The Anarchy and Absurdity of ‘Don’t Hug Me I’m Scared’

Becky Sloan and Joe Pelling have made music videos for Tame Impala and Unknown Mortal Orchestra, and while those creations aren’t exactly conventional, the series for which they are best known is far stranger. Back in 2011, they created a 3-minute short called Don’t Hug Me I’m Scared. After it became an internet sensation and was re-released on Youtube (where it has now reached over 35 million views), Channel 4’s Random Acts commissioned a second episode. Eventually they took to Kickstarter, where they raised over £100 000 to complete four more episodes without having to compromise their bizarre vision. The sixth and final episode was released on 19th June this year, and has already reached 9 000 000 views in just over two weeks. I’d be impressed that any set of short films would acquire such a monumental viewership, but I am pleasantly surprised that the series in question is one so unusual and idiosyncratic.

If you haven’t seen the series before, it has the appearance of a children’s TV show, where talking puppets (and costumed actors) are taken on a musical journey to learn a basic life skill or moral lesson. Across the six episodes various anthropomorphic objects and animals teach the three main characters of Yellow Guy, Red Guy, and Duck; touching on the subjects of creativity, time, love, technology, healthy eating, and dreams. Sounds harmless, right?


Continue reading →


Cesspool on the Potomac: The Ironic Bite of ‘Mr. Lisa Goes To Washington’

Revisiting the first few seasons of The Simpsons brings some surprises. While the first nine or so seasons are hilarious, the first three bring a lot of heavy emotion into play early on. In season one the family have to convince Homer not to commit suicide, and season 2 has some of the most upsetting moments of the show – Bart’s breakdown in ‘Bart Gets an F‘, Homer dealing with imminent death in ‘One Fish, Two Fish, Blowfish, Blue Fish‘, and Grandpa gaining then losing a companion in ‘Old Money‘. Season 3 is a sort of transition into the golden era of the show, and as the straight-faced realism starts to give way the episodes get funnier, but are still rooted in morality. The fact that the show was doing this in the early 90s, before adult humour and mature themes became more prevalent in animation, is pretty damn brave. There’s no timidity in ‘Mr. Lisa Goes To Washington‘, and even when it seems to shy away from real satire, it does something special.

Continue reading →