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Recap / Strong Bad Email E 192 Shapeshifter

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Airdate: Monday, March 31, 2008

Sender: Paxton Westergard, Anacortes Washington

Paxton Westergard ("You'll never be a weatherman with a name like that. How about just... Paxto West?") wants to know "waht" Strong Bad would become if he had the power of shape-shifting. Strong Bad replies that he'd normally be all over having super-powers, but shape-shifting tends to come with all manner of annoying and ridiculous rules and restrictions.

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Strong Bad: You can turn into a machine gun but not bullets, contemporary jazz turns you back to normal, you can only turn into presents your grandma's knitted for you! Crap like that. For example, let's say I could turn into any species... of balloon animal?!

Out in the Field, Strong Bad tries to save Marzipan from a rabid The Cheat with his new-found powers (and his "cool trademark sound effect" of... "DWAYNE!") by becoming a balloon Sumatran tiger. But even after a few false starts ("I said a tiger, not a poodle!"), Strong Bad helplessly floats away in a stiff breeze.

Strong Bad considers the power to turn into legal tender, "One of the only good legal things in existence", and tries to use himself to buy a Lamborghini hot tub from Bubs' Concession Stand. But as a hundred dollar bill, Strong Bad is once again at the mercy of the wind. To make matters worse, Coach Z finds him and tucks him into "the loose band of my sweaty sweat-sweats!"

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Strong Bad: (lying on the floor by his computer chair) Blaaaaaaaggghhhh... Hang on. Lemme try again. What if I could turn into... almost anyone in the world? Is that too much to ask?

Strong Bad imagines turning into the King of Town in order to eat his way through a wall of cheese balls, but is unable to eat anything when he's only the King of Town's right half ("Oh, I get it. I can turn into almost anyone.") Strong Bad tries to game this by impersonating Bubs, but he turns into "the wrong almost" and takes on the form of Bubs' legs and lower body. He tries standing upside-down on the countertop as Coach Z arrives and compliments "Bubs" on his headstand. Much to the confusion of Strong Bad, Coach Z offers to buy the Lamborghini hot tub with a "moisted hundred-dollar bill" he found earlier, and then the two spot a balloon animal that looks suspiciously like a Sumatran tiger floating by.

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Strong Bad: See what I mean? Shapeshifting is laden with confusing troubles and a severe lack of hot tubs!

Strong Bad does find some use for shape-shifting powers when he avoids having to talk with Homestar Runner by turning into a hand-knitted scarf.

Homestar: Oh, it's you again, Scarf from Grandma! Never mind... (leaves)
Strong Bad: Phew, maybe it's not all bad. Thanks, G-mom's!


Tropes:

  • Behind the Black: The Cheat doesn't freak out about Strong Bad turning into half the King of Town until he turns to face the camera, revealing his new form.
  • Continuity Nod: An Easter egg has the Tire as weatherman "Paxto West". The Tire did the weather reports for Strong Badia Action Cool News 5 in "local news".
  • Easter Egg: One of these produces a string of numbers and letters that's actually the Youtube video ID for a promotional video for the then-upcoming Strong Bad's Cool Game for Attractive People.
  • Enmity with an Object: For whatever reason, Homestar isn't pleased to see Strong Bad disguised as a "Scarf from Grandma", which prompts him to hastily leave.
  • Exact Words: Strong Bad gets the power to "turn into almost anyone"... as in, he can turn into about half of a person.
  • Fantasy Twist: Strong Bad imagines several different types of shape-shifting powers, and then all the ways they can go wrong.
  • Mind Screw: In Strong Bad's final Imagine Spot, three different Strong Bads in three different forms (Bubs' legs, a hundred-dollar bill, and a balloon animal) show up in the same place, leaving him thoroughly confused.
  • Noodle Implements: Near the end of the cartoon, Homestar briefly comes into Strong Bad's email room carrying a chessboard with scoops of ice cream on it, for some reason.
  • Required Secondary Powers: Discussed; One of Strong Bad's complaints about limitations on shape-shifting is "You can turn into a machine gun, but not bullets..."
  • Screaming at Squick: Downplayed; the thought of turning into a hundred-dollar bill and getting tucked into the waistband of Coach Z's sweatpants causes Strong Bad to fall over onto the floor, groaning in disgust.
  • Take Our Word for It: When Strong Bad asks to buy a "Lamborghini hot tub" from Bubs, Bubs replies "Oh, that Lamborghini hot tub! It sure is back here!"
  • Unsound Effect: Strong Bad's "trademark sound effect" for changing forms is "DWAYNE!"
  • Voluntary Shapeshifting: Strong Bad discusses several examples of this power, and their downsides.
  • Weaksauce Weakness: When Strong Bad is listing potential drawbacks that come packaged with shapeshifting, one of them is "contemporary jazz turns you back to normal". He also finds that wind is an issue... at least for those with the power to turn into paper money or balloon animals.
  • What Kind of Lame Power Is Heart, Anyway?: Strong Bad brings up the examples of turning into "presents your grandma's knitted you" or turning into "any species of balloon animal".

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