My interpretation of “Don’t Hug Me I’m Scared”

19 May, L A.S. (2015)

Let’s talk about Don’t Hug Me I’m Scared

Many people have seen the popular Youtube series Don’t Hug Me I’m Scared, produced by the creatively genius Brits called Becky Sloan and Joseph Pelling. But, many people have not seen the fun, disturbing, bizareness that is these videos. I like these videos a lot. So I want to talk about them.

They take the form of a Sesame Street-esque kids’ show complete with costumes, puppets, sill songs, and…education…sort of. Each video (there are four so far) teaches the audience about a different topic. The topics covered so far are:

  1. Creativity
  2. Time
  3. Love
  4. Technology

The stories follow three friends whose regular hanging-out sessions are interrupted by suddenly animate and sentient objects and butterflies who start to sing songs about the topic of the video. These songs each become increasingly dark and disturbing, in fun and different ways.

The production quality is high and gets higher with each successive video, the voices and writing and music are all wonderful!

Part of why these videos hold people’s interest so much is because of the depth of symbolism in them. In a series of blog posts, I’m going to share what I think the meaning of each video is. I think in terms of what’s so funny/scary/awesome about them, that speaks for itself.

So, part 1, about creativity, has the three friends being sung at by an animate and talking notebook who wants to teach them what is and what is not creative. My interpretation of the video is that kids often are taught “creativity” in a way that puts them in something of a straightjacket and doesn’t allow much wiggle room for actual free expression. You can be creative, but not too different, not too creative. You have to be creative the right way, and not the wrong way.

It’s a pretty simple message, (at least my interpretation of the message) and I think the meanings of the later videos get a bit more complex over time. Also, there’s no need to overthink any of them: they are also just entertaining and hilarious.

I hope I’ve introduced a few people to these delightful videos through this blog post. I look forward to posting about the other three soon!


-G.R. Wilson

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