Follow TV Tropes


Western Animation / Rejected

Go To

In the spring of 1999, the Family Learning Channel commissioned animator Don Hertzfeldt to produce promotional segments for their network. The cartoons were completed in five weeks. The Family Learning Channel rejected all of them upon review, and they were never aired...

Rejected is a collection of animated shorts from animator Don Hertzfeldt. He utilized a very minimalist approach to the artwork and incorporated very surreal elements. Was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Animated Short Film in the year 2000.

Watch it here.

The cartoon is only 10 minutes long, so spoilers are unmarked. All the better reason to watch the cartoon before reading this page.

These shorts provide examples of:

  • High-Pressure Blood:
    • The scene where the guy's eye pops and the jet of blood from the socket sprays all over his friend.
    • The character in the "My anus is bleeding!" scene ends up drowning in his own blood.
  • Hong Kong Dub: Played for laughs with the two normal-looking stick figures.
  • Medium Awareness: During the climax, at least one character is desperately banging on the Fourth Wall, either trying to escape or seeking the viewer's help.
  • Minimalism: For a guy known for making the most of strange and sneaky camera tricks, this is incredibly stripped-down.
  • Mood Whiplash: The "Dance!" segment begins with a fluffy, cloud-like creature encouraging similarly-shaped friends to dance and have fun. Everyone is happy and cheerful...and then the main character's anus starts bleeding profusely. He desperately screams for help, all while the others keep dancing and laughing.
    • "First Steps" begins with a baby walking for the first time...and ends with said baby tumbling down a massive flight of stairs.
  • Mouth Flaps: Intentionally mismatched with the dialogue.
  • Napoleon Delusion: "I am the queen of France!"
  • Non Sequitur:
    • "Tuesday's coming. Did you bring your coat?" "I live in a giant bucket..."
    • "Do you want to go see a movie?" "I'm feeling fat and sassy!"
  • Overly Long Scream: The segment where one guy starts bleeding profusely from his eye, and he and his friend just stand there screaming at each other.
  • Our Slogan Is Terrible: Several of the ads for Johnson & Mills products.
    Johnson & Mills Fish Sticks: "Now With More Sodium!" "Sweet Jesus!"
    Johnson & Mills Kelp Dip: "I Am a Consumer Whore!" "And How!"
  • Overdrawn at the Blood Bank: Any instance of bleeding, but especially the character who drowns in his own blood.
  • Pop-Up Trivia: This version of the short has text commentary by Hertzfeldt.
  • Self-Deprecation: The basis of the film is that Don Hertzfeldt is having a nervous breakdown because he can't sell any of his work.
    • Ironically, Don himself admits that he's turned down many commercial deal offers since his fame with Rejected.
  • Serious Business: The sign says "Silly Hats Only"—and means it. Anyone who wears a non-silly hat is brutally beaten with baseball bats.
  • Screen Tap: Used to horrifying effect. In the ending, a stickman desperately bangs on the paper as the animated world around him collapses. It's to no avail, as he is consumed by the Dream Apocalypse.
  • Stylistic Suck: The left-handed cartoon.
  • Surreal Humor: Heads straight into Surreal Horror territory by the end, when the animated world starts falling apart.
  • Those Two Guys: The two normal-looking stick figures, who get creepier and more surreal as their scenes are shown. They have three scenes, starting with a screaming tumor and culminating in one of the men getting his stomach ripped off and having it placed on the other man's head, who then goes on to declare that he's "the queen of France" while his arms grow and wiggle.


Example of: