Homestar Runner, the namesake series of the Homestar Runner family, is a comedic and surreal web-basedFlash cartoon by two guys from the state of Georgia, Mike and Matt Chapman ("The Brothers Chaps"). Starting as a dead-tree children's picture book, The Homestar Runner Enters the Strongest Man in the World Contest, it eventually found its way to the internet and spread through word of mouth.The main character is the eponymous Homestar Runner, a goodhearted athlete with no arms and no clue. However, Strong Bad, a narcissistic, loudmouthed "wrestleman" with a Luchador mask for a face and boxing gloves for hands, seems to have exceeded the titular character in popularity. Along with his pint-sized lackey The Cheat and hulking brute older brother Strong Mad, Strong Bad constantly pushes everybody around, especially his gray, depressed younger brother Strong Sad. Other characters include Homestar's on-and-off hippie girlfriend Marzipan, Homestar's best friend and straight man Pom Pom, the verbally challenged and slightly creepy Coach Z, greedy concession stand owner Bubs, the ever-hungry King of Town, and the Poopsmith. And to round out this wacky cast, we also have Homsar, an odd-speaking midget who seems to be able to openly defy physics. Over the years, the series has come to include many recurring and minor characters, many of which simply debuted as one-off jokes.The most popular part of the site is the Strong Bad Emails (aka "sbemails"), where Strong Bad responds to viewers' questions and suggestions, such as "Why don't you creat a montage?", "What would you do different, if you could do it all over again?", and the ever-popular "How do you type with boxing gloves on?" This usually involves mocking the sender's spelling and grammar mistakes (in fact, the character of Homsar was actually created this way), and quite often not actually answering the question.Other features on the site include Teen Girl Squad, a comic about shallow teenage girls dying inimprobable and hilarious ways, which is written, drawn and narrated by Strong Bad; Old-Timey Homestar, what Homestar Runner would be like if it was made in the 1930s; and the Cheat Commandos, a parody of Merchandise-Driven shows in general and G.I. Joe in specific. The Brothers Chaps have also collaborated with They Might Be Giants a few times. A series of episodic point-and-click adventure games by Telltale Games, Strong Bad's Cool Game for Attractive People (or SBCG4AP), was released for PC and WiiWare between August and December of 2008, and later ported to Playstation Network in 2010.Most episodes include Easter Eggs, accessible by clicking on the right part of the screen at the right time.Thanks to The Wiki Rule and to its Internet longevity, a disturbingly comprehensive wiki has been built up by fans over the years, seen here.Since the birth of Matt Chapman's second child in November 2009, the site's flow of new content has trickled to a halt. However, in late 2011, Matt confirmed via his Twitter page that the series has not been cancelled and that future updates are coming "sporadically and without warning" (and went so far to say that nobody in their right mind would voluntarily quit making Homestar Runner altogether). The Brothers Chaps have worked on other projects, including the gamePoker Night at the Inventory, in which Strong Bad meets up with Tycho (Penny Arcade), Max (Sam & Max: Freelance Police), and the Heavy (Team Fortress 2), during the hiatus. More recently, Matt has become a writer and director for Nick Jr's Yo Gabba Gabba, The Hub's The Aquabats! Super Show! and Disney's Gravity Falls. Matt Chapman posted the beginning of the script for Sbemail 206, which has been inactive since the start of the hiatus, stating "Someday, when you least expect it" confirming the site ain't dead. (Then again, it's been more than two years since he posted that message.)On April 1st 2014, a glimmer of hope shined upon us, and arrived with a full length toon. What happens next is anyone's guess, but it confirms the brothers chaps have not abandoned their child.One of the Brothers chaps' Nieces, Astrid Renee, known to fans of the site as "Little girl" from the puppet shorts, has shed some information of the Brothers whereabouts. It turns out, Matt Chapman is no longer in Georgia and is actually working in Los Angeles in regards to the aforementioned shows stated up above. Mike Chapman however, remains in Georgia, raising his children, not much else is currently known about him.If you find the speech hard to understand, or want to experience H*R in another language, the wiki has subtitled versions of most toons.Vote for the best 'toon (including sbemails) here!There is currently a page recapping the series.Also, for Strong Bad Email only tropes, see Strong Bad Email.
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General Tropes about the Homestar Runner Universe
Accidental Misnaming: Senor Cardgage routinely addresses other characters with incorrect (female) names.
Absentee Actor: Strong Bad doesn't appear in email "anything", which was instead answered by Homestar.
Actually Pretty Funny: In this Career Day cartoon, Homestar makes a joke at the end asking what happens if Captain Spaceman goes poo in his suit. CSM/Strong Bad scolds him for not showing respect before laughing in earnest and admitting what would actually happen.
The Alleged Computer: Strong Bad apparently loves computers like this and uses them by choice. He mocks The Cheat for using a modern Apple that doesn't have a text-based interface, he thinks a flat screen means someone cut half of the monitor away, and he thinks the Apple mouse is a bar of soap.
His first computer, the Tandy, fits this trope after Strong Bad continues to use it after it explodes.
The Compy doesn't show any negative qualities other than general obsolescence for its time.
The Lappy is known for being too heavy to be portable and has a battery life of five minutes.
While the Compé was current when the cartoon was made, it still fits this trope due to its incredible pixelation and the fact that its OS resembled the controversial Windows Vista.
Anachronism Stew: The "Old-Timey" era, supposedly the 1930s, but containing elements from the 19th Century to the 1950s.
Strong Bad's computers are Anachronism Stews all on their own, from a Tandy with a monochrome display that can display a full-resolution image of the Hairstyle Runner Flash game, to the new Compé, an all-in-one widescreen flat-panel that's apparently limited to VGA-level graphics.
Videlectrix is a pretty good example of this Trope too, a modern company that produces Atari-level games.
How about Bubs' internet service, whose lone customer is (surprise) Strong Bad? Strong Bad claims his normal connection speed is "1200 baud", a measurement of connection speed so outdated, there are Bachelor of Computer Science graduates who've never even heard of it.
Strong Bad devolved into a pretty hilarious example of this when his new computer, the Compé, crashed on him as soon as he turned it on. Luckily for him, it was all just a joke. According to the wiki, it went something like this:
Coach Z speaks somewhat incoherently by default, but his getting frustrated while trying to correct his speech only makes it worse.
Anvil On Head: The Heavy Lourde, which has a habit of dropping on Homsar.
Arc Words: The words "DNA evidence" appeared in a couple of cartoons before the final episode reveals the characters were all referring to a phial of green DNA evidence that Strong Bad was using to prove Strong Sad was part-elephant.
Pom-Pom was originally created to be Homestar's best friend and sidekick. However, his personality was never developed much beyond that, and with the shift of focus from Homestar to Strong Bad, he's pretty much superfluous these days. (The fact that he speaks only in bubbles probably makes it hard to write dialogue for him as well.)
Not to mention that he's generally been the Straight Man in a series that doesn't often have much use for one, as the other characters went through Flanderization.
A Wild Rapper Appears: Parodied with Peacey P, to the point that he's a guest star on one of his own albums.
Crample-O Stow Records presents "Deliberance", the new album from Peacey P! Featuring: Large Craig, featuring: The Overripe MC, featuring: Tenerence Love, featuring: Akryllix & 3rd Lung, featuring: Peacey P! Peacey P: I'm a guest star on my own album, y'all biscuitheads!
Lampshaded even further in "Rap Song":
Peacey P: I'm the best guest rapper in the music biz/I ain't even know whose song this is! Coach Z: It's mine! I thought I made that abundantly clear!
Bad Bad Acting: Happens pretty much any time a character is given a script to read. Two very prominent examples are the Strong Bad's Cool Game for Attractive People tutorial and Coach Z's performance in the Dangeresque installments.
Badbutt: Strong Bad. To a lesser extent, Strong Mad.
Berserk Button: It's probably not a good idea to question Homestar about his apparent lack of pants.
"W-well, that's simply not true! I have long pants, I wear long pants. I'm a long pants man, long pants long pants... Long pants, Strong Bad! The longest pants! Everybody everybody, longest pants. Long long long long long long pants!"
Also, don't hurt The Cheat whenever Strong Mad is around, as Strong Bad learned the hard way in the Strong Bad Email #23 "Little Animal".
Blessed with Suck: Bubs used to have the ability to fly, but he could only float a few inches above the ground because of his weight and would lose the power any time he said his name backwards minus the first "b" ("sbu"). By the time Strong Bad was trying to get him to say it, he cared so little about the power that he didn't even think twice about saying it just because Strong Bad asked him to.
In sbemail #38, titled helium, we discover that Strong Mad's voice doesn't change at all when he sucks helium, to his annoyance. Exactly 114 emails later in sbemail #152, isp, we find out that Strong Bad's internet connection is so slow because Strong Mad is siphoning his bandwidth through a garden hose. Apparently bandwidth acts like "super helium" and Strong Mad finally gets his helium voice.
The short "The Luau" begins with Homestar peeing behind Marzipan's gazebo. Later on in the short, when Homestar visits Strong Bad's party, and finds out that he can't get the wood to start on fire, Homestar then asks if Strong Bad got the wood from behind the gazebo, in which Strong Bad answers "Yes, why?". Homestar then explains "Well it all started when I drank 32 glasses of melonade..."
In email #55, cheat talk, Strong Bad waits patiently for Strong Mad (and The Cheat) to say the word "Douglas", but to no avail (he jams his keyboard into Strong Sad's stomach to get him to say the word). Twenty-one sbemails later, in an Easter Egg, Strong Bad tries to get other characters to say "Fhqwhgads". But instead, Strong Mad says, "DOUGLAS!", to which a surprised Strong Bad says, "Whoa! We've just had a breakthrough! You get a gold star."
Clap Your Hands If You Believe: Characters Strong Bad made up in his emails become actual characters. Example; Señor Cardgage was a theoretical older Strong Bad, but now is a character in his own right.
Continuity Lockout: It's not really a continuity cartoon, but half of the gags will make no dang sense if you don't start at the beginning and work your way forward. Because everything's broken into separate series, there's no way to be sure you're watching it all in the right order, either. They've even referenced cartoons that had already been removed from the site. Thank goodness there's a fan wiki.
In his contribution to the Halloween story, Bubs describes a cool car the Goblin owns: a pimped-out AMC Gremlin that includes, among other things, a flux capacitor. The same car appears in later cartoons and is decidedly less cool. And decidedly less functional.
Shark Mobile! Can it work?
Don't forget the chainsaw car! (Which, sadly, has only ever appeared in the form of a toy prize from a box of cereal.)
Homsar's parents are a cup of coffee and a Chipwich.
Lil' Brudder's Maw and Paw are, respectively, a dog and a unicycle.
Crunchtastic: Mocked on many occasions, most notably on the sbemail "Dictionary", which is overflowing with made-up words.
Defictionalization: Several in-universe examples, almost all without any involvement (or in some cases, even awareness) from the character who came up with them in the first place (usually Strong Bad). Fake Bands Limozeen and Taranchula, the TV showsStink's Reach and Dartmouth...the list goes on.
Limozeen has played two live shows, once headlining and once opening for Of Montreal. Its most famous single ending up in the Guitar Hero series along with "Trogdor" might also count.
Several minor jokes, mostly in labeling products. For instance, "Heavy Lourde" means "Heavy Heavy" ("Lourde" is French for "heavy"). They could, however, simply be using a bilingual label, such as are required on many products in Canada. Nevertheless, the object has officially become known as a "Heavy Lourde".
Lampshaded in "Where U Goin 2?":
Strong Bad: I dunno. Maybe he's just going to the ATM Machine. Strong Mad: THAT'S REDUNDANT!!!
The Videlectrix guys are ridiculously behind the times, releasing Atari 2600-style games in the present day.
Strong Bad himself, as far as video games and technology are concerned. His computers are all hopelessly outdated, and his most current system is a Turbo Grafx Sixteen. To put that into perspective, Old-Timey Strong Bad is still using the telegraph in 1936, when the telephone had seen widespread use for over 50 years. That, and only in 2009 has he upgraded to a computer with a graphical interface, having used command prompts on all his previous computers, including his (16-pound!) laptop. Not very surprising when his favorite manufacturer, Compy, still makes house-sized computers. The Cheat, on the other hand...
Bubs too. Strong Bad's internet connection (and, thus, Bubs' internet service) is so out of date it's still measured in baud (a measurement of connection speed so small in comparison to actual bytes-per-second that it would literally be faster to just wait until you next met up with any given friend and talk about whatever was on the webpage you wanted to see). Then again, Bubs is probably doing this deliberately, in order to take advantage of Strong Bad's unfamiliarity with modern technology.
Distaff Counterpart: According to the toon "Why Come Only One Girl?", Champeen was originally going to be this to Homestar. Unfortunately, she never showed up in any toons (though she does appear in one of the backgrounds of the Dancin' Bubs game).
Inverted when matters of dating are explained by comparison to sports.
Homestar: Well, it's Marzipan's birthday, and I don't know what to get her! Coach Z: Well, Homestar, I tell you. Girls are like a great sports play. You can't just rush in to the score zone! You kiddin' me? You'd be clobbered! You've gotta stick and move and zig and zag to get past the defenses, so youse can score!
This tends to be Coach Z's answer to everything, as Homestar finds out in "The Best Decemberween Ever", when Homestar comes to Coach Z asking about what gift to give Strong Bad and again Coach Z responds by comparing the buying of gifts to sports.
Double Standard: Homestar and Marzipan's relationship is a curious example of this at work. For all that Marzipan gets offended and dumps Homestar on a weekly basis, other evidence would suggest that he's actually a much better boyfriend than she is a girlfriend; Homestar appears to actually pay attention to her when he isn't inadvertently insulting her in a half-aware fit of ditziness, while Marzipan is just about aware that Homestar is, in fact, rather dim.
Easter Egg: The SB Emails are covered in them. Most toons have at least a couple on the final screen.
Egopolis: Strong Badia. Even more so in "Strong Badia the Free", which had seven "countries" named for their founder... or founders in the case of Marzistar/Homezipan. There are even more if you count inanimate objects like The Stick as characters (it has a country called Sticktenstein).
Elephant in the Living Room: What would happen if Homestar and Marzipan got married and had kids? Also, none of the characters think it strange for the two to be together, despite their two completely different personalities.
The King of Town will eat extreme quantities of things like eggs, butter, and deodorant, but hates peas and "whatsit". Strong Mad will eat nails, rocks, computers and The Cheats.
At one point, Strong Mad is actually seen eating bandwidth from a wire hooked to a group of computer towers. And it acted like helium, while actual helium had no effect on him when he tried it earlier.
Fake Band: Limozeen, Taranchula, Cool Tapes, Sloshy, K.o.T. High School Marching Band, Kissy Boots, Fatty's Big Chance, Brainkrieg...this is one of their favorite jokes, actually.
Fake Video Camera View: A number of examples, including the "videos" on the character page and Strong Bad's "most amazing e-mail" from "Weclome Back".
Fantasy Twist: Not that the Homestar Runner 'verse is mundane, but it doesn't stop Strong Bad from imagining it being more fantastic.
Finger in the Mail: Parodied when Strong Bad's old computers kidnap his Lappy, they send him her "toe" (a keyboard key) through the mail.
Flanderization: Arguably for the better, in that the series took several characters with somewhat generic personalities and gave them memorable quirks which could be mined for humor.
Fridge Logic: A rare case of it being applied in-universe with "Best Caper Ever," in which Strong Bad doesn't quite understand how he and the Cheat managed to get Homestar stranded on an ice floe in the Arctic simply by stealing his melonade and peeing in it.
Funny Answering Machine: Marzipan's Answering Machine is mostly about the funny calls she gets, but some of her answering machine messages can be pretty unusual, too. Some examples:
Marzipan: Hi, this is Marzipan. I'm out looking at the fall colors. Please leave me a message, and I'll call you right back.
Marzipan: Hi, this is Marzipan. I'm out doing some very important things, so please leave me a message, and if this is Strong Bad calling to prank call me, can you please do the one where I win the radio contest? 'Cause that one's my favorite. Okay. Bye.
Marzipan: Hi guys! Leave me a message, and I'll leave you with an abstract thought: is a penguin a bird or a duck?
Marzipan: Hi, this is Marzipan. I'm probably outside eating some dirt or something. So just leave me a message.
Gentle Giant: Strong Mad, for all his muscle and hostility, nevertheless has a big heart and a soft side, especially towards The Cheat, to whom he is quite defensive (see also: Papa Wolf). Also, while Strong Mad is the oldest of the Strong brothers, he is also the most childish and naïve.
The Ghost: Stiny from the Strong Badman comics, who is always yelled at by Strong Badman.
Strong Badman: Stiny! Get me a danish!
Girlfriend in Canada: Strong Bad claims to have many, many girlfriends... whom we never see because they're supposedly visiting other planets.
Strong Bad: (on an autobiography recorded on tape)And she was a very, very special lady. And she loved me so much and had skinny blonde hair and was always hanging out at the beach, gazing at a photo of me... Too bad when she had to go to another planet for reasons too complex to elaborate on. I'll probably never see her again. And neither will any of you.
When Homestar writes Cool Tapes on Marzipan's wall she is at first upset, but then decides she likes it and makes it the name for her band.
According to the commentary for Experimental Film, Strong Bad thinks "Real Smooth Moves" is the best band name ever.
In the twelfth issue of Teen Girl Squad, What's Her Face tells two boys that she likes music and cloth, in a failed attempt to get a Valentine from them. In response, the two boys say that "she likes cloth", which they think is a good band name.
Greatest Hits DVD: "Sbemails' 50 Greatest Hits", which contained both well-known emails like "dragon" and "fan club", and other assorted hidden gems, including 5 bonus emails (not new ones, but already existing emails added as bonuses). It was made to resemble an infomercial mocking less popular sbemails; among other things, it claimed to cut through "caked on tape-leg". The DVD is no longer purchasable, which is unfortunate, as it was the only way to get creators' commentary for certain emails.
Gretzky Has the Ball: The series was named for a friend of the Chaps getting confused about baseball.
Dangeresque and the Powered By The Cheat cartoons are prominent examples. The definitive example, however, has to be Strong Sad's original character Twelve-Times-A-Day Man from the "fan fiction" Strong Bad Email.
There's also Gene in the email "Hygiene", until Strong Bad's hygiene film takes an odd turn and has the Straw Loser played by Homestar get his life together and turn out successful while Strong Bad's Marty Stu Gene falls from his high pedestal.
Heterosexual Life-Partners: Strong Mad and The Cheat, and Bubs and Coach Z. Homestar and Pom Pom are supposed to be this, but in recent cartoons it's not nearly as apparent.
Impossibly Delicious Food: The Sblounskched! bar, which is made of (are you ready for this?) marshmallow vapor wrapped in licorice colloid in a sea of nougat rolled in a cookie log covered with rich, creamy pepperoni sprinkled with entire tiny bowls of puffy rice cereal covered in Boring Brown Chocolate. In the shape of a pair of pants. With a bite taken out of them. For security. Because who would want to steal a half-eaten pair of choco-pants? (Homestar.)
Incendiary Exponent: Strong Bad loves things being on fire. Science fair projects, kids in children's books, the car in his album cover concept...
Incredibly Lame Fun: In the e-mail "slumber party", the only video game Homestar is supposedly allowed to play is one called "Clapping Party"
Really anything Coach Z says is an example of this. One toon focuses entirely on his inability to say the word "job".
It's Popular, Now It Sucksinvoked: Strong Sad firmly believes this, since he's a poseur. For example, during SB Email #136, he complains the Geddup Noise used to be cool, but became a sell out, first wearing a t-shirt saying "This Is Not A The Geddup Noise T-Shirt" then a "Corporate The Geddup Noise Still Sucks" t-shirt.
Knife-Throwing Act: The old theme song video ("old" as in "replaced 10 years ago") has Strong Bad as the knife thrower and Strong Sad as the (unwilling) target. It's obvious that Strong Bad is trying to hit Strong Sad, but the camera cuts away before the knife hits.
Lampshade Hanging: Lots of it. A veritable lampshade factory on par with XKCD. A good example is the beginning of 8-Bit is Enough.
Strong Sad: It sounds like the fan is broken. You'll have to get it serviced. Strong Bad: Serviced? But where am I gonna get... Fanservice... around here? (Trogdor machine comes to life)
Homestar also says it in "Date Nite", when he learns that Marzipan is going on a date with The Cheat instead of him ("What're you trying to say? That you — Gulp. — want his bod?").
Malaproper: Senor Cardgage is perhaps the most evident example, but Strong Bad, Homestar, and other characters do this on occasion, as a lot of the series' humor revolves around wordplay.
Malicious Misnaming: Strong Bad often employs this, calling Strong Sad a host of demeaing nicknames like "Dump-O", or making fun of the names of e-mail senders.
Man of a Thousand Voices: Matt Chapman voices pretty much every character on the site except Marzipan (save for one unfinished toon in that instance). And the times when his brother does intentionally bad impressions of the characters for The Cheat's cartoons.
Meaningful Name: This is how a lot of the characters got their original names. Homestar Runner had no arms, is an athlete, and wears a star on his shirt. Strong Bad is mean, Strong Mad is frequently angry, and Strong Sad is constantly depressed. The Cheat was originally created to help Strong Bad, well... cheat.
Some of the band members of Sloshy resemble members of Weezer.
Bubs' voice was originally a very blatant Redd Foxx impression before it evolved into a more distinctive form.
Likewise, Strong Sad's voice was originally inspired by Michael Stipe.
No Inner Fourth Wall: There are numerous crossover gags involving the main cast and characters from the ShowWithinAShows. The best example is probably 8-Bit Is Enough, which features Strong Bad hopping in and out of many in-universe video games, as well as several characters from said games showing up in Free Country USA.
Noodle Incident: A couple of them, like the incident that somehow gave Strong Sad the nickname Dairy Queen. That one is (almost certainly) a reference to that disturbing soft-serve flip on his head. Strong Bad's mentioned it before.
Oddball Doppelganger: Homsar for Homestar, and Senor Cardgage for Strong Bad. Strong Bad actually has more than one, as highlighted in the sbemail "alternate universe".
Only Shop in Town: Not only is his Concession Stand this, Bubs also seems to control every form of business in Free Country, USA.
Orphaned Series: The website hasn't been updated in two years, and only two toons (one of them more of an interactive still than a toon) graced the site the year before that. Even an offsite teaser on Twitter to reassure the fans was last heard from over a year ago.
Trogdor has one helluva beefy human arm sticking out of his back, "for good measure".
The one that's occasionally seen hanging around the King of Town's castle looks like a lavender kangaroo with elements of bug and Roswell Gray mixed in. Its stomach scales are also labeled with various functions (such as "sanitize", "puree" and "pots n pans"), presumably to control the strenght of its fire breath, but the only one that's shown is the one labeled "instant death", which does Exactly What It Says on the Tin.
Overly Long Name: Fhqwhgadshgnsdhjsdbkhsdabkfabkveybvf. It has a string of sixteen consonants in a row. Strong Bad manages to pronounce it just fine, but quickly shortens it to "Fhqwhgads" because in the time it took him to say that, he could have made a painting of a guy with a big knife...which he does at the end of the email.
Papa Wolf: Strong Mad is very defensive of The Cheat. A perfect example of this occurs in Strong Bad Email #23: "little animal", when Strong Bad, asked what he would do if a little animal comes up to him, answers by kicking The Cheat and arousing Strong Mad's wrath as a result.
When dressed like The Thnikkaman, Bubs dresses the same way he normally does, only with a pair of shades and a piece of paper with "tH" written on it taped to his chest. Sometimes he even takes the shades off. Despite this, most of the main characters (save Homestar in "Happy Dethemberween") are completely oblivious to The Thnikkaman's true identity.
Coach Z actually claims to be the Thnikkaman to Bubs at one point. Bubs is unamused.
Pigeonholed Voice Actor: Missy Palmer. For the rest of her life, it will probably be impossible for anybody to hear her speak and not think "Marzipan". Possibly the reason why all her DVD commentary appearances are in-character as Marzipan.
Coach Z as well, who among other things, leaked what could only be crude oil after taking off a ratty thong in the swimming pool.
Strong Mad: PUT IT BACK ON! PUT IT BACK ON!
Pixellation: This happens whenever Homestar's shirt is removed, because without it he's totally nakers. The funny thing about this being that the entire area his shirt normally covers is pixellated, implying everything there isn't fit for all ages.
Poke the Poodle: Strong Badman's "evil schemes" turn out to be this sort, to Strong Bad's disappointment. Strong Bad catches himself heading down this path in the email "Your Edge".
Portmanteau: The series is very, very fond of these, to the extent that it's practically a defining feature of the dialogue. As with other gags, there's a complete list on the wiki.
Powerpuff Girl Hands: Strong Bad (who has boxing gloves for hands), Pom Pom, Bubs, and The Cheat. Coach Z counts as well, as his hands are mitten-like. Lampshaded and played for laughs in Strong Bad's case with the emails asking how he types with boxing gloves on.
Prank Call: Strong Bad repeatedly prank calls Marzipan on her answering machine in, what else, Marzipan's Answering Machine.
Product Promotion Parade: Cheat Commandos is a deliberate parody of this, with the sets being literally referred to in-universe as "playsets" and a theme song that ends in "Buy all our playsets and toys!"
Homsar is such a Cloudcuckoolander that he defies the laws of physics, floating, shapeshifting, and even distorting the scenery.
Senor Cardgage recently completed his transformation into a second Homsar in hremail3184, in which he manages to walk in place as if the carpet had no friction and make ambient city sounds appear out of nowhere. Strong Bad put it best: "I'm ... quite scared right now."
The Paper might also qualify, subverting the laws of perspective.
Heck, even Strong Bad might qualify. Several things he's imagined have become real, including the future of his entire world.
Sufficient quantities of viruses (virii?) on one computer cause reality to go mad until the computer is shut off and/or destroyed.
Done with Pom-Pom and The Cheat, eventually lampshaded in Strong Badia the Free.
Justified in "The Best Caper Ever". For once, he's not informing the audience of what The Cheat's saying — he's trying to work out how they got from "[The Cheat] made peepee in [Homestar's] melonade" to watching him via satellite feed (which they also don't know how they got) on an ice floe in another hemisphere entirely.
Running Gag: A good third of the dialogue consists of in-jokes at this point. Based on the Homestar Runner Wiki, there are over five-hundred. Especially in 8-bit Is Enough. With the inclusion of gamer in-jokes, practially any joke in that game requires you know what they're referencing.
The Scrappy: At least Homestar Runner and Strong Bad cannot stand Marshie, the mascot of Fluffy Puff Marshmallows. Despite this, Homestar did commercials for them and eventually got paid for it. invoked
Lots, mostly to friends of the creators, or musicians or movies they liked as kids, although most of the sources tend to be extremely obscure. Not always, though.
Most of the Shout-Out instances happen in the Halloween toons, where everyone dresses up as characters from both popular and (mostly) obscure media.
Show Within a Show: Quite a few, including Sweet Cuppin' Cakes, Limozeen—But They're In Space!, and Stinko Man K 20X6. "Teen Girl Squad" started out as one of these before it became a feature of its own, as did Cheat Commandos.
Silent Offer: In Stong Bad Email #182, the King of Town and Strong Bad negotiate in this way. What is being negotiated over is never revealed, and the King of Town's offer is "a piece of lasagna."
Simpleton Voice: Strong Mad and Homsar are an extreme version of this. Homestar is slightly less extreme.
Small Reference Pools: Averted, especially during the Halloween specials. They will come up with some of the most bizarrely obscure characters and mascots from decades ago. How many people honestly could recognize Marzipan's "log lady" costume at the first glance? Lampshaded on multiple occasions, with the other characters frequently unable to identify what their friends are dressed as.
Strong Bad: So, Bubs, your approach this year was to ensure that absolutely no one recognized your costume? Bubs: (dressed as the Clarence Clemons character from Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventure) You got it!
Stupid Statement Dance Mix: The Cheat has made a couple, including one of the "geddup noise" (the sound Strong Bad's chair makes when he leaves his computer) and the King of Town's attempt at a jam. Strong Bad's "The System Is Down" could, arguably, also be one.
Spell My Name with an S: The character is named Stinkoman, but his anime series is called "Stinko Man K 20X6". And although the character's name is usually spelled "Coach Z", it was originally intended to be "Coach Zee".
Strong Bad: Or "Coach Zed", as you Canucks call him.
Strong Bad: Congratulations, Coach! I just spent several hours carrying around my brother's internal organs, and you still managed to outdo me on the creepy scale!
Stopped Clock: In the Strong Bad Email "vacation", Strong Bad sends a postcard from (among several other places) "It's that CLOCK (Look at it go!)". Of course, the clock isn't going at all.
Strong Bad: Okay, the best thing about this postcard is if you look at the clock, that's the exact same time that I first laid eyes on the clock! 2:55, man. And like, iddi—oh, wait, it still says... 2:55. Okay, well, the clock is broken, but still! It's about the best thing I've ever seen [sings] in my whole liiiiiife!
Stylistic Suck: Basically any time the characters attempt anything artistic, though Strong Sad is sometimes an exception. Notable examples are The Cheat's cartoons, the Teen Girl Squad, and Dangeresque.
While the Brothers Chaps are usually more quiet about their political views, the Strong Bad Email "environment" as well as their Earth Day toon made it clear that they don't particularly care for the environmentalist movement.
The SBEmail "independent" pokes fun at Le Film Artistique, but also mocks pretentious "indie" movies where, according to Strong Bad, the producer will "spend a 30 million dollar budget, trying as hard as he can to make it look like he only spent a few hundred thousand."
Talking to Themself: Homestar frequently seems to forget who he is and behaves as if that "Homestar Runner" guy is someone else, leading to several instances where he will argue with or even fight himself. This also happens to be a fairly regular occurence anyway, what with the old-timey and 20X6 incarnations coexisting with the main Free Country USA citizens.
In one cartoon, Homestar and Strong Bad are watching a Sweet Cuppin' Cakes holiday special, which leads to this exchange:
Strong Bad: Didn't I invent this cartoon? Homestar: Yeah, I think so. Strong Bad: Then how come I can't understand a lick of it? Homestar: What's not to understand? Eh! Steve!'s mouth exploded the universe. And that blond guy did a tiny, tidy dance. Strong Bad: Oh, right. The true meaning of Decemberween. Homestar: Yeah yeah, right right!
In another toon, Homestar sleeps in on Decemberween until almost the last minute and spends time running around trying to buy last-minute gifts for everyone:
Strong Bad: Foolish Homestar. Decemberween is not about getting people presents. It's about getting people good presents! GOOD presents! Not this last-minute discount crap you're trying to foist on us!
Strong Bad's face and the appearance of his parents, as the eventual response to numerous emails about it. The Brothers Chaps have gone on record as stating that these two questions, in addition to the issue of how Strong Bad types with boxing gloves on, will in all likelihood never be given a serious response.
Played for laughs in-universe in sbemail "cliffhangers". "You missed unmasking the Thnikkaman!!!"
Vague Age: On the one hand, they have their own houses and some of them drink Cold Ones; on the other, they don't seem to have much choice about going to swimming lessons. In one email, Strong Sad is referred to as an "18-to-24-year-old", and in another the King of Town says he is in his 60s. Bubs and Coach Z are implied to be old men, but exactly how old isn't clear.
Villain Protagonist: Strong Bad, although his status as a villain is mainly in his head. If you disregard his periodic abuse of people, especially The Cheat and Strong Sad, anyway.
Vocal Evolution: Most notably Strong Bad and Strong Sad. Homestar is pretty noticeable, too. And Bubs, who started out as a Redd Foxx.
Walking Shirtless Scene: Strong Bad never wears a shirt, and Homestar gets a few of these as well, but unfortunately he doesn't seem to wear pants.
We All Live in America: Intentionally and in-universe, as Strong Bad forces his own unique views onto writers of emails regardless of where they're from.
The Woobie: Lil' Brudder is an in-universe example: a parody of this Trope with a hint of Glurge that Strong Bad created to drive others to tears. It works a bit too well.
Word Salad Humor: Homsar and, more recently, Senor Cardgage (although his dialog is a mix of this and malapropisms).
Your Answer to Everything: Coach Z's advice to Homestar is always "It's like a great sports play. You can't just rush into the score zone." Lampshaded by Homestar in "The Best Decemberween Ever" when he tells Coach Z that's his answer to everything.
When Strong Bad critiques a particularly obscure character choice for a fan's Halloween costume in "Fan Costumes '09": "Alright, that is a) amazing, b) depressing, and c) amazingly depressing."
In the interactive Halloween 'toon "The House That Gave Sucky Treats", Strong Bad comes to someone's house for trick-or-treat. If given an apple, he protests, "What are you, a dentist? Or a hippie? Or some kind of hippie dentist?"
In "candy product", the ingredients of SBLOUNSKCHED! include marshmallow, licorice, nougat, and rich creamy... pepperoni.
Homestar, back during an "early" hremail, remarked that Melonade was not only his favorite drink, but he was contractually unable to drink, talk about, or bathe in any other liquid.
Breaking the Fourth Wall: Sbemail #118, "Virus". Strong Bad's attempt to run to the next room for help results in him running outside of the frame (into the surrounding black background) instead. Homestar then starts playing with the toolbar links that appear at the bottom of the page.
Strong Bad: Wait — that's not supposed to be possible...!!"
By the Lights of Their Eyes: Happens to Strong Bad and The Cheat in Strong Bad Email #197, "your edge", when they saw a hole in the floor and fall in through it and into total darkness:
Strong Bad: Whoa! Where are we? I suddenly feel so... easy to animate.
Calvinball: The nebulous and nameless sport Coach Z coaches and Homestar plays, as shown in the opening of "In Search of the Yello-Dello" and "A Jorb Well Done".
Homestar:(when the Chairscoot noise is made, little hearts flutter from Homestar, as he swoons dreamily) Ah! There it is! It's positively dreamy! (faints)
Chatty Hairdresser: Strong Sad acts like one in the sbemail "pet show", when he's getting The Cheat ready for the pet competition.
Comedic Underwear Exposure: Strong Bad's pants poofed away at the senior prom because when he tried to make everyone else's pants disappear; he forgot that he was the only one at the prom who was technically wearing pants.
Continuity Nod: Mainly averted but some of the Halloween cartoons have these. At the end of the 2000 toon "Homestarloween Party", Marzipan tells Strong Sad he can't come to next year's Halloween Party. Strong Sad shows up with the cast at the end of the following year's toon, "The House That Gave Sucky Treats", where Marzipan compliments his costume and adds that he wasn't invited.
The house Coach Z and Bubs trick-or-treat at in "3 Times Halloween Funjob" is the same one all the main characters go to in "The House That Gave Sucky Treats". Bubs even says, "I rememeber this house from a couple of years ago."
Crazy-Prepared: Strong Sad, of all people, here when he counters Strong Bad's earlier barrage of water balloons with a barrage of snowballs. When there was no snow anywhere. That he removed from a giant notebook.
Strong Bad: Where did you get snowballs at this time of year?? And how did you fit them in that notebook?!?
Crossdresser: For Halloween, Marzipan has been Prince, Willie Nelson and Joey Ramone, just to name a few. Lampshaded by Homestar in the 2008 Halloween toon. There are also other instances of this, such as Pom Pom as the Statue of Liberty, Strong Bad as "Carmen freakin' Miranda" and "Carmen freakin' Sandiego", Coach Z as Queen Latifah, or The King of Town as Hello Kitty.
Dick Dastardly Stops to Cheat: In the sbemail "pet show", Strong Bad should be able to win the pet show in a walk since his entry, The Cheat, is the only one resembling an actual pet. (The other contestants are a dog-shaped cookie jar, a George Foreman grill, and... Homestar Runner.) Yet he feels compelled to cheat anyway, and proceeds to sabotage the other contestants. And then he almost gets away with it, only to be disqualified for an unrelated rule infraction (The Cheat's unauthorized use of "relish foot").
Discredited Meme: Invoked by Strong Bad, who complains in "Trogday '08" that the internet ruined Trogdor, along with "zombies, pirates, ninjas, and Strong Bad!"
The Dog Was the Mastermind: Appears in the "DNA Evidence" arc. After being Arc Words in a number of otherwise unrelated shorts, we get a story about a vial of green DNA Evidence that keeps changing hands and getting stolen. Turns out that it was from Strong Sad, who doesn't want anyone to find out if he's part elephant.
Strong Bad: So that's fan clubs, the next worst word you can couple with the word 'fan' is, you guessed it (ominous, eerie music plays) the word (Strong Bad's voice slows way down, and the camera zooms in on the word as he types it)fiction.
"Far Side" Island: There's a sbemail in which Strong Bad is asked what he would do if stranded on one.
Flipping the Bird: In "the bird" sbemail, Strong Bad, Pom Pom, and Homestar do this, despite neither of them having any visible fingers.
Follow the Leader: Made fun of by the sbemail "geddup noise". The "Geddup Noise", the noise Strong Bad's stool makes when he gets out of it, is apparently a huge hit, and a lot of furniture shifting type sound effect shows try to cash in on the wagon.
Go Karting with Bowser: The Thanksgiving-themed Cheat Commandos toon, "Let Us Give TANKS", in which Blue Laser invites the Cheat Commandos over for Thanksgiving dinner.
Induced on Homestar by Strong Bad when the latter claims that Homestar doesn't wear pants, just blue soles glued to the bottoms of his feet. Homestar essentially has an emotional breakdown. Homestar gets over it, however, when Marzipan tells him that everyone thinks she is a broom, and Homestar is surprised (and upset) to learn that she isn't.
He had another one when when one of his computers got 423,827 viruses. (A new record!)
Hostile Show Takeover: Strong Sad in this episode of Marzipan's Answering Machine; he apparently considers recording over people's outgoing voicemail messages as one of the best perks of house-sitting.
I Ate What?: The SBEmail secret recipes has such culinary gems as Great Uncle Pawdabber's Pre-tend Ice Cream Showdown (which amounts to a bowl of sour cream mixed with The Cheat fur) and Stupid Uncle Egg's Goodtime Diaper Pie (which is just a pinecone).
Info Drop: In the Strong Bad Email the chair, Strong Bad taunts the audience by randomly pulling out a supposed picture of his parents, which is almost completely obscured by the screen-filling back of his new chair. However, decompiling the Flash reveals nothing on the photo but the message "nice try dodongo!"
Strong Sad: I think I've improved on your methods a bit, too. I employed some chiaroscuro shading, and- Strong Bad: I'll improve on your methods! (Strong Bad sets Strong Sad's drawing on fire and reduces it to nothing) Strong Sad: What?! That's not an improvement!
Jail Bake: In "Strong Bad is in Jail", Strong Mad bakes a cake with a jackhammer in it for Strong Bad and The Cheat.
Killed Mid-Sentence: In the Strong Bad Email "trevor the vampire", when the email ends abruptly, Strong Bad assumes the worst.
Kill 'em All: In Doomy Tales of the Macabre, Strong Sad takes revenge on the entire cast for not inviting him to their Halloween party, by writing a tale in which every character but himself either dies horribly or faces some other horrible fate.
Magnet Hands: Not only can The Cheat use objects as if he had opposable thumbs, Strong Bad can type with boxing gloves on, and Homestar Runner can interact with and move objects around him as if he did have arms. Which, he doesn't. This is occasionally lampshaded.
Strong Bad: Nah, horror movies don't even need first movies anymore. This is the reboot of the reimagining of the reinvention of the original!
Strong Sad: "Original" and "horror movie"? Not these days.
One Last Job: The Tandy and the Compy both want to check one last email in the Cliffhangers/Retirement arc, and kidnap the Lappy in order to force Strong Bad to grant this request.
Only Sane Man: Admiral Flashfight, when Blue Laser's latest scheme is revealed to be that he's ultimately caused skeeball prizes to cost more tickets.
"You've made a game for 8-year-olds slightly more of a ripoff. I still don't see how this concerns the military."
Off Model: In both versions of In Search of The Yello Dello. Homestar's design constantly changes. In fact it's only cartoon where the characters had one-time-only designs.
Offscreen Moment of Awesome: In Weclome Back (sic), Strong Bad states he recorded his very first, very awesome mid-air SBemail check. Unfortunately, he pulled the old mash-Stop-when-you-think-you're-mashing-Record-and-mash-Record-when-you-think-you're-mashing-Stop routine.
Strong Bad: Oh, the believing is hard to be doing, because that was so incredible! We met so many celebrities in midair! And the part with the narwhale was so illegal.
Overly-Long Gag: After answering his 100th email, Strong Bad says "email" 100 times in a row, with increasingly silly pronunciations.
Parody Magic Spell: Halloween Potion-Ma-Jig has Homestar gathering ingredients for a Halloween potion, including one of three possible incantations:
"Loquentia, Imbruglia, Precipitous, Saraleecheesecakea, Denouement!" "Bettah ask somebod-ay!" "Do you even have half a brain!"
Performance Anxiety: In the short "A Decemberween Pageant", Strong Sad gets the part of The First Decemberween in the titular pageant. He gets so nervous that he locks himself in the bathroom before his scene, and the rest of the cast are forced to improvise to extend the play. When Strong Sad finally does come on-tage, it turns out that The First Decemberween's entire part consists of walking on-stage and saying "What?" (or alternately, that Strong Sad's part was supposed to be larger, and no one in the audience noticed or cared that he messed it up).
Pistol-Whipping: In "That Time of Year", one of the pages in the book shows a boy building a snowman, which Strong Bad then defaces to include a gun in the boy's hand to make it look like the snowman is getting hit by it and adds in a giant mantis.
Strong Bad: (rewriting the book text) "De giant mantis is almost here. Get ready to be pistol-whipped, snowman!"
Parodied with the short-lived "Limozeen: But They're In Space!" cartoon. Lampshaded in the Strong Bad Email that introduced it.
Strong Sad: Why are they in space? There's no reason for them to be in space!
Strong Bad: On the contrary, my dear fatson, there's every reason for them to be in space.
Also lampshaded in the theme song of the cartoon itself:
Singer: Remember those guys in that band Limozeen? Well, they turned their tour bus into a space machine. But they're still Limozeen...
Larry Palaroncini: We're still Limozeen!
Singer: But they're in space!
Larry: But we're in space?
Teeg Dougland: (to the band) I'm afraid I've got some bad news, boys. You're in space.
Revenge SVP: In sbemail 83, "labor day," Strong Bad spends the day bored and insulting everyone who passes by. Turns out everyone is passing by because they're going to a cookout that he's doesn't know about.
Revisiting The Roots: For the short "Hremail 7" (which retcons the origins of the Strong Bad Emails), the characters reverted back to older models (and for some of them, older voices), and the dialogue features a bunch of catch phrases or running gags that hadn't been used in years.
Strong Bad waits patiently for Strong Mad and The Cheat to say "Douglas"...and when it's Strong Sad's turn, he smashes him with the computer's keyboard.
The word "Douglas" in this trope doubles as a Brick Joke in an Easter egg for Strong Bad Email #76, in which Strong Bad tries to teach the characters to say, "Fhqwhgads."
Strong Bad: Fhqwhgads. Homestar: Fubugrass. Strong Bad: Say with a flourish: Fhqwhgads. Homestar: Fubumagu. Strong Bad: It doesn't sound like it looks. Fhqwhgads. Coach Z: Forhorglingrads! Strong Bad: Coach Z, I thought I asked you to leave, like, an hour ago. Strong Mad: DOUGLAS!!! Strong Bad: Whoa! We've just had a breakthrough! You get a gold star.
Self-Deprecation: The Flash adaptations of The Homestar Runner Enters the Strongest Man in the World Contest and Where My Hat Is At? make a point to have the cast lampshade how ridiculous the plots and scripts are. Example:
Homestar: [My hat] isn't cooking on the grill? Man, I really thought it'd make complete sense if my non-edible hat would be cooking on a food grill!
Signing Off Catch Phrase: n-universe, Homestar Runner says at the end of every episode of his show "The Show", "CHANT! WORDS! TOGETHER!"
Strong Bad: According to Coolguy's law, the popularity of the host is inversely proportional to the amount of fun you can have at their house.
Smash Cut: The sbemail hygeine has this little gem:
Strong Bad: Every morning, John wakes up and forgets to wash his stupid, dumb, stinking, FAT, SMELLY, STUPID, DU-
So Long, Suckers!: Homestar says this twice: once in the Strong Bad Email "secret recipes" after tricking himself into eating a pinecone, and once in one of the yearly Halloween episodes after tricking the King of Town (whose Halloween costume is Colonel Sanders) out of his secret blend of eleven herbs and spices needed to make Marzipan's Halloween potion.
Spinoff Babies: One email has baby versions of the main cast (except Homestar, who is still an adult, for some reason).
Homestar poured Mountain Dew on Strong Bad's computer to make a wet computer out of it. Strong Bad in turn pours an enormous bottle of Mountain Dew on Homestar's computer in turn as payback.
When thinking of various art styles for his hypothetical portrait, Strong Bad suggests a painting of him in a 17th century photo-realistic Dutch style, and remarked that these types of paintings are often vandalized by art bandits. Cue The Cheat spray-painting a RAD RAD ROBOTANK all over it. Strong Bad approves that after being vandalized, now it's worth something.
Stupid Sexy Flanders: In a Halloween Costume cartoon, Strong Bad freaks out at the sight of a hot girl dressed as Homestar.
Swallowed a Fly: "Bug In Mouth Disease" features Homestar distraught because he accidentally swallowed a bug. "The good times are over!"
Tear Jerker: Invoked. Strong Bad has this drawing of a one-legged puppy nicknamed "Li'l Brudder", whose Woobie-ness is sufficient to drive Homestar into an existential crisis whenever Strong Bad shows it to him. He manages to do the same to Strong Sad with a picture of a two-legged elephant named "Tendafoot". At the end, even Strong Bad himself starts choking up from it. invoked
This Is Gonna Suck: Reynold in "Shopping for Danger" after he falls backward onto the rocket pack he's wearing
This Isn't Heaven: An Easter Egg in the program Macromedia Central features a cartoon where Homestar and Strong Bad are stuck in "blue-fadey-land." Homestar thinks they died and went to heaven, and Strong Bad agrees after they find a Twinkie. Then Homestar says that it's just Strong Bad and him, forever! It suddenly dawns on Strong Bad that they're definitely not in heaven. He pounds on the edge of the frame screaming frantically as the background turns red...
Throw the Dog a Bone: Subverted in the 2009 Halloween toon. Strong Sad, upset at not being invited to any Halloween parties, turns around to discover all of his friends standing behind him to throw him a surprise party. Or so it seems. Turns out that his "friends" are actually a large cardboard prop, and their cheering is provided by a tape recorder. The whole thing was set up by Strong Sad himself to make himself seem more popular to the viewers.
Tyrant Takes the Helm: Played with in the Cheat Commandos toon 2 Part Episode, where Admiral Flashfight shows up to take over command of the Cheat Commandos from Gunhaver. Unlike your typical Tyrant arc, Admiral Flashfight actually makes the Cheat Commandos effective (the very first thing he does is arrest Blue Laser, who at the time had been invited over to play video games), but since the Commandos are used to goofing off (and he summarily fired Gunhaver, Silent Rip, and Crackotage) they chafe under his leadership.
Villainous Cross Dresser: Strong Bad dressed up as a woman for Halloween two years in a row. Sadly for him, this resulted in the King of Town making fun of him.
Villains Out Shopping: One Cheat Commandos episode had the Commandos trying to stop the Blue Lasers from shopping at the supermarket, believing their activities were cover for some nefarious scheme, like trying to "make it snow at the beach or something". However, it turned out that the Blue Lasers truly were just buying groceries. Then, it's subverted because the latest computer analysis pointed to mold in the showers as the reason the Cheat Commandos remained uncrushed.
You Must Be This Tall To Ride: In the Strong Bad e-mail "theme park", The Cheat tried to be tall enough to ride the Bowels of Trogdor roller coaster, but was unable to do so even when standing on tiptoes and wearing a top hat, so Strong Bad recommended he goes to Sweet Cuppin Cakes Land instead, much to his disappointment.
Tropes unique to the Flash Games
Failure Is the Only Option: In the easter egg game Super Kingio Brothers, The King of Town is too out of shape to jump over the first goomba, making it impossible to survive for more than a few seconds.
Fishing Minigame: There's one hidden as an Easter Egg in the email "lures and jigs", but being that this is Homestar Runner, it's an...unusual...take on the idea. "Come on and get in the boat!"
Konami Code: Used to unlock the 30 Lives cheat in Trogdor.
Luck-Based Mission: The Cheat's Smoking Challenge on the "Strong Bad's Message BORED", wherein The Cheat must collect nicotine gum pieces. Catch is, the gum pieces spawn randomly and despawn rather quickly, and there is absolutely no checking if the spawning pattern is possible, making the game a gamble with the Random Number God.
Pretty much every game with the Videlectrix logo is extremely difficult. Duck Guardian requires insanely quick reflexes and multi-tasking skills, Kid Speedy has a tendency to to randomly make your character's maximum speed slower than any of your opponent's minimum speeds, making the race impossible, Rhino Feeder sometimes crowds just about every pixel of the screen with snakes, making the game unwinnable, and 50K Racewalker literally cannot be beaten in anything less than 20 hours of continuous playing.
Unwinnable Joke Game: Super Kingio Bros is a version of Super Mario Bros. with the King of Town replacing Mario. Unfortunately, he can't jump high enough to pass the first Goomba, so it's probably just as well that you don't actually get the three lives shown.