In the absurd and hilarious world created by British artists Becky Sloan and Joseph Pelling, the time is always 19:06 and the day June 19th (the day they reached their Kickstarter goal in 2014), and green is not a creative color. The series Don’t Hug Me I’m Scared lacks an essential rule when it comes to educational kid shows: Do not scare the children into an existential crisis. Each episode begins as a fundamental course as Red Guy, Yellow Guy, and Green Bird are coerced into exploring matters such as creativity, time, love, and technology. Though they may be puppets and some guy in a red suit, Green Bird, Yellow Guy, and Red Guy are not so different from ourselves—struggling to understand the meaning of such concepts—sometimes learning too quickly and falling into psychological disrepair. Towards the end of each musical number, the characters are thrown into a psychedelic mind-altering nightmare, in which the only way out is reverting back to the social norms from whence they began.
The juxtaposition of kid-themed animation and puppetry alongside disturbing truths about societal constructs begs the question: Why are we so scared? The harrowing facts of life and death taught by Sketchbook, Tony the Talking Clock, Shrignold, and Colin, though harrowing, are just that—Facts. We watch children grow up in utopian bubbles, careful not to curse, and careful not to pull back the proverbial curtain. Try as we might, the darkness does find them, and suddenly they are you—repressed, anxious, and escaping reality in a digital mind.
Don’t Hug Me I’m Scared 1, July 29th 2011
Don’t Hug Me I’m Scared 2, June 15th 2014
Don’t Hug Me I’m Scared 3, Oct 31st 2014
Don’t Hug Me I’m Scared 4, March 31 2015
Becky Sloan and Joseph Pelling are British graphic designers, artists and collage animators. Their advertising runs through Blinkink commercial production. Sloan and Pelling met while studying at Kingston University. After graduating, the duo began working together more, forming THISISIT Collective, an art montage with works from both Sloan and Pelling along with other graduates from Kingston University. You can view more of their work at www.beckyandjoes.com.