Hiatuses

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By 2002, homestarrunner.com had established a schedule of releasing new toons weekly. The Brothers Chaps have taken hiatuses large and small from this self-imposed schedule of updates to the Homestar Runner body of work. Between 2005 and 2009 there were several minor hiatuses from the weekly pace. The site underwent a major hiatus from 2010 through 2014, after which a new, slower pace of updates has become standard.

Contents

[edit] Minor Hiatuses

"What is it, like, mid-May or something?"

The earlier hiatuses were relatively minor, lasting between one and two months. Despite the lack of new toons or Strong Bad Emails, minor updates — the weeklies, main pages, games, and store sales — would continue through these hiatuses.

Start End Length Notes
December 5, 2005
portrait
January 8, 2006
high school
34 days
May 16, 2006
isp
July 3, 2006
Weclome Back
48 days This was due to the birth of Mike Chapman and Missy Palmer's baby daughter. Weclome Back explains what the characters had been up to during that time.
December 18, 2006
Decemberween Short Shorts
January 22, 2007
looking old
35 days
June 26, 2007
Ever and More
August 7, 2007
Quality Time with Cardboard Homestar
45 days This was announced in a main page pop-up as a "baby break" for the birth of Matt and Jackie Chapman's child.
December 23, 2008
A Death Defying Decemberween
January 26, 2009
Hremail 62
34 days This was the first hiatus without any minor updates to the site.

[edit] 2009 - 2013: The Big Hiatus

The baby lady had another baby

[edit] 2009

Matt and Jackie had their second child in the fall of 2009, announced in a December 1 entry to the FeedBurner page that requested readers "please be patient with updates". The toon Punkin Show, released a few weeks earlier on November 10, was the final update of the year.

[edit] 2010

Portrait of Matt, later used on the @ronginald account.

Updates continued to be scarce in the new year. The first update was April Fools' Day toon Xeriouxly Forxe, with a Xeriouxly Forxe-themed main page shortly thereafter. The next major updates were not until December: A Decemberween Mackerel on the 14th, shortly followed by Which Ween Costumes? on the 22nd — a Decemberween-themed Halloween toon (2010 had been the first year in the site's history without a major Halloween toon).

Strong Bad was featured as one of the characters in the Telltale game Poker Night at the Inventory, released November 22.

[edit] 2011-13

No new toons were produced for three years. The only updates to the site during this time were store offers.

Outside of the website, a few character appearances were made during this time: Puppet Strong Bad appeared at an Aquabats concert in January 2011, while Strong Bad and Homestar Runner made a surprise appearance at W00tstock 5.0 in July 2013.

In September 2011, Matt created the Twitter account @ronginald which allowed for direct, public communication with fans. Although remarking that "lately, not a whole lot" had been done for Homestar Runner, he asserted that the site would continue to be updated "forever! just sporadically and without warning", and hinted that Strong Bad Email 206 would come "Someday, when you least expect it...". He deleted this Twitter account in January 2013.

[edit] 2014 - Present: Transition to the New Status Quo

"You got this, Homestar. This is nothin'."

The site was updated with a new toon, April Fool 2014, for the first time in over three years. The toon acknowledged the length between updates by making the index page look dilapidated; at its conclusion, Strong Bad and Homestar Runner imply a possible multi-year wait before the next update. In several later interviews, The Brothers Chaps credit the large positive response to this toon as a major encouragement to continue site updates.

Matt appeared on The Jeff Rubin Jeff Rubin Show on July 7, in the first interview with either of the Brothers Chaps in several years. Matt expressed that the Brothers had an interest in "making more stuff, hopefully on a more frequent basis" — borne out with more site activity in October with Fish Eye Lens, Halloween Safety, I Killed Pom Pom (the first full-length Halloween toon since 2009), and the first updates to Quote of the Week, Weekly Fanstuff, and Sketchbook in exactly five years. Matt also mentioned plans for a new Strong Bad Email, a more accessible website redesign, and a Homestar Runner-themed social media account, all of which eventually came to pass as well.

The @StrongBadActual Twitter account began posting regularly on September 26, 2014; it has since become the most active facet of the Homestar Runner body of work.

In a Rolling Stone interview on October 3, The Brothers Chaps specified that they were not planning to return to full-time work on the site due to the stress and deadlines of the former schedule. Rather, they would simply create any new toons at their own pace, closer to every couple of months rather than weekly.

2015 was the true start of the modern pace of updates; there was new content every second month. In the years since, the site has been updated slowly but semi-regularly, with new content every 1-4 months; Halloween toons have been released annually since 2014.

[edit] Reasons for the hiatus

Several reasons for the extended hiatus in the early 2010s have been given across multiple interviews, most prominently in a 2014 appearance on The Jeff Rubin Jeff Rubin Show, a 2015 Vox interview, and a 2017 Gizmodo interview.

[edit] Family

The FeedBurner Page update in December 2009, playfully titled "New Baby vs. Updates!", explained that the new addition to the family would likely result in slower updates. However, this is only mentioned in passing in most later interviews, implying this was a relatively minor factor in the decision to take a hiatus.

[edit] Creative burnout and desire for a break

JRJR Show:

MATT: It was right at the ten-year mark which felt like a nice, big... if you're gonna take a break, ten years felt like a nice time to take a breather.

Gizmodo:

MIKE: There was some creative burnout. We had been doing it for 10 years and we probably stuck to that weekly schedule a little more strictly than we needed to, so we needed a break. It was definitely a slog sometimes. Like Saturday you're at a friend's house and it slowly dawns on you that "we don't have an idea for a cartoon." Even during the hiatus I'd feel weird on the weekends because for 10 years there was this cloud looming over me that I had 20 hours straight of sitting in front of a computer bleary-eyed on Sunday night.

[edit] Concerns about longevity

Gizmodo:

MIKE: We always knew our business model was temporary. Everyday it was like, "We're on borrowed time here, there’s just no way to make a living off of this, because it’s unsustainable." We didn’t want to start selling ads, and this was before the era of Kickstarter or Patreon and other ways of artists monetizing directly from their audience. We were just like, "Let’s just do it this way, rather than try to change our business plan," which was never a real business plan. Our mindset was, "We're lucky to make money off this in the first place, and if it's no longer making enough money to not have other jobs, we'll not worry about it and get another job." [When we went on hiatus] we knew we were going to have to start looking for other jobs.

Because Homestar Runner was solely supported by the Store rather than ads or recurring royalties, the brothers were aware that it would not be infinitely sustainable and wished to explore other avenues.

[edit] Other projects

See main article: The Brothers Chaps' Other Projects

JRJR Show:

MATT: We started talking to people out in Los Angeles, and then some of that stuff started to actually move forward. So we were like, okay, if we want to keep pursuing this we kind of need to put Homestar on hold to try to put all our weight behind that stuff.

Matt moved to Los Angeles from 2011 to 2014, and he and Mike worked on several TV shows such as Yo Gabba Gabba!, The Aquabats! Super Show!, and Gravity Falls. This also made it logistically more difficult to make Homestar Runner toons with Mike, who still lived in Georgia. Even when Matt returned to Atlanta, other projects like Two More Eggs continued to take up their time.

[edit] Uncertainty of communication

Gizmodo:

MIKE: We really just didn’t know how long it’d be before we could get back to Homestar. Maybe one month, two months, six months. After a certain point it almost became weird to say something about the break. In retrospect, we probably could’ve handled it a little better.
MATT: I know we probably bummed people out or lost some people's respect for not saying anything, but we also wanted the site to be focused on the characters, so it would've felt like pulling back the curtain too far to suddenly be like "Hey! We've got kids! And it’s hard!" It didn't seem worth it to be like, "We wrote the Yo Gabba Gabba! Christmas special! That’s why we’re taking a hiatus!"

Updates such as Main Page Pop-Ups or the FeedBurner Page were often written in a tongue-in-cheek tone, and appearances by the brothers on the site (such as in Sbemailiarized!) were typically done in a facetious style. The Brothers Chaps were loath to break this tone with a more serious, dramatic, or direct announcement about the status of the website.

[edit] See Also

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