The Cheat

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Character: The Cheat
watch The Cheat's character video Strong Bad Strong Mad
The Cheat
Domicile The King of Town's Grill
Voiced by Matt Chapman
Mike Chapman ("Powered by The Cheat" character voices)
Debut The Homestar Runner Enters the Strongest Man in the World Contest
Complete Filmography
Related Articles
Character Video
Character Relationships
Character Evolution
Other Costumes
3D Variation
3D The Cheat!

The Cheat (whose name includes "The") is a fuzzy little critter with a tough, streetwise demeanor unafraid to get his metaphorical hands dirty; his motto is "No rule is solid". Beyond some unsavory habits befitting his name, The Cheat also explores his creative passions through Flash animation and music production.

Enjoying close relationships with two of The Brothers Strong, he can be considered Strong Bad's sidekick and Strong Mad's best friend.


[edit] Characterization

The Cheat lives in the The King of Town's grill which, according to Strong Sad, is a nice place. The Cheat works at an unspecified tech company with Homestar Runner and Strong Bad at The Office, possibly tech support. Strong Bad's retelling of how he met The Cheat in flashback professes that he was hidden in a giant egg containing a lifetime supply of fish sticks, though it's not clear if it can be taken as truth or not. No one knows when The Cheat's birthday (or Cheatday) actually is, so it is celebrated on April 18, the date on his Scandinavian fake ID, since it's the most likely day that his birthday isn't. According to the client list in the On Point Kings recruitment brochure seen in more armies, The Cheat has a sister.

Now pretend this is The Cheat...

The Cheat is loyal to Strong Bad for many reasons. In privileges, The Cheat earns points for doing things that amuse Strong Bad, and when he gets enough points, he earns extra privileges (e.g. use of the mute button on the remote control). Strong Bad pays The Cheat for his services; in lackey, he reveals that The Cheat thinks that pencil shavings are legal tender, only for The Cheat to trick Bubs into accepting the shavings as cash. Strong Bad also pays The Cheat soft tacos for being his lawyer, as evidenced in email rough copy. Strong Bad coerces and bullies The Cheat into being his lackey to a certain extent, and the two share an occasionally hostile relationship, particularly since Strong Bad is fond of kicking him. In animal, The Cheat was overshadowed by Sterrance when Strong Bad declared Sterrance to be "way cuter than that stupid ugly old washed-up The Cheat [he] used to have." In secret recipes, Strong Bad said he had a recipe for cooking "The Chekt". It's possible that Strong Bad's bullying has given The Cheat an almost murderous hatred of him at times (as in secret recipes and disconnected). Finally, The Cheat sees Strong Bad's brother Strong Mad as a source of protection, as seen in The Cheat's character video. While The Cheat is more than willing to help Strong Bad in his schemes of obvious illegitimacy, it must be noted that he isn't very good at it. Whenever he and Strong Bad try to pull off a heist, prank, etc., The Cheat usually screws something up and thus causes the plan to fail. A few examples of this are in Strong Bad is in Jail Cartoon, A Jumping Jack Contest, and caper.

Break it down

The Cheat is also a master of many instruments; he plays the piano, the flute, the keyboard,[1] the drums,[2] the guitar,[3] and his record player.[4] He also is a music producer, doing remixes for The Geddup Noise (geddup noise) and the King of Town's New Jam, "Not Talkin' 'bout Butter" (Marzipan's Answering Machine Version 13.2) under the name "DJ Teh Cheat." Also, as evidenced by scenes in Seasonal Sweaters and No Hands On Deck!, he can knit. According to Strong Bad, he is "the best lawyer soft tacos can buy", but since his idea of suing is throwing water bombs at the defendant, this statement might not be sound. However, he apparently has very good eyesight and hand-eye coordination, so his aim with water bombs is so good, he can hit Strong Sad from three football fields away.

The Cheat once had a battle with insomnia, as Strong Bad recounted in bedtime story, due to watching a shockumentary about gingivitis. To go to sleep, he needs The Denzel, a glass of suudsu, and a story about him and Moses Malone, followed by a chainsaw lullaby. Failing that, two or three roach foggers are used.

He is a very good swimmer, as seen in keep cool when he easily skims across the surface of the water in a fashion similar to a speedboat. It is revealed in helium that if The Cheat inhales helium, the gas causes his stomach to inflate and make him float like a balloon.

The Cheat's less admirable qualities include being addicted to cigarettes. Despite these issues, ladies are often attracted to The Cheat. Strong Bad advises his fans to use a cute pet like The Cheat to attract women in both and lady fan. At times, however, The Cheat's charms are so irresistible that ladies prefer him to Strong Bad. This is seen most clearly in huttah!, in which several people send emails indicating that they are more interested in The Cheat than Strong Bad. The Cheat's capture of so many girls' affections contrasts sharply with Strong Bad's lack of success with women. The Cheat seems to have a particular crush on Marzipan, as seen in do over, in which The Cheat (in Homestar-esque makeup and covered in lip-shaped lipstick marks) is seen with Marzipan. He also went out on a date with Marzipan in Date Nite, but it did not work out in the end, as Marzipan found out that he had been declawed and then dumped him.

[edit] Powered by The Cheat

"The Cheat is a millionaire!"
See also Powered by The Cheat toons

The Cheat is an amateur Flash animator in his spare time, creating Powered by The Cheat cartoons and music videos on different iMac computers: Tangerine Dreams, Monosodium Dreams, and his new iMac. These animations sometimes make their way into Strong Bad Emails, often even blurring "reality" with The Cheat's fantasy. The Cheat often uses his animations as an outlet for his pent-up feelings of abuse and lack of appreciation, rewarding his fictional self with trophies, fame, and friendship.

He makes extensive use of Leetspeak on the computer. His AIM screen name is Cheatachu72.

[edit] Character Design and Conception

From a 2003 interview with UMFM:
KEVIN SCOTT: [The Cheat] earned his name from one of the earliest cartoons where he cheated in a contest, is that right?
MATT CHAPMAN: In [the original book], I don't even think we formally call him The Cheat. I think at some point somebody says "I will expose that cheat" or something like that. But at that point, it wasn't even his name. Then when the time came to name him, we were like, "yeah, just use 'The Cheat' – it's perfect."
KEVIN: (laughs) And is he a pet? I sometimes think he's a pet, but then I see him doing things like music videos and web design and stuff.
MATT: Well no, Strong Bad and Strong Mad have sort of adopted him as their mascot. But he's not a pet, I mean he's got his own place. He lives in the King of Town's grill, and he's got his own agenda. He's trying to learn Flash, web design... he's done some music videos for people, he's got clients, so yeah, he's a full three-dimensional character. He's looking out for himself as well.

The Cheat first appeared, unnamed, in The Homestar Runner Enters the Strongest Man in the World Contest. He helped Strong Bad cheat in the titular contest, but this subterfuge was exposed by Homestar Runner, allowing Pom Pom to win fair and square. Homestar refers to him as a "cheat", but this is only as a generic noun (similar to "cheater") and not his given name.

Though an unfinished sequel book replaced this cheat with similar character Dijjery Doo, later toons brought back The Cheat, who now had a name. The Reddest Radish and A Jumping Jack Contest both featured The Cheat and Strong Mad using underhanded tactics to help Strong Bad win competitions. After "Jumping Jack", the Homestar Runner body of work shifted to focus less on competitions[5] and The Cheat's characterization was expanded to feature his other non-cheating interests like Flash animation and music production.

[edit] Physiology of The Cheat

See main article: Physiology of The Cheat
Yet another biological mystery.

He stands at knee-height (1' 2" and 18lb) and is covered with yellow fur with prominent black spots down his back, similar to a cheetah. In secret recipes and retirement, it is shown that The Cheat's skin is a pinkish flesh color under his fur. His arms resemble flippers (although he's still able to type and use a computer), and he doesn't have any legs to speak of. Instead, The Cheat crawls along the ground on something similar to a pseudopod. He has round black eyes and a pointed "facebone". The Cheat presents an adorable figure that is marred only by his large gold tooth, which he is hesitant to show, as seen in his character video. According to Fan Costumes 2018, he molts regularly. Rather than shedding loose hairs in the way that fur normally would, he appears to shed an entire translucent layer of skin at once, similar to a snake.

He also seems to possess explosive properties, which can cause his head to explode with no lasting effects. It is debated exactly what triggers it, since The Cheat's anatomy provides no information about the subject. It could be triggered chemically (i.e. carbonated drinks and Pop Rocks), when the brain is being overworked, such as in states of confusion, or even for no apparent reason. The most spectacular display was in Happy Fireworks, when he was shaken by Strong Mad and thrown into the air. This provided a huge explosion resembling fireworks. Another physiological oddity was demonstrated in the toon Best Caper Ever, in which it was revealed that The Cheat's urine possesses unusual properties—When Homestar accidentally drinks Melonade that The Cheat had peed in, he becomes stranded in the North Pole, a caper which Strong Bad and The Cheat mysteriously have satellite coverage of. The Cheat also attracts fleas, as seen in retirement. As explained in bottom 10, The Cheat has a foul stench when he is wet.

The Cheat has been compared to many varied things. In lunch special, Strong Bad says The Cheat reminds him of a duck, and in huttah!, Strong Bad suggests that The Cheat looks like "a cheese, or maybe an anvil." Homestar once referred to him in Date Nite as a Trivial Pursuit cheese wedge. A running gag compares The Cheat to Pikachu.

[edit] Speech

The Cheat speaks almost entirely in high-pitched squeaks and growls, a language also called "The Cheat", that other characters have no difficulty in understanding. The Cheat fully understands English, and it is hinted that he may be able to speak it; he frequently says things that sound like fitting sentences not only in tone, but in how the words sound (for instance, in coloring, he sounds out "okay", and in Homestar Runner Goes for the Gold he closely mimics "What the crap?"). Most commonly, however, The Cheat's speech seems to be just gibberish. The Cheat provides the voice for the character Firebert in the Cheat Commandos Adventures TV show, in which he speaks entirely in his native language.

In contrast, The Cheat does all the voices in his Flash cartoons.[6] Though relatively poor impersonations of the other characters, his delivery of English speech is clear and intelligible (particularly when compared to his regular speech). He demonstrates this ability on-screen in The Homestar Runner Enters The Spooky Woods, opening his mouth by swiveling the top of his head backwards. Interestingly, during Dangeresque 3: The Criminal Projective, The Cheat plays the role of the villain, Craig. When Craig is revealed, the first part of The Cheat's monologue actually appears to be in English using his Powered by The Cheat Homestar voice. However, this may just be a glitch since the rest of the speech has clearly been dubbed over his The Cheat noises.

[edit] Character Video Transcript

See main article: The Cheat's Character Video

THE CHEAT: {speaking in The Cheat with English subtitles} (Yeah, I'm The Cheat. What are you gonna do about it? ...That's what I thought. Now let me finish. I help Strong Bad cheat at stuff. Hence, the name. Duh. I also DJ down at Bubs' on Friday nights. I'll put you on the guest list if you give me twenty bucks. I make cartoon animations with my computer. Don't ask me to make a video for your band. You guys suck. My main man Strong Mad protects me from larger predators, like being sat on by Strong Sad or Pom Pom. I've got a gold tooth. Wanna see it? Tough. ...Okay, fine.) {bares a toothy smile at the camera showing his gold tooth and there is a "shing" noise} (Now turn that camera off before I throw this bust of Van Buren at it.) {throws the bust at the camera} Meh!

{crash sound is heard, static comes up when the statue hits}

[edit] Fun Facts

  • Coach Z calls The Cheat "The Chort".
  • The Cheat is one of only two characters to receive an official plush doll (the other being Strong Bad).
  • Matt Chapman provides The Cheat's regular speaking voice, but Mike Chapman voices his "Powered by The Cheat" toons.[6]
  • Even though The Cheat's dialogue is unintelligible, Matt records new "lines" for each cartoon rather than reusing sounds.[7]

[edit] Relationships

The Next Bosom Buddies?
See main article: Character Relationships

[edit] Variations

[edit] Halloween Costumes

On Halloween, The Cheat usually dresses up as a cartoon character (with exceptions in 2004, 2006, 2015, and 2023).

[edit] See Also

[edit] Sources

  1. ^  Strong Bad Sings, flag day, guitar, sibbie, Everybody Knows It
  2. ^  It's Like It Was Meant to Be, Cool Things, Weclome Back
  3. ^  It's Like It Was Meant to Be
  4. ^  rampage
  5. ^  Legion Interviews Mike Chapman of, 2002
  6. ^  "Matt Chapman Interview", Club Aquatica, October 29 2003
  7. ^  "The Inkhole Exclusive Interview with Homestar Runner Co-Creator Matt Chapman", The Inkhole, July 2004

[edit] External Links

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