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Web Animation / Salad Fingers

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"I've been disconnected."

...Where to begin?

A popular web cartoon created by David Firth, Salad Fingers is a notoriously surreal and disturbing series set in a seemingly post-apocalyptic world. The title character is a grotesque recluse with long green fingers, a seemingly sexual fetish for rusty objects, masochistic tendencies, several Companion Cubes, a very loose grip on reality, and a habit of (possibly unintentionally) killing or otherwise harming everyone he meets.

It's that kind of series. It has 13 episodes which are pretty much considered Not Safe For Humanity. We warned you.

This nightmare of a series provides examples of:

  • After the End: A common interpretation of the setting.
  • Ambiguously Human: A lot of the "human" characters look quite strange. Be it misshapen heads or bodies, missing arms, strange skin colors, etc.
  • And Call Him "George": Salad Fingers gives his "little sister" Bourdoise the woodlouse a "big stroke" and ends up squishing her.
  • Animation Bump:
    • Episode 9, "Letter". Justified as this episode came after a three-year hiatus.
    • Episode 10 looks even better, partially because Firth switched from Adobe Flash to After Effects. The backgrounds have become far more textured and photorealistic, the cinematography more dynamic and the drawings have better perspective.
    • Episode 11 is another leap forward in quality, with Firth now incorporating even more realistic effects (the reflection in the puddles are actually filmed rather than animated).
  • Antiquated Linguistics: Salad Fingers talks like this— liberal use of Northern English colloquialisms is the norm in Firth's work.
  • Armless Biped: Milford Cubicle in the third episode.
  • Art Evolution: Compare episode one to episodes nine and ten. Between technological progress and Firth maturing as an artist, there's a world of difference.
  • Attention Deficit... Ooh, Shiny!: In the second episode, Salad Fingers is distracted by a rusty nail in the wall while holding the oven door open, and lets it shut on the kid he asked to grab his fish for him.
  • Autocannibalism: This happens in one episode. Or maybe not. Its not very clear just what is going on, only that Salad Fingers likes his doppelganger's brains.
  • Black Humor: Lapses into this occasionally.
  • Bloodier and Gorier: The last three episodes involve a lot more blood than the episodes before them.
  • Bottle Episode: Episode eight, "Cupboard", entirely takes place within the confines of Salad Fingers' home.
  • Breaking the Fourth Wall: Some of the episodes begin with Salad Fingers greeting the viewer, and explaining what he's up to that day.
    "Today I'm going to try and find France, because I've always wanted to go there."
  • Break the Cutie: Even though most people find Salad Fingers scary rather than cute, in Episode 8, when Roger reduces Salad Fingers to a sobbing, moaning miserable wreck curled up in the fetal position in his safety cupboard, you can't help but want to give the poor guy a hug.
  • Breather Episode: After the emotionally intense "Glass Brother", which delves into the subject of abuse and cutting off toxic relationships, the following episode, "Post Man" is rather tame by comparison, going back to the series' roots of simpler animation and an ambiguous narrative. Whilst the ending music of "Glass Brother" is melancholic the ending music for "Post Man", is more mischevious and upbeat.
  • Brief Accent Imitation: Salad Fingers does this at least twice, randomly speaking French in one episode and Jeremy Fisher's "strange dialect" in another.
  • Brown Note: Roger the radio uses these to upset Salad Finger's insides.
  • Call-Back: Milford Cubicle's corpse is still hanging in the wall in "Birthday".
  • Call a Rabbit a "Smeerp": At least to Salad Fingers. "Red water" = blood, "nettle carrier" = baby carriage, and "floor sugar" = sand, to name a few.
  • Cerebus Syndrome: The series was always disturbingly surreal, but had strong elements of Black Comedy, but later episodes began to delve into a more serious look at Salad Fingers' mental illness and loneliness, leading to a lot of genuinely heartbreaking moments.
  • Chest Burster: In episode 9, Salad Fingers feels deathly ill immediately before a slimy black mass bursts from his abdomen.
  • Clip-Art Animation: Horace Horsecollar, the rusty taps, and various other objects.
  • Cloudcuckoolander: This one can depend on interpretation. Salad Fingers seems to live in a world that's just as bizarre as he is - but then again this could all be in his imagination anyway.
  • Companion Cube: Several. The finger puppets Hubert Cumberdale, Jeremy Fisher, and Marjory Stewart-Baxter. Also, Horace Horsecollar (a toy horse) in the sixth episode, Kenneth (a mummified corpse) in the seventh, Roger (a radio) in the eighth, and Yvonne (a slimy black infant-sized mass) in the ninth.
  • Crapsack World: Whatever the hell happened to this world, it's been left a barren, dry husk where people don't see each other for miles. Even the occasional glimpses we get into people other than Salad Fingers, such as the obviously dirty and suspiciously unattended Mable, imply that no one's having a great time.
  • Creepy Child: Mable, the little ginger-haired girl in "Picnic," at least in-universe. She doesn't really do anything scary, but she manages to terrify Salad Fingers himself just by speaking. The child-like... thing in "Cage" and Mr. Branches from "Letter" may also qualify. As well as the small yellow child (referred to by Salad Fingers as "Aunty Bainbridge" in "Letter") who does nothing more than stare with his wide eyes and make screeching sounds.
  • Creepy Crows: A particularly spooky crow appears in episode 5 during the picnic.
  • Creepy Doll: Any of Salad Fingers' three finger puppets can be this. To elaborate, Hubert Cumberdale can become human-sized, gain red eyes, and scream for no apparent reason, as well as randomly turn into a black liquid that burns at the touch. Marjory Stewart-Baxter jealously watches Salad Fingers have a picnic with a little girl through the window. Jeremy Fisher can also become human-sized, stores a weird green fluid in his plugged-up mouth, and can suddenly transform into a second Salad Fingers to get eaten alive by the first.
  • Creepy Long Fingers: He's not called Salad Fingers for nothing, you know.
  • Crossdresser: Salad Fingers does this on occasion for no apparent reason. At least, it's probably crossdressing.
  • Darker and Edgier: Episode 6 has Salad Fingers eating a clone as well as Episode 10 of Salad Fingers. It features a carnivorous puppet cutting a hole into a horse with its claws, Milford Cubicle's corpse returns only to have the remains consumed, leaving the skeleton behind, and lastly five other Salad Fingers-like beings were eating his remains. Salad Fingers's mannerisms are also slightly darker this time around as well. Episode 11 has the theme of toxic family relationships.
  • Dark Is Not Evil: Despite being a creepy noseless green man who lives in a post-apocalyptic wasteland, Salad Fingers doesn't seem to be a bad person and tries to be friendly with anyone that he encounters. What happens to the people around him, though...
  • Deranged Animation
  • Deus ex Machina: Salad Fingers escapes from the "little boy" who put him in a cage to propose to him by dropping a curtain and then apparently flying away on a giant tap.
  • Extreme Omnivore: Salad Fingers will eat stuff like finger puppets, sand, and hairs on scotch tape.
  • Eye Scream: Not exactly graphic but still enough to make you shudder. During episode 8, Salad Fingers takes a strand of hair and slowly drags it across his eyeball.
  • Fan Disservice: Salad Fingers without his shirt on: emaciated and hairy with a scar on his abdomen. And then he rubs nettles on his nipples, causing milk to come out.
  • Fetish: Spoons, rust, hypovolemia, and nettles are apparently this to Salad Fingers.
  • Freak Out: Salad Fingers, on a regular basis. Such as when Mable speaks to him in episode 5, or when he's at the toilet in episode 6.
    • Regarding the freakout in episode five, an interesting way to look at it (and likely the genuine one): Salad Fingers either only imagines the noises that he hears, or makes them himself. Because he is insane, he feels like he's completely deserted and all alone. He had gotten used to hearing no other voices except his own since all the other characters can only articulate screaming and animalistic noises. When Mable speaks, it sends him into a panic attack because he hasn't heard any other voices but his own for a long time, which causes him to snap back into reality and realize she is a normal, real human being and not a hallucination or a monster. You'll notice that after this episode, all the other episodes include Salad Fingers crying, having bad memories, feeling lonely, and being afraid. Mable's voice is what snaps him out of it.
  • Go Mad from the Isolation: One theory as to why Salad Fingers is so mentally disturbed.
  • Gonk: Basically every character. See below.
  • Gratuitous French: Salad Fingers suddenly speaks French in episode 2. According to French speaking viewers he says: "Hey, Nebulah. What's your name? What's the matter?"
  • Grotesque Gallery: Everybody. EVERYBODY. Including:
    • Salad Fingers himself: a bald, noseless, red-eyed, lanky green "man" with three fingered prong-like hands and filthy yellow teeth.
    • A large eyed and limbless "young child" whose head looks like a kernel of corn from the first episode.
    • In episode 3, the screaming man with a combover and wearing a "BBQ" apron that has no arms.
    • A "little boy" from episode 4 who looks like an embryo and stalks Salad Fingers. It has black bulging eyes, needle-like teeth, and a large scar on its bald, veiny, and oversized head.
      • The only characters that come even close to averting this are Mable from episode 5, which is to say she looks recognizably human, and the child from episode 2 who Salad Fingers accidentally shuts into his oven and cooks who also looks human and is even wearing a varsity letterman jacket.
  • Halfway Plot Switch: The eponymous letter from the episode "Letter" is read aloud by Salad Fingers for a few seconds at the beginning. The rest of the episode has absolutely nothing to do with it.
  • Heroic BSoD: The ending of episode 5.
  • High-Pressure Blood: In episode 2, when Salad Fingers stabs one of his fingers with a nail in the wall, he bleeds himself unconscious within seconds.
  • I Love the Dead: Salad Fingers turns into a flustered mess when coming upon a dog carcass in episode 12, though if his monologues are to be believed the carcass is a young school girl in his own disturbed mind.
  • I'm a Humanitarian: Salad Fingers eats Jeremy Fisher (who turns out to be himself) in one of his Freak Out moments.
    • In "Birthday", Salad Fingers approaches a table where there are five other versions of himself, and two of them are eating human brains.
  • It Tastes Like Feet: "Hubert Cumberdale, you taste like soot and poo!"
  • Lactating Male: In the third installment, Salad Fingers takes masochistic pleasure in stinging his body/fingers with nettles; about midway through, he is seen shirtless and caressing his nipple with the nettle, giving him some kind of orgasm which causes his nipple to lactate.
  • Lampshade Hanging:
    • In episode 5, the creepy crow gags in disgust when Salad Fingers feeds the little girl "pease pudding" using a rusty spoon taken out of a pouch made up of pieces of human skin sewn together.
      • Some even believe it says "Fuck you" in a distorted voice; there is a "fuh" sound in there, but YMMV on whether that is the message.
    • In episode 8, Roger remarks that Salad Fingers's house is filthy and demands that he clean it up.
  • Leitmotif: "Beware the Friendly Stranger" by Boards of Canada.
  • Looks Like Orlok: Salad Fingers, while lacking any nose or ears, is bald, hunchbacked, has creepy claw-like hands, and has filthy teeth.
  • Mascot Fighter: Salad Fingers is a playable character in Newgrounds Rumble. He wields Hubert Cumberdale as a weapon, while the other finger puppets make cameo appearances in his stage (the meat locker from episode 2)
  • Mind Screw: All of it.
    • Particular mention goes to the ending of episode 6, where Salad Fingers walks into his house and sees a doppelganger sitting in a chair. The Salad Fingers sitting down accuses the standing Salad Fingers of 'deflowering' his daughter's rose. The standing Salad Fingers morphs into a life-size Jeremy Fisher, goo trickling from his mouth. The sitting Salad Fingers remarks about not tasting him, and proceeds to eat the normal Salad Fingers' head. It's never explained which Salad Fingers was real.
    • Everything that happens after the pole shows up in Episode 10.
  • Mr. Imagination: Salad Fingers.
  • Modest Orgasm: Salad fingers has a brief one in episode 3 when he rubs nettles on his chest, causing his nipple to lactate. Curiously, this moan was cut from the original video but left intact in the episode compilations.
  • Mummies at the Dinner Table: Salad Fingers digs up the corpse of his brother Kenneth and has dinner with him - assuming that was his brother, and he wasn't playing a macabre imagination game with whatever/whomever was lying around.
  • Never Learned to Read: Possible for Salad Fingers. He totally ignores that the name tag of the person in episode 3 shows his name "Harry" and calls him Milford Cubicle, invents a letter written to him while actually holding a piece of a newspaper upside down in episode 9 and writes unintelligible symbols on toilet paper in the same episode.
  • The Nicknamer: Salad Fingers, to everything.
  • Nightmare Fuel Station Attendant: Salad Fingers' voice, mannerisms and dialogue are extremely unnerving, usually more so to the viewers than to the other characters (though some viewers find his voice to be creepy and oddly calming at the same time).
  • No Celebrities Were Harmed: David Firth described Salad Fingers' voice as a cross between his grandmother and Michael Jackson. Basically, "what MJ would sound like if he was from Yorkshire."
  • No Fourth Wall: Mostly during the earlier episodes, Salad Fingers will address the audience with a friendly "Hello" and then explain his adventure for the day.
  • Noodle People: This is how Salad Fingers is drawn.
  • Obliviously Evil: Salad Fingers tends to kill people (and animals, and puppets) without even noticing.
    • The "people" part is debatable. The only humans who have died in the series have been the boy who got stuck in the oven while Salad Fingers was passed out, and the man who died from banging his head on the door. Salad Fingers can't really be said to have killed either of them, though he's certainly oblivious enough to be capable of this.
  • Oh, Crap!: Taken to far beyond merely unrealistic proportions in episode 5, after a crow steals his spoon.
  • Our Monsters Are Weird: Only two creatures in this series are normal humans.
  • Precision F-Strike: In "Birthday", after accusing Horace Horsecollar's fellow horses of stealing Milford Cubicle's "outer casing", he angrily orders the "bloody lot of them" to "bugger off!"
  • Reality Is Unrealistic: Ravens really can imitate speech, with creepy distortion to boot.
  • Red Eyes, Take Warning: Salad Fingers'.
  • Retraux: "Market", a short Firth made to promote the Salad Fingers online store, is animated in the style of the original Flash episodes.
  • Scare Chord: By Hubert Cumberdale in the meat locker scene in episode 2. Also by baby Yvonne's "birth" in episode 9.
  • Scenery Gorn: Unless Salad Fingers is daydreaming, the setting will be a desolate wasteland full of weird, unintelligible creatures. The only plants are dead trees, weeds, and nettles. Also Salad Finger's house is dark, severely dilapidated, and filthy.
  • Screw This, I'm Outta Here: At the end of episode 4, when Salad Fingers gets captured by the strange boy trying to propose to him, he laments "he doesn't like this game anymore", pulls a curtain over himself and rides away on a tap. Yeah.
  • Sensory Abuse: There are many sudden loud noises, drawing the viewer into a sense of paranoia. Translation: Don't listen with the volume up high.
  • Silent Partner: Salad Fingers's three finger puppets, as well as Horace Horsecollar.
    • Salad Fingers's copies don't talk or even acknowledge him.
  • Shout-Out: Salad Fingers' telephone has the Aphex Twin logo on it, and Aphex Twin's song "Avril 14th" can be heard at the end of episode 4.
    • "Rhubarb" makes a couple of appearances as well.
    • Among the ingredients Glass Mother has Salad put into whatever it is she makes him eat in "Glass Brother", one of them is "Audax Powder", which is the name of a song on an early release by Aphex Twin (under the moniker Polygon Window).
  • Split Personality: Salad Fingers has quite a few of them.
  • Stalker with a Crush: The little boy from the fourth episode, who lures Salad Fingers into a bear trap by using a tap, and puts him in a cage in order to propose to him.
  • Sudden Anatomy: Salad Fingers's fingers occasionally turn normal in later episodes when needed.
  • Surprisingly Happy Ending: "Glass Brother" actually ends on a somewhat ambiguous ending. With Salad Fingers rescuing Hubert from his Glass Family and finally cutting off all contact with them.
  • Surreal Horror: Complete with split personality and Imagine Spot moments.
  • Surprise Pregnancy: Possibly in episode 9. Salad Fingers feels deathly ill with an affliction that makes him pale, seep a black fluid, and have a pulsating distended abdomen. Then a black blob bursts from his abdomen. After he regains consciousness, he happily accepts the slimy mass as his newborn daughter. However Salad Fingers may just be delusional as usual.
  • Tastes Like Purple: "Marjorie Stewart-Baxter, you taste like sunshine dust!"
  • The Bus Came Back: Milford Cubicle from episode 3 and Horace Horsecollar from episode 6 reappear in episode 10 despite being absent between their respective debuts and episode 9. Also, Mr Branches from episode 7 reappears in episode 9.
  • Through the Eyes of Madness: It's a common interpretation that Salad Fingers has severe schizophrenia, but because of the cartoon's surreal nature, it's hard to tell for sure.
  • Title Drop: The first episode.
  • Too Dumb to Live: The armless guy in episode 3 who runs after Salad Fingers after he takes a baby carriage. Since he doesn't have hands, he bangs on Salad Fingers' door with his head, even though he still has his legs. By the time Salad Fingers investigates the noises, he dies of blood loss.
    • Salad Fingers was nearly too dumb to live when he developed an obsession with taps only to get caught in the bear trap.
  • Troubled Fetal Position:
    • Salad Fingers does this as well as cry in the cupboard when Roger assaults him with Brown Notes.
    • Also he does this during a Freak Out after a little girl speaks to him.
  • The Unintelligible: Almost everyone except Salad Fingers.
    • In fact, when one character actually speaks to him, he is profoundly disturbed. "What's wrong? Do you not like my mouth-words?"
    • The Radio in episode 8 at first just emits creepy noises, then begins speaking back to Fingers with Fingers's own voice.
  • Unusually Uninteresting Sight:
    • When Hubert Cumberdale, a usually mute finger puppet, becomes human-sized, gains red eyes, and screams at Salad Fingers, Salad Fingers nonchalantly knocks Hubert Cumberdale on the head with a rusty spoon and continues to sing "Somewhere Over The Rainbow".
    • The two normal human characters in the series go along with Salad Fingers' requests (getting a fish out of the oven and joining him in a picnic) despite him being a creepy green imp-like creature. At least the Varsity Kid seems to be much more apprehensive about it.
    • To be fair, other than those two kids themselves, Salad Fingers is the least creepy creature we see roaming the wasteland.
  • Vocal Evolution: SF's voice started off as hushed/whispery (this was Enforced Method Acting at the time, as Firth recorded his lines late at night and didn't want to wake his family up), of which escalated into sounding more soft-spoken as time went on. At times he'll even exclaim, though it never transitions into screaming.
  • Wham Episode: Episode 7: Salad Fingers eats a clone, Episode 10: Salad Fingers is reunited with his "platoon", and gets a hat which he's content with.
  • Wham Line: "As it's Hubert's birthday, it would be rather polite if you took a hot bath... Milford Cubicle."
    • Episode 11 ends with Salad Fingers rescuing Hubert Cumberdale, besting Glass Mother, and smashing the mirror through which she could berate him. He puts one small shard in a trinket box, and as he closes it, Glass Mother offers this last threat: "Just wait till your father gets home!"
  • When Trees Attack: Mr. Branches in "Letter."
  • Wide Eyes and Shrunken Irises: Happens to Salad Fingers's eyes whenever he's Freaking Out.


Video Example(s):


Salad Fingers' Friends

Salad Fingers introduces us to his friends, who are all revealed to be finger puppets. He then proceeds to taste them, with differing reactions.

How well does it match the trope?

4.67 (3 votes)

Example of:

Main / CompanionCube

Media sources: