Tech by VICE

Homestar Runner Prepares for the End (of Flash)

The prodigal cartoon universe of the internet faces its tech-based doom.

by Zack Kotzer
Aug 7 2015, 11:00am

"Vulnerable and should be updated? Hey that sounds like my dating profile!" Credit: Homestar Runner

Throughout the year, the world wide web has been preparing to rip off a very old gross bandaid. Adobe Flash, the tool, plugin and long-time friend that's allowed us to watch embedded videos, a litany of irreverent cartoons, and play mindless games, has started to vanish, slowly being phased out of major sites by HTML5, the new structuring web language introduced in late 2014. What was once the most necessary browser add-on will soon be irrelevant.

This is a particular concern to the residents of Free Country USA, Strong Badia and The Stick, all of the characters of the webby beloved Homestar Runner cartoons, whose universe is composed of Flash like ours is carbon.

"This is horse giblets" says Strong Bad of the pressing outdated plugin matter in a new toon. "I got enough classic motion tweens and deprecated actions in old f-sack here to last us at least us at least six months until we can learn HTML 5."

Debuting in 2000, Homestar Runner cartoons out-edged many of their Flash animated peers with exceptionally above-average quality and charismatically bonkers dialogue. It spawned pre-meme memes like Trogdor the Burninator, Fhqwhgads and other gems poured from the mouth of Strong Bad, Strong Mad, Strong Sad, Sloshy and co.

The site has mostly been on hiatus since 2009, updating once in a while to point out how much of a ghost town the cartoon kingdom has become. This week, the site updated with a cartoon that seems like it's either the creators, the Chapman Brothers, panicking about Flash's coming doom, or the Chapman Brothers joking about panicking, to hide the fact that they are panicking, like a steamy layered panic lasagna. (The brothers did not respond to a request for comment.)

Even if updates are sparse, that still leaves the near-decade long library of shorts, Halloween specials and Strong Bad Emails that still exist on the site's Flash-based archives. When Flash goes, so goes the convenience of getting crazy stoned and spiralling into a Dangeresque marathon. Unless you have the DVDs, of course. Or just find the cartoons on YouTube. I think they'll be fine.