In days of yore, we didn’t have fancy things like high-speed Internet access. We measured our bandwidth in baud, and nobody knew what it meant. In such primitive times, quality video was a pipe dream, at least if you wanted sound and recognizable human forms. Our creative types turned to Flash, a much-maligned but once-vital format now doomed to the dustbin of cassette tapes, laserdiscs, and DIVX.
But any medium can be a muse, and Flash smiled upon the Brothers Chaps. In 1999, they brought a beanie-wearing, star-shirted jock named Homestar Runner from his humble origins in Mario Paint save files to the masses.
Homestar, joined by an unlikely cohort of friends, enemies, and well-wishers including Strong Bad, the Cheat, Marzipan and the Poopsmith, delivered a decade-plus of the best internet comedy any of us had ever seen. In a crudely-animated cluster of absurdist humor, sight-gags, and invented words, the Brothers Chaps took over the world, even landing a reference to Strong Bad’s dragon, Trogdor, on the series finale of Buffy the Vampire Slayer.
Alas, all good things must come to an end, and after 2009, little new Homestar content was produced, as the Brothers Chaps moved on to bigger and better things like Yo Gabba Gabba and Gravity Falls. The old website, Homestarrunner.com, gathers dust, a monument to those heady days.
But now, the Brothers Chaps are back.
Two More Eggs, which launched on June 23rd, is the Chaps’ triumphant return to the world of absurdist internet cartooning. Produced by Disney XD, these cartoons begin their lives on YouTube before heading to television. Echoing the styles and personalities of the Homestar-verse, these shorts introduce new characters and manage to capture that old, weird, magic.
The headliner here is Dooble, who appears in five of the eleven cartoons so far released. Armored with a vest, earflaps, and a scrappy mustache, Dooble began life with his own infectious theme song. He later stepped into a heroic role, picking up his first dialog in a gifted parody of ’80s RPGs like Ghosts and Goblins. Dooble greets a monster as “Señor Magnificent”, opens up a “joybox” and is ultimately thwarted by a hooded figure whose warning that Dooble will “never find all five pieces of the orb” is taken remarkably literally.
This is all nonsense, of course, but there’s a certain, ineffable joy in hearing Dooble deliver non-sequiturs which stay just inside the bounds of coherence: whether it’s calling his getaway car a “very nice motel” or telling eggs that they “will not escape him this time”. It’s what made Homestar great, time and again.
Two More Eggs goes beyond Dooble, delivering askew messages about growing up from the land of Trauncles, or promoting a disgusting teen snack called Hot Dip. They’re bursts of weirdness that somehow fall short of being strange merely for the sake of being strange, tapping into some kind of elemental delight outlandish words, sounds, and colors.
Anyway, go to their YouTube page, watch’em all, and finally somebody might start getting my references.