Hey howdy hey, fellow adventurers! Sorry I’ve been gone for the past week – I’ve been working on something a bit special, and it has to do with these reviews. BUT I’LL NEVER TELL, MWAH HA HA HAAAAAA.
Anyway. What a coincidence that DHMIS gets a fifth episode just as I decide to write about the first four. I’m going to tackle DHMIS 5 on its own, as it changes a lot in terms of story arcs and character development. It’s even led me to ponder the validity of my salmonella/typhoid fever theory. But we’ll get to that.
Don’t Hug Me I’m Scared 5:
Now then! The episode starts with Robin and Yellow Guy sitting in their kitchen – without Red Guy. This is most definitely a new development. Remember in DHMIS 4 when he stumbled into the other room and his head exploded? Yeah, well, apparently having your head explode is enough to take you out of this children’s educational programming microcosm.
Robin and Yellow Guy appear to sense that’s something’s different.
Robin: Something’s… missing.
Then we get a creepily fridge drawing to literally illustrate the problem.
Shortly after this rare moment of contemplation, the two friends get distracted by this episode’s song about healthy eating, delivered as usual by sentient household appliances and the occasional anthropomorphic bit of steak. However, Robin begins to resist the usual song-and-dance and catches a glimpse of the dark side, so to speak.
It’s worth mentioning at this point that many creepy YouTube series, such as Salad Fingers and Llamas with Hats, start out with no real plot, and then gradually build up to one in the second half of the series. It’s possible Don’t Hug Me I’m Scared was never meant to have a plot, either, but it could also be argued that all the episodes up to this point have been gravitating towards a single unsettling truth. Let’s look at the evidence, shall we?
(Yes, we shall.)
First of all, let’s forget my typhoid fever theory from Part 1. It doesn’t really fit, as the characters aren’t shown to be ill. No, the most common fan theory is that Red Guy, Yellow Guy and Robin have been kidnapped by the show’s creators and forced to make ‘educational’ programming. This would explain all the ‘missing’ posters.
So, who do we know that’s dodgy as hell but still close enough to at least one of the characters to ensnare them in the first place?
Yes, Roy has been keeping the poor dudes captive since the 19th of June1955, keeping their morale down with exceptionally poor diets. Let’s listen to what’s considered ‘healthy eating’ in this episode’s song.
Steakman: Normal, plain-looking foods like bread, cream, white sauce and aspic keep the body ticking over just nicely.
Guess what’s listed amongst the ‘unhealthy foods’.
Suddenly all those raw chicken legs and miscellaneous organs from previous episodes are starting to make sense.
The episode is a tad confused about what constitutes healthy food and what’s going to make your teeth go grey. But isn’t that the norm in real life, too? I’m always getting emails from nutritional ‘experts’, here to answer questions like “Is It Bad To Eat Cereal Before Bed?” and “Does Folic Acid Help You Lose Weight?”. We’ve just got to know this stuff, apparently.
While the song is being sung, the phone on the wall rings, and the caller is finally revealed to be Red Guy, who’s escaped into the real world. One video on YouTube shows him having fun on a merry-go-round with other humans, enjoying his freedom. But when Robin tries to answer the call, and later runs off the show’s set, he DOESN’T manage to escape. Instead, he’s transported into a dimly-lit operating theatre, trapped somewhere between TV World and Reality. With this guy.
It wouldn’t be the first time the characters have been curious about Reality. In DHMIS 4, they all stare at a globe sitting on their bureau, wishing to find out more about the world. But this plan is scuppered when their computer interrupts them.
So it would appear that Red Guy’s escape had to do with luck more than anything, and Robin’s attempt was shut down immediately. And then Robin’s glittery insides get eaten. And then we see Yellow Guy surrounded by tins of duck, implying that he’s just eaten his friend. Well, that’s terrifying. Damn it, Roy!
As is typical with the DHMIS series, the message is pretty clear. Kids, do what the TV says or BAD THINGS will happen. In each episode, there’s a horrible side to the subject of the day.
DHMIS 1 – Creativity and Madness
DHMIS 2 – Time and Ageing horribly
DHMIS 3 – Love and Cult Indoctrination
DHMIS 4 – Computers and… Digital Dancing
And in this one,
DHMIS 5 – Healthy Eating and Unknowingly Eating Your Friends.
Anything is possible when Roy controls your every thought and action and you live in the Matrix.
All right, it might not be the ACTUAL Matrix, but it’s something similar. It’s a simulated reality which has only the most tenuous links to the Real World, i.e. a telephone line. Actually, DHMIS 5 did something interesting to draw attention to the whole ‘telephone as link to reality’ thing, by showing various mobile numbers throughout the episode. There’s one on the fridge, there’s one on the phone box at the end, and according to the YouTube comments, the numbers actually worked – for a short while, anyway. It’s telling us, the audience, that we need to get in touch with reality.
But was there ever a hope in Hell for poor Robin? It depends what you view as foreshadowing. In the very first episode, when the friends are getting creative, Robin spells out the word ‘DEATH’ on the dining room table. In the second episode, we see him succumb to the ravages of time along with the others, rotting and losing an eye. We zoom out and see that it was playing on the living room television the whole time. But Robin’s popped-out eyeball is STILL ON THE FLOOR.
So! It’s time for the all-important question! So important, in fact, that I’m going to write it in glitter:
And the answer, in my opinion, is yes. It’s incredibly chilling to open on a scene that doesn’t include Red Guy. We’ve never truly believed that the characters could come to harm. Now they are, and that fact goes against everything we know about children’s media. The line has been crossed. Not cool, dude! NOT COOL!
Of course, we’ll see what happens in the not-too-distant future. There’s going to be at least one more Don’t Hug Me I’m Scared episode, and it should wrap things up nicely. Or not so nicely. Either way, I’ll be eagerly awaiting its release. The series is not only fun and colourful in a disturbing sort of way, but it uses a variety of animation techniques and a dry, cynical sense of humour. Who can’t find some appreciation for that?