Eeeee-mail, ooh aah, eeeee-mail
How do you type with boxing gloves on?
Homestar Runner dot net. It’s dot com!
If none of these quotes mean anything to you, strap in for the most life changing animated awesomeness you’ll ever experience.
No, it’s not a cartoon about skydiving robot ninjas on fire who are fighting vikings armed with machine guns that shoot smaller machine guns that shoot knives at them during a sharknado that just demolished Fort Knox so now there’s also gold bars are flying around. That would be crazy, why would you even think that?
No, its Homestar Runner
In the early 2000’s preYouTube (yes, there was a time that Youtube wasn’t a thing) video hosting and content creation was a lot more labor intensive. Websites basically had to find ways to host their own content, and with file size restrictions that typically meant videos ended up being postage stamp sized bitmaped headaches.
A common way around this was to use Adobe Flash, which took vector animations and made them stay nice and crisp when enlarged. Some sites built themselves entirely in and around Flash. JoeCartoon.com, KillFrog.com, and AlbinoBlackSheep.com come to mind.
Homestar Runner became an internet nerd icon by setting themselves apart with two then unheard of and innovative practices:
1. It kept a regular update schedule.
At least one new video or game was uploaded each week. They also regularly created new home screens, merchandise, and desktop icons and wallpapers that were available to download for free.
2. Homestar Runner interacted with the community and absolutely nailed it with Strong Bad.
Every week, the lucha-libre masked, boxing gloved, bare-chested troublemaker would sit down at his ever-evolving-yet-always-behind-the-times computer and reply to an actual fan letter in a new unique cartoon. One of the most infamous of which features Trogdor, the Burninator, and serves as a perfect example of how far a simple question like, “Can you draw a dragon?” could blow up the internet in the hands of Strong Bad.
The world loved Homestar Runner, and references began popping up everywhere in pop culture, including a lot of people’s favorite: The Buffy crew meets Trogdor playing D&D.
It also helped that the team at Homestar Runner spoofed everything, including themselves. From The Cheat answering Strong Bad’s emails and making his own cartoons after Strong Bad addressed the viewers directly via 4th wall break, to making an Anime out of their main characters; from the spot on costume references in their Halloween costumes to the fact a lesser version of the site’s namesake became a recurring character; heck even the ‘hand-drawn’ Teen Girl Squad was Strong Bad’s take on teen movie character stereotypes.
While the site isn’t updating regularly any longer, Homestar Runner will live forever as an internet legend, and for all the right reasons.
Do yourself a favor and go check out the original site. Homestar Runner .net, it’s dot com! A lot of the videos are on YouTube now, but the original Flash site is still the best experience: You can see all of the splash screens, play all of the games, and get the added satisfaction of moving your mouse around while you watch cartoons, looking for any hidden clickable items for extra content.