Cookie Fonster’s Homestuck Reflections Part 140: The Circle of Stupidity Is (Not) Complete

Introduction

< Part 139 | Part 140 (the end!)

Act 7 + Credits + Closing Thoughts

Pages 8127-8130

This is it, folks. This is the end of my Homestuck post series.

Are you ready for the grand finale of my Homestuck blog post series? After six long years going in and out of working on my Homestuck posts, I have finally reached the finish line. I cannot overstate how amazing it feels to get started on my final Homestuck post. It feels far more amazing than I could have ever imagined to actually be at the final point, not just imagining when I might reach that point.

There’s many ambitious projects that I’ve started over the years—since I was a child, in fact—but most of them fizzled very early on. A fair portion of those projects I got quite a good way through, but a much smaller portion of those did I successfully finish. On the day this post is published, I can proudly say my Homestuck blog post series has joined the elite club of personal projects that I have finished. The post series spent almost two straight years being a project that I thought I would abandon forever, but eventually I somehow had it in me to resume it after all, and from then on, it was an on-and-off climb to the finish line, which is where I am now.

After one year and seven months working on this post series, one year and ten months putting this post series on pause, and two years and nine months working on and off in months-long bursts, I proudly present to you Cookie Fonster’s Homestuck Reflections Part 140: The Circle of Stupidity Is (Not) Complete. What better way to name my last Homestuck post than with a reference to an anime that I haven’t seen? I sure can’t think of any.

(By the way: happy sixth anniversary to my first Homestuck post! A fitting day to release the last one, if I say so myself.)


Alright, now let’s begin this post with Act 7!

Act 7, as you should already know, is a nine-minute animation that concludes Homestuck, released on the comic’s seventh anniversary. You should also already know that it is a very divisive ending that is often argued to leave a lot unresolved, and that it is animated in a style heavily inspired by anime, giving closure to the long-running misconception that Homestuck is an anime. Before writing any of the text from this paragraph onwards, I rewatched Act 7 in its entirety, and one thing is immediately clear: I had somehow never appreciated before how stunning the animation is. This may have something to do with the fact that when the flash came out in 2016, I knew nothing about any anime, and was expecting Act 7 to be… please don’t laugh at me for this… a gigantic walkaround with every character interaction possible. In retrospect, I think my dissatisfaction with Homestuck’s ending came mostly from the unresolved character interactions!

Now of course, my more positive reaction to Act 7 today no doubt relates to how the epilogues resolved the threads it left open in a way that brutally deconstructs the concept of plot resolutions. The epilogues allowed me to appreciate Act 7 much more for what it is: a beautiful animation that mostly shows things we already knew would happen, but in a fashion that’s stunning enough to be a worthwhile ending flash. But even putting aside the epilogues, I think I’ve outgrown all those childish complaints that I once had about Homestuck’s ending content. I guess that’s what happens when you’re 22 years old, huh? You realize that some things really aren’t worth getting hung up about.

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Cookie Fonster’s Homestuck Reflections Part 135: Pleasant and Unpleasant Alternate Self Meetings

Introduction

< Part 134 | Part 135 | Part 136 >

Act 6 Act 6 Intermission 5, Part 9 of 12

Pages 7766-7811 (partly not in order)

Contrary to the post’s title, the unpleasant alternate self meeting comes first.

With this post released, I have only five Homestuck posts left!!!!! I’m rapidly approaching the end, and boy is it an enticing feeling.

Time for the tenth and final section of the fake character select screen! But first, let’s go through some of the hover options on the select screen. First off, Dave and Dirk round 1 finally shows them talking instead of sitting silently, which is very refreshing. They’re facing each other instead of sitting side by side, trading stories of their respective bros. Both of them seem to have greatly lightened up, talking about the more humorous sides of each other’s adult selves.

Meenah is dressed like the Condesce in this fantasy, in case it wasn’t clear enough that they’re the same person.

Meenah’s final fantasy (in no way a pun on the video game series) reminds us that after all this time, she’s still interested in killing Lord English—not out of narrative self-importance like the Serkets, but simply because she enjoys fighting and being badass. This makes a good leadup to the Vriskas’ verbal confrontation after the select screen ends.

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Cookie Fonster’s Homestuck Reflections Part 132: Leadership Doubt and Feline Boisterousness

Introduction

< Part 131 | Part 132 | Part 133 >

Act 6 Act 6 Intermission 5, Part 6 of 12

Pages 7635-7671

Rose represents my reaction to all Homestuck fandom drama from this year.

Holy shit. Holy shit, holy shit, holy shit. I have less than 500 pages left of Homestuck to go through. 500 pages may sound like a lot, but it’s quite a small portion compared to Homestuck’s full page count, which slightly exceeds 8000.

Anyway, we left off at Calliope getting revived by an increasingly saccharine Roxy. Now, a lengthy scrolling panel with denizen sound effects showing Echidna in person (but not her face) takes us to Kanaya and Karkat, having finished their meeting with Echidna. It’s quite a fun and detailed panel giving a good sense of scale for Echidna’s monstrous size, drawn by an external artist.

For Kanaya, the denizen meeting was brief and successful, but Karkat is still befuddled at the purpose of his presence. Kanaya says she and Echidna talked about Karkat but is reluctant to explain what they talked about, which is some withholding that Karkat isn’t too happy about. With Karkat lost on what he stands for or what his purpose is, the two discuss their aspects, and we start to learn new things about them—some directly, some indirectly. This conversation in general features us learning a lot of new things about the Alternian trolls’ session.

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Cookie Fonster’s Homestuck Reflections Part 129: Four More Massive Walls of Text

Introduction

< Part 128 | Part 129 | Part 130 >

Act 6 Act 6 Intermission 5, Part 3 of 12

Pages 7502-7514 (not in order)

This is the sort of bullshit that happens when you turn your back on the body.

As the Homestuck franchise continues to collapse in on itself due to yet another storm of fandom drama, Homestuck itself is here to stay, waiting to be read or reread by anyone who just wants to enjoy a good webcomic by Andrew Hussie. As for me, I just want to get my Homestuck blog post series done, and then I never have to think about Homestuck again! Of course, that doesn’t mean I will never think about Homestuck again, just that I will never have any reason to. I have only 11 posts left. Only 11 posts. ONLY 11 POSTS!!! And I’ll finish what I wanted to for the rewritten posts… oh, I don’t know, some other time.

Continuing from the last post, it’s time to go over the bottom half of the eight-way select screen: Roxy/Dave/Rose, Kanaya/Karkat/Vriska, Arquiusprite/Vriska/Terezi/Dave, and John/Jake. I think I’ll start with Kanaya/Karkat/Vriska, starting the post with a conversation consisting solely of trolls just like last time.

Ah, the two trolls whose zodiac symbols are fancy-looking M’s.
It’s been forever since they last conversed!

This is honestly one of the weirder conversations in the selection screen. It’s not much of a long-awaited reunion or new strong relationship between two characters, but rather like, “OK, this exists I guess”. I feel like I can mostly skim through this conversation and pick out interesting bits here and there.

First, Vriska talks about how wildly enthusiastic all the humans are to have their reunions, setting this conversation as one largely about comparing humans and trolls. Vriska brings up Rose as an especially good example, because her long-awaited motherly reunion has washed away her usual dry and aloof demeanor.

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Cookie Fonster’s Homestuck Reflections Part 128: Four Massive Walls of Text

Introduction

< Part 127 | Part 128 | Part 129 >

Act 6 Act 6 Intermission 5, Part 2 of 12

Pages 7486-7501 (not in order)

This is my last Homestuck post whose number is a perfect power!
128 is a power of 2, but sadly it isn’t a power of 4 or of 8.

It’s time to go through the top half of the eight-way conversation select screen, which is the first of several character selection screens in A6A6I5. I made a GIF of hovering over each selection option shown above. The select screen consists of eight conversations and is accompanied by some text narrated from the reader’s perspective, humorously discussing free will and helpfully providing eight links that turn purple when you’ve clicked on them so you know when you’re done with the conversations.

You are confronted with an especially empowering CHARACTER SELECTION MENU. Eight choices???????? Free will has done it again. It has caused you to feel alarmed and anxious. But maybe, just maybe, slightly excited as well. You cautiously click on a batch of teens to discover your true feelings.

Eight possible options is actually KIND OF A LOT, now that you think about it. It may be easy to forget to click some of them. To make absolutely sure you’ve clicked on all teen batches before proceeding, you check to see if all the links below are purple first. If any of them are blue, it means you didn’t read those, and you probably should before continuing. Wow, free will sure is a lot of responsibility and hard work.

This passage reads to me like Hussie saying he’s doing this select screen for the sake of fans, since he knows they wouldn’t be happy if they didn’t get some time to read hearty reunion conversations between all their favorite fictional teens. These conversations have quite a lot of fanservice in them, and late Homestuck has received a fair amount of criticism for having too much fanservice. As usual, I’ll see for myself whether all this is as bad as people say!

Now, which order will I go through the conversations in? Linear order would be super boring. How about I do an order where I deliberately consider what would flow the best in these posts? That’s what I’ve done in prior selection screens, so I’ll do that again. I think Terezi and Vriska’s conversation is a good place to start, since I had analyzed their pre-retcon selves plenty in A6A6I4.

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Cookie Fonster’s Homestuck Reflections Part 116: What the Fuck Happened Here?

Introduction

< Part 115 | Part 116 | Part 117 >

[S] GAME OVER and the rest of Act 6 Act 6 Intermission 3

Pages 6901-6920

^ This image is how I feel about Karkat wearing short sleeves.

Time to finally analyze [S] GAME OVER, a flash that came out on October 25, 2014, the third anniversary of [S] Cascade. As the title may suggest, the flash consists of most of Homestuck’s living main cast either dying or getting critically wounded, so that they may soon be replaced with post-retcon versions of themselves. This retcon character replacement is a very controversial move and for many people weighs down Act 6 in its entirety. I’ve always been bothered by it myself, but a major goal of mine in these posts is to see if it’s really that bad in retrospect.

A cool detail in the Unofficial Homestuck Collection’s version of this flash is that the browser interface switches color schemes along with the website’s background.

Game Over alternates between taking place in Act 6 Act 6 Act 3 (John fighting Caliborn) and Act 6 Act 6 Intermission 3 (everyone else in the alpha session fighting each other). The flash begins on an incredibly silly note, with a callback to John’s mental breakdown when he discovered his father wasn’t a clown, and his further mental breakdown when he discovered Betty Crocker made Fruit Gushers. The callback is very fitting, because John has mental breakdowns over the absolute stupidest things.

The manga drawings surrounding John clearly indicate that they’re his principal source of anger at Caliborn, which is both amusing and fitting. Honestly, it makes more sense to be angry about those drawings than whatever impact he had on the kids’ story as Lord English, because as Dave said in A6A6I1, he’s responsible in some ass backwards way for them all existing.

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Cookie Fonster Dissects Homestuck Part 108: Blindness Reinstigation Station

Introduction

< Part 107 | Part 108 | Part 109 >

Pages 6397-6446

Act 6 Act 6 Intermission 1, Part 4 of 5

This post’s title picture was originally going to be Terezi putting on her newly alchemized blindfold, but I feel a strange sense of obligation to use this one instead, much like I did in the posts featuring the Equius/Aradia and imagined Jade/Jadesprite kissing scenes.

Picking up from where we left off, it’s time for the middle part of the glitched selection screen, which is now the only open option. I find it amusing that the story’s glitches in this case make it more linear rather than less, as the page’s narration points out.

KANAYA: Why Would You Do That!
KANAYA: I Do Not Understand Why You Needed To Impale My Friend To Demonstrate Your Resurrection Abilities!
KANAYA: I Believed You!
KANAYA: It Was Pointless And Cruel And Does Not Advance My Willingness To Cooperate With You At All!
KANAYA: Furthermore It Did Not Prove That You Can Use Said Abilities To Harm Me!
KANAYA: I Believe That Assertion Was Based On A Fallacious Theory About My Constitution!
KANAYA: In Actuality One Could Easily Kill Me With Any Number Of Conventional Methods!
KANAYA: Im Sure You Could Chop My Head Off Or Burn Me Alive Or Crush Me To Death And I Would Die Just Fine!

Kanaya’s rant at Jane for killing Karkat as a demonstration features an amusing expansion upon her standard typing quirk: just as each word starts with exactly one capital letter, each sentence ends with exactly one exclamation point.

KARKAT: (whoa, kanaya)
KARKAT: (could you maybe not give the psycho fork girl any more ideas???)
KANAYA: I Am Not Scared Of You!
KANAYA: None Of Us Are!
KARKAT: (i kind of am)
KANAYA: Karkat Shut Up!
KANAYA: If This Treacherous Despot Serving Turncoat Seeks Compliance From Me Then She Will Have To Pry It From My Mutilated Lifeless Cadaver!
KARKAT: (oh no oh god oh no oh god)

Karkat interjects a few times with his immediately recognizable flavor of utter panic, just like how he was in Murderstuck when his friends started killing each other. His fear of Jane is more extreme than even his reaction to Gamzee when he turned evil, probably because he had thought for sure he was done with watching his friends die horribly.

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Cookie Fonster Dissects Homestuck Part 105: Cagey, Smirk-Tortured Info-Morsels

Introduction

< Part 104 | Part 105 | Part 106 >

Pages 6278-6299, 6324-6342

Act 6 Act 6 Intermission 1, Part 1 of 5

I think this is somehow my first time ever naming a post after a Karkat line????

Also, yay for new Homestuck posts three days in a row.

I’ve been bored out of my mind the past few weeks and it probably shows with the ridiculous amount of content I’ve been outputting lately. Enjoy this post during this stream of rapid activity, which might continue even after the spring semester resumes due to staying at home all day.

Act 6 Act 6 Intermission 1 of Homestuck, or A6A6I1 for short, begins with a dramatic flash that does insanely cool things with Homestuck’s website (which was preserved on the move away from Flash!!!!!). The flash uses a song called “Gold Pilot” which is a HUGE fan favorite among the comic’s soundtrack (and honestly a little overrated in my opinion), in a way that interestingly matches with the song’s original intent as a theme for Becquerel instead of the Psiioniic or however I’m supposed to spell it, and features Grimbark Jade piloting the trolls’ meteor into a Reckoning portal so she can do cool plot stuff.

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Cookie Fonster Dissects Homestuck Part 102: The Great Metafictional Nostalgia Trip

Introduction

< Part 101 | Part 102 | Part 103 >

Pages 6055-6110

Act 6 Intermission 5, Part 4 of 5 (probably not 6)

I’ll only split Act 6 Intermission 5 into six parts if I feel I absolutely have to, like if the next post becomes insanely huge. Really don’t want to ruin my Pitbull pun from my last post.

This is my first Homestuck post of 2020!!! As I’ve said on Twitter, I intend on releasing posts regularly (on my usual once to twice a week basis) throughout at least the first half of the year, and boy am I excited to get back in the swing of things. I’ve estimated that I’ll reach Caliborn’s Masterpiece (a significant landmark point) in May or June, which means I’ll be able to make lots of progress on my Homestuck posts this year. And if I get bored of those, maybe I’ll even resume my rewritten post series.

KANAYA: …
KANAYA: …
KANAYA: …
KANAYA: …
KANAYA: …

Picking up from where we left off, we’re about to see what everyone’s favorite lesbian couple is up to in the meteor.

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Cookie Fonster Re-Critiques Homestuck Part 12.1: Scrawlings in Puddles of Sloppy Discharge

Introduction

Part 11 | Part 12.1 | Part 12.2 >

Pages 1052-1099 (MSPA: 2952-2999)


Act 3, Part 4 of 5

Link to old version

This post (which I wrote on and off over the past few weeks) was originally going to cover the last ~100 pages of Act 3, but yesterday I decided to split the post in half because it was getting long. I also renamed my rewritten post series from “Cookie Fonster Critiques Homestuck Rewritten” to “Cookie Fonster Re-Critiques Homestuck”; the last ~50 pages of Act 3 will be covered in Cookie Fonster Re-Critiques Homestuck Part 12.2.

Picking up from where we left off, John Egbert is commanded to alchemize in a 1980’s time-lapse montage. The narration declines the “1980’s time-lapse montage” part of the command because Hussie didn’t feel it was worth making John’s per-character alchemy binge into a flash, which I think was a good decision. All four beta kids get their own alchemy binge during the first five acts, and each one brings about a delightful mix of extremely plot-relevant items and inconsequential nonsense and everything in between.

First off, John tries alchemizing “pogo || hammer” instead of “pogo && hammer” and makes a hammer-shaped pogo ride. This is a clever integration of computer science technicalities to make alchemy work in Homestuck without inevitably running into captcha cards with too many or too few holes. Here’s the book commentary on this page:

You people don’t even know what the && and || operators mean, do you? Why don’t you learn computers you dorks! Although to be fair, technically the single & and | bitwise operators are what perform the described functions. So now who’s the dork. Me. I went with the logical operators (&&,||) instead because they are more recognizable and frequently used from a pure coding perspective. So it’s this weird case where I dumbed it down for the sake of people who ACTUALLY KNOW HOW TO PROGRAM. Good grief.

I like this commentary because it shows how much care Hussie put into balancing technical accuracy and general accessibility when writing Homestuck’s early acts. The mix of accuracy and accessibility sets Homestuck apart from Problem Sleuth, a story based fully upon technical accuracy (to its own set of rules, that is).

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