. He is also the closest thing that Strong Sad has to an actual friend. He and Homsar often play board games together.
Strong Bad Emails - 'No Loafing'
Dear Strong Bad,
How do you type with boxing gloves on?
Today, the Strong Bad Emails are probably most popular part of the site, and are the most regular and anticipated new additions. Generally, there is a new one every few weeks, but sometimes there are long stretches between updates.
They first started every Monday in 2001 as short toons, when Strong Bad would answer an email from an actual fan. In the early days, these were very short and simple, but they have evolved and are now longer and more sophisticated. By 2006, Strong Bad had celebrated his 150th email.
Each one starts when Strong Bad logs onto his email account while singing a short song about email. The message will then appear on his computer screen, and Strong Bad will read the message out loud while making fun of grammar, punctuation and spelling, along with the person's name and location.
He will start writing the answer, then will usually leave the computer for various reasons and at the end he will return to the computer and finish the email. Then The Paper6, reading click here to email Strong Bad, descends, officially ending the toon.
However, if you wait around for ten or 15 seconds after the end, something else may happen. If not, there are usually 'easter eggs' on the screen. These are objects or certain words on his computer that are in fact links that will take you to an extension of the toon, or will bring up a picture on screen.
So far, Strong Bad has had three different computers over the years. The original one was an old, obsolete Tandy 400. It eventually exploded. Strong Bad duct-taped it back together and it lasted a few more emails until he threw it away. He replaced it with a newer, slightly-more-advanced Compy 386, which contracted a computer virus. Compy had to be put out of its misery and Bubs shot it with a shotgun.
Don't worry, Strong Bad. It's in a better place... Or rather, it's in the same place but now it's got a big hole in it!
Strong Bad then upgraded to a Lappy 486, a laptop computer. This weighs 'a portable 42 pounds'. Lappy is still going strong today. But who knows what fate will befall it later on?
Strong Bad Emails have frequently spawned many other spin-off characters and offshoot stories, some of which will often be converted into new toons later on. Here are a few examples:
Teen Girl Squad
Ow! My skin!
This first debuted in an email entitled 'Cartoons'. A fan asks Strong Bad to create a comic book story, so he makes a crudely-drawn animated story about four teenage girls. Their names are So and So, What's Her Face, Cheerleader and The Ugly One.
They are unpopular misfits with no boyfriends7 and little fashion sense, except perhaps for Cheerleader. Yet they always persist in getting ready to look 'so good'. This usually ends in the death of at least one of the girls. There are now several 'issues' in this series.
You can't shoot, and you can't fly
If you came with us
You'd prob'ly die! Hee hee ha ha!
This is a spoof of GI Joe, about The Cheat-like characters in different military outfits. The story is represented as a Saturday morning cartoon for children. They always advertise the Cheat Commandos toys and breakfast cereal (Buyallourplaysetsandtoys!).
Ah, crap! I forgot my Price Styles PlusCard!The Cheat Commandos' arch-nemesis is the diabolical high-voiced villain Blue Laser. In one story, they have to stop him from shopping at Price Styles, a fictional supermarket, on Double Coupon Days. This is because with the money that Blue Laser saves, he can use it for 'machines that screw with the weather or turn babies into gold'. Luckily, the Commandos thwart Blue Laser when he tries to use the Express Lane when he has two items too many.
Sweet Cuppin' Cakes
I'll get you, Hey Steve! if it's the last thing I do-o-oo!
This is when Strong Bad is asked to do a 'kuh-razy' cartoon. He determines that the key to this is to have a title that has nothing to do with the subject of its story. This bizarre, other-worldly story is about a cow-like creature trying to catch an elusive worm and The Wheelchair (voiced by Bubs) is always after Hey Steve!
Are you looking for a CHALLENGE?!
This is basically a futuristic, Japanese-style version of the normal characters. A fan asks Strong Bad what he would be like as a Japanese cartoon. He decides he would have blue hair, robot boots, weird eyes, and his mouth would be really big while talking and tiny when shut. Then he would fly around in space looking for 'challenges'. This new character is named Stinkoman.
Trogdor the Burninator
Burninating the countryside
Burninating all the peasants
In their thatched roof COTTAGES!
Trogdor is a 'wing-a-ling' dragon invented by Strong Bad. The unique feature of this dragon is that he has one large muscular human arm sprouting from the back of his neck. He spends much of his time 'burninating' peasants and their thatched-roof cottages to a cool heavy metal theme song about him. Trogdor often has cameos in other toons, plus a game and a fake live-action movie trailer about him.
Na na na na na
Do do do!
Limozeen was born when a fan asked Strong Bad for help in naming his band. Strong Bad advised that they take a really cool word and spell it wrong: such as Limozeen, Bigg Nife or Taranchula.
And the 1980s long-haired heavy metal band, Limozeen were born. Some of their works include songs like 'Brain Sister' and 'Feed the Childrens' [sic]. They also had a Saturday morning cartoon about them that aired once at four in the morning. Luckily, this was videotaped by Strong Bad, thus preserving a 'priceless piece of television history'.
Come in now and see if you can stand to talk to me for more than four seconds.
This is an older, taller, fatter version of Strong Bad, who has a beard, glasses and comb-over. He carries around a plastic shopping bag, but the exact contents are unknown. It could be cold pizza, or maybe rotten vegetables or perhaps the shattered remains of his former life. He always addresses everyone by a female name, regardless of their gender, and Homestar claims that he smells like pea soup. Senor Cardgage later has a business called Senor Cardgage Mortgage.
Despite his seemingly awful personality, Senor Cardgage is looked up to by Strong Bad who claims he would totally hang out with a guy like that.
Other Toons: Marzipan's Answering Machine
Hi, this is Marzipan. I'm probably outside eating some dirt or something, so just leave me a message.
Not as popular as the Strong Bad Emails, but entertaining nevertheless. This is a series in which you can listen to the messages on Marzipan's answering machine. In each collection there is always a new recording of Marzipan's voice at the beginning, explaining where she is. Then it will go on to the messages. This always involves a silly message from Homestar, and a prank call from Strong Bad, among others. Strong Bad will pretend to be someone trying to extort money or possessions from her.
1936 (Old Timey)
The Sneak! Go steal me some fresh jam!
There are a few earlier toons that are like old, grainy, black and white films that take place in 1936 and are about the same characters, only alternate versions. They star The Homestar Runner, Marzipan and Fat Dudley (Pom Pom).
Strong Bad is portrayed as a nefarious villain with a large handlebar mustache, along with his henchman The Strong Man (Strong Mad) and The Sneak (The Cheat), a large rat. Sickly Sam (Strong Sad) has also made a few appearances.
Where in the world is my candy?
There are annual holiday toons about Halloween and Christmas (in these, Christmas is known as 'Decemberween'). In the Halloween toons, the characters are all dressed as various celebrities, and at the end you can find out who they are dressed as, if you are not sure. Various past costumes have included Strong Bad as Carmen San Diego, Pom Pom as Michael Moore, Strong Sad as David Bowie and The Cheat as Garfield.
This is one of the few instances on the site when 'live action' works can be seen. These are videos featuring Homestar and other characters brought to life as cloth puppets, often interacting with other people. Many of these puppet videos feature Homestar talking to a little girl, or singing during a recording session with the band They Might Be Giants.
Ye find Yeself in yon Dungeon...
The site has a surprisingly large variety of games, most of which are in some way based upon the characters.
Some of the early games are simple, and possibly boring after a while. Some of these are still available, but now many of the newer ones such as Trogdor the Burninator and Peasant's Quest are fairly sophisticated for an online video game. There are also a few versions of Dungeonman, a text game, which was born from a Strong Bad Email.
Toons! Games! Characters! Downloads!
The site now has over 20 different versions of the homepage to choose from. The homepages all feature Homestar standing on the side, with small oval links on the opposite side to take you to different parts of the site. With each version of the homepage there is a different setting or context in which Homestar is standing. A few examples include the kitchen of a diner, the shower, space, a tropical island or a bowling alley. When you set your cursor on one of the links, something else will happen in the background, involving other characters.
If you're reading this entry on the h2g2 website, you can view a selection of cartoons in the references section in the side margin of this Entry.
Things were just about to start getting crazy go nuts!
- Strong Bad