Monday, August 23, 2010

Review: Happy Tree Friends (2006 - present)

Director: Aubrey Ankrum et al.
Starring: Animals dying mostly.

Do you like seeing little animals get brutally slaughtered in the most ridiculous and over the top ways? I’m not talking about some kind of seedy, cheaply made exploitation film from Croatia, but rather Happy Tree Friends, a cartoon which has mysteriously gained widespread appreciation among young people everywhere. Probably just as a way to rebel against their parents for not letting them go to the latest Nickelback concert, though.

I mean, I don’t even see how this has any fans at all. The basic premise is nothing more than little cartoon animals getting killed. And I know I’ll get flack for that: “Ooh, you’re just a prude! It’s just comedy, it’s not real! Don’t be so uptight!” No; that’s no excuse for this, it’s completely horrible. Short, plot-less episodes with cutesy animals making cutesy noises without any real dialogue, and then they all get dismembered, ground up or impaled on sharp objects. So what?

The animation is pretty nice, I’ll give it that. But there’s just no substance. There’s nothing here that you can really sink your teeth into and remember. It’s all one note comedy that blows everything it has on the first shot, nothing to go back to at all. These people can’t even get the fundamental basics of comedy down. There is no thought put into this, no effort, nothing except for ‘hey, how do we kill off some more cartoon animals today?’ The pacing and flow of things is asininely simple and rushed, often ending without any real climax or anything that indicates an actual story with actual humor or wit.

I’ll just lay down one specific episode for you, since they are all about exactly the same old crap anyway: This weird squirrel thing and his baby son are strolling along in the park when the son gets catapulted out of his stroller and lands in some mud beyond a field of cacti. The father bathes his son in the sink (…even though it’s clearly shown later that he has a bathtub he could have used instead…) and the son gets stuck in the drain, because…well, because they need to make room for more gore. The father gets under the sink and unplugs the drain pipe, spilling out a bunch of garbage and also a bone. He clips the bone off, and it’s revealed that it was the kid’s leg. Then we get an example of his brilliant intellect as he ties a rope around his son’s neck and attaches it to his car to try and yank him out. What follows is a massacre of bloody proportions that leads to the son being reduced to just a head, nothing else. He drowns in the bathtub and the episode ends.

Why would you willingly watch this? Why would anyone even spend time to watch it on the Internet for free? Has everybody lost their minds? The only way I could possibly find this funny is if I imagined the creators of this show in place of the little animals constantly getting killed. That would be a little bit of an improvement.

I haven’t even mentioned the music in the show, which is so cheery and so sugary-sweet that it’s like it’s mocking the viewer. This kind of bubbly, bouncy cartoony music matched up with the show’s content is absolutely vomit-worthy. And the way the animals talk, too, ugh. They only grunt and squeal without any actual words or dialogue, and it really grates on my nerves after even one minute of listening to it. If I have to hear that retarded blue moose with one of its antlers upside down do that dumb voice one more time, I will go on a bloody rampage myself.

The trick of disguising an incredibly obscene and graphic cartoon with such kidlike animation and bright colors has been a trend for a long time, and it worked for things like South Park, for example. But even mentioning South Park in the same review as tripe like Happy Tree Friends is a travesty. I actually think this show is so unfunny that it becomes a kind of weird, black-hole-esque anti-comedy, sucking the life out of anything that crosses its path with a voracious tenacity. This is pretty much worthless, talentless garbage, and you should avoid it at any cost.

This review was originally written for