Chris G is a writer, researcher, and internet-culture enthusiast who enjoys digging into some of the stranger trends on the web.
Welcome to my analysis of "Don't Hug Me I'm Scared!" The video and images on this page are owned by their respective creators and not me. I'm merely a happy viewer searching for some deeper meaning.
If you haven't seen "Don't Hug Me I'm Scared," please help yourself to the video below. It's a pretty catchy tune! If you have seen this video and already have some theories or insights not covered in my analysis that you'd like to pass along, please let me know in the comments section.
"Don't Hug Me I'm Scared" Original Video
What Was That?
To be honest, it took me a few viewings before I started to form some solid ideas about this video, but with all the little clues and the trippy ending, it's hard not to look for what the creators are trying to say. Of course, that means that anything I say here is really only my opinion about what the video means (or rather, what I absorbed from it). Everyone is going to have their own take on this.
That being said, I'm sure there are plenty of places online that have already gone pretty deep into what their insights are. For the most part, I've steered clear of anyone's in-depth explanation except for one person on YouTube. His username is Vinny, and you can see his video here. He has a lot of good opinions on the video, and he thinks along the same lines that I do about the video.
Vinny and I share the theory that this is a metaphor for the type of programming we allow our children to watch. I'm not sure I'd go as far as to say that the media or the elite are taking a special interest in what your children watch (though I do believe that to some extent), but I am saying that someone is.
People out there right now are deciding what they want your kids to see and learn. Do you know what standards they have? What are their priorities when it comes to what to teach your kids? Who is making sure that what they put on their programs is actually educational? They claim that they are teaching kids how to be more creative, but is that what they're actually doing? I believe this video is meant to make us ask these questions.
With all that off my chest and out of the way, let's take a closer look at the video.
The Little Things
Within the first 10 seconds of the video, you realize that this isn't an average kids' short. You see a newspaper on the table called The Right Wing with the headline "STOCKS FLYING HIGH." There are also some silly symbols on it representing what I can only assume is the nonsense math we use to show how "great" our economy is doing.
Is this really what belongs in a kids' show? Probably not. And I have to admit I don't remember any right-wing/left-wing debate in Sesame Street, but perhaps the creators of the video are trying to be more subtle. Is there much political influence on what our kids watch?
An interesting theory that was brought up by Vinny is how the characters aren't doing anything before the notepad awakens. It's as if they're waiting for the next thing that happens in the show. Then when the notepad pops up and starts his jingle, things start happening. I'm not sure how much meaning that really has within the overall video but it really does seem that way. It's almost like the notepad (which, in my opinion, represents whoever controls children's shows' content) is the director of their life, and the way it acts throughout the video backs that up.
Shortly into the video, the notepad asks them to look at the clouds. The main characters are very disinterested until the notepad holds up what looks like a seer stone to his eye and asks them to take another look. Just the tone of his voice alone when he says this is devious.
Afterward, they start seeing things in the clouds and chanting all together as if brainwashed. Not only do they see things and seem to enjoy themselves but they all do it together and in unison. Again, I may be reading into this too deep, but in my mind, after having seen this so many times, I don't think you can go too deep.
The involvement of the seer stone is confusing, but the focus on the eye is not. In the sequel, "Don't Hug Me I'm Scared Part II: TIME," there's a lot of focus on eyes, but I'll get to that in my next analysis.
Green Is Not a Creative Color?
The craziest thing about the whole video is that at no point does the notepad teach them to do anything creative—not one thing. In fact, the only creative thing done in the entire video was a painting of a clown that the notepad destroys because it was a little too creative for him.
"Look at the clouds!"
"Imagine this orange with a face!"
"Write your favorite color with sticks!"
These are the things the notepad says are creative. It's as if the notepad's goal is to stop them from even attempting creativity. Even when he's explaining how to get a creative idea, he simply says "I just try to think creatively," as if that's a real explanation.
Another example of the notepad's control is its declaration that green is not a creative color. Why? Is there a reason at all? In Vinny's explanation of the sequel to this video, he points out that in the diagram of the brain, the temporal lobe (the part used for thinking) is shown in green. Of course, the notepad doesn't want you using that part!
I'm not sure if that's really the idea behind saying green isn't a creative color, but it makes more sense than anything I can come up with.
What Does the End of the Video Mean?
So, I didn't warn you about the ending of the video, and I am sorry if any of you are squeamish or found it to be in bad taste. I feel like the video is best seen without any prior knowledge for the full effect to be felt. If you didn't feel a little weird at the end of the video, you didn't do it right (or you're without emotions).
What I believe the creators of this video are trying to show with this shocking ending is the end result of having children raised on such ridiculous "entertainment."
At first, the world trips into a 3D mode and spins all around, showing the false reality of the puppets' home and the behind-the-scenes area where the eyeballs creating the content are directing. This is a reminder that everything there is being made by Hollywood. It's been controlled and watched under the eyeballs' supervision and is the way it is for a reason. The eyeballs are their own special subject to cover. Again, we'll discuss this more in my analysis of Part II.
When reality clicks back to normal, there are a few differences in the puppets. The yellow one is much larger and has a ridiculous grin, and duck-in-a-suit also gets bigger and more person-like.
The three puppets then proceed to "get creative," which involves a lot of hard-to-look-at images. I feel like you can't try to absorb some sort of specific meaning out of the ending. To me, the tone of darkness and violence is the meaning. Whatever they're trying to say, the scenes at the end have a lot to do with it.
What Do You Think?
"Don't Hug Me I'm Scared" is definitely a strange little film, but it did start some people along thought-provoking paths. There is so much going on in this video, and I want more people to see it. The irony of making something so creative to show how television is destroying creativity isn't lost on me either.
No matter what you thought of the video or my analysis, I hope you gained some sort of insight into how much went into making this video. If not, then at least you got a trippy YouTube video to send to your friends. I know I didn't get to everything (like June 19, the focus on eyeballs, etc.), but if you think I've missed something important or would like to add your point of view, feel free to fill up the comment section below!
Questions & Answers
Question: When I researched Don’t Hug Me I’m Scared, Wikipedia called it a “surreal horror.” What does Wikipedia mean by the genre label surreal horror? Is Don't Hug Me I'm Scared a horror?
Answer: I haven't seen much surreal horror myself, but you can look at it as crazy/bizarre horror. Similar to horror movies but crazier.
ChrisGibson (author) from Anchorage, Alaska on February 14, 2019:
Oooo I like this! It's a more subtle way to go about it. Especially since they treat that character likes he's a dumby even though some of his questions (at least in part 2) are good questions. I need to go back and re-watch so I can get more perspective and write another analysis. I'm glad you enjoyed! =)
Natalya on February 14, 2019:
Thank you for this analysis. I have another possible theory as to what is meant by Green is not a creative colour. It is believed that geniuses often select green as their favourite colour and genius is usually assessed only by math science and language. Geniuses are more often thought to be less creative than they are logical.
ChrisGibson (author) from Anchorage, Alaska on December 05, 2018:
I'd be inclined to believe something like this but I've watched the creators over time and they seem like they genuinely have a message. I will make a version of the vid go backwards though... Sounds like an interesting way to take in the content.
Triston on December 01, 2018:
I watched half of this and showed this to my little sister.Later I heard a bloodcurdling scream.I watched the video and payed her 10 bucks not to tell my mum or dad
Johnathan8972 on December 01, 2018:
Try turning it upside down.You guys may find something strange.I find this video highly disturbing like the part where cake is cut and there is disgusting red blood in it.And the part where they got a freaking HEART and rubbed it in glitter.The video just might be made by a troll to waste peoples time.Let me know what u guys think
Sara on April 17, 2017:
I always thought of it as the school system and how kids are made to grow up, this is certainly a new spin on it!
ChrisGibson (author) from Anchorage, Alaska on February 15, 2017:
I know it's not a kids show, but it definitely uses a kid show stage as a way to express it's meaning, which leaves us to ask why.
Emmalena on January 24, 2017:
You realize that there is six episodes, right?
666 on October 20, 2016:
you are asking is this a kids show. it is Not a childrens show under any circumstances. it features gore and disturbing content. that is not for kids.
Tom Hanks on August 04, 2016:
It's Nice That had an interview with Red Guy, Yellow Guy, Duck and Roy (Yellow guy's dad)
Roy, do you have anything to add?
Roy: My silly boy has allowed his eyes to grow arrogant and rude, for this I will take him on a trip to punish land.
I think that this is why Yellow Guy is the victim in every one of these mini episodes
Roy wants to punish him so since he is like the "sponsor"/"financial backer" of the "TV World" We see Red Guy, Yellow Guy and duck in, he can control what goes on and so decides to punish Yellow guy by having the notepad destroy his painting and tell him that his favorite color isn't creative
Ciasquare on July 29, 2016:
When he asks them to use sticks to spell their favorite color, the pie chart does not have the color green in it, which is why it isn't creative.
ChrisGibson (author) from Anchorage, Alaska on June 22, 2016:
For 9 out of 10 situations I totally agree. For kid's shows I think the big problem is branding. Like you said, they want money and forcing products into shows can be an issue. At least if they're pushing (not)food on the children. Though it is odd that the US Military has involvement with around 30% of Hollywood movies...
Sammi on June 22, 2016:
I don't think the media has any other agenda other than to make money. We tell the media what to do, not the other way around. America and England are capitalist countries and while some of our programs are made and funded by the government, the vast majority aren't. If a show has low ratings or isn't popular, it gets cancelled. Most western kids shows are made by individuals who want to make something good and likeable rather than a whole bunch of cooperate men in suits. I remember school telling the right and wrong ways to be creative or eat or whatever more than any kids' show did.
ChrisGibson (author) from Anchorage, Alaska on June 22, 2016:
AdultsRDumb - Nobody is overreacting to anything. This is a piece of art that has meaning and a message. Nothing here is meant to scare, just meant to make you think. Interesting that you get so worked up by opinions. Also strange that you think there's no secret agendas in this country when this country has admitted to experimenting with dropping gas on an entire city, has political fiascoes almost daily, is known for it's NSA program gathering mass amounts of data on it's citizens and is known for using economic hitmen to overthrow governments around the world... But I guess we're all entitled to our opinion.
AdultsRDumb on June 22, 2016:
Or, in fact, all your theories are garbage. You can't say that the color of anything in this video is related to anything beyond just that, nor can you claim that the airplane is anything other than a fucking airplane are you people retarded STOP overlooking things. There is no secret agenda out there to brainwash your kids through the media its just a modern day Red Scare, some imaginary monster for everyone to rise up, overreact to, and lash out against.
Bob on June 19, 2016:
The most plausible interpretation of green not being a creative color is, that it's not on the color wheel that's shown on the notepad at 1:42. While red and blue are part of the wheel, thus qualify as "creative colors", green is not. As if kids are being told what is creative and what is not.
gedeltelijk zombie on November 30, 2015:
"Green is not a creative color", probably just because that colour was not on Note Pad's pie chart, when he said "write your favorite colour with sticks". Creative colours are all determined by the Note Pad and else "not a creative colour".
Blue and red are on the pie chart.
Sophia on November 25, 2015:
I read a theory that talked about how the notepad held the seer stone to his OWN eye, and the other characters saw the clouds in different shapes as a result. Maybe it could be a reference to how Hollywood tries to force children into seeing things from their perspective, along with the "green is not a creative color" and such.
ChrisGibson (author) from Anchorage, Alaska on December 04, 2014:
Hey Michelle. I'm glad you get that feeling and I remember the first time I felt it as well (watching Zeitgeist the documentary thanks to a friend). It's easy to get wrapped up in the negativity of it all and you're right to be angry. Even downright pissed off! Look at the world our generation gets to inherit! The old men in DC play resource management for the world and our tax dollars line their pockets and fuel the war in the middle east while the rest of us are left yelling at each other placing blame instead of standing together. Don't get lost in your negativity friend! Use what you know as fuel to find more truths and constructively show them to the world. =)
Michelle on September 26, 2014:
DHMIS and, of course, your analysis have opened my eyes. Now I'm cleverer person than a few minutes ago. I hate our reality. We're puppets of the most important people of the world. I'll oppose the Government and I'll do what I want. I'll not be next dumn machine, which agree with everything. It's my life and I'm free! Fuck you, world!
ChrisGibson (author) from Anchorage, Alaska on August 31, 2014:
Well I'd have to say I agree with all of that. It's definitely true we are pushed through "kid jail", or school, just to make sure we all are indoctrinated correctly to fit into the society. It would never be healthy to the system if we were allowed to question it. I mean, they even make sure we're programmed to point and laugh at those who do ask questions so yeah, you're absolutely right!
Sarah on August 31, 2014:
I totally agree with the teacher/parent theory. At the very start, the newspaper shows a note about "Stocks flying high", what if all that "teaching what is convenient" stuff it's only because that's good for industrialization? I mean, our kids has been pushed though an educational system which force them to be part of the common society. It would be inconvenient to the gobernment if people thought way too much because then they might not agree with the whole system, I mean, we're all victims, all of us have been educated in the same way, all of us have been educated to lose our creativity, we didn't learn to think, but "what should we think" and what should we teach to our kids, am I right?
ChrisGibson (author) from Anchorage, Alaska on July 23, 2014:
I'm not sure if I agree with this fully. If the notepad is an innocent teacher why say to "slow down" and ruin the clown painting? Unless of course, the teacher is also inhibited by what they've learned about creativity. I do totally agree, however, that learning about creativity from the media teaches them to be crazy. Just look at the past generations in this country. =P
ChrisGibson (author) from Anchorage, Alaska on July 23, 2014:
Fairly deep look into the plane but I like it. I think there's a truth being shown with the red/blue highlights that you mention. When creativity is pursued without restraint, there is issue, and when we lack creativity in general, there is issue. As Buddhism has taught the Middle-Way is the only path. Finding a balance between the two.
Stephany on June 25, 2014:
I say that the notepad represents an innocent teacher/parent teaching the kids about creativity but then when it's the kids' turn to try they learn on their own way from media (like CreepyPasta etc.) which teaches them to be crazy.
Jonathan on June 03, 2014:
In the first few seconds, a plane is seen on white fabric outlined by red and blue colors. The plane could symbolize dreams and creativity "taking off". Of course, the prosaic tone of the first few seconds could communicate that the puppets are not taking advantage of their creativity. The white background can represent the innocence of their creativity. Regardless of the result, creativity should always be a value. The red and blue highlights may also symbolize passion and suppression. When society pursues creativity without restraint, anarchy is the result, but without creativity, life is dull and nothing is accomplished. Really then, people should think independently but still respect other people's opinions or else anarchy can erupt and after anarchy comes extreme tolerance.
ChrisGibson (author) from Anchorage, Alaska on March 09, 2014:
Hah I love the names! But keep Paige Note and Tony the Talking Clock out of my life. They make catchy songs but I don't need them teaching my kids. =P
Natela on March 08, 2014:
actually, the Notepad is female. Most people have agreed her human name is Paige Note, and green just isn't creative. Paige is going to overthrow out higher power and teach us to be creative in the good way. Plus, Tony the Talking Clock will teach us the importance of time.