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The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

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The BattalionMay 4, 2024

Criticism: ‘Don’t Hug Me I’m Scared’

Photo by Via IMDb

Life & Arts writer Emma Lawson reviews “Don’t Hug Me I’m Scared,” starring Joseph Pelling, Beck Sloan and Baker Terry.

Rating: 8/10

The title “Don’t Hug Me I’m Scared” continues to be accurate for audiences.

The “Don’t Hug Me I’m Scared” series has its roots in 2010 YouTube shock humor and quickly became a cult classic after the first episode. Parodying popular children’s TV shows, each video featured a colorful and cheerful beginning that quickly spiraled down a dark path, making it the love child of “Sesame Street” and “American Horror Story.” In other words, it was fun to make a friend watch it and laugh at their surprise. However, hidden in the gore and horror lies a story that reveals itself to viewers who pay close attention to detail, making rewatches a rewarding experience. 

It would be remiss to not bring up this history when discussing the TV show. 

Similar to its origin, the TV series also features the three main characters, creatively named Red Guy, Yellow Guy and Duck, learning new lessons each episode through songs that begin delving into horror. The songs in each episode range from “meh” to “frustrating earworm that will play in your head in the middle of an exam.”

One of the major differences between the YouTube series and the TV one is length; the YouTube videos are 3-8 minutes long while each episode of the TV series is around 21 minutes long. This tends to mess with the pacing of the TV show as it focuses much more on building suspense, which can drag at times. 

However, when the horror does happen, it does not disappoint. The TV series clearly has more of a budget to work with so the puppetry in the show is meticulously crafted and genuinely terrifying and unsettling. The set design also makes the viewer feel claustrophobic, perfectly adding a sprinkle of existential dread to the main characters who can’t ever seem to leave their TV nightmare.

It’s not all doom and gloom in the story, as “Don’t Hug Me I’m Scared” features dry British humor to add levity to the show. It feels like a darker version of the banter in “The Great British Bake Off.”  

Although the ending to the TV show reveals a key element of the story being woven underneath the existential nightmare of each episode, discussing the ending means ruining an important part of experiencing the story first-hand. Each little detail in the episodes leaves a bread trail for audiences to notice themselves and create their own hypothesis. Due to self-discovery being important for the story, it is encouraged to watch the whole series first before looking too deeply into the speculations.

Overall, this is a series that keeps you hooked from nonsensical beginnings to emotional whiplash endings. Although it may be a slow burn, and British humor isn’t everyone’s cup of tea, there are still excellent characters and scenic design with a story that can be enjoyed at face value or explored further frame by frame. 

A spooky good time for the coming season of scares.

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