Pink: Yeah Charlie! You silly sleepy-head, wake up!
One of the very first viral hits to come out of YouTube, Charlie The Unicorn is a series of very silly animated videos created by Film Cow. It depicts the short adventure of two absent-minded unicorns, one pink and one blue, dragging their "friend" and Only Sane Man Charlie, a gray unicorn, on adventures which almost always end in him on the receiving end of some humiliating, traumatic pain.
In the first installment, released in January of 2008, Charlie is coerced into venturing to the magical Candy Mountain. A sequel came out three months later, this time following their quest to return the magical amulet to the Banana King. The following year saw a third episode about saving the future. Popular demand led to the creation of a fourth installment three years later. A Grand Finale was funded through Kickstarter and is set to be released in six installments, the first appearing in October of 2019.
A pair of possibly canon one-shot shorts were released for the YouTube Live event, as well as another advertising Charlie the Unicorn merchandise at Hot Topic. And this one for the Playlist LIVE event.
Then there's the spin-off/parody/mindscrew videos, charlie teh unicron (1, 2, 3 and 4). Be warned that the only thing that you will learn from watching these is that the Liopleurodon is named Leo. No joke. And there's a dragon at the Poconos. And unicorns puke rainbows. And they are also pyromaniacs. And they like pancakes. Word of God says that they're basically what Charlie the Unicorn would be like if it was written by YouTube commenters.There's also a spinoff called Charlie the Yannicorn, which... speaks for itself.
This series provides examples of:
- Abhorrent Admirer: The starfish... WANTS TO BE WITH YOU FOREVER!
- Actually, I Am Him: Fool! Charlie did speak to the weasel, for the Blue unicorn is the weasel!
- Adaptation Personality Change: As part of the intentional suckiness of "charlie teh unicron", none of the characters are quite right. Charlie is much more meek and passive than aggressive and surly, and Pink and Blue are much more lucid and mature, using curse words and behaving violently, recontextualizing their random behavior as trollish and memetic rather than childlike and unsettling.
- A God Am I: The Millipede declares herself, among many other things.
- Ambiguously Gay:
- In "charlie teh unicron 2", Pink suggests they all make out. Due to the ambiguous gender this trope may apply.
- The starfish.
- Ambiguous Gender: Charlie lampshades this in the second episode: "Guys? Guys? Or girls. I'm not really sure what you two are." Word of God says that their genders are deliberately not specified because it's funnier that way.
- Anti-Climax:Charlie: What is "The Door?"
Blue: The Door is everything.
Pink: All that once was and all that will be!
Blue: The Door controls time and space.
Pink: Love and death!
Blue: The Door can see into your mind!
Pink: The Door can see into your soul!
Charlie: [shaken] Really? The... the Door can do all that?
Pink: Heh, no.
- Anti-Hero: Charlie the Unicorn.
- Batman Can Breathe in Space: The three of them can breathe underwater, which Charlie decides he's not even going to ask how. In Episode 4, they actually do go to space. Again, no problems with breathing.
- Big Bad: Pink and Blue seem to be behind it all as of the end of Episode 4.
- "charlie teh unicron 4" has the Grand Slamwich-loving waitress.
- Big Eater: Star Catfish from the Yannicorn spinoff is constantly hungry, even if he's just eaten.
- Bilingual Bonus:
- In the YouTube Live short, the pink and blue unicorns inexplicably don fur hats and beards and start speaking in Russian; as it turns out, they're saying My Hovercraft Is Full of Eels. At the end, when they're being menaced by Rick Astley, the pink one goes back into Russian mode and shouts "Communism!"
- In one of the one-shots, they encounter a... well, giant Z. Upon meeting it they start speaking in Spanish. Considering the rest of the series, though, it probably doesn't mean anything. That said, we do have Llamas with Hats...Blue: ¡El hombre con el sombrero nos envió! (The man with the hat sent us!)
Pink: ¡Él nos contó muchas historias asombrosas! (He told us many amazing stories!)
- Bitch in Sheep's Clothing: In the course of the series, those two sweet, dimwitted friends of Charlie: knocked him out to steal his kidney, his TV, and his horn just so they could make a snowman. And that's if you don't count merely being near them as a horror in itself. The fourth one reveals that they really are just trying to kill him, most likely out of boredom, and that they do this to other people too.
- Bittersweet Ending: Episode four ends with Pink and Blue attempting to destroy both the moon and Charlie out of pure boredom with a massive bomb. However Starfish comes just in the nick of time and saves Charlie's life by making a wish at the cost of his own skin. Pink and Blue are then shown back on earth celebrating the destruction of the moon and the death of Charlie. However thanks to Charlie's wish, he teleports right next to them much to their surprise. The episode then abruptly ends with Starfish's skinless body landing on earth yelling out "YOLO!".
- Body Horror: The "demonstration" of 3D in one of the YouTube Live promos.
- Bragging Theme Tune: I Am a Millipede.
- Brick Joke :
- "Oh, look, it's my kidney."
- From charlie teh unicron:Pink: "Oh no way!"
Blue: "That crap's still burning!"
Pink: "Man, that is from last episode, how is that still goin'?"
- The starfish returns at the end of Charlie the Unicorn 4.
- The waitress from the end of charlie teh unicron 2 returns at the end of charlie teh unicron 3. She's working at a Red Lobster now, but she still suggests that the group orders a basket of Grand Slamwiches, to the dismay of Blue and Pink. And then she returns as the Big Bad of charlie teh unicron 4. She also appears in the Film Cow short, the Robber, preventing George from finally getting his eggs by replacing his order with 2 orders of Grand Slamwiches.
- From the Kickstarter video:Blue: "You know that thing you're always asking about the meadow?"
Blue: "Well it finally happened."
(cut to meadow on fire)
- Butt-Monkey: Charlie.
- Cameo: Charlie makes a cameo appearance at the end of the music video for the Weezer song "Pork and Beans".
- Pink and Blue burning down the forest is a reference to Charlie asking them if the meadow was on fire in the first episode.
- In charlie teh unicron 2, Pink points out in Denny's that the fire was from the episode before. Blue Lampshades this by asking how it was still burning.
- Came Back Wrong: Used verbatim in the Playlist LIVE video to describe the resurrected Jenna Marbles.
- Captain Obvious:
- "We're on a bridge, Charlie!"
- "Charlie!" "What?!" "We're naked!"
- Cast from Hit Points: Starfish can grant wishes at the cost of a layer of biomass.
- Character Action Title: "Goes to Candy Mountain".
- Chekhov's Gunman: The starfish.
- Cloudcuckoolander: Everyone who's not Charlie.
- Continuity Nod:
- "Oh, hey, look, it's my kidney."
- The fourth one has Charlie's horn held together with a band-aid.
- Convection Schmonvection: Double Subverted in the Hot Topic video. The blue unicorn is in a room full of lava, and then proceeds to be set on fire from the heat. Then in the next scene, it's not on fire anymore, but still in the room full of lava. Assuming that the blue unicorn bursting into flames had anything to do with the heat.
- Crapsaccharine World: A world that is shaped by two sadistic unicorns was bound to be this, at least for Charlie.
- Creepy Twins: Pink and Blue. There's no confirmation as to whether or not they're actually twins, but they certainly have several traits of this trope (almost identical, always in synch with each other, etc.)
- Crossdressing Voices: The Millipede has an obviously male voice, but in addition to claiming to have "three hundred eggs", the mothmen use female pronouns when singing along with her at the end of the song.
- Deadpan Snarker: CharliePink: We're from the future!
Charlie: Oh, I bet.
- Department of Redundancy Department: Charlie, this is redundant, Charlie!
- Candy Mountain! It's a land of sweets and joy... and joyness...
- Detonation Moon: The ending of the fourth episode.
- Did You See That Too?
- Disney Acid Sequence: Each episode has a bizarre musical number toward the end.
- Dissonant Serenity: Pink and Blue almost always talk with insanely cheerful, singsong voices.Pink: Yaaay! DARKNESS!
- Downer Ending
- Episode one ends with Pink and Blue knocking out Charlie after convincing him to enter the Candy Mountain Cave and then proceed to steal his kidney while he's still unconscious.
- Episode two ends with Pink, Blue and the Banana People convincing Charlie he's the Banana King and immediately steal all of his belongings after they distract him.
- Episode three ends with Pink and Blue knocking out Charlie again, this time with sleeping gas. Then when Charlie wakes up, he finds himself in the middle of a snowy and is in shock after realizing that his horn has been cut off. Charlie then sees a snowman in front of him with his horn acting as the nose and his kidney stuck on the bottom side of it.
- Eldritch Abomination:
Charlie: I'm not even gonna ask how I'm still alive, cause you know what I think? I think I died long ago and you two are my eternal punishment.Blue: You're like a constant downer, huh?
- An Alternate Character Interpretation of Pink and Blue is that they're really some sort of insane gods who have chosen Charlie as their plaything. The fact that some of the stuff they summon is genuinely disturbing backs up this theory.
- Charlie himself seems to agree.
- Rick Astley in the YouTube Live episode is played like an Eldritch Abomination from the internet.
- To say nothing of the Millipede.
- Everyone Is Jesus in Purgatory: Charlie indulges in this in the third episode, when he conjectures that he's already dead and the other two unicorns are his eternal punishment. Note that they don't deny this...
- Evil Cannot Comprehend Good: The only thing that ever seems to truly take Pink and Blue by surprise is Charlie surviving the fourth episode through Starfish's love.
- False Reassurance: In Charlie the Unicorn 4:Blue: If you go into the Cavern we'll never bother you again.Charlie: Never?Pink: We promise! It'll be the last you ever see of us, Charlie.
- Flanderization: In the first episode, Pink and Blue were... unsettling, but had few if any of their reality warping powers. Their ability to screw with the laws of nature got stronger each episode.
- Flat "What": All the time. On encountering the giant Z:Blue: ¡El hombre con el sombrero nos envió!
Pink: ¡Él nos contó muchas historias asombrosas!
Z: *bing bing bing dodolo dodolo*
Pink and Blue: Ho ho ho ho ho!
- Gainax Ending: Almost all of the one-shot shorts end on this note.
- "YouTube Live" ends with the entire world merging with YouTube and going into maintenance mode where Rick Astley comes out of a portal again, to presumably kill Charlie, Pink and Blue.
- "Charlie the Unicorn and the Tomb of Horrors" (Often known as "Hot Topic") ends with Pink and Blue and telling Charlie to not speak to "The Weasel" before Blue immediately saying that he was actually the weasel the whole time. Pink then yells out that they are all naked, abruptly ending the short.
- Going to See the Elephant: The plot of the first episode.
- Go-Karting with Bowser: In unicron 2, after Pink and Blue kill the Banana King, they go with Charlie and the Banana King to eat at a Denny's. The Banana King is completely fine.
- Grumpy Bear: CharlieCharlie: ... You know what I think? I think I died long ago and you two are my eternal punishment.Blue: You're like a constant downer, huh?
- Happiness Is Mandatory: Has become text by episode 5, where the dolphin's song is all about Charlie being wrong for not being happy here, and it's all on him to feel different.
- Heroic Sacrifice: The StarfishJUST DO IT MY LOVE! WIIIIISH!
- "I Am" Song: "I Am a Millipede" from episode 4.
- I Want My Jetpack: In-universe.Blue: Charlie! We're here!
Pink: In the future! *blows party horn*
Charlie: This looks EXACTLY the same!
- Jackass Genie: Pink and Blue promised Charlie that they would never bother him again if he enters the Cavern of the Red Wind. Cue bomb, so there would be no more Charlie to bother.
- Karma Houdini: For all the crap they put Charlie through, the pink and blue unicorns don't get much comeuppance. A The Bad Guy Wins scenario in this case! Episode 4 implies they've been getting away with this sort of thing even longer than they have been doing it to Charlie, and they've also gotten away with killing the others when they got bored.
- Lighter and Softer: Probably the most family friendly of Film Cow's works, who is otherwise known for very morbid Black Comedy. Not that the series isn't deranged in its own way, of course.
- Lampshade Hanging: In the second and third episodes, Charlie takes note of how each time, the singer explodes. The third episode also has him realize that their adventures are always just some ploy to steal something of his.
- Level Ate: Candy Mountain. Allegedly.
- Limited Animation: Pink and Blue simply bounce between their front and back hooves, as opposed to Charlie, who has a proper walk cycle.
- Made of Explodium: Anything that sings, apparently.
- Man on Fire: "CHARLIE, I'M ON FIRE! TELL ME!"
- MacGuffin: The amulet.
- MacGuffin Escort Mission: The plot of the second episode.
- Make a Wish: The starfish tells Charlie to do this to escape the bomb in episode 4.
- Master of Illusion: The Millipede in episode 4, although she mostly just uses it for special effects.
- Mind Screw: Played for Laughs.
- Moral Event Horizon: Charlie certainly thinks that Blue and Pink cross this in episode 4.Charlie: Uhh... You guys are going a little far this time huh? Guys? Guys?... Guys?
- Naked People Are Funny: The last lines in the Hot Topic video.Pink: Charlie!
Pink: We're NAKED!
- Narcissist: The Millipede.
- No Name Given: The two unicorns who aren't Charlie. We just call them Pink and Blue.
- It turns out Steele originally referred to them as "Lolz" (Blue) and "Roffle" (Pink), when writing scripts, but never implemented the names and accepts the names Blue and Pink. Fathomos, Jason Steele on Reddit, discusses it here.
- No Respect Guy: Charlie, Charlie, Charlie.
- Obfuscating Stupidity: The other two unicorns appear to be childish and stupid, but the occasional line of insight and the fact that all of the episodes are plots to steal things from Charlie seem to suggest that they are very odd Chessmasters or at least Cloud Cuckoolanders with magical powers and odd goals.
- Off the Rails: Everything made after the third one, losing all grips on what loose idea you could call reality in the first videos.
- Only Sane Man: Charlie considers the trip ridiculous and wishes his friends would stop repeating everything.
- Organ Theft: "Aw, they took my freakin' kidney!"
- Overly Long Tongue: In episode 2, Pink and Blue tell Charlie to grab to their tongues to travel to the future and to save him from an invisible creature. Charlie finds their tongues all over his face and neck gross.
- Pre-Mortem One-Liner: From charlie teh unicron. Pink and Blue drag Charlie to go with them to kill the Banana King for selling candy at their street.Banana King: Yo' need to learn some economics!
Pink: Well, you need to learn some DIE!!
- Psychopathic Manchild: Pink and Blue act very much like a pair of sugar-high kids dragging someone along on a pretend adventure - they speak childishly, often make up monsters and exaggerate fanciful things that are obviously not there, and tend to get distracted along the adventures by playing kids games (like "the floor is lava") and making silly jokes. Only in this case, a great deal of the things they imagine up are hellishly real in some way, much to Charlie's torment - which they are totally callous towards. This extends all the way to the end of the last video where they attempt to kill Charlie simply because they've gotten bored with the "games" they've been playing with him.
- Random Events Plot: Yeah.
- Reality Warper: Pink and Blue may be this, in light of the Alternate Character Interpretation of them as a pair of cosmic horrors. Lamphaded by Charlie in episode 4.Charlie: I'll never understand how you do these things.
- Regardless of the cosmic horrors idea, in fact, they're pretty obviously reality warpers.
- Running Gag: Characters singing to Charlie before quickly exploding right after.
- Satellite Character: In the "charlie teh unicron" spinoffs, Charlie himself really doesn't do much but sit back and watch whatever 4channian craziness Pink and Blue are up to.
- Say My Name:Charlie! Charlie! CHARLIE!I'm right here, what do you want!?
- Self-Deprecation: charlie teh unicron is a self-parody by the creators that makes fun of the original. According to Word of God, it's also a Take That! to fans who email Filmcow with suggestions for future Charlie the Unicorn episodes, "a parody of what Charlie the Unicorn would be like if it was written by random internet people."
- Serial Killer: It is implied in episode 4 that Red and Blue have killed many people before him out of boredom.
- Sequel Escalation: Each short gets more insane than the last one, it goes like this: The first short involves Charlie, Pink and Blue looking for Candy Mountain, the second short involves them bring an amulet to the Banana King, the third short is about Charlie being taken to the future where he then has to go underwater to finish building a snowman, and the fourth short involves them going to the moon to fight the Millipede Queen to save the Cavern of the Red Wind.
- Sesquipedalian Loquaciousness: The Millipede is really quite well-spoken for a bug.
- "Shaggy Dog" Story: The first three episodes end with the two crazy unicorns robbing Charlie, the entire insane journey having just been an elaborate plot to steal his kidney, TV, and horn, respectively. Good news is, he finds his kidney again in the third episode...
- She Is the King: The Millipede refers to herself as one, despite the fact that she's supposed to be female (admittedly, you wouldn't know that from her voice). Subverted because she's mostly just talking herself up.
- Spin-Off: Kinda? The only real difference between Unicron and the main series is that Pink and Blue act more adult and lose the Eldritch Abomination feel. Plus Charlie is less of a straight man and more a bystander. Weird things still happen, they just seem more "normal", in the sense that you could believe that's just how the universe works in this world.
- Small Name, Big Ego: The Millipede would like to inform you how great she is.
- Snark-to-Snark Combat: In "Charlie the Yannicorn", Star-cat-fish and Yannicorn Charlie sound like an odd meeting of a stock cartoon "comic relief" character from a few decades back and a less-tormented, better-adjusted Charlie (with a human face and an accent from somewhere in Europe) freestyling and playing off of his complaints.
- Super Not-Drowning Skills: Charlie has no idea how he's breathing underwater, and frankly, he'd rather not ask.
- Take That, Audience!: Why charlie teh unicron was made.
- Throw the Dog a Bone: Episode 4 is so far the only episode in the entire series where Charlie successfully manages to avoid being screwed over by Pink and Blue.
- Time Travel: Possibly. Notable in that the three unicorns live in a forest, so there is absolutely no visual difference between the "present" and the "future". And their future clothes disappear when they're in the future.
- Trademark Favorite Food: The Denny's waitress absolutely adores "Grand Slamwiches", and refuses to let customers order anything else.
- In the Yannicorn spinoff, Star Catfish has a strange fixation on marshmallow pie.
- Unexplained Recovery: In episode 3 Charlie loses his horn as it's the last missing piece to the snowman. In the Hot Topic and YouTube Live shorts (which may or may not take place after episode 3), he has his horn again. The fourth episode shows that he taped his horn back onto himself, and by the fifth, it's completely healed.
- Unwitting Pawn: Charlie, three times. Not that they are complicated plans. Granted, Charlie seems to know that something bad is going to happen, yet goes with them anyway.
- Villain Song: The millipede gets one in the fourth episode.
- Vocal Evolution: Compare Blue and Pink's voices in the first segment to their voices in the Hot Topic video. Or the Charlie teh Unicron videos.
- A small one and nowhere as near as noticeable as Pink and Blue's, but Charlie's voice gets slightly higher as the series progresses.
- Wide Eyes and Shrunken Irises: "THE DOOR CAN SEE INTO YOUR SOULLLLLLL!!!"
- A Wild Rapper Appears!: In the third episode's musical number.
- With Friends Like These...: Charlie and the two unicorns — that is, assuming they really do consider Charlie their "friend" (he sure doesn't see it that way) and it's not just a ploy that's part of their insane agenda.
- Yandere:Starfish: STARFISH REALLY LOVES YOU!
Starfish: LOVE ME, LOVE ME!
Starfish: I WANT TO BE WITH YOU FOREVER!
- His face as he says that and Patrick-like voice really drives it home.
- Ultimately subverted. The only life Starfish endangers for Charlie is the starfish's own.
- Yank the Dog's Chain: Episode 4... except it ends up subverted, or given the trope, Double Subverted. Point is, Pink and Blue promise Charlie that they'll never bedevil him again if he goes into the cavern, but apparently only because they expected this to be the one that outright kills him while they float off again. Then Starfish shows up and saves him, leading to an awkward moment where they're all alive earthside, and that's where we were at last count.
- Zero-Effort Boss: The Millipede.Blue & Pink: You did it, Charlie! You defeated the Millipede!Charlie: It just exploded! LIKE EVERYTHING DOES WHEN IT SINGS TO ME!