Film Theory: Don’t Hug Me I’m Scared DECODED!

Film Theory: Don’t Hug Me I’m Scared DECODED!


Notebook:”What’s your favourite idea?” Notebook: “Mine is being creative!” MatPat: Oh yeah? MatPat: Well, mine is unraveling the mysteries of insane viral videos. (Wicked distorted title sequence!) Hello, Internet! Welcome to Film Theory, The YouTube version of your uncle who thinks that everything’s a conspiracy. “Why, yes, Uncle Bob!” “I DO think it’s strange that you never see a baby pigeon.” “And I’m definitely interested “to hear your theory about the government’s involvement in that!” “Please tell me more!” And it’s that kind of mixture of insanity and analysis that brings us to today’s topic, the independent internet darling, ‘Don’t Hug Me, I’m Scared.’ If you’re unfamiliar with DHMIS, It’s a series of short films with puppets that that looks to be inspired by shows like Sesame Street. BUT HOLD ON THERE, all you neglectful parents raising your kids off of YouTube videos! If any of you are looking it up right now to show your children, you’re probably gonna want me to finish this sentence first. you’re probably gonna want me to finish this sentence first. Because each episode of ‘Don’t Hug Me, I’m Scared,’ features a bit of a dark turn towards the end. Like arts and crafts with a real heart! Or a giant can eating a duck alive! Oh, yeah! You’re in THAT part of YouTube again! But, even though ‘Don’t Hug Me, I’m Scared’ is genuinely one of the weirdest
things I’ve watched on YouTube, I really like it! It’s really, REALLY well done and
you should absolutely watch it! At its core, this series is all about YouTube. ‘Don’t Hug Me, I’m Scared’ s creators, Becky Sloan and Joseph Pelling pretty much started this from scratch on the site. The first episode came out only three
months after I uploaded my first ever episode of Game Theory. It’s a long time ago, so I feel like we have a kindred history, here. But also, I like it because this show
refuses to be categorized. It’s got puppets but it also has animation in a lot of different styles. And then, if you wait long enough, it also has some live-action sequences. All of these different styles are one of
the things that makes it really hard to interpret. These videos aren’t interested
in playing by anybody else’s rules. And that makes it really exciting
to watch. But last, and probably most importantly,
is the amazing attention to detail these videos have. The number of callbacks and
easter eggs in every episode is astounding! Some of them, you have to practically watch frame by frame to even see! And you know that’s the kind of stuff that makes me, and obviously tons of other Theorists out there, really excited! There are a lot
of different ways to interpret ‘Don’t Hug Me,’ But today for our first theory on
this series – That’s right; I said, “First.” More on that later. – we’re going to talk
about what the whole thing means. An overview of the main themes of the
whole series. Granted, we’re not the first people to
try and do this. YouTube and Reddit were flooded with theories when the last
episode went up, but I really tried to do my homework on this one, and I got an
explanation for ‘Don’t Hug Me, I’m Scared,’ that will convince even the most
skeptical of theorists. Be warned, comprehensive Spoilers lie ahead, but then again this entire thing is on
YouTube, and it’s just 6 episodes that are between 3 and 8 minutes each.
So just go watch it. Like right now. Anyway, Y’all ready? Faaantastic! Let’s get, creative! If we’re hoping to explain what’s going on in ‘Don’t Hug Me, I’m Scared’ we first need to establish what kind of world
we’re in. A lot of theories look at bizarre events in this series as
evidence of something sinister such as the three main characters to whom I’ll
be referring to from here on out is The Red Guy, The Yellow Guy, and the Duck, being stuck
in purgatory or some sort of nightmare. To that I say, Occam’s razor, my friend. A better
explanation is one that’s a lot simpler… These three are just stars of a
children’s television show. Granted, it may not be a very nice
children’s television show, but the evidence is there. There are several instances in which we
see the inner workings of a television show. We see clapboards and cameras right in
episode one, at the start of the creativity montage. Then again in episode 4, when The Red Guy follows the computer wire to the next room, and in episode 6, as The Lamp
explains dreaming to The Yellow Guy. You can also tell that most of the time
these characters are on sets. This is most obvious when Duck revolts in episode 5, saying “Enough, I don’t want to do this anymore!” The perspective of the video changes. Indicating that Duck has hit the camera that’s filming him, and with the camera looks upward, we can see
the characters aren’t actually in a house with a ceiling, but in a studio
with lights overhead. The other obvious tip off, is that our three main
characters are basically archetypes of what you see on Sesame Street. The Yellow Guy is a human puppet like Burt or Ernie, The Duck is an animal puppet like
Snuffleupagus or Big Bird, and The Red Guy is some sort of humanoid monster, like Grover or Oscar The Grouch. Or those aliens that go “MEEPEPEPEPEPEPE, uh-huhm, uh-huh” all the time. Those things utterly freaked me out by the way. And if this is indeed a TV show it would
explain some of the easter eggs we keep seeing in later episodes. As ‘Don’t Hug Me, I’m Scared’ progresses, we start to see some of the same props appearing over
and over again. At the beginning of episode 4 we can see a statue of Malcolm,
from the previous episode, on the fire place next to the clock. At the start of
episode 5 we see the number chart that the computer uses in episode 4 attached to the
refrigerator, and then there are other props like the red, blue and yellow
baseball cap that keeps showing up episode after episode. These aren’t just cool Easter eggs they’re
there for a reason. To decorate the set with props they’ve used before, instead
of having to buy entirely new props and set pieces every time. This is common not just within TV shows, but also across productions as a way to save money. There are examples of this practice all
OVER film and TV, like the newspaper from ‘No Country For Old Men’ showing up in the
‘Texas Chainsaw Massacre’ and even better ‘Modern Family’. The armor from StarShip Troopers also makes an appearance in ‘FireFly’, or ‘Star-Trek’ literally reusing
an entire space station in two completely separate productions! There’s one other juicy bit of Theorist Bait in episode 6, that strongly points in the whole thing being a TV show as
well. When The Yellow Guy is in bed, looking through a scrapbook, we see a picture of The Red Guy, who
wasn’t in episode 5 except for the credits. And who’s bed is empty at the start of episode 6, wearing a graduation cap. Other theorists have suggested that
this means that Red Guy is a teenager, who grew up and went out to the real world, but going off to college is also a way for a television show to explain the
sudden absence of a main character. For instance, at the end of season 4 of ‘Blue’s
Clues,’ the original host Steve announces that he’s leaving Blue to go off to
college, when in actuality that was just the show transitioning to a new host
letting Steve go and do whatever weird artsy films that he’s working on now
and NO, internet, he did not go off and die of a heroin overdose he just did a
TV show like three years ago. Fact check internet. MAN, you guys are dark! Then again we are
talking about a series of videos where one of the puppets dies in a vat of oil
and another gets his intestines ripped out. So…yeah. Internet is dark dark place. Alright,
great! So ‘Don’t Hug Me, I’m Scared’ is a kids TV show. Awesome, but what does it mean? What the heck are the makers of the show trying to say? Well the first part of this is fairly
obvious: television messages that are delivered to children are corrupting
them as much as they’re helping them. Those episodes of ‘Sesame Street’? Oh-ho yeah! Leading your kids down a dark path of
brainwashing destruction! I’m looking at you, Big Bird! At least
according to the DHMIS. You don’t think so? Just look at each episode! The pattern
here is pretty clear: each one has a theme you expected the other show like
‘Sesame Street’: creativity, how time works, love, technology and computers,
healthy eating, and dreams. But in every instance that message gets corrupted and not just
by decaying flesh or catching your dad watching porn or a human heart covered in
glitter. Let’s take it episode by episode. Episode
1 is all about the virtues of creativity, except it portrays certain types of
creativity as being right and wrong, claiming that green isn’t a creative
color and that The Yellow Guy’s picture of a clown deserves to be destroyed
because it’s somehow creative in the wrong way. Episode 2 tries to explain the concept
of time, but that explanation is overly simplistic and teaches that time is
important even though kids still can’t understand
it from the way it’s being taught. The clock answers questions about time like “But when
did it start?” “And when will it stop?” with weird evasive answers like “Time is simple and I am a clock.” Then when The Duck finally
tries to explain time scientifically, The Clock yells until Yellow Guy’s ears literally
start to bleed! In episode 3 the Yellow Guy learns about love from a butterfly–
“Pesky bee!” or bee– “A little baby pigeon.” or little baby pigeon or…whatever, and
teaches him about feelings. But then later learns that love is only ok when
it’s followed in a certain way, particularly as it applies to religion. Episode 4 is all about computers and how
they can teach us a lot about the world, but at the end simply conclude that in
the digital world people end up doing frivolous things like fashion and
shopping and mindless entertainment. They’re literally getting sucked into a
computer and distracted with all these superficial things rather than the
information they were looking for in the first place. Then in episode 5 the
characters are supposed to learn about how to eat healthfully, but the advice of
the can meat is confusing and contradictory. And
this food pyramid is just terrifying! “The food groups can easily be
sorted using the simple health shape.” It’s also about how certain name-brand
products are good for you and others are bad. The underlying theme here is clear: the
kids show these three characters are in throughout the entirety of ‘Don’t Hug Me,
I’m Scared’ sets out to deliver lessons about the world, but either fails
miserably or succeeds and intentionally brainwashing kids to a specific point of
view. But why? Why are the creators of the show so cynical about kids programming? Are they trying to say that there’s some
big conspiracy behind kids TV shows? Well, yeah, actually. Definitely seems that way. Dig a little
bit deeper and there’s evidence that the show’s creators are railing against not
just kids TV but the makers of kids TV and what their goals really are. Not
educating kids but in making money. Throughout the series we see visuals all
about earning money, such as the very first thing you see in ‘Don’t Hug Me,’ a
newspaper which reads “Stocks Flying High,” along with a figure that seems to imply
that the value of the British pound is increasing. We also have subtler clues
like a board game in the background of episode 4 that’s titled “Money Win.” But
the most important element of this very small detail. Any fan of ‘Don’t Hug
Me, I’m Scared’ knows that each of the episodes takes place on June 19, but what
you have to look closer to see is the year. You can actually figure it out from
episode 1. That newspaper headline about stocks soaring in the UK is no
accident, and it’s not fiction. If you look at
stock records for June 19 over the last hundred years, there’s one year in
particular where stock markets were hitting record highs on that date: in
1955. In 1955, stock markets all over the world, including the US and UK, broke
practically every record imaginable when the market’s open. And if it was good
evidence in episode 1, in episode 2 we get our definitive proof. When The Clock
mentions that the past is far behind us, we see a picture of all three main
characters with the date underneath that reads 19-06-55. The 19-06 part obviously
stands for Jun 19, since the Brits put their day before
the month, with the 55 confirming our year. But why? Why 1955? Well 1955 was actually a huge deal in
British television history. Prior to 1954, the British
Broadcasting Corporation, or BBC, held a monopoly on British television, but it
was 1954 that the UK passed what became known as the Television Act,
in an effort to bring an end to that BBC monopoly. This act led to the
establishment of the first alternative network called ITV, for Independent TV in
1954. Where the BBC is sponsored by the British
government, ITV is independent, and therefore has to make its
money through advertising. Now in interpreting the series other YouTube
channels, most notably YouTube Explained, have covered
this topic, but they’ve said in the context of ‘Don’t Hug Me’ that this was a
good evolution. I see it the opposite way, and
I’m pretty sure the creators of ‘Don’t Hug Me, I’m Scared’ would agree, and here’s why: this was THE. FIRST. TIME
that advertising appeared in British television, marking an inflection point
at which television went from a medium to communicate and entertain to a
medium to make a profit, thereby giving executives and advertisers as much and
often times more power than the creators. and Britain was especially sensitive to
TV advertising. I mean in the US we were already used
to interrupting TV program with ads, or not even interrupting them at all. In
the US, it was actually standard practice at the time to believe those
regular shows into an ad so one minute you be watching The
Flintstones and then all of a sudden they be selling you cigarettes. No joke! Or watching a game show and then
being sold dishwasher detergent in the middle. One piece of evidence that was used
against ads was that in the US, the coverage of Queen Elizabeth’s coronation
was interrupted by a commercial with a dancing monkey named J Fred Muggs. The
British considered advertisements like that embarrassing and quite frankly rude. You don’t interrupt their queen with a
monkey! So 1954 and 1955 were years that were filled with debates about when and
how to allow ads onto TV and if the behavior of Becky and Joe– ‘Don’t Hug Me, I’m Scared’ creators–is any
indication, the issue of ads influencing TV is a big concern of theirs. According to the newspaper “The Guardian,”
Becky and Joe received offers from more mainstream sources to make episodes of
‘Don’t Hug Me,’ but turned them all down and funded the
project themselves through Kickstarter. Joe Pelling was quoted as saying, “We
wanted to keep it fairly odd and have the freedom to keep doing exactly what
we wanted.” The implication here is clear! If ‘Don’t
Hug Me, I’m Scared’ were made for television, it would have had to have
been approved by other people, people whose interests would have been for
profit or popularity, not about the message of the show. And when you look at
these 6 episodes it’s pretty clear that the messages for a positive, good,
inspirational, entertaining kids show are there, but they’ve been perverted by the
influence of an outside force. ‘Don’t Hug Me, I’m Scared’ is ultimately a
parable for the loss of control that artists trade off when they work on
bigger screens. Their messages are manipulated and their
morals are poisoned by others with ulterior motives. And with that, I’m going to have to leave
you hanging. I know! I know! I’m sorry! I recognize that we’re just starting to
scratch the surface of this series, but establishing this series as a launching
point was really important for answering all the other questions that we haven’t
gotten a chance to touch on today. Who are these characters, really? What’s
the significance of June 19? What about Roy, the ominous lurking figure The Yellow
Guy claims is his dad? And what does the ending mean? But don’t worry we’re getting
to all those questions and more in just another week! Which means that the lesson
of today is subscribing! Subscribing is a good idea if you want to see the videos
when they come out!” Subscribe! And IN THE MEANTIME, REMEMBER:
“That’s just a theory! A FILM THEORY!” and CUT!

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  1. Right after you said about baby pigeons i had to run test results, and i found something, they exist but they dont look like they're from this earth, i was thinking that maybe they are aliens that evolve into looking birds, what if they aint governments drones/spys… But aliens…. But hey it's just a theory, an alien theory!

  2. I imagine my 2 youngest siblings watching this…

    THEY STAY AWAKE ALL NIGHT

    Edit: Okay just saying, People these days are making puppets something scary. Just search it up in YouTube. Im sad people use puppets for scary stuff. TBH I love puppets but not this kind…

  3. Lol in SS we were learning about benefitial years for stocks flying high and my teacher was about to say the year cause she thought no one knew and I quickly raised my hand and said 1955๐Ÿ˜‚๐Ÿ˜‚. She looked so dumbfounded and asked me how I knew. I said, :Red Guy, Yellow Guy, and Duck are doing great on their show! She left me alone for the rest of the week๐Ÿ˜‚๐Ÿ˜‚๐Ÿ˜‚๐Ÿ˜‚๐Ÿ˜‚

  4. dose any one see at the 4:47 the tree behind red guy there is a missing poster on it for all three characters that's something to look in to matpat

  5. June nineteenth 1955 was fathers day, and roy was trying to tell them who is boss, and roy was making it fathers day every day, and running there show, but when it turns 20th of June, everything starts all over again.

  6. I think it is all one day because at the beginning they are eating breakfast the 3 lunch and 5 dinner and the last one yellow guy is about to sleep

  7. Watch the wakey wakey trailer, then look at the very first episode at the start, the duck has his face on a pound, and in wakey wakey trailer, he becomes some form of dictator, DHMIS predicted itself years before.

  8. Bill cyber:… Why am i here? Oh yah dhis this is uhhh im leaveing * leaves * me: idEM KNOW WHAT IM WATCHING HAHAHH * 5 hours later * AAAAAHHHHHH

  9. At 4:08 you can see someone looking down on them over the wall

    Edit: I just watched the other one and he did cover that

  10. 8:07 Might I be the one to point out that Duck has a format that basically says Nazis equals mc^2? (Look to the left of the head on the board.)

  11. DHMIS kinda reminds me of that episode of Futurama where Leela makes a children's TV show based on actual aliens… Remember that one?

  12. So thanks to this I have now developed an intense interest in DHMIS. Iโ€™m sure this has been asked a hundred times already. But seriously whatโ€™s going on with all the hints that theyโ€™re all missing? Like the poster in 3 and then on the back of the milk in 4? Where are they! Am I behind, how does this play into the rest of the plot?

  13. 9:40
    But if they are against creators of kids shows why did they help make an episode of the amazing world of gumball

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