Integral Article

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"Count us off, The Ugly One."

The Homestar Runner universe contains several names of characters, places, sound effects, etc., where an article (A, An, or The) is treated as integral to the name. With varying consistency, these names will include the article, even when it makes the construction of the sentence extremely odd ("And out poured a lifetime supply of fishsticks. And a The Cheat!!!!"). The Cheat is the most renowned and recognizable example. Even for The Cheat, however, this rule is occasionally overlooked or suspended.

The very first appearance of The Cheat, in the Original Book, did not follow this practice. Although he was referred to as "that CHEAT" and "the cheat", it wasn't really treated as his name—note the lack of capitalization. He was simply being used by Strong Bad as a cheat to win the competition. However, by the time he appeared in A Jumping Jack Contest, The Brothers Chaps had presumably decided to adopt "The Cheat" as his official name; several characters address him as such. Thus the unusual inclusion of the article may have started as an inside joke: the brothers poking fun at themselves for choosing a passing phrase from the book as a major character's name.


Names with an Integral Article

Name Sample Usage Comments
The Arrow Smith
2022 Costume Pack Now Available: "Yes, that's it, The Arrow Smith!" The Arrow Smith's name also appears on two signs, one with the article and one without.

Il Cartographer
yes, wrestling: "He's the Il Cartographer, I mean, Gardenboy!" "Il" is Italian for the article "the".

The Cheat
The title of 500 The Cheats Only rarely has The Cheat been named without the article. This practice even extends to his language ("Learn to speak... The Cheat" in cheat talk) and species ("My very own The Cheat!" in flashback).


From @StrongBadActual[1]:

STRONG BAD: Sometimes, only onetimes, the 'the' is silent.
  • In the Original Book, Homestar refers to The Cheat as just a "Cheat".
  • There is no integral "the" when referring to the Cheat Commandos.
  • The integral article appears to be overlooked in the title of the email cheat talk and every instance of the phrase "cheatday" (excluding "Happy The Cheatday, Ilko!").
  • In replacement, Strong Bad says he'll be "kickin' Cheats 'til the day [he dies]." A similar phrase appears on his epitaph at the end of the email.
  • In secret recipes, Homestar calls Strong Bad and The Cheat "Cheat and The Strong Bad", although this is clearly Homestar being clueless as normal.
  • The July 21, 2005 sketchbook depicts a "whiteboard wet cheat".
  • In Most in the Graveyard, Strong Bad simply refers to The Cheat as "Cheat" while asking if he has rabies again.
  • Strong Bad posted an animated GIF on @StrongBadActual of a "CCS", or "Cascading Cheat Sheet" (in reference to Cascading Style Sheets). He responded with the quote above when a fan called him out for his use of "Cheat".
The Chekt
secret recipes: "Come down off that smokestack and eat your the Chekt!" The Chekt has never been named without the article. The "the" is never capitalized.

The Chief
Dangeresque Roomisode 1: Behind the Dangerdesque: "There's a The Chief seething behind it." Although The Chief is an unseen character, he is never named without the article. This is the only time it is ever seen in an instance where it is clearly integral, though.

The Dampening
Somber Vacation: "It's called 'The Dampening', and it helps me focus." Its name appears twice in the short, both times with "the".

The Dead
Most in the Graveyard: "Okay, never mind! Sorry, the dead!" The second time this name appears in the toon, it is clearly integral.

The Deke
autobiography: "But somebody musta slipped him some drugs or something before the game because he didn't see me and he passed it to The Deke instead and The Deke SLAM-DUNKED IT!" The Deke has never been used in an ungrammatical construction, but every appearance implies the article is part of the name.

The Denzel
bedtime story: "A grodalated old sponge covered in Band-Aids which he affectionately refers to as 'The Denzel.'" The Denzel has never actually been shown in an ungrammatical construction, but it's somewhat implied that the article is part of the name.
The Flamingo
Marzipan's Answering Machine Version 11.2: "I've lost uhmm-my napkin! It's the one I always use when I eat buffalo wings, and I can't find it anywhere. Now, it answers to the name 'The Flamingo'." This is the only reference to The Flamingo, but it is clearly an integral article.
Image:qod 31 - geddup noise.png
The Geddup Noise
geddup noise: "THIS IS NOT A THE GEDDUP NOISE T-SHIRT" The Geddup Noise generally only includes the article when grammar allows. Strong Sad's T-shirts, for some reason, are the exception to this.

The Girlfriend Formerly Known as Marzipan
Jibblies 2: "Hey, the girlfriend formerly known as Marzipan, I think you missed a little bit when you were shaving." This nickname is a reference to her Halloween costume: Prince, whose use of an unpronounceable symbol as a stage name led many to refer to him as "The Artist Formerly Known as Prince".
Marzipan is only referred to with this nickname once, limited to the cartoon, but when using it the article is clearly integral in the same way TAFKAP is.
The Marzipan
Date Nite: "Oh, if it isn't Marzipan. Oh, I'm sorry, or was it "The Marzipan" now?" This is the only time Marzipan has been referred to as such, but considering the context of who the nickname is referencing, this article is also most likely integral.

The Homestar Runner (storybook)
Original Book: "Knowing that he could not have done it without The Homestar Runner's help, Pom-Pom shared the trophy." The article distinguishes him from his modern iteration, Homestar Runner — the description for the Original Book's cover emphasizes "at this point he's THE Homestar Runner". Occasionally the book does not capitalize "the Homestar Runner", and once it refers to him simply as "Homestar", but most cases the article is clearly integral. Later Storybook World toons, like The Homestar Runner Enters The Spooky Woods, continue to include the integral article.

Occasionally modern Homestar is referred to with an integral "The". In pop-up, Strong Bad says, "Bye, The Homestar Runner." In remakes of storybooks, Homestar calls himself "the me" (Strongest Man in the World) and "the him" (Where My Hat Is At?), following the usage in the original versions.

The Homestar Runner (Old-Timey)
That a Ghost: "The Homestar Runner, I'm suh-suh-suh-suh-scared!" The Homestar Runner is never named without the article, but this is the only instance where it was clearly integral. Much like the storybook iteration, it's notable that the article distinguishes him from his modern-day counterpart.

An Ice Machine
Stinkomanual: "'LOOK! I'M TRYING! OKAY?!' -An Ice Machine" This boss's name is featured similarly to The Liekand's.
The Ladies
2 emails: "You said there'd be the ladies!" Except when the Ladies' Choice Awards logo and Strong Sad refer to them, the ladies in the email are never referred to without "the".

Lappy 486
retirement: "The Lappy! You're back...y!" One of the few cases in which the Lappy is referred to with such an article.

The Ledge
79 Seconds Left: "Hi, The Ledge From Now On." Strong Bad clearly demands that everyone call him "The Ledge", with the integral article included.
The Liekand
Stinkomanual: "'Fashion first, ask sections later.' -The Liekand" The name of this Stinkoman 20X6 boss appears only briefly in the Stinkomanual. Even so, the article seems to be treated as part of its name.

The Moon
Mr. Shmallow: "That's right, The Moon." "The Moon" was only used as a proper name once in this toon. Other references to the moon (including in the same toon) are constructed as one would normally expect.

The One With Baggy Pants
Teen Girl Squad Issue 5: "Dear the one with baggy pants, we're on SPRING BREAK!" This is the only time What's Her Face has been referred to by that name, but it is clearly integral.

The Paper
for kids: "THE PAPER, PLEASE TAKE US HOME." The Paper is never named without the article.

The Poopsmith
King of Townmail: "Anybody? The Poopsmith? That little chef guy? I need some help here!" This is a rare instance where The Poopsmith was clearly named with an integral article, along with Homestar addressing him as "The Poopsmith" in the show. There are many occasions when he has been referred to as "a Poopsmith", "my Poopsmith", or simply "Poopsmith", although Strong Bad did capitalize the The when typing in secret identity. Later, in The King of Town's Very Own Quite Popular Cartoon Show!, The King of Town directly addressed him as "The Poopsmith".

The Robot
Strongest Man in the World: "Our returning champion, the walking metal robot, The Robot!" The Announcer appears to be counting "the" as part of The Robot's name when he says this line. In the Original Book, he is not referred to without an article either.

The Sneak
2 emails: "How was that phraseology, The Sneak?" The Sneak is never named without the article.

The Stick
Baddest of the Bands: "I never did think it was such a bad little The Stick." The Stick is never named without the article, but only a few times has it been unambiguously integral.

The Strap
space program: "Nice work, The Strap!" This is the only time Strap is given an integral article.

The Teach
geddup noise: "Isn't that right, The Teach?" The Teach's name only appears twice. The other appearance was on Monkey D's T-shirt in an Easter egg, where it was unclear whether the article was integral. Since The Teach's appearance and name are based on those of The Cheat, it is unsurprising that The Teach inherits the integral article.

The Ugly One
Teen Girl Squad Issue 8: "Count us off, The Ugly One." The Ugly One is never named without the article (except toward the end of Issue 14), but only in a few cases was it clearly integral. Note that her father's name is Manolios Ugly One, suggesting that "The" is actually her first name.

The fact that The Ugly One was alive a second ago
Teen Girl Squad Issue 12: "Ow! My the fact that I was alive a second ago!" The only time the fact is referred to, but the article is obviously integral.
The words 'smiley face'
concert: "Wipe that smiley face off your the words 'smiley face.'" This is the only reference to the words, but the article in it is clearly integral.
The Yellow Dart
english paper: "Alright The Yellow Dart, you owe me, man." Although The Yellow Dart is a nickname Strong Bad made up and not an actual character, the article is still obviously integral.

Fun Facts

See Also

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