Homestar Runner --- the cartoon website at

MM: Homestar Runner

By Johnny Apocalypse
March 1, 2008

If you've never been to the Chapman brothers' website, you've likely seen some of their t-shirts running around, possibly without even knowing it.
"Why does the dragon on that guy's shirt have a big, burly arm?"
"'Raised by a cup of coffee'? What the hell does that mean?"
"Why am I surrounded by people wearing red shirts with white stars on their chests?"

Teen Girl SquadEver since Homestar Runner and his friends hit the internet in 2000, the website has exploded into a pop culture phenomenon. With updates nearly every week, the site's content is always expanding. And one of the best parts: it's fun for all ages (unlike pretty much everything I write).

Now I'm sure that someone is asking what exactly I mean by "fun for all ages", since age-appropriateness is in the eye of the beholder. Well, the Homestar Runner site has no profanity (the only thing close to a curse word is "crap"), violence is minimal and exceedingly cartoonish (less violence then the old Tom and Jerry cartoons) and the only person who ever goes nude is Homestar, and he's covered by blurry squares in those rare moments.

That sounds like pretty decent fare for children, but I did say it was fun for all ages, right? While the humor on the website tends to be directed to the younger crowd, it's not a string of stupid fart jokes and Sesame Street kiddy absurdity. It's fun, everyday humor for everyone, and pop-culture references abound from several generations (from Twin Peaks to old Nintendo games, and even grainy-filmed silent era cartoons).

Another great bonus is that all of the characters are lovable in one way or another. Take Homestar Runner, the title character. He's the town's top athelete, has invisible arms and he's a complete dope. But he's a delightful dope who doesn't know when someone is being mean to him because he doesn't understand why anyone would intentionally be mean. Wearing a red shirt with a white star and a propeller beanie, he is the front man for the town, Free Country, USA.

The most popular and commonly seen character is Strong Bad, a wanna-be evil doer who goes around shirtless, has a wrestling mask for a face and boxing gloves for hands (he is quite adamant that he isn't wearing these and they are, in fact, parts of his body). Most of his attempts at silly, petty crimes are joined by his cohorts The Cheat (a yellow animal of some sort who speaks by squeaking) and his brother Strong Mad.

Strong Bad also answers his e-mail in a long-running series cartoon with nearly two hundred episodes as of this writing. This is the primary cartoon update on the site, with Strong Bad generally failing to answer the viewer's question due to running into a wide variety of tangents and distractions.

Many other characters populate the cartoon, as well as any variety of "fictional" characters whom the "real" characters have created. Homestar's girlfriend Marzipan is an environmentalist hippie. Strong Bad's youngest brother, Strong Sad, is a mopey grayish thing with elephant feet renown for his superior whining skills. Coach Z is a creepy old guy who likes/stalks Marzipan, and seems to have only one friend, Bubs, the town's handyman, concession-shop owner and premier shyster. And then there's Homsar. No one really knows what the hell is up with Homsar.

Okay, that paragraph is getting a little long. You can check out the other characters at your leisure. And in case you don't get much leisure time in front of the computer, the site also supplies most of its content via podcast.

So what else does the Homestar Runner website have to offer besides crazy characters and a shirtless waif checking his e-mail? Aside from the occasional stand-alone cartoon, holiday cartoons come out several times a year (the Halloween toons are always a blast) and Marzipan's Answering Machine let's you invade the young lady's privacy anytime you like.

Another serialized classic is "Teen Girl Squad", Strong Bad's comic book about the lives of four young ladies and their constant struggle to achieve popularity and boyfriends, all the while ducking a strange, balding man who is always trying (usually successfully) to bump them off.

But something that has truly become one of my favorite features of the website is the constant butchering of the English language. In virtually every cartoon, there is some form of wordplay going on. Fairly common are made-up words like "burnination" or "sblounskched", but so are progressions from proper English into malarkey just because it rhymes. One example, referring to several bad habits to watch out for, is "Littering! Loitering! Latering! And lootering!"

I have come to enjoy this facet of the Chapman brother's comedy so much that it has begun to invade my speech patterns, much to my enjoyment but much to my friends' dismay. Throwing out strange phrases like some-the-times (sometimes) and "medical resistance" (medical assistance) will have me eternally thanking the Chapmans for making me twice the goofball. Of course, everyone around me will be eternally shaking their fists in their general direction as well.

Of course, there are always detractions to everything. So what issues are viewers likely to have with the cartoons, aside from split ribs and persistent laughter? Aside from constant references to past events (which can be solved by viewing the site's entire content), there are a lot of references to fictional events. Again, this can be dealt with by viewing every cartoon on the site and realizing that some characters have a shaky grasp of history. If you don't have enough time to do that, just swing by the Homestar Runner wiki (, an exhaustive site which will explain these little matters straight away.

So there you have it. Need to visit more not-porn websites? Or just have some time to waste and need a good laugh? Swing by go to top for a bit and you're bound to be addicted within minutes. Just try to keep some sort of social life once you're obsessed.

What do you think America? Leave your comments on the Guestbook!


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