- Arts and Design
Don't Hug Me I'm Scared 4 [Analysis] What is the meaning?
Welcome all! Another Don't Hug Me I'm Scared video has been released onto the Internets and that means it's time for another one of my glances into the dark side of YouTube as I try to find meaning in the face melting world created by Becky and Joe over at ThisIsItCollective. If you haven't seen any of the other Don't Hug Me I'm Scared videos you should probably do that Here, and if you have seen those but haven't read my analysis' before make sure to check my HubPage profile page and check 'em out!
Okay, got the pre-requisite information out of the way and because I'm already late releasing my analysis, lets dive right in! If you haven't seen it yet I've put the original video just below. And if you have already seen it play it while you read along. Not only do they deserve the views but the song is pretty catchy (as usual).
So I saw this video a day or two after it came out. My HubPages were getting unusual amounts of activity which could only mean that Becky and Joe dropped another episode on us. My first time sitting through I had a smile on my face. Once again they have taken a social issue (or two) out from under the rug where we swept it and shoved it in our face.
Technology. It's the title most people (and by most people I mean Wikipedia) are using. In my opinion it's more geared toward the realm of social media but since everything has wifi these days I guess I'm splitting hairs.
When I plan to do these reviews I make sure to not start writing after my first viewing or even my tenth. I watch it a few times then let my mind sit on it for a while. Afterwards I watch it again with my wife or friends and make sure to get a few different interpretations. Next I'll read a few comments on the YouTube video itself making sure not to get too pulled in. I don't like anyone else's opinions to dominate my break down.
So as with the other episodes I repeated this process. The problem was I kept having more and more come out! This episode has a lot more to say when you go beneath the surface. The main topics as I've seen them are Control, The Digital World and whatever June 19th is supposed to mean (much debated). Keep in mind of course anything written on this article or any of my HubPages is strictly my theory. I'm always welcomed to opposing and/or new theories so make sure to leave them in the comments below!
Helping you find what you are looking for!
Oats, Eyes and More!
The Don't Hug Me I'm Scared team always has some sort of message relating to control in their videos. Whether it's Paigenote the notepad teaching it's very narrow view of creativity or a silly butterfly telling the characters what love is, it's always the "teacher" giving the characters a twisted perspective on whatever the topic is. The twisted part is one reason why these videos are so popular. The elements of control in this video are hinted throughout so I'll give you some of my thoughts on what I found.
When I mentioned that branding was a huge part of this video I got the most ridiculous look from my friend. He thought I had clearly missed the entire video! Now I know it's not exactly the main topic but take another look. How many times do you see "Oats" in this video? With just that clue alone you can re-watch and it will take on a whole new meaning. If that still doesn't work I'll do my best to walk you through my thoughts.
First of all, the characters are sitting at the table with bowls of oats. Notice that there is no box of oats there. Shortly after the computer introduces himself he displays that he can print things for them. The page that comes out is an image of oats. Just after this he's on the table where he says that he can "help you find something you're wanting to find" but when he puts his magnifying glass over the newspaper (titled Opinion, with the June 19th date, for those paying attention) the contents of the black and white front page change from what looks like a car accident and the weather to a fully colored image of the oats box. Another interesting note, the way he holds up the magnifying glass it sure looks like the seer stone type object that Paigenote used in the first Don't Hug Me I'm Scared.
Still not enough proof? Not 10 seconds after this the computer starts to ask a bunch of questions like a marketer. The third question is "what do you like to eat?" which is already oats by the time the paper starts coming out of the computers head. The image on the monitor is of the oats as well.
The computer freaks out about being touched shortly after and once the freak out is done the characters are all digital. As they're walking along you can see in the background at 3:01 a bowl of oats. I can't really confirm, but it looks like it has eyes (if you've read my analysis' before you know I believe the eyes are a big thing). Then again, just before the final "digital dancing" freak out you can see a digital version of the box of oats dancing with arms and legs with the characters.
In the final moments of the video the red character steps out of the digital world into a bland white studio set looking version of their kitchen. On the table in full vibrant color? A box of oats. It's also interesting to note, even the mock up versions of the characters are less colored then the box of oats, but more on that later.
This is another topic that you'll be familiar with if you've ever read one of my analysis' before. The idea is that everything around them has peering eyes watching their every moves. Like the eyes of Big Brother making sure we act and think as we're supposed to. In the case of this episode, however, the eyes seem to have a different role.
The eyes are much more passive in this episode. They show up in the digital world more than anything else. They're found on the clouds and the numbers hanging in the sky as well as the digital box of oats. And if you pay attention there's a little camera that jumps up to take a picture of the bird guy in one of his "digital style!" moments.
In my mind (which is very anti-Big Brother) the creators are displaying how every move we make in the digital world is being watched. Nothing is unseen by the all seeing eyes. Even the camera at the end in the surreal version of their kitchen has eyes, much like the camera in the first Don't Hug Me I'm Scared video during the digital behind the scenes moment just before the freak out.
Eyes have been a recurring theme in these videos but there isn't really much else to go on other than they're always watching. I'd love to hear some more theories on this below!
The Tape Recorder
Here's a confusing one. At the end in that design set version of their kitchen the mock up of the yellow guy has a tape recorder strapped to his chest. For some reason this really stuck out to me and it took me a couple of days to find a meaning but now that I have it bugs me the most out of everything in the video.
Listen to what's being said at the end. You'll hear quotes from earlier episodes of Don't Hug Me I'm Scared. "I am going to paint a picture." "My dad dad has a computer." There are others but they're hard to make out. These are all quotes from the yellow guy. The connection? The way the quotes are being played almost seem hypnotic as if they are impressing these things into the minds of those that watch their show. This in turn makes the yellow guy just a speaker spewing out whatever he has been conditioned to say.
While it might just be my theory with very little to go on I can't help but dread this idea. I've found myself responding to the things people say with movie quotes or things from my favorite TV characters because they're funny. It makes me seem like I was just that witty and while it's not exactly a terrible thing, what else are we just parroting? What else have we picked up from the shows we watched as children that we just spew out because that's how we're supposed to respond? It's definitely an eerie thought that only makes me feel better when I stop thinking about it.
Behind the Scenes...
There's only 3 things to do!
The Digital World
Now onto the main theme! The digital world. The computer makes it very clear that there are three things to do on here so I'll break it down the same way. There's graphs/charts, digital style and digital dancing.
My first thought with the charts and graphs was that the creators were just saying that one of our options is to look at information but I think there's even more here. Every time that first door opens the graphs get less detailed and even become visably less happy. The smile from the beginning is definitely a frown by the time the door opens to a line graph. After that the door leads to nothing and then they don't even go to it anymore once they focus on digital dancing.
What exactly are the creators saying? It's hard to say with not a lot to go on but I'd say that it's expressing the idea that we all know that the internet is supposed to be a place to find valuable information but instead we end up delving into it and learning nothing. Or when we do, it's only surface level information and nothing with depth or critical thinking involved. We either become obsessed with digital style or digital fun.
Another way to interpret door number one is to see that the data we get is becoming more and more unreliable. At first, there's a fleshed out pie graph loaded with information. Then a bar graph, which still has useful data. Then the line graph comes and there's only a bit of info there. It may be me delving too deep but I take this as a jab at our culture's way of taking headline quotes or unreliable information at face value without context until it's all just a mess of data. It makes sense, because we've come to a point in our world where there is a litter of websites both backing either sides of every argument, all with a ton of "research" to support it.
The second door and/or option of things to do on the internet is digital style! This door shows the bird guy in many different outfits and posing for pictures. On one of the passes a little camera pops up and clicks one of him. I'd say it's pretty obvious Becky and Joe are poking at the selfie culture we've developed. We've created a digital version of ourselves that's controlled by our real selves and that digital version is the "best" version of us. We dress up and snap pictures to show all of our friends how great we're doing. It's really rare that we get online and talk about how bad we're doing and when someone does we tend to ignore it. I mean, what are we going to do? "Like" the post? It creates a weird dynamic where you only ever see other people in a false light and some people become obsessed with creating and catering this image. We all have friends who seem to just dress up in different clothes or redo their make up multiple times a day just to post that new picture of themselves relaxing in their living room.
The most dangerous of the options. We are all familiar with the digital fun of the internet and are most likely abusing it on a daily basis. If this video made you feel weird at the end it was most likely because we all know what it's like to get trapped in the loop of digital fun. How many times have you scrolled through your Facebook feed today? Five? Six times? I have twice and it's not even 9 AM yet. Whether it's to find a cool new video, the next breaking science article or just to see what meme your friends are posting we are all guilty of this on some level.
The end of this scene where they just constantly repeat "Digital Fun! ... Digital Fun! ... Digital Fun!" to me shows this obsessiveness. We forget about anything else we can do on the internet and start these loops of just feeding our need for this "digital fun." You can see the red guy realize this as he walks out of the digital world and back into their kitchen.
But is it their kitchen? Things sure look a lot different. The characters are replaced by mock up versions made out of a broomstick, part of a mannequin and a live duck. This would seem to be an important part of the video but there isn't anything too specific so it's really on us to decide what we take from it. For me the ending is another display of control. More specifically, advertising. The control comes from the stage they're on where the only thing well made is the clear product placement of the oats. Everything is without color except the oats box. But we would never use children shows/characters to blatantly advertise to children would we?
After much inner debate I've decided to take a break from analyzing the June 19th appearances. I've delved into them before and I encourage you to go back and check out what I've said before as well as any of my comment sections. As much as I throw into these analysis' the comment sections always have amazing insight. I might do more research into other peoples' theories after I post this article to see if anyone else has got any more of a clear meaning on this so expect me to revisit it in the future.
However, that didn't stop me from getting these images from the episode where June 19th is referenced.
The Little Things
The creators are known for sliding in bits and pieces from their other works (usually previous episodes of Don't Hug Me I'm Scared) into the background and this episode of Don't Hug Me I'm Scared is no different! In fact, it has some of the most call backs I've ever seen.
First of all the painting of a clown that the yellow guy created in the first episode of Don't Hug Me I'm Scared. Again, it's randomly showing up as if PaigeNote hadn't destroyed it. I'm not sure if there is a bigger meaning to it showing up in this episode other than to be an easter egg but I'm sure someone can come up with a theory. Something about how we digitize photographs and it cheapens the art or something.
Next is a small homage to the previous episode of Don't Hug Me I'm Scared. In the beginning when you can see the right side of the fire mantle you'll spot the figure head of the Cult Of Love, Malcom. A small cameo but at this point we kind of expect that type of thing to show up in the background of their home. One thing that did have me going for a while is that at the end of the last episode they showed the head (which was much larger than what's shown here) burning. Which means they had to create a small replica specifically for this set. Maybe they had a small model version left over from last time but maybe it does have a very specific meaning that I'm missing here, or else why would they have taken the time to put it in? Just so I'd sit here and pine over it for days, weeks, months? Hmm... Maybe.
For an even smaller cameo (not to mention harder to spot), look at the beginning when the characters are around the table. Next to the red guy's bowl of oats is a sandwich. It was almost covered entirely by the bowl and I missed it the first 10 times I watched. For those of you unfamiliar with the earlier works of Becky and Joe I've linked their ... music video (?) below!
It's up to you!
So what do we do!?
Well it's right there in the video isn't it? The choice is yours. There's only three things to do and you have to figure it out for yourself. Are you going to be all about digital fun, playing video games and fettering your time about the internet? Or maybe you're more of a fashionista who's going to be all #selfienation and #otherfashionrelatedhashtagbecauseiwouldntknow? Of course you could use it as a tool to better yourself, learn from other people and cultures and to understand the world around you better.
Overall I feel like this video serves to remind us that our attention is very easily absorbed by the sheer vastness that is the internet. Yes, there is a time and place for fun but we can't let it take us away from our world. After all, it's not the real you. It's your digital you who's controlled by the real you.
So What Do You Think?
As usual, I have come up short. I just don't have the ability to read into these videos and get all the answers and it seems like we'll never know everything. However! What I have found from my DHMIS2 Analysis and all my other writings on the deeper meaning of the series is that the comment section is pure magic. People have left some of the best theories just below my feeble attempts to make sense of the madness. So go join them! I'm sure I've missed a lot and due to my sporadic delves into this world of analysis and hidden meaning and crazy theories I'm sure this article lost a bunch of information that I meant to put in. I know there was something I had about the recurring imagery of horses... Oh well, maybe in the next installment.
LAST BUT NOT LEAST! I want to hear what you want me to review. Got a crazy internet video crammed with meaning you want me to look at? Or maybe a video that has no meaning that you want me to over-analyze until I find meaning? Contact me either in the comment section or my Twitter or whatever. I've spread myself all over the internet so I'm not hard to find.
Until my next analysis, remember, green is not a creative color!