Creator / This Is It

http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/dhmisposter_4193.jpg
It's time to lurn...

"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 Don't Hug Me I'm Scared. Beginning as a one-off short film in 2011, the series was crowdfunded and turned into a six-episode miniseries in 2014. The series lampoons children's television shows like Sesame Street by juxtaposing puppets and songs against unsettling imagery and existential horror. Each episode stars a trio of nameless puppets who encounter a "teacher": an anthropomorphic object or animal who tries to teach them about one of the "six subjects of life" through a musical number. The songs start off chipper and happy, but things inevitably take a turn for the worse... and usually culminate in a "lesson" the puppets aren't going to forget anytime soon.

The original short film, released in July 2011, features a sketchbook teaching the puppets about creativity. The sequel was released in January 2014, and involved a dancing clock teaching the gang about the nature of time.

In the wake of the sequel's overwhelming success and popularity, THIS IS IT turned to Kickstarter in order to fully realize the series with crowd funding. A brief series of interstitial videos were produced to raise awareness for the project, depicting the trio being held hostage by a money-obsessed monster.

The third episode was released in October 2014, and featured Yellow Guy learning about the significance of love from a butterfly and his friends. Episode four saw release on March 31st of 2015. It featured a computer teaching the puppets about the internet and the virtual world. On October 14, 2015, Episode 5 was released; introducing a band of musical food and the suggestion that someone or something is hunting down the puppets one by one...

As of October 2015, there's only one episode left before the puppets can complete their educational journey... six episodes, six teachers, one cold, terrible reality.

Not related to Michael Jackson's aborted series of concerts of the same name.


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

  • A Day in the Limelight: The Yellow Guy has the biggest role of the three main puppets in the third episode.
    • Similarly, the fourth episode focuses moreso on Red Guy.
    • Episode five features the Bird puppet more.
  • A Death in the Limelight: Duck Guy is featured the most in the 5th episode, which is also the episode in which he is brutally killed and eaten.
  • Aerith and Bob: The six characters that have been given proper names thus far are Tony, Roy, Michael, Malcolm, Colin and... Shrignold.
  • Affably Evil:
    • Unlike the previous teachers, Shrignold and his friends are willing to answer the Yellow Guy'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.
    • Sketchbook is quite outwardly friendly, and even when they get mad they don't raise their voice. However, they're the reason the puppets go insane at the end.
  • A.I. Is a Crapshoot: Colin, the Computer in episode 4, continues the trend of sociopathic, unhelpful teachers.
  • All There in the Script:
    • The only confirmed names by This Is It are Sketchbook, Tony The Talking Clock, and Roy (Yellow Guy's dad, as evidenced by one of the makers' Facebook banners).
    • Becky & Joe's official T-shirt website mentions "people called Roy Gribbleston", which is assumed to be Roy's full name.
    • On the Kickstarter for Don't Hug Me I'm Scared: The Series, the yellow guy and the red guy are simply referred to as "the Yellow Guy" and "Red Guy"
    • On November 2nd, 2014, Becky Sloan confirmed on her twitter that the Butterfly's name is Shrignold.
    • Two of his friends' names were revealed at Becky's Instagram: Frog Boy and Rabbit Boy.
      • Following that pattern, one may assume that the name "Furry Boy" used in the video is probably the actual name of the brown animal, as well.
    • A week after the fourth episode's release, she also revealed that the computer's name is Colin.
    • The day after the fourth episode's release, Duck Guy's name was revealed by CGI designer Jack Sachs.
  • All Just a Dream: The third video's new characters and creepy hijinks, after the Yellow Guy runs off. The Red Guy and Duck Guy's subplot is real, though it is extremely low-key.
  • Aluminum Christmas Trees: Considering the weirdness of the series, you'd be surprised to learn that "Aspic" from episode 5 is a real food. It's a clear and gelatinous ingredient made from meat stock which is eaten on its own, or used to season and preserve meat in pies, mostly those of the pork variety.
  • Ambiguous Situation: In the first video, it's unclear whether or not Sketchbook intentionally drove the puppets insane or things just spiraled 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.
    • Starting with the fourth episode, the puppets in "Don't Hug Me I'm Scared" are shown to be completely aware of past events (including rotting alive). The puppets being trapped in Collin's digital world and Duck Guy's death also play with this trope.
  • Anyone Can Die: "But eventually, everyone runs out of time." Subverted in that they do survive, but won't forget their experience anytime soon...
    • Possibly played straight in episode 5 with Duck Guy. Considering that Red Guy had his head explode and he survived, however, Duck Guy surviving being Eaten Alive isn't out of the question.
  • Arc Number:
    • June 19th. It is the date in all 5 shorts. The Kickstarter page, after ominously stating "all will be revealed...", also shows a picture of the calendar with June 19th on it, implying some sort of answer at some point.
    • In DHMIS2, the picture on the wall reads 19/06/55. Also, every date during the time travel sequence is June 19th. Additionally, during the Victorian Time scene, you can see that there is a wanted poster for the Yellow Guy. 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. Dead died in 1906 - 19/06.
    • Episode 3 begins with a scrolling shot of a poster of the three protagonists on a tree, stating they went missing on 19/6
    • The time Colin shows is 19:06, the newspaper's date is also 19/06, and the calendar at the end shows the same date.
    • Joseph Pelling has confirmed that the meaning behind this date will be confirmed at the end of the series...
    • The fridge in the fifth video has a note on it saying "ROY: 01119067482"
    • There's a chart with a seemingly random assortment of numbers on it in the fourth and fifth videos. The observant viewer will notice that 19 and 06 are next to each other on the chart.
  • Arranged Marriage: In the third video, Yellow Guy 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 Guy and Duck Guy had their puppets rebuilt between the first and the second video; Yellow Guy 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 Duck Guy received longer articulated legs for the sequel.
    • In the third video, the Yellow Guy was changed yet again by giving him white shoes and a noticeably shorter mullet.
    • Yellow Guy's hair was yet again changed in the fourth video, giving him hair that is strikingly similar to his appearance in the second video.
  • 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 Guy and the Duck Guy switch from being puppets to people wearing costumes like the Red Guy (with a few noticeable physical differences, like Yellow Guy's wild blue mane and Duck Guy'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 Guy's reflection.
    • The third video has noticeably fewer art shifts, but it shifts during the clouds scene and the scene telling the story of Michael.
    • A major point in the fourth video, where most of the experience is 3D animated.
  • Autotune: Used to create the Duck Guy's speaking voice.
    • Used to create the Computer's voice in 4.
    • Weirdly enough, Duck Guy doesn't have this in 4. He regains it in 5, though.
  • Back from the Dead: Red Guy in Episode 5, after having his head popped in Episode 4.
  • Bait and Switch: In the fourth instalment, Red Guy says "If only there was a way to learn more about the world..." and turns to the globe. Then Duck Guy says the same thing, also turning to the globe. The globe then suddenly grows a face, followed by a computer that wasn't even there before starting to sing.
  • Big "Shut Up!": In episode 4, the Red Guy tries to get Colin to stop talking. It only succeeds in angering him further.
  • Beat
    • In "Don't Hug Me I'm Scared", this happens right after Sketchbook smears paint all over Yellow Guy's painting of a clown.
    • Also used after Red Guy calls Sketchbook's form of self-expression "boring".
    • Used again in the third video after the chicken picnic has been eaten by Duck Guy and Red Guy. Duck Guy remarks that the picnic is finished and stares at the screen for a few moments.
    • Happens after Colin reveals his "digital mind" in the fourth video.
    • When Red Guy asks about the relevance of the Internet, Colin hesitates.
    Red Guy: But in this digital world, what can we do?
    (Beat)
    Red Guy: (insistently) What can we—
    Colin: Hey, good question!
  • 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.
    • The Red Guy slamming on Colin's keyboard was enough to set him off screeching "Don't touch MEeeeeEEEEEEE!" which makes things turn for the worse. In this case, it was a literal button that caused Colin to go berserk.
  • The Big Guy: Red Guy, 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 Guy and the Duck Guy were also portrayed by humans in costumes).
  • 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.
    • Shrignold: You see? Everyone has a special one.
    (Beat)
    Rabbit Boy: Even Michael!
  • Bloodier and Gorier: The fifth episode, where Duck Guy's organs are torn out and eaten, and later his entire body is mutilated.
  • Body Horror: So, so much.
    • Eye Scream: As the puppets rot in DHMIS 2, the Duck Guy's eye can be seen to have detached from its socket.
    • Fingore: The Duck Guy'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 Sketchbook with her face on it is briefly shown on the ground. Given that she's a sketchbook, 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", and the Red Guy in "Don't Hug Me I'm Scared 4".
    • Blood Is Squicker in Water: Think about it, if they were already clean, then what was staining the water brown?
    • The strange creature that pops out of the egg in the third DHMIS is quickly smashed by the Duck Guy, leaving the cracked egg full of gore.
    • Digital glitches play the part in 4. Also, Colin's "Digital Mind" is some sort of squishy, red substance.
    • Bird is Eaten Alive in the fifth episode, and his remains are seen all over a table.
  • Bread, Eggs, Milk, Squick: During the Victorian sequence. "With cobbles and plague and speaking in rhymes!"
  • Breather Episode: 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. However, the NEXT installment...
  • Broken Aesop: Invoked in-universe. The "lessons" taught are misinformed and incorrect, which the puppets begin to pick up on. Many view this as a criticism of the media, but that's open to interpretation.
  • Broken Record:
    Yellow Guy: Wow, look! [x]!
    Duck Guy: Digital style!
    Colin: Do a digital dancing! Hey, this is fun!
  • Butt Monkey:
    • The Yellow Guy 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 Guy gets told that he can't love what he wants and must get married to a wife, against his will.
    • Yet again, Yellow Guy is the butt of the joke. In the fourth video he is interrupted by Duck Guy and smacked in the face twice by Colin.
    • Takes a disturbing turn in #5, when the Food Band tricks him into eating his only remaining friend.
  • Call Back: Yellow Guy's clown painting (Still ruined by black paint) appears in the sequel to the original video, and yet again in the fourth video.
    • The craft that Yellow Guy made in the first video appears in the third.
    • In 4, When Colin mentions that he can tell the time, Duck Guy turns to the camera and says "time?", referencing the events of episode 2. Later on, the trio turn into approximations of their crude CGI models from the original short film.
  • The Cameo:
    • The sketchbook from the first video makes a brief appearance in the second, behind Red Guy's radio. Roy, Sketchbook, and Tony can be briefly seen among the cultists worshiping Malcolm in the third video.
    • In 4, Sketchbook is a box of oats with eyes, and Malcolm appears as a mantel decoration. The Yellow Guy's father can also be seen sitting in the shadows while Red Guy is on the computer.
    • In 5, Colin reappears as a fridge magnet, and Roy can be briefly seen peering over the edge of the “set” when Duck Guy has his breakdown.
  • Carnivore Confusion: The puppets are notably having a chicken picnic in the third video. Not only is one of the people eating it clearly a bird, but they are also eating it raw.
  • Central Theme: Each installment features a theme that the episode revolves around.
    • 1 revolves around Creativity
    • 2 is about Time
    • 3 discusses Love
    • 4 talks about Technology
    • 5 is about Health/Nutrition
  • 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.
  • Continuity Nod: In the second video, there is a line that clearly sets up a rhyme in "green", but Tony uses "brown" instead. Why? Because, of course, green is not a creative color.
  • 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.
    • The love world in episode 3, where the inhabitants end up being cultists.
  • Cult: The group that the Yellow Guy meets in episode 3 is pretty clearly shown to be one.
  • The Dandy: Duck Guy really likes the different costumes he can try out in number 4 using "digital style!"
  • Darker and Edgier: The Fifth episode, where there is no indication the trauma will be reversed, a lot more violence and gore, less jokes, and a song that isn't quite as catchy.
  • Demoted to Extra: Red Guy and Duck Guy have much smaller roles in the third episode, which mostly focused on Yellow Guy
    • Red Guy in the fifth episode only appears for a few seconds in the credits
  • Department of Redundancy Department: Happens every now and then, especially in episode 2.
    Tony the Talking Clock: Watch it go round like a merry-go-round, going so fast like a merry-go-round.
    Tony the Talking Clock: Let's go on a journey, a journey through all time! The time is changing all the time, it's time to go to TIME!
  • Dirty Old Man: Yellow Guy'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.
    • Colin Hates Being Touched so much that he punishes the puppets by trapping them in a digital world in which all they can do is open doors, check out "digital styles", and do digital dances, over and over again. The only one who manages to escape is the Red Guy, whose head explodes.
  • Downer Ending:
    • The fourth installment ends with Red Guy dead and Yellow Guy and Duck Guy still trapped in the deteriorating digital world.
    • The fifth installment's ending may be the most depressing one yet. Duck Guy gets grinded into canned food (alive!) and served as lunch for the Yellow Guy. The latter is then force fed every can (unaware that he had just eaten his own friend), and ends up sitting in the dark kitchen, completely alone. Afterwards, the mysterious caller (who had been trying to call the two throughout the episode) is revealed to be the absent Red Guy, who had been calling from a phone booth outside. The episode ends with Red Guy, dressed in a trenchcoat and carrying a suitcase, walking away from the phone booth in the rain. There's no explanation as to why he is doing this, but judging by the depressing rainstorm, the somewhat melancholic jazz music, and the fact that he has a suitcase, it's certainly not a happy reason.
  • Dull Surprise: Red Guy 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 4 "Don't Hug Me I'm Scared" installments:
    • 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.
    • Colin acts rather nice towards the puppets, and begins by innocently showing off everything he can do for them, that is until Red Guy gets annoyed at him, slamming his hand onto him, which causes Colin to go berserk and trap them all into a virtual world where everything goes wrong very quickly. He interrupts the puppets a few times during the video, and is very self centered.
    • The Food Band pretend to be friendly, but they ignore everything the main characters say, and it’s heavily implied they tricked Yellow Guy into eating Duck Guy after harvesting the latter’s organs while he was still alive.
  • 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 in DHMIS 2.
    • Also in DHMIS 2, during the trio's journey through time with Tony, the Yellow Guy notices an old man died, to which Tony directs his attention toward a computer. In DHMIS 4, Colin is a computer, and the episode expands on the Ludd Was Right themes that DHMIS 2 showed.
    • Episode 4 had several subtle references to oats. Episode 5 is all about foods that are plain-looking, like oats. Given the conspiracy elements that have been surfacing lately, what could they really mean?
    • Episode 5 shows a quick shot of the drawing on the fridge, which has changed to show Red Guy leaving the house and Duck Guy dead. Guess what happens by the end?
    • The canned Duck Guy is shown in the "healthy food shape" and behind the cooked meat when the "fancy food" are shown.
    • The page photo in itself could be foreshadowing, because Yellow Guy is shown floating alone in space while his friends watch. By the end of Episode 5, he's the only one left.
    • When Steak Guy starts singing in episode 5, he pokes Duck Guy a few times with his fork. He doesn't turn out well.
    • The order in which the puppets are seemingly killed off in the last three videos mirrors their attitudes towards the teacher in the first three-Red Guy was the one who called Sketchbook's ideas boring in the original short and his head explodes at the end of episode 4, Duck Guy was the one to bring up that time might not exist in the second and is Eaten Alive in episode 5, and Yellow Guy was the one who had the supposedly-wrong idea of love in the third and will presumably be killed off in episode 6.
    • Also, in the third episode, the Teacher gives his lesson only to Yellow Guy. Three episodes later, Yellow Guy is the only one left.
    • The Steak in Episode Five puts a lot of emphasis and mispronunciation on the word "OR-GANS". Guess what is harvested from Duck Guy by the end of the episode?
    • In episode 2, when time is sped up, Yellow Guy and Red Guy merely become wrinkled and grey haired, and are still moving around and making a lot of noise. Duck Guy isn't moving at all, other than Tony rocking his chair, and he isn't making a sound, and he is the only one shown to be rotting away almost instantly, the flesh falling off his fingers and his eye falling out of his socket, instead of him getting old like the other puppets. When things go back to normal, Duck Guy's eye is still in the corner of the room, while Tony very pointedly says "Eventually, everyone runs out of time." Fast forward to episode five...
    • Not to mention in episode 3 they are seen eating raw dead birds, and in episode 1, it is Duck Guy who spells out "death" in potato stamps, while the others coat organs in glitter and make them into a cake, just like the giant can does with Duck Guys organs in episode 5. Duck Guy's death was foreshadowed from the very beginning.
  • Freeze-Frame Bonus: In DHMIS 5, when Duck Guy knocks down the camera trying to escape, you can see Red Guy's head in the microwave, Roy sitting on top of the wall of the set, and a shot of Red Guy just standing as it falls down, when Red Guy has been absent for almost the entire episode.
  • Furry Denial: Duck Guy suggesting that time might just be a construct of human perception.
  • Gainax Ending: Episode 4 ends with the Red Guy discovering a doorway to some kind of recording studio, where he discovers body-suited actors staging a crude recreation of the earlier videos... then his head explodes. Unlike the others, there's no indication that this is some kind of dream or hallucination. He shows up in the next episode, fortunately, although his place or presence in the plot is now unclear.
  • Gonk: Roy, father of the Yellow Guy. Played for creepiness.
  • Genre Savvy:
    • In 4, after saying that they wish they could learn more about "what is the biggest thing in the world", the puppets look expectantly at a nearby globe, assuming it will come to life and teach them... and then Colin shows up.
    • By the time of Episode 5, Duck Guy seems to have realized that the lessons always go horribly wrong. He's utterly terrified the whole time that he's around the Healthy Band, in contrast to his total comfort around Sketchbook, Tony, the Unnamed Monster, and Colin.
  • Gross-Up Close-Up: The organ cake in the first video, as well as the dead fish, Yellow Guy's bleeding ear, the characters' rapid rotting in the second video, the bloody chicken, eggs and the maggot in the third video, Colin's "digital mind" in the fourth video, and the can eating Duck Guy's organs in the fifth 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.
  • Hates Being Touched: Colin from DHMIS 4.
  • 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.
    • Colin's shrieking when Red Guy hits him in DHMIS 4, and the strange noises during the glitchy segment.
    • After the steak tells the Yellow Guy not to eat food from a stranger plate. It starts getting repeated over and over with the sound getting high pitched then lowed pitched and the steak and spinach starts saying it in a more aggressive and mad tone. Also the Bird Guy's scream during that bit.
  • Hostage Video: The Kickstarter video is done like this.
  • I'm a Humanitarian: Yellow Guy at the end of Episode 5.
  • Hypocrite: Sketchbook berates Yellow Guy for using the color green, because it is not a creative color. Earlier when she showed her hair, some of it was clearly green.
    • After spending several verses singing about loving each other and their pets, Shrignold and his cronies say that Yellow Guy is only allowed to love his "special one".
    • The steak chef in episode 5 says that red meats are bad to eat.
  • In Memoriam: The fourth video was dedicated to Julie Crosbie.
  • I Am Not Weasel: Duck Guy refers to both a butterfly and a maggot as "pesky bee[s]". The Yellow Guy 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."
    • The Healthy Band has the laziest "song" in the series, which is mostly just talking and not very tuneful.
  • Jerkass:
    • Red Guy dismisses all of Sketchbook'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 Guy's ears bleed.
    • But who could forget our friendly neighborhood guide, Sketchbook? From the first film alone, she ruined Yellow Guy's painting of a clown by smearing black ink on it just because she thought Yellow Guy 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.
    • Shrignold keeps telling Yellow Guy 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 Guy to get married to his 'special one'.
    • Colin, despite saying several times how smart and helpful he is, keeps interrupting people, does not seem to acknowledge the original question being asked of him, and forcibly takes the puppets on a journey.
    • The talking steak won’t stop jabbing Bird Guy with a meat fork, and condemns all his choices of food as “greedy”—even when he wasn’t going to eat it in the first place. No matter what suggestion is offered, he insists that it will "make your teeth/gums all grey", and stomps on the model of the body repeatedly to prove a point.
  • Lighter and Softer: The same team behind DHMIS actually worked on a PSA video for St John Ambulance teaching about CPR. Unlike DHMIS, its taken more seriously and aimed at children and family members.
  • Jump Scare: Interestingly enough, The show doesn't utilize any jumpscares, since it focuses more on shocking the viewer rather than startling them. However, 4 does have a moment that may qualify: during the scene where Colin the Computer distorts reality in order to warp to his world, Duck Guy's face suddenly pops out (in close up) and glitches in front of the screen.
  • Karma Houdini: All negative figures, great and small, in the videos seem to have gotten off scot-free.
  • Killed Off for Real:
    • Sketchbook has their face ripped off in "HELP #3". They have not appeared since, apart from in Yellow Guy's dream in the third, though their death has also not been referenced, so whether this trope actually applies is unclear.
    • Duck Guy is Eaten Alive in the fifth video. Given that Red Guy survived his head exploding, whether Duck Guy will remain dead is unknown, but the Foreshadowing picture at the start seems to suggest that he really is gone for good.
  • Knight of Cerebus:
    • Tony in Don't Hug Me I'm Scared 2, compared to the Sketchbook from the first, is more clearly evil. 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 he rots the puppets alive.
    • The cans in Don’t Hug Me I’m Scared 5. They’re the first to be explicitly seen harming one of the main characters (unless you count Tony making Yellow Guy’s ears bleed) and they arguably have the most overtly creepy scenes in the entire series (eating Bird Guy’s organs out of him when he’s still alive, while chuckling, and then baking a cake out of his face). Jesus Christ. It makes the creativity explosion in the first, the “everyone runs out of time” scene in the second, Yellow Guy's initiation into the Love Cult in the third, and the deteriorating virtual world in the fourth look like actual Sesame Street by comparison. Also, Duck Guy is utterly terrified throughout the fifth, in stark contrast to the puppets' reactions to Sketchbook, Tony, the Monster from Kickstarter, Shrignold, and Collin, where no one realized their malice until it was too late. Since the end credits show that Red Guy survived having his head blown up, they appear to also be the first villains to actually kill a puppet.
  • Large Ham: Tony the clock.
  • Let Us Never Speak of This Again: After the CREATIVITY EXPLOSION from the things, the puppets are sitting around, confused as to what the hell just happened. Sketchbook says they should all agree to never be creative again.
  • Lost Aesop: When the Yellow Guy 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)
    Shrignold: You see? Everyone has a special one.
    (Beat)
    Rabbit Boy: Even Michael!
  • Lotus-Eater Machine: Seems to be the nature of the kitchen in Episode 5. Yellow Guy and the Bird are trapped there while whatever the food things are feed on their organs. In the credits, it's revealed that Red Guy has been calling them from a phone booth, but whether he succeeds in actually reaching them is unclear.
  • 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 Guy: "An old man died."
    Tony: "But LOOK! A computer!"
    • This theme was expanded upon in the fourth installment, where the focus is a singing computer who, at first, seems really helpful, touting how much knowledge he has and all the things he can do. However, he then starts asking the puppets extremely personal questions, such as what their blood type is and the color of their hair. Later on, once the puppets are in the digital world, they can only do three things: look at stuff, try on clothes, and dance aimlessly. They do this again and again, seemingly forever, until Red decides to quit the whole thing.
  • Mad Artist: Either the Sketchbook or the Puppets during the Creativity Explosion, depending on whether or not you see it as the Sketchbook's doing.
  • Mandatory Twist Ending: The teacher in each instalment always turns out to be Evil All Along. By the fifth, even Duck Guy seems to be aware of this.
  • Meaningful Name: Mr. and Mrs. Dead are, well, dead.
  • Mind Screw: Combined with Serial Escalation. The first few episodes tend to make sense within children's show logic, excepting a few scenes and the Ambiguous Situation. The second half of the show invokes Surreal Horror and psychological storytelling more and more.
  • Missing Episode:
    • "Help #3", in which the Money Man is putting bloody pieces of the Characters into a manila bag to promote the Kickstarter, 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: Duck Guy in the Kickstarter video.
  • Mundane Made Awesome:
    Sketchbook: I use my hair to express myself!
    Red Guy: That sounds really boring.
    Sketchbook: ...I use my hair to express myself.
...
Sketchbook: Now when you stare at the clouds in the sky,don't you find it exciting?
Puppets: No.
Sketchbook: Come on, take another look.
Yellow Guy: 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": Averted; it's said at least once in the first three installments.
    • In the first DHMIS, Duck Guy writes "DEATH" on the table using potato stamps during the CREATIVITY EXPLOSION;
    • In the second, Tony states that "a tree that is older has shriveled 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 the Yellow Guy 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; and darkness, death and fear".
    • Played straight in the fourth.
  • Nightmare Fuel Station Attendant: Sketchbook, Tony, the Cult, Colin, and the Foods.
  • 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 Guy was waiting to watch... although you can still see the Duck Guy'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 Duck Guy.
  • Putting on the Reich: The Money Man 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"
  • Repeated Cue Tardy Response:
    • When Red Guy asks about the relevance of the Internet, Colin hesitates.
    Red Guy: But in this digital world, what can we do?
    (Beat)
    Red Guy: (insistently) What can we—
    Colin: Hey, good question!
  • Rhyming with Itself:
    Tony: Let's go on a journey, a journey through all time! A time that's changing all the time, it's time to go to TIME!
    • Played straight in "Love".
    Red Guy: Now that we have eaten the chicken, I don't know what to do.
    Duck Guy: Maybe we should look for our friend. Isn't that what friends do?
  • 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 potato stamps.
  • Sadist Show
  • Seen It All: By the fourth instalment, the puppets are so used to inanimate objects coming to life and singing to them that they actually seem to be prodding the globe in the beginning to just get it over with.
  • Shaped Like Itself:
    Sketchbook: What's your favourite idea? Mine is being creative!
    Yellow Guy: How do you get that idea?
    Sketchbook: I just try to think creatively.
  • 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 Duck Guy'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.
    • In an interview, Becky Sloan informed that the show they were intending to watch was "Craig's Big Day", which is another one of the studio's productions.
  • Spoof Aesop: "Now let's all agree to never be creative again".
  • The Smart Guy: Duck Guy 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: All of the teachers so far.
    • Sketchbook claims green is not a creative colour, yet has green in her hair. In general, she claims to be all about creativity, yet her song is just her telling the puppets what to do and getting mad whenever they make or do something without her instruction. At the end, she flat-out tells them never to be creative again.
    • Tony starts out telling the puppets that there will always be time for what they want to do, but in the journey through time he shows the puppets a number of examples of people and things dying (running out of time). At the end, he gleefully admits that they, too, will run out of time eventually.
    • Shrignold and the Love Cultists teach Yellow Guy about loving friends, but Shrignold spends a good deal of the song trying to convince Yellow Guy that his friends hate him. Eventually, they outright tell Yellow Guy that loving your friends is wrong because love should be saved for your Special One.
    • Colin goes on and on about how clever and helpful he is, but not only does he never say or do anything clever, he never even attempts to help the puppets figure out the answer to the question they wanted him to help them with in the first place, instead distracting them by asking them a bunch of completely irrelevant questions claiming that he needs to know the answers to help them become smart like him. He drops any pretense of intending to help when Red Guy hits his keyboard. He also boasts about how much you can do in the digital world, but then reveals that there are actually only three things to do there.
    • The Food Band claim that cooked meat is unhealthy because it's a "colourful, show-offy food" despite their apparent leader being a steak. They also later say that the foods that they claimed were healthy were unhealthy.
  • Stylistic Suck: The Food Band’s song is blatantly half-assed and sounds improvised, with a repetitive melody and several lines of lyrics being nothing but “doo doo, da doo-doo”. Although it could be due to the mysterious phone calls that keep interrupting them…
  • Subverted Kids Show: Each episode of DHMIS starts off relatively saccharine and gradually become more depraved. By episode 5, though, things are pretty creepy right from the start, with Yellow Guy and Duck Guy already starting to realise that something's wrong.
  • Surprise Creepy: "Don't Hug Me I'm Scared". It starts out innocently enough, with a talking sketchbook 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 Guy platonic love to a cult that's trying to get Yellow Guy to join so he can find his feminine "special one". They also feed a giant stone monster they call their king and wear suits with mineral-made hearts and golden rings.
    • Colin in the fourth video. When Red Guy gets angry at Colin and slams his hand down on the keyboard, Colin shrieks and the puppets are glitched into an acid trip-like segment where everything is flashing and glitching all over the place. Things are back to normal for a while, but that doesn't last for long.
  • 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 Guy runs off in tears in episode 3, Red Guy mentions that he "wonder[s] what will happen"... and shortly afterward, Shrignold shows up.
  • 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".
  • The Unreveal: Colin asks the characters where they live, what they like to eat, and what their names are. The Red Guy almost reveals his name, but he's interrupted.
  • Verbal Tic: Tony apparently can't help but mention the word "time".
    • "Great news!" for Colin in "Don't Hug Me I'm Scared 4."
  • Wanted Poster: For some reason, Yellow Guy has one in the Victorian scene.
  • Wham Episode:
    • Episode 4 ends with a Gainax Ending that suggests... something major. Unless, of course, it just ends up being a BLAM...
    • Episode 5 tops it: Yellow Guy and Duck Guy have grown more aware of their surroundings, the "Teachers" in this episode aren't even trying to hide their creepiness this time, Duck Guy finally cracks and desperately tries to escape only to be killed and eaten alive, leaving Yellow Guy as the only one left and to top it all off it's implied at the credits that the mysterious phonecalls being sent throughout the episode were sent by Red Guy, who is still alive and now outside of their reality.
  • 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 Guy: (sitting next to a clown painting) I might paint a picture of a clown!
    Sketchbook: Whoa there, friend; you might need to slow down! (black sludge slides down the painting as all music cuts out)
    • It happens again in "Time", when Duck Guy starts musing about time being "a concept of human perception" and Tony quite rudely interrupts him with his screeching beeps, causing Yellow Guy to bleed out of his ears.
    • 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!" or, a bit earlier, "Ha-ha, harder..."
    • And again in the fourth video when Colin yells "DON'T TOUCH MEEE!"
    • In the fifth with the piece of steak and can of spinach says "You shouldn't eat food from a stranger's plate. Stranger's plate, Stranger's plate, Stranger's plate..."
      • Also in the fifth one, this from Duck Guy:
  • Wham Shot: Halfway through DHMIS 5, Duck Guy wakes up in a mysterious dark room. Eventually, we see that his body had been sliced open, and his organs are being processed into canned food product.
    • And after that, we see a shot of Yellow Guy, now obese, having eaten all of the cans containing Duck Guy.
  • You Gotta Have Blue Hair: Yellow Guy has blue hair, Red Guy has red hair, and Sketchbook 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, Duck Guy smashes a butterfly and a maggot, referring to them as 'pesky bees'.