The Return of Homestar Runner: How It’s Changed and My Hopes For The Future

Digital denizens of the 90’s, I come bearing great news; Homestar Runner is back!

For those familiar with the name, Mike and Matt Chapman – more commonly known as ‘The Brothers Chaps’ – have been slowly rebuilding and reworking their earliest project for years in-between other business; most notably Matt’s writing, directing, and producing of the Nickelodeon children’s show Yo Gabba Gabba and voicing the character of  Alfonzo in the Disney XD series Star vs. The Forces of Evil. However, over the last few weeks, the amount of new content coming from their YouTube channel has sky rocketed.

For those unfamiliar, Homestar Runner is one of the most enduring artifacts from the days of the pre-YouTube internet when your options for getting visual media on the web were limited and less than ideal. The Chaps, like many early pre-YouTubers, found Flash animation to be a simple way to get seen.

But it didn’t start with animation, the original Homestar Runner started life as a children’s book. However, as time has gone on, the comedy has matured for older audiences and, occasionally, finds itself poking fun at its child-like origins. This turned out to be the right move for the series as the original website is still operating off of merchandise sales to this day.

I’ve naturally been going back through the back catalog of old episodes and almost all of them still hold up. In fact, some of the jokes actually got better and more relevant (remember when resident shopkeeper Bubs refused to violate net neutrality by “throttling down” download speeds… unlike Verizon?).

Still, there are problems with being a web series that has existed for so long that it may as well be the internet’s Stonehenge. Technology and how we use the ‘net has changed so much that many of the techniques the show uses are horribly obsolete. Even the cast recognized the danger in flash not being the universal animation standard anymore. It seems that they’ve finally caved and have gone fully to YouTube in light of the situation.

Part of me wishes they could continue with the format they have now because it means the loss of one of my favorite aspects of the original animations: easter eggs. Occasionally, you could click on things in the animation as it played and you could uncover hidden content. Some of these are preserved in ending stingers, but there’s something rewarding about finding a secret ending that makes the experience special and encourages viewership.

There’s also the issue with the flagship sub-series Strong Bad Emails (SBmails for short); namely that no one uses email as their primary communications medium on the web anymore. This wasn’t as big of an issue thanks to SB getting an official Twitter account, but it does feel uncanny to someone that grew up with the classic. Plus Strong Bad Tweets (SBeets?) doesn’t have the same ring to it.

Still, I remain hopeful. I want to see this great piece of internet comedy history rise like the Phoenix again. Also, I’d like to see them do more joint works with other artists like when they made music videos for They Might Be Giants. Hell, I’d REALLY like to see them continue their series of episodic point-and-click adventure games with Telltale Games.

At any rate, here’s to the return of yet another of my fond memories from long ago.

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3 More Clever Dragonball Trivia Gags From Team Four Star

With this being the last article before Christmas I thought I had run out of holiday themed topics since I refuse to bash on bad carols this year.

But then I remembered that I have a relatively new Christmas tradition I can talk about; DBcember!

Yes, every year, the hard-working comedy geniuses at Team Four Star reflect on the franchise that helped make them famous and brought them and so many others so much joy with a new video counting down memorable moments and characters every day until Christmas where they give us all a special present in the form of a brand new episode of Dragonball Z: Abridged. This one hopes to be the biggest yet as they have been teasing the reveal of the long-awaited parody of The Legendary Super Saiyan, finally ending the chants of, “Wen Broly?”

So, let’s take another look at the subtle trivia-based humor that I love them for.

Imperfect Cell’s Horror Inspiration

The introduction of Cell in Dragonball Z brought in elements of Horror to a series that also blended Action, Sci-Fi, and Fantasy. So it was only fair that TFS pay tribute to that.

This was most notable in the introductory scenes of their Halloween special Flight Out Of Cell where the news reporter name checks several classic horror films. But for my money, the best was in Episode 47 where he straight up quotes one of the most memorable lines from the film Wishmaster.

Fun Fact: Because Flight Out Of Cell takes place solely as a dream sequence in Krillin’s head, his voice actor Nick “Lanipator” Landis provided all of the voices during the dream (with the obvious exception to Cell). Nice work, Lani!

Goku’s Feats Got REALLY Silly

In Episode 53, a perfected Cell utterly crushes Trunks spirit by informing him just how unblooded he is as a fighter. He then goes on to cite the feats Goku had accomplished before he was Trunks’ age… which get a little ridiculous.

But if you’ve been following his adventures since the original Dragonball, you know he’s not pulling any of it out of his ass. The rabbit Cell refers to is none other than Monster Carrot whose touch can turn anyone into a carrot and was sent to the moon with his gang; alluding to the Japanese folk tale of The Rabbit In The Moon.

Unfortunately for Monster Carrot, the moon was destroyed during the 21st World Martial Arts tournament and the Rabbit Mob have been drifting through space ever since. So sad.

Yajirobe Declares Himself “The Bean Daddy”

In Episode 35, Yajirobe comes down from Korin’s Tower to help the others prep for the oncoming android attack by supplying them with life-restoring Sensu Beans. However, quick to remove himself from the conflict, he hands them the beans with no sense of ceremony and swiftly departs with the phrase, “Bean Daddy out.”

What he doesn’t mention is that this is the ACTUAL name he gives himself when doling out Sensu Beans.

During the movie Cooler’s Revenge, an exasperated Yajirobe gets fed up with Korin’s demanding nature in the face of an emergency and takes control of Sensu distribution while declaring, “I’m The Bean Daddy this time!”

What’s great about this is how it becomes a running gag in DBZ:A as we see Korin fretting over Yajirobe’s safety after being stranded by the android attack and longing for his Bean Daddy; an in-joke among fans over the speculated nature of the mostly unseen relationship between the two and their tendency to act like an old married couple.