Web Animation: Homestar Runner
aka: Strong Bad
Homestar Runner: "If I had to pick one word to describe myself, it would be... Fluffy Puff Marshmallows. Or Homestar. Either one, really. They both fit!"
Strong Bad: "Don't forget [one of the following] note doofus/moron/...er...Lionel Richie!"Homestar Runner, the namesake series of the Homestar Runner family, is a comedic and surreal web-based Flash 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 title 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 in improbable 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 during the hiatus, including the game Poker 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), as well as a special guest appearance by Strong Bad and Homestar at W00tstock 2013. 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 (It was updated on April 1, 2015, no joke).Then on April 1, 2014, a glimmer of hope shined upon us, and arrived with a full-length toon. Soon after, Astrid Renee, niece to the Brothers Chaps and known to fans of the site as "Little Girl" from the puppet shorts, explained that Matt Chapman was working in Los Angeles on various animated shows, while Mike Chapman was still in Georgia raising his children. And in July 2014, Matt Chapman confirmed on The Jeff Rubin Show that he is back in Georgia and seriously wanting to bring back the series. He elaborated that they never wanted to stop the show for so long, but after Matt's second child, it gave them the opportunity to answer the animation studio people they've been contacted by over the years, resulting in 4-5 years of professional animation work. With Matt back at home living close to Mike, they plan to rev it back up sometime in Summer-Fall 2014. During September 2014, more signs of life arise, the long-defunct Youtube account of Homestar Runner updated with a new banner, profile icon, and "About" section repeating almost verbatim what Matt said during Jeff Rubin's interview. Shortly after that, a long-dormant official Twitter account for Strong Bad aptly named Strong Bad Actual was revived and has begun being used. Finally, the return began with a new Coach Z and Strong Bad music video entitled "Fish Eye Lens" which was uploaded on October 3, 2014.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.
—"First Time Here?"
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General Universe Tropes
- 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. On the DVD commentary for it, not surprisingly, Strong Bad is quite critical of it.
- The Ace: Pom-Pom. He was once named Prom King at a dance he wasn't even attending, has beaten up Strong Bad, is a master ninja, and knows all the cute girls' phone numbers.
- Acme Products: Cheap As Free is the go-to company for most products. They've put out food, toys, books (comic or otherwise), records, and even have their branding on some of the real-world merchandise in the site's shop (such as on Strong Bad Sings or various DVDs). In spite of the name, most of their products retail for $11.01.
- 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.
- Adam Smith Hates Your Guts: Taken to Eleven with Bubs. In the most extreme case, he once actually sold Wireless Extension Cords for $100 apiece. Homestar bought four of them.
- Adipose Rex: The King of Town is a king (allegedly) and has a serious eating disorder rendering him quite chubby. Just to hammer this in, a younger version of him appears in "flashback", the Prince of Town, who is quite thin indeed - at least, until nobody claims the lifetime supply of fish sticks from the egg Strong Bad won.
- Adobe Flash: Flash 5 to be exact.
- 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.
- Hilariously lampshaded in the April Fool's update, in which he records a new startup sound for his Compy (oddly without contrast knobs, and the Compé is apparently gone). *Starts humming tune and then stands up and yells* "WHY ARE YOU STILL USING WINDOWS 98??! WHAT IS WRONG WITH YOU??!! STOP BUYING COMPUTERS FROM THRIFT STORES, MAN!!"
- All There in the Manual: Several of the character's names are only mentioned on DVD Commentaries.
- Alternate Universe: Several, each with its own version of the cast. Many of the universes appeared in this Strong Bad Email.
- 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.
- Animate Inanimate Object: The series is not averse to these. Most notable instances would be The Paper, a sentient printer floating off the top of the screen, usually just to print "click here to e-mail Strong Bad" but occasionally capable of conversing with Strong Bad directly if the need arises, and Strong Bad's various computers, which have personalities of their own and similarly can talk to Strong Bad if the situation warrants it; for the Tandy and Compy, this is mostly post-mortem, but the Lappy has a proper voice synthesis program and directly converses with Strong Bad semi-frequently.
- Antiquated Linguistics: Much of the Old-Timey version of Strong Bad's speech is comprised of this.
- 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 vial of green DNA evidence that Strong Bad was using to prove Strong Sad was part-elephant.
- Art Evolution: The earliest cartoons feature noticeably different art styles than the majority of the post-2001 ones; the designs are generally the same, but Homestar got taller and got a more angular mouth, Strong Bad's mask went from all red/white/black to sporting green eyes and a blue diamond, the outlines of various characters became darker and more-defined, etc. The Brothers Chaps are not averse to spoofing just how different the characters used to look, such as in the Strong Bad Emails "flashback" (where the designs revert to that of the original book) and "lady...ing" (which reverts the designs to that of "Marshmallow's Last Stand", the first full-length cartoon to be put on the site, complete with accompanying voice changes).
- The Artifact:
- 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.
- Art Shift: Several different versions of the characters, including Old Timey, 20X6 Animesque, Powered By The Cheat, and Puppet stuff.
- Authority in Name Only: The King of Town was the former Trope Namer. Despite apparently being the king, living in a castle and having both a Blacksmith and a Poopsmith under his command, pretty much nobody else in Free Country USA gives him the time of day, least of all Strong Bad. This changes up a bit in Episode 2 the SBCG4AP; he actually shows some authority there, implementing and enforcing a tax on Strong Bad's email usage, although it's all part of a ploy to goad Strong Bad into to ousting him from power, as he's tired the responsibilities that come with said authority.
- Aww, Look! They Really Do Love Each Other: Although Strong Bad all too often torments his younger brother Strong Sad (or vice-versa, in some cases), there have been some toons where they genuinely love each other, or, at the very least, get along well. There is a special toon that shows how Strong Sad and Strong Bad used to get along when they were younger. Moreover, in "Jibblies 2", Strong Bad considers Strong Sad to be one of the "good characters".
- 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!
Coach Z: Coach Z, R-A-P,/Accidentally featuring Peacey P...
- Lampshaded even further in "Rap Song". First:
Peacey P: Hey, ya biscuithead, you ain't featuring me!
Coach Z: I said accidentally featuring Peacey P!
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.
- Bears Are Bad News/Threatening Shark: The Bear Holding A Shark fulfills both, scaring the crap out of the Cheat despite just being a cardboard cut out.
- Bedtime Brainwashing: "A Jorb Well Done". Coach Z keeps mispronouncing the word "job", and all Homestar's attempts to correct this fail. Eventually, Strong Sad loans Coach Z a tape of himself saying "job" hundreds of times, and tells Z to listen to it as he sleeps. The next morning, Coach Z has no trouble saying "job"... but he can no longer pronounce Homestar's name.
- 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".
- Better Than a Bare Bulb: Some of the weirder monents have characters questioning them, but rarely with explanation.
- Pronounce pseudonym as "pseudo-name" in front of Strong Sad. I dare you.
- Better Than Sex: This Book is Better Than 1st, 2nd, and Quite Possibly Even 3rd Base from the sbemail "studying."
- Big Eater: The King of Town will eat anything - even things that are clearly not meant to be eaten, like Halloween decorations.
- The Blacksmith: One works under The King of Town, only known as "The Blacksmith". Despite wearing a metal apron and welding mask, he's never really shown actively doing any forging; in fact, he almost never shows up at all, mostly being a mere cameo character.
- Blatant Lies:
- So common, the Homestar Wiki has a page to list nearly every occasion of an obvious lie. Most of them are from Strong Bad.
- Parodied in the toon "Cool Things" where Homestar falls into a random pit marked "Death Hole". The fact that the pit's, like, three feet deep doesn't stop him from yelling like he's still falling.
- Bleached Underpants: The original version of the Poot-Slap song is less than family-friendly.
- Bragging Theme Tune: Trogdor's theme is a rock ballad explaining how he Was Once a Man (before quickly backpedaling and deciding he was always a dragon), then going into detail about his unstoppable village-burninating tendencies.
- Breaking the Fourth Wall: Too many to list here. Here's a list for all the examples from the Homestar Runner Wiki.
- 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.
- Bowdlerise: Parodied in the April Fools 2014 toon, where Sickly Sam's legs are digitally replaced with an un-skeletonized pair in a "Colorarized" Old-Timey cartoon sample.
- Brick Joke:
- 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."
- In "The Best Decemberween Ever", Coach Z chugs mouthwash at the midpoint of the cartoon. At the very end of the song, he faints due to having too much Listerine.
- The Brute: Strong Mad is incredibly strong and has a hair-trigger temper to match. Strong Bad generally uses him as the Dumb Muscle, as such.
- Buffy Speak: About a third of the jokes in the series is characters accidentally dropping Shout-Outs when using Buffy Speak.
- Butt Monkey:
- Strong Sad, The King of Town, Coach Z, and such, usually because of Strong Bad. This is somewhat balanced out by Strong Bad being one from time to time.
- Also Nebulon. Whenever the space alien appears, he's almost always told to go away, as no one likes his style, at which point he'll float away with a distinctive sound effect and a goofy frown on his face.
- Reynold in the Cheat Commandos episodes. In an troop full of hardened mercenaries, he's the only obvious office worker of the group; he thus is the butt of many jokes, and never gets to go on any missions, much to his chagrin.
- Captain Space, Defender of Earth!: Strong Badia's space program has Space Captainface. Pretender of the Galaxy.
- Cargo Ship: Among other examples, Sign and Cinder Block in "2 years", and Strong Bad and a Wagon Fulla Pancakes in "montage".
Strong Sad: Uh, Strong Bad, were you just first-basin' it with that piece of loose-leaf?!
- Strong Bad finds his own hand-drawn redesign for The Ugly One in Teen Girl Squad so attractive, he starts making out with her - which turns remarkably awkward when it's revealed Strong Mad, Strong Sad and The Cheat witnessed that, and without that context, it looks purely like this trope.
- Casanova Wannabe: Strong Bad insists he's really popular with the ladies, but there has been no evidence in-universe that actually supports this assertion, and plenty that contradicts it.
- Homestar Runner is also one, though to his credit he has got the only woman around. Some of the time.
- Character Title: Although funnily enough, despite Homestar being the character whose name's in the title, Strong Bad's more often the star of the show.
- Cheated Angle: Homestar and The Cheat are never seen from the front in the cartoons. But in the game and the 3d figurines, they can be seen from any angle you please.
- Chirping Crickets: A running gag in the Puppet Stuff shorts, used to represent both Lame Pun Reaction and Dead Air.
- Chocolate-Frosted Sugar Bombs: "Cheat Commandos...O's", featured in its own short cartoon. Part of this ridiculous breakfast!
- Clap Your Hands If You Believe: Characters Strong Bad made up in his emails become actual characters. Example; Seńor Cardgage was a theoretical older Strong Bad, but now is a character in his own right.
- Clingy Costume: Strong Bad revealed in the very first email that his mask and boxing gloves are literally his face and hands, and has since then responded rather glibly to requests to take them off.
Strong Bad: *calling out* Hey, Strong Mad! What, uh, what's my favorite movie?
- Homsar and Senor Cardgage. Both speak in Word Salads and seem to have little to no grasp on any given situation. Both do bizarre, inexplicable things (Homsar floating randomly, Senor Cardgage walking in place causing the sounds of traffic to occur - indoors). It's suggested in SBCG4AP that Homsar is actually quite intelligent, but is speaking a language that nobody else can understand, but it's played straight in the cartoons proper.
- Homestar Runner is one too, able it not as much. One example, his recipe for doughnuts is a piece of toilet paper that says "Dognut". Strong Bad has described Homestar as having "(an) incredibly loose grasp on the world around (him)".
- Coach Z mistook shower heads for "drippy speakers" and married a (bad) drawing of a dragon he made.
- Strong Mad, because he has no indoor voice and, according to Strong Bad, has "a pretty tenuous grasp on the English language." Example:
Strong Mad: GARBLEDINA!
- Also, The Ugly One in the Teen Girl Squad series, though her qualifications fluctuate as the world around her is as crazy as Strong Bad's imagination.
- Comically Missing the Point: Most main characters happen to do this regularly, but Homestar, being an outright ditz, deserves mention.Homestar Runner: Hey, girlfriend, have you tried any of this free ice cream Strong Bad made?
Marzipan: Homestar, didn't anyone tell you? That's, like, cottage cheese and The Cheat hair!
Homestar Runner: WHAT!? *spit take* Strong Bad told me it was sour cream and The Cheat hair!
- Hell, it happens right in the first few seconds of the welcome video.Homestar Runner: Welcome to HomestarRunner.Net!
Director: It's '.com'.
Homestar Runner: Oh, right. HomestarRunner.Net: It's Dot Com!
- Hell, it happens right in the first few seconds of the welcome video.
- Comic Trio: Strong Bad is the schemer and Strong Mad the dumb muscle. The helpless one can vary, but is most commonly The Cheat, followed by Strong Sad.
- Companion Cube: Quite a few, most notably "Frank Bennedetto" the popcorn maker, who serves as first officer in the Homestarmy, and The Wagon Fulla Pancakes.
- 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.
- Cool Car:
- 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.)
- Cool Helmet: Various styles are worn by "The Broternal Order of Different Helmets," introduced in "Ever and More."
- Cool Shades: A running staple of the series, most notably worn by Dangeresque and Dangeresque Too. In fact Dangeresque Too's shades are so cool, they can be worn in Team Fortress 2 by the Demoman.
- Corpsing: Mike Chapman can faintly be heard breaking into laughter at the end of one Senor Cardgage Quote of the Week.
- Crack Pairing: A number of in-universe examples.
- 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.
- Dastardly Whiplash: The Old-Timey version of Strong Bad plays this trope about as straight as can be - Antiquated Linguistics, handlebar mustache, and villainy for the sake of villainy all accounted for. This makes sense, of course; Old-Timey Homestar Runner generally uses tropes more common in the 1930s, and usage of these kinds of villains was in full swing at that time.
- 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 shows Stink'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.
- Delusions of Eloquence: Many of the characters often "try" this, which leads to them creating new mangled words or portmanteaus. In fact, these portmanteaus and Buffy Speak are a staple of the series' humor.
- Department of Redundancy Department:
Strong Bad: I dunno. Maybe he's just going to the ATM Machine.
- 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 Mad: THAT'S REDUNDANT!!!
- Order! I hear by call this meeting of the Broternal Order of Different Helmets... to order!
- Development Hell: In-universe: Dangeresque 3: The Criminal Projective, was in production for 4 1/2 years before finally being released in SPCG 4 AP Episode 4.
- Disco Dan:
- 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).
- Does This Remind You of Anything?:
Homestar: Well, it's Marzipan's birthday, and I don't know what to get her!
- Inverted when matters of dating are explained by comparison to sports.
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.
- Dummied Out: Several secret pages, along with a few of the site components.
- Easter Egg: The SB Emails are covered in them. Most toons have at least a couple on the final screen.
- The Eeyore: Strong Sad. He has his moments of levity, but generally speaking he's constantly in a depressed mood - almost certainly justified either by living with his abusive brother Strong Bad, or by living in a region with characters as delightfully clueless as Homestar.
- 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.
- Elmuh Fudd Syndwome:
- Homestaw suffows fwom this. "I have twouble with my aw's."
- Lampshaded when he tells Coach Z to "Say words right", while the chalkboard behind him writes this the way he says it, aka "Say wouds wide."
- Elseworld: Old-Timey and 20X6 versions of the cast and setting. Interestingly, the two elseworlds have met at least once.
- Ensemble Darkhorse: Strong Bad. This is lampshaded in this toon for anyone who has never been to the website before:Strong Bad: I'm Strong Bad, and you don't know it yet, but I'm the reason you're here.
Homestar: It's true.
Strong Bad: Check me out! (beat) No, seriously, check me out.
- Eh! Steve! is an in-universe parody of this phenomenon. So is Onion Bubs.
- Era-Specific Personality: The 1936 (and Romans), storybook, early 2000s and 20X6 characters.
- Even Bad Men Love Their Mamas: Strong Bad, as evident in this interview in which he warns the interviewer not to talk about his mother.
- Excrement Statement: Strong Bad recalls being annoyed by Strong Sad's imaginary friend Scotty Titi. He tried to oust him in several ways; in one, he tried to "Titi. On Scotty Titi."Strong Bad: "Oh no! My new boots!"
- Expressive Mask: Strong Bad's mask is his face.
- Extreme Omnivore:
- The King of Town will eat extreme quantities of things like eggs, butter, rolls of toilet paper, 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.
- Fun with Flushing: In one email toon, Bubs turns into a large Godzilla-like monster after accidentally flushing himself down the toilet while shaving. Strong Bad tries to do this himself at the end.
- GASP!: The webtoon uses a "GASP!" stock effect whenever a character declares they're going to do something daring (or what they think is daring.) A good example is Decemberween.
- 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 naďve.
- Getting Crap Past the Radar: Not really much of a radar to get past, since this is on the Internet, but the email "comic" ended with a lingering shot of a rack of record albums including Mudhoney's You Stupid Assholes. Given the consistent commitment to a soft-PG atmosphere otherwise, it really stands out.
- 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.
- A Good Name for a Rock Band: The appropriately-titled Strong Bad Email "band names", in which Strong Bad explains how to pick a good one. Two in-world bands, Limozeen and Taranchula, got their names in this email.
- 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.
- In "underlings", Strong Bad suggests he'd watch TV shows called "Dart-Mouth" and "Stink's Reach".
- Gosh Dang It to Heck!: Cursing is very rare and only mostly shows up in the site's earlier content. This means the worst language most characters use are euphemisms like "freaking," "crap," "sucks," "screw." unintelligible Angrish, or bizarre phrases like "sweet genius!" They manage to wring a lot of mileage out of it without sounding hokey. As they said in their interview with Tastes Like Chicken:Matt: ...in terms of the wholesomeness of it all, at the time we started, everything on the web was South Park rip-offs and gross-out shock humor. So we were just kind of sick of it. It's like, South Park did it the best without ripping it off. So it was just more of a personal challenge.Mike: It's really just more of our style, too. It wasn't a super hard decision to make. We probably would have been doing it like this anyway. We've always leaned toward the more subtle type of humor, as opposed to over-the-top.Matt: But when we get our sketch comedy show, dude, there's going to be so many swears!
- In Poker Night at the Inventory, there is the option to keep swears in the dialogue, or bleep them out. Even if you keep them in, Strong Bad's are still bleeped out.
- Grammar Nazi: Strong Bad often mocks the spelling mistakes and grammer of the emails he recieves, despite making many spelling and grammatical errors of his own.
- 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.
- Half-Dressed Vaguely-Humanoid-Being: Lampshaded endlessly, especially being the trope namer for Long Pants.
- Halloween Episode: These are an annual tradition of the website, starting back in 2000. The characters all dress up as various pop-culture icons (complete with summaries at the end, for those who don't recognize them), and the plot of each episode involve thematically-relevant events (trick-or-treating, sharing horror stories, dealing with more macabre characters than the cartoons usually handle).
- Have I Mentioned I Am Sexually Active Today?: Strong Bad, from his "girlfriends", to his theoretical situations with many hot girls.
- Hammerspace: Constantly used. Understandable given that none of the characters have visible pockets.
- Her Code Name Was Mary Sue:
- 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.
- Honest John's Dealership: Bubs deliberately sells crap at his legal business front to save the good stuff for his black market, and even then half of the "legal" stuff he does is so blatantly illegal and/or anti-consumerist that his customers are expecting him to pull something shady. Senor Cardgage isn't much better, but it's hard to tell if it's on purpose.
- Hypercompetent Sidekick: The Cheat, on more than one occasion. Pom-Pom also has his moments.
- I Ate WHAT?: Subverted in that many characters have been known to deliberately eat non-food items, whether due to ravenous eating habits or just barefaced ignorance.
- I Call It "Vera": Marzipan calls her guitar Carol.
- Impossible Shadow Puppets: In "theme song", Strong Bad makes a "Trogdor" shadow that breathes fire. Wearing gloves without fingers.
- 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"
- Ineffectual Sympathetic Villain:
- Strong Badman's idea of villainy involves wasting water and stealing cable from his neighbors while bossing around his sidekick Stiny.
- Strong Bad himself sometimes qualifies as his idea of villainy are pathetic in the first place and still backfire on him.
- Inherently Funny Words:
- Invisible Anatomy: Most characters have no visible arms. This is often Lampshaded.
- It Meant Something to Me: Strong Bad LOVES his computers. Just watch his breakdown in "virus"...
- It's Popular, Now It Sucks: 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.
- Just Here for Godzilla: Lampshaded by Strong Bad in the introduction to first time viewers.Strong Bad: I'm Strong Bad, and you don't know it yet, but I'm the reason you're here.Homestar: (peeking in from off-camera} It's true.
- Juxtaposed Store: Bubs' Concession Stand sells a lot more than just food.
- Kill It with Fire: Trogdor the Burninator, as in he kills everything else with fire.
- 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 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)
- Loads and Loads of Characters: There are only eleven main characters and a handful of minor ones... but that's only if you don't count the inanimate objects that are treated like characters, the animate objects that are treated like characters, the many spinoffs and alternate universes that all have their own versions of the main cast... for perspective, there was a poster made in 2004 that featured every single character in the cartoon to date. The cast was as crowded as a mosh pit and took up most of the page. There are quite a few more characters who have been introduced since.
- Loads and Loads of Loading: Depending on your internet connection, especially true back in the days of dial-up. Taken quite literally in this short.
- Load-Bearing Boss:
- Long Pants: Homestar is the trope namer.
Homestar Runner: What are you talking about, Strong Bad? I wear long pants.Strong Bad: Um... No... From what I can tell, you wear no pants, and have blue soles glued to the bottoms of your feet.
- Lampshaded in a Sbemail.
- We do eventually learn that he is wearing shoes, at least, and that they're way more detailed in a closeup. And pretty badly worn out.
- Logging On To The Fourth Wall:
- Something.com and Homestarrunner.net from First Time Here? are both real websites (the latter just redirects to the Homestar Runner Wiki).
- Thoraxcorp.com from one of the fortune cookies actually exists. It's even made by the Bros. Chaps.
- "3uSyK2RdlUY" and "_Z-C8NU3SVM" from Sbemails "shapeshifter" and "videography" respectively are both.YouTube hashes.
- Virtualpizz.biz from the Sbemail "pizza joint" is an actual website. However, clicking the join now button just leads to the e-mail in question.
- "The Coolest Stuff Ever" from the Sbemail "credit card" was at one point a real website, but the domain is now parked.
- Loud Gulp:
- The Cheat Commandos parodies it by Saying Sound Effects Out Loud.
- 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.
- Mascot Villain: It's easy to forget that Strong Bad was supposed to be a villain (albeit not a very good one) thanks to practically usurping the main character role from the character the site is named after.
- Masked Luchador: Strong Bad started out as a tag team wrestler with his brother Strong Mad, and occasionally still shows off his wrestling skills by, say, suplexing Homestar's radio.
- 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.
- Menace Decay: Strong Bad. Lampshaded in "your edge", where Strong Bad tries to get his edge back. And fails. Epically.
- Merchandise-Driven: Cheat Commandos...sort of, as there actually isn't much real CC merchandise, but they're meant to be this way as a spoof of G.I. Joe."Buy all our playsets and toys!"
- Mind Screw:
- An attempted invoking with Sbemaliarized Entertainment. ("Uhhh, can you say 'mindblow?'")
- The ending of this toon.
- One of Marzipan's answering machine messages: "Please leave me a message and I'll leave you with this thought: is a penguin a bird or a duck?"
- Misplaced Sorrow: Done with Frank Bennedetto (a popcorn popper), complete with the standard "he owes me $5" lament.
- Montages: Conversed, with specific subexamples given, in the Strong Bad email montage. The ones used are, in order, a Falling in Love Montage, a Travelling Salesman Montage, a Training Montage and an end-credits Photo Montage (complete with "where are they now?" subtitles).
- Mundane Made Awesome:
- E-MAIL. CHECKING. Is the most popular feature on the site!
- Also this sbemail, epically the one which made a Seinfeldian Conversation about a napkin some type of action apocalyptic movie.
- Loading Screens.
- Discussed in "Fish Eye Lens", where Strong Bad and Coach Z discover they can make even the most boring things look cool if they're filmed with the eponymous device.
- No Budget: Strong Bad's Dangeresque films were clearly made with whatever he had handy — to the point where the prop used for a car phone is an entire VCR. Strong Sad managed to go even further by financing his latest independent film with Monopoly money — or as he calls it, "faux budget".
- No Celebrities Were Harmed:
- 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 Indoor Voice: Strong Mad has, as his brother points out, zero volume control. "I CAN BE THE QUIETEST MOUSE!"
- 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".
- Official Cosplay Gear: Parodied in "Costume Commercial"Strong Bad: Hmmm... crappy plastic Bubs mask... and a crappier plastic apron with a picture of Bubs on it that says "Bubs" on it.Homestar: Mm-hmm! Just like Bubs all the time wears!
- 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 went without a single update in 2012 and 2013, with only a few sparse updates the year before that. New content has finally begun to trickle back in; it remains to be seen how long that will last since Matt Chapman is still working on various TV shows.
- Our Dragons Are Different:
- 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 strength 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.
- Out of Focus: Pom Pom is hardly used at all anymore.
- 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.
- Pac Man Fever: Strong Bad has never been seen using a computer or video game system that could have been made after the early 1990s, with the possible exception of his new Compé, which appears to have a flat, widescreen monitor but still runs what looks like Windows 95 at best. Likewise, nearly all of the games on the site are pastiches of games from the '80s and '90s. To the point where they might be responsible for inspiring the modern retro indie game fad.
- 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.
- Paper-Thin Disguise:
- 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.
- Parodic Table of the Elements: The Periodic Table of Candy Elements.
- Parody Commercial: Oh so many, most notably "Senorial Day".
- 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.
- The Pig Pen:
Strong Mad: PUT IT BACK ON! PUT IT BACK ON!
- The Poopsmith, due to his job.
- 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.
- 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.
- Pokémon Speak:
- Eh! Steve!'s entire schtick on "Sweet Cuppin Cakes" is to show up and shout his name.
- The 20X6 Homestar Runner universe turns the Cheat into the "Cheatball", a parody of Pokémon.
- 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!"
- Pseudolympics: One Strong Bad Email is about the "Strong Badathalon", with events such as "Greco-Roman Homestar Crud-Out-Of-Beating", the "Clean and Jerk Strong Mad's Underwears Over His Head" ("fortunately, you don't really have to clean them") and "Probably Something with Guitars, Lasers, Robots, and Hot Girls".
- Punny Name: They show up every now and then. For example, the protagonist of Peasant's Quest is Rather Dashing and the stealth expert of the Cheat Commandos is Silent Rip.
- Put on a Bus: Happens to Crack Stuntman when he makes one too many frivolous demands on the producers, although apparently he eventually gets his job back.
- Rapid-Fire Comedy: Used very often, especially in self parodies of the original kids' book like this.
- Reality Warper:
- 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.
- Replacement Scrappy: New Paper. At least in Strong Bad's opinion.
- Riddle for the Ages: There are a number of mysteries about the Homestar Runner universe which the creators have said will likely never be given a serious answer.
- "How does Strong Bad type with boxing gloves on?"
- "What do the characters' parents look like?"
- Often thought to be an example by the fans is the question "What does Strong Bad look like without his mask?" However, this one actually has been answered: That's not a mask- it's his face!
- Repeating so the Audience Can Hear:
- 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: In-universe, Homestar Runner and Strong Bad cannot stand Marshie, the mascot of Fluffy Puff Marshmallows. Homestar's hatred is justified: he did commercials for them and got paid for it, but Marshie since took his job.
- Second Episode Introduction: Bubs and Coach Z were introduced in the second book, Where my Hat is at?.
- Shout-Out: TONS. To the point where we didn't even bother making a separate page for them like we normally do. The Homestar Runner Wiki did a far better job of keeping track of them all than we ever could, anyway.
- Special mention goes to the Halloween cartoons, in which entire cast dress up as pop culture references of some sort, often quite obscure ones.
- 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 Name, Big Ego: Show Within a Show and In-Universe example- Crack Stuntman, the voice of Gunhaver in Cheat Commandos, who insists on script changes and even voicing different characters because he "likes that guy's lines better."
- 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 & Ted's Excellent Adventure) You got it!
- So Bad, It's Good: Dangeresque as a whole, though this is intentional.
- 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.
- The Smurfette Principle: Marzipan is the only girl character in the main cast. The situation was lampshaded in the DVD exclusive toon "Why Come Only One Girl?"
- Special Effects Failure: Invoked in the Dangeresque films; for example, Strong Bad uses his considerably larger, gray brother Strong Sad as a stunt double and has a scene where he and his costar "climb a skyscraper" that is clearly a piece of cardboard lying flat on the ground... and then Homestar's sunglasses fall off while the camera is still rolling.
- The Speechless: The Poopsmith. Subverted, when he broke his vow of silence for Strong Bad's 200th email and was voiced by John Linnell of They Might Be Giants fame.
- Spell My Name with a "The": The Cheat, The King of Town, The Poopsmith, etc.
- 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.
- Stalker with a Crush:
Coach Z: Hey there, Marzipan. It's the lyrical wondermind, Coach Z. Calling to ask you if, uh, you seen one of my discatapes... I think I left over dere. Uh, it's one of my most favorite discatapes, and I'd really like it back so, I'm gonna come... I'm just gonna head on over there, uh, and if you're not there I'll just let myself in da crack in the window like I usually do -I mean... not... I never do, because I've never snuck into your house before. I mean, who's sneakin'? Over here? Nobody. I'm creepin'.
- Coach Z, towards Marzipan. It's hinted at but seldom explored in the cartoons, though in this Marzipan's Answering Machine:
- It's also implied that she's not the only one to have been creeped out by him... Strong Bad: So, who got that last butt pat?Homestar: Oh. I think he gave himself that one. He's been known for his self butt-pats.Strong Bad: Yeah. Known in seven states.Homestar: What?!
- In Strong Bad's Cool Game for Attractive People, it gets turned Up to Eleven and then some.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!
- Strong Family Resemblance: Averted. Members of the Strong Family have no resemblance to one another. Lampshaded in the DVD exclusive email "family resemblance".
- Stylistic Self-Parody: Cahracters usually comment on missing anatomy, usually arms.
- 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.
- Surreal Humor:
- Especially in the DVD-exclusive content, this being a prime example, being about the Brothers Chap making a few surreal exaggerations of a few lines from the early shorts.
- Take That:
- Strong Bad has poked fun at both Memetic Mutations (here's his take on the Trogdor phenomenon) and the darker side of fandom. Funnily enough, the fans haven't been offended. This is probably because it's Strong Bad, who's supposed to be a jerk about these things, and because it's really funny.
- 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.
- Telegraph Gag STOP:"Sir Strong Bad STOP How do you operate the 'telegramophone' whilst wearing gentlemans' sporting gloves STOP Signed, Sir Elsington Halstindingdingworth STOP"
- Theme Tune: Technically there are two, the intro to the site and
- Discussed and parodied in one Strong Bad Email where it's pointed out that he doesn't have one for his show, and he responds by sarcastically making up a couple — an upbeat one that "bludgeons you over the head with the blunt end of the show's premise" and a "life-affirming pop-ballad" similar to sitcoms like Cheers.
- Trademark Favorite Food: Marshmallows, especially of the Fluffy Puff variety, even though Marshie is creepy as sin. There's also Melonade, contractually speaking.
- True Meaning of Christmas: Appears various times, all Played for Laughs, and all being about Decemberween, the variant of Christmas celebrated only by the citizens of Free Country, USA. Examples:
Strong Bad: Didn't I invent this cartoon?
- In one cartoon, Homestar and Strong Bad are watching a Sweet Cuppin' Cakes holiday special, which leads to this exchange:
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!
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!
- 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:
- Two Decades Behind: Parodied — Strong Bad acts like he's still living in The Eighties or The Nineties (depending on which one the creators think would be funnier), but everyone else is fully aware of how behind the times he is and has no problem reminding him.
- The Unintelligible: The Cheat speaks in high-pitched mumbles, and Pom Pom just sounds like someone blowing bubbles in a glass of water, but everyone else can understand him just fine. Although Marzipan's grasp of The Cheat speak is a bit rusty.
- The Unreveal:
- 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!!!"
- Unusual Euphemism: Strong Bad has a lot of them, like "ample hind-bosom".
- 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.
- The Voiceless: The Poopsmith communicates entirely through pantomime and the occasional Wile E. Coyote-esque sign, while Pom Pom "speaks" through soap bubble blowing sound effects.
- 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.
- Widget Series: When asked to create "a CRAZY cartoon", Strong Bad comes up with one of these called "Sweet Cuppin Cakes", which consists of a collection of random characters like a hovering blob who spends every episode trying to get a worm out of the ground and a sketchily-drawn wheelchair inexplicably voiced by Bubs.
- 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).
- Worst Whatever Ever: One of the site's running gags, mainly in the form "Worst ___ bucks I ever spent."
- Xtreme Kool Letterz:
- You Mean Xmas: They call it Decemberween, but it's otherwise pretty much indistinguishable from a secular American Christmas. Bonus points for shortening it to "X-berween" at one point, which actually makes sense because "X" can also stand for the number 10, or "decem", in Latin.
- 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.
- You Say Tomato: Coach Z's schtick"You say tomater, I zader matermorts."
Individual Cartoon Tropes
- 3-D Movie: Dangeresque: D3 in 3D (a bonus feature on the SBCG4AP DVD) takes a bunch of Dangeresque 3: The Criminal Projective cutscenes and turns them into an actual 3-D Movie, just as Strong Bad originally intended.
- Accidental Murder: The Halloween short "I Killed Pom-Pom!" revolves around Homestar mistakenly believing he killed Pom-Pom.
- Animated Adaptation:
- Animated Music Video: Including one (Experimental Film) with They Might Be Giants.
- Arc Words: "DNA evidence", which started as a mere Running Gag before being worked into an actual story. At least half the scenes where it was first mentioned still don't really make sense in context, though.
- Attack of the 50-Foot Whatever: Apparently Strong Badia gets Kaiju attacks instead of natural disasters. Behold King Bubsgonzola Supreme!
- Back from the Dead: The Paper inexplicably returns in "email thunder", only to catch fire and burn up from Homestar's sparking computer.
- The Bore: Sbemail #37 "Dullard" is about preventing the office dullard (a clever foe!) from destroying your mood and productivity.
- Bread, Eggs, Breaded Eggs:
- 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?"
- Bread, Eggs, Milk, Squick:
- 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: Of the Beyond the Impossible type, since the series has No Fourth Wall anyway. In 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: No! Wait! Stop! That's not supposed to be possible...!!"
- Burger Fool: "Blubb-O's" It doesn't seem to exist, but that doesn't stop the garbled drive-thru mascot microphone from both taking orders and not making any sense. Its marketing department is stuck figuring out new names for "regular burger" so they don't have to put anything else on the menu (besides a fish sandwich that most employees don't know exists).
- 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".
- Cargo Ship:
- In-universe, Strong Sad wishes he had a date with a wall in "Cool Tapes". Homestar encourages it and wishes him luck.
- From "Geddup Noise".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.
- College Radio: Mocked in the Strong Bad Email "radio". As far as he's concerned, letting any confused freshman inside to run the show wouldn't be much of a downgrade.
- 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.
- Confusing Multiple Negatives: When Strong Bad is trying to prove to his fans that Marzipan is totally hot for Strong Bad. "Do you don't not dislike not Strong Bad?"
- Consolation World Record: Strong Bad spends an email trying to get into a world record book, and his plan for doing this involves writing his own. This takes so long, however, that he gets sidetracked and forgets to set a record himself. At the last minute he achieves Longest Saying of "Bull Honkey". Strong Mad also achieves Most Macaronis Nailed to a Paper Towel Tube (just one).
- 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."
- Cowboy Bebop at His Computer: In-universe. On multiple occasions, Crack Stuntman has referred to Gunhaver (the character he plays on "Cheat Commandos") with names such as "Gunshaver" and "Cheat Commander."
- 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.
- Coach Z does this inside his mind. Constantly.
- Crossover: Telltale's Poker Night at the Inventory, which crosses over with Team Fortress 2, Penny Arcade, and Sam & Max.
- Curse Cut Short: In the sbemail, "trevor the vampire", Strong Bad types "what the f—" before interrupting himself with another train of thought.
- Darker and Edgier: Parodied in the new intro for April Fool's Day 2010, with HSR Xeriousxly Forxe. ()Revamped for the nineties!So much more exciting!Edgy and angry, so zesty and tangy!When nobody asked for it!
- A Day in the Limelight: "The King Of Town's Very Own Quite Popular Cartoon Show". The King was so unpopular, however, that the pilot episode was canceled in favor of more Strong Bad.
- Dead Air: Name-dropped. In the Strong Bad email "radio", he sums up College Radio in five words: "Dead Air, 'um', Dead Air".
- Depth Deception: Marzipan teaches a lesson about this to Strong Sad in unnatural. Bubs immediately shows up to prove that, sometimes, the giant object really is giant.
- Deranged Animation: "In Search of the Yellow Dello" has intentioally weird animation with Homestar changing shape in every scene, Stong Bad having oven gloves and Homestar having Little Orphan Annie style eyes instead of his usuall "66" eyes. There was a remake that make it even more deranged.
- 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").
- Did I Just Say That Out Loud??: Coach Z's reaction in an Easter Egg on the cartoon "Trogday 08", when he has said to "Wormdingler" (his snake-like drawing of a "dragon" from the Sbemail of the same name): "You don't need no consummate V's ta be my bride..."
- 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.
- Doomy Dooms of Doom: The 2009 Halloween cartoon, "Doomy Tales of the Macabre".
- Downer Ending: In-universe, Strong Sad's ending of the scary story in the 2000 Halloween cartoon, "Homestarloween Party." Everyone breaks out in tears
- Dumb and Drummer: In the Limozeen cartoon, the following exchange takes place:Drummer: How come they made me fat and have orange hair?
Lead Singer: Because you're the comic relief-uh!
- Dumbass DJ: In the email "radio", regarding morning drive deejays: "These guys are like bad stand-up comics that you can't heckle... or jeckle... or throw highball glasses at."
- Eldritch Location: The Sweet Puttin' Cakes miniature golf course. You get there by desiring to play miniature golf. It goes downhill from there.
- Fake-Out Opening: The sbemail "senior prom" starts with an opening for "The King of Town's Very Own Quite Popular Cartoon Show", which is quickly pre-empted by the email.
- Fake Shemp: Parodied in the email "original"; after Original Bubs quit, they tried to hide his non-presence. Literally. Behind large objects.Homestar: Original Bubs, who is totally behind that dishwasher box (cut) behind that washer/dryer box (cut) that hot water heater box (cut) behind that... toothpick sculpture?
- Fan Fic: An episode, "fan club" was devoted to it.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.
- Fanwork Ban: Done in-universe in Rough Copy, though the motivations appear to be little more than pure sadism - Strong Bad's "lawsuits" actually involve mugging someone and/or pelting them with water balloons.
- "Far Side" Island: There's a sbemail in which Strong Bad is asked what he would do if stranded on one.
- Fashion Magazine: Spoofed in the sbemail "Modeling". Of all the magazines Strong Bad sends a portfolio to, he only makes the cover of "Husky Headed Boys Back 2 School Catalog".
- Fire and Brimstone Hell: Seen in the Easter egg from "Parsnips A-Plenty", where Sir Strong Bad supposedly winds up after falling off the cliff.Sir Strong Bad: Curses! I've gone to Hell! How unfortunate!
- Flashback with the Other Darrin: The sbemail 200 flashbacks are done with Strong Bad's current model.
- 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.
- Free Prize at the Bottom: Another they-spent-an-entire-episode-mocking-this-trope trope, this time in Strong Bad email "specially marked".
- 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.
- Groupie Brigade: In the Limozeen cartoon, the band is repeatedly trying to get away from crowds of fans, a la A Hard Days Night.
- Heroic BSOD:
- 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!)
- Heroic Sacrifice: In The Jibblies 2, Homestar commits to a Fate Worse Than Death to cure everyone else's jibblies. He gets better.
- 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).
- Imaginary Friend: One Strong Bad Email is dedicated to Strong Sad's childhood imaginary friend, Scotty Titi, and how much he annoyed Strong Bad.
- 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!"
- Interface Screw: Strong Bad's computer gets a virus that quickly spreads to the site itself.
- Intoxication Ensues/I Can't Believe It's Not Heroin: Sbemail "caffeine" has Strong Sad getting coked out of his mind just from drinking coffee, and Sbemail "personal favorites" shows a flashback of Strong Bad getting drunk off soy sauce.
- Is This Thing On?: The email "candy product" opened with Strong Bad doing a mic check instead of his usual random ditty.
- I Will Show You X: In the dragon Strong Bad email: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.
- Jumping the Shark: Referenced in-universe.
- 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.
- Lamaze Class: An Orphaned Punchline referenced a time when Strong Bad apparently look one, only to learn that he didn't need it.
- The Last of These Is Not Like the Others: A borderline example in one of the DVD toons, "Why Come Only One Girl?", in a montage of Strong Bad meeting different ideas for a new girl character.Strong Bad: -my style. (gets slapped, cut) -my types. (gets slapped, cut) -my stuff. (gets slapped, cut) -The Cheat. (gets slapped)
- Laughing Mad: Strong Bad's reaction to discovering Strong Mad sucking up the bandwidth at the end of the Sbemail "isp".
- Littlest Cancer Patient: Lil' Brudder. He's... he's such a trooper... got such a strong... one... leg... sniff...
- 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.
- Meet My Good Friends "Lefty" and "Righty": In an Easter Egg in the Strong Bad Email "road trip", Bubs combines this with a reference to a famous Los Angeles law firm:Coach Z: Whaddya mean, I'm the green Bubs? If anything, you're the orange Coach Z!Bubs: The first person to call me the orange Coach Z is gonna get a free consultation with my friends Jacoby (balls up his left fist) and Meyers! (balls up his right fist)
- Misplaced Kindergarten Teacher: Strong Bad E-mail coloring has Marzipan be this. Though considering her students are Strong Mad, Homestar, and Homsar...
- Missing Steps Plan: "Best Caper Ever." Step 1: steal Homestar's melonade. Step 2: pee in said melonade. Step 4: Homestar is now on an ice floe in the middle of the Arctic Ocean.
- Mood Whiplash: On Strong Bad Sings and Other Type Hits, the song "Let's Get Started On All Those Awesome Things I Suggested", a fairly calm love ballad, abruptly ends at the beginning of the first chorus and transitions to "Moving Very Slowly", the heaviest track on the album.
- My God, What Have I Done?: An Easter Egg in the 2010 Decemberween cartoon spoofs this in their introduction of a new drink, the Hot Pooey. The tagline: "Dear god, what have we done?"
- "Not Making This Up" Disclaimer: On the main page, the ticker for the very long awaited Decemberween 2010 cartoon says "for real!" when moused over.
- Not This One, That One: An inversion in an unproduced script ("Soap Box Doiby") that was given to the Homestar Runner Wiki. Homestar looks at Pom Pom's racer, which looks like a hideous beat up wreck, and mocks it, saying that it looks like a cow built it. Pom Pom then reminds him that that racer is Homestar's, while Pom Pom's own racer, in Homestar's own words, "looks like several very smart cows built it."
- The Nudifier: In the Strong Bad E-mail "senior prom", Strong Bad tries to prank the prom by bringing in a device that makes everyone's pants "poof away".
- Numbered Sequels: Played with in Jibblies 2, as a possible Shout-Out to Zombi 2. Also discussed at the end.Strong Sad: So wait. Was there ever a Jibblies 1?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.
Strong Bad: "AAH! I can't believe I'm being eaten! What a tragedy! I was supposed to sell you to the glue factory and whatnot! I can't believe I'm still being eaten! This is taking so much longer than I expected!"
- Another example in the old-timey cartoon "Sickly Sam's Big Outing", which ends with Sickly Sam eating Strong Bad.
- 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-stage, 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).
- Phone Number Jingle: 555-55-5585-555-SENOR-MORTGAGE-TODAY.
- Pimped-Out Car: Mocked in the email toon, "Car", with a baseball cap.
- 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!"
- Potty Emergency:
- Happens to Homestar in the long-lost short "A Jumping Jack Contest", after being tricked into drinking too much melonade. He then relieves himself in a jar provided by the Poopsmith.
- In the sbemail "Extra Plug", after the power goes out, and they are told to not move, Homestar and Strong Sad start singing about how badly they have to pee, to Strong Bad's disgust.
- Potty Failure:
- Strong Sad has been hinted to wet the bed a number of times, mainly from Strong Bad.
- Strong Bad himself is also hinted to do this in the Sbemail "road trip".
- Also, "Halloween Potion-ma-jig" has "The Essence of Putting Strong Mad's Hand in Warm Water While He's Asleep.
- Precision F-Strike: That is some [BLEEP] up [BLEEP], man! It's obviously bleeped out to keep the family friendly appeal, but...damn!
- The Rashomon: In sbemail 88, "couch patch," we get 3 different stories of why there's a patch on the couch and one random anecdote from Homestar.
- Notably, it's possible that all of the stories are completely factual.
- Reality-Breaking Paradox: Don't point a Fish Eye Lens at a real fish's eye.
- Recycled IN SPACE!:
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.
- Parodied with the short-lived "Limozeen: But They're In Space!" cartoon. Lampshaded in the Strong Bad Email that introduced it.
- 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.
- Ribcage Stomach: Played straight in Teen Girl Squad 6 (where they jump into a lion's mouth) and Sickly Sam's Big Outing (where Old Timey Strong Bad gets eaten by Sickly Sam); averted in the Stinkoman Thanksgiving special (where Stinkoman and One-Up get sucked into Pan Pan's gullet so One-Up could teach Stinkoman how to give thanks).
- Rule of Funny:
- 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.
Strong Bad: Say with a flourish: Fhqwhgads.
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.
- Scenery Censor: Done to hide the fact that one Limozeen member was played by a woman in one live-action sequence.
- 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!
- Sexy Whatever Costume: Parodied with the "authentic" Marzipan costume that's nothing but a purple Bikini with inexplicable cat ears and devil tail. Several costumes sent in by fans on the Costume Commentaries fit the bill too. Strong Bad is generally pleased, except when he finds a "Hot Homestar".
- Signing Off Catch Phrase: n-universe, Homestar Runner says at the end of every episode of his show "The Show", "CHANT! WORDS! TOGETHER!"
- Six Degrees Of Kevin Bacon: From the sbemail "the movies":Strong Sad: Ooh, and he had a cameo as Stevedore #2 in the prequel, and he was in that car commercial with the wisecracking transmission, and he has a Bacon number of 4!
- Slumber Party: From the sbemail "slumber party", natch: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).
- Squee: Homestar's reaction to "Chairscoot".
- Spill Stain Sabotage:
- Pictured and quoted above: Strong Bad is leafing through a book of world records and finds one of his younger self having the "Most Dirtiest Diapey". He instantly makes breakfast on it to save face.
- Strong Bad as Dangeresque considers this trick by spilling either really old coffee or nasty Chinese takeout on the case file he has to solve before he leaves his office so it'll be unreadable and wash his hands of responsibility. This gets him landed in prison instead.
- 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.
- Terrible Interviewees Montage: The email where Strong Bad is asked who will take over when he retires, and he decides to put his costars through the wringer to figure out who would be the best suited for the job. Some candidates seem promising — Homestar gets a perfect score on the insulting nicknames quiz by just calling everyone "Crapface", for example — but they all end up being underqualified. "Guess I'll be checkin' emails and kickin' Cheats 'til the day I die."
- This Is Gonna Suck: Reynold in "Shopping for Danger" after he falls backward onto the rocket pack he's wearingMy land. I can't see this ending well.
- 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.
- Title Drop: Both versions of Where My Hat Is At? have Homestar asking this every few pages, typical of the kids' books it's meant to parody.
- Two Scenes, One Dialogue: The opening scene in "Date Nite". Hilariously, the final word exchange somehow manages to swap The Cheat (who Strong Bad was yelling at) and Homestar (who was yelling at Marzipan), resulting in Homestar and Strong Bad yelling at each other.
- 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.
- Vinyl Shatters: In concert, Strong Bad breaks a Sloshy record over Strong Sad's head.
- Vomit Discretion Shot: Used in the Strong Bad Email "bottom 10", when Homestar starts to perform a butt dance for Strong Bad.
- White Void Room: Certain Imagine Spots, such as Homsar's children's show, Whaddaya Know, Haddi-man?, or Strong Sad's sbemail fanfiction, "A Grade A Gray Day."
- 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.
Flash Game Tropes
- Adventure Game: Peasant's Quest and the Thy Dungeonman series are parodies of Sierra style and text based adventure games respectively.
- 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.
- Nintendo Hard:
- Pretty much every game with the Videlectrix logo is extremely difficult. Stinkoman 20X6 takes more than just its visual style from Mega Man. 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.
- Spiritual Successor: The Dangeresque Roomisode game feels like a spiritual successor to Peasant's Quest
- 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.
- And da Trogdor comes in da NIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIGHT~!! ♪