Many have fond memories of the surrealist Flash animated web series Homestar Runner– if you are of a certain age bracket. With the death of Adobe Flash, today’s generation can never understand the absolute hype of Strong Bad Email Mondays, the thrill of a new ‘toon being added, or the sheer excitement of the splash page being updated with all new graphics, animations, and quotes. So with all that being said, here are 20 Homestar Runner references to bust out in conversation and instantly age yourself with.
#1 — Teen Girl Squad theme song
If you’re between the ages of roughly 30 to 40 and spent your time afterschool watching Homestar Runner on the family computer, then you likely have the theme song to Strong Bad’s magnum opus “Teen Girl Squad” committed to memory. “Cheerleader! So-and-So! What’s Her Face! The Ugly One!” Just expect to get some stares from younger people looking at you like the fossil you are now. Arrowed!!
#2 — Jorrrrb
I had an uncle who talked like Coach Z, with that thick, working-class Chicago accent. I never got to ask him if he also couldn’t say the word “job”, but as many of us who enjoyed Homestar Runner and are rapidly approaching middle-age know, Coach Z sure couldn’t say it! Go ahead– try saying “jorrrrrb” in front of some teenagers. You’ll find yourself on a Tik Tok cringe compilation so fast your head will spin.
#3 — “Are you asking for a challeeeenge?!”
This is still hilarious, but it was even funnier back in the day when anime was still fairly niche and rare to see parodied– at least by people who “got it”. So with that being said, Stinkoman (Strongbad’s 20X6 counterpart) dialogue is so instantly quotable that it’s insane. Well, only to people who are quickly waving goodbye to their youth, that is.
#4 — Li’l Brudder
This tragic figure makes everyone cry except for Strong Bad– he finds it hilarious. You know, because he is such a cool and awesome guy. “He’s gonna be all right! He’s gonna be a quarterback!” People might not know what on earth you’re talking about if you quote this and will definitely check you into a retirement home if you say any of this out loud.
#5 — Eh! Steve!
I have a friend named Steve, and when I found out in middle school that he also liked Homestar Runner, this is how I would greet him in computer class. I didn’t have many other friends at the time, mind you, and if I told you how long ago this happened, that alone would absolutely age me.
#6 — Cold ones
It’s the weekend: you and some similarly-aged pals crack open a few cold ones, and someone who also spent their formative years online in the early 2000s is bound to say “a one that isn’t cold, is scarcely a one at all.” Unless of course they are under the age of 30, in which case, you’re on your own there, buddy.
#7 — “Coach Z, how come you don’t dance no more?”
One of several absolute bops from the Homestar Runner soundtrack, Coach Z’s “Hip Hop Dance” is deeply and concerningly ingrained into my mind and probably will be for the rest of my life– or what’s left of it, at least.
#8 — Señor Cardgage
“Bad credit?” “No probalo!” The Señor Cardgage mortgage commercial plays on repeat in my head for free. Now while I can’t exactly complain about free at-will entertainment, I do have to sometimes wonder why I’ve forgotten other things I saw from those same years, such as most of what I learned in school. Oh well– no probalo!
#9 — “I can do it. I can do it NINE TIMES!”
In a hilarious meta joke, The Cheat makes his own Flash animation based on the Flash animated world he lives in. Of course it is naturally going to be of lesser quality, where the animation is worse and the plot revolves around Strong Bad kicking Homestar in the head nine times, but it’s an interesting lens to view art from within art itself. Especially if, as you guessed it, you are old now.
#10 — “It’s dot com”
If you had ever clicked on the “first time here” button on the site’s splash page, you no doubt remember being taken to a charming little “mockumentary” video where Homestar flubs his lines trying to say the site’s URL. Awww, he’s so stupid. His line delivery is so memorable though, that unfortunately for the site, I’ve typed in the “dot net” URL on accident many times. “It’s dot com, you idiot!” I say to myself hoping my brain hasn’t begun to deteriorate from old age.
#11 — “Your head a splode”
When asked what kind of awesome video game he would make in one of the Strong Bad Emails segments, Strong Bad instantly came up with a cheap virtual reality game where a big 3D head shoots at you and when you die, says “your head a splode.” This was spoofing retro video games by being both a Virtual Boy reference and a reference to common mistranslations in early games from Japan. If this doesn’t track for you at all, congrats, you’re probably young!
#12 — Fhqwhgads
If you’re still young, you probably read that and thought a cat walked across my keyboard. But as true oldheads know, Fhqwhgads is a number one summer jam. Maybe if they put this song in Stranger Things or something, then kids would check it out and listen to it. Oh god, now I really am starting to sound old.
#13 — Strong Badia
Strong Badia is a sovereign nation located behind the dumpsters and ruled over by Strong Bad, of course. The population includes only a single tire, and they even have their own national anthem and flag. A real life version of the flag is for sale on the Homestar Runner store, and more than once have I had to talk myself out of buying it, knowing that it would surely solidify the aging process that has already taken a strong hold on me.
#14 — Yearly Halloween specials
Yes, you may shout, “The Simpsons did it!” But right when The Simpsons started to suck, Homestar Halloween filled that void. I remember checking my computer right around Halloween time every year, hoping that the new special would be uploaded. And when it was, boy was it exciting to see what everyone dressed up as. “Wow, look at that! Bubs is dressed up like Coach McGuirk from Home Movies, another thing that people my age still like to reference!”
#15 — Holding down the Tab key
Homestar Runner was way ahead of its time, providing interactive media before that was really a thing. Well, aside from video games that is, and eventually there even were some Homestar video games! But there were also many hidden things to click on during ‘toons. A little pro tip shared around for those in the know was to hold down the Tab key when watching, as it would highlight all clickable elements! Kids today could never.
#16 — The Poopsmith
Can you believe there was a character whose entire job was shoveling poop? Classic “lol so random” humor. You just had to be there, kids.
#17 — The system is down
My friends and I had a funny gag of turning on and off the lights and pretending to do that noise The Cheat makes when him and Strong Bad make a techno song together. Naturally someone else would chime in with “The system. Is down. The system. Is down.” Ah, to be young again.
#18 — Fluffy Puff Marshmallows
I think I actually asked my parents if they could buy marshmallows from the grocery store because I saw this cartoon. Turns out, not exactly the greatest snacking food. Still, Homestar did a great job selling the audience on Fluffy Puff Marshmallows, an in-universe marshmallow brand that is referenced periodically. Hey, I’d still eat marshmallows today if I could. Just not sure if my gut could handle them anymore.
#19 — The original Mario Paint shorts
The first ever episodes of Homestar Runner were made in 1996 on Mario Paint. I don’t know if you’ve ever played Mario Paint (maybe you’re young), but that is an incredibly tedious task, and the fact that they were able to record the video feed onto a VHS tape and then record dialogue over it is an impressive feat unto itself. If you’re reading this and feeling any sort of warm fuzzies from it in any way, I have one word for you: OLD!
#20 — Trogdor the Burninator
The Trogdor theme song may as well be the millennial anthem, let’s be honest with ourselves. If you were someone who grew up in the early 2000s and were aware of Homestar Runner’s existence but had never bothered to watch it, you were at least familiar with Trogdor the Burninator. Easily one of the best gags to come out of the series at large, this dragon with a muscly human arm on its back has remained in our hearts and minds forever, which goes to show that there’s nothing wrong with aging. It brings us wisdom, it brings us recollection, and– oh, who am I kidding. I’d do anything to go back to being that kid at the computer again with so much youth left to look forward to!