Since its announcement on July 7, 2020, fans of the infamous series online Don’t hug me, I’m scared were waiting in limbo for news or updates from the next TV show. It seems that a light is finally visible in this very limbo. On September 1, co-creator Rebecca Sloan’s official Instagram announced the end of filming! The Instagram post in question featured several photos, including a photo of the crew, props, selfies and more!
Don’t hug me, I’m scared entered the internet on Youtube on June 29, 2011. The video features three characters, two hand puppets named Duck and Yellow Guy, and a fully costumed character named Red Guy. These names are never given in the series, but are designated as such. The characters start by sitting at the kitchen table in silence, until a notebook on the table magically comes to life and starts singing about creativity, bringing a cheerful tone similar to preschool shows like Sesame Street and Blues clues.
As the song progresses, the tone slowly changes from energetic and fun to unsettling and dark. Eventually, the video takes a tough turn towards chaos. The characters dance, then make crafts with a heart and sprinkles, cut from a raw meat cake and other disturbing images. The chaos ends abruptly as the characters return to sit at the table and the notepad sings “Now let’s all agree to never be creative again,” ending the short.
The video was a viral hit. Carolina Mardones ranked the video at number 7 of her top ten shorts of 2011. It was included as part of a film event on Banksy’s Dismaland. Fans quickly began to discuss and theorize about the themes and message behind the short film.
Creators Joseph Pelling and Rebecca Sloan began production of the short film without a budget and at their own pace. They had the idea to make a series of it but decided to make the short film stand-alone. This thinking changed after the short film became a success, however. The short caught the attention of the UK free-to-air channel 4 television network; and through their program of short films Random Acts, commissioned the second episode. The second episode was about the concept of time and featured Red Guy, Yellow Guy, and Duck meeting a talking clock. Don’t kiss me I’m scared 2 – TIME would be created on January 8, 2014 on Youtube.
In May 2013, Sloan and Pelling announced a Kickstarter campaign to make additional episodes. For publicity, they took poor quality camera footage featuring the stars held for ransom. The Kickstarter goal was reached on June 19, 2014.
Don’t hug me, I’m scared would go on to have a total of six episodes, focusing on topics such as love, computers, nutrition, and dreams. Each episode would follow the same formula, starting in a felt world and introducing the topic in a whimsical educational tone before taking a grim left turn. The episodes would each make high numbers online and earn the series a cult following, with tons of fan art and theories shared on social media. Joe Blevins from The AV Club would have this to say about the series in 2016 after the premiere of the 6th episode.
“Strange as the show is, part of the allure of Don’t hug me, I’m scared is pretty obvious. Children’s shows are so innocent, judgmental, and good that they beg for subversive and bloody satire. Series as Wonder showzen and TV Funhouse made a lot of comedic hay from skewers of standard kids’ dishes and a good chunk of Adult Swim’s Robot Chicken is also devoted to the spoofing of children’s programming, often adding violent and horrific elements. Corn Don’t hug me, I’m scared is an extremely ambitious work. The creators of the series, British artists Becky Sloan and Joseph Pelling, have kept production values incredibly high, so much so that the series looks professional despite being funded by donations from Kickstarter. “
Don’t hold me I’m afraid 6 was considered by many to be the finale, with Red Guy’s short ending “unplugging the plug” and showing the characters at the kitchen table as they were in episode one, but this time in different colors. Things were quiet for a while, until the announcement was made. The first clues to a Don’t kiss me i’m afraid series were first made on Twitter. On September 13, 2018, Don’t hug me, I’m scared The Youtube channel uploaded a video titled “Wakey Wakey”, which would become the teaser for the upcoming adventures of Red Guy, Yellow Guy and Duck. The 30-second teaser gained over two million views within 24 hours of release and peaked at No.1 on Youtube’s trending list. This would be followed on July 7, 2020, when Rebecca Sloan made the announcement that Don’t kiss me i’m afraid was picked up by Channel 4.
Production on the series was tight until early September, when fans finally got their long-awaited production update. It seems that the world covered with felt Don’t kiss me i’m afraid officially moves to the editing stage. Many fans are speculating that the long silence has something to do with the COVID-19 pandemic, which has absolutely thrown a wrench in the entertainment industry across the globe. Hopefully the news will be enough to hold fans back until an official release date is announced. Whether it takes another year or a few more months, the end product is sure to be very creative!
Topics: Don’t kiss me, I’m scared