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WEB SITE REVIEW

HomestarRunner.Com: Come on Fhqwhgads

Taking Puntage to a Whole New Super Awesome Level

By Fred Choi

staff writer

Recently, I discovered that there are still people at MIT who have never seen a Homestar Runner cartoon. In order to repair this tremendous travesty, I offer up an essential guide to Homestar Runner, mostly for newbies, although old fans should find some helpful information as well.

Homestar Who?

How to describe Homestar Runner? He is the everyman, yet also the Messiah; the humble, yet post-postmodern zeitgeist of the 21st century; the Stephen Dedalus of online Flash animation. In other words, you should get your first taste of the eminently lovable Homestar Runner in all his armless, red shirt with white star, propeller hat beanie, goofy glory by pointing your browser of choice to the eponymous http://homestarrunner.com. Be sure to click on “watch intro” to see Homestar in his masterful, sprinting, Lite Brites, theme song splendor.

Who are all these characters?

If it’s your first time, your best bet is to start off clicking on the helpfully-labeled “first time here?” button located near the top right corner of the main index. For a quick preview of the characters, from there you could click on the “Characters” section, but instead it’s recommended you hop on over to the “Toons” section. In the “Holiday” subsection, you’ll find the annual Halloween toons. The first one, entitled “Homestarloween Party,” is a great introduction to the wacky denizens of the Homestar universe. Undoubtedly the most popular of all the characters is Strong Bad, an indisputable badass who, like Calvin of Calvin and Hobbes, has a rather endearingly self-centered outlook and a penchant for insulting others. The “Strong Bad E-mails” feature gets thousands of hits every week for good reason.

I go to MIT and have a genius IQ, why would I want to watch this inanity?

It’s hard to pinpoint what exactly is so addictive about the Homestar Runner site. The characters, each with a memorable look (several without visible arms) and personality, are a huge draw, and their flaws only make them more personable. Their misadventures often seem arbitrary (such as the mystery of “Where have all the parsnips gone?” in the toon, “Parsnips A-Plenty”), yet somehow they’re also cliffhangers. The brains behind the endeavor, “the Brothers Chaps,” have created a complex but colorful and immediately eye-catching universe in which they incorporate clever and/or obscure and/or nostalgic references. It also contains humor of many types including some fantastic parody, “Easter eggs” (see the fan site “Strong Bad Email Secrets” -- http://tinyurl.com/3eoul), games for the nerds out there, and superhumanly catchy songs. Plus they exploit every feature of Flash to the fullest to create top-notch animation. In short, it’s pretty much the most consistent, high-quality animation on the Internet right now, with updates every Monday. Web surfers world-wide seem to agree. The group makes enough from sales on their online store to make HomestarRunner their full-time job. Be sure to be on the lookout for the HomestarRunner DVD in their online store, due sometime this year.