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Fan Theories: The meaning behind Don't Hug Me I'm Scared
Don't hug me, I'm scared is a series of Youtube videos by Becky Sloan and Joseph Pelling. They are quite well-known on the internet. The first video has over 28 million views on Youtube. The initial clip was uploaded in 2011 and was thought to be a mere shock-video.
As it gathered fans though, theories were made and people sought a deeper meaning behind the video. Since then, four other episodes were released along with a few short Kickstarter teasers. In this article, I'll introduce the videos as well as the theorized meaning behind them. I'll also draw the overall conclusion, the "one big conspiracy" behind these videos.
Episode 1: Creativity
In the first episode, the three main characters seem to be rather bored. Suddenly, the sketchbook comes alive to teach them about creativity. At first, it tells them what she sees. Then it turns to the three to find their own creativity. In the end, the characters enter a random, crazed and psychotic whirlwind mostly for the shock value. The episode ends with the statement: "Now let's all agree to never be creative again."
Theory: Media Controlling Creativity
According to the fan theory, the sketchbook represents the media conditioning the children. We can see that the sketchbook clearly drives their creativity on a leash. One good example is the yellow character. He is always put down by the sketchbook for being different. Examples include pouring black paint over his clown or the famous reply: "Green is not a creative color."
"Green is not a creative color."
Another theory pulls a parallel between a child's growing up and the video. At first, the characters (children) obey whatever the sketchbook (parent) tells them. Later on they start acting independently. They are however chastised by the sketchbook. The weird music and the shock-value scenes are thought to represent the rebellious teen years. Now that's something we can all relate to, yes?
Episode 2: Time
In the second video, the characters are waiting for a show to start. Instead, Tony the clock takes them on an adventure showing them how time passes. The shock value arrives at the end. Time disfigures the characters and displays rapid aging with disgusting results.
Theory: Merchandising and Consumer World
Speculations say that this episode is about merchandising. Tony the clock disagrees with the inactivity and idle life of the characters. He takes them away and shows them how little time they have and how they could buy gizmos and make the most of it.
Also important to note is Tony's sudden screaming. The three friends stop walking about and start thinking about the concept of time. He has to break them and continue with the showcase with them concentrating on the superficial idea instead.
Episode 3: Love
In this episode, the three friends have a picnic in the woods. The yellow guy is disappointed by the swatting of a bee. He leaves and joins a butterfly on a journey to learn love. He is taken to a cloud kingdom where he is taught the concept of love. The inhabitants show him to a King called Malcom. The king of love has to be fed gravel, lest he becomes angry. The characters then attempt to get yellow guy to change his name and mind. This moment he wakes up and is greeted again by his friends.
The theory: Love and Religion
The first theory about this episode is the change in the concept of love over the years. First, the yellow guy is taught that love is a wonderful thing he can feel toward anyone. Love revolves around being nice and sharing. Later this is reduced to one single person. Some (Michael the ugliest boy in the town) are completely excluded. Finally the concept changes to marriage with rings, picking up new names and being brainwashed. At the end, the true meaning of love is shown again. The friends go looking for the yellow guy, showing friendship instead of love.
"Everyone has a special one. Even Michael."
Some theories claim the video to be an allegory to religion. At first, it looks pleasant and welcoming The more the yellow guy is involved though, the darker it gets. More rules will bind him. In the end, he finds himself forced to change. He is expected to feed gravel to a deity in the cloud kingdom.
Episode 4: Computer
In episode four, the friends are playing a game. When they meet a challenging question, they inquire the answer from a computer. After introducing itself, the computer takes them to a virtual adventure. It shows them the digital world, as well as the three things one can do there: graphs, digital style and digital dancing.
The world grows distorted and chaotic soon enough. Red guy seeks to leave it, unplugging his computer. He is shown to enter a basic set of the first episode, and his head explodes.
Theory: Effects of the Internet on the Individual
The most important moment in the video is the computer asking the different information from the three characters. Starting out with name and address, it ends up learning blood type and favorite color too. This is a reference to the information that is available on the internet.
The explanation of the difference between "digital you" and "real you" refers to anonymity on the internet. People behave differently. The three things to do on the internet refer to work, social media and entertainment in this order. As time passes, work loses importance. The looks on social media deviate from the original in a weird direction and the entertainment gains prominence.
In the end, red guy can't take it anymore and disconnects. He does not belong to the real world anymore, and his head explodes. While this explanation isn't quite obvious or fitting, refer to the overall conclusion for a more in-depth version for his demise.
Episode 5: Food
Red guy is missing from this episode. The two others meet talking food-related items who explain them how to eat healthy. A large piece of meat tells them how some food are gentle to the body and stay for a party. Other food are rude and have to leave.
The resolution of the episode is the green guy shouting out loud that he wouldn't be able to take it anymore. He knocks over the camera leaving yellow guy completely alone. Green guy continues watching the video from the hospital room. A giant yellow-guy resembling creature devours his insides. Meanwhile, the food items keep singing "Don't eat food from a stranger's plate".
Theory: Food Indoctrination and Cannibalism
The video's main theme is how the media indoctrinates people to eat certain kinds of food. The items keep telling the green guy that his teeth would grow grey. He's also shown a chart with different kinds of food (that includes cigarette right next to milk). At the end, yellow guy is told that the only food to eat would be yeast. Even from that, he shouldn't eat too much unless he wants his teeth to go gray.
Cannibalism is featured in the end when yellow guy is offered a can with green guy's picture on it. The food items tell him not to eat food from a stranger's plate. They keep chanting this while he devours his friend, with "stranger's plate" referring to another body.
The Conclusion: Yellow guy's father
There is a recurring number in all videos, 6/19. In episode two there's a reference to the full date being 6/19/1955. It is speculated that the characters were abducted that day. There is a "still missing" poster featured at the beginning of episode three with all three characters on it.
After some research, fans of the series found out that June the 19th was a father's day in 1955. Yellow guy's father is featured in all episodes, watching over usually from corners. The Kickstarter site of the project also released a shorter video. In it, the three characters are kept imprisoned in a basement. Yellow guy asks the others: "Why are we in my father's house?".
19th of June is also the day we celebrate freedom from slavery. Maybe the three abducted characters are forced to perform in these roles? They slowly give up one-by-one except for Roy's son himself.
Another weird coincidence is Michael's looks in episode three. The ugliest boy in the town happens to look very much alike to yellow guy's father, Roy. With some more research and possibly wild guesses, fans found out that Walter Rauf, a Nazi SS officer was born on the 19th of June, 1906 (nineteen and six). In the Victorian era scene in the second episode a wanted sign is featured with a yellow guy look-alike, £1906 offered. This could also explain the seemingly random appearance of the Nazi swastika in episode two, on the chalkboard.
Awaiting the Last Episode
The sixth episode has already been announced and will likely air sooner or later. Father's day will be held on June the 19th in 2016, which could provide the perfect date for an upload. Previous episodes referenced an upcoming party to be invited to, which may be the event for the last installment in this mind-bending series.
Project's Kickstarter Site
- Don't Hug Me I'm Scared
The official Kickstarter site of the project where updates are posted as well as donations and backing are available.
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