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Is this what the internet was invented for? Some say yes. It's certainly better than the alternative!note 

Homestar Runner: If I had to pick one word to describe myself, it would probably be... Fluffy Puff Marshmallows. Or Homestar. Either one, really. They both fit!
Strong Bad: Don't forget [one of the following]note  doofus/moron/ Richie!
Homestar Runner's character video

Homestar Runner, the namesake series of the Homestar Runner family, is a surreally comedic web-based Adobe 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 Only Sane 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, whose occupation is self-explanatory. To round out this wacky cast, we also have Homsar, an Oddball Doppelgänger of Homestar who speaks in non-sequiturs and 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.

What made the cartoon's website truly stand out was how it handled content. While a good chunk of Flash content at the time was incredibly vulgar and offensive, Homestar Runner deliberately wasn't (according to The Brothers Chaps, this was done as a personal challenge); the worst language you'd hear on the site would be something like "crap" or "sucks", and the worst thing you'd see them do was drink beer — and even then, they would rarely get drunk. Most of the humor came from the surreal nature of the world around the characters (and sometimes, from the characters), and from the clever wordplay that would come up on the site. While most Flash content was hosted on websites like Newgrounds and maybe mirrored to the creator's own website, everything on Homestar Runner was hosted on its own website and would include easter eggs ranging from the simple "click here on this spot at the right time" to "typing the URL of a seemingly made-up page a character mentioned" and even "decompiling the Flash cartoon itself".

The most popular part of the site is the Strong Bad Email (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.

Following the birth of Matt Chapman's second child in November 2009, the site's flow of new content trickled to a halt. However, in late 2011, Matt confirmed via his Twitter page that the series had not been cancelled and that future updates were 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 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 became a writer and director for Nick Jr.'s Yo Gabba Gabba!, The Hub's The Aquabats! Super Show!, and Disney's Gravity Falls. Matt and Mike would also go on to create Two More Eggs for Disney XD, which would air in between breaks on that channel. As of 2014, new episodes finally began to trickle back in, beginning with a new April Fool's Day intro and the music video "Fish Eye Lens". The website, while not updated weekly like it was in the 2000s, still sees new content, mostly around Halloween.

In addition to new content, they've been uploading more and more older content such as the first SBEmails along with older toons and shorts to their official YouTube channel.

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; however, since the retirement of Flash, they have not been supported.

A series of episodic point-and-click adventure games by Telltale Games, Strong Bad's Cool Game for Attractive People (or SBCG4AP), was additionally released for PC and WiiWare between August and December of 2008, and later ported to PlayStation Network in 2010.

There is currently a page recapping the series.

Also, for Strong Bad Email-only tropes, see Strong Bad Email.

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    General Universe Tropes 
  • Accidental Misnaming: Senor Cardgage routinely addresses other characters with incorrect (female) names.
  • 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.
    • For video games specifically, there's Videlectrix, a company run by two guys with an old-as-dirt computer, intent on making games with "good graphics".
  • 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.
  • 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.
    • The Lappier is probably better than its predecessor, but it is unclear how much better it is.
    • Hilariously lampshaded in the 2014 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 Species Counterpart: In the Strong Bad Email "animal," a fan asks what Strong Bad would "like as if" he were his own made-up animal. Unfortunately, all of Strong Bad's ideas are either nonsensical or "nasty blob things" like da Huuuuuudge. He settles on a cutely dopey critter named Sterrance. Da Huuuuuudge makes a reappearance in "alternate universe," where it joins in the other Strong Bads in their number-one jam and has a high-pitched singing voice. Sterrance also makes a brief cameo in the same cartoon.
  • Alternate Universe: Several, each with its own version of the cast. Many of the universes appeared in Strong Bad Email #150, aptly titled "alternate universe".
  • Ambiguously Human: It's never stated whether any of the characters are human. And even the ones that do look human have Fingerless Hands, seemingly missing limbs or other parts, and weird skin colors. As a Running Gag, the creators jokingly refer to them as "dumb animal characters".
  • Ambiguous Situation: History Lesson Part II of Strong Sad's Lament is written in a distinctly Strong Bad-y style, calling Johnny Appleseed a "freakin' weirdo" and an "ungreatful hippie" and ending off with the writer's attention to the subject withering and talking about something else entirely by the end, alongside the fact that Strong Sad posted his password on his blog, but at the same time Strong Sad created Saddy Dumpington in "A Folky Tale" and the picture of Saddy Dumpington accompanying the post has his signature, making it unclear if Strong Bad hacked into his brother's blog and wrote the post or if Strong Sad did write it and was just acting particularly Strong Bad-like at the time.
  • Anachronism Stew:
    • The "Old-Timey" era, supposedly the 1930s, contains elements from the 19th century (such as a political cartoon referencing "Boss" Tweed) to the 1950s (with references to things such as early Space Age aesthetics and the Red Scare).
    • 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. Which they consider "good graphics".
    • How about Bubs' internet service, whose lone customer is (surprise) Strong Bad? Strong Bad claims his normal connection speed is "1200 baud" (equivalent to 1.2 kilobits per second), a measurement of connection speed so outdated, there are Bachelor of Computer Science graduates who've never even heard of it.
  • Angrish:
    • 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:
    "What the-eugecheut-rROOOAagegit-REEHgegitich..."
    • 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 or part-hippo.
    Strong Sad: (angrily) I am not!
    Strong Bad: Well, now I guess we'll never know for sure.
  • 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 "" (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.
  • Author Appeal: The holiday of Halloween seems to be a case for the Brothers Chaps, since the annual Halloween toon has been the most consistent feature of the post-hiatus Homestar work, being the only holiday they've made a toon for every year after the hiatus.
    • As members of Generation X, the Chaps are very fond of referencing rock music from the 70s to the 90s, especially metal (in the case of Strong Bad) and indie rock (in the case of Strong Sad). Limozeen was inspired by their older brother's love of hair metal acts such as Mötley Crüe, and Sloshy was inspired by the slacker indie groups that the Chaps listened to in college. There's a reason Homestar dressed up as Kurt Cobain during the first Halloween special, after all. As long time residents of Atlanta, the Chaps are also very fond of hip-hop: Coach Z's raps are an Affectionate Parody of old school rap from the 80s, and he dresses up as a rapper (or something rap related, like the logo for the ATL based SoSoDef record label) every Halloween.Fun fact!
    • Retro video games are another, as you can see by the style of Videlectrix's games. All the titles in the Strong Bad Email floppy disk caddy? They're all real, and they're probably games that the Chaps have played. And let's not forget Strong Bad's habit of muttering the names of SNES games in his sleep...
    • Being Southerners who grew up in the 70s and 80s, the Chaps have made a lot of references to pro wrestling.
  • 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.
  • Aw, 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".
  • 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: The Bear Holding A Shark combines this trope with Threatening Shark, 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".
      • This even applies to hurting people clearly disguised as The Cheat, as evidenced in "do-over."
    • Pronounce pseudonym as "pseudo-name" in front of Strong Sad. I dare you.
    • In "A Folky Tale" Strong Sad tells a long-winded tall tale in order to get out of doing Coach Z's rope-climbing exercise:
    Coach Z: Man, Strong Sad, that's a real load right there. A real load! That kind of thing might work on Coach X, or Coach Y, but you're dealing with Coach dang Z!! Now get up that rope!!!
  • Better than a Bare Bulb: Some of the weirder monents have characters questioning them, but rarely with explanation.
  • Better than Sex: This Book is Better Than 1st, 2nd, and Quite Possibly Even 3rd Base from the sbemail "studying."
  • Big Anime Eyes: In "japanese cartoon", Strong Bad speculates about how he'd look if he were an anime character. Naturally, giant eyes are one of the first things he brings up.
    Strong Bad: Okay, so first of all, my head would have to be a little bean. With real, real big eyes.
  • Big Eater: The King of Town will eat anything - even things that are clearly not meant to be eaten, like Halloween decorations.
  • Bizarre Beverage Use: Not directly shown, but discussed in the short "hremail 7". Homestar mentions that "[A]s a national spokesmodel for the Ethical Advancement of Melonade, I am contractually unable to drink, talk about, or bathe in any other liquid!" Then at the end, Homestar walks off to take a bath, singing to himself, "A-gonna take a bath in some Melonade... oh it kinda stings my skin..."
  • Black Comedy: While the majority of the series is surreal and silly, some surprisingly dark moments get slipped in, equally Played for Laughs.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Bob Ross Rib: An Easter Egg in the Toons menu shows a clip of Marzipan painting a picture while dressed up as Bob Ross, complete with afro wig and goatee.
  • 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.
  • Breakout Character: Strong Bad, who was introduced as a one-dimensional villain/rival character to Homestar Runner, quickly developed into the most prominent character when the Strong Bad Emails really took off. By the mid-2000s, there were some signs that the Brothers Chaps lamented him eclipsing most of the other characters and made several toons and shorts where he either barely appears ("Date Nite") or doesn't appear at all ("No Hands on Deck"), and made a point of shoehorning Homestar into every new Strong Bad Email as if to remind everyone who the real main character was. However, they eventually came back around to embracing him as the site's most popular character and he became the star of Strong Bad's Cool Game for Attractive People and also appeared in Poker Night at the Inventory. Even the official Twitter is in his name.
    Strong Bad: You don't know it yet, but I'm the reason you're here.
    Homestar Runner: (peeking out) It's true.
  • Brick Joke: One of the site's most common joke formats. If something odd or mildly humorous is mentioned at the beginning of a toon, chances are it'll be referenced, expanded upon, or become important later, or be an easter egg after the story's over.
    • 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.
    • In the Strong Bad Email "pom pom", Strong Bad is asked what would happen if you poked Pom Pom with a pin, and concludes that he would explode in a big fiery ball. Much, much later, in the Halloween toon "I Killed Pom Pom", this is exactly what happens (though it's a sharp bit of costume instead of a pin).
    • On two separate occasions, Homsar says he's the son of a Chipwich and the son of a cup of coffee. Years later, Homsar's flag depicts a Chipwich and a cup of coffee.
  • 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.
  • Business of Generic Importance: Played with, as the main setting itself of the series is "Free Country, USA", and the locations in the series are just as generic. For a few examples, Homestar has a show called... ..."The Show", which seems to be a mix of a comedy talk show, game show, and interview program. In the Strong Bad Email titled "business trip", the setting takes place at the "Annual Symposium Conference Lecture Seminar Series". And finally, Homestar, Strong Bad, Pom Pom, and Bubs all work at a nondescript, no-name generic cubicle office.
  • 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.
  • Call-Back: 2018's "Mr. Poofers Must Die" is based on a dog dressed in a Homestar Runner costume from the 2006 Halloween costumes episode.
  • 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". invoked
    • 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.
    Strong Sad: Uh, Strong Bad, were you just first-basin' it with that piece of loose-leaf?!
  • Cartoon Whale: There's the Drive-Thru Whale, mascot of the Blubb-O's fast food chain, who resembles a blue sperm whale with large, flat teeth.
  • 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 Blog: Strong Bad has an official Twitter account in real life. It can be found here.
  • 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. It becomes the main gag in "The Name of This Cartoon Would Ruin It", where Homestar (and later The Cheat) finally face forwards.
  • 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; Señor 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.
  • Cloudcuckoolander:
    • 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, albeit 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 Bad: *calling out* Hey, Strong Mad! What, uh, what's my favorite movie?
    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!
  • 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.
  • The Compliance Game: "Play Date": Homestar tries to plan a meet-up with others in the cast, but it seems they're all busy with other plans or in-trouble, and the only one left is Strong Mad. Unfortunately, Strong Mad's idea of "playing games" is too intense for Homestar, and tries to tone it down:
    Homestar Runner: [tired and bandaged up] Okay, Strong Mad... We're gonna have a little something I like to call "Migraine Time". We can play your new favorite game: "Feathers... & Cotton." Ready? Go. [He places a hot water bottle on his head]
    [As he's talking, a whistling sound is heard off-screen, until after he's finished, at which point an asteroid crashes through the ceiling of Homestar's house and crushes him]
    Homestar: WAAAAUGH!!!
    [Nebulon rises from inside the asteroid, with his usual stock sound effect]
  • 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.
  • 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:
    • Several minor jokes, mostly in labeling products. For instance, "Heavy Lourde" means "Heavy Heavy" ("Lourde" is French for "heavy"). They could, however, simply be using a bilingual label, such as are required on many products in Canada. Nevertheless, the object has officially become known as a "Heavy Lourde".
    • Lampshaded in "Where U Goin 2?":
    Strong Bad: I dunno. Maybe he's just going to the ATM Machine.
    Strong Mad: THAT'S REDUNDANT!!!
  • Development Hell: In-universe: Dangeresque 3: The Criminal Projective, was in production for 4 1/2 years before finally being released in SBCG4AP 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 TurboGrafx-16. 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...
      Homestar: (sees Strong Bad digging out the Tandy 400 from his garbage can) Umm... that's my old one. It barely works. I'd be surprised if you could check more than forty emails on it.
      Strong Bad: Ohh, you can't fool me. This thing's top of the line! It's got two contrast knobs!
    • 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?:
    • Inverted when matters of dating are explained by comparison to sports.
    Homestar: Well, it's Marzipan's birthday, and I don't know what to get her!
    Coach Z: Well, Homestar, I tell you. Girls are like a great sports play. You can't just rush in to the score zone! You kiddin' me? You'd be clobbered! You've gotta stick and move and zig and zag to get past the defenses, so youse can score!
    • This tends to be Coach Z's answer to everything, as Homestar finds out in "The Best Decemberween Ever", when Homestar comes to Coach Z asking about what gift to give Strong Bad and again Coach Z responds by comparing the buying of gifts to sports.
  • Double Standard: Homestar and Marzipan's relationship is a curious example of this at work. For all that Marzipan gets offended and dumps Homestar on a weekly basis, other evidence would suggest that he's actually a much better boyfriend than she is a girlfriend; Homestar appears to actually pay attention to her when he isn't inadvertently insulting her in a half-aware fit of ditziness, while Marzipan is just about aware that Homestar is, in fact, rather dim. He does enjoy kicking her shins under the table and denying he's the one who does it.
  • Easter Egg: The SB Emails are covered in them. Most toons have at least a couple on the final screen.
  • Economy Cast: There's a core of twelve main characters, and whenever a role needs to be filled, there's a 95% chance it will be filled by one of those main characters (or maybe Senor Cardgage).
  • 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).
  • Elective Mute: The Poopsmith, who has taken a vow of silence (for no explained reason).
  • 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 Dark Horse: 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.
  • Female Rockers Play Bass: sloshy has a female bassist, unlike Limozeen, but much like some of the other artsy alt-rock bands it parodies such as Sonic Youth. The short "Record Store Day b/w B-est of B-sides" includes a montage of sloshy's cover art. One of those covers is an album or EP titled because girl bassist, that's why. (Oddly, the "girl" in the cover photo appears to be the band members' mother instead.) The rest of Sloshy are male.
  • Fictional Flag: The flag for the country of Strong Badia — really just a barren patch of dirt behind a fence — consists of white for said fence, brown for said dirt, and red for Strong Bad himself. Its coat of arms is a tire (one of Strong Badia's few "residents"), housing a snake holding a big knife for in-universe Rule of Cool.
  • 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.
  • Fingerless 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.
  • 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, and giving them much better chemistry with each other. This reaches the other end of the spectrum however in the site's later years, particularly when Strong Bad becomes goofy all the time and is no longer the straight man compared to everyone else in the setting.
  • 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.
  • For the Evulz:
    • This appears to be the modus operandi of the Arrow'd Guy from Teen Girl Squad. He enjoys killing the girls for no reason whatsoever and has no reason for his actions. (Fridge Logic suggests he might be a very angry Author Avatar of Strong Bad)
  • 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 naïve.
  • The Ghost: Stiny from the Strong Badman comics, who is always yelled at by Strong Badman.
    Strong Badman: Stiny! Get me a danish!
  • Girlfriend in Canada: Strong Bad claims to have many, many girlfriends... whom we never see because they're supposedly visiting other planets.
    Strong Bad: (on an autobiography recorded on tape)And she was a very, very special lady. And she loved me so much and had skinny blonde hair and was always hanging out at the beach, gazing at a photo of me... Too bad when she had to go to another planet for reasons too complex to elaborate on. I'll probably never see her again. And neither will any of you.
  • 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: 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 receives, 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 Costume Characterization: Every Halloween, the main characters dress up as characters or celebrities that often reflect their own personalities in some way. For example, Coach Z almost always dresses up as rappers from the 80s and 90s, the King of Town typically dresses as food mascots or characters with prominent facial hair, and the Poopsmith shows rather nerdy interests by dressing up as sci-fi and video game characters.
  • 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.
  • Holiday Ceasefire: In the Cheat Commandos' cartoon "Let us give TANKS!", the Cheat Commandos invite Blue Laser over for Thanksgiving.
  • 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.
  • Hypocritical Humor: In April Fools 2014, while recording a new startup theme to replace the one from his Windows 98 theme that was recorded with his old voice acting, he shouted, "Why are you still using Windows 98!? What is wrong with you?! Stop buying from thrift stores, man!" in spite of the fact that he has history of buying outdated computers. Not to mention the fact that the computer he used to record the startup sound is running on Windows 98.
  • 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.)
  • Inappropriate Speak-and-Spell: Strong Bad had Bubs make a crude robot version of himself out of an old Speak and Spell and an empty box of Grape-Nuts, according to the Strong Bad Email "personal favorites". The "Grape-Nuts Robot" was shown saying "Now spell: double deuce" in an easter egg, and in an episode of Marzipan's Answering Machine Strong Bad tries (and fails) to get the robot to say "Kiss my butt".
  • 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"
  • Indubitably Uninteresting Individual:
    • Strong Sad, while originally a one-note depressed character, now seems to have developed into a more-rounded character. Yet, his brother, Strong Bad, thinks that his interests are lame and have no punch. Strong Sad likes to listen to public radio (Similar to NPR). His favorite pasttime is writing poetry and prose. On the other hand, ironically, he also hosts a fan club based on Strong Bad Email, called "The Deleteheads".
    • Marzipan, to a point. She tends to be about on the same level as Strong Sad, except she has a hippie vibe to match.
  • 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:
    • The cartoons' gratuitous misuse of "twice" seems to stem from this.
    • Really anything Coach Z says is an example of this. One toon focuses entirely on his inability to say the word "job".
  • Invisible Anatomy: Most characters have no visible arms, yet are completely capable of manipulating objects as if they did. 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!invoked: 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: invoked 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.
  • Kinder and Cleaner: The original version of the Poot-Slap song is less than family-friendly.
  • Knife-Throwing Act: The old theme song video ("old" as in "replaced within a year of launch at the Turn of the Millennium") 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)
  • Later-Installment Weirdness:
    • In "Flash is Dead", the "Homestar Runner's Dating Profile" Easter egg has Homestar read the profile out loud. Had the toon been made during the site's height of activity, it almost certainly would have opened in a separate window, with the voiced version being reserved for the DVD release, not unlike similar Easter eggs in various Strong Bad Emails (most notably "english paper").
    • Mid-toon Easter Eggs became less common in later toons, with almost no post-hiatus toons having them, bar one throwback in the Flash release of sbemail parenting.
  • Lazy Alias:
    • In the Strong Bad Email "Secret Identity", Strong Bad discusses various aliases he goes under starting with Tip Tappers. An Easter Egg reveals some of the other cast to also have some lazy aliases that the audience is easily able look at and figure out who is who.
    • Strong Bad chooses some pretty outlandish names for his personas when prank-calling Marizpan, such as Professor Tor Coolguy, Constable Anybody, and Dean Prankcaller. They're usually thematically linked to the nature of the prank.
    • When Strong Bad gives Homestar a lesson in prank-calling, he fails even in the minimal alias requirements needed to prank-call someone. In his first attempt, he gives his own name, then he uses Strong Bad's name for the second attempt, and the name he finally settles on, "Sugarface", is even less realistic than the ones Strong Bad usually chooses.
  • 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:
    • Ultimate Trogdor in 8-Bit is Enough, with the entire game world collapsing on his defeat. Homestar even calls him a load-bearing dragon.
    • Lampshaded in the email "the paper". Strong Bad finds himself on a sinking island and exclaims "How is this island sinking? I didn't even kill any end bosses!"
  • Long Pants: Homestar is the trope namer.
    • Lampshaded in a Sbemail.
    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.
    • 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:
    • and from First Time Here? are both real websites (the latter just redirects to the Homestar Runner Wiki).
    • 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.
    • 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?"
  • Minimalist Cast: Usually the only characters to appear in Homestar Runner are the main characters, though there are several alternate universes.
  • 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).
  • MST3K Mantra: invoked The Brothers Chaps provide their own take on this in the 'FAQ' section of the site.
    Q: I noticed a mistake or inconsistency in one of your cartoons!! AHHH!
    A: It was either done on purpose or it's just a cartoon and you probably shouldn't worry about it.
  • Mugshot Montage: Used in the title sequence for "Strong Bad is in Jail Cartoon" when Strong Bad is arrested for trying to break into Bubs' Concession Stand.
  • 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.
  • Nerdy Nasalness: The Four Gregs who all embody different nerd stereotypes, all speak with a similar nasally voice.
  • No Budget: invoked 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 Show Within a Shows. 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 Doppelgänger: Homsar for Homestar, and Senor Cardgage for Strong Bad. Strong Bad actually has more than one, as highlighted in the sbemail "alternate universe".
  • Offending a Foreign Country: In the Strong Bad Email sbemail_22, Strong Bad's opinions of England are apparently so offensive they bring the Royal Family to tears. At a subsequent press conference, when asked about the offending remarks, he casually responds "Screw all of y'all", drawing a round of gasps and an "I can't believe he said that!".
  • 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".
  • Phone Word: A fake advert features Senor Cardgage Mortgage inviting you to "come along down and dial 555-55-55855-55-5-SENOR-MORT-GAGE-TODAY!"
  • 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. Not that she could voice other characters because the DVD-exclusive cartoon "Why Come Only One Girl?" and its commentary show that she does not have a wide vocal range. She provided the voice of Scrandina, one of the rejected ideas of a female character. However, she sounds too much like Marzipan, much to The Cheat's horror.
  • The Pig-Pen:
    • 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 universe turns the Cheat into Cheatball, a parody of Pokémon. Unique in that this trait has only ever been shown once, with him only saying his name one time, while otherwise staying silent in every other appearance.
  • 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.
  • 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!"
  • Propeller Hat of Whimsy: The titular character wears a baseball cap with a propeller on it, which he refers to as a "buzzer". He's goofy, childish, and not too bright in personality.
  • 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.
  • Real Life Writes the Plot: There's a bonus scene at the end of "Homestar Runner Goes for the Gold" where Strong Bad starts making the episode in Mario Paint, and gets as far as a one three-frame animation of Dijjery Doo waving when he realizes just how long it's going to take at this rate and decides to just go back to Flash animation. This really happened to the Brothers Chaps when they set out to make the episode.
  • Reality Warper:
    • Homsar is such a Cloudcuckoolander that he defies the laws of physics, floating, shapeshifting, talking like normal in an Atari 2600 game, 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 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. invoked
  • 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.
  • Revenge via Storytelling: In the Halloween toon "Doomy Tales of the Macabre", Strong Sad writes a story about each of the main cast suffering a horrible fate (except Coach Z because his life is already a horrible fate). At the beginning of the toon, he admits outright that he's doing this out of spite toward the other characters for not inviting him to their Halloween party.
  • Ruder and Cruder: Whilst usually in Gosh Dang It to Heck! territory, with "crap" being used most often, the web animations are this to the original books, which lacked any and were parodies of children's picture books.
  • 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.
  • Scrubbing Off the Trauma: Mentioned by Strong Bad when he and Homestar Runner are bemoaning the fact that The Cheat and Marzipan are going on a date.
    Homestar Runner: Mainly, I just want to keep 'em from making out.
    Strong Bad: Ewww! The disgust! It won't wash off!
  • Second Episode Introduction: Bubs and Coach Z were introduced in the second book, Where my Hat is at?.
  • Self-Parody: The Storybook universe, which parodies the writing of the original books. While the text itself doesn't look out of place, it's Strong Bad's narration that really puts it into this territory.
  • 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.
  • Sickeningly Sweet: "Crystal Fortress", a song that tells Strong Bad that people love him and that he denies it. He even describes the song as "vomit-inducing".
  • 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.
  • Slice of Life: Surreality aside, this is the vibe of the site 90% of the time. The site's premiere series is a side character checking his email, and the Toons run the gamut from a Luau to Homestar swallowing a bug. The most significant things to happen in Free Country, USA occur in Strong Bad's Cool Game for Attractive People, much in the same vein as a Big Damn Movie.
  • 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!
  • Smart Jerk and Nice Moron: Later episodes have this dynamic between Strong Bad and Homestar. Originally, they were enemies, but over time develop into something more like Vitriolic Best Buds. Homestar is a kind, loveable idiot who thinks he's Strong Bad's friend, while the schemer Strong Bad constantly tells Homestar he hates him, but the message never appears to sink in. Of course, Strong Bad tends to overhype his own cleverness, and Homestar is often Too Dumb to Fool, but the distribution of brains between the two is clearly unequal.
  • So Bad, It's Good: Dangeresque as a whole, though this is intentional. invoked
  • The Smurfette Principle: Enforced Trope. Marzipan is the only girl character in the main cast because her voice actor, Missy Palmer, can't do nearly as many unique voices as Matt Chapman can. The situation was lampshaded in the DVD exclusive toon "Why Come Only One Girl?"
  • Special Effect Failure: Parodied 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. Even Homestar started off being called "The Homestar Runner", and his Old-Timey counterpart is still called that.
  • 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.
  • Spoofy-Doo: The Homestar Runner Mystfit-steries by Youbetterbelieveit Chimenez is a big parody of Scooby-Doo. They first appeared in the Strong Bad Email "high school" as a "flashback" to the Homestar gang's high school years, but they appear later in the 2020 Halloween special Halloween Hijinks after the "real" short has nothing of note to offer. Both appearances have them be Better than a Bare Bulb lampoons of a typical SD episode, with their second appearance having the group, now A Group of Random Teens, trying to solve the mystery of a masked villain who had killed Councilman Zonepermit (the King of Town). They also have a band they play in, and invite that episode's culprit to play with them despite knowing he just killed a man. Homestar is the clueless but fearless leader, Strong Bad plays the skinny snarker who keeps trying to take off Homestar's pants, Marzipan is the eye candy of the group, and Strong Mad mostly just hung around Strong Bad.
  • Stalker with a Crush:
    • Coach Z, towards Marzipan. It's hinted at but seldom explored in the cartoons, though in this Marzipan's Answering Machine:
    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'.
    • It's also implied that she's not the only one to have been creeped out by him... invoked
      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!
  • Standard Office Setting: It sometimes features an office filled with cubicles, where characters fulfil generic white collar responsibilities but spend most of their time avoiding work by playing video games, checking email, breaking the computers, etc.
  • Stimulant Speedtalk: In the sbemail “caffeine,” a viewer suggests to Strong Bad that he slip Strong Sad some caffeine to make him less whiny. He stirs a few heaping spoonfuls of Sanka into Strong Sad’s orange juice, which makes him hyperactive, twitchy and chattery.
    Strong Bad: So, Strong Sad, tell me. How do you feel?
    Strong Sad: I feel great! I feel great! I feel great! I feel bad. I don’t even watch football. I don’t even watch football. I can’t remember my legs!
  • 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!
  • The Strongman: In the Old Timey setting, an Alternate Universe set in a vaguely 1930's-ish setting, Strong Mad's equivalent is called Strong Man and he dresses in the costume of a circus strongman.
  • Strong Family Resemblance: Averted. Members of the Strong Family have no resemblance to one another. Lampshaded in the DVD exclusive email "family resemblence"note .
  • Stylistic Self-Parody: Characters 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.
  • Suddenly Speaking: The Poopsmith sang Strong Bad's 200th sbemail intro, voiced by John Linnell of They Might Be Giants. Later, he left a message on Marzipan's Answering Machine #17.2, again voiced by John Linnell, explaining how he was tired of his vow of silence.
    Poopsmith: It was nice talking to you. It was nice... talking.
  • Surreal Humor:
    • Huge doses of it. In fact, this is all Sweet Cuppin' Cakes is.
    • Especially in the DVD-exclusive content, this being a prime example, being about the Brothers Chaps 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."note 
  • 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: 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:
    • In one cartoon, Homestar and Strong Bad are watching a Sweet Cuppin' Cakes holiday special, which leads to this exchange:
    Strong Bad: Didn't I invent this cartoon?
    Homestar: Yeah, I think so.
    Strong Bad: Then how come I can't understand a lick of it?
    Homestar: What's not to understand? Eh! Steve!'s mouth exploded the universe. And that blond guy did a tiny, tidy dance.
    Strong Bad: Oh, right. The true meaning of Decemberween.
    Homestar: Yeah yeah, right right!
    • In another toon, Homestar sleeps in on Decemberween until almost the last minute and spends time running around trying to buy last-minute gifts for everyone:
    Strong Bad: Foolish Homestar. Decemberween is not about getting people presents. It's about getting people good presents! GOOD presents! Not this last-minute discount crap you're trying to foist on us!
  • Two Decades Behind: Parodied — Strong Bad acts like he's still living in The '80s or The '90s (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".
    • Everyone refers to the brown stuff the Poopsmith shovels as "whatsit".
  • 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 impression.
  • 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.
  • A Wild Rapper Appears!: Parodied with Peacey P, to the point that he's a guest star on one of his own albums.
    Crample-O Stow Records presents "Deliberance", the new album from Peacey P! Featuring: Large Craig, featuring: The Overripe MC, featuring: Tenerence Love, featuring: Akryllix & 3rd Lung, featuring: Peacey P!
    Peacey P: I'm a guest star on my own album, y'all biscuitheads!
    • Lampshaded even further in "Rap Song". First:
    Coach Z: Coach Z, R-A-P,/Accidentally featuring Peacey P...
    Peacey P: Hey, ya biscuithead, you ain't featuring me!
    Coach Z: I said accidentally featuring Peacey P!
    • Second:
    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!
  • 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. Despite this, there's still a character named Doctor Christmas in the titular pageant in "A Decemberween Pageant", and the term "Christmas lights" is still used (for example, in Brainkrieg's "If I Don't Get Video Games").
  • 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 
  • Accidental Murder: The Halloween short "I Killed Pom-Pom!" revolves around Homestar mistakenly believing he killed Pom-Pom. Ends up being subverted in the ending when he intentionally kills Pom-Pom, regardless of whether or not he was actually a zombie or vengeful spirit.
  • Actually Pretty Funny: In this Career Day cartoon, Homestar makes a joke at the end asking what happens if Space Captainface goes poo in his suit. SCF/Strong Bad scolds him for not showing respect before laughing in earnest after thinking about the question at length.
    Homestar: Umm, teacher, if spaceman makes bafroom in his pants, does he go boom?
    The entire classroom starts laughing except Strong Bad.
    Strong Bad: Shut up, you little worse-than-homeschoolers! Show some respect! What kind of question is that to ask a Strong Badian hero? Spaceman make bafroom in his pants (Strong Bad starts corpsing) does he go boom? Actually, a pretty funny question, now that I think about it at length...
    [Strong Bad joins in the laughter]
  • Animated Adaptation: Bizarrely enough, but yes. "Strongest Man in the World" and "Where My Hat Is At?" started as physical book and a digital book respectively. They got more detailed and more sarcastic.
  • Animated Actors: Characters have a high degree of Medium Awareness and sometimes seem to be actors.
    • "The King of Town" and "In Search of the Yello Dello" have DVD Commentary tracks by the characters, implying that the events are fictional and that they were acting (albeit As Themselves.)
    • Teen Girl Squad, Dangeresque and Sweet Cuppin' Cakes have characters portrayed or voice-acted by members of the main cast.
  • Alternate Music Video: Matt and Mike Chapman created an Animated Music Video featuring the characters for "Experimental Film" by They Might Be Giants. In an interview prior to its release, John Flansburgh said there would be a second music video for MTV, but ultimately, the Homestar Runner music video was also the one released on MTV.
  • 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.
  • Bait-and-Switch: Done in "Strong Bad Sings".
    Announcer: You might expect to pay almost a hundred dollars for this rare collection! It's all yours for only one easy installment of $193.75!
    • In "Trogday 08":
    Strong Bad: Five years ago, I drew a little dragon. It wasn't much to look at, but he captured the hearts and minds of dozens, nay, severals of internet viewers. I'm, of course, talking about none other than... The "S is for Sucks" dragon!!
    • At the end of her character video, Marzipan says that she's "off to the chinchilla protest." Given her personality, you'd assume she's protesting mistreatment of chinchillas, but she then holds up a sign reading "Chinchillas OUT!! (of my basement)".
  • Boring Vacation Slideshow: One toon is entitled "Somber Vacation", in which Strong Sad shows some of the other characters some slides from his trip to the beach (it's the only way he can remain miserable since summer is generally a happy time and thus his least favorite time of year). The other characters all react in disappointment, thinking the reason he called them was for something else, Strong Bad only coming because he thought there would be a dead body. They react listlessly to many of the pictures he shows, which include burying himself alive in the sand (and winning third place in a sand sculpture contest) and collecting pieces of old Styrofoam coolers, which he made into little people by attaching googly eyes and pipe cleaners for arms and legs, and then playing beach volleyball with them (they beat him apparently). However, the other characters' interests are piqued on the last slide, which shows Strong Sad on his last night at the beach, in which he takes a midnight walk on the beach, only to get burned by the moon because he forgot to put on moonscreen. They all laugh at the way he got burned, but he insists that it's a skin condition and it's how he tans.
    Strong Bad: [laughing] Lookin' good, Miss July!
  • 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?"
    • Strong Sad's interests include listening, books, and listening to books. And also arts, crafts, and arts b/w crafts.
  • Bread, Eggs, Milk, Squick: 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.
  • 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).
  • 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". Lampshaded in the "Yello Dello" commentary by Strong Bad.
    Strong Bad: What the crap kind of freaked-up sport are you guys playing anyways? I mean, you're on a football field, but you've got a basketball goal, and basketballs and footballs...
    Homestar: I know! It's America's pastime!
  • Cargo Ship: invoked In-universe, Strong Sad wishes he had a date with a wall in "Cool Tapes". Homestar encourages it and wishes him luck.
  • Christmas Special: One every year while the site was active.
  • Clothes for Christmas Cringe: Played with in the episode "Decemberween Short Shorts". The first short of the episode has Strong Bad writing a letter to "tube socks". He claims the socks will hear some hurtful things from him, cutting to a montage of his disappointment in getting them as gifts. He states that the socks shouldn't believe a word of it; he loves the socks but he has an image to keep up. A later short in the episode has Strong Sad starting to write a letter to "argyle socks".
  • 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."
  • Creepy Crossdresser: 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.
  • 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.
  • Darker and Edgier: Parodied in the new intro for April Fool's Day 2010, with HSR Xeriousxly Forxe. ([1])
    Revamped for The '90s!
    So much more exciting!
    Pointy elbows and lots of lightning!
    Edgy and angry, so zesty and tangy!
    There's new demographics
    When nobody asked for it!
    • Played straight, however, with the the Twitter account, which has darker humour than the site.
  • A Day in the Limelight: After a fake-out in the Strong Bad Email episode "senior prom", the King of Town gets an entire toon dedicated to him and his servants in "The King Of Town's Very Own Quite Popular Cartoon Show".
  • Dead Air: When Clark from sloshy records a backing track on Marzipan's Answering Machine #17.2, he points out that there's "gonna be a lot of Dead Air".
  • Deadly Prank: In I Killed Pom-Pom!, Strong Bad tricks Homestar into thinking he killed Pom-Pom. Unfortunately, he decides to "Fight murder with murder"...
  • Deconstructed Character Archetype: "Marzipan's Answering Machine Version 17.2" takes a surprisingly deep look at the characters involved.
    • Homsar's tendency for rambling nonsense? He just needs some way to concentrate to speak clearly, like over the phone. He's also well-aware he's speaking "garbage" and just wants a proper conversation someday.
    • The Poopsmith's occupation and voiceless nature? He seriously wonders if what he's doing has been a huge waste of time and secretly misses being able to talk to others.
    • Coach Z's creepy nature? It eventually gets him landed in jail for a crime so heinous, even his best friend Bubs doesn't believe he didn't do it.
    • The King of Town's ditziness and Too Dumb to Live nature? He has a panic attack when he believes Marzipan might really be the child he forgot he had and screws with his genetics to the point he'd be dead if not for Negative Continuity.
    • Strong Sad's status as The Eeyore? He goes out of his way to find reasons to be that depressed.
  • Deranged Animation: "In Search of the Yello Dello" has intentionally 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. The "DVD" remake made it even more deranged.
  • Desires Prison Life: In the "Blubb-O's Commercial" short, Coach Z (who is usually depicted living in the locker room of a gym) makes aggressive comments toward kids while dressed as the Blubb-O's mascot in a bid to get arrested for this reason.
    Coach Z: Hey there kids, I'm the drive-thru whale! I'll chop off your legs!
    Strong Sad: Sometimes it seems like you're trying to go to prison, Coach Z.
    Coach Z: Hey! Three square meals a day!
  • 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
  • Dramatic Ellipsis: Spelled out by Stinkoman as "Dot dot dot!"
  • Early-Installment Weirdness: "Homestarloween Party", the first Halloween Episode, doesn't end with the traditional recap of everyone's costumes. They would lampshade this 22 years later in "2022 Costume Pack Now Available", which updates elements of the previous cartoon with "DLC".
    Strong Bad: Whoa, I forgot that this cartoon didn't have a "stand around and comment on each other's costumes" part!
  • Elongating Arm Gag: One of the Powered by the Cheat cartoons has Strong Bad and the Cheat stretching their arms far above the earth to high five in outer space.
  • Embarrassing Voicemail: Thanks to a misunderstanding, Homestar leaves an angry breakup message in "Marzipan's Answering Machine" 9.2. He then tries to erase it by talking backward, and finally steals the answering machine tape, replacing it with one full of his own terrible impersonations of other characters leaving messages (including himself).
  • "Everybody Dies" Ending:
    • In "Homestarloween Party", Strong Sad ends the group's round-robin story by killing everyone off, which ends up depressing everybody.
    • 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.
  • Fake Faint: In "A Folky Tale," Strong Sad tells a long-winded story to get out of gym class, then faints when it doesn't work. When Coach Z dances away in a panic over having "killed the elephant man," Strong Sad lifts his head to mention that he's pulled this before and that it always works.
  • 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!
  • Flat "What": The Homestar Runner says this repeatedly when Strong Bad challenges him to a duel in the Old-Timey toon "Parsnips-a-Plenty". He also ends "Ballad of The Sneak" with this.
  • Floating Advice Reminder: Played with in Haunted Photo Booth. When Strong Bad notices The Cheat's gold tooth is missing and realises that it was what was causing the "ghost" to appear in everyone's photographs, the camera zooms in on Strong Bad's face while Homestar's voice is heard saying "Orange and black loose tooth removers... loose tooth removers... loose tooth removers..." Then the camera zooms out again to reveal that Homestar is standing behind Strong Bad, saying "loose tooth removers" for some reason.
  • 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.
  • Heroic Sacrifice: In The Jibblies 2, Homestar commits to a Fate Worse than Death to cure everyone else's jibblies. He gets better.
  • Hollywood Board Games: In "Where's the Cheat?", Homsar and Strong Sad are playing what looks to be Calvin Ball but is actually Connect Four. This is meant to highlight Homsar's obliviousness and randomness.
Homsar: Oh no! You shanked my Jengaship!
Strong Sad: I shanked your Jengaship? We're playing Connect Four!
  • 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.
  • In-Character Let's Play: The Halloween Waggle has two Videletrix employees play the Atari game, Haunted House.
  • I Can't Believe It's Not Heroin!: "Characters from Yonder Website" ends with most of the cast stoned out of their minds from... drinking expired juice. The label on it even has a list of side-effects such as drowsiness, euphoria and (hallucinating that you're starring in an) unbelievably soothing children's programming.
  • Jail Bake: Parodied in "Strong Bad is in Jail", where Strong Mad bakes a cake with a jackhammer in it for Strong Bad and The Cheat. The jackhammer is very obviously sticking out of the cake.
  • Jumping the Shark: Referenced in-universe.
  • Kids' Meal Toy: invoked In "Drive Thru," Strong Bad orders a "crappy toy meal" for The Cheat at the whale-shaped drive-through restaurant speaker (despite there not being any restaurant). Being told that he can only get a brown crappy toy instead of a blue one with his meal causes The Cheat to burst into tears.
  • Littlest Cancer Patient: Lil' Brudder. He's... he's such a trouper... 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.
  • Minsky Pickup: Strong Bad starts off his song in "Some Stupid Turkey" with a "Dun dun dadun dun DUN!"
  • 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.
  • Missing the Good Stuff: Zig-zagged in "Bug In Mouth Disease"; Strong Bad insists there's no way he's missing the "Who Shot Caleb" episode of Caleb Rentpayer, and we get a fade-out and -in to the empty couch. Turns out Strong Bad was still there, he'd just duct-taped his head to the TV. Then Homestar goes and spoils the ending of "Who Shot Caleb?"
  • Modesty Towel: Subverted, while Coach Z is talking to Homestar about girls, an alien is shown in the background showering, while wearing a modesty towel... and then the towel falls down to reveal the alien's butt.
  • Money, Dear Boy: In-Universe, this is the reason Peacey P agrees to be a guest rapper on Taranchula's song "Trudgemank".
    Peacey P: (on the phone) Hello? What? Who? Taranckula? Naww, fool. Wait, how much? Daaaaang!
  • Most Definitely Not a Villain: Strong Mad's attempt at impersonating Strong Bad in the "Jumping Jacks" toon involves putting a red bag on his head and proclaiming "I'm Strong Bad!" over and over.
  • 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?"
  • Nigh-Invulnerability: In the 2018 Halloween cartoon "Mr. Poofers Must Die", Homestar tries to tell a story where he kills a cloud-like dog named Mr. Poofers. Even though he can say he's going to kill him, he can't kill him in a story. Coach Z, Marzipan, Strong Sad, and Strong Bad all try to as well but can't, as their stories derail into Non Sequitur when they try. The Rocoulm can't give Mr. Poofers the Jibblies, either; he, too, sings a Non Sequitur song.
  • "No. Just… No" Reaction: Storybook Homestar and Storybook Strong Bad's reaction to Storybook Strong Sad flying - with long woman's legs.
  • Non-Human Head: 'Keyboard Strong Bad' is a version of Strong Bad who has a... keyboard for a head. He appears in the Show Within a Show cartoon "Sweet Cuppin' Cakes"; music plays from the keyboard when he gets angry.
  • "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."
  • 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.
  • Ode to Apathy: Strong Sad's favorite band sloshy's big song is called "We don't really even care about you", which is also the Title-Only Chorus.
  • 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.
  • Old-Timey Cinema Countdown: When you select one of the reels in the Old-Timey toon "Kick the Can", after it finishes loading, the projector shows a circle and a number that goes from 5 to 2 before the short starts.
  • 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."
  • Overly Long Gag: The old-timey cartoon "Sickly Sam's Big Outing" ends with Sickly Sam eating Strong Bad.
    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!"
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Potty Failure:
    • Strong Sad has been hinted to wet the bed a number of times, mainly from Strong Bad.
    • 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!
  • Progressive Instrumentation: The toon "One two, one two". This one uniquely features a custom mixer that lets you add or remove instruments interactively.
  • Pseudo-Santa: "Happy Dethemberween" introduces the "Dethemberween Thnikkaman", a variant of the Thnikkaman (himself a Paper-Thin Disguise alter ego of Bubs) associated with Decemberween. He borrows people's hedge clippers (which in Homestar's case is tucked under his pillow like teeth left for the Tooth Fairy), puts blank cassettes and discs in their slippers, gives people discount travel packages, and flies around in a battered van.
  • Quack Doctor: In the toon "Bug in Mouth Disease", Homestar swallows a bug and goes into a panic over it. He eventually asks Bubs if he is a doctor, which Bubs says yes upon finding a card that says Dr. Bubs note . After examining Homestar, he tells him he doesn't have a pancreas before offering to sell him one. Homestar is not amused.
    Bubs: The most quackinest!
  • Reality-Breaking Paradox: Don't point a Fish-Eye Lens at a real fish's eye.
  • Repeated Rehearsal Failure:
    • In "Fluffy Puff Commercial", Homestar tries to record a testimonial commercial for Fluffy Puff Marshmallows. Being The Ditz, he messes up a different way every single take (except for the take where he delivers his lines perfectly, but a bird poops on his head, ruining the take). Eventually, Homestar ends up improvising by shouting, "I like marshmallows!" and the rest of the presumed commercial starts.
      [Take 1]
      Homestar: Before I drink a tall glass of melonade, I like to eat about 147 Fluffy Puff Marshmallows.
      Cherry Greg: Cut. The bag's upside down.
      [Take 6]
      Homestar: Before I drink something, often times I eat something too!
      [Take 653]
      Homestar: [tired and monotone] Before I eat a tall slice of marmalade I like to drink lots and lots of marshmallows. I mean Fluffy Puffies.
    • "First Time Here?" reuses the premise, but this time, Homestar's recording an intro video for first-time visitors to his website. His repeated flubs get even more ridiculous—until Strong Bad gets fed up, shoves Homestar away from the camera, and just records the intro himself.
      Homestar: Oh, hello! Welcome to
      Cherry Greg: It's "dot com".
      Homestar: Oh, right. Homestarrunner dot net. "It's dot com!"
      Cherry Greg: Cut!
  • 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).
  • Right Now Montage: The cartoon "No Hands on Deck!" has a montage of Homestar going around announcing his plans to build a deck for all and sundry.
  • Scary Stitches: "I Killed Pom Pom" shows a hypothetical scenario after Pom Pom is popped, where a zombie Pom Pom, crudely stitched together, comes back for revenge.
  • Scenery Censor: Done to hide the fact that one Limozeen member was played by a woman in one live-action sequence.
  • Self-Applied Nickname: In the toon "79 seconds left", Strong Bad announces that he wishes to be known as "The Leg" (pronounced like "Ledge", short for "The Legend") from now on. It doesn't catch on. This name is classic Strong Bad, a poorly-thought-out attempt to seem awesome with obvious flaws.
  • 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!
  • Serendipitous Symphony: The "One, Two, One, Two" music video is a collection of disconnected looping vignettes that perfectly sync up with each other.
  • Sexy Whatever Outfit: 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 Catchphrase: In-universe, Homestar Runner says at the end of every episode of his show "The Show", "CHANT! WORDS! TOGETHER!"
  • Soda-Candy 'Splosion: "The House That Gave Sucky Treats" has Pop Rocks as an option to give to The Cheat and Strong Mad for their trick-or-treat candy. Doing so will cause The Cheat to eat them and drink a soda, leading to his head exploding. Giving actual rocks to them will have Strong Mad eat them, along with eating half a can of soda... and The Cheat's head will still explode.
  • So Long, Suckers!: Homestar says this 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.
  • Spill Stain Sabotage: 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.
  • Stupid Sexy Flanders: In a Halloween Costume cartoon, Strong Bad freaks out at the sight of a hot girl dressed as Homestar.
  • Subverted Rhyme Every Occasion: In "Fish Eye Lens" —
    I jumped in slow motion off the curb
    Without a skateboard, that should look absurd
    But with my fisheye lens, hey, haven't ya heard?
    I got the moves so smooth, make ya mom say...
    "Those are some exceptionally smooth moves!"
  • Swallowed a Fly: "Bug In Mouth Disease" features Homestar distraught because he accidentally swallowed a bug. "The good times are over!"
  • Ten Paces and Turn: In the Old-Timey cartoon "Parsnips A-Plenty", Strong Bad challenged The Homestar Runner to a five-pace duel. The Homestar Runner just stood there and said "What?" Somehow (we never find out due to a "missing scene") the duel ends with Strong Bad falling off a cliff.
  • Themed Party: In "The Luau", Marzipan hosts a Luau, a party featuring tropical island decor, the roasting of a giant block of tofu on a spit (the vegetarian equivalent of roasting a pig) and Polynesian poetry accompanied by Marzipan on a Ukulele. The thing is considered boring by Strong Bad and some other characters.
  • This Is Gonna Suck: Reynold in "Shopping for Danger" after he falls backward onto the rocket pack he's wearing
    My 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.
  • Too Spicy for Yog-Sothoth: The Jibblies Painting doesn't give Homsar the jibblies, Homsar gives the painting the jibblies.
  • 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.
  • Unfortunate Search Results:
    • In "Bug in Mouth Disease," Strong Bad pretends that all of Strong Sad's underwear — including his favorite, "The Blue Ones" — have somehow wound up for sale on an Internet auction. Strong Sad tries to find the auction so he can buy them back, and even does an image search for "the blue ones," which turns up "nothing. Or... nothing pleasant, anyway."
    • In "Marzipan's Answering Machine 17," the King of Town was searching for "Marzipan Glazed Ham," and got some "weird results" that lead him to wonder if Marzipan was his daughter.note 
  • 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.
  • Way Past the Expiration Date: Strong Bad and company consume some juice that is this in Characters from Yonder Website, causing Unbelievably Soothing Children's Programming
    Strong Sad: Were you guys drinking this "Smarty Juice"? This stuff expired in 2007!
  • What the Hell Is That Accent?: Played for laughs—Bubs and Coach Z speak in such severe exaggerations of American Accents that it's no longer clear which ones they're based on.
  • What Do You Mean, It's for Kids?: An in-universe example occurs in "The Homestar Runner Enters the Spooky Woods" when Homestar encounters a decomposing raccoon carcass being carried around by pigeons. Narrator Strong Bad seems taken aback by this and emphasizes that the story is for children.
  • Zany Scheme: In the short "Pistols for Pandas," the titular "charity" operates on one of these. For every five dollars donated, Crack Stuntman buys a specially-marked box of cereal. When he saves up enough box tops, he sends them in to get new computers for a school. He then steals the computers and sells them at a pawn shop, using the money to buy guns, which he smuggles into the panda habitat at a zoo.

    Flash Game Tropes 
  • Adventure Game: Peasant's Quest and the Thy Dungeonman series are parodies of Sierra style and text based adventure games respectively.
  • Anti-Frustration Features: The 2020 update for Stinkoman 20X6 adds "New Mode", an easier version of the game that implements checkpoints, six health bars instead of the usual four, edge-fall respawn, and (to quote the game itself) a "less annoying Level 3".
  • Disproportionate Retribution: "Where's an Egg?" is a detective game in which you have to figure out who stole a single egg. What do you do once you suspect someone of being guilty? Immediately shoot them on the spot, and if they drop the egg while falling to the ground you're golden.
  • Drunk Driver: In one of the hidden games on the "Message Bored", there's a game mechanic — drivers looking to be going one way then swerving to the other — explained as "drunk drivers". (Occasionally, the game will give you a run where you don't have to touch the controls at all — this extends to "drunk drivers" who would normally present that problem driving towards the player's car, then away.)
  • 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!"
  • It's the Best Whatever, Ever!: Strong Bad is heard randomly saying this in a hushed tone in the Trogdor game when he wins a level.
    Strong Bad: "Ohh... This is the best game I've ever played."
  • Knights and Knaves: The premise of Where's an Egg?, and you're not limited in how many queries you can make, but if you run out of bullets before you locate an egg, you lose and are sent to Siberia.
  • 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.
  • Non-Indicative Name: While every other track in Kid Speedy has a flowery name, track #7 is simply named "The Loop". It is a straight line.
  • 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.
  • Worst. Whatever. Ever!: Strong Bad is heard randomly saying this in the Trogdor game when he loses a level.
    Strong Bad: "Aw, this is the worst game I've ever played!"
  • Your Head Asplode: In Strong Bad Zone, the spiky-headed 3D cyber-shield guy's head explodes when he is hit, which prompts Strong Bad to say the trope-naming line.

"What is that big play button" you ask? Well, Flash is all kinds of dead! But the amazing Ruffle project helps our cartoons live on! Not every cartoon and game works perfectly just yet so be patient and expect some jankiness here and there while we keep a-workin!


Video Example(s):


Strong Bad Email #152 - ISP

Hiring Homestar Runner to provide tech support for his internet service is one of the 99 ways Bubs rips his customers off. Homestar sticks to his script—by which we mean, he reads randomly off various pages of his script rather than even trying to find something relevant to the situation—and even sings the hold music himself as he searches the clearly-empty office for someone to transfer the call to.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (12 votes)

Example of:

Main / TheOperatorsMustBeCrazy

Media sources: