One of the highlights of quarantine for me was discovering DON’T HUG ME, I’M SCARED, a British web series that portrayed a children’s TV show that frequently descends into far darker themes. After a false start some years ago, the show has returned as a TV series on the UK’s Channel 4 for everyone else on YouTube. It has a different flavor than the original, but it’s even weirder and darker, while being just as enjoyable.
In the original DON’T HUGE ME, I’M SCARED, Red Guy, Yellow Guy, and Duck live in a house together, where they wish they knew more about a topic like time, love, technology, and so on. An object comes to life to teach them about the topic with a catchy song, only things always take a very dark turn as a very real, very adult, and often pretty horrific understanding of the topic is imposed. By the end of the series, they start to realize they’re in a TV show and hope to break free and start over in a return to innocence.
In the new series, the same childlike characters return. Each episode is longer, combing stretches of comic dialogue taking a deeper dive into whatever the theme is and with shorter songs here and there. The songs aren’t as ear-wormy, but they fit the theme. The humor is the same, though our heroes are less tortured by inanimate objects, interact with the theme in a lot more ways, and more often than not act as their own worst enemy. The bigger budget is evident in variety of sets and characters. Similarly, by the end, Red Guy, Yellow Guy, and Duck begin to realize their reality is not what it seems, bringing it to another striking finish.
Overall, this is a lot of creepy good fun, what a children’s show might look like if its creators were philosophical sadists doing a lot of drugs. While not as pointed or emotionally provoking as the original web series, I loved the new TV version of DON’T HUG ME, I’M SCARED and look forward to more, please.