Happy Tree Friends was created by animator pair Kenn Navarro and Rhode Montijo, who’s also working on a comic book, Pablo’s Inferno, and is the flagship series for Mondo Media, a production company known for its off-color animated series. The show debuted on the web in 2000, and has since grown into a mini-franchise, having been seen on MTV and G4 TV, while several collections are available on DVD. The show has developed quite a following, and with its merchandise arm and various other tie-ins, you’ve got what could be considered an evil Walt Disney company.
There are many episodes of Happy Tree Friends available in the online archives, but they all have a few things in common. Featuring a cast of rotating and adorable furry characters, including a yellow rabbit named Cuddles, a pink skunk named Giggles, and a dopey blue moose named Lumpy, each episode begins with a “Cartoon Violence, Kids should not Watch disclaimer,” and then continues in the mundane way that violent animal cartoons so often do. They might be horsing around in a playground, baking a cake, or having a snowball fight, but inevitably something will go awry, and will result in the cute little characters being graphically sawed in half, being smashed into a tree, or having their eyes devoured by a flying kitchen blender. While the plot arc may be predictable, the “cartoon violence” is always entertainingly unpredictable. One just never knows how the little creatures will bite the dust. You can also check out the episode list for plot descriptions, screen shots, and information on which DVD to buy if you’re looking to see horrible bloody cartoon deaths on a bigger screen.
One can’t really go wrong, as there is little difference between, say, watching the Friends go for a swim, or seeing them take up magic as a hobby. One knows that in the end, they’ll end up meeting a bloody, cartoon death. But if you really need some direction, Eye Candy is a fan favorite. Just be wary if ocular horrors make you squeamish.