“Rejected” is a collection of rejected cartoons by animator Don Hertzfeldt, who was commissioned to make animated shorts to fill up interstitials for the family learning channel. Towards the end of the collection, the animator suffers from a mental brake down/health implication and thus his creations became increasingly violent and abstract.
Rejected is in fact fictional.
The real Don Hertzfeldt has never done any commercial work, despite many offers after the cult like popularity of “rejected” (which subsequently received an Oscar nomination and many awards.)
Personally, I would say the short is hilarious. The hyperbolized violence shown here desensitizes one to the point where the violence itself and its consequences are ignored. Although I must admit at first I was horrified this was even submitted for “a family learning channel”. But knowing the "storyline" is fictitious eliminates this horror, and adds a level of hilarity. In itself, it’s like a reverse dramatic irony. Hertzfeldt’s work characteristically features simple sick figures (as shown here) mixed with surrealism and black humor. Some of his work conveys philosophical underlay while others are just plain violent. Consider the following:
Billy's balloon is allegedly Hertzfeldt’s claim to fame. Personally, I don’t really know what to make of it, evil balloons strangling babies seems to be taking it a bit too far.