Before I dive once again into the exploits and escapades of Salad Fingers, I feel I should sum up what I’ve already seen. Is there much to be feared from the eponymous creature; and if not, how do I explain his inherent creepiness?
Well, Salad Fingers is clearly a character who is not… all there. I hesitate to call him a disturbed character. I mean, he’s not all bad! He never intentionally harms anyone, for example. His thoughts, feelings, memories and attitudes towards others are generally benign. However, these ’others’ that he interacts with are comprised of:
- a few silent, snivelling children,
- a cadaver known as Harry,
- a trio of finger puppets (whose responses he seems to interpret for himself),
- an entirely mute woodlouse who also dies,
- a scary little boy who wants to trap Salad Fingers and marry him against his will;
- and a phone operator who disconnects him almost immediately.
They all have something in common: they are either silent towards Salad Fingers OR they are simply figments of his imagination.
There has only been one exception, and that is the red-haired girl he calls Mable. At first, he seems to supply all her answers to the questions he poses, i.e. “How does your loganberry crumble taste? … It’s simply delicious, replied Mable.” Then, when ‘Mable’ actually speaks to him, Salad Fingers is profoundly disturbed, as though he’s never been spoken to in his life. And that is where the fifth episode ends.
So, there’s a theme of isolation and insanity creeping in. Now I have five more episodes to watch, and they appear longer than the first five. Let’s get cracking, then.
Episode 6 – Present:
We’re back on familiar ground, as Salad Fingers interacts with Hubert Cumberdale and Jeremy Fisher. The latter finger puppet has apparently been off fighting the Great War, and Salad Fingers struggles to understand his strange dialect. (And Jeremy happens to be the only black character so far, so… is this racist? I’m not sure.)
Anyway, Salad Fingers is gifted a ‘Horace Horse Collar’ by Jeremy, a gift which is a “welcoming texture… a pleasure for the tips”. By way of thanks, Salad Fingers swallows Jeremy whole.
Maybe I’m reading too much into this, but something about Salad Fingers reminds me of the ten-year-old author of Asperger’s Syndrome, The Universe and Everything. Wait, hear me out! In this book, the young Kenneth Hall explains how his AS affects him – he prefers to spend time alone (or with his cat), admits that his own use of language is odd, and that he is hypersensitive to certain tastes, sounds and even textures. Doesn’t this sound like Salad Fingers, just a little? And I’m not just picking on Kenneth Hall – hell, I was diagnosed with Asperger’s as a child, and I was the weirdest little kid you could ever hope to meet. I retreated into my own world at times; I had a wide vocabulary but spoke clumsily and without context; I even gave all my teddy bears proper names, just as Salad Fingers does to his ‘peers‘. My God, what does this mean?!
Sorry, I think I got carried away there. Back to the video.
Salad Fingers approaches a toilet bowl in the middle of nowhere. Whatever it’s saying to him, he doesn’t like it, insisting that “You’ve got the wrong bloke, squire” and he pulls the flush to “flush those bad thoughts away”. And I realise that Salad Fingers’s fantasies go beyond normal childish play, even for a child as weird as I was, and I start to doubt my own theory.
Then Salad Fingers comes home and encounters… himself. Salad Fingers, Mark II, seems to confuse Salad Fingers, Mark I, with Jeremy Fisher and accuses Jeremy of aspiring to deflower his daughter’s… rose… and then eats him. That is, Salad Fingers eats Salad Fingers.
I take it all back. This guy is SERIOUSLY disturbed.
Episode 7 – Shore Leave:
Thank God that strangeness is over and we get to see Salad Fingers eating dirt and remarking to Marjory that this floor-sugar tastes rather queer. It’s like going on holiday after the last episode.
Meanwhile, Hubert Cumberdale has dug a massive hole, in which another corpse, named ‘Kenneth’ is resting, having come back from the Great War, and it looks like I spoke too soon. Salad Fingers reveals through narration that Kenneth is his younger brother, back on shore leave. This makes it two episodes in a row that this Great War’s been mentioned. I can’t WAIT to hear all about it!
Salad Fingers goes on to chat to Kenneth, who is very much dead and doesn’t pay attention to his brother. I’m not sure if anything that Salad Fingers says at this point can be considered to be historically accurate. It seems he’s always been alone.
Then, when Kenneth is supposed to return from shore leave, Salad Fingers says… this.
“Well… back you go then. Back to the ghastly trenches. I only ask that our creator return you unspoilt from the cruel hand of war.”
So now we have some themes of the devastating effects of war and a little religion thrown in for good measure. Sure, why not. And to top it all off, after Salad Fingers kicks Kenneth back into his pit, he recalls an evening when he himself sang Vera Lynn’s ‘We’ll Meet Again’ to a concert hall filled with spectators, whilst wearing a long white dress similar to the bridal gown he donned in Episode 5.
I’m getting a deep sense of foreboding about all this.
Episode 8 – Cupboard:
Salad Fingers sits in his living room, listening for clear broadcasts on his radio, named ‘Roger’, who apparently requires handfuls of pebbles for sustenance.
My brain hurts. Seriously, it’s becoming more and more difficult to watch these videos.
Next, Roger emits some horrible sounds, and then Salad Fingers’s stomach emits some horrible frequencies as well. In an effort to cope, Salad Fingers seals himself inside the ‘safety cupboard’ in which he plays out a pretend conversation with his two hands. He then sobs. He must be feeling pretty low, having nobody he can bounce off of. Luckily, he finds himself a ‘special hair’, declares that all is not lost and draws the hair across his eye, which seems to comfort him.
He tapes it to the wall of his bedroom next to the other four hairs he has, and remarks how happy they look together. Salad Fingers lies on his bed next to Hubert before flicking him into a plate of mud. Then he says, in a harsh and fretful tone,
“Scrub that muck off at once, Hubert Cumberdale. I’ll have no dirty immigrants in my house.”
Woah! Maybe Salad Fingers IS racist. Or maybe he sees everyone he comes across as part of The Enemy in this Great War, or maybe everyone who comes into his house is technically an immigrant in that they belong outside this barren land which Salad Fingers cannot leave, or… Or some other interpretation. Take your pick.
Later that night, Roger continues to bellow in a way that offends Salad Finger’s ears, which makes me think again of the sensitivity to various stimuli associated with AS. Then in a frightening turn of events, the radio tries to boss Salad Fingers around, and for the first time, Salad Fingers’s speech is not represented in text. The episode ends with him crying once again.
Episode 9 – Letter:
This penultimate episode (thank God) begins with Salad Fingers engaged in a dispute with a talking tree. The tree calls him Daddy and wants to come inside, out of the cold. Salad Fingers is unsympathetic and doesn’t seem so bothered about someone talking directly to him.
However, all this is merely a dream sequence. Salad Fingers believes himself to have scarlet fever and be near death, and sure enough a blackened lump of a thing erupts violently from his stomach. Actually, he has talked about having stomach pains in previous episodes, but I wasn’t sure if anything would come of that, so I didn’t mention it.
Happily, Salad Fingers is NOT dead, but is sure he has given birth to a child named Yvonne, and he cradles the lump and sings it a song, then claims the eyeless thing has its mother’s eyes and gives it a kiss. I should be disturbed, but it’s just nice to see him happy for a change.
It doesn’t last, however. Salad Fingers possesses a certain amount of disdain for each of his peers, and Yvonne is no exception. He scolds her thusly,
“You’re supposed to be doing your exercise. A lethargic child is a servant to the beast.”
Yikes. More religious jibber-jabber. And it’s implied that Marjory is the child’s mother. So that’s interesting. Are you still following this? I should be very surprised if you are.
Salad Fingers’s condition is worsening, so he takes Yvonne in his arms and pushes a wheelchair out of the house for the purpose of re-housing his so-called ‘meddlesome child’. I’m scared. I’m very scared.
Presently he comes across the jaundiced child from the first episode, confusing it for his Auntie Bainbridge. He then completely forgets his reason for coming and ‘cleans’ the nearby windows with the oily black lump that is Yvonne. The music score with its high strings suddenly strikes me as being very dark. What has happened to Salad Fingers?
Episode 10 – Birthday
The last one. Here goes.
It’s Hubert Cumberdale’s birthday, and both Salad Fingers and Milford Cubicle are here to celebrate. (God, I can’t believe what I’m writing.) It’s worth noting that at this point in the series, the animation has greatly improved. This only makes things all the worse, somehow. There’s a knock at the door, and who should it be but a bloody great white pole thing that towers high above the house? Salad Fingers’s fingers judge this towering structure to be “free of all information”.
Salad Fingers goes back inside and attempts to cheer up poor Milford by turning an invisible crank handle that makes his mossy teeth bob up and down and play a tune and his red irises fill his eye sockets and OH GOD THIS SERIES IS A RELENTLESS ASSAULT ON THE SENSES WHEN WILL IT STOP
Ahem. Salad Fingers ventures outside to fetch the doctor, and unearths the most terrifying finger puppet yet, Dr Papanak., who bites him, and then proceeds to rend and tear the flesh of a full-sized Horace. Salad Fingers tells the horse to let the doctor carry out his business.
Some time later, Salad Fingers wakes from a deep slumber and returns to find his house overrun with horses and Milford Cubicle reduced to a mere skeleton. Understandably he’s very angry about this and storms outside… to find the white pole waiting for him. Just beyond that is a table where the whole “platoon” of Salad Finger clones are sitting down. Each one chews at a hunk of brains, or bashes the table mindlessly. Salad Fingers takes the one remaining seat at the table.
And then… and then… the white pole descends from on high, and at the top of the pole is a birthday present. Salad Fingers unwraps it to find a hat made from the flesh of Milford Cubicle. He resolves to wear it until the day he dies, and smiles.
End of episodes.
My brain needs a little time to recover, so I shall save my more detailed analysis of the whole series until next week. This analysis will be the third and final part of this Salad Fingers review. See you then! Ha ha ha ha haaaaaaaaaaaarugh.