The quotation at the end of the episode shown is pretty damn pessimistic. But nonetheless, Happy Tree Friends are probably one of the most successful Internet phenomena of our generation. Despite the friendly, childish facade of these characters, the nature of the show itself is extremely violent – every episode features bloodshed, gore, dismemberment, pain, and/or death. The animators don’t treat the violence shown here with discretion; instead the imagery is extremely graphic and exaggerated.
The clip above is probably a very typical episode of Happy Tree Friends, starting off with seemingly normative situations, but don’t be fooled by the storybook-like packaging: the plot quickly escalates into extreme violence and ultimately leads to the inevitable death of the “innocent” character. Personally, I’m not sure if it’s the fact that the show looks perfectly friendly on the surface and then surprises one with the extreme, graphic violence; or the fact that the characters don’t speak; or the fact that the painful, gruesome death is prolonged and hyperbolized – but this show created quite an impression on me: I don’t like it. I got through one episode, and barely made it though the second one. But that's merely my opinion. Facts show that the general public does. With a video game, a spin off show, an average of 15 mil views/ month on youtube, TV shows in 15 different languages and 17 different countries, and a mainstream band (fall out boy) paying homage to this – you can do the math: It is indisputable that this is a success. Maybe it’s because of the idea of aestheticized violence in the form of smiling, bright coloured, fluffy “friends” that intrigues people, or maybe because the characters magically reincarnate after each episode...nonetheless,the whole idea of taking something cute and giving it a dark, sinister twist is an interesting concept, and is defiantly worth exploring.