What makes this interesting is not just the fact that it’s a hidden page, but just the fact that it actually took several years to find it. A Quote of the Week from 2007 used the “sidewise” line from this, and the filename for the mp3 included the term “fieldday”, so fans tried using that as a url and happened across this. Kinda funky. And conveniently, it also allows me to segue nicely to the next toon on the list – the “Summer Jam” of 2003… or 1936, depending on how you look at it – Ballad of The Sneak.
This song was basically meant to be an Old-Timey equivalent of The Cheat Theme Song, and much like that one, this song was written and performed not by Matt and Mike, but a group called DaVinci’s Notebook. I did a little research (aka, looked up stuff on the Wiki like usual), and apparently they were fans of the site for several years and basically got into contact with the Chapmans, eventually forming a semi-professional relationship. This song in particular was requested to be a theme song for The Sneak, but no particular directions were given. The DVD commentary mentions that Matt originally thought it was going to be more like a commercial jingle than the full-on honky-tonk version that they ended up with.
Paul and Storm (the members of the group that worked on this song) mentioned a few interesting tidbits about the song as well. Mainly that there’s several references that either hadn’t happened yet in 1936, or were horribly irrelevant at the time, and that this was completely intentional (to match with the generic “black and white” era that previous Old-Timey toons established), but also that random sound effects were added to the song just to see what the Chapmans would animate to go with them. This led to some pretty great stuff, like Homestar’s legs randomly growing while the bottle of moonshine pops open, as well as the introduction of Coach Z’s 1936 counterpart, “Fort Wayne Locomotive”. No idea what’s up with that name. But anyway, I suppose that’s enough for this one, so next in line is a game called Population: Tire.
This isn’t an amazing game, but it’s still a decent way to spend a few minutes. At first it seems like the only thing you do is bounce the tire with the mouse cursor, but there’s actually a fair amount of depth to it – hitting The Cheat, Strong Sad, balloons, and seagulls gets you bonuses (and hitting a Cold One resets your multiplier), and the flag indicates which way the wind is blowing, which does effect gameplay pretty significantly. If you get a score of at least 500, an airplane will fly by with a random message. Also, the color of the sky depends on what time you’re playing the game. In my screenshot, it’s dark blue because I was playing at about 8:00 PM. Fun fact – a Wiki user actually made a DS homebrew version of this game. It looks more fun than the Flash version. Pretty cool, I must say.
In my opinion, the best thing about this game is the crappy little storyline/instruction thing at the beginning. It’s pretty spot-on in terms of making fun of old video games that try to shoehorn in a plot that was clearly made up after the game was designed. And the randomly red words remind me of the words in quotes in the intro to the original Zelda game. But once again, I find myself talking too much about one specific update when I have plenty of other stuff to cover. So after these past few things, what could possibly be next? I suppose it could be anything.
Other highlights include Coach Z bringing back the “Reg had the ball at the top of the key” line and the blink-and-you’ll-miss-it Sgt. Pepper costume that The Cheat is inexplicably wearing. Also be sure to stick around after the ending for some words of wisdom from Homestar. Oh, and I know this has nothing to do with anything (or nothing to do with anything, as the case may be), but “Fish Lake” once again reminds me of The Brak Show (much like Gooblies from the previous email), where there’s a place called One Fish Lake. I always found that pretty funny, and have used that as a personal nickname for a small fishing pond in Zelda: Twilight Princess. Now here I am again ending a review with a Zelda reference. I need to stop doing that. Otherwise people will catch on to the formula, and it will get stale. Speaking of which, here’s the process.
Near the beginning, Strong Bad mentions that he always makes fun of the submitter’s name and spelling errors (and then proceeds to misspell “occasionally” shortly afterwards), which is obvious, but then he mentions the two ways of following up on that. I remember seeing a post on a message board claiming that it’s true – he almost always uses one or the other. But I just went back myself and looked at some recent emails, and it’s not as common as you think. Granted, when I hear the “something something, eh, whoever” intro, it usually stands out to me as matching that formula, but unless you’re specifically looking out for it, it’s not really something you’d catch on to. I also try to avoid doing similar things myself while writing these posts, mainly the “alright, that’s enough of that one, next up is [blank]” segues. I still do it a lot, but I try to break it up as much as possible.
I guess the last thing to mention about this one (no, it has nothing to do with Bubs and the hot bees, I’m going to just ignore that and pretend it never happened … even though it was admittedly pretty funny) is the high number of Easter eggs. By my count, there’s eight of them (the Wiki doesn’t count the “wait 10-15 seconds after the end” kind as Easter eggs, but I do), which I think is the most in any toon so far. Most are nothing home to write home about, but the stuff at the ending is pretty funny (and for the record, the Discount Alligator guy says “bald spot”. Yes, I misheard that at first too), and hey, I got a screenshot out of them. Alright, that’s enough of that one, next up is [blank]. I mean stunt double.
The stunts done by Strong “Bad” are of course the highlight here; my favorite being the one where he jumps into the pie factory. I just like how it’s basically reused footage, but in-universe they really did do a second take of it with the different sign. And they somehow messed up the editing to show “shark pond” again for a split second. But really, all of the scenes are funny in their own way. The weirdest is probably the one where he’s looking into a ping-pong paddle (I think it supposed to be a magnifying glass) and the tape is right behind him. And so is Homestar, for some reason.
The ending teases a sequel to be released a year later. I won’t spoil what happens, but it’s a pretty good follow-up. And reviewing this one in hindsight makes me wonder if what we saw here was the whole movie, or just random clips of it. Because if this was the entire thing, then it’s kind of lacking in comparison to the rest of the Dangeresque series. The plot is pretty disjointed, to say the least, and none of the characters are particularly fleshed-out. But again, when this was the only Dangeresque thing on the site, it was still hilarious, so I can’t complain.
One more minor thing, but it can’t go unstated – the “I’m a long-time watcher, first time writer. (Ooh! An LTWFTW!)” thing is very commonly used as an introduction by Homestar fans on forums and whatnot. I think I’m guilty of using it myself on at least one occasion, and I think someone used it in the comments on this very blog. I’m not complaining about it, just making an observation. If you’ve never hung around a Homestar fan forum before, prepare for a lot of inside jokes and random quoting. Lord knows I’ve used “crapful, geroge” as the ending to a message more than enough times. Well, whoever, that’s all we have time for today. So until next time, always remember that uh, something. Or stuff. Mumble mumble Beth looks like a dude mumble mumble.
[15 seconds later] Hey Stwong Bad, I bwought back your 80’s weference.