Homestar Runner (body of work)

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The Homestar Runner logo

Homestar Runner (often abbreviated as HR, HSR or H*R) is primarily a Flash cartoon available through homestarrunner.com. Although originally conceived as a mock children's book, the site is perhaps most popular with (and has been gravitating toward) young adults.

Contents

[edit] Characters

The Homestar Runner cast, as shown on the Everybody Everybody Poster.

The cartoons nominally center on the character Homestar Runner, a somewhat dim but good-hearted athlete. The character Strong Bad, however, is often more popular among fans, mostly through his near-weekly updates of Strong Bad Email before the hiatus, short cartoons in which he answers actual emails from viewers. Strong Bad works closely with his sidekick The Cheat and uses his brother Strong Mad as the muscle in his operations. Together, the three prey on Strong Bad's depressed brother Strong Sad. Many of the site's features — music, games, main pages, characters, etc. — are based on things from the Strong Bad Emails.

Several other characters fill out the world of Free Country, USA, where most of the characters live: Homestar's hippie girlfriend Marzipan, whose answering machine is a frequent target for prank callers, his best friend Pom Pom, the verbally-challenged Coach Z, local concession stand owner Bubs, The King of Town and his Poopsmith. Rounding out the cast is Homsar, an odd-speaking character created on account of (and in mockery of) a poorly-written email to Strong Bad. Many of these characters have alternate versions.

[edit] Toons

From January 2002 to October 2009, new content was added to the website nearly every Monday, such as a short, a longer cartoon, a Strong Bad email, an online Flash game, or real-life merchandise like DVDs and action figures. Strong Bad Email is the most expansive and popular series on the website, and has produced several spin-offs, such as Strong Bad's crudely drawn comic series Teen Girl Squad. The comic parodies four archetypal high-school girls and their equally archetypal quest for attractiveness, popularity, and love, which is continually frustrated by their violent deaths in every episode.

Some other types of cartoons include Marzipan's Answering Machine, nearly animationless toons in which characters call Marzipan on her answering machine; Puppet Stuff, which uses live action puppets instead of animation; and Powered by The Cheat, poorly animated and voice-acted cartoons created by the character The Cheat. Some toons feature the characters celebrating holidays, like Decemberween, a holiday similar to Christmas, and Halloween.

The website, built mostly out of Flash animations, is filled with hidden Easter eggs: if a certain area on the page is mouse-clicked at the right time, an additional cartoon or screen will appear. For example, in the Strong Bad Email studying, viewers can view a hidden Web page about a book that Strong Bad mentions. Also, at the end of the email vacation, you can click on one of five postcards to hear what Strong Bad thinks of the particular place he has visited.

Some cartoons feature spin-offs like Old-Timey, black-and-white cartoons parodying the style of the 1930s; 20X6, a parody anime cartoon featuring the main character Stinkoman; and Dangeresque, a film series created by Strong Bad.

[edit] Real World

The Brothers Chaps making the 100th Strong Bad Email, as seen in the DVD feature "Making of Email 100".

The website is the product of Mike and Matt Chapman, who typically call themselves "The Brothers Chaps". Matt Chapman provides the voices of the male characters, while Missy Palmer, Mike's wife, does that of Marzipan. Mike Chapman provides the stilted voices for The Cheat's amateurish Flash cartoons. Both brothers do the Flash animating for the cartoons. Many other people also help with the series.

Because the Brothers Chaps run their own website, they have a creative freedom that they would not have doing a regular TV show. Though the site sells Homestar merchandise, it has no advertisements, and a few of the cartoons parody advertising, with made-up products like Fluffy Puff Marshmallows. The Internet has allowed them to reach a large audience that they wouldn't have access to otherwise. Originally, they developed Homestar Runner as a labor of love, and for their own amusement. It has grown large enough that merchandise sales pay for all of the costs of running the website. An article in the Chicago Tribune on July 24, 2003, reported the retired parents of the Brothers Chaps were spending a lot of time dealing with the business aspects of the website.

[edit] References

Content for the above was taken chiefly from the Wikipedia article for Homestar Runner found at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Homestar_Runner. As such, this article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License.

[edit] See Also

[edit] External links

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