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Recap / Strong Bad Email E 178 Bike Thief

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Airdate: Monday, September 10, 2007

Sender: Virginia, MI

Virginia "M.I." ("Oh, not smart enough for MIT, huh? Just MI?") wants to keep her bike safe while she's attending college, and wants to know how a master criminal like Strong Bad would try to steal her bike so she'd know what to look out for.

After a brief tangent on whether or not Virginia's bike is worth stealing ("What self-respecting bike thief would steal a.... shudder... ten-speed, or a... shudder shudder... mountain bike?"), Strong Bad declares that his first attempt would involve dressing like a bush.

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(cut to Strong Bad in a bush costume, with cartoonish eyes and visible feet, trying to pick up and carry away a pink bicycle)
Strong Bad: Ow, ow, ow, ow...
(Zoom out to reveal Pom Pom on his cell phone, who sees Strong Bad and bubbles in annoyance)
Strong Bad: Oh, I mean... Bush. Bush. Leaves. Branch. Um... Berries.

Dressing like a bush is apparently also a good way to get free pizza from Bubs, and you can also try disguising yourself as a cactus, a trashcan, or a barrel. Depending on your built, you can also try disguising yourself as a textile factory or a hideous pile (as Strong Mad and The Cheat demonstrate).

Another Strong Bad favorite is "the awkward swindle", which involves dressing like a hippie and bugging people to sign petitions to trick them into leaving their bikes unattended.

(Cut to Strong Bad wearing a ponytail, approaching Homestar at the Stick)
Strong Bad: Hey, brother. Hey, my bromide. You look like a cool guy who likes to progress. I was wondering if you'd be interested in signing this petition to ban roll-on...
Homestar: Oh, um, yeah, sorry, uh, I've got a class...
Strong Bad: Free vegan food...
Homestar: And my roommate's like, you know...
Strong Bad: Fellowship...
Homestar: So my parents, um...
Strong Bad: Drum circle?
Homestar: (runs away) Computer lab!
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Finally there's Strong Bad's "all-time favorite thiefnique", cat-burglary. Unfortunately, Strong Bad's attempt to scale the back of his couch and steal a bicycle seat is foiled by his overly-sticky suction cups and Strong Sad's "light tech security".

Back at the Lappy, Strong Bad sums up his lessons: "Keep away from shrubbery, don't talk to anyone with a clipboard, and avoid putting your bike on the roof of glass skyscrapers." As he continues typing, he leaves a not-so-secret message to any actual bike thieves: "Bolt cutters, guys! Just use bolt cutters! We'll split the pawn shop money fitty-fitty!"

Strong Bad: See you next time!
(New Paper comes down, with a picture of The Paper on it)
Strong Bad: Nice try, New Papes. Though that does make me feel a little better... he was so stripedy...

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Tropes:

  • Blatant Lies: While saying his blatant "secret message to bike thieves", Strong Bad types "Your bike should be totally safe if you listen to me. I am a good person that gives sound advice. Bike on, my friend, bike on!"
  • Brick Joke: This email contains a special 2-in-1 Brick Joke. Two methods Strong bad suggested to steal a bike were to dress up as a mundane item like a bush with cartoon eyeholes, and awkwardly swindling college students of their bikes by calling them "bromides" and asking them to sign meaningless petitions. In an Easter egg at the end of the email, Homestar tries stealing the Lappy dressed like a garbage can (complete with cartoon eyeholes). When Strong Bad questions him on it, Homestar immediately asks him if he wants to sign a petition, even calling him a "bromide".
  • Call-Back: Strong Bad tries to cat-burgle his childhood bicycle (seat) Red, White, and Banana.
  • Cutting the Knot: Almost literally: Strong Bad's "secret message to bike thieves"? Just use bolt cutters.
  • Hoist by His Own Petard: During the demonstration of the "awkward swindle", Strong Bad ends up driven away by an actual hippie with a petition (namely, Marzipan).
  • Implausible Deniability: Despite claiming it was a secret message, Strong Bad blatantly delivers it by flashing "SECRET MESSAGE" on the screen and loudly talking to any potential bike thief in the audience.
  • Mobile Shrubbery: One of Strong Bad's suggested methods for bike thievery is dressing up like a shrub.
  • Mundane Made Awesome: Strong Bad dresses up as a cat-burglar and dramatically scales... the back of his own couch.
  • New-Age Retro Hippie: The "awkward swindle" method involves dressing and acting like a hippie, and tricking people into leaving their bikes unattended by repeatedly asking them to sign a petition.
  • Oh, No... Not Again!: The way Strong Sad scolds Strong Bad when he catches him trying to be a cat burglar implies Strong Bad has done this before.
    Strong Sad: Well, if you had agreed to play Cats the musical instead of cat-burglar, then you wouldn't be stuck to the back of the couch again.
    Strong Bad: I. Would rather. Die!
  • Playing Both Sides: The majority of the email sees Strong Bad offer advice to someone to help prevent their bike from being stolen... except for the end, when he gives a "secret message" telling bike thieves to just use bolt cutters.
  • The Stinger: At the end of the email, Homestar tries to apply Strong Bad's thiefniques to stealing the Lappy, trying to walk off with it while disguised as a trash can.
  • Unsound Effect:
    • Strong Bad's "bush" disguise when stealing Pom Pom's bike:
      Strong Bad: Bush, bush, leaves, branch, um... berries...
    • And then later, when Homestar (as a trash can) is trying to steal the Lappy in an Easter Egg:
      Homestar Runner: Garbage, garbage, rubbish, um... murder weapon...
      Strong Bad: Are you supposed to be a trash can or a robot?
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