Back in the late 90s, Mike and Matt Chapman, the Brothers Chaps, created one of the best things to ever grace the internet, Homestar Runner and his fabulous group of friends. Before the kinds of CGI and live-action videos you see regularly on YouTube, the internet had much more limitations for videos, especially animations. Most artists of animated films used Adobe Flash animations, The Brothers Chaps included. It was a simple style of animation but it was also charming and fun.
While Homestar, our goofy, kind of dumb but pure of heart hero, is the face of the website and obviously the namesake, it was ultimately created as a parody and what is a goofy hero without a ridiculous villain? Enter the brothers Strong, which included the loud and obnoxious Strong Bad, the bulky and dopey Strong Mad, and the depressed and misunderstood Strong Sad, and of course, Strong Bad’s sidekick, The Cheat. Every hero needs a love interest, and that was Marzipan, daughter of the King and probably the smartest person in town. Each of these characters draws instant pictures in the minds of any Homestar fan.
Probably the most popular character from the website is Strong Bad, who took off with the section, Strong Bad Emails. Probably the most hilarious area of Homestarrunner.com, Strong Bad would read emails sent to him and answer them. It sounds so simple but it was so much more than that. Like the time Strong Bad wrote a techno song or when he turned himself into an anime character, or probably the most popular sbemail ever, Trogdor, the Burninator. Even outside of that, with the birth of sbemails, came other staples of Homestar, like Teen Girl Squad and the Cheat spin-off cartoons.
Before things like Reddit or social media platforms, you ran home from the bus stop after school to watch the latest Homestar update. You sat at the computer with friends watching Strong Bad Emails from old to new, you watched the musical toons over and over until you knew all the words so you and your friends/siblings could sing them together and laugh, you yelled “TROGDOOOOOR” any time you heard a metal song. This is the absurd, silly joy that Homestar Runner brought so many of us in the earlier days of the internet.
While Strong Bad Emails were definitely a major reason for the websites popularity, there were and still are plenty of other hilarious areas to explore and characters to come to love. I still to this day find myself randomly quoting Homestar characters, singing the songs, and sharing these old cartoons with friends who have never seen them before. While all of the episodes have been transferred to YouTube, the website www.homestarrunner.com is still very much alive, plus now with links to awesome merch, like the incredibly fun Trogdor Board Game (Yes, I own it. Yes, it’s amazing). And if you haven’t checked it out before, I highly recommend you do. While you’re at it, make sure you watch the “First Time Here” video. You’re welcome.