Happy Tree Friends
|Happy Tree Friends|
|Created by||Aubrey Ankrum
|Developed by||Rhode Montijo
|Voices of||Kenn Navarro
Rhode Montijo (1999–2005)
Dana Belben (2000–2005)
Ellen Connell (2005–09)
Lori Jee (2009–present)
Jeff Biancalana (2002–2005)
Michael "Lippy" Lipman
Renée T. MacDonald
|Theme music composer||rj Eleven|
|Country of origin||United States
|No. of seasons||4|
|No. of episodes||133 (list of episodes)|
|Executive producer(s)||John Evershed|
|Running time||1–7 minutes|
|Production company(s)||Mondo Media
Fatkat Animation Studios (television)
|Original network||Mondo Media (internet)
|Picture format||Flash cartoon|
|Original release||December 24, 1999– present|
Happy Tree Friends (HTF) is an animated flash series created and developed by Aubrey Ankrum, Rhode Montijo, Kenn Navarro and Warren Graff for Mondo Media. The show is cited as an example of achieving a cult following.
The action and adventure comedy is composed of simple drawings and juxtaposes cute forest animals with extreme graphic violence. Each episode revolves around the characters enduring accidental or deliberately inflicted events of bloodshed, pain, dismemberment, evisceration, and/or death. At one point, there was a warning given to the site "Cartoon Violence: Not recommended for small children, or big babies".
Happy Tree Friends features a variety of characters, each with varying appearances and personalities. However, almost all share identical Pac-Man eyes, boot-shaped feet, buckteeth, and pink heart-shaped noses; characters include Cuddles, a yellow bunny, Petunia, a blue skunk, Giggles, a pink chipmunk, Toothy, a mauve-colored beaver, Disco Bear, a gold-orange bear, Flaky, a red porcupine, Flippy, a green army veteran bear, Handy, an orange beaver with amputated hands, Lammy, a purple sheep, etc.
|First aired||Last aired|
|1||27||December 24, 1999||October 13, 2001|
|2||28||October 20, 2001||December 15, 2005|
|TV||39||September 25, 2006||December 25, 2006|
|3||25||October 24, 2007||March 29, 2013|
|4||14||June 14, 2013||TBA|
While working on Mondo Media, Rhode Montijo drew on a 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 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 (an 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.
After its internet debut in 1999, 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 television 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 (Web episodes of Happy Tree Friends also aired on the network's animation anthology series Happy Tree Friends and Friends and G4's Late Night Peepshow). Each half-hour episode of the television series contains three seven-minute segments. 13 half-hour episodes were made, making a total of 39 seven-minute episodes. 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. In Asia, the series airs on Comedy Central and FX. A second season is currently in development, but scrapped due to the television series currently off the air and budget problems.
Feature film project
Mondo Media announced plans to produce a feature film based on the series. The movie is currently in pre-production. In 2016, Kenn Navarro tweeted that he wasn't aware of work being done on the movie but that his team were "in talk to do more shorts"
Fall Out Boy music video
In 2007, the Fall Out Boy's music video for their song "The Carpal Tunnel of Love" was directed by Kenn Navarro. All of the characters die the same type of graphic, bloody deaths that are featured in the series. The Fall Out Boy band members also make a cameo as special Happy Tree Friends characters.
In 2014, Kenn Navarro created D_Void, a show similar to Happy Tree Friends.
|Kenn Navarro||Cuddles, Flippy, Lifty, Shifty|
|Rhode Montijo||Lumpy, Splendid (2000–05)|
|David Winn||Lumpy, Splendid (2005 – present)|
|Dana Belben||Giggles, Petunia, Cub, Giggles' Mom (2000–05)|
|Ellen Connell||Giggles, Petunia, Cub (2005–09)|
|Lori Jee||Giggles, Petunia, Cub, Panda Mom (2009 – present)|
|Warren Graff||Toothy, Handy|
|Aubrey Ankrum||Pop, Evil Flippy|
|Jeff Biancalana||Russell (2000–05), Buddhist Monkey|
|Peter Hermann||Disco Bear|
|Michael "Lippy" Lipman||Nutty|
|Francis Carr||Russell (2005 – present)|
|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|
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- "Happy Tree Friends: Season 1". Metacritic.com. CBS Interactive Inc. Retrieved September 12, 2013.
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- "FEATURE FILMS ‹ Home Plate Entertainment". homeplateentertainment.com.
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- "QA - Happy Tree Friends - Mondo". mondomedia.com.
- Rowe, Abigail. "Would You Watch A Happy Tree Friends Movie? The Scary Aughts Revival Is Coming". NYU Local. Retrieved 22 November 2015.
- "Sega announces Happy Tree Friends False Alarm". sega.com. February 2007. Retrieved September 15, 2007.
- zwak (September 20, 2014). "D_Void - New Show From The Creators Of Happy Tree Friends". Retrieved June 11, 2016 – via YouTube.