June 19th, 2016 was quite an eventful day. Not only was it Father's Day, which of course is wonderful, but Dustin Johnson won at the U.S. Open, the Cavaliers bested the Warriors to finally bring a championship to Cleveland, AND... Don't Hug Me I'm Scared 6 was released.
First off, for those who haven't seen the 6th episode yet, or have no idea at all what "Don't Hug Me I'm Scared" is, I implore you to go look it up on YouTube and watch all six videos in order this second. You will not be sorry.
Anyways, if you're still here, you probably experienced quite a lot of hype leading up to the sixth, and presumably final, episode of the acclaimed series-- I know my friends and I did. These videos have arguably been quoted among us more than any other movie, show, book, or anything. Whether you're a long-time fan, or new to the series, it's combination of production quality, symbolism, entertainment, and of course shocking gore leaves it nearly impossible to dismiss it as anything other than amazing.
Chances are, you're still trying to take in what happened in the final episode and make sense of it in your head. I'd like to help you in that regard, but before I do I'd like to look at all the episodes together. I'm counting on the fact that you've seen every episode, so I'm not going to recap everything that happens in each one. However, since the series is so unbelievably quotable, I would like to take some time to look back on some of my favorite quotes from each episode. Here they are:
"What's your favorite idea? Mine is being creative!" -Notepad
"Green is not a creative color." -Notepad
"Now let's all agree, to never be creative again!" -Notepad
"Scrub, scrub, scrub 'til the water's brown!" -Tony the Talking Clock
"There's a time and a place for mucking around!" -Tony
"It's 9:30, there's fish everywhere." -Red Guy
"Meh, meh, meh, meh, meh, meh, MEH, MEH, MEH, MEH,MEH, MEH, MEH, MEH, MEH, MEH!" -Tony
Episode 3: Pretty much the entire episode, but these lines especially:
"Pesky bee!" -Duck
"A little baby pigeon!" -Yellow Guy
"Hee hee, harder." -Furry Boy
"And we have finished the chicken picnic." -Duck
"His name is Malcolm, he is the king of love. We must feed him... we must feed him gravel, or he becomes angry."
"A mountains... a sky! A windmill!" -Yellow Guy
"Wow, look, nothing! Digital style! And digital dancing, hey this is fun!"
"Fish and chips!....Steak and beef! Cha-cha-chow... Grapes and eggs...Steak...Eggs!" -Bread
"What's that, a tasty snack? You don't want to go and eat a snack like that! Greedy, to eat all that, you'll end up with your teeth all gray!"
"What's that? Plain white sauce? Plain white sauce makes your teeth go gray!" -Steak
"Or you could have a dream about drowning in oil!" -Lamp
"Oh, looks like somebody's having a bad dream!" -Lamp
"I wonder what will happen?"- Red Guy
Anyways, let's delay our examination of the conclusion of DHMIS a little bit more so that we can rank them based on different criteria. These rankings are very subjective, so I'd understand if you completely disagree. These are just my impressions, and since I love making lists, I just had to turn these impressions into rankings.
Here, in my opinion, is each video ranked by the quality of its music. I'm not considering the lyrics of any songs for this list, because that'd be just like ranking the entire episode. Don't worry though, I'll get to that in a bit. Here's my list of songs:
6) Episode 6
This episode understandably rounds out the bottom of the list because it mainly focuses on the Red Guy, and unlike previous episodes its original song does not like up the majority of the episode. Plus, the lamp's song, although funny, can be a little annoying.
5) Episode 2
The song in this episodes centers on a rhythmic ticking that supports the theme of time and clocks, but this ticking gives the song a somewhat monotonous theme. Tony's attempt at falsetto also enters into that range of somewhat funny but also somewhat annoying.
4) Episode 3
Although plenty of sidesplitting dialogue can be found in this song, the actual musical aspect of the episode seems somewhat pedestrian. This can probably be attributed to its melodramatic chord sequences, which are fitting the theme of love, but its resemblance of a love ballad doesn't quite tickle my fancy as much as something more upbeat.
3) Episode 4
I find this song to be quite entertaining-- the synthesized beat and Colin's autotuned voice fit the theme of the episode well, and while it may not be as catchy as the first episode's song, it does the job just fine for me.
2) Episode 5
This is the only episode whose song is actually funny in itself to me. Of course the lyrics are funny, like every episode, but the fifth episode's weird beat really makes the whole thing better. Plus I love the beat that the can pf spinach makes when it says "you don't want to go and eat a snack like that!"
1) Episode 1
In terms of music, creators Becky Sloan and Joseph Pulling hit the nail on the head the first time. The best part of the episode, this song is fun, catchy, and very endearing, which is helpful for those that may be repulsed by what occurs after the song loses its bubbliness so to speak.
The one aspect of the first DHMIS episode that helped it become a viral sensation was its juxtaposition of a cute, friendly aesthetic with horrifyingly scary and disturbing imagery. This contrast, combined with the series' humor, is the same trait that helped the Llamas With Hats videos become successful (if you have not seen all 12 Llamas With Hats episodes, I highly encourage you to do so). The series as a whole definitely stands out to me as one of the most disturbing things I've ever seen, but maybe that's just because I'm an uncultured swine. Anyways, here's my ranking of the episodes based on how scary they are:
6) Episode 3
This episode may be the funniest of the six by far, but it does suffer in the fear department because of this focus on laughter. Don't get me wrong, Malcolm's love cult gets pretty creepy at the end, but not enough to top any other episodes on this list.
5) Episode 6
The sixth episode is also different from the typical DHMIS episode because while definitely being creepy at times, it never really reaches the level of horrifying or at least truly scary. That's completely okay, since it ties up the series magnificently, but for this list it just won't cut it.
4) Episode 2
While it may only have one truly uncomfortable moment, seeing the bodies of the trio decay at the end definitely succeeds in making me squirm in my seat every time. This may not be genuinely scary, and instead may be more aptly classified as gross or disturbing, but it still merits the episode a better ranking than the sixth and third.
3) Episode 4
Colin's enraged outburst and the degradation of the ending into a rave of digital chaos help this episode rank higher than the second episode because they qualify as truly scary, as opposed to simply the effective use of gore. Don't tell me you weren't at least a little scared the first time you saw Red Guy made the horrible mistake of touching Colin.
2) Episode 1
Human hearts rolled in glitter, stickers that spell out "D E A T H", demonic dancing, consuming unidentifiable viscera... all the good things in life are in this episode. The trio's outburst after encouragement from the notepad to get creative was genuinely shocking to all who watched this episode for the first time, and I can't blame them.
1) Episode 5
The use of the phone, and subsequently Duck Guy's unexplained transportation to and from the operating room, creates a masterful buildup of suspenseful fear that ends with the climax of Duck Guy being murdered and then fed to Yellow Guy. This is the only episode that seems actually terrifying to me, and that feeling is the result of its perfect combination of suspense and gore.
The final big piece of the puzzle that gave each episode its most memorable characteristics was the "teachers". These antagonistic inanimate objects (or butterflies) initially encountered little resistance from the trio, but fulfilling their agenda of educating them on a given topic got more difficult as the series went on. This struggle, as well as the hilarity that ensued from their eccentricities, helped make the series as wonderful as it is. As with every list, although it may seem like I'm being harsh on some aspects, I'm merely trying to find negatives to help me rank them, as I don't feel strong negative feelings about any aspect of Don't Hug Me I'm Scared. Anyways, without further ado, this is my ranking of all the primary teachers:
Of course, the lamp's song about dreams wasn't the focus of the episode, so the lamp didn't nearly as much screen time as the other teachers, but I still have to rank it despite this unfair disadvantage. Nevertheless, the lamp still seems like the most annoying of the six.
While Tony's strict control of his lesson was entertaining, he lacked the endearing mannerisms, such as those possessed by Colin, to seem really likable to me. He simply came across as too authoritarian, and when he attempted falsetto, kind of annoying.
In case you weren't sure, that's the real, actual name of the butterfly from Episode 3 and my future firstborn child. I don't really have anything negative to say about our little winged friend, except for that I don't have lots of positive things to say about him either. He was helped by the tremendous supporting cast of Malcolm's love cult, so he was burdened with explanatory dialogue as opposed to funny lines.
3) The Healthy Band
This is what I'm calling the bread loaf, steak, can of spinach, and refrigerator that appear in the fifth episode. Not only were they exceptionally weird in a humorous way, but their lengthy explanation and contrasting beliefs about what foods are healthy was very entertaining. Also, the steak may be my favorite character in the series to imitate because of his unique voice.
Colin is essentially a reincarnation of Tony in that he's the only other teacher who is prone to anger directed at the trio, except Colin does so in a much more entertaining way. His childlike mannerisms, similarly to Yellow Guy, help the audience appreciate him for more than what he does. His outburst of anger is also much more shocking than Tony's, and to top it all off Colin is the greatest performer of the six, with a wonderful T-Payne-esque singing voice and sweet digital dance moves.
Although the notepad never has been given an official name, like some of the other teachers, that doesn't reflect its status as the greatest of the teachers. Its status is primarily the result of its bright, bubbly personality while humorously discouraging the wrong types of creativity. These discouragements didn't take on the harsh tones of Tony and Colin, but I appreciate the notepad's unique blend of strictness and friendliness. Also, I would be inclined to using female pronouns to describe her, but the creators have described her gender as "paper", in case you were curious.
Now it's time to make the hardest list of all: the one in which I rank the episodes on an overall basis. Of all the lists, you might disagree with this one the most, which is understandable because each episode is good enough to make debating which is the best very difficult. The one trait above all that influenced my decisions for this list is the complexity of the plotline. All of the characteristics from the other three lists are certainly very important, but for some reason I've noticed that my preferences often hinge on whether the story arc is is particularly simple or not. This may not hold true for you, so if not I'd encourage you to make your own list and see what you think of it. But after lots of reflection and arguments with myself, this is what I've come up with:
6) Episode 2
Don't get me wrong, I still think this episode is great, but when compared to the other episodes it falls flat in a couple areas, especially plotline complexity. While the journeys through Victorian London and a highly technological future added some variety to Tony's lesson, his song still took up the entire episode, which was unfortunate since the song wasn't one of my favorites. Other episodes like the fifth and sixth had much more going on because the trio had learned to resist the teacher's whims. However, without that development at this point in the series, and the episode's lower quality of entertainment comparatively, the entire episode feels like a bit of a drag.
5) Episode 4
Although Colin may be one of the more entertaining teachers, it seems like the plot of the episode didn't give him enough time to shine. The simplicity of Colin's explanation about himself and then of the digital world doesn't help this episode for my overall ranking, but Colin's superiority to Tony and the many quotable lines give the fourth episode the edge over the second. I really loved this episode when I saw it just after it was released, but after lots of time, I've concluded that if the episode was just a little longer, with a little more going on, it may have appeared higher on this list.
4) Episode 1
This episode may be similar to the second in the simplicity of its plotline, but what sets it apart in my rankings? Well, a couple different things. This episode's music and humor is superior, the notepad is much more likable than Tony, and the frenetic pace of the ending gives it a much scarier feeling than the ending of the second episode. The creators of the series may have needed a little time to maximize production quality, as many supporting strings and even human puppeteer fingers are sometimes visible, but this is easily forgivable given the enormous success of this episode that convinced the creators to turn it into a series.
3) Episode 3
Without a doubt, this is the most entertaining episode of the six. The creators abandoned the previous episodes' embrace of horror in favor of mild discomfort, and in return gave us so many hilariously quotable lines that this episode is the third-best without even really being scary. Plus, it appears to be clever satire of the Church's emphasis on protecting the purity of heterosexual love, the only kind of acceptable love because "it's perfect, and it's pure". If I had to watch just one episode, it would probably be this one because it would brighten my day so much.
2) Episode 5
Although some may be surprised that this episode is ranked so highly on my list, I am more than willing to defend my decision because I love this episode. I've already mentioned the episode's music and use of suspense individually, but these elements combined with so many quotable lines ("Hm!") and all the other wonderful things in every DHMIS episode make this a true gem. Plus, the slow decline of Duck Guy's willingness to participate in the lesson, followed by the conclusion of the lesson in chaos and slaughter, and finally the telephone ringing for Yellow Guy, has a lot more different things going on in it than episodes such as the second and the fourth. However, as fantastic as this episode is, I have to give the top prize to...
1) Episode 6
Let me justify this decision. Sure, this episode wasn't as funny as the third one, or as scary as the fifth one, or as musical as the first one, but it did a couple things better than all the rest. Seeing Duck Guy get disemboweled before his eyes and eaten by his friend in the fifth episode was certainly awful to watch, but this episode takes the cake for having the emotional core of seeing Yellow Guy suffer so much at the hands of Roy's machine inadvertently activated by Red Guy. These horrible sights are what made me decide that poor little Yellow Guy is my favorite member of the trio. The greatest aspect of this episode though is that its contribution to the series as a whole is so great that Don't Hug Me I'm Scared would mean so much less without this video than without any of the other videos. This may seem like a weak argument, considering the same can be said for the conclusion of any type of series, but the degree to which the sixth episode completed the symbolism present throughout the series while raising all new questions makes it an especially amazing conclusion. Think about it: can any other episode say it had the same amount of mind-blowing moments, like when the lights shined on Roy in the Red Guy world, or when Roy slowly floated out of the shadows towards the Red Guy, or when the characters appeared as their favorite colors, or when the notepad started its song again after the date finally changed? My opinion may possibly change once the shock and awe from this episode's release wears off, but for the moment I'm enamored with everything about the ending of this amazing series.
My strongest feeling after watching the final episode was a curiosity concerning whether the characters in different colors were actually Red Guy, Yellow Guy, and Duck Guy, or simply lookalikes. I initially concluded they were the same because those are their favorite colors as stated in Episode 1, but I'm now not so sure, as it's hard to say whether this is the exact message that can be taken from this revelation. This video helped me understand this intricacy, as well as the meaning of many other aspects of the final episode, especially June 19th, 1955. Take a look:
Granted, I can't say that I've perused every single explanation video on YouTube in order to find the most plausible theory, but that's okay. This one does the job for me, and I'm not particularly interested in learning the absolute truth about the meaning of every aspect of Don't Hug Me I'm Scared anyway. If Becky Sloan and Joseph Pulling came out and revealed the exact symbolical meaning of every single part of the series, there would initially be so much excitement about learning these secrets, but eventually interest would die down because there would be no more opportunities for speculation and debate. Most great works of art, like DHMIS, cannot be easily interpreted to give one concrete meaning that gives a complete explanation. The ability of enthusiasts to form their own interpretations and try to validate them in spite of challenges from other theories is one of the best things about the series, so I'm not in pursuit of the theory that renders all other theories invalid. I am interested in hearing theories regarding many different questions I've had, including some that still haven't been answered. For example, why did Roy's machine make Duck Guy and Red Guy come into the bedroom with Yellow Guy? Especially since Red Guy was operating the machine at the time, and it appears to be the same Red Guy because it's not wearing any clothes? And does the character known as The Money Man have any significance besides helping Sloan and Pulling's attempt to fund further episodes? Time may or may not tell, and I'm very okay with that.
If you disagree with this opinion and would like to discover the ultimate theory explaining the sixth episode, then I'd encourage you to go for it! I'm sure it will kindle your love of the series as a whole. I know that the frenzy over the last week surrounding the release of the final episode has helped me realize my immense appreciation for Don't Hug Me I'm Scared. The single greatest thing on YouTube, this series has so much going for it I can hardly summarize it besides repeating everything I've already said and how much I love it. I am so, so, so glad I came upon this series back when the first episode came out, and I can hardly imagine what wonderful things Sloan, Pulling, and the rest of the creators have in store for themselves for the rest of their careers. You know, I'm kinda curious thinking about what, if anything, they'll do next...
I wonder what will happen.