Happy Tree Friends

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Happy Tree Friends
HTF Opening Sequence.png
Genre
Adult Animation
Dark comedy
Splatter
Created byAubrey Ankrum
Rhode Montijo
Kenn Navarro
Developed byRhode Montijo
Kenn Navarro
Warren Graff
Merriwether williams
Directed byseason 1-2:
Rhode Montijo
season 2-present:
Kenn Navarro
Creative director(s)Dean MacDonald
Voices ofKenn Navarro
Nica Lorber
Rhode Montijo (1999–2005)
David Winn
Dana Belben (1999–2005)
Ellen Connell (2005–09)
Lori Jee (2009–2016)
Warren Graff
Aubrey Ankrum
Liz Stuart
Jeff Biancalana (2000–2005)
Peter Herrmann
Michael "Lippy" Lipman
Mark Giambruno
Francis Carr (2005-2016)
Renée T. MacDonald
Ken Pontac
Theme music composerrj Eleven
Country of originUnited States
Original language(s)English
No. of seasons4
No. of episodes133 (list of episodes)
Production
Executive producer(s)John Evershed
Producer(s)Liz Stuart
Running time1–5 minutes (Internet series) 7 minutes (TV series)
Production company(s)Mondo Media
animation
Fatkat (television)
DistributorMondo Media
Release
Original networkMondo Media (internet)
G4 (TV series)
Picture formatFlash cartoon
Original releaseDecember 24, 1999 (1999-12-24) –
December 22, 2016 (2016-12-22)
External links
Website

Happy Tree Friends is an American adult video series disguised as a children's web show created by Aubrey Ankrum, Rhode Montijo and Kenn Navarro, and developed by Montijo, Navarro and Warren Graff for Mondo Media. The show has been cited as an example of achieving a cult following.[1]

The series is best known for its combination of cute cartoon anthropomorphic forest animals and extreme graphic violence.[2] Each episode revolves around the characters enduring accidental or deliberately inflicted pain, mutilation and/or death to which at one point, there was a warning given to the site: "Cartoon Violence: Not recommended for small children or big babies".[3]

Characters[edit]

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, Giggles, a pink chipmunk, Toothy, a mauve-colored beaver, Lumpy, a blue moose, Petunia, a blue skunk, Handy, an orange beaver with amputated hands, Nutty, a green squirrel, Sniffles, a light blue anteater, Flaky, a red porcupine, Disco Bear, a gold-orange bear, Lifty & Shifty, 2 olive raccoons, Flippy, a green army veteran bear, et al.

History[edit]

SeasonEpisodesOriginally aired
First airedLast aired
127December 24, 1999 (1999-12-24)October 20, 2001 (2001-10-20)
228October 27, 2001 (2001-10-27)December 15, 2005 (2005-12-15)
TV series39September 25, 2006 (2006-09-25)December 25, 2006 (2006-12-25)
324October 24, 2007 (2007-10-24)March 29, 2013 (2013-03-29)
414June 14, 2013 (2013-06-14)December 22, 2016 (2016-12-22)

1999: Beginning[edit]

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.[4] 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 squirrel, a rabbit and a beaver (earlier versions of Giggles, Cuddles and Toothy) with a banjo. From there, Mondo gave them their own Internet series, which they named Happy Tree Friends.

2000-2016: success[edit]

After its internet debut in 1999, Happy Tree Friends became an unexpected success, getting over 15 million hits each month[5] and screenings at film festivals.[6] 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."[7]

Television series[edit]

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 to the show's television premiere, September 25, 2006 at midnight on the G4 Videogame TV network as part of its late-night block, Barbed Wire Biscuit (later renamed Midnight Spank; 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, The Comedy Network and OLN throughout Canada.[8] The show was also broadcast on MTV in Europe and Latin America and on Animax in South Africa.[9] 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. As of May 2019, in the US, El Rey Network has made a compilation of the Mondo Series called The Mondo Animation Hour[10] for 1 video or 2 on each episode. A second season began development, but had to be scrapped due to the television series currently off the air and budget problems.

Possible Feature film[edit]

In 2014, after the episode "Dream Job" was released, Mondo Media announced plans to produce a feature film based on the series.[11][12] The film is apparently in pre-production, but as of 2019, no other information came forward, leading the fans to think that the film is scrapped.[13] In 2016, Kenn Navarro tweeted that he was unaware of work being done on the film, but that his team were "in talk to do more shorts". Later, when a fan asked Kenn Navarro about the film, he replied: ""a treatment that [I] and the writers did was all the work (that [I] know of) for the movie" [14][15]

New episodes[edit]

In December 2016, Mondo Media released five all-new episodes for purchase online.[16] The episodes were bundled as a set named "Happy Tree Friends: Still Alive" and came with some additional bonus material such as background designs, animated storyboards, the animation process and a writer's session video. Upon purchase, the buyer was allowed to download the DRM free video files to their own computer. In January 2017 Kenn Navarro tweeted "As I understand, sales were ok but fell below what was expected."[17]

Fall Out Boy music video[edit]

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.[18]

Video game[edit]

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.[19] There was also an iOS game titled Happy Tree Friends: Deadeye Derby released in 2014.

Spin-offs[edit]

A spin-off series called Ka-Pow! aired on September 2008. It is about the adventures of four characters (The Mole, Flippy, Splendid and Buddhist Monkey). A total of six episodes have been produced.

In 2014, Kenn Navarro created D_Void, a show similar to Happy Tree Friends. So far only 2 episodes have been produced.[20]

Cast[edit]

Cast Voice
Name Character
Kenn Navarro Cuddles (1999–2016), Flippy (2006–2016), Lifty (2006–2016), Shifty (2006–2016), Handy (only in A Hole Lotta Love), Toothy (Only in Keepin' Reel)
Rhode Montijo Lumpy (1998-2003, Splendid (2000–2003)
David Winn Lumpy (2003–2016), Splendid (2006–2016)
Dana Belben Giggles (1998-2003), Petunia (1999-2003), Cub (2000-2004), Giggles' Mom (2000)
Ellen Connell Giggles (2003-2009), (2011–2016), Petunia (2003-2009), (2011–2016), Cub (2006-2009) (2012–2016)
Lori Jee Giggles (2009-2011), Petunia (2009-2011), Cub (2010-2011), Panda Mom (2008)
Warren Graff Toothy (1999–2016), Handy (1999–2016)
Nica Lorber Flaky (2000–2016)
Aubrey Ankrum Pop (2000–2016), Evil Flippy (2000–2016), Flippy (2000-2003)
Liz Stuart Sniffles (2000–2016)
Jeff Biancalana Russell (2000–2003), Buddhist Monkey (2004), (2008)
Peter Hermann Disco Bear (2000–2016)
Michael "Lippy" Lipman Nutty (2000–2016)
Francis Carr Russell (2006–2016)
Renée T. MacDonald Lammy (2010–2016)
Ken Pontac Additional voices

Awards[edit]

Show Year Category Laureate
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 Autopsy Turvy (Double Whammy, Part 2)

References[edit]

  1. ^ Humphrey, Michael (November 11, 2011). "Mondo Interview: Happy Tree Friends Join Eminem, RWJ In YouTube's Billion Views Club". Forbes.
  2. ^ "Happy Tree Friends: Season 1". Metacritic.com. CBS Interactive Inc. Retrieved September 12, 2013.
  3. ^ Horn, Jesse (December 10, 2010). "Happy Tree Friends". Interview with Mondo Media CEO John Evershed. Oddities Magazine. Retrieved February 7, 2013.
  4. ^ "Gruesome fun with Happy Tree Friends". G4tv.com. June 22, 2005. Retrieved June 9, 2014.
  5. ^ "The Kenn Commandments". coldhardflash.com. April 5, 2005. Retrieved April 9, 2005.
  6. ^ Citia. "2003 Official Selection, film". Annecy.org. Retrieved March 25, 2014.
  7. ^ No Comments (December 10, 2010). "Oddities Magazine interview with John Evershed". Azalert.com. Retrieved June 9, 2014.
  8. ^ CityTV.com Archived June 18, 2008, at the Wayback Machine
  9. ^ "Mondo Media Gaining Revenue from International Licensing". Beet.tv. March 9, 2010. Archived from the original on April 18, 2013.
  10. ^ Schwarz, John (May 1, 2019). "Mondo-Powered Animation Hour Headed To El Rey Network". Bubbleblabber. Retrieved November 2, 2019.
  11. ^ "Mondo Announces Feature Film Plans for 'Happy Tree Friends,' 'Dick Figures' and 'Deep Space 69'". cartoonbrew.com.
  12. ^ "'Happy Tree Friends' Movie Leads Three-Film Slate For Mondo Media". Tubefilter.
  13. ^ "FEATURE FILMS ‹ Home Plate Entertainment". homeplateentertainment.com.
  14. ^ Kenn Navarro [@ChainKnuckle] (August 23, 2016). "@SpringtrapTrap As far as I know, there's no work being done on an HTF movie but we are in talks to do more shorts. Stay tuned..." (Tweet) – via Twitter.
  15. ^ "QA - Happy Tree Friends - Mondo". mondomedia.com.
  16. ^ "Happy Tree Friends: Still Alive". htf.mondomedia.com. Retrieved November 28, 2017.
  17. ^ Kenn Navarro [@ChainKnuckle] (January 16, 2017). "@BL00DYKILLS As I understand, sales were ok but fell below what was expected. 😔" (Tweet) – via Twitter.
  18. ^ Rowe, Abigail. "Would You Watch A Happy Tree Friends Movie? The Scary Aughts Revival Is Coming". NYU Local. Retrieved November 22, 2015.
  19. ^ "Sega announces Happy Tree Friends False Alarm". sega.com. February 2007. Retrieved September 15, 2007.
  20. ^ zwak (September 20, 2014). "D_Void - New Show From The Creators Of Happy Tree Friends". Retrieved June 11, 2016 – via YouTube.

External links[edit]