THIS IS IT Collective are a group of individuals who direct, write and produce films. Coming from a background of design and animation, THIS IS IT continue to build upon their collective voice that they have developed over the last four years. The collective have already carved out a niche for themselves within the short film format, with two successful films, both of which have played and won awards at festivals around the world.With over one million viewers watching these films on Channel Four and more than 2.5 million views online, the collective has generated a strong international following and achieved great success purely from self-funded projects, showing their passion for filmmaking.Their most well known and successful project is Don't Hug Me I'm Scared, which stars a trio of nameless puppets (well, not mentioned in the video that is). According to the fanbase at least, the big humanoid with long red fur (or hair) goes by Harry, a well-dressed dark green bird is called Robin, and a yellow simpleton with overalls and a blue mullet is named Manny. The three of them sit around their house until a sketchpad starts singing to them about being creative. At first it's quite chipper and happy, like a kids show, but slowly things get creepy before culminating in an equally bizarre and disturbing climax. In January 2014, the creators released a sequel where a dancing clock sings to the gang about the nature of time; once again, things quickly take a turn for the worse.Now has a Kickstarter page looking to make Don't Hug Me I'm Scared a series. Four more episodes, four more teachers, one cold, terrible reality. It was successfully funded.Needs Wiki Magic
Tropes that apply to This Is It (YMMV tropes go here)
And I Must Scream: The wall in "Bad Things That Could Happen" as a nail is hammered into it; its face shows that it is in exquisite pain, but its screaming is completely silent.
Anyone Can Die: "But eventually, everyone runs out of time." Subverted in that they do survive, but won't forget their experience anytime soon...
Arc Number: June 19th. It is the date in both shorts, with it being the precise date on every destination in the sequel as the characters journey through time. The Kickstarter page, after ominously stating "all will be revealed...", also shows a picture of the calender with June 19th on it, implying some sort of answer at some point.
In the Victorian Time scene in DHMIS 2, you can see that there is a wanted poster for the Yellow Puppet ("Manny"). His price, dead or alive? £1,906 ... 19/06, also known as June 19th (Since Europeans put day first then month)...
June 19 is when the Kickstarter ended. If it had failed, the three puppets would have been permanently killed off. They were not so fortunate.
Episode 3 is planned to be released in September 2014, with new episodes every three months after that. With a total of six episodes planned, they may be aiming to release the finale on June 19.
Joseph Pelling has confirmed◊ that the meaning behind this date will be confirmed at the end of the series... which, as stated above, could very well be June 19.
Arson, Murder, and Jaywalking: Bonus points for actually featuring arson and (arguably) murder: "Bad Things" has a giant match starting a fire, a wall silently screaming as a nail is hammered into it, a rat having its skull split in two and dying very slowly, and... a pencil misspelling the word "happen".
Art Evolution: Yellow Puppet and Bird Puppet had their puppets rebuilt between the first and the second video; Yellow Puppet has a more defined body and a more noticeable jaw (in comparison to the first video where he was a Muppet-style handrod puppet) and Bird Puppet received longer articulated legs for the sequel.
Art Shift: Just before the Creativity Explosion in DHMIS 1, the characters and set briefly turn into poorly-rendered, crudely-built CGI.
And then during the actual sequence, Yellow Thing and the Bird Puppet switch from being puppets to people wearing costumes like the Red Thing (with a few noticeable physical differences, like Yellow Thing's wild blue mane and Bird Puppet's longer beak).
The second DHMIS features even more shifts, mostly with claymation/stop-motion animation, such as the "Victorian Time" scene, the rotting apple, and Yellow Thing's reflection.
Autotune: Used to create the Bird Puppet's speaking voice.
Beat: In "Don't Hug Me I'm Scared", this happens right after Notebook smears paint all over Yellow Thing's painting of a clown.
Also used after Red Thing calls Sketchbook's form of self-expression "boring".
Scenery Gorn: A mouse-hole starts leaking meat during the Creativity Explosion.
Tear Off Your Face: In the Kickstarter video, the page from the Notebook with her face on it is briefly shown on the ground. Given that she's a notebook, it could very well be the equivalent of this trope for her.
The Tooth Hurts: The giant mouth in "Bad Things" has its two front teeth ripped out from biting on what is presumably hard candy, leaving behind blood.
Butt Monkey: The yellow puppet gets all of his suggestions slammed or ruined, including his clown picture and his favorite color.
And then in the sequel, Tonybeeps loudly at him until his ears bleed - something that does not happen to his friends because they cover their ears.
Call Back: Yellow puppet's clown painting (Still ruined by black paint) appears in the sequel to the original video.
The Cameo: The notebook from the first video makes a brief appearance in the second, behind Red Puppet's radio.
Comedic Sociopathy: Tony is extremely pushy with the other puppets, forcing them into uncomfortable situations, insulting and shouting at them whenever they divert from his song, and seeming to delight in just making them miserable. It gets worse by the end, when he seems to smile evilly as the other puppets begin to quickly rot away while still alive.
Crapsaccharine World: The DHMIS world is almost entirely made out of soft felt and cloth and is modeled after typical children's edutainment shows like Sesame Street, but once the songs start it goes right downhill, from being mildly uncomfortable to full-blown horrifying.
Darker and Edgier: The second Don't Hug Me, I'm Scared video DHMIS II: TIME is even darker than the first DHMIS video even though it wasn't as scary as the first video. The whole main point of the video is that you would eventually run out of time, and you should make the most out of your limited existence. This is shown when the Tony (the Clock) uses time to graphically age and rot the puppets alive just to show them that eventually, they will die.
Lighter and Softer: On the other hand, there are way more jokes and weird things, and the graphic horror at the end isn't as pronounced as it was in the first.
Got even Darker with the Kickstarter Video and it's 3 accompanying videos, all named "HELP ##".
Dirty Old Man: Yellow puppet's dad is extremely creepy and sketchy, saying nothing and only staring at the viewer with dead eyes. He's later shown viewing what appears to be a heavily-pixellated porn site.
"And now let's all agree to never be creative again."
Disproportionate Retribution: Merely insinuating that time is nothing more than a concept gets met with Tony screaming at the puppets till their ears bleed. To say nothing of what happens to them later.
The Notepad encourages the characters to get creative, but often just makes them see things her way, or what she determines to be creative.
Tony talks quite on length about time, but will often impolitely interrupt the characters trains of thought when they diverge from his pre-established set of circumstances, albeit attempting to be subtle about it, though he eventually just skips the subtlety when the characters just start questioning whether or not time is just a matter of human perception.
Foreshadowing: The apple shown rotting before our very eyes, who is fully aware what's happening to him the entire time.
Furry Denial: Green Bird suggesting that time might just be a construct of human perception.
Gender Bender: Yellow Thing turns feminine when the Creativity Explosion happens in the first video.
Gonk: Yellow Thing's father. Played for creepiness.
Hell Is That Noise: The first video's background music dissolves into discordant screeching during the "get creative" scene. In the sequel, Tony's shrill, high-pitched screeching makes all the puppets cower and cover their ears.
Tony cuts off the trio's navel-gazing about time by beeping loudly and aggressively at them until Yellow Thing's ears bleed.
But who could forget our friendly neighborhood guide Notebook? From the first film alone, she ruined Yellow Thing's painting of a clown by smearing black ink on it just because she thought Yellow Thing wasn't following what she thought being creative was, and also notified him about green not being a creative color when he wanted to use it.
Knight of Cerebus: Tony in Don't Hug Me I'm Scared 2, compared to the Notebook from the first, is more hands-on with the creepy stuff. He angrily and loudly beeps at the puppets when they try to question the concept of time, and notes how everybody inevitably runs out of time as the puppets are rotting.
Let Us Never Speak of This Again: After the CREATIVITY EXPLOSION from the things, all the guests are sitting around, confused as to what the hell just happened. Notebook says they should all agree to never be creative again.
Ludd Was Right: A theme in DHMIS 2 is that all the puppets become complacent and indifferent to life, instead getting distracted by, and wasting their time on, the computer, or complaining about missing their programme.
Yellow Thing: "An old man died."
Tony: "But LOOK! A computer!"
Mad Artist: Either the Notepad or the Puppets during the Creativity Explosion, depending on whether or not you see it as the Notepad's doing.
Notepad: I use my hair to express myself! Red Thing: That sounds really boring.
Notepad: ...I use my hair to express myself.
Notepad: Now when you stare at the clouds in the sky,don't you find it exciting? Puppets: No. Notepad: Come on, take another look. Yellow Puppet: Oh, right! Puppets: I can see a hat, I can see a cat, I can see a man with a baseball bat, I can see a dog, I can see a frog, I can see a ladder leaning on a log.
Tony also states that "a tree that is older has shrivelled and died". He does later describe the puppets as "running out of time", but that's probably more due to his personal obsession than censorship.
In an alternative reading, you could say that the Red Puppet was the only sane one because he alone didn't listen to what the Notepad thought being creative was. This is shown later in the video, when it's shown that the Yellow Puppet and the Bird Puppet changed because of the television's influence, whereas the Red Puppet seemed to have remained the same. Though he could also be an example of a Not so Above It All.
Additionally, he's much more questioning of the weirdness than the others.
Or Was It a Dream?: In the final shot of "Time", the entire sequence is revealed to be the TV show that Red Puppet was waiting to watch... although you can still see the Bird Puppet's rotting eyeball in the corner of the room.
Satire: The "Don't Hug Me I'm Scared" entries criticize media's conditioning of children, with the second one dipping into jabs at commercialization.
Show Within a Show: At the end of "Don't Hug Me I'm Scared 2", the camera slowly zooms out back to the three puppets in the living room, implying that everything that just happened was the show they were planning to watch. Maybe.
It's worth noting that the Bird Puppet's rotten, fallen-out eyeball is still on the ground when everything goes back to normal. The portrait of the puppets representing "the past" in the first scene has changed to Tony's "The future", a frame with the word "nothing" written on the background.
Spoof Aesop: "Now let's all agree to never be creative again".
Take That, Audience!: The puppets are shown ignoring a lesson in favor for egging Tony to hurry up, they've got to watch their programme. They're later literally brainwashed by technology (see Ludd Was Right). The viewers themselves are watching this short on some sort of technology...
The Smart Guy: The Crow was the one most shown as rational and even suggested the possibility that time is just a perception before being turned down.
The Stinger: After the credits roll for DHMIS, a man can be heard laughing about a "horrible sound".
Straw Hypocrite: The Notepad's hair had green in it yet said green is not a creative color. Tony the clock as well, who goes a full 180º on the message he was supposedly trying to give.
The sequel dips into and out of this a few times before going full-on creepy at the end with everybody starting to age rapidly and then rot alive.
The Big Guy: Red Thing, due to him being a human in a costume, is noticeably larger than the other puppets. However, this is no longer the case during the manic creativity montage at the end of the first film (when the Yellow Puppet and the Bird Puppet were also portrayed by humans in costumes).
Title Drop: When things start getting freaky in Don't Hug Me I'm Scared, the camera rotates and a studio crew with googly eyes can be seen along with a clapboard with the title on it.
Totally Radical: From the Kickstarter trailer, complete with dancing sunglasses.
"So far, Don't Hug Me I'm Scared has had over twenty million views on Youtube. And we think that's great. Seriously cool!"
You Keep Using That Word: In DHMIS 2, the characters constantly flub the use of "quarter to #". For example, when Tony says the time is "quarter to nine," Tony shows 9:15, as opposed to 8:45. Considering that they also at one point say that the time is "20 past day", this might be intentional.