|(links to individual videos in text)|
But that’s enough about the history, so what are these things anyway? Well, they’re pretty much what they look like – jam sessions with They Might Be Giants and the Homestar puppet. All four of them consist of Homestar singing nonsensical (and probably ad-libbed) lyrics to TMBG’s free-style music. Out of the four, none really stand out as the “best” to me, but I’d say that Tropical Lazor Beams is probably the best overall song, and Vitamins/Celebrities is the funniest. Overall though, I can’t say I’m very impressed. I won’t complain about them being lackluster updates though, when they were never meant to be anything more than bonus material. They do have their moments, just nothing hilarious.
It’s worth mentioning here that the DVD versions of these are actually a bit longer. Bad Jokes in particular was originally about twice as long, it was just cut short for the website. Remember that even though these small, low-quality video files look like nothing now, tons of people in 2004 were still on dial-up internet, and so having HD (or even decent-looking SD) files wasn’t a very good option. That was made especially evident with a certain live-action trailer to come in a future update. But since I have nothing else to really say about these, I’d much rather go over a personal favorite of mine, Cheat Commandos…O’s.
So let’s take a look at what makes this toon awesome. Ignore the product placement for a minute, and just focus on the normal cartoon portion of it. So three of the Commandos (plus Firebert, apparently, who shows up in like, one shot later on and doesn’t do anything) are searching for Blue Laser’s Secret Desert Headquarters. They’re not in just a desert though, but rather, a secret desert. Fightgar is the only one complaining about the heat even though he’s pretty much naked. And the only reason they’re looking in the first place is because Gunhaver remembers hearing about it on the news. It turns out that there was in fact a headquarters there at one point, but it was relocated to the Blue Laser Commander’s nana’s backyard. The Commandos find it anyway and feel the need to stop their barbeque, and then a grill randomly explodes and some minions come down on parachutes. Excellent.
The cereal itself is great because the name makes no sense (as Fightgar points out on the box itself, the pieces of cereal aren’t even shaped like O’s), and it is meant to be eaten with massive amounts of dessert/candy items. Honestly, that’s not much dumber than the typical “complete breakfast” shown in actual commercials, where you’re meant to eat the cereal with not only some toast, but a separate glass of milk (since the milk in the bowl clearly isn’t enough), and a piece of fruit, AND a glass of juice. I might be exaggerating slightly, but I swear I saw a commercial that showed that much redundant crap with it.
So yeah, if you haven’t gathered this yet, I enjoyed this toon, and have watched it a crapton of times. On the other hand, I don’t remember much of the next email, replacement, so let’s see what that’s all about.
- The opening of “our next show is a family show. It … is… the email.” is one of my favorite openings. There’s a lot of good ones, but this one stands out for sounding like it’s trying to be a reference to some actual intro to a show, and then it just kind of peters out.
- The Cheat is always adorable when he’s wearing some kind of costume, and the Wal-Mart jacket in this email is no exception. I also rather enjoyed him standing in a cardboard box with his picture drawn on the side of it.
- Homestar consistently topped himself after each scene. The repeated “crapface” insults were pretty good, it made an unexpected return in the later scene with cardboard box The Cheat, and then at the end he just randomly gains a spotlight and starts singing “And then I put it on my faaaace”. No idea what that song was supposed to be about, but I love it.
- Coach Z was alright here, nothing special. I like how terrible his dance was, particularly since this was so shortly after the “Hip Hop Dance” music video. Bubs brought back a dance from the old game he starred in, but his shining moment in this email was definitely the weird way he started attacking Strong Bad behind the couch.
- Marzipan’s first scroll button song actually did get used on the SBEmail menu a bit later on.
- “Okay, Strong Sad – Strong Sad’s on the couch, watching TV. What do you do?” “Go make him some hummus!” “Hummus? No, try something else!” “Uh… give him a foot massage!” “… Those are NOT feet!” … I have nothing to add to this, it’s perfect as it is.
… Because it’s dangeresque 3.
So let’s be overly analytical for a minute and try to figure out the plot of this movie, even though the fact that it makes no sense is kind of the point. Most of it is actually pretty straight-forward. Dangeresque needs to stop Perducci, the bad guy, from doing … something. I’ll get back to that in a bit. He’s called to the office by Renaldo, meets Dangeresque Too, who is apparently only needed because he knows that Perducci is in Instanbul. Not sure why he couldn’t have just told them that, then. So the two Dangeresques have the typical “buddy cop” rivalry for a bit, then team up to take out Perducci on top of a building. Pretty basic stuff. The part where it gets weird is Perducci’s motivation and overall goal. Apparently he’s prevented some kind of serum from being transported, and if the serum doesn’t reach its destination, “they” will kidnap Cutesy Buttons. I’m not sure who “they” is referring to in this context. Not Perducci, right? I assume it’s someone else. But yeah. After defeating him (or rather, defeating Killingyouguy, and then Perducci just kind of buggers off or something), Cutesy Buttons is saved, and is found drinking the serum, which is just a glass of iced tea. So was she the one who needed it then? Was she poisoned? Why would she be kidnapped if it wasn’t delivered to her? Just… aaagh.
Moving away from the storyline, since it’s impossible to decipher, this movie also has some pretty great use of props and ““““special”””” effects. The VCR being used as a car phone was pretty great, as was The Cheat running back and forth moving a bush to simulate the Gremlin’s movement. Strong Sad returns as the stunt double (and “Hot Tub”, apparently), and The Cheat reprises his role as “the popular vote” from A Decemberween Pageant, and also manages to make a vague They Might Be Giants reference. (I refuse to believe that the mention of Instanbul so soon after the Puppet Jams were recorded is a coincidence). The part where they climb up the building is, of course, handled perfectly. It would have been funny on its own, but Homestar’s glasses falling off was an excellent touch. I think my favorite part though is probably the fact that they actually painted Strong Mad black for that one scene. It’s weird, because they were able to have the King of Town in silhouette perfectly fine in the scene immediately before that one.
I could go on a while about every part of this, but most of it doesn’t really need to be restated. At least not any more than what I’ve already said. I will mention that Homestar avoids using the word “God” though, which is … I’m not sure what to call it. I’d almost call it being overly PC, but maybe TBC were just raised to not say stuff like that, and so it’s basically along the same lines as not allowing swears on the site. It’s somewhat in contrast to the weirdness from A Holiday Greeting though, and I know that they have said “god” on the site in other contexts, such as in the hygiene email that we’ll get to eventually. But enough of that. Homestar also yells “the pipes are broken” before doing his hurricane kick, which is as good of an interpretation as any when it comes to what the crap Ryu actually says when he does that move in Street Fighter II. But seriously though, I should probably move on, so let’s check what my favorite minor character is up to in Senor Mortgage.
Back when I was talking about kind of cool, I mentioned that Senor Cardgage was in sort of a weird position for a while, where people thought that he was just a character that Strong Bad made up, but then this toon sort of questioned that. The description of it on the Toons Menu is “Wait, is Senor Cardgage real!?!”, so even the Chapmans weren’t quite sure at the time. I’m glad they decided to bring him back though, because his general mannerisms are just hilarious to me.
I realize I haven’t said much about the actual toon at this point, but as with most of the other ones that I find no fault with, there’s really not that much to say. I found pretty much every part of it funny, especially the ridiculously long phone number at the end. In fact, I enjoyed this enough to actually make a fake business card based on it for a school project. I don’t really remember the assignment that well, but I’m pretty sure we were specifically supposed to make a business card using this one particular vector-based drawing program. You can see what I came up with below. But anydangway, there’s one last email I want to cover in this segment, and then I’ll consider this a decently-sized update. But first, Main Page 21.
Staying on the subject of mining for a bit, there’s a certain mining (and coal)-related game that I play once in a while, where I used that Senor Cardgage skin that I showed a while back. When I was playing on that original server, I had all of my armor and tools named after Homestar-related stuff, so the pickaxe was of course called Ilko Skevüld. Just for the sake of completion (and so I don’t have to remember to mention these every time one of them comes up), the rest of the set was Ever and More (helmet), Ab-Abber 2000 (chestplate), SBLOUNSKCHED (leggings), ‘Lectric Boots (boots), Keyswordtar (sword), Mushy Chamberpot (shovel), and Dongolev (bow). I don’t think I had named a wood axe.
It is not remotely worth pointing out that this is the second email in this particular post where Bubs is seen behind the orange couch, but here I am pointing it out anyway. Just felt like mentioning that, because I almost used it for the screenshot here, but I realized it would be somewhat redundant. But yeah, I did enjoy the random Bubs and Coach Z appearance in this email, as well as the demo tape at the end. And speaking of Easter eggs, am I the only one that gets a weird, creepy vibe from Ilko sliding across the bottom of the screen like that? It’s just weird is all. … Unsettling.
So I think that’s about it for today. I’m glad to get another post out so close to the previous one. Don’t expect this to be a regular thing, but I’ll try to get back on track if at all possible. I just don’t want to make any promises, because if I do, that pretty much jinxes it. So until next time, yeah man. I’ll gnaw your face off. – Teh B.