This has been a long time coming, and not oft-enough done, in my opinion: a blog post celebrating the greatness that is Homestar Runner!
If you’ve never heard of or gotten into Homestar Runner . . . what’s your deal? Get with it! It’s been something like eight or nine years since I was first told about it by my then-future-now-past roommate, J-Rob. I’ve periodically gone six months to two years at a time not checking the site, and what always amazed me is that, when I came back and got caught up, the same caliber of quality humor remained. Unfortunately, site creators-and-everything-else, Mike and Matt Chapman, have gone on a hiatus (I think after the birth of Mike or Matt’s kid; don’t remember which one . . . the younger one, that does the voices, I think). So, with the exception of very seldom updates, the site remains the same as it was around the end of Quarter 3, 2009.
But enough of my yapping. Let’s get to it. I’ve spent four consecutive lunch breaks and lots of time at home I could have spent playing guitar or Half Life 2 clicking the “Rando” button on Homestarrunner.com, being reminded of many of my favorite moments, features, aspects, and whatevers of this genius cartoon series. This is by no means exhaustive, because I know there’s TONS of more things I love and I’m leaving out. Be sure to tell me of any of your favorites in the comments.
(Oh, and no–Trogdor will not be among these. Why? Because EVERYONE knows Trogdor. Mentioning that in this list would be like saying, “Oh, I’m such a huge U2 fan! I just get so excited when ‘With or Without You’ plays on the radio!” or “No show is funnier than Seinfeld! I mean, the Soup Nazi?! That episode is so funny!” It’s just ingenuous. So, yes, I love Trogdor, but no, I will not list him.)
These are in no specific order.
Teen Girl Squad, issue #2
Why issue 2? Because the first one was from a Strong Bad Email, and it was a shock at the time when #2 came out, indicating that it would be a regular feature on its own. The later ones are okay, but this was still early enough in the game that coherent narative wasn’t necessary yet, and it was that kind of nonsense that made it really work. Also they didn’t all die Kenny-style like they do in almost all the other ones.
Braden’s favorite moment: “You must be girls.”
Butter-Da is a wonderful representation of the many things from Homestar Runner that makes you go, “How in the world did they come up with that?” but yet laughing hysterically about it at the same time. As far as I know (or can remember), this was only mentioned in a single cartoon (Strong Bad Email #95: The Bet), but its impact was enough to stick with me.
Braden’s favorite mention of this: Click on the word “losers” after Strong Bad leaves his computer. The idea that something’s slogan would be “But I still drinks it!” kills me.
This is another example of 1) The Brothers Chaps’s great ability for small, detailed humor, and 2) how I spent 2002-2004 visiting and talking about this site WAY too much. The whole cartoon “The Interview” is very funny, especially for how early in the site’s history it was made. Homestar’s ignorance is gold. To me, the funniest part is when he brings out his “resume” (not resumé), and it’s ALMOST a shopping list. What’s that fourth thing? “Dentist” misspelled?
Braden’s other favorite thing from this cartoon: “Oh, I doubt it; I drove.”
“Don’t you talk to me!”
If ever there was one quote from Homestar Runner that stuck with me and my friends, it was when, while looking for The Cheat, Bubs said to Homsar, “Don’t you talk to me!” As we’ll get into more later, Homsar was my favorite character because, well, I love non-sequiturs. But this was one of the first times he interacted with characters other than Strong Bad, and it was made immediately clear what they think of him.
Braden’s other favorite quote from this cartoon: There are several, but I think the winner is, “Yeah . . . it’s cute and all, but it’s not THAT cute.” A rare moment of reason from Homestar.
Homestar’s 5 o’clock Shadow
Upon my first viewing, I had the feeling that sbemail 68 was kind of weak. That’s even with Strong Bad’s “The Cheat is Not Dead” song Then Homestar walks on screen on the last shot and talks down to himself for not being dressed yet. I immediately had to hold myself back from bursting into laughter in that side-corner on the first floor of Morris Library when he admitted, quite cheerfully and matter-of-fact, that his five-o’clock shadow was actually cinnamon. There’s really no way you could see that coming.
Braden’s additional notes: Homestar calls The Cheat “Batman,” probably because of the way his hands were in the air and they looked kind of like Batman’s ears. Who would notice that enough to mention it?
The Halloween Costumes
Yeah. The costumes. Like, in general. All of them. If you don’t know–every year since 2000, there has been a Halloween cartoon in which all the main characters (and some minor characters) dress up in a variety of costumes that were some kind of nostalgic, pop culture, or nerd culture reference. Some of them are so obscure that I get excited that I know what they are, such as Run Lola Run, Coach McGuirk, The Maxx, or Les Lye. Others I just loved because of how obvious it was that my childhood in the 80’s was very similar to the Brothers Chaps’, albeit a few years behind (as they are, I think, 4 and 6 years older than me).
Braden’s other observation: The costumes themselves were definitely fun from a pop-culture, nerdy, and nostalgic viewpoint, but more than that – the way the HR characters fit who their costumes were always amazed me, like how Colonel Mustard AND Hello Kitty were both perfect for The King of Town, or how when I first saw Strong Mad as Thwomp and thought, “Of course he’s Thwomp . . .”
Homestar spitting Teddy Grahams all over the place
This is really just my favorite part of a really good Strong Bad Email, though there’s lots to choose from: “Has Matt?” “Doo-doo meat” and Coach Z’s entire story about puking in the couch . . . But, like “don’t you talk to me,” this one carried into my and my friends’ vernacular for a while.
Braden’s further notes: “Dang, The Cheat, that computer’s got something against you . . . did you ever, like, pour Mt. Dew all over it?”
“You smell like pea soup”
We’re treated to this memorable line during the introduction of one of what I think is the most underrated minor Homestar Runner character, Senor Cardgage. And if you’ve ever ridden on public transportation around people with questionable mental states, there are certainly a lot of smells that aren’t necessarily bad, but certainly aren’t good. “Pea soup” would fall into that category, I think. Also, there is probably some deeper insight into Strong Bad’s fashion choices based out of his obsession with the obviously-older Cardgage, but honestly I think that’s over thinking it (and while I’m usually an advocate for over thinking things, over thinking Homestar Runner is the wrong choice).
Braden’s thoughts: I cannot honestly say that I have experienced, first-hand, people with the traits of Senor Cardgage, such as “using words that are almost one word, not quite another,” or standing too close to you in line while eating melty candy bars really loudly, or always referring to anyone and everyone as a woman . . . but there’s something so familiar about it that I GET it. Should I be worried about that?
Senor Cardgage Mortgage
And Senor Cardgage certainly hit his peak not long after his debut with the cartoon “Senor Cardgage Mortgage.” Everything about this cartoon kills me. The depressing ranting to himself that Cardgage does about not being taken to lunch, the guy needing money to buy a half-eaten Pop Tart®, the slogan “Get a leg up on the pile,” and especially the company’s number. It’s especially funny the first time you see it, when you don’t know what to expect.
Braden also thinks: I’m really surprised they didn’t do some joke with the word “Escrow.” Seems like that would be an obvious move.
Fatty’s Big Chance
This one’s really obscure, but I think it’s crazy. Whether you know it or not, I was a HUGE ska fan back in high school and early college. I still love it now, so watch your mouth. Naturally, when something in a Homestar Runner cartoon references ska, I’m going to like it. Well this goes one step further. In “Teen Girl Squad Issue 8,” the girls form a band for a talent show. The act right before them, as introduced by the intercom robot principal, is a band called “Fatty’s Big Chance,” and a rude boy steps in from behind the curtain, holding a saxophone, rambles off “pick it up, pick it up, hup hup!” and is done. The “one step further” I mentioned is the fact that a cousin of mine, who was a serious rude boy when we were in high school, was in a ska band called “Fatty’s Last Stand.” Not QUITE the same thing, but close enough that it’s crazy.
Braden wonders: Is “Fatty’s something something” a reference to some ska thing that I don’t know about? I’d be ashamed if I didn’t, but I seriously doubt Mike or Matt Chapman made a trip from the Carolinas to Southern Illinois and caught one of Steve’s shows, thus implanting the name-as-a-ska-band-name into their head.
So this is Wednesday’s post, and unlike my other multi-part entries, the second half of it will actually be the next posting day. So Friday.
Special thanks to Hrwiki.org for the plethora of images and easy reference.