Creator: This Is It

It's time to get creative. You'll love it....

"Come on guys, let's get creative!"

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 the Don't Hug Me I'm Scared series, 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. Each episode has the three of them sit around before a anthropomorphic object or animal starts singing to them about one of the six subjects of life. At first it's quite chipper and happy, like a kids show, but slowly things get creepy before culminating in an bizarre and disturbing climax. Six episodes, six teachers, one cold, terrible reality.

The first episode, released in July 2011, features a sketchpad teaching the puppets about creativity. The second episode was released in January 2014, and involved a dancing clock singing to the gang about the nature of time. Because of this Sequel Gap, THIS IS IT turned to Kickstarter in order to fully realize the series with crowd funding. It was successfully funded, and the third installment was released in October of the same year as the second installment, and featured Yellow Puppet learning about the meaning of love from a singing butterfly and his friends.

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Tropes that apply to This Is It (YMMV tropes go here)

  • A Day in the Limelight: The Yellow Puppet has the biggest role of the three main puppets in the third episode.
  • Aerith and Bob: The five characters that have been given names thus far are Tony, Roy, Michael, Malcolm, and... Shrignold.
  • Affably Evil: Unlike the previous teachers, Shrignold and his friends are willing to answer the Yellow Puppet's questions, and they do seem to want to teach him their version of love. Except that their version of love involves joining a cult and feeding gravel to a giant head.
  • All There in the Script:
  • All Just a Dream: The third video's new characters and creepy hijinks, after the yellow guy runs off. The red guy and green bird's subplot is real, though it is extremely low-key.
  • Ambiguous Situation: In the first video, it's unclear whether or not Notepad intentionally drove the puppets insane or things just spiralled out of her control.
  • Amazing Technicolour Population: The puppets are yellow, red, and green.
  • Anachronism Stew:
    • A Victorian sewer-dweller talks about batteries.
    • The Plague and Sawdust...
  • 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 all 3 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.
    • Mr. and Mrs. Death died in 1906 - 19/06.
    • Joseph Pelling has confirmed that the meaning behind this date will be confirmed at the end of the series...
  • Arranged Marriage: In the third video, Yellow Puppet is forced to marry a girl he most likely doesn't even know.
  • 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.
    • In the third video, the Yellow Puppet was changed yet again by giving him white shoes and a noticeably shorter mullet.
  • 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.
    • The third video has noticeably less art shifts, but it shifts during the clouds scene and the scene telling the story of Michael.
  • 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".
    • Used again in the third video after the chicken picnic has been eaten by Green Bird and Red Guy. Bird Guy remarks that the picnic is finished and stares at the screen for a few moments.
  • Berserk Button: When the puppets begin to question the perception of time and how it works, Tony screams at them and then rots them alive to prove a point.
  • Blatant Lies:
    • "It's out of my hands, I'm only a clock!"
    • "Oh don't worry, I'm sure you'll be fine". Possible subverted as they *are* fine at the end of the video.
    • Butterfly: You see? Everyone has a special one.
    Rabbit: Even Michael!
  • Bloodless Carnage: You'll wish this was played straight.
  • Body Horror: So, so much.
    • Eye Scream: As the puppets rot in DHMIS 2, the Bird Puppet's eye can be seen to have detached from its socket.
    • Fingore: The Bird Puppet's fingers get a nice close-up as they rot away to expose muscles, veins, and eventually bones.
    • Impaled with Extreme Prejudice: the wall in "Bad Things" has a nail hammered through its head.
    • 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.
    • Your Head Asplode: The rat in "Bad Things".
    • Blood Is Squicker in Water: Think about it, if they were already clean, then what was staining the water brown?
      • Excess dye or dirt.
    • The strange creature that pops out of the egg in the third DHMIS is quickly smashed by the Bird Puppet, leaving the cracked egg full of gore.
  • Bread, Eggs, Milk, Squick: During the Victorian sequence. "With cobbles and plague and speaking in rhymes!"
  • Butt Monkey:
    • The yellow puppet gets all of his suggestions slammed or ruined, including his clown picture and his favorite color.
    • In the sequel, Tony beeps loudly at him until his ears bleed - something that does not happen to his friends because they cover their ears.
    • This continues in the third video, but not as extreme. Yellow Puppet gets told that he can't love what he wants and must get married to a wife, against his will.
  • Call Back: Yellow puppet's clown painting (Still ruined by black paint) appears in the sequel to the original video.
    • The craft that Yellow guy made in the first video appears in the third.
  • The Cameo: The notebook from the first video makes a brief appearance in the second, behind Red Puppet's radio. Roy, Sketchbook, and Tony can be briefly seen among the cultists worshiping Malcolm in the third video.
  • Carnivore Confusion: The puppets are notably having a chicken picnic in the third video. Not only is one of the people eating it is clearly a bird but they are also eating it raw.
  • Comedic Sociopathy: Tony is extremely pushy with the other puppets, insulting and shouting at them whenever they divert from his song. At the end, he even seems to smile evilly as the other puppets begin to quickly rot away while still alive.
  • Contemplate Our Navels: "Don't Hug Me I'm Scared 2" has everyone musing about time. As with every other video, it isn't long before things go horribly wrong.
  • 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.
  • Cult: The group that the yellow guy meets in episode 3 is pretty clearly shown to be one.
  • Demoted to Extra: Red Guy and the Bird have much smaller roles in the third episode, which mostly focused on Yellow Guy
  • 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.
  • Disney Acid Sequence:
    "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.
  • Dull Surprise: Red Thing sounds utterly bored by everything.
  • Ear Ache: Yellow suffers this in Don't Hug Me I'm Scared 2.
  • E = MC Hammer: Don't Hug Me I'm Scared 2 contains, among other things on a blackboard, 卐 = MC.
  • Faux Affably Evil: In all 3 "Don't Hug Me I'm Scared" installments:
    • 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.
    • The butterfly and the other love cultists sing about their love for each other and for Yellow Guy, but then get increasingly pushy with their perceptions about how love works, having a "special one", and forcing Yellow Guy to wipe his mind clean and join them.
  • Fluffy the Terrible: The murderous god that the cult worships is named... Malcolm.
  • 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.
  • Gonk: Yellow Thing's father. Played for creepiness.
  • Gross-Up Close-Up: The organ cake in the first video, as well as the dead fish, Yellow Thing's bleeding ear, the characters' rapid rotting in the second video, the bloody chicken, eggs and the maggot, in the third video.
  • Grotesque Cute: Although the characters are more along the lines of Ugly Cute to begin with, the puppet designs and style seems childish and innocent enough at first to qualify.
  • 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.
  • Hostage Video: The Kickstarter video is done like this.
  • I Am Not Weasel: The Bird refers to both a butterfly and a maggot as "pesky bee[s]". The Yellow Puppet refers to Shrignold as "A little baby pigeon", despite him clearly being a butterfly.
  • Irony: From the creators: "Animation can at times be a dull and tedious way to work but it also offers you complete creative control, which is something we like to have."
  • Jerkass:
    • Red Thing dismisses all of Notepad's ideas as boring or uncreative.
    • 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.
    • The butterfly keeps telling Yellow Puppet that he is alone throughout the video, and also dismisses Yellow's ideas of what love is about. Near the end he also forces Yellow Puppet to get married to his 'special one'.
  • Karma Houdini: All negative figures, great and small, in the videos seem to have gotten off scot-free.
  • 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.
  • Large Ham: Tony the clock.
  • 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.
  • Lighter and Softer: The third episode. The only gore comes from the food at the picnic and is relatively low-key, a much longer time is spent on things being perfectly fine and happy before it gets dark, and it's All Just a Dream, ending with a heartwarming Golden Moment.
  • Lost Aesop: When Manny is depressed that he can't find love in the third video, the Tree assure him that everyone has a special one, and sings to him about The Story of Michael, the loneliest boy in town. Michael was ugly, everyone called him a freak, and he lived on his own underground...and that's it. He doesn't find his special one, and yet they treat it like he did.
    This is the story of Michael, the ugliest boy in town
    Ugly and weak, they called him a freak
    So he lived on his own underground
    He lived on his own underground (x2)
    Butterfly: You see? Everyone has a special one.
    Rabbit: Even Michael!
  • 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.
  • Meaningful Name: Mr. and Mrs. Death are, well, dead.
  • Mind Screw: Hoo boy.
  • Missing Episode:
    • "Help #3", in which the Monster is putting bloody pieces of the Characters into a manila bag to help the Kickstarter funding, has been removed from the DHMIS Channel on Youtube.
    • The Kickstarter video has also been removed from Youtube, although still viewable on the Kickstarter itself.
  • Mood Whiplash: Part of the appeal of the "Don't Hug Me I'm Scared" videos is that it goes from bright and cheery into mind-numbing insanity in a matter of moments.
  • Motor Mouth: the bird puppet in the Kickstarter video.
  • Mundane Made Awesome:
    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.
  • Never Say "Die": Heavily averted; it's said at least once in every instalment so far.
    • In the first DHMIS, Harry writes "DEATH" on the table in blood during the CREATIVITY EXPLOSION;
    • In the second, Tony 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 the Kickstarter video, it is made explicitly clear that the puppets will be killed off if enough money isn't raised.
    • In the third, when The Love Cultists explain to Manny what a "special one" is, they show him two tombstones reading "Mr. Dead" and "Mrs. Dead".
    • Also in the third, the line "And everywhere you look, all you see is hatred; darkness, death and fear".
  • Nightmare Fuel Station Attendant: Notepad, Tony and the Cult.
  • Only Sane Man: Red Guy is the only one who isn't going insane during the "creative episode." 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.
    • Happens again in "Love", after Yellow guy wakes up from his terrible nightmare about a cult trying to persuade him to join and find his "special one", his friends offer him an egg which hatches into a bloody worm-like creature that yells "Father!", before being smashed by Bird man.
  • Portmanteau Couple Name: "Padlock" for Notepad/Tony the Talking Clock, which has gained popularity on sites like Tumblr.
  • Putting on the Reich: The monster in the Kickstarter video.
  • Rapid Aging: What happens to the Puppets near the end of the second video, before it goes from this to rotting.
  • Reduced to Ratburgers: During the Victorian scene in Time there is a shop called "Rat meat & Sons"
  • Room Full of Crazy: The CREATIVITY EXPLOSION drives the puppets to smear things like ripped-out hearts in glitter, take out raw meat from their pie, or stamp out DEATH in smeared ink.
  • Sadist Show
  • 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".
  • 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.
  • Stealth Pun: The leader of the Love Cult is notably a butterfly. He's a love bug!
  • 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.
  • Subverted Kids Show: The "Don't Hug Me I'm Scared" trilogy, where each episode starts off relatively saccharine and gradually become more depraved.
  • Suddenly Shouting:
    Bird Puppet: "Maybe time's just a construct of human perception, a illusion created by-"
    Tony: "Meh! Meh! Meh! Meh! MEH! MEH! MEH! MEH!"
  • Surprise Creepy: "Don't Hug Me I'm Scared". It starts out innocently enough, with a talking notepad encouraging Sesame Street–style puppets to get creative to a catchy song. By the end... well, let's just say that they take it a bit too far.
    "Now let's all agree to never be creative again!"
    • The group in the third video go from happy-go-lucky friends trying to show Yellow puppet platonic love to a cult that's trying to get Yellow Puppet to join so he can find his feminine "special one". They also feed a giant stone monster they call their god and wear suits with mineral-made hearts and golden rings.
  • Tastes Like Diabetes: The love world in the Third episode. There are clouds and rainbows everywhere the sky is pink, and it is inhabitated by furry animals and talking flowers. invoked
  • Tempting Fate: After Yellow Puppet runs off in tears in episode 3, Red Puppet mentions that he "wonder[s] what will happen"... and shortly afterward, Shrignold shows up.
  • 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!"
  • Tyop on the Cover: The title screen of "Bad Things That Could Happpen". At the end of the short, the giant pencil character comes in and crosses out the extra "p".
  • Verbal Tic: Tony apparently can't help but mention the word "time".
  • Wanted Poster: For some reason, Yellow Guy has one in the Victorian scene.
  • Wham Line: A subtle one in "Don't Hug Me I'm Scared", where it doesn't change the mood entirely but it is where things begin taking a turn for the worse:
    Yellow Thing: (sitting next to a clown painting) I might paint a picture of a clown!
    Notebook: Whoa there, friend; you might need to slow down! (black sludge slides down the painting as all music cuts out)
    • And again in the third video. This time, things start to go wrong with the line "No no no, that's not how it's done!"
  • You Gotta Have Blue Hair: Yellow Thing has blue hair, Red Thing has red hair, and Notepad uses hers to express herself.
  • 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 is probably intentional.
    • In the third video, Bird Puppet smashes a butterfly and a maggot, referring to them as 'pesky bees'.