Friday, February 13, 2015

Unpopular Opinions Quarterly

Last time (about three and a half months ago), I covered the Peasant’s Quest Preview, and mentioned that I could potentially record a new playthrough of that as my way of covering it on this blog. Instead, I choose to ignore it completely for now, and come back to it eventually. Just like Thy Dungeonman II, actually. Remember how I said that I actually did record something for that, and just never did anything with the footage? Well, it turns out the footage was accidentally deleted, so I’ll have to come back to it at some point. So I’ll keep those in mind, but for now, let’s just go over some regular toons and emails. To start, here’s the ever-overrated crying.

I could power a small city with my whining!
I personally consider this to be a middle-of-the-road email. It’s not bad by any stretch of the imagination, but I don’t think it’s all that great either. People in general seem to disagree with me on that, since this is generally considered … well, maybe not “one of the best”, but at least a very good and noteworthy email. As far as I’m concerned, it’s alright. The crying gags kind of went on a bit too long, I feel, and they were never all that funny to begin with. I guess the humor just comes from the fact that Homestar goes completely hysterical over such a stupid thing, but I dunno, it just never clicked with me, I guess.

So, what do I feel this email did well? Out of all of Homestar’s blubbering, I did enjoy the “male modeling” and “sound financial advice” lines, just due to the absurdity of them. And while Li’l Brudder didn’t do much for me, for some reason I found Tendafoot pretty funny. If anything, it was the sudden reveal that Strong Bad just happened to have a second drawing around for that specific purpose, plus the next couple lines are classics as well. Amazingly, I don’t know if I’ve ever used the “I could power a small city with my whining” line within context that would actually make sense. Such as when one of my own li’l brudders was whining about some asinine thing and I wanted them to shut up. It apparently never occurred to me, but I’ll have to keep that in mind for the future.

Also, even though this is completely irrelevant, I have to take this opportunity to complain about the general usage of the abbreviation “li’l”. It’s annoyed me ever since I was a kid, for whatever reason, possibly because I don’t think I’ve ever heard anyone actually pronounce “little” that way, so it’s just kind of unnecessary. It’s not like “wanna” or “cuz”, which are things that people do say. If anything, I just say “liddle”, because most people in my region don’t really pronounce their T’s in the middle of words. Anyways, the next few updates according to the timeline are things I’m going to skip over for right now. For the record, there’s a few menu updates, the full Peasant’s Quest game, and a Videlectrix game called Hall Runner. I’m thinking at this point that I should probably just dedicate a full post to these games (plus Duck Guardian, another game that will be coming up soon), so I’ll be holding off on that for now, but will get to them soon. For now though, let’s keep the pace moving along with a family-friendly email: for kids.

Now this one, I definitely did enjoy. Maybe it’s because I’ve seen many a kids’ show in my day, and this was a pretty accurate parody of some of the crappier ones. But this email is sort of broken into a few parts, so let’s start from the beginning. First off, there’s the Peasant’s Quest bit, in which Strong Bad makes use of some secret commands that were not actually part of the original game. They were added in at some point after this email, albeit with different results. I like the opening of this email because it’s different from the usual song and dance routine. It would be cool to see him playing other games now and then, but I guess that would sort of kill the novelty of it.

Moving on to the show that Strong Bad hosts – the wiki sort of describes this bit as an inverted Blue’s Clues, in which the host knows exactly what’s going on, and the kids in the audience don’t. That’s one way of looking at it, I suppose. I’m still not sure why Strong Bad starts freaking out over the kids not finding The Cheat, when nothing that they’re saying indicates that. Earlier on, there was the whole “Christopher Columbus” thing, which was pretty dumb (but funny), but when he asks where The Cheat is hiding, they all say things like “he’s over there”, which is not necessarily a wrong answer. It’s not like they were saying “in the toilet” or anything else that would be objectively wrong. I dunno. I’m also not sure why he threatens to kill all their dogs, but I’m just going to roll with it.

The Homsar segment of this email is definitely my favorite, if only because of its unfortunate accuracy. The theme song was pretty sweet too, and I sing it far more than I have any reason to. But the show itself is sort of a hybrid of Teletubbies and Boohbah, which (to go on a bit of a tangent here) honestly aren’t even that comparable in my opinion. Teletubbies, while painfully stupid, at least attempts to have some elements of storytelling to it. Nothing I’ve ever seen of Boohbah leads me to believe it is anything more than a bad acid trip. But anyway, all the elements are here. Pointless visuals with nothing happening, check. Abrupt cuts to unrelated crap, check. Ridiculous amounts of repetition, check. The “Stave it off” gag was excellent, and probably one of my favorites on the site. To quote Futurama, “before we go, let’s do everything we just did two more times.” The “Stave it off” gag was excellent, and probably one of my favorites on the site. And instead of thinking of a transition to the next email, other days, let’s just cut to it abruptly.

I got a Polish email in my pocket, and I think it's starting to melt.
This email was just kind of a mish-mash of stuff. Which kind of makes sense, given the subject of the email, so I can’t exactly fault it for that. It was just a fact that became evident to me when I tried to pick a screenshot for the email, since I wanted it to be something that stood out from the norm, and the other cutaway segments didn’t really have much to distinguish themselves.

So let’s take a look at what we have here. The snail mail segment was pretty meh, but the song at the beginning kind of redeems it. I also feel the need to point out that Strong Bad makes a joke about the BMW lighter, even though you’d have to be pretty familiar with the lighter from previous emails for the reference to make any sense at all. I don’t think the logo on it was ever really pointed out before, and it’s so small here that it seems like a weird type of joke to make. But enough complaining about that. The “lecture” segment, once again, was kind of meh, but was saved by Strong Mad yelling “I’M THE HUMP!”, which was pretty hilarious.

Comm serv thurs and biz cas fri were what they were. I don’t really have anything further to say on them, aside from the observation that apparently their office only has business casual dress code on Fridays, whereas the place I work has that for the majority of the week, and then Friday/Saturday are just completely casual. And then there was some battle axe thing and some weird Polish thing. Yeah, I didn’t really have very much to say about this email, I guess. It had a couple funny quotes, and the rest was sort of forgettable. The Easter eggs were pretty good though. Next up, we get to see something else that Strong Bad does that was not mentioned in that email – Teen Girl Squad! Specifically, Issue #7.

Listen up, you undapants! Who wants to get hogtied, and pushed down, into, some snakewater?
I don’t mean to sound like I’m whining about every single toon lately not being up to snuff, since I honestly don’t have anything against them, but I can’t think of any other way to start this one out rather than “not one of my favorite TGS issues”. So instead of focusing on the parts that were not so great in my opinion, I’ll just list off the parts that I thought were funny.

  • This was the first appearance of Tompkins, who I find generally pretty amusing. Apparently he was based on Matt and Mike’s cousin, who at one point did actually threaten to push them down into some snakewater. Whatever that means. Sounds about right, though, as I have had similar experiences with my own cousins when I was little. No snakewater though.
  • Tompkins’s death was amusing in its own little inexplicable way. I just like the concept of Strong Bad running out of ideas. I thought the first thing that showed up was pretty great too. It was just some sort of arm with a ring and a bowler hat, not sure what that was all about.
  • This isn't really so much "funny" as it is just interesting to note, but the background in this TGS is the dotted line paper that kids use to learn to write. Fits with the theme.
  • Mrs. Commanderson, just in general. Nothing more really needs to be said there, other than the fact that I wish I had used that name (a shortened one, anyway) for my Archeops back in Pokémon White.

As you can tell, I like the more bizarre things in TGS. The more down-to-earth parts, like the overly long song at the beginning, tend to not be as funny. You have to have a mix though, as random stuff being thrown at you constantly just leads to stuff like animutations and Youtube Poops, which … well, I generally enjoy anyway, but you know what they say about too much of a good thing, and subsequently, too much of an awesome thing. Anyway, here’s an Answering Machine. I don’t think I could possibly segue into that with any sort of relevant statement.

BOOOOP! BOOOOP! BOOOOP! This is a napkin alert, Marzipan!
There’s some pretty good messages this time around. No all-time favorites or anything, but I have no complaints here. Strong Bad’s was sort of the generic prank call, but still had some parts in it that made me laugh, such as “move the ocean” and the competing candidate, Cory. And then in the final message, we learn that Marzipan actually did leave some stuff out (though it’s arguable if she did it because of the first message or if it was for something entirely different). Not sure why Strong Bad wants to melt a hamster cage, though. I guess it’s about as random as setting a fax machine on fire, but then again, clearly he wasn’t the one who did that.

Homestar’s message was kind of mediocre here, but I did enjoy the ending of it. Both the “beep” being an answer for the puzzle and him calling Marzipan a broomstick. Because she totally is. There’s also some Polish in this Answering Machine for whatever reason. I guess they just liked putting it in the other days email and decided to bring it back. I’d mention something about the person who actually did those lines, but it’s not particularly interesting, so I’m not going to.

Believe it or not though, I think the King of Town actually has the best message in this set, if only because of how over-the-top it was. “The Flamingo” is an excellent name for a thing, but my favorite part was the delivery of the “fifty frickin’ wings” line. It’s almost like a toned-down version of the “Precision F-Strike” trope, in the sense that the King would usually never speak that way. It was unexpected and hilarious. But now, I’ll move on to an email where The King of Town’s unfunniness is actually the main subject: old comics.

The strip was sadly canceled when the last living reader, a Civil War veteran and creamed corn enthusiast, died.
This is kind of the opposite of crying for me – this email doesn’t seem to be very well-liked, but I thought it was pretty good, myself. The subject material wasn’t funny, but that was kind of the point, and that somehow makes it go around full-circle and become funny again. It’s hard to describe, but most things involving humor are. Mainly I just like the art style that the comics have. It’s very accurate to its source material. I’ve never read newspaper comics myself (not very much, anyway), but I’ve seen a few over the years, and The Castlefunnies fits right in with the crowd. It’s the noses, mainly.

I feel the need to mention that there’s a subtle, yet frequently revisited concept that shows up in this email, and that is the silhouette panel. I actually don’t think HRWiki even has an article on that, which is surprising, since they have an article for freaking everything. But basically, there’s a number of things on the site (books and comics usually, but not always) that will occasionally cut to a scene where the characters are silhouetted, usually with a yellow background. This happens in at least five places – the original book (and Strumstar Hammer by association), Lookin at a Thing in a Bag, flashback, this email, and unnatural. The Chapmans have mentioned it in the commentary as being based on old Dennis the Menace comics, which would do the same thing. Kind of a useless fact, but I like to point those out.

Other funny things in this email: West Islip, “Mushy Chamberpot” and the dialogue box of commas, the pencil moistener, and the “Put Pasta Salad in Strong Mad’s Underdrawers Drawer Scare of ‘04” (both the name of it and the Easter egg associated with it). So I’m not completely sure why this email is disliked. Also, I like how it completely disregarded the subject of the original email. At no point does Strong Bad even attempt to answer why the King has a Poopsmith. I get the feeling that the Chapmans just had this idea and picked an email that was vaguely related to the subject, and just ran with it. Next up, we have some Puppet Stuff. Or is it a holiday toon? I guess it’s both. Here’s Labor Dabor.

Todaybor day is Labor Day!
This is a short toon, so this will be a short review. Plus, it seems to be in the spirit of the holiday that this is celebrating to not put much work into the write-up. So uh… this was a thing. The puppet segment was pretty much exactly what I’d expect it to be. I guess they just wanted to bring back Col-o-nel Homestar, and he rattles off some of the usual stuff that he did from army. Then Bennedetto pukes up a bunch of popcorn and they flail around for a while. And then there's a song, which is admittedly pretty catchy.

The highlight of this one was definitely the weird bowling animations that The Cheat made. When I first saw these, I wasn’t quite sure what they were supposed to be, but once I saw someone explain it, it suddenly clicked and I’m not sure how I missed it the first time around. I don’t know if all bowling alleys have them, but most of the ones I’ve been to have similar little animations that play on the scoreboard screens when your turn is up. I don’t remember seeing any that have sound, but if they did, I’d imagine them to sound something like this. The last one (with the cell phone) in particular just has this weird, off-putting quality to it that reminds me of the Gene Deitch Tom & Jerry cartoons. And then I ended up Googling him and found that he directed animated shorts based on the “Krazy Kat” comic series. This would be irrelevant if it wasn’t for the fact that the style that The Castlefunnies uses is apparently inspired heavily by Krazy Kat. I’m not even sure what happened to my train of thought there, but it was an interesting coincidence.

I’m not sure how to follow that up, so I’m not going to. Abrupt ending.

Friday, October 31, 2014

Decemberween in July on Halloween!

First things first, to address the elephant in the room – there’s actually been three Homestar updates between my previous post and this one. If you haven’t seen those yet, then holy crap dude, check them out. But yeah, with previous updates (or signs of life), I’ve started my posts by reviewing the new toons, just to be on-topic and whatnot. But in this case, since the site seems to be getting back into a semi-regular groove, I don’t really feel the need to do that yet. I’m just going to keep truckin’ along with my 2004 material, and assuming I manage to keep this blog going for long enough, I’ll eventually be getting to the 2014 material sometime around the time that SBEmail 300 gets released. So with that not-actually out of the way, the next toon for me to check out is the main reason I’m forcing myself to write this before November (so I can have that awesome post title) – Decemberween In July.

It's not just for email anymore!
Well, this is something different. As I completely failed to point out, 2003 didn’t actually have a Decemberween toon of any kind. This was because Mike and Missy got married around that time, and they didn’t have enough time to put together anything major. A few ideas were tossed around, and so this collection of shorts is basically what those ideas turned into. The menu itself doesn’t really need any comment, but I’ll mention something anyway. It’s based on an old Strong Bad Email menu (which I might have linked to at some point, I don’t remember, but here it is again anyway), and much like that one, there’s a secret if you click on a specific light. Except in this case, it’s actually something pretty major, so I’ll have to go over that. Let’s actually start with that one – click the green light above the “w” in Decemberween and you’ll find Homestar vs. Little Girl.

"I want ... a special!" ... "A space show?"
This thing has no right to be as funny as it is. Generally the puppet toons rank between mediocre and not-so-great in my opinion, but I’ve always loved this one. Matt ad-libbing Homestar while playing off of Little Girl’s general cuteness and strange responses equals instant comedy. For the record, her name is Astrid Renee, and she’s Matt and Mike’s niece. She also appeared in that weird “Matt cake” from the Message Bored, and coined the names “Gron Sad” and “Graw Mad”. But anyway, getting back to the toon, I’d list my favorite parts, but it would pretty much just be me quoting the entire thing. If I had to pick one best line from it, it would be “it sounds like funny, but it’s not”, though “I like space show DVDs the best” comes close if only because of the callback. One interesting thing to point out about this toon is that while this one is an Easter egg, it actually spawned a few sequels, which were not. So Homestar vs. Little Girl 2 is just sort of found in the Toons menu normally with no obvious original in sight. It’s interesting to think that now, “Little Girl” is ten years older than she was in this toon, and could be part of a squad of teen girls. But hopefully not one that does the stupid kind of crap exhibited in Teen Girl Squad Issue #6.

Lion's mouth, plus Decemberween present, divided by peer pressure, times height, equals ... TRIPLE SALCHOW!
Eh. Not one of the better TGS issues, in my opinion. The first half was a bit too redundant, and the second half had some funny bits, but was still not quite up to par with previous issues. I can’t complain too much, since this was only one of several Decemberween shorts released all at the same time, but as a TGS on its own, it falls a bit flat. As a random bit of trivia, there's actually two versions of this on the site - one for the TGS menu, and one for the Decemberween in July menu. The only difference between them seems to be the page title and where the "back" button at the end leads.And… yeah, that’s about all I can say about this one.  Not sure what was up of the wave of babies, but it doesn’t deserve much of my attention. So I’ll just move on to That Time of Year (just called “Kid’s Book” on the menu).

"Erweenga" is the name of the striped worm. Get dead, kid.
Just like the original kid’s book email, I think this thing is awesome. Like with most other genuinely funny shorts, there’s not much I can really add to this in terms of intelligent discussion. I just think the concept of drawing over an innocent story and making it incredibly mean-spirited and violent is hilarious. This one also takes a bit of a step beyond the original “Everyone is Different” by having alternate versions of some of the pages. I guess they just had a lot of funny ideas and couldn’t choose between them. Speaking of which, there’s an unused alternate version of the “robots bursting out of people” page that appears for a single frame in the official Youtube version of this toon, which I went ahead and made the sample screenshot for this one. I was going to go with “Greta is feeding the mouse bug spray”, but this way I don’t have to link to a second image. Huzzah. So, are you ready for another SBEmail callback? Good, because here’s Cactus Coffee and the No Tell Motel.

What's not to understand? Eh! Steve!'s mouth exploded the universe, and that blond guy did a tiny, tiny dance.
…or just “Decemberween Sweet Cuppin’ Cakes”, according to the HR Wiki, but if the previous toon can be called That Time of Year, after the book, then whatever. There’s no consistency there. So… this is the first appearance of the Sweet Cuppin’ Cakes gang since the original crazy cartoon SBEmail/PBTC toon, unless you count the Main Page based on it. And off the top of my head, I can only think of two other times in the future that they’ll show up again (other than random Eh! Steve cameos, which happen from time to time). It’s not a major mainstay of the Homestar series as a whole, and Strong Bad pretty much explains why. It doesn’t make any sense. It can be funny for very short bursts like this one, but that’s about it. I do like how they brought back Ready For Primetime from the haircut email. That was a nice addition. Also, the demo that Keyboard Strong Bad plays here was totally on a keyboard that I actually owned back in the day. I thought that was pretty neat when I first watched this. But anyway, there’s two shorts left, and both of them are kind of weak, so I’m just going to tackle them both at once. Let’s wrap this up with Homestar and the Nice Present and Seasonal Sweaters. 

Seasonal sweaters, with presents and bows, snowmen and trees, and sometimes a bell (a bell!)

So then Marzipan says I'm projecting my problems. You know, how can a guy deal with that?

Definitely not ending on a high note here. I’m not sure why Homestar vs. Little Girl was hidden, and yet the Santam’n toon was displayed normally, since the former is far superior. I can’t really pinpoint anything there that was actually funny, except for the very beginning when Homestar tackles the present and tears it open, which was at least somewhat amusing. Other than that… pass. Then we have Seasonal Sweaters, which in pretty much any other context would be a standalone Easter egg that doesn’t really need its own specific mention, but it is technically a separate toon with its own page, so I have to at least address it. It’s basically the “Oh Yeah Yeah” thing from the marzipan email, and the best thing I can pinpoint about it is the terrible shapetween that I captured in the screenshot to be preserved for posterity. Also, it’s worth noting that it was actually added to the Decemberween in July menu a week after the rest of it was put up. Not sure why they felt the need to tack it on, but I suppose it’s not hurting anybody. I’d just much rather watch a music video that isn’t terrible, such as the big Homestar/TMBG collab, Experimental Film.

I already know the ending, it's the part that makes your face implode. I don't know what makes your face implode, but that's the way the movie ends.
I probably won’t be able to do this toon the justice it deserves, since this is a really nice animation to go along with a really nice song. Obviously the song is by They Might Be Giants, in their third and largest collaboration with the Homestar series. This actually is an official music video for the song (I’m not sure if it’s the only one), and it has aired on TV. It’s definitely cool to see Homestar leak into the mainstream every once in a while like that. Now, I suppose I should probably talk about the animation a bit, since I can’t claim to know the inspiration for the actual song, and I’m not going to try and argue its significance or meaning. As far as I’m concerned, it’s pretty much just about making a pretentious experimental film and thinking it’s going to be great, when it most likely isn’t. From the little I know about TMBG, I don’t think they’re really the type of band to put deep metaphors in their work. I could be wrong, so don’t get offended if I am – I haven’t looked into this at all, since that’s not really my focus here. But I can talk about the video.

I enjoy the blend between Strong Sad’s titular experimental film (not the last one he’ll make, either, if you look way into the future at SBEmail 203) and The Cheat’s usual sloppy style. If you haven’t seen it yet, there’s a hidden commentary track that plays over the music video if you click on the credits at the beginning. During the commentary, Strong Sad points out some of the symbolism of the two different worlds and “Rondell’s transformation into a new man”, which I’m pretty sure is just more bogus symbolism that they made up to make it sound deep. The “fantasy and reality colliding” part does make sense in terms with the visuals, but I still don’t think it actually has anything to do with the song. All in all, I think the commentary is more of a reinforcement of the idea that the song is really just supposed to be about an experimental film that tries to be overly artsy and doesn’t really make any sense.

But whatever. I like the animation, I like the song, and I like the commentary. As long as it doesn’t make my face implode (or “implood”, as they pronounce it), I’m fine with it. And like I said earlier, I probably didn’t do it justice, but I’m not a music buff, nor do I claim to be one. So I’mma move on to the next toon, a SBEmail called pom pom. And wait a second, wasn’t that one about… oh. OH. Well, crap. Let me rewatch that one.

I'm pretty sure I didn't get the everloving snot beat out of me and that Pom Pom exploded in a big fiery ball that was visible from space.
Well, I wasn’t going to talk about any of the new toons yet, but this email is highly relevant to the 2014 Halloween toon that just came out, so I have to at least mention it. This is going to be spoilery if you haven’t seen it yet, but I assume most people have. If you haven’t, go see it now, I’ll wait.

Ok, we good? So… I feel stupid for asking this, but is Pom Pom actually dead now? Normally I wouldn’t think much about Homestar “canon”, since things are rarely consistent between cartoons, but I don’t remember a time that they’ve just flat-out killed off a character in a non-hypothetical situation like that. Homsar’s been crushed by a heavy lourde, dropped off a cliff, and wasted away (in homsar, cliffhangers, and A Decemberween Mackerel, respectively), but he’s, well, Homsar. And he’s apparently still fine in I Killed Pom Pom. And to be fair, Pom Pom’s still ok at the very end of that toon too, but that’s just the “stand around and face the camera” scene, which doesn’t necessarily count. So I assume that he’s coming back, but you never know. He hasn’t exactly done much in the series in ... ever, and this could be the start of a new storyline or something. Those don’t happen often in this series, but they’re not unheard of.

I’m going to assume that Pom Pom’s ok until further notice. Still a weird coincidence that I happened to reach this email on the very day that toon came out, though. But anyway, back to the subject at hand. Strong Bad gets an email (I know, right?) that asks what would happen if he murdered another character, and he just kind of rolls with it. I’m a bit concerned with the fact that he doesn’t seem to have any issue with testing it out, so I guess it’s a good thing that he isn’t the most competent person to take on the task.

I can’t really think of anything else to say about the main subject of the email, so instead, let’s focus on some minor, unimportant stuff. Like the fact that Strong Bad can’t type well with a blindfold even though he’s an extremely fast typist otherwise (and therefore can obviously type without looking at the keys) and has managed to type things with his feet and head before. And during the “email card game” Easter egg, Monkeydude (the sender of the crazy cartoon email) is represented by Monkey D, which is actually a different thing entirely. Given the subject of that email, I think this would actually be a good stopping point for now, but instead, I’ll end it on a preview of things to come. Not much of one, since I assume most people reading this are very familiar with the series, but I still hope that there’s some newbies out there who are using this as a way to progress through an otherwise daunting amount of material. But yeah, here’s the Peasant’s Quest Preview.

From the company that made that game "TROGDOR!", and that game "Rabbit Algebra", comes a graphical text adventure of rather large proportions.
This trailer succeeds on two different levels. It manages to make fun of really old games like this and the hardware that they would run on, while simultaneously getting you excited to play it, despite how crappy it looks. Because hey, it’s not actually crappy if it’s meant to be that way, right? The joys of “retreaux” games. (Does anyone actually use that word?)

I’m finding it difficult to comment on the preview very much, because unlike most commercial-type toons, this is a legitimate trailer for something that exists, and so I can’t really point out something like “that part with the ‘throw baby’ command was hilarious”, because that’s an actual thing that you do in that game. Speaking of that specific moment though, I’m reasonably sure that it was included in this preview specifically because nobody would have figured it out otherwise. As far as completely new content is concerned, there’s the short clip of “Rabbit Algebra”, which is a funny concept, and there’s some shots of the game being played or developed on actual old computers. And also bad moustaches. I am a fan of the conversation from the Easter egg at the end, particularly the last line – “I’m supposed to release a video computer game on TV without this graphic.” I’m not sure that even he knew what that was supposed to mean.

But that’ll be it for now. As you can tell from the fact that I just covered the preview, Peasant’s Quest is coming up soon. I’m not sure if I should record a fresh playthrough of that. I did already contribute to a Let’s Play of it back in the day, guiding my now-wife (who I had just met like, a couple days before making that video) through the game blind. I probably said about everything that I wanted to back in that series, so there’s probably not any need to record a separate thing for it. And speaking of videos of Homestar games, I do actually have the footage for Thy Dungeonman II still (at least, I did last time I checked, hopefully it hasn’t been deleted for real this time), I just haven’t done anything with it. So maybe I’ll actually edit that thing together and put that up next time. Until then, keep an eye on the official site for new updates! Hopefully they’ll still continue at a decent pace.

Monday, September 22, 2014

Episode XXXIV: Return of the Spinoffs (not commercial free)

In the last set of toons I covered, we saw the return (or continuation, since it wasn’t a very long gap between release dates) of SBEmail, plus the start of a new series, the Cheat Commandos. Clearly the site isn’t slowing down any time soon, as we can see in some of the following toons. These manage to follow up on quite a few different aspects of the site, and as start a bit of new stuff too. To begin, here’s a bit of puppet stuff, taken in a new direction for somewhat of a miniseries. Here’s Puppet Jam.

Why was I stapled to the chicken? I don't know, man!
(links to individual videos in text)
I’m not gonna lie, I’m not terribly fond of these. I don’t think most people were, honestly. But I’m not going to completely write them off either. To start, there are actually seven Puppet Jam shorts, four of which are on the site, and three which are DVD exclusive. So here we have Bad Jokes, Tropical Lazor Beams, Vitamins/Celebrities, and Mission Control. These were released once per week alongside other updates, as a bit of bonus material. Mission Control was actually referred to as “The Lost Puppet Jam” because it was given an entry on the Toons menu at one point, but it was never actually linked to. The link was taken down after a bit, and then it was added properly a few weeks later.

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.

New Cheat Commandos...O's...O'sy O's...sugar cereal, is a delicious part of this complete delicious breakfast! And take some vitamins too!
Add this to the list of toons that I basically have memorized. I love Cheat Commandos, I love TBC’s work with fake commercials, and this thing generally has a lot of quotable lines, so you really can’t go wrong here. I remember being very pleasantly surprised that this was the weekly update so shortly after the original Cheat Commandos, if only because it confirmed that it was going to be an ongoing thing. The fact that the toon itself is genuinely funny was almost just a bonus at that point, but it definitely cemented the idea of this being an awesome sub-series.

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.

Here lies Strong Bad - checking emails and kicking Cheats in the hereafter. Buried with his hundred girlfriends and like, a jllion dollars. Please don't dig up the grave.
I’m pleasantly surprised by this one. For some reason, I remember it not being all that funny, but there were a lot of great moments here. I haven’t done a bullet point list in a while, and since this email was pretty much a series of weird moments with not much else to talk about, then why the heck not.
  •  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.
I think that covers everything pretty well. I try to avoid “this was a funny part, and this was another funny part, and this was another funny part” style reviews when possible, but sometimes it’s unavoidable. And it might be unavoidable with the next one too, because it looks like I’m gonna have to jump! …
*awkward pause*
… Because it’s dangeresque 3.

Ugh, I told you guys already I'm not going to be in your stupid movie!
Well, kind of. That’s the name of the email, anyway. Instead, we get a “remastered” version of Dangeresque 1. And while I enjoy this email thoroughly, I’m gonna be “that guy” and point out the one issue with it. This movie has way too many references to Dangeresque 2 for it to actually be the first movie in the series. Yes, you could argue that it was the other way around, but it just doesn’t feel like that. If anything, the title (“Dangeresque, Too?”) kind of gives it away. And as I mentioned in the review of stunt double, this one has way more of an actual story and (and despite this, still fails to have a story that makes sense, but that’s not the point) than Dangeresque 2. Unnecessary complaints aside, this is definitely a good follow-up to stunt double. I do like how it’s more like an actual action/spy movie, instead of just a series of unrelated clips.

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.

Let's get one thing straight, meatball... face... butt: I work alone. 'Cept when I work with Renaldo... which is all the time.
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.

We can help you get a leg up on the pile! Low rates, percent signs... I dunno...
I actually had no idea that this came out so close to Cheat Commandos … O’s. It’s just weird realizing that two of my favorite and most quoted toons on the website were released only about a month apart. As I just said earlier, I love the fake commercials, and I love Senor Cardgage in general, so you really can’t go wrong with combining the two. And while this one’s not as “out there” as the cereal ad was, it still keeps the perfect blend of emulating the source material and throwing in the occasional bit of weirdness to keep it funny.

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.

Well... my head a splode.
As with any Main Page, there’s not much I really need to talk about, but this is one of the cooler ones so far. It’s a nice follow-up to the Atari-based Main Page 13, with some cool visuals and an interesting voice filter. It also took me longer than I’d like to get a screenshot of this page with almost all of the different visual effects going on at once. So after doing that, and spending about half an hour making my new Blogger icon in MS Paint, let’s finally finish up the day with cheatday.

Sweet, sweet The Cheat, today is the day on your fake ID! Now get upstairs... and fix me some breakfast!
This is almost an opposite of replacement, in that I went into this one remembering it to be a lot better than it actually was. But don’t get me wrong, it’s still a solid email, just not as funny as I thought it was. The highlight of the email for me was the concept of Ilko Skevüld and the stuff associated with that. Such as the fact that the ID card actually says “Fake ID” on it. And the fact that he’s a miner, when the only reason you would need a fake ID in the first place is if you’re a minor. Kind of an interesting play on words there, which isn’t really pointed out at any time, so I have to wonder if it was actually intentional. Also, the ID lists his “type” as miner, which is kind of an interesting, Pokémon-ish way of putting it.

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.

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Buy All Our Playsets and (Weird, Off-model) Toys!

When the dead web series that you’re doing reviews on actually has more signs of life than the review site itself, then you know something’s going wrong. It’s been … about four months, it looks like. No real reason, either, I’ve just been putting it off for ages. This intro paragraph is actually being written after some of the following stuff, which I wrote back in June and then never finished. But getting back on subject, if you haven’t heard yet (which is unlikely, because I don’t know who would be following this blog and not follow updates to the HR Wiki), there’s been a hint of greater things to come. Matt Chapman was interviewed for the Jeff Rubin Show, and he basically said that he and Mike have been wanting to revive the series for years now, they just haven’t had the circumstances to really get back to it and give it the full attention they’d want. But apparently there’s a good chance that it could have another update (if not come back to a regular update schedule, then at least another isolated toon) before the year is out. So check out that interview if you haven’t yet, and assuming you’ve already seen it, let’s get back on track and revisit New Boots.

Oh yeah, The Cheat, he's a...stripèd, green rabbit! With two butts!
I’ve always found this toon to be one of the most solid in the “Powered By The Cheat” category. It’s not as well-known as Crazy Cartoon, the song isn’t quite as good as Everybody to the Limit, and it’s not as memorable as mile, but there’s a lot to laugh at in this. Before I get to any of that though, I have to at least mention that I feel like the voice acting is somewhat … off. And that’s normal for this category, since the PBTC characters have intentionally crappy voices, but they seem different from usual, and The Cheat himself just sounds weird in places. It’s hard to pinpoint why, but his first “line” of the cartoon (presumably “a cute girl and an astronaut gave them to me”) sounds like someone else’s exaggeration of The Cheat’s usual noises, and not what he would normally sound like. He sounded kind of off during the segment with Strong Bad at the computer too.

Trying to ignore that though, there’s just so much other weirdness going on that it’s difficult to focus on anything. Everyone remembers the part with Nebulon (Matt Chapman himself says that it was one of his favorite moments in the whole series), and then there’s the whole bit with The Cheat pouring soup in Homestar’s eyes (a callback to the different town email). But even though it’s a minor thing, I always found it odd that Strong Bad says he’ll go get The Cheat a patty melt, and then comes back with a picnic basket of completely different items. And for whatever reason, the lines I took away from this toon were the first two that Strong Bad says - “Whoa, The Cheat, I can’t believe what cool boots you have on” and “Oh, I see, a cute girl and an astronaut gave them to you”. I quote those (replacing the subject matter, but leaving in the terrible voice and weird inflections) all the time.

And then there’s the Hip Hop Dance music video, which is just sort of tacked on to the end of the New Boots toon. It isn’t its own toon under any sort of categorization on the website, it’s just … part of New Boots. Sure, why not. It’s a fairly catchy song, with fairly terrible visuals (I like the little Mega Man sprite though), but there’s not a whole lot to say about it. I actually like the little ditty that plays while The Cheat dances on Homestar’s face almost as much as Coach Z’s song, but it ended very quickly, which is disappointing. But speaking of things that ended earlier than they should have, here’s something that’s basically the exact opposite of that – Strong Bad Email #101, car.

When you spin my buzzer, it plays the theme from Night Court starring Richard Moll.
…To elaborate on that incredibly forced segue, what I was basically trying to say is that SBEmails didn’t stop after 100. Which is obvious now, but back then, nobody was quite sure if they’d keep going. Well indeed they did, and the first one after the big 100 was somewhat of a return to the old-style “never leave the computer” format. This has never been a big favorite of mine, but upon rewatching it, I realized that it was the origin of the word “anydangway”, which I love using, and was also the first appearance of the name “Gron Sad”, which is just plain awesome.

So apparently, “what kind of car do you drive” was one of the most common emails that Strong Bad received back in the day. Rather than repeatedly mention it in the “how do you type with boxing gloves on” sense, or make fun of it as we’ll see eventually with “what do your parents look like” and “can you draw Trogdor again”, they decided to just get this email out of the way and kind of kill off the question once and for all. And so instead of Strong Bad making something up or revealing that he did in fact have a cool car all along, Homestar just kind of shows up, steals the spotlight for a bit, and then the email ends abruptly. Remember when I said that the bet would have been pretty funny if it just ended by saying “no” and not showing anything of value? Well, this email did basically just that, as pointed out to me in a comment on that post. I guess I had just forgotten about it.

Anydangway, I could talk a bit about Nerdular Nerdence, the fact that Strong Sad didn’t really answer Strong Bad’s “jillion” question very well, or bring up some pointless debate over whether or not it was an animation goof when Strong Bad spun Homestar’s buzzer and it may or may not have spun the wrong way (yes, this was actually a debate, because people have nothing better to do, and I am usually not in any position to say that myself). But I won’t, because the next email is lunch special and I like that one quite a bit, so I want to rewatch it. And besides, I just mentioned all those things in the process of saying I won’t talk about them, so my job there is done.

Gimme a basket of double hot wings, pants down, a couple of egg rolls ... and a cod plank platter!
This is just a solid email overall. It’s one of those completely nonsensical plots that doesn’t really go anywhere, along the lines of Lookin at a Thing in a Bag, and I feel like those are some of the best toons in the series. This one also lost focus a bit – the email asked Strong Bad to get Bubs to give out free lunch specials, but all the effort went into making him say “sbu” for a poorly established reason, and then that turned out to do something completely unrelated. Speaking of which, I like to think that Bubs legitimately did have the ability to fly until that moment, though I guess it’s more likely that he was just messing with Strong Bad. It’s kind of sad if that was true, though, even if he could only hover a few inches, it would still be cool to do.

I don’t think I ever paid much attention to it before this viewing, but “Super Chinese Fish Buffalo Rice” is hilarious. The DVD commentary elaborates on that a bit, apparently it was making fun of some restaurants in their area that just listed off a bunch of unrelated food rather than having an actual name. The other example they gave was “Philly Wing Fish Chinese Food”. The more I think about it, the funnier it gets. Maybe I’m just weird that way. And I still don’t know what a cod plank platter is supposed to be. Googling it returns this email as a result, so maybe it’s like pressed bunson. [doesn’t explain]

As with many high-quality toons and emails, there’s not much I can really say other than just repeating some of the funny parts, and honestly, I think “Super Chinese Fish Buffalo Rice” is the high point here. I used to enjoy this email because of the absurdity of what was going on, and basically the entire ending starting from the “I I’m think flooding he’s you flooding out! you out!” bit up until the fairly hot MS Paint Brontosaurus. But now I like it for those reasons, plus one more. Oh, and luncch. I’ve turned that into an everyday word now. But speaking of Strong Mad and crude drawings, let’s see some more of that in the next email, haircut.

And don't forget the "Ready for Primetime." Which I admit I got a little carried away with.
This was a nice simple email. By “simple”, I don’t mean it was exactly an old-fashioned stay-at-the-computer style email, but it wasn’t terribly elaborate either. The bulk of it took place staring at a photo of Strong Mad, but had some pretty funny voiceovers. So to start with this one, we’ve got someone who manages to be even less observant than the sender of the car email (unless he confused Senor Cardgage for Strong Bad, since he has a rockin’ combover), and then the email becomes somewhat sidetracked, as they often do.

Nothing particularly noteworthy occurs during the “looking for people with hair” segment, but the eyebrow art holds its own well enough, I think. There were some definite winners in there, my favorite probably being the “dog and also a cat shaped eyebrows… and a couple of muskrats” due to pure randomness. I do enjoy “I DON’T WANNA EAT A GUITAR” way more than I should though, and (in a twist that surprises no one), I enjoy using that as a non-sequitur in real life. What is it with some of these recent emails/toons where that keeps being a thing?

To close on this one, I’ll draw extra attention to the dancing/singing cardboard box Easter egg at the end (and the egg within the egg), because it’s one of the most ridiculous things ever, but I love Strong Mad’s reaction to it. Just “HOORAY  FOR BOX”. I couldn’t say it better myself, big fella. Oh, and there’s a Strong Badman comic in this one too. And yes, this is actually the first time he’s shown up since his debut way back in email 29. Jeez, I’m surprised they even remembered that. It seems like the sort of thing that would have started a mini-series within the site, but such is not the case. Instead, we’ve got a completely unrelated and barely-hinted-to miniseries starting immediately after this email! So strap in and get your wallet ready for the Cheat Commandos!

There's the Troop Carrier, the Troop Transport, and the Action Figure Storage Truck.
I’m gonna start out here by saying that I friggin’ love the Cheat Commandos. I’d have to say that it’s my favorite spinoff series from Homestar Runner, and I’m not entirely sure why, since I never watched GI Joe (which this is heavily based on), but it’s just so cheesy and shameless that I can’t help but enjoy it. But I’m getting ahead of myself. Obviously I’ve just spoiled that this does become a thing later on (if you somehow didn’t already know that), but we didn’t necessarily know that would be the case when this toon first came out. It was too good of a concept to not be used, though. For an introductory toon, this does a very good job of establishing the franchise.

Cheat Commandos is comprised of two major things, which are very heavily related. There’s the merchandise (the action figures and various playsets, which are shown off heavily in this toon), and then there’s the cartoon itself, which exists for no reason other than the sell the merchandise, hence the slogan. Oddly enough, we won’t be seeing very much (if any) of the toys after this introduction; from this point on, it’s just the cartoon. I am perfectly fine with that, because the cartoon is hilarious, but it is a bit of a shame that there’s no more toy commercials after this one, since Matt and Mike always do a really good job with fake commercials.

Cheat Commandos, maybe fighting for freedom, and each is sold separately. Cheat Commandos, they're probably battling evil. Buy all our playsets and toys! At this point, I could probably talk a bit about the different characters from the series, but I think that will happen naturally over time when I start to cover the later episodes. I will mention that a few of the characters don’t see much use through the course of the series. Foxface only shows up once (and not as a speaking role), and Ripberger (who shares a name with a character from Thy Dungeonman II), Flashfight, and Reinforcements aren’t far behind. I don’t have a problem with that, since the characters that do show up frequently have enough personality on their own that they don’t really need any more support. I just wanted to point that out because this toon introduces all ten characters (with decent little gags when you look at their action figure boxes in the Easter egg), but not all of them really get a chance to shine. Remember that most of the characters were basically created out of rejected commando names for The Cheat back in the army email.

That’s about all I can say for this one. It’s just a solid toon overall – it does its job very well introducing the series, and still has a lot of great jokes in it. I especially like the “Operation don’t crush ourselves” mission statement in the background of the Blue Laser headquarters, which they fail immediately. But anyway, I do want to get to one more email before the end of this post, so I’ll be getting to that right after a random interlude from The Cheatar.

You're way taller than me. And way...guitarer than me.
So obviously this isn’t a major toon of any sort, it’s just a little thing that got posted before the email one week. There’s not much more I can say about it that the mouse-over text doesn’t already say. It’s just a giant guitar that looks like The Cheat. It was sold for $5,000, and the money went to charity. And… that’s about it. Which is good, because the next email is one of the longest ever. So get ready to experience the fury of… theme park.

Oh, crap! It's tasteball already?
I love most SBEmails that parody the ever-loving crap out of a specific part of society, and this is one of the all-time best at that. From beginning to end, it’s a great parody of typical theme park stuff, with the expected HSR twist to it. For example, plenty of cartoons have an amusement park episode with a big scary, over-the-top roller coaster, but what other series would have one that is nothing more than a circle that you go through over and over? …And then you randomly catch fire? And then there’s the “Strong Sad Gets Decked Repeatedly Stunt SPOOK-Tacular”, which is just a generally ridiculous concept, but a hilarious one.

One of the weirder parts of this email is the segment with the cheap Bubs plushies, where you can click on one to see an image of a real one. This actually does have an explanation, but one wasn’t ever given until the fourth SBEmail DVD was released over a year later, and even then, it wasn’t really explained as much as … revisited. So from what I gather, either Matt or Mike commissioned some Chinese factory to make a Bubs plush, or someone else did and then sent the result to them. For some reason, it had a horn, not to mention the fact that its eyes were the same size and it had fangs instead of normal teeth. This thing went on to be known as “Shark-Tooth Bubs”, was given a terrible voice by Mike, and made a few unexplained appearances in later material (later as in, like, 2008). I thought that it made several DVD-exclusive appearances too, but evidently not, it just had the one.

Anyway, moving on to the end (skipping over the costumes, which was a decent segment, but nothing super interesting), we have the excellence that is the Strong Badian Riverquest Safariventure. This is one of my favorite things on the site to quote, because the delivery is just amazing. That, and I can’t not laugh at “here comes another one of our tour guides his name is The Cheat everybody say ‘Hi The Cheeeeeat…’” “Hide and seeeeeek”. That was definitely the best part of it, but the whole thing is classic, and it goes on for like, two minutes. And it ends with the water animation randomly stopping. But anyway, I think I’ve ended at a high note here, so I’m gonna call it quits for now and actually get this thing uploaded. And who knows, it might be less than four months before the next update. We’ll see.