Free Country, USA

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Free Country, U.S.A.
FCUSA from space... probably.
FCUSA from space... probably.
Language English
Nominal Monarch The King of Town
Population 21, at least
Currency U.S. Dollar (probably)
Pencil Shavings (sometimes)
Quesos (Strong Badia)

Free Country, USA (also spelled without the comma, as well as by its abbreviation, FCUSA) is where the Homestar Runner universe is centered. All of the main characters live, work, and play here.


[edit] Geographical Features and Locations

The thriving hub that is Free Country, USA

Free Country, USA features a verdant field that typically serves as a central link between the various features of the landscape. At the center of the field itself is The Stick, which functions as a landmark and a meeting place for Strong Bad and whomever he chooses to meet there. The edge of the field is lined with bushes. They represent the edge of Free Country. Probably also somewhere in or near the field is a stream with a picturesque stone bridge. Once, Strong Bad and Homestar Runner rocketed their cardboard submarine backwards along this stream, ending up in a large, open body of water. This may or may not be the pond Strong Bad and Coach Z (and possibly later Senor Cardgage) have been seen fishing in, or the sea; Marzipan once mentioned a location she referred to as "the wharfs", featuring crab traps and trapped baby seals. Rounding out the natural features are mountains (usually seen only from a distance). The foothills of these mountains are likely located in the nearby woods, as they contain at least one cliff. There is also one "hot spot", Carrot and Kazoo Hill.

Specific locations in Free Country are treated with a certain ambiguity. Somewhere at the edge of the Field is the Athletic Field; logically, Coach Z's locker room is near the Athletic Field. (It is also possible that the Gymnasium that is occasionally seen is connected to the locker rooms as well; the exterior of the locker rooms appears to be part of a larger structure, as seen throughout Strong Bad's Cool Game for Attractive People.) The kickball field seen in Kick-a-Ball is probably near or in the athletic field due to the scoreboard there, as would the Race Track. Somewhere near the Athletic Field is Bubs' Concession Stand. Other locations include a building containing a classroom, used for multiple purposes by most of the characters; the Office where many of the characters work; Marshmallow's Last Stand, a once-popular haunt for Homestar; and Club Technochocolate, a club run by Pom Pom, with The Cheat DJing, and Bubs bartending. The House of Strong, where most Strong Bad Emails start (The Cheat is often spotted here as well), as well as Marzipan's house, Homestar Runner's house, and The King of Town's castle, are some of the more notable residencies. The Gremlin, an abandoned car, is occasionally featured, as is a brick wall reminiscent of the Peanuts specials, a fence, and the Drive-Thru Whale (the speaker for an odd fast-food chain called Blubb-O's).

The toon Summer Short Shorts features a sequence with Pom Pom that reveals that Bubs' Concession Stand, as well as a dense forest, is very near Strong Badia. A similar forest can be seen in Strong Bad is in Jail Cartoon. However, the Pom Pom short depicts the forest and Bubs' with Strong Badia set in between them, whereas Strong Bad is in Jail Cartoon shows Bubs' on the edge of the forest with no Strong Badia to be seen. This forest may or may not be the Spooky Woods that is usually seen at night in Halloween-themed episodes.

Homestar Ruiner and Baddest of the Bands feature a map of Free Country, USA, but eschews any sense of proper geography, in favor of allowing the player to move the various landmarks around the landscape to their liking. In Strong Badia the Free, The King of Town eats Strong Bad's map, forcing him to write the names of locations in the spaces on the board for an old Maps and Minions game that was lying around in Strong Badia (in this game, locations are placed on the map by the game rather than by the player, but as Strong Bad is simply writing the names of locations on a board game, this is still not a proper map of Free Country, USA). Coincidentally, the King of Town was using his own copy of Maps and Minions Deluxe to coordinate his own forces, though his map was more advanced than Strong Bad's.

[edit] Characters' Homes

As with Free Country's locations, the homes of different characters do not exist in rigidly established locations. With the exception of Coach Z's locker room and The Cheat's home (which is also The King of Town's grill and therefore always near the King of Town's castle), none of the characters' homes have a clear geographical relation to each other. This ambiguity carries over into Strong Bad's Cool Game for Attractive People, in which Strong Bad adds locations to his map at his (or more accurately, the player's) own discretion.

Some clues exist concerning this, however. In Marzipan's Answering Machine Version 9.2, Strong Bad (as Cableman Jorge) asks Marzipan to buy a "hundred-foot spool of coaxial cable" in an attempt to get free cable service; this would imply that Strong Bad's and Marzipan's houses are rather close to each other. In The King of Town DVD Commentary, Strong Bad claims that The King of Town does not live in the castle, but in a "run down and creepy" "two bedroom job... next door" to him, although this was probably slanderous. Also, the similar designs of the exteriors of Marzipan's and Homestar's houses may be a hint that they were built from the same blueprints, as houses within a development often are. In the email unnatural, a gigantic Bubs silhouette is seen walking from a silhouette of Strong Badia to The King of Town's castle, making it in several steps. This suggests that the castle is actually very close to Strong Badia.

[edit] Flora and Fauna

The flora of the land is somewhat sparse. Most of Free Country's ground is covered in evenly cut grass and long rows of large green bushes. Other types of shrubs and bushes make appearances from time to time; some bushes have been known to have Senor Cardgage inexplicably emerge from them. These shrubs and bushes are most likely coniferous, as they appear green in winter. Though trees are seldom seen in Free Country, they are usually presented as being deciduous, evidenced by the barren branches seen during Free Country's autumn. Occasionally evergreen trees have been shown (usually around Decemberween). Flowers are incredibly rare and have only been seen in a couple of cartoons.

Fauna is in even shorter supply. Save for the fish in the pond, a few crickets, bees, birds, flies, a number of bats, and at least one cockroach, plus the characters themselves, no other animal life has yet been seen in Free Country, USA. Marzipan has also heard wolves in origins. Trogdor, a dragon, also appears in Free Country USA in Trogday 08.

The King of Town at one point had sheep. Whether he still owns them or ate them all is open to debate. It was at one time rumored that a dragon menaced the castle, but even if he really existed, a story line shows it being slain.

[edit] Politics

Free Country appears at first glance to be a monarchy since it is nominally ruled by The King of Town. However, since Free Country is a municipality and not a kingdom, the King of Town would technically be a lord. However, the self-conferred sovereign's reign is not widely recognized by the populace, so Free Country could be considered to be in a state of anarchy, where there is no accepted centralized government but the members of the community co-exist with loosely established rules that maintain order.

To this end, Free Country can muster a meager police force consisting of Homestar Runner, Pom Pom, Coach Z, and Bubs to ensure that anyone engaged in criminal behavior have been placed firmly in jail (a large cardboard box). Since there is no need for an army (nor a government to stand one up), Free Country has no official military. It is, however, home to the Homestarmy, a meager militia that includes a popcorn machine and is led by Homestar Runner. The Homestarmy once attempted to conquer Strong Badia (see below), but appears to represent no cohesive political movement (other than expressing discontent stemming from "playing second fiddle to a two-bit wrestleman and his yellow dog"). The King of Town has occasionally expressed an intention to exercise actual power, going so far as to mobilize his own military force headed up by The Poopsmith, as seen in disconnected. A more legitimate prison apparently exists, as Coach Z (and later Strong Sad) both end up incarcerated in the Free Country USA Penitentiary, according to Marzipan's Answering Machine Version 17.2.

Besides the King's castle (which would be the seat of government if the King's rule had any legitimacy), there is a different building containing a smoky office which has been used for various purposes, including a newsroom, police station, and a set for the Dangeresque films.

The name and the currency used imply that this town is in the United States of America, and in trading cards, Strong Bad makes reference to himself "here in the states" when addressing a Canadian writer. Yet any further details, regarding what state or town "Free Country" is in is never mentioned. They may have to pay taxes, however, as evidenced by A Decemberween Pageant and Arcade Game.

[edit] Strong Badia

Strong Badia

Within Free Country's borders, the territory of Strong Badia exists as an autonomous enclave. Strong Badia has a flag, a national anthem, and has even had to defend its autonomy from outside aggression, as seen in army. Although Strong Bad said that Strong Badia doesn't have/need an army, the local gang, On Point Kings, have transformed from being a simple group of guys hanging around to a band of shady missionaries mercenaries that specialize in "black ops, brown ops, and the occasional beige op". Whether or not Strong Badia is a "real" country is open to debate, since the permanent population of Strong Badia is a tire and it's only the size of a backyard. A few email senders seem to call Free Country by this name, presumably because the characters talk about Strong Badia more often than Free Country. However, Strong Bad specifically addressed this issue in keep cool, limiting the official borders of Strong Badia to the empty lot. It is described as "out beyond the dumpsters". However, no dumpsters are ever shown, so that doesn't help determine its location.

[edit] Other Territories

Mentioned from time to time (and seen only via the depicted map) are other territories outside Free Country. If the circuitous path of Homestar's journey to Potamia for The Yello Dello is to be believed, Free Country borders the territory of Far Off Lands. Very little, if anything, is known about these territories or their relation to Free Country, although Prance is known to make at least one Homestar Runner-related product, and Dortugal is also mentioned.

According to the original Characters page and Marshmallow's Last Stand, The Brothers Strong come from a land called Parts Unknown.

Strong Bad claims to have a secret family (surnamed Mudgeman) in a community named Broiter Grove. If there is any shred of truth to this supposition, it can be assumed this community is near Free Country, USA, as Strong Bad is clearly without a working car.

[edit] Economics

The economics of Free Country are as ambiguous as the locations and politics of the territory. The local currency is U.S. dollars, although this official currency is augmented by a strong barter system that allows trade of goods and services (further suggesting that the government has no central banking power); most local commerce occurs at Bubs' Concession Stand. Pencil shavings have been accepted by Bubs at least twice, in lackey and secret identity. Also, in an Easter egg in colonization, Homestar declares that 'Dirty Diapers' were to no longer be considered legal tender. In the email flag day, a coin is visible that resembles a quarter. It is the same color, appears to be the same size, and has a face and words on both sides of it as well as words on the top and bottom of the coin. The date on it would be on the wrong side, though. The face on this coin is Strong Bad's. This implies that it is Strong Badian money, which implies that Strong Badia is its own country. Strong Bad could be making this coin up because it has some of the words of the song he is currently singing printed on it. There was also a coin with a head of Trogdor on one side and his tail on another, seen in Kick-a-Ball. This somewhat suggests that Trogdor has his own type of currency, or the coin was made only for sporting events like kickball. It seems that there is some crabbing industry, as there are crab traps at the wharf (which often claim baby seals), even though this supposed wharf has never been seen, and its existence is doubted by Strong Bad in Homestar Presents: Presents.

Bubs' Concession Stand is known to accept these forms of currency:

  • Cash
  • Money
  • Cash Money
  • Pencil Shavings (added to the sign by The Cheat)
  • Quesos (Strong Badian currency)
  • First Born Children
  • Arms/Legs
Bubs' Concession Stand

It is also unclear as to how rent or mortgages on the houses owned by Free Country residents is paid. Strong Bad mentions in colonization that he had to give Bubs his first and last month's rent deposits, but other than that, no other characters have mentioned how or when they pay rent.

[edit] Employment

Main article: Occupations

Bubs works at his stand as a general fix-it man. He has also been seen as a mechanical worker at the office, and as a bartender at Club Technochocolate. Homestar, Strong Bad, The Cheat, Strong Sad, Coach Z, and Pom Pom work in some kind of an office, at least occasionally. Homestar also hosts The Show. Strong Bad, in addition, had a "part, part, part, part, very part time job" as a giant Tragic Clown Dog mascot at Bubs' Concession Stand in part-time job. He quit that job, however, when he realized that he needed to rush back to Marzipan's house to finish his email before the Lappy 486 lost its battery charge, though it seems he was re-hired for the job in On Break. Strong Mad appears to work as a bouncer at Club Technochocolate. Coach Z is presumably some kind of a coach and a gym class teacher; he has also been seen working as a custodian at the office and as a mascot for Blubb-O's restaurant. The King of Town employs The Poopsmith for reasons he does not care to disclose as well as a chef, a blacksmith, a hornblower, a cleric, and a knight. Marzipan, The Cheat, and Strong Mad are in a band named Cool Tapes, which tours and sells "steven inches" for pi dollars. Marzipan additionally runs a kindergarten class which includes Homestar, Homsar and Strong Mad. Senor Cardgage has had several shady jobs, such as a mortgage seller, operator of Shady Daycares, and lastly, with a somewhat stable job as an usher at the local theater. There is likely a Board of Health in FCUSA, as evidenced in Donut Unto Others, where Strong Bad works as a health inspector. It has not been revealed whether the remaining characters have jobs.

[edit] Free Country Through Time

In addition to its current, contemporary depiction, Free Country has been shown in the past and possibly in the future.

The Factory/Circus District

[edit] Old-Timey Free Country

In the 1930s, Free Country (known back then as the Factory/Circus District) was characterized by dirt roads, picket fences, carnival tents, antiquated Industrial Revolution-era factories, and even a graveyard, only the latter of which may have survived the passage of time. As with the rest of the USA during this time period, Free Country was economically depressed, with the population being forced to subsist on dry meal, water soup, and parsnips. Commerce, such as it was, was located at a dilapidated depot.

There was a growing, through sponsorship funds, radio station (name still unknown) which had a drama— "The Fish Was Delish Progrum", in which Old-Timey Strong Bad was already building up his showman career.

Though there is some debate as to whether or not Free Country was still under prohibition during this time period, some residents enjoyed the occasional nip of hooch regardless.

Home to a bunch of plucky parameciums

[edit] Free Petry Dish, USA

In the email high school, Strong Bad claims that the entirety of Free Country, USA was, in the past, merely on a petri dish, with all its inhabitants being single-cell organisms. However, considering his purported "unphotographic memory", it's unlikely that such a place ever truly existed.

20X6 Free Country

[edit] Futuristic Free Country?

In the futuristic year 20X6, Free Country may or may not be one and the same as Planet K, which looks much like the current Free Country. If so, Free Country will grow to feature significantly more architecture to the extent of having a full city (a quality the territory currently lacks). Nothing is yet known about the economic or political state of this ultramodern version of Free Country, though there is a significantly higher frequency of fights and challenges faced by its residents, which include various robots. They appear to be located in the same region, however, as Strong Bad buries a time capsule that is later discovered by Stinkoman.

[edit] Estimated Real-World Location

Free Country, USA can reasonably be considered to be in the United States of America — beyond its name, maps or globes show the shape of the United States; characters speak with American accents, type and write with American spelling, celebrate many American holidays, and make references to elements of American history (such as its presidents) and pop culture. However, an actual concrete location is left undetermined. FCUSA's location is rarely elaborated on, and often in an ambiguous or even contradictory manner (similar to Springfield from The Simpsons) to give it an "Anytown, USA" feeling. It can be assumed that FCUSA is at least partially inspired by The Brothers Chaps' real-world hometown of Georgia, as several references indicate a general eastern USA setting.

[edit] Geographic Indications

  • In the email radio, the CGNU radio station's call letters are given as WSBD, as are "Numbitty 902's" WA3D FM. American call signs beginning with "W" indicate a station east of the Mississippi River.
  • Heavy winter snow, often seen during Decemberween, may indicate a northern latitude or high altitude.
  • In the email keep cool, the temperature rises to 98°F in the summer.
  • In Homestar Presents: Presents, Marzipan mentions baby seals and crab traps at the wharf, suggesting that Free Country is near the ocean coast or a large salt-water body.
  • In Weclome Back, Cool Tapes did a midwest tour, indicating that they may be from around there.

[edit] Map Locations

Maps, globes, or zoomed-out views of Earth provide a vague hint of where FCUSA is.

  • In the Theme Song Video, where Homestar runs around the planet, a star appears on a United States map approximately near northern Nebraska.
    • In 8-Bit Is Enough, the camera zooms out to what looks like the map from the Theme Song Video, and a large explosion resonates from the center of the map, similar to the star in the Theme Song Video.
  • In Main Page 11, Downloads shows a weather map of the eastern region of the United States.

[edit] Cultural Elements

The Brothers Chaps themselves live in Atlanta, Georgia.

[edit] Negative Hints

Occasionally characters will refer to states in a way that suggests some distance from their home state.

[edit] Trivia

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