Created in 2000 by Matt and Mike Chapman, collectively known as the Brothers Chaps, HomestarRunner.com is a website made to host the flash cartoon Homestar Runner, inspired by a children’s book parody that they wrote in 1997. The website became very popular and continues updating to this day (though not as frequently as it once did) and has the title of being one of the main inspirations for the entire genre of web flash animation. It also inspired my Halloween costume in 2010.
The website is actually very notable as it’s one of the first websites that actually made money from the internet alone. For a while, their only source of income was merchandise for the website, like t-shirts, figurines, iPhone cases, DVDs, and even a talking plush toy at one point. They also had an episodic video game series by Telltale Games called Strong Bad’s Cool Game for Attractive People(I told you that was a real thing!) The website still doesn’t have ads of any kind, something you don’t see on many websites nowadays. It also doesn’t have ads of its own, which is why I have taken upon myself the task of making this site known.
Strong Bad E-Mails (or Sbemails for short) is a formerly weekly feature on the website. The concept is simple: Take the character that is designed to be the biggest lovable jerk of all time, have him answer questions sent in by real fans, and let hilarity ensue. But don’t expect him to tell anyone how he types with boxing gloves on. It’s become a running gag at this point that he’s never answering that question.
This show follows the antics of Strong Bad, a wrestler who never does much wrestling except for three cartoons out of over four-hundred and thinks he’s the coolest person ever besides being bad at just about everything (though he seems to be pretty good at wrestling based on the few times he’s done it.) He tends to get into lots of strange situations with the other residents of Free Country, USA, including The Cheat, his… pet? Best friend? Next door neighbor who just so happens to hang out with him a lot? Yeah, it’s never been clear exactly what he is relationship-wise or species-wise, honestly. There’s also Homestar Runner, a character who used to be the slightly dumb hero of the website but became the comic relief when Strong Bad pretty much took over the whole show. There’s also a lot of other characters that I could explain here, but it’s probably better explained in the official character introduction videos.
Besides the jokes that tend to be the main reason these characters are shown together at all, it’s a good thing to note that Strong Bad and Homestar are perfect foils for one another. Strong Bad is shown to be very smart most of the time (well, smart compared to the rest of Free Country’s population) while not being athletic in the slightest. On the other hand, Homestar is dumb enough to fall for a very obvious prank that he set up himself, and the second thing ever said about him was that “he is a terrific athlete.” Of course all of these traits can change depending on the “rule of funny.”* For example, Strong Bad was once tricked into staying in a hole in the ground stomping on casserole for a few days and has no idea how technology works in the slightest, while Homestar lost a karate match against a wagon filled with pancakes and has recited Coulomb’s law from memory (although, he did say it was the answer to 2+2). …All of those moments probably make a lot more sense in context… hopefully. Comedy is the creators’ main goal, not sense-making.
You might think to yourself that the extent of this series is just basic Q&A, but you would be very mistaken. The very first episode definitely went along this path, but it quickly evolved beyond that. This series lets fans get answers to questions that they always wanted to know and it even lets them contribute to the creation of some major parts of the universe. For example, in the very second episode, Vinnie C. misspelled one of the character’s names. Instead of Strong Bad just realizing his mistake, this lead to the creation of an entirely new character that quickly became one of the website’s most popular and most exempt-from-the-laws-of-physics characters (and that’s saying an awful lot), Homsar. Going along with the subject of evolving, the quality of the show definitely went up over time. If you look at the first episodes you’ll probably notice that they’re a lot different. Most of the original episodes just had Strong Bad answering the e-mail at his computer, with nothing really abnormal happening on top of that, and it wasn’t really that funny. 118 episodes later, we have… Virus. Explaining further would just ruin the thing completely, you just have to watch it. Just know that there are no actual viruses on the website, though if you’re afraid of getting infected make sure to ignore every link in the comments of this one. I’ve got my eye on you, Bxsfgk.
In conclusion, Strong Bad E-Mails is a great web series that will always get a laugh out of me, though the quality definitely improved over time. I don’t know if I could really give the whole show a definitive rating because of how different the start of the series is from the most recent episodes. If I had to give it all a rating, I’d give it 7 outdated computers out of 10.
Also, Strong Bad E-Mails aren’t the only thing this site has to offer. Make sure to look at the other content on the website as well if your interested. They also have a YouTube channel where they uploaded some of the older cartoons and all of the new ones. Also check out the official wiki so you can learn more than you want to know about the show, like how many times chicken is mentioned!I’m serious.
*The “rule of funny” is a rule in comedies (especially cartoons) that states that anything, no matter how nonsensical, can happen as long as it is humorous.