on Jun 20, 2012
I think I’ve mentioned in the past that I’m a huge fan of Homestar, Strong Bad, and the rest of the inhabitants of Free Country, USA. I love the world. I love the characters. I love the music. I’ve absorbed the website about as many times as a person can usefully do so.
I’ve played the videogame adaptation / spinoff, Strong Bad’s Cool Game For Attractive People. I regard it as some of the best comedy-adventure games available, right up there with the original Monkey Island. The games are arguably a fulfillment of the website itself – the culmination of a decade of in-jokes and ridiculous lore-building. I can’t objectively judge how well the games would work for someone new to Homestar, but for a long-time fan they were a concentrated dose of humor and ridiculosity.
(I even used the game as an excuse to do my own crossover mashup… thing.)
But the Brothers Chaps are apparently done with the project. It’s been a couple of years since the last major toon, and even longer since we could count on any kind of regular updates. The reason usually given is that the guys got married and had kids. I’m sure that’s true, but as I look over their final stretch of content I can’t escape the notion that besides being too busy to work on it, the creators were probably sick of the whole thing. The final year+ of remashes, re-hashes, computer smashes, mustaches, and diaper rashes looks like a long battle to avoid falling into a rut. Instead of making another email about how Strong Bad types with boxing gloves, they introduced the idea that Homestar was also doing emails all along. The ridiculous number of variations and alternate versions of the same character makes it seem like they were fighting to do something new with the material. It’s like when a sitcom introduces a new character late in its run: The writers have told all the jokes they can think of with the existing cast, and their only choice is to shake things up and hope it leads them somewhere fresh and interesting.
If this is the case, then I suppose it’s good that they stopped when they did. I’d much rather enjoy the universe as it is than see it driven into the ground with exhausted gags and ouroboros loops of self-reference passed off as “jokes”. I suppose the haters could reasonably claim this is already the case, but it never got to the point where it stopped being funny for me. I’m not happy to see it end, but it was a good run while it lasted. We got over 200 emails and almost 700 toons out of the thing before it went dark, so I guess I can’t complain it died prematurely. (And Matt Chapman even hinted that they might return to it one of these days.)
I’ve been in the mood for some Homestar lately, so as a way of squeezing a little more out of the site I’ve been working my way through the Homestar Runner Wiki, an exhaustively detailed and meticulously cross-referenced archive that covers every toon and character, and makes a heroic effort to catalog every concept, running gags, location, and object. It’s an amazing labor of love, and a great way of finding all the little hidden toons and Easter eggs on the site.
Thanks for all the hard work you put into the wiki, internet people. Also thanks to Mike, Matt, and Missy for creating this confusing, charming, pants-defying little world.
Shamus Young is an old-school OpenGL programmer, author, and composer. He runs this site and if anything is broken you should probably blame him.