I’m not exactly sure where this email came from. Obviously, there was no “Click here to Email Strong Bad” option before this toon (Unless the paper on the old Games Menu originally did that, but I have no proof for this). If I understand the DVD commentary correctly, Abdi was one of a few people who had emailed Matt and Mike, and so I guess they sent out some replies to the effect of “hey, you should send an email to Strong Bad and we’ll pick one for him to answer”. I guess this was the best one from the original batch. It’s not a bad question (at least it’s not “how can you type with boxing gloves on”), but Strong Bad’s reply is a little lacking I suppose. Oh well, I can’t fault it too much, they did have to design the whole format of the toon from scratch, so obviously there was no desire to make anything extravagant out of it just yet. But now the prep-work is done, so all that’s left is to wait for some emails to come in and pick a really dumb one to have Strong Bad answer. What follows is history in the making. I present… homsar.
I think it’s awesome. Someone who has watched other stuff on the website where Homsar makes appearances might miss the point of this email, but that’s why I stuck to this format, so the joke could be appreciated by a new audience. Remember, I didn’t actually discover Strong Bad Emails until I had already watched everything else on the website several times over and assumed that there was no other material to see. It wasn’t until email #44 that I became enlightened. I think the only other place Homsar appeared at the time was in the Where’s The Cheat? cartoon, but I had mostly forgotten about that, so I did appreciate this joke for what it was.
There’ll be more on Homsar later on, once he makes some more appearances. For now, let’s just move on to some more emails. The next one is called butt IQ.
Homsar’s back! Apparently being crushed by a heavy lourde didn’t kill him (I point the blame squarely at tight pants … or cartoon physics), so he’s able to make reappearances in the future as 12th main character. I’m still not quite ready to address Homar’s characterization yet, because he’s only had a couple lines, and neither of them indicate what he’s going to be like in future appearances. Right now he just has an extremely goofy voice, and that’s about it.
Now as for Homestar, his message is really not all that special or laugh-out-loud funny, but I do have to address it for some of the truths in telemarketing. In my personal experience working for AT&T DSL sales and U-verse retention, we are in fact supposed to address whoever we’re talking to with a gender-specific title, but oftentimes it is impossible to tell who you’re actually talking to, so I usually omit this and just carry on. We do actually do the “Mr. or Mrs. whoever” thing on answering machines, because we don’t know who will pick it up, but yeah, I wouldn’t be surprised if someone actually did the “sir or madam” thing. And I can also relate to him not knowing what the rates actually are. You have no idea how many times a customer will ask me “so what are these discounts you’re offering”, and I have no choice but to answer “well… I don’t actually know until I get your account open.” I mean, I know what we’re offering, but it really does depend on the customer, and we have to go through a ton of stupid mandatory statements and crap before we’re allowed to actually discuss what the customer is eligible for.
Whew, kinda went on a tangent there, sorry. So that just leaves us with Strong Sad’s message, which yes, does loop for all of eternity if you let it. That’s another thing with work – there are times when you hit an answering machine, and you’re about to hang up (we can only leave messages after 5 failed attempts to reach them), and then suddenly the person picks up the phone and catches you completely off-guard. It’s kinda weird that way. I haven’t had anyone pick up while I was leaving a message though. And I have been tempted to do Strong Sad’s continuous “Hello? Hellooooo....?” thing before. But I have resisted this urge. Alright, so one last email, and then that’ll be the end of today’s entry. And I saved a downer for last – depressio.
I know I can’t be the only one that finds this page to be legitimately sad. And by that, I mean that I actually got misty-eyed over this. I’m not sure if this was ever meant to be funny, but to me, it certainly isn’t. I’m sure there’s people who are going to tease me for getting all emotional over a stupid internet cartoon, and if it was any other page on the website, I’d pretty much agree with you. But just think about it: Strong Sad’s collection of happy memories consists of exactly four things: a photo and short film reel of him getting along with Strong Bad as kids, a card made (unwillingly, and very hatefully) by Strong Bad, and a snow globe. I’m going to assume that the snow globe was also a gift from Strong Bad, since it makes sense with the other items. So basically, even though the card is very mean-spirited, and the snow globe was probably an extremely cheap gift that he picked up just for the sake of having something to give (no matter how meaningless), Strong Sad still treasures them because they’re the only gifts he’s ever gotten from his brother. I don’t care if it’s just an online cartoon, this is some seriously depressing stuff here, and it almost kind of disturbs me.
The dynamic between Strong Bad and Sad is probably the most interesting between any two characters on the website. On the surface, it seems like Strong Sad pretty much accepts his fate as the constant victim, but at times like this, you can tell that once, the two brothers did care for each other, and that Strong Sad would like nothing more than for things to go back to the way they used to be. There will be far more evidence for this as time goes on, so it’s something to keep an eye out for. I do believe that at its base level, this web series is just about being funny, and the characters aren’t nuanced to the point where every line can be analyzed for motivation or some deeper meaning, but I feel like even Strong Sad’s sense of sarcasm and dry humor was probably picked up from Strong Bad, and he’s unconsciously doing it as a way to gain acceptance.
If this was a more serious cartoon (and if he wasn’t so funny all the time) I’d probably dislike Strong Bad as a character for being the cause of this much emotional pain. But luckily, I’m not THAT much of a Strong Sad fanboy that I’m going to harbor a grudge against a fictional character. And don’t worry, I’m not going to launch into some huge philosophical rant every time that Strong Sad is mistreated or shows his depression – he’s just a character, and his most defining trait (of which he is named after) is the fact that he’s sad. I just think that there’s a bit of subtext that is easily missed, and this one shoebox of memories speaks volumes.
Next time, we’ll cheer up a bit with some holiday toons, and if that somehow doesn’t manage to fill enough time, then I’ll continue with some more emails. Hopefully I didn’t scare anyone off with my over-analysis of that last bit.