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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 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 and directed by its members Becky Sloan & Joseph Pelling. 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 and the Sundance Film Festival, the latter of which was mentioned in an article published by the The Sundance Institute. The film also received the Midnight Shorts award at the South by Southwest film festival in March 2012.
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, Animated-Review, Whitezine, Have You Seen This, Laughing Squid and This is Colossal. 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, Bloguh and Loitering Lion.
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.
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.
On January 6th, 2014, Becky&Joe released Don’t Hug Me I’m Scared 2 – TIME, 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, Neatorama, Digital Arts and the Huffington Post. 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 by its fans, as a portmanteau of “notepad” and “clock”.
Yahoo Questions – Don’t hug me I’m scared. What was the real meaning of the video
Huffington Post – ’Don’t Hug Me. I’m Scared’ Gives A Not-So-Wholesome Lesson On Time