If you don’t know who Homestar Runner, Strong Bad, Marzipan, Coach Z and The Cheat are, the next few hundred words might not make much sense to you. I strongly suggest that you visit HomestarRunner.com and acquaint yourself with this Flash-animated universe and its goings-on: the annual Halloween costume contest, the continuing adventures of Teen Girl Squad and, of course, Strong Bad’s emails, which are way, way more interesting than Hillary Clinton’s. Vladimir Putin should be so lucky as to get his hands on them.
The website was created in 1996 by University of Georgia students Mike and Matt Chapman (with Craig Zobel). “The Brothers Chaps” started small with one-off animated shorts on an irregular basis, but before long, they were updating the site with fresh content nearly every week—a breakneck schedule they were able to keep because of the versatility of Flash animation, and because the Chaps ran a tight ship: Mike animated the cartoons, Matt provided most of the voices (with Mike’s wife Missy Palmer also contributing) and their retired parents managed the business end.
By 2003, merchandising sales were paying all the bills, and the Chaps were sitting on that most unique of commodities: a wholly owned, commercially successful intellectual property. They’ve never run advertising on Homestar Runner, and they turned down offers from Cartoon Network and Comedy Central to bring Homestar Runner to television; for years, they were content to get by on T-shirt sales if it meant holding onto their characters, and they’ve continued to hold that line. However, the Chaps did finally come to TV, though not in the way you’d expect.
Two More Eggs, the Chaps’ Disney XD series, doesn’t feature any Homestar characters. It’s not listed on Disney XD’s website, and its episodes—fresh ones every Tuesday—rarely exceed two minutes in length. It’s almost as if Disney is trying to make an underground hit of TME, like the Chaps did with Homestar. In watching just a few episodes of TME, it’s plain that the Brothers held up their side of the deal; the series is just as surreal as anything they’ve done online. The success part—well, that’s up to us.
There’s much to love here. I’m a big fan of Dooble, a grinning, potbellied mook who sings and dances his way through the criminal underworld. (Just try to get through “Dooblie Doo” without his song getting stuck in your head for weeks.) I wince through “The Joshow Show,” a painful how-to video series perpetrated by an out-of-work pharmacist. And if you’re weary of an anthropomorphic wad of hot bean dip solving the problems of our troubled youth, you may be tired of life itself.
My favorite Two More Eggs characters, and the ones with the most in common with Homestar, are Hector and Kovitch, two preteen boys who actually talk like preteen boys—all geeky enthusiasm and partly-informed bluster. Hector blathers on about his favorite movie franchise (Brown Boats, starring “that guy whose legs are flamethrowers … Dangamo? I think his name is Dangamo”) and his favorite battle card game, QblePon, which includes in its deck such fierce beasts as Robustolé, Seemingly Sam and Pantso. Kovitch listens patiently, and then responds with a chipper non sequitur such as, “My family is having financial problems.” Like all conversations between real-life preteens, you had to be there.
Though Disney doesn’t seem to have a proper page for the series, Two More Eggs is easy enough to find: Just search for “Two More Eggs YouTube” and start burning through these 50-plus shorts. It’s perfect for those idle moments at work where you feel like you have to do something with yourself, but you’ve no idea what. The Brothers Chaps have specialized in those moments for 20 years by making entertainment that’s worthy of them.