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Web Animation / Strong Bad Email

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This episode, Strong Bad checks his email.

Keep sending me your questions, and I will keep making fun of your punctuation and spelling... I mean, answer them.
Strong Bad

Strong Bad Email — also known as sbemail — is a subseries of Homestar Runner. The series started in 2001, and has been known to suffer hiatuses, the longest being the one from October 2009 to April Fools' Day 2015, and even that wasn't a true sbmail video as much as a transition between computers and a regular April Fools Toon. The hiatus would finally be broken for real in August 2017.

The series consists of Strong Bad responding 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.


The series is also responsible for the creation of yet more spin-offs/subseries on the website, including Teen Girl Squad, the Stinkoman franchise, Cheat Commandos, and anything involving the ever-popular beefy-armed dragon Trogdor the Burninator.

Aside from tropes carried over from Homestar Runner, this series contains examples of:

  • Abuse of Return Policy: In "what i want", Strong Bad encourages his audience to take advantage of local retailers where the seasonal workers will be too apathetic to enforce the return policy. He claims to have returned an unreturnable food item, to a store that couldn't possibly have sold it, for far more money than it was worth.
    Strong Bad: But if it doesn't work, don't forget to take advantage of all the temporary help that retailers hire this time of year. Those people will refund anything! Last year, I returned an omelette to a hardware store for nigh on fifty bucks.
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  • Alliance of Alternates: In "alternate universe", the different versions of Strong Bad form a supergroup and record a number one jam.
  • Aluminum Christmas Trees: Despite Strong Bad telling a sender that there is "no such thing" as salty plum soda, such a beverage does exist and it is popular in Vietnam.
  • April Fools' Day: As noted above, Strong Bad's longest hiatus ended on this day. The actual episode plays with the trope of websites doing wacky things as Strong Bad lambastes them. He vows to take April Fools Day back to its roots: mean-spirited and harmful pranking in the real world.
  • all lowercase letters: The titles of almost every email.
  • Arson, Murder, and Jaywalking: In "morning routine," Strong Sad confronts Strong Bad about the absurd amount of eggs he keeps in the couch, which include ostrich eggs, dinosaur eggs, and - lastly - "one of those brown eggs."
    Strong Sad: There needs to be a better word for "weird".
  • Artifact Title: As of "too cool", questions are pulled from messages sent to Strong Bad's Twitter account instead of the email address. Trying to send an email to the address now results in a mailer daemon. In-Universe, Strong Bad apparently uses software called "Edgar Jr's Cool Babysitter's Twee-Mail Converter" that converts Tweets into e-mails.
  • Asinine Alternate Activity:
    • In "slumber party", while Strong Bad is sleeping over at Homestar Runner's house, he finds the parents' stash of Rated-M video games, but Homestar doesn't let him play them. He offers to play Clapping Party, though, which involves just making a set of pixelated hands clap.
    • In "theme park", The Cheat isn't tall enough to ride the park's coolest roller coaster, The Bowels of Trogdor. Strong Bad apologizes and tells him he'll have to go to Sweet Cuppin' Cakes Land instead.
  • Aspect Ratio Switch:
    • In email 100, "flashback", Strong Bad deliberately expands the screen because he thinks this episode is too important for a 4:3 aspect ratio. The wider screen reveals that Homestar Runner is standing right next to him, Behind the Black.
      Strong Bad: But this particular flashback has way too much historical significance to be shown in anything but WIDESCREEEEEEEEEEEEN!
    • In "virus", the video is wider than the displayed cartoon, to set up a gag where Strong Bad gets stranded outside the cartoon screen.
  • Back from the Dead: The Tandy, the Compy, and the Paper. They all re-die shortly thereafter.
  • Bad "Bad Acting": Many examples, but a particular one from "videography"
    "Oh, little Jimmy... is playing lacrosse! Oh, he just scored the winning, ah, lacrosse...point! Oh, his dad was totally there and not at Applebee's. Good shot, Johnn- Jimmy!"
  • Bait-and-Switch: The questions that Strong Bad is asked in the emails have a tendency to be taken in a different direction than the question intended. It is so common, in fact, that on the Homestar Runner Wiki site, it has its own page. Strong Bad probably puts it best in "1 step ahead", in which he is asked by someone named Alex, of Medford, NJ, to glue Strong Sad's hands to his face...
    "I'm one step ahead of you, Alex. Though I decided to take it in a bit of a different direction."
    • ...after which Strong Bad glues Strong Sad's hands to his butt instead!
  • Bread, Eggs, Breaded Eggs: In sbemail206, Strong Bad sequentially tricks Homestar into thinking his reflection is his long-lost twin brother, Marzipan into thinking The Cheat is edible and gluten-free, and the King of Town into thinking his reflection is his edible long-lost twin brother.
  • Breakout Character:
    • In-universe, Eh! Steve! is the Breakout Character of "Sweet Cuppin' Cakes", the cartoon that Strong Bad made up in "crazy cartoon".
    • Played straight with Teen Girl Squad, Trogdor, and Stinkoman, who debuted in "comic", "dragon", and "japanese cartoon" respectively before being given their own series of toons in the case of the TGS and their own games in the latter two's case. Homsar first appeared in "homsar" and within two years became a main character on the main site.
  • Censored for Comedy: In #124, "secret recipes", Strong Bad tells the email senders that if they want to be chefs when they grow up, as they say they do, he offers them a recipe "for cooking The C-H-E-_-T." When The Cheat retaliates against him, Strong Bad tries to cover it up by insisting that the blank letter is actually not an A, but a K: "The Chekt. My family has a great recipe for cooking The Chekt." As seen in an Easter egg, however, The Cheat isn't buying it, as seen in him looking at a cookbook for cooking "a wrestleman".
  • Computer Equals Monitor: The Tandy 400 and the Compy 386 are nothing but monitors connected to keyboards. To demonstrate this, the threats they pose in "Virus" and "Retirement" are nullified when their monitors are somehow damaged beyond (apparent) repair; no word or sight about the keyboards. Mildly justified in that they're modeled after the Tandy TRS-80 and the Compaq Deskpro 386 respectively, both of which had computer towers forcibly bolted to their CRTs.
  • Contested Sequel: In-universe, "tape-leg". Homestar doesn't like it because it's a short and rather dull episode, though Strong Bad is compelled to defend it.
  • Couch Gag: Strong Bad almost always starts out with a song or a phrase every e-mail. More often then not containing a pun on e-mail.
  • Disrupting The Theater: In "The Movies", Strong Bad gets an email from someone whose movie-going experience was ruined by a little girl who wouldn't shut up, and who asks Strong Bad if he's ever had a similar experience. Strong Bad gives examples: Coach Z can't resist answering the trivia questions out loud every time they show up (and getting the answer wrong, even though the same slide has shown up ten times since they arrived), Strong Sad keeps listing the whole filmography of every actor that appears in a trailer, the King of Town sneaks in several plates of fajitas (plus a mariachi band accompanying him), and finally, Homestar attempts making small talk with the movie characters. Strong Bad gets so frustrated that he ends up blowing up the whole movie theater with a bazooka.
  • The Diss Track: Strong Bad accidentally creates one in the Strong Bad Email "Sibbie". When a viewer asks Strong Bad to write a song about him, Strong Bad refuses and states he will "never, ever, ever write a song about The Sibbie"... The Cheat ends up turning it into a song that became a big hit. Strong Bad then screams, "I freaking hate Sibbie!" and that immediately ends up becoming a song as well.
  • Early Installment Weirdness: In the first few episodes, Strong Bad still had traces of his old Mexican accent, his head didn't move and his mouth was visible, and rarely cut away from his computer room for cutaways or skits. They were also MUCH shorter. The first episode was only 45 seconds, compared to its normal runtime of 3-4 minutes. Also, The Paper didn't have Strong Bad's address on it for the first 20 emails.
  • Epic Fail: In "for kids", Strong Bad somehow manages to score -45 points in Peasant's Quest, despite it being impossible to achieve a negative score in the actual game.
  • Eskimos Aren't Real: Strong Bad has this to see in a Teen Super Sleuth parody, playing the group skeptic:
    "There is no such thing as 'mysterious'."
  • F--: The sbemail "for kids" contains the Trope Namer.
  • Fashion Magazine: Spoofed in the sbemail "Modeling". Of all the magazines Strong Bad sends a portfolio to, he only makes the cover of "Husky Headed Boys Back 2 School Catalog".
  • Fourth-Wall Mail Slot: The entire premise of the series is that Strong Bad answers emails from Real Life fans.
  • Grossout Fakeout: "Secret Recipes", Strong Bad tries to invoke this trope on the King of Town by eating white chocolate out of a deodorant stick.... Only for this to backfire when he walks in on The King of Town actually eating deodorant.
  • Halloween Episode:
    • In "halloweener", Strong Bad shows the audience how to dress up as him for Halloween, using Homestar as a model. He gives up about halfway through and tells the viewers to just ask their mom to make a Strong Bad costume for them.
    • In "ghosts", Strong Bad and The Cheat explore Strong Badia after dark to search for ghosts. They end up finding the spirit of the Tandy 400, complete with a "bad graphics ghost" haunting its screen.
  • Hypocritical Humor:
    • Strong Bad is a Grammar Nazi that makes fun of people for sending in poorly written emails, but frequently fails at grammar and spelling himself.
    • Homestar answers the e-mail in "anything", which leads to him getting irked when the e-mail calls him Strong Bad, though he says he'll let it slide. He proceeds to refer to Dan, the writer, as "Jerome" for the rest of the short.
  • Inanimate Competitor:
    • "montage': In the Training Montage segment, the Wagon Full of Pancakes is entered in the "Championship". And it wins by hitting Homestar in the knee with its handle.
    • "pet show": Two examples, only one of whom actually counts. Pom Pom enters his dog Trivia Time, who in this toon is actually a cookie jar. Trivia Time's final score, however, is a measly 3.5, presumably out of ten. The King of Town tries to enter a low-fat grill in the competition, but during the results is told that he's "not supposed to be here", indicating that the grill was not considered eligible to compete.
  • I Will Show You X: In the dragon Strong Bad email:
    Strong Sad: I think I've improved on your methods a bit, too. I employed some chiaroscuro shading, and-
    Strong Bad: I'll improve on your methods!
    [Strong Bad sets Strong Sad's drawing on fire and reduces it to nothing]
    Strong Sad: What?! That's not an improvement!
  • In Memoriam: invokedSpoofed with Trevor the vampire, who was apparently killed before he could even finish writing his e-mail. Strong Bad then replays everyone's favorite Trevor moments as a tribute...which just results in two flashbacks to him reading Trevor's e-mail again.
  • Is This Thing On?: The email "candy product" opened with Strong Bad doing a mic check instead of his usual random ditty.
  • Killed Mid-Sentence: Trevor the vampire. Maybe. That's what Strong Bad concluded happened, anyway.
  • Low Count Gag: The last strip of The Castlefunnies gives thanks to "all our reader": specifically, "Chester", a civil war veteran and creamed corn enthusiast.
  • Laughing Mad: Strong Bad's reaction to discovering Strong Mad sucking up the bandwidth at the end of the Sbemail "isp".
  • Medium Blending: Strong Bad, a 2D cartoon character, briefly meets Puppet Strong Bad, a live-action puppet, in "alternate universe".
  • Movie Superheroes Wear Black: Invoked in Bonus Sbemail "Comic Book Movie."
    People may buy that our character has radioactive powers or is from another planet, but a colorful spandex costume?! Are you crazy?! No audience will accept that! Nope, it's one color, head-to-toe leather for our hero!
  • Mundane Made Awesome: E-MAIL. CHECKING.
  • Neologism: From sbemail160 we have "pressed bunson" crayons, apparently a crunchy, edible substance that's sufficiently wax-like to fool even the great Strong Bad. What "bunson" is and how one presses it is anyone's guess.
  • No Fourth Wall: Strong Bad frequently interacts with the perspective-bending Paper that tells the viewers to email Strong Bad, there are requent asides to the camera, and of course, there's the format-defying magic of Strong Bad moving the edges of the screen in at least two episodes.
  • Noodle Incident: The entire joke of "personal favorites" is Strong Bad talking about emails that never existed.
  • Obvious Stunt Double: Parodied in a email where a reader asks if Strong Bad has ever used a stunt double. "I've always done my own stunt work!"
  • Ode to Food: In "origins" Homestar briefly hosts "bread sing-a-longs" where he sings the praises of bread while surrounded by a pile of it.
  • Old Shame: Impied in-universe. Strong Bad doesn't seem to like the Tandy, as evidenced by the only two real emails covered in "personal favorites". One was "invisibilty" which was the first Compy email and the other was "gimmicks" where the Tandy explodes. In "do-over", both emails he wanted to correct were from the Tandy era.
  • The Other Darrin: The sbemail "original" is a parody of this phenomenon. invoked
  • Overly Long Gag:
    • DNA Evidence. It actually becomes a Running Gag throughout the entire website, not just this subseries, leading up to a 6-minute toon explaining the significance of these Arc Words. It did start here.
    • "Crapfully Yours" is from the early years. It soon became an Overused Running Gag in the vein of "How do you type with boxing gloves on?"
  • Padding the Paper: In "english paper", Kyle from Kansas asks for some help writing a school paper. Strong Bad obliges by writing some rambling paragraphs about "hustle and bustle", then applying "a little triple-space action" to make them take up the whole page. He also gets another page by adding random pictures of a guy eating batteries.
  • Prom Wrecker: Strong Bad attempts to humiliate everyone at the local prom with a device that will make everyone's pants disappear. However, it turns out that he's the only one who actually wears pants, so he's the only one humiliated.
  • Replacement Scrappy: The current Bubs is one in-universe to Original Bubs as well as his successors, according to "original", though said Bubs denies Strong Bad's claims that he ever replaced any other Bubs, and is backed up by Marzipan. Homestar disagrees, claiming to remember Original Bubs, but... Well, Homestar.
  • Ride the Rainbow: Strong Bad's (probably) made-up tale of how he met Homestar involves him and Coach Z riding down to Earth from the moon on a rainbow bridge.
  • Sarcasm Failure: In sbemail 160 Strong Bad shows off his Limozeen coloring book where he's modified the images to look ridiculous with characters on fire or with their faces melting. There's one image where the band members are arguing over a bear mask and apparently Strong Bad couldn't make it any funnier because it's colored in perfectly.
  • Second Place Is for Winners: The footrace to determine who keeps the egg in email #100, "flashback". Homestar wins but Strong Bad keeps the egg because he finished second.
  • Serial Escalation: While many of the first animations were just Strong Bad at his computer, that soon became a mere framing device for some montage or tangent.
    • This was lampshaded in the email Gimmick, where the email's writer says that they liked it better when he just answered the email. Strong Bad (possibly sarcastically) agrees... only for the computer to literally explode in his face. This was essentially The Brothers Chaps saying "this is the direction we're going with the emails".
    • Further parodied in the (non-sbemail) toon "Sbemailiarized", in which Strong Bad admits that the sbemails have gotten elaborate enough, there's not much difference between them and regular cartoons anymore. And that to capitalize on it, the website's going to slap Strong-Bad-checking-his-email Book-Ends on all the old cartoons and rerelease them as sbemails.
  • Show Within a Show: Strong Bad's Email show is an actual show within the Homestar Runner universe. This becomes more complicated when many of Strong Bad's imaginted characters and places themselves become their own shows and others become real people that the characters interact with.
  • Snarky Inanimate Object: Every computer Strong Bad used has been snarky to him at some point, whether it's a result of bad-mouthing or just flat out revenge against him.
  • Take That!: A DVD-exclusive email known as Comic Book Movie provided a good handful of jabs to film adaptations of superhero comic book franchises, including having the main character being played by someone totally inappropriate for the job, the constant use of expensive CG animation, paper-thin plots made from miscellaneous parts of the comic, and of course, the horrible video game adaptation that tries to undo the damage that has been done to the franchise.
    Strong Bad: I've seen what they do to comic books in these movies and it is not pretty. What you should be asking is, "In what one or two small ways will it be the same as the comic?" They shouldn't even call them "comic book movies." They should call them "the name of a comic book movies," 'cuz that's usually the only thing they get right.
  • Tear Jerker: invoked Parodied with Li'l Brudder. You might start crying... until the end, when you can't stop grinning.
  • Themed Party: In "senior prom", the prom is called "Entrapment All Up On the Moon", a parody of the Back to the Future dance name, and it's space-themed in its decor, featuring alien and moon cutouts.
  • Throwing The Match: Exploited in email #100, "flashback" where Homestar and Strong Bad have a footrace to determine who keeps a gigantic egg. Homestar dashes ahead while Strong Bad shuffles slowly with his feet. It turns out the loser keeps the egg.
  • Trapped in TV Land: In email #150, "alternate universe", Strong Bad celebrates his big "sesquicentenn-email" by constructing an alternate universe portal and visiting the various alternate realities of the website's body of work, where he meets all of the various duplicates of himself. They decide to form a supergroup and record a number one hit.
  • Two Decades Behind: Strong Bad got his first non-command-prompt computer in 2009.
  • Villains Out Shopping: When he isn't antagonizing Homestar, Strong Bad answers emails from his fans.
  • Wackyland: Sweet Cuppin Cakes, a hypothetical dadaist TV show that Strong bad makes up that somehow seeps into reality and becomes not only an in-universe actual cartoon, but also a real place in the universe, complete with its own dadaist golf course.
  • We Hardly Knew Ye: The Compé was only used for three emails. Dust accumulating during the Strong Bad Email hiatus somehow transformed it into the Lappier, a new computer which is hardly different from the Lappy. Of course the short-lived run of the Compé is lampshaded, as Strong Bad says, "Ah, Compé, we hardly knew yé."
  • Wham Episode: Whenever Strong Bad's computers get destroyed, they tend to be these. The most memorable is "virus".
  • You Can't Get Ye Flask: Trope Namer. In "video games", Strong Bad imagines himself as a character in a text-based adventure game and envisions this problem occurring:
    Strong Bad: And you'd be all like, "get ye flask", and it'd say "You can't get ye flask", and you'd just have to sit there and imagine why on Earth you can't get ye flask! Because the game's certainly not going to tell you.
  • You Make Me Sic: Strong Bad usually pronounces the misspelled words the way they're spelled, though occasionally he will tab up into the message and edit the errors. Among other things, the character of Homsar was born this way... his name was originally a misspelling of Homestar in an early sbemail.


Video Example(s):


Here Lies Strong Bad

Strong Bad comes up with an amazing epitaph.

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