Finger Family is the name for a popular yet bizarre group of animated children's videos on YouTube based on a nursery rhyme of the same name (though sometimes other nursery rhymes such as "Five little Monkeys Jumping on the Bed" are used). These videos are often found on different channels from each other with varying art styles, but what they all share in common is poorly done animation, being scored to nursery rhyme music and absolutely bizarre content. Though it's hard to pinpoint when exactly these videos became popular, the earliest known one (often referred to as "Patient zero") was released in 2007. It had no connections to the current videos being an average kid friendly video, but sooner or later imitators spawned that added stranger content. Perhaps what makes Finger Family so weird in comparison to so many other children's nursery rhyme videos is the fact that rather than using their own original characters in their videos, they instead use licensed characters.
Yes, that's right. There are Spider-Man finger family videos as well as there Batman, Goku, Peppa Pig and Yugioh (Though the most popular videos tend to star either Elsa, the Peppa Pig Family, Hulk, The Minions or Mickey Mouse.) There's a joke that you can type in the name of any popular fictional franchise behind the words "finger family" and pull up a finger family video. Yep, from more kid oriented franchises like Fortnite and Minecraft to more adult franchises like Game of Thrones and Death Note, there exists a finger family video for almost anything out there. But that's not even the weirdest part. There are two types of finger family videos, music videos and "story" videos. The Music videos are the most common and basically see the aforementioned licensed characters dancing to the finger family song or whatever nursery rhyme song the video is based on.
The Story kind sees the characters interacting with each other (including characters from different franchises) in a series of mime-like sketches. Said interactions are so insane that they make the average Crack Fic seem relatively sane in comparison. Among the insane scenarios featured in theses videos are Spiderman going a picnic with Elsa, Elsa and the Hulk taking the children they had with each other to the park and hulked out versions of the Pig Family fighting Paw Patrol Zombies. Suffice to say, the story videos really place the characters in all sorts of situations that must be seen to believed. Surprisingly the content of the videos aren't even the strangest part of the videos.
There are hundreds of different finger family channels and thousands of individual videos, but the authorship of these videos still remain unknown. There has been no one who has officially come forward admitting themselves to be the creators of the finger family videos (lucky for them or else they'd have probably had their pants sued off by now). Theories range from automated bots programmed to make videos to earn views to a random guy pranking everyone to a sentient AI trying to use the videos to communicate with humanity. Of course nothing is known for sure but what is known is that it's impossible to all be the work of one person due to the sheer amount of the videos along with the fact that tons of new ones come out every week. What we do know is that a lot of different channels are indeed connected in the fact that a lot of similar background music is used. Virtually every single version of the finger family song is sung by someone with a very heavy Indian accent, and it isn't uncommon to see entirely different channels complimenting each other in the comment section. The most likely case scenario is that the videos are being mass produced by some obscure, small animation company in India to earn some money from getting thousands of views from kids.
A lot of the videos have notably stirred up controversy among parents for having child unfriendly content. It isn't uncommon to find a video with blood, characters suffering grievous injuries, sexual content, and sometimes even swearing. There are also some other things (such as Toilet Humour and pregnancy) that aren't inappropriate for kids in themselves, but are presented in an inappropriate way. For instance, the toilet jokes might go next-level to the point where it's not safe for daytime TV, or a woman might be seen graphically giving birth onscreen. A rather notorious finger family channel called Superkids TV was well known for this kind of content including an infamous scene where Elsa gets her arm stuck in an escalator and ripped off in a brutal fashion. The term used for these kind of videos is called Elsagate though it also applies to non-finger family videos including toy channels, unboxing channels and channels where people dress up as popular kids characters with inappropriate content. The concern with Elsagate videos reached its peak with the shutting down of a completely unrelated channel to the finger family videos called Toy Freaks which featured a dad placing his two daughters in completely inappropriate situations in order to earn views.
The whole ordeal ended up raising awareness of Elsagate videos which lead to Youtube updating its policy in 2017 and shutting down hundreds of finger family channels and taking down a lot of videos that fell into the Elsagate category. It should be noted however that not all finger family videos are Elsagate and almost none of the Elsagate ones are available on youtube anymore. That said, there are still a few out there on youtube though they're pretty hard to find and tend to get very few views and there are also a lot on less child friendly viewing websites like Vimeo. Regardless of the controversy, Finger family has developed a small fanbase of older people who like to watch it for the sole purpose of laughing at the insanity of the videos and the poorly done animation plus how addictive they are. One such person even went on to make a popular youtube channel called Toys in Japan featuring a bunch of finger family parodies for adults (with the most famous being Five little Hitler's "jumping on the bed").
It became so popular that the channel wasn't deleted when Youtube purged itself of inappropriate finger family videos but it was re-branded as an adult channel. Another similar parody emerged in the form of the infamous king of uncanny valley Johnny Johnny Yes Papa videos on the Edukayfun channel. The videos became popular quickly due to how creepy they were almost to memetic levels but were taken down due to being too scary for small children. The popularity of the channel lead to it being resurrected as Edukayfun 2.0 but re-branded as an adult only channel.
Part of the YouTube Kids' Channel trend.
This series of web animations provides examples of:
- Abusive Parents: A lot of the parents in the finger family world are pretty dang awful. Among the horrors they commit are leaving their toddlers in the middle of the road and leaving dangerous objects out where their little kids can play with them and then proceeding to severely punish the poor kids after they get hurt from the dangerous object they left out. This rule does not apply to all of the parents however.
- Adaptational Wimp: Nearly every character in the series has been shown breaking down crying like a baby at some point. This include the badass Batman and the indestructible Hulk.
- Art Shift: Due to the fact that the videos are done by different channels, the way the characters are animated or even drawn varies. You can be watching a rather detailed character one minute a chibi character the next video and the next a Claymation video.
- Ascended Meme: Now you too can create your own custom Finger Family video.
- Big Bad: You can bet that if there's a villain in the videos, it's either going to be The Joker or Maleficent.
- Crapsaccharine World: The finger family universe initially seems like a great place to live when you think about it. Colorful and full of all of your favorite fictional characters it seems like nothing could possibly go wrong. Except for the fact that Adults Are Useless is in full effect with most of the adults being helpless to do anything about the various villains running around, and a lot of the parents being so incompetent they're borderline abusive. The law enforcement fails on a regular basis to capture common criminals and the few times they are competent, their jailing and shooting kids for accidentally busting a guy's window. The superheroes seem like they'll make the world a little better but they tend to neglect their heroic duties in favor of having a picnic or going shopping.
- Crossover: And a darn big one too. The series often sees characters from other franchises interacting with each other. Probably the only series where you can see Elsa and Anna fight over Gil.
- Depending on the Writer: How the characters are drawn tends to depend on the channel they're on.
- Weird Crossover: A lot of the crossovers are totally bizarre, like Spider-Man/Frozen.