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Happy Tree Friends is a web cartoon series produced by Mondo Mini Shows, best known for combining cuddly innocuous animal characters with graphic depiction of bloodbaths, dismemberment and painful death. It has since gained an online following of cult status, reaching over 15 million views per month at its peak.
While working on Mondo Mini Shows, Rhode Montijo drew on a little piece of scrap paper a character who would later become Shifty. He then drew on a spreadsheet poster a yellow rabbit that bore some resemblance to Cuddles and wrote “Resistance is futile” underneath it. Rhode then hung the drawing up in his workstation so other people could see his idea, and eventually the idea was pitched to and accepted by the Mondo Media executives.