Don't Hug Me I'm Scared

Don't Hug Me I'm Scared

Updated Jan 25, 2014 at 03:09PM EST by RandomMan.

Added Jun 24, 2013 at 10:22AM EDT by RandomMan.

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Don’t Hug Me I’m Scared is a short musical film directed by Becky Sloan & Joseph Pelling. The film begins with an anthropomorphic character of a notepad singing a seemingly innocent tune about creativity, but as the song progresses, the lyrics and the video take on an increasingly grimdark tone. Due to the ambivalent nature of the film, it soon gained the reputation of a shock video and many viewers have since shared their reactions and analyses of its hidden meaning.


The original video was uploaded to Vimeo[3] on July 28th, 2012, followed by a mirrored upload on YouTube on the next day. The short film was produced by the film and animation group THIS IS IT Collective[1] and directed by its members Becky Sloan & Joseph Pelling.[2] The video begins under the premise of a singalong segment typically featured on children’s puppet shows, but takes an unexpected turn with the lyrics exploring darker themes such as death towards the end. As of June 26th, 2013, the film has over 6,000 likes on Vimeo and close to 8 million views and 10,000 likes on Youtube.


“Don’t Hug Me I’m Scared” was screened during various film festivals in 2012, most notably at The Wrap Shortlist Film Festival[4] and the Sundance Film Festival,[5] the latter of which was mentioned in an article[7] published by the The Sundance Institute. The film also received the Midnight Shorts award at the South by Southwest film festival in March 2012.[6]

In the weeks and months following its release, the short film was featured in numerous articles on art blogs and other websites such as Short of the Week,[8] Animated-Review,[9] Whitezine,[10] Have You Seen This,[11] Laughing Squid[12] and This is Colossal.[13] On May 9th, 2013, Youtube channel The Fine Bros uploaded a video in which well known Youtube celebrities react to the video. As of June 24th, 2013, the video has nearly 5 million views and 10,000 likes. It was also featured various other websites such as the Smosh Pit,[14] Bloguh[15] and Loitering Lion.[16]


Some viewers have questioned and speculated the possibility of a deeper meaning behind the video, leading to critical analyses of the lyrics that are both serious and facetious. One of the leading theories interprets the film as a metaphor to how children are conditioned to act in a certain way due to some of the lines spoken by the notebook.

Notable Examples

Green is Not a Creative Color

The lyrics “Green is not a Creative Color” gained popularity amongst the viewers due to its randomness, resulting in various fan artworks dedicated to the phrase.

Fan Art

Reaction Videos


On January 6th, 2014, Becky&Joe released Don’t Hug Me I’m Scared 2 – TIME,[19] a sequel to the original film featuring the same characters as they’re now being tought about time from a talking clock, while keeping the more grimdark tones present at certain sections. The Youtube release of 2 days later managed to gain around 2.5 million views in the first two weeks it was up.

In the days following its release, the sequel was covered by Co.Create,[20] Neatorama,[21] Digital Arts[22] and the Huffington Post.[23] On Tumblr people quickly started pairing the clock from the sequel with the notepad from the first part throughout January, commonly drawing the two characters in a humanized form, resulting in large amounts of fanart of the duo (shown below). This ship was given the nickname padlock[24] by its fans, as a portmanteau of “notepad” and “clock”.

Search Interest

External References

[1]THIS IS IT Collective – Homepage

[2] – Don’t Hug Me I’m Scared

[3]Vimeo – Don’t Hug Me I’m Scared

[4]The Wrap Shortlist Film Festival – Don’t Hug Me I’m Scared

[5]Sundance Filmguide – Don’t Hug Me I’m Scared

[6]South by Southwest – Past Winners

[7]Sundance Festival Article – Perfectly Strange Shorts Program

[8]Short of the Week – Don’t Hug Me I’m Scared

[9]Animated-Review – Don’t Hug Me I’m Scared

[10]Whitezine – Don’t Hug Me I’m Scared

[11]Have You Seen This? – Don’t Hug Me I’m Scared

[12]LaughingSquid – Don’t Hug Me I’m Scared, A Creative Short Film With Dark Humor

[13]This is Colossal – Don’t Hug Me I’m Scared

[14]The Smosh Pit – YouTubers React to Don’t Hug Me I’m Scared

[15]Bloguh – YouTubers React to Don’t Hug Me I’m Scared

[16]Loitering Lion – Don’t Hug Me I’m Scared

[17]Ace Fortress Forum – Don’t Hug me I’m Scared Explaining?

[18]Yahoo Questions – Don’t hug me I’m scared. What was the real meaning of the video

[19]DazedDigital – Don’t Hug Me I’m Scared: 2 – TIME

[20]Co.Create – The reality-shattering puppets of ’Don’t Hug Me I’m Scared’ are back to upset you and your children

[21]Neatorama – Don’t Hug Me, I’m Scared 2

[22]Digital Arts – Don’t Hug Me I’m Scared 2 is the disturbing sequel to Becky & Joe’s YouTube hit

[23]Huffington Post – ’Don’t Hug Me. I’m Scared’ Gives A Not-So-Wholesome Lesson On Time

[24]Tumblr – #Padlock

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