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Why do the Friends always come back to life, and/or where are they?
It is a misfired attempt to remove all but natural death.Some powerful magician/Reality Warper/someone with the Lamp of Lumpy the Djinn once wished that only natural death should be permanent, so no one would die to before he should. And thus, every death and injury from violence, accident or poisoning is only temporary. Which are the only deaths we have seen reversed. Diseases are not affected however, thus explaining the permanence of Flaky's psoriasis (the epinymous "flakes") as well as her phobiae and paranoia, Petunia's Super OCD, and Fliqpy. All other permanent afflictions and deaths would, according to this theory, be due to (what the effect considers) natural causes: Sensei Orang-Utan presumbably died of old age, Pop's wife/Cub's mother succumbed to a disease, and Russell is suffering from a birth defect, while Handy lost his hands to necrosis note he broke out, wreaking it on his way out. Therefore, the Happy Tree Friends can still die, but they do not stay dead.
The constant death/revival cycle is due to Sniffles constantly rewinding time.Exhibit A: Blast from the Past.
Sniffles is the direct cause of all suffering for the Happy Tree Friends.Though not intentionally as Sniffles makes life worse for everyone in the majority of his episodes on thoughtlessness. Blast from the Past was the first to occur, and Toothy breaking his arm was meant to happen. But Sniffles messing in the Time Stream made the situation worse and worse, directly causing his own suffering with the Ants. Ultimately, he creates a stable time loop in that episode, by giving up after the Merry go Round splatter, and just sets it back to the way it was before he intervened. But at this point, the time loop was so messed up it continued after that. Life would have been normal, just a few hours or days occasionally repeating, if he had not gone for the Idol. The Idol is shown on at least two occasions to cause disaster or agonizing death. Still, Sniffles retrieved it. It's presence was worked into the Time Loops he began, and thus everyone in the immediate area is doomed to constantly die horribly, only to become alive again after a loop. Had Sniffles not gone for the Idol in the first place, then life would just be similar to Groundhog Day. Or if he had not meddled in the Time Stream, then their deaths would be final, and merciful. So Sniffles is to blame for it all!
Splendid uses his time-backing powers a lot.Despite Splendid being a Failure Hero, he seems to have a good reputation in-series. Explanation: Splendid always does the trick he did in Better Off Bread to reset time to the day before and save his good name after the episodes that he stars in ends. Following this, either Gems the Breaks is the last episode in the time-line, or Splendont decided to reset the day Splendid died. (Let your Alternate Character Interpretation choose the reason.)
The HTF Universe is really a hallucinationThink about it: each character represents a different person. They are all (except for Cub - he just happens to be with Pop, or is part of Pop's hallucinations) taking the same drug. The universe and their forms represent their imaginary world, and their deaths represent them suffering from abuse of the drug in reality.
The show is actually a Show Within a Show itself.Excuse the Mind Screw in the last sentence. In a few cases, the HTF videos are educational (e.g. Copyright School), but most of the time, it's rather comedy with a slapped-on Aesop at the end that may or may not make sense in context. That reminds me of Executive Meddling... The theory is that, rather than the episodes we see being their "reality", what we see is something that the character-actors within the show have recorded. Therefore we now have a few explanations:
Happy Tree Friends takes place in Purgatory.A huge disaster caused by a single mistake killed all the forest inhabitants, cursing their souls to remain in Purgatory until they can break the cycle of violence and destruction. Only when they can get through a day without horribly slaughtering each other can they pass into heaven.
Happy Tree Friends takes place in Hell.The frequent wholesale slaughter is the result of the twisted games of some bored but omniscient demon.
The entire series is in Flippy's head.Flippy's in a mental hospital somewhere, imagining the entire thing. Would explain why everyone dies so much, only to come back, good as new the next day: Flippy was in war, and apparently, war and how bloody it was is all he can think about now. It also would explain why Flippy could be out and about with his mental state.
By contrast, it's all in Splendid's head.The only episode set in "reality" would be Wrath of Con. After that episode, the other superheroes in the HTF-world started to wonder where their blue frenemy had gone after the Con. When they finally found him, Splendid was in a terrible mental state and sent to a special mental hospital that, in addition to insane Muggles, also accepted fallen superheroes and somehow stripped their powers off. The episodes where Splendid tries to save people but fails are all what he tells people who ask him how he got there, ending up with a Multiple Choice Past with a serious case of believing his own lies. The reason that Splendid never swoops in to save people from Fliqpy's rampages is that Splendid reads about new murder cases in the newspapers, and thus imagines the same person doing all of those deeds to the people that he accidentally killed himself, as a form of getting rid of his guilt. Possibly Flippy is a recurring guest who visits a friend of his in that mental hospital and Splendid just won't trust that eternally cheerful guy with the military uniform. The victims of his superpowers or the ones he'd previously failed to save were the only ones that Splendid ever saw dying, so when he imagines the outside world, he thinks that everyone's Made of Plasticine because he doesn't know about the more peaceful kinds of death. Yet again, imagining the same people that he killed going to the afterlife for other reasons. As he spirals further and further into depression over his failures, he tries committing suicide through overdose several times, which is what's really going on in "Gems the Breaks"). When the vomiting starts in that episode, what's going on in reality is that he gets a bunch of pills stuck in his throat, and dies of either choking or the pills' effects. "Groundhog Day" Loop resets.
Cub's mother/Pop's wife made a Deal with the Devil.She sold her soul to make sure her son and husband (as well as the rest of the cast) always come Back from the Dead.
The HTF gang are either in an RPG or a tabletop game and can be revived.The characters come back to life each time round, and Lumpy takes some care trying to retrieve all of the corpses in Take a Hike, so maybe the characters have been "just knocked unconscious" by all those horrible incidents and Lumpy was trying to get them to the local doctor for rezzing before a Total Party Kill occurred. Furthermore it would explain the insane risks Made of Plasticine characters take, and the fact that they can survive apparently fatal injuries only to die of something small later; for them, its just lots of lost HP. No prizes for guessing what the GM is like.
The characters in HTF are Time Lords/Ladies.The reason they can die horribly in one episode and be back to die horribly in the next episode is due to regeneration. None of them are in possession of a working Tardis.
The Happy Tree Friends can all regenerate.Dying horribly is pretty much par for the course for them. Flaky is the youngest of them, and hasn't quite settled into it yet, while Lammy has started to go insane in other ways by this madness.
The characters are descendants of something in the distant future Gensoukyou.It's no secret that both the fairies and the Tree Friends are stupid enough to repeat doing things that would - and do - kill them. Here, the theory branches:
Happy Tree Friends takes place in the same universe as Higurashi no Naku Koro ni.... except the interval of the loops is shorter.
The characters' parents went to a Cthulhu Cult.The parents were cursed, pretty much like other immortal, when the characters were in their wombs. This would explain the apparently unexplained revivals, the particular ways of leaving this world (thinking that Cthulhu is the responsible of them both in this Universe and the other) and the fact that no one seems to remember their own deaths. It may not be the same ritual, but one similar.
The Happy Tree Friends are a set of stories.
It's the end of the world.Apparently in HTF they are sapient animals in another world. But we've seen traces of humans (like human skeletons), and if you look at the globe it's the same as ours. Here's what I think: The humans had some kind of biological fuck up and the human race would be doomed but scientists discovered that animals were immune to this, and decided to cross breed the animals. W.A.R. broke out, and the cause of the fighting was a plant in the forest which brings people back to life. Only a few people were allowed to use this plant, which is why so few of the characters' parents are shown. Flippy was given the duty to bring these plants home because the Cursed Idol made it necessary to have a bigger stock of plants.
They're toys.A violent ten year-old kid wanted ninja toys and Grand Theft Auto, but his mom thought that was too violent so she gave him some cute stuffed animals. This is the result.
This is a magical forest.The animals aren't even alive; they are spirits of the forest, that's why they never age. W.A.R. was against the creatures of darkness, and with some casualties, Flippy's side won the the war. However, there is a spy who tries to kill them out of the forest. They don't stay dead long thanks to their immortality.
This is an odds calculator.Someone with a probability-drive calculator wanted to check the scenarios for twenty animals Madeof Plasticine. However, the animals are remembering their deaths and how improbable they are. Lammy was the last straw, and now Truffles is trying to get them out.
Lumpy is the reason.Some years ago a demon was released from hell. Being tired and weary he decided to rest. When he saw some kids he got an idea; to build a town, disguise himself as a blue idiotic moose, and turn runaway children into animals wiping their memories. He offered them to live in the town, feeding off their deaths and pains turning their dreams into nightmares. One day a little girl had to chose between her real friends and a pickle - Lammy. Truffles wanted to find her, and has done so.
The series is a more "ordinary" "Groundhog Day" Loop than the ones mentioned above.Higurashi and Umineko are murder mystery-series (no matter what fan-opinion has to say on that matter) and you find yourself asking "How could that kind of death happen?" when watching HTF more often than "How and why did (s)he die/get killed?".
Theories that are linked to the Groundhog Day Loop-possibility
The episode Without a Hitch takes place in a rare world where Flippy never suffered from PTSD.There are several things that occurred in that episode that should have have made him "flip out" under normal circumstances (the car crash, getting stabbed in the freaking eye, etc.), yet he didn't. Furthermore, Flaky's recurring visions of Flippy murdering her in horrific ways could be explained by her remembering bits and pieces of past worlds a la Minagoroshi-hen, by her having an advanced case of Hinamizawa syndrome (note that symptoms include fucked-up hallucinations of people with creepy eyes and paranoid distrust of people one normally feels safe around), or a combination of the two. She would have likely died via heart attack or slitting her throat with her nails had her airbag not deployed and splattered her. Alternatively, perhaps she did die this way; the airbag was yet another hallucination. Of course, the chances of Flippy being free of his mental affliction were one to a million; once Rika (or Happy Tree Forest's equivalent of Rika, I'm really not sure) moved on to another world, the old Flippy was back.
The death of Cub's mom/Pop's wife is what starts the string of deaths in every time loop.It makes sense considering that, if the hints are to be believed and she is truly dead, she's the only character who stays that way. The reason the Happy Tree Friends are doomed to suffer and die again and again is because Pop always fails to save her. Pop's wife died in the same accident that Handy lost his hands in, which would explain why he always appears as an amputee even when worse injuries to other characters seem to have no lasting effect.
The Idol causes all of the deaths (unless they are murders, when it just makes them much easier).It shows up too often as a background cameo for it to have no effect whatsoever. Perhaps there are more than one, too...
Pop's wife/ Cub's mom almost always finds the idol and gets killed by it.The exception is Idol Curiosity, which is the only time so far where it has showed up in a place that made sense.
Cub controls the time loops.He travels through the time-space continuum indefinitely, trying to find a world where his father is not a bumbling moron and his mother is still alive, and he must start over again every time Pop gets him killed/somebody else dies.
Two possible roles for Flaky in the time loops
Cuddles is the reason behind the loops.
The loops are already over.If you combine the above theories with the lower of the episodes being in non-chronological order, this could be possible. And now We Wish You and Asbestos We Can Do are less time-wasting and more like short snippets of Slice of Life to show us that they did get their happy ending... even though we might as well watch more past loops for kicks.
Character-based WM Gs
Flippy is the reincarnation of Buddhist Monkey.Both are very peaceful characters normally, but are incredibly murderous when angered. However, Buddhist Monkey is far more controlled in his rage then Fliqpy, but this might come down to Nature versus Nuture - namely enlightenment due to Sensei Orangutan versus PTSD from the W.A.R.. Additionally, Random Acts of Silence could be interpreted as a twisted repetition of Books of Fury.
In Class Act, the Idol exploded.How else could the school explode, and powerfully enough to kill Splendid? Fliqpy to be triggered too easily. Especially considering the episode's end, They were successful ...at least, until the first whistling sound.
Flippy is partly cured of his PTSD as of Double Whammy Pt. 2Depending on whether or not psychological changes span episodes/death in the HTF-verse. He was shown to be cured of his Split Personality at the end of Double Whammy (before promptly being run over by a semi), and this has since been carried on into Without a Hitch. In Without a Hitch, even though Flaky imagined him flipping out three times, he never actually flipped out despite being in the presence of pretty good triggers: loud thunder, a car crash, and a bloodied Flaky. Giggles covered in ketchup was enough to set him off in Flippin' Burgers, so a badly injured Flaky should have made him flip out, if anything.
Flippy's PTSD hasn't been cured yet.And not just because the latest Love Bites seemingly Jossed it either. The primary proof for this is refuting the primary evidence used to say he has: Without a Hitch. But don't worry, Flippy x Flaky shippers, 'cause I don't think this sinks anything. With the exception of Flippin' Burgers, all of Flippy's flip-outs have a similar cause: events that remind of him of gunfire or fire in general. In short, they remind him of the enemy and being under attack. As a Shell-Shocked Senior, this would cause him to subconsciously switch to "kill-mode" in order to survive the oncoming battle. In Without a Hitch, no such trigger poses itself. Although on first glance, one would think the sight of the wounded Flaky would set him off, it doesn't... because this isn't a situation that would require him to flip out. This brings up a different set of war memories: the wounded ally in need of medical attention; never leave a man behind. The original kind, caring Flippy is the one needed here and not the id-riddled killing machine, so he's never triggered in the usual way during the course of the episode. The only exception, as previously stated, is Flippin' Burgers, where he flips due to seeing Giggles "blood"-stained (though in that case she was "dead" while Flaky was just injured), though there are two possible explanations. One, in a similar situation during the way which Flippy is remembering, there were enemies near the scattered corpses, which would be a trigger for "kill-mode." Or two, it indicates that while Flippy isn't cured, he's getting better.
Russell's a Stepford Smiler who does not remember his days on sea.This is basically a back-story for every episode except "Something Fishy", dealing with these oddities:
The idea of Mole being - or rather, have been - a secret agent wasn't completely scrapped.In Mole in the City, he's seen doing things that might seem a bit odd - actually knowing that he went past the room he should go to, for example, and the audience being allowed to watch through his POV at one point. It's said to be just a spinoff, but The Mole manages to break himself and Handy out of prison in Don't Yank My Chain. Note also that Splendid has shared jobs with Mole once... Splendid only has this job in order to hide his true identity. The Mole used to be a slightly clumsy, but still competent agent, who decided to disguise himself as blind in case any enemy government would get suspicious that someone was messing with them. His clumsiness had a price, however: as he put his "mole" back on and it started blinking in the end of Mole in the City, the little "poof!" blew part of his face up and rendered him blind. He couldn't have his real job as an agent anymore, so he became his mask and move to the outskirts of whatever city the HTFs live in. Along with the above, this explains how he can be seen doing jobs that require sight - he kept them from the period when he hid his true identity - and why he keeps doing all those stupid blind mistakes. Like Handy, he hasn't gotten used to his disability yet.
The Mole is a sadist.He might not be able to see anything, but he's not deaf. Take a look at Wipe Out, where he makes sure that his surfing board is in good condition. Even when Lumpy gets onto the board. Skin feels rather different to a surfing board, and he should have heard the screams. We have a similar problem in Every Litter Bit Hurts, where Giggles gets impaled and the Mole takes her heart out like it's trash. Adding this to his habit of eating things he shouldn't eat, One can only imagine what his human self would be like...
Nutty had an incident a long time prior the events of the series...Where he somehow lost his eyes. However, when he was supposed to get replacements, they didn't really have any real ones to donate, so Sniffles (or somebody as smart as him) had to create new eyes for Nutty. Problem was that, due to a mistake, candy got involved by accident in the creation of his eyes. When they were inserted and somehow worked (this series ain't too realistic, deal with it) the brain also got affected, thus building basis for his way too sugary daily life. This would be a way to explain how Russell, after slicing Nutty's eye off to use as a contact lens, saw the kite's string in the same way as Nutty did - the problem wasn't in his brain, but his eyes.
About Cro-Marmot.The Cro-Marmot that we see in Dino-sore Days isn't him, but an old ancestor, given the slightly different appearances. Cro-Marmot used to be a normal Friend, possibly about the same age as Disco Bear (we can tell from Ipso Fatso that he's an ex-star) or somewhat younger. We do know that he was successful in many areas, including the piano - he might simply have been interested in history and based his Artist's Name on his favorite historical period. Then somebody became jealous of him, and decided to give him a Fate Worse Than Death (that may have backfired, given Marmot's smile). Flaky has a picture on her watch where he isn't encased in ice, which would be pretty hard to take if he was frozen before the camera was invented. He may also be able to communicate through the ice on his block getting melted into the forms of letters, given how the Interviewer in Intimate Spotlight isn't able to talk with him traditionally, and he still can get himself a date.
Flippy actually likes Flaky that way.The fact that Flaky is the only one who is apparently getting along with Flippy (when he doesn't flip out, of course), that he constantly follows her in Without A Hitch just to help her, even though it's obvious she is scared like hell, and that she actually organizes a birthday party for him are some of the factors which imply Flippy and Flaky might like each other. Might.
The real reason Flaky is afraid of baby chicks......is because the only part of A Bug's Life she caught was the end. She likely fainted and missed the rest after Hopper bites it. Or rather, gets bitten.
Flaky is a Tomboy.There's the complete lack of Tertiary Sexual Characteristics that's characteristic of the female characters but her voice still sound very feminine (well, compared to the slightly deeper male characters and the confirmed female characters), she's thought of as female by most of the cast and fans alike, a Smoochie shows she likes baseball, and we never see her do anything considered girly in the show unlike Giggles, Petunia, and Lammy. All of that sounds like a tomboy candidate. The only real note is that she would be an example of a very rare shy, cowardly tomboy in opposition of the more traditional bold, boisterous tomboy.
Lammy has mild reality warping powers.She can turn any pickle she sees into her imaginary friend, Mr. Pickles. As seen at the end of her debut episode, she's in prison and is served her food, which has a pickle in it. The pickle is seen inanimate for a second, then it changes into Mr. Pickles. This power also the one that give Mr. Pickles life and intention to causing harm on the others.
Lammy will never be used in another cartoon, ever.She ends her first episode alive and (aside from some Eye Scream) well in a prison for a reason: so she can't get out.
Alternately, Lammy is intended to be the new Flippy.If Flippy has been cured of his PTSD by the end of Double Whammy, then the HTF universe is one insane serial killer short; someone new needs to be added to restore equilibrium. However, this carries the risk of causing Lammy to become a Replacement Scrappy due to Flippy's popularity with the fandom.
Flaky is transgender. Of the male-to-female kind or possibly of the non-binary sort.
Truffles will eventually become a main characterHopefully he won't just remain The Cameo forever. The writers will soon be making an episode that truly introduces his character. Hints have been suggested in Clause for Concern and All in Vein.
Mime used to belong to the Mime CultAt one point in episode one of ''On The Rain-Slick Precipice Of Darkness'', the protagonists encounter a mime who formerly belonged to what he calls the "mime cult" (basically, as one LPer put it, a cult worshiping "Cthulhu's socially awkward cousin"). The mimes in that game can hurt you with their invisible objects (they frequently conjure swords), and Mime interacting with and even "seeing" that his invisible safe has been taken away seems to hint at the possibility that he is/was the Token Good Cult Member.
Sniffles is an immigrant.As an anteater, he is the only major character whose species isn't from North America. It is possible to assume he is from Central or South America, where real anteaters are found. Maybe this is why he is unable to eat The Ants, since the ones from his homeland are much easier to kill.
Russell only thinks he's a pirate...But actually has a serious mental issue from watching too much pirate movies (someone who says "Yarr" all the time is probably not normal). If it's anything severe, he deliberately cut off his own body parts and replaced them with an eye patch, hook and peg legs to enhance his appearance.
Happy Tree Friends is an example of a typical animated series in the futureThink about it: Recently pretty much all animation has been shifting towards becoming more and more gory, with less clever jokes and more characters having violence inflicted on them with genuinely gory effects, instead of cartoony injuries. Examples would be Spongebob Squarepants, or The Simpsons. In 20-30 years, all animation will have become identical, removing any attempts at comedy besides horrible injuries inflicted on innocent people. In that time, a show called Happy Tree Friends was created, and it was the most popular show ever, eclipsing everything else. However, one person built a time machine and brought the show into the past in the hopes of becoming rich and famous. The result is the show Happy Tree Friends existing in our timeline.
The episodes are not in chronological order.Here are a few examples of my hypothesis:
We don't have a Flippy vs Splendid episode yet...Because if such an episode where to be released, the amount of Pure Awesomeness generated by it would cause the world to explode. Mondo Media is currently looking into ways to keep the damage contained behind the fourth wall.
Those are all nicknames.A lot of those names would never show up in real life... And those two with realistic names could easily have moved to the neighborhood only a short while before the deaths/loops start happening. (Lammy may have lived there since her birth, but could be shy about newcomers and rarely get the guts to get to know them.)
Lumpy planned to have Mummies at the Dinner Table in the Kitchen Kringle.If the gas leak really was what offed the other friends, he should have been the first one to go down, as he was in the kitchen himself. We can also only see the gas from a short distance from the kitchen, indicating that it wasn't a lethal threat for Cub and Giggles yet. We also have the issue of the Shlifty twins being there (according to Word of God, although we only see one of them), despite it being quite clear that Lumpy doesn't like themnote . Several of his deaths occur when he's guilty as hell and not just a Lethal Klutz (in those cases, he most often survives), and guess what - here he caused an explosion that killed himself and probably some other poor sods who were walking in the forest, just after he started to laugh maniacally... He started with slipping a lot of sleeping pills into their drinks. The first ones to go were Giggles and Cub, as Giggles was in a couch (indicating that she felt tired and decided to take a nap), and Cub could be playing a bit before falling asleep. Petunia, however, was determined to go and prepare the table, no matter how tired she was feeling. Cuddles and Toothy hadn't drunk as much as the others, and only felt sluggish when Petunia suddenly collapsed in the doorway, making them really scared. Lumpy, upon seeing that they would flee and probably report it if he didn't stop themnote , strangled Toothy and Cuddles, and then made them sit at the dining table after their deaths. Meanwhile, the twins had come to steal some things. Suddenly when they tried to get away, they found that every door was locked and they couldn't get out before they were caught and met a terrible fate. Lumpy didn't even bother bringing both of them to the table, but dumped one of them there, and then went back to the kitchen to prepare the dinner as if nothing had happened. The gas leak prevented that from happening.
The Happy Tree Friends are made of candy.