Happy Tree Friends
|Happy Tree Friends|
Happy Tree Friends title card
|Created by||Aubrey Ankrum
|Developed by||Rhode Montijo
|Voices of||Kenn Navarro
Rhode Montijo (1999–2005)
Dana Belben (2000–2005)
Ellen Connell (2005–2009)
Lori Jee (2009–present)
Jeff Biancalana (2002–2005)
Michael "Lippy" Lipman
|Theme music composer||rj Eleven|
|Country of origin||United States|
|No. of seasons||Internet: 4
|No. of episodes||75 Internet shorts
39 TV series episodes (List of episodes)
|Executive producer(s)||John Evershed|
|Running time||Internet: 1–7 minutes
TV: 22 minutes
|Production company(s)||Mondo Mini Shows|
|Original channel||G4, MTV, Cartoon Network|
|Picture format||Flash cartoon|
|Original airing||December 24, 1999 (Internet)
September 25, 2006 (Television) – present
Happy Tree Friends is an American flash cartoon created and developed by Aubrey Ankrum, Rhode Montijo, Kenn Navarro and Warren Graff for Mondo Media. The show is cited as an early example of a popular Internet phenomenon achieving a cult following.
The action and adventure comedy is drawn in simple appearance and combines cute forest animals with extreme graphic violence. Each episode revolves around the characters enduring accidental events of bloodshed, pain, dismemberment and/or death. The episodes last from between 1 to 7 minutes. At one point, the warning "Cartoon Violence: Not recommended for small children, or big babies" was given on the official website. In 2006, a television series featuring longer episodes aired. A spin-off called Ka-Pow! premiered on September 2, 2008.
While working on Mondo Mini Shows, Rhode Montijo drew on a little piece of scrap paper a character who would later become Shifty. He then drew on a spreadsheet poster a yellow rabbit that bore some resemblance to Cuddles and wrote "Resistance is futile" underneath it. Rhode then hung the drawing up in his workstation so other people could see his idea, and eventually the idea was pitched to and accepted by the Mondo Media executives. In 1999, Mondo gave Aubrey Ankrum, Rhode Montijo and Kenn Navarro a chance to do a short for them. They came up with a short named Banjo Frenzy, which featured a dinosaur (earlier version of Lumpy) killing three woodland animals, a rabbit, squirrel and beaver (earlier versions of Cuddles, Giggles and Toothy) with a banjo. From there, Mondo gave them their own internet series, which they named Happy Tree Friends. They got new writers and animators to work on the show.
Only after its internet debut in 2000, Happy Tree Friends became an unexpected success, getting over 15 million hits each month, and being shown at film festivals. In some countries, the episodes can be seen on television. The series has been reformed into its own show, rather than as a part of a compilation as before.
Encouraged by the show's success, its creators have released four DVDs (First Blood, Second Serving, Third Strike and Winter Break) containing the episodes shown on the website and others that have not been released. A collection consisting of the first three DVDs and five bonus episodes, Overkill, has also been released. Two episodes, "Stealing the Spotlight" and "Ski Ya, Wouldn't Wanna Be Ya!", were originally only available in the Happy Tree Friends: Winter Break DVD, but are now on YouTube and the Happy Tree Friends website.
Mondo Media CEO John Evershed attributes the success of the series to animator Kenn Navarro. "He had a clear vision for that show and he's just a brilliant animator. He has created something that is pretty universal. I envision kids watching Happy Tree Friends 20 or 30 years from now the same way that they watch Tom and Jerry now. So really it's Kenn Navarro."
The Happy Tree Friends TV series was first shown at Comic-Con 2006 and some of the episodes were shown on the website a few weeks prior the show's television premiere, September 25, 2006 at midnight on the G4 network. Each half-hour episode of the TV series contains three seven-minute segments. 39 segments were made, making 13 full episodes for season one. Pictures from the first six episodes can be seen on G4's website. The Canadian channel Razer aired the show in syndication as did the Citytv stations throughout Canada. The show was also broadcast on MTV in Europe and Latin America and on Animax in South Africa. It was also shown on Paramount Comedy 1 in the UK from May 11, 2007 for a short time, with occasional reruns afterward with the channel, now branded as Comedy Central UK. It was rated TV-14 V.
Fall Out Boy music video
In 2007, American rock band Fall Out Boy created the music video for their song "The Carpal Tunnel of Love" . All of the characters die the same type of graphic, bloody deaths that are featured in the series. The Fall Out Boy band members cameo as special Happy Tree Friends characters.
A video game titled Happy Tree Friends: False Alarm was released on June 25, 2008. It was developed by Stainless Games and Sega for Xbox Live Arcade on the Xbox 360 and the PC. Writer Ken Pontac previously posted a blog on the Happy Tree Friends website telling fans about the adventures of the staff making the game, but it was ended before the game's first slated release date in Spring 2008.
Three spin-off series have been aired as of September 2008. The Ka-Pow! series is about adventures of three popular characters, Flippy, Splendid and Buddhist Monkey. Three episodes were called W.A.R Journal, Splendid's SSSSSuper Squad and Buddhist Monkey. As of 2012, six episodes have been aired.
Cast and crew
|Kenn Navarro||Director, animation director, writer, voice actor||1999 – present|
|Rhode Montijo||Director, art director, writer, (former) voice actor||1999–2004|
|Aubrey Ankrum||Director, writer, storyboard artist, voice actor||1999–2006|
|Warren Graff||Story editor, writer, voice actor||2000 – present|
|Ken Pontac||Story editor, writer, (minor) voice actor||2004 – present|
|Quaseda D. Novacain||animator, writer,artist (recent)||2011–2013|
|Jeff Biancalana||Writer, animator, storyboard artist, (former) voice actor||2001–2005|
|David Winn||Writer, animator, voice actor||2003 – present|
|Alan Lau||Animator, writer, director, storyboard artist||2001 – present|
|Jason Sadler||Animator, writer, director||2001 – present|
|Brad Rau||Animator, storyboard artist||2001 – present|
|Roque Ballesteros||Writer, animator, director, storyboard artist||2001 – present|
|Paul Allan||Writer, animator, director||2000 – present|
|Nica Lorber||Animator, voice actor||2000 – present|
|Michael "Lippy" Lipman||Storyboard artist, animator, director, writer, voice actor||2000 – present|
|Peter Herrman||Storyboard artist, voice actor||2000 – present|
|Jim Lively||Sound designer, music||2000 – present|
|Francis Carr||Foley artist, voice actor||2004 – present|
|Ashsha Kin||Theme Song / Music Composer||1999 – 2001|
|Jerome Rossen||Music composer||2005 – present|
|John Evershed||Executive producer||2000 – present|
|Liz Stuart||Producer, voice actor||2000 – present|
|Kristen McCormick||Animator, storyboard artist||2007 – present|
|Kenn Navarro||Cuddles, Flippy, Lifty & Shifty|
|Rhode Montijo||Lumpy, Splendid (2000–2005)|
|David Winn||Lumpy, Splendid (2005–present)|
|Dana Belben||Giggles, Petunia, Cub, Giggles' Mom (2000–2005)|
|Ellen Connell||Giggles, Petunia, Cub (2005–2009)|
|Lori Jee||Giggles, Petunia, Cub, Panda Mom (2009–present)|
|Warren Graff||Toothy, Handy|
|Aubrey Ankrum||Pop, Evil Flippy|
|Jeff Biancalana||Russell (2000–2005), Buddhist Monkey|
|Peter Herrman||Disco Bear|
|Michael "Lippy" Lipman||Nutty|
|Francis Carr||Russell (2005–present)|
|Mark Giambruno||Lifty & Shifty (2000–2005)|
|Renée T. MacDonald||Lammy|
|Ken Pontac||Additional voices|
|Annecy International Animated Film Festival||2003||Best Animated Short Film Made for the Internet||Eye Candy|
|2007||Best Animated Series for Adults||From Hero to Eternity|
|Ottawa International Animation Festival||2004||Best Animated Short Made for the Internet||Out on a Limb|
|2005||Mole in the City|
|2007||Best Television Series for Adults||Double Whammy Part 2|
- Humphrey, Michael (November 11, 2011). "Mondo Interview: Happy Tree Friends Join Eminem, RWJ In YouTube's Billion Views Club". Forbes.
- "Happy Tree Friends: Season 1". Metacritic.com. CBS Interactive Inc. Retrieved September 12, 2013.
- Horn, Jesse (December 10, 2010). "Happy Tree Friends". Interview with Mondo Media CEO John Evershed. Oddities Magazine. Retrieved 7 February 2013.
- Gruesome fun with Happy Tree Friends
- "The Kenn Commandments.". coldhardflash.com. April 5, 2005. Retrieved 2005-04-09.
- Annecy International Animated Film Festival
- Oddities Magazine interview with John Evershed
- "Mondo Media Gaining Revenue from International Licensing". Beet.tv. March 9, 2010.
- "Sega announces Happy Tree Friends False Alarm". sega.com. February 2007. Retrieved 2007-09-15.
- Pontac, Ken (February 2007). "Ken Pontac's video game blog.". happytreefriends.com. Retrieved 2007-09-15.