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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.