|Created by||David Firth|
|Written by||David Firth|
Christian Webb (co-writer)
James Hollis (co-writer)
|Directed by||David Firth|
|Voices of||David Firth|
|Country of origin||United Kingdom|
|Release||1 July 2004 –|
Salad Fingers is a British animated web series created by David Firth in 2004. It revolves around the eponymous Salad Fingers, a thin, green, mentally troubled man who inhabits a desolate world. As of September 2023, thirteen episodes have been published on YouTube and Newgrounds. Since its debut, Salad Fingers has amassed a cult following and has been described as a viral phenomenon.
Salad Fingers was conceived as an in-joke when one day, while Firth was playing the guitar, his friend and frequent collaborator Christian Webb commented that he had "salad fingers", referring to the way Firth played the C-chord. In 2004, Firth posted the first episode via Flash to entertainment website Newgrounds, where it was initially unpopular. However, the video quickly gained traction once it was featured on the website's front page. Later, once the series transitioned to video-sharing platform YouTube, Firth turned to crowdfunding because he was unable to monetize videos due to the platform's content policy.
In addition to writing and animating the series, Firth voices the titular character himself. Firth says the character's voice was inspired by that of his grandmother's and Michael Jackson's speaking voice. The softness of Salad Fingers's voice is due to the circumstance that Firth did not want to wake up his parents while recording. While the first episode took Firth "one day and one night" to produce, others took him six months and up to one year. He has cited the works of David Lynch, Tim Burton, and Chris Morris, as well as The League of Gentlemen and South Park as sources of inspiration. Music featured in Salad Fingers episodes includes work credited to Sigur Rós, Aphex Twin, and Boards of Canada.
In 2007, the series, then spanning seven episodes, had its theatrical debut at Sydney Underground Film Festival, where all episodes were shown back to back. In 2009, episodes were screened at Glimmer, Hull Daily Mail's international short film festival. In 2020, a Salad Fingers tour throughout the United Kingdom was announced. The tour was postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic and was ultimately held in 2021 and 2022. Events featured back-to-back screenings of all episodes released thus far, followed by an in-person interview with Firth.
|No.||Title||Original air date||Length|
|1||"Spoons"||1 July 2004||1:46|
|Salad Fingers explains how touching rust stimulates him, and that he holds a particular love of spoons. He asks a boy to see if he has any rusty spoons. The child responds in screeches, at which point Salad Fingers leaves.|
|2||"Friends"||15 July 2004||3:54|
|After talking to his finger puppets, Salad Fingers checks for a fish cooking in his oven. He finds that he cannot reach it and asks a bystanding child to. As the child walks into the oven, Salad Fingers sees a rusty nail in the wall and reaches to caress it, causing the oven door to close. Salad Fingers then impales his finger with the nail, causing him to pass out. He awakes from a dream in a pool of blood, and smoke is emerging from the oven.|
|3||"Nettles"||1 August 2004||3:18|
|Salad Fingers comes across a perambulator, lays nettles inside it, and takes it home with him. An armless man appears and chases after him, repeatedly banging his head against the front door. Meanwhile, Salad Fingers rubs the nettles on his chest, causing him to lactate. After awaking from a daydream, Salad Fingers finds the man lifeless in front of the door, hangs him on a meat hook, and offers him a glass of milk.|
|4||"Cage"||19 August 2004||5:16|
|A boy, who speaks only in growls and grunts, approaches Salad Fingers, which makes him uncomfortable. A tap connected to a string appears at Salad Fingers's door. It is pulled away and Salad Fingers chases it. The boy catches him in a cage and offers him a ring, which Salad Fingers rejects. He then disappears from inside the cage and the boy starts crying. Salad Fingers flies away on a giant tap.|
|5||"Picnic"||25 November 2004||4:19|
|Salad Fingers talks to his finger puppet before attending a picnic with a crow and a girl. Salad Fingers asks the girl questions but she does not respond. His finger puppet watches Salad Fingers through the window as he declares the girl his new playmate. The crow steals Salad Fingers's spoon, upon which the girl speaks to him for the first time. Salad Fingers screeches in shock.|
|6||"Present"||24 July 2005||4:09|
|One of Salad Fingers's finger puppets presents him a toy horse, upon which Salad Fingers eats the finger puppet. He plays with the horse and finds a lone toilet outside. He talks to it and flushes it in concern. He walks back home and sees another version of himself inside, repeating what he had done earlier. The inside version of Salad Fingers eats his finger puppet before eating the other version of himself.|
|7||"Shore Leave"||28 January 2006||5:19|
|While digging holes outside, Salad Fingers finds an old corpse that he is familiar with. He pulls it out of the hole, promises to draw it a hot bath, and prepares a dinner of sand for it. Later in the day, Salad Fingers salutes the corpse, sings to it, and kicks it back into the hole crying. Salad Fingers suddenly stands on a stage singing in front of an audience before leaving.|
|8||"Cupboard"||22 September 2007||5:43|
|Salad Fingers tunes a radio and feeds it marbles. It suddenly starts emitting a piercing sound, upon which Salad Fingers escapes into a small adjacent room. There, he finds a strand of hair, which he adds to his collection. Later, the radio instructs Salad Fingers to return to it its hair. It goes on to torment him, at which point Salad Fingers returns to the small room.|
|9||"Letter"||26 May 2011||8:11|
|A tree begs Salad Fingers to let it stay in his house but is refused. The tree proceeds to strangle Salad Fingers. Later, Salad Fingers awakes from his sleep in pain. A black mass erupts from his stomach, which he calls his child. While writing a letter, he talks to it and suddenly turns ill. Having recovered, Salad Fingers takes the mass to another house in a bucket and smears it across one of the windows.|
|10||"Birthday"||24 November 2013||10:01|
|While preparing the birthday party of a corpse he keeps, Salad Fingers discovers a tall pole in front of his house. He leaves his house and walks through a forest in search of a hand puppet. After finding the puppet, it attacks a horse standing nearby. Salad Fingers returns to his house, which is now inhabited by horses. The corpse has skeletonized. Outside, several clones of Salad Fingers are gathered around a table. The pole retracts into the ground and reveals a present, which contains a hat made out of the corpse's skin.|
|11||"Glass Brother"||30 January 2019||14:38|
|Salad Fingers talks to his brother through a mirror while ridiculing one of his finger puppets. At home, he brings his finger puppet to life by sewing flesh onto it. Salad Fingers's mother appears in a mirror and demands to be served food, which he is unable to do. After being forced to eat food prepared by his mother, Salad Fingers's brother kidnaps his finger puppet through the mirror. Salad Fingers rescues it by entering the mirror dimension through a puddle outside and finally destroys the mirror.|
|12||"Post Man"||7 March 2022||8:57|
|Returning home from his job as a postman, Salad Fingers discovers the mutilated corpse of a dog. He initiates a courtship with it and takes it on several dates. After realizing that the corpse is much younger than himself, Salad Fingers carries it away and leaves it at a tree stump, declaring that they can not be together. A creature emerges from the tree stump and drags it inside.|
|13||"Harvest"||20 September 2023||11:00|
|Salad Fingers is attempting to grow crops for an upcoming feast. Finding no crops growing, he sacrifices one of his finger puppets to the earth and an enormous flower grows. He consumes one of its seeds and a miniature Salad Fingers, dubbed "Mr. Boyfingers", sprouts from his back. After Salad Fingers teaches Mr. Boyfingers about the world, Mr. Boyfingers mortally injures the original Salad Fingers with a rock and cooks him—still alive—in a stew before eating him.|
Salad Fingers has become the subject of a cult following and has generated a number of memes, having "captured the comically demented and strange underbelly of the internet" according to Elijah Watson of The Daily Dot. The series's characters, themes, and setting have inspired extensive discussions and theories online. In 2005, the San Francisco Chronicle ranked it among its "Top 10" pop culture phenomena. Wired considers Salad Fingers to be one of the most memorable Flash animations, and The Guardian describes it as one of the first to go "fully viral". Writing for the academic journal Convergence, Jessica Balanzategui and César Albarrán-Torres described Salad Fingers as "a significant stylistic and generic contribution to the early period of participatory digital cultures". In 2020, the series had been viewed 110 million times in total on YouTube, with the first episode alone receiving 36 million video views.
Jon Mendelsohn of Comic Book Resources observes that the series has "terrified audiences" by means of its "post-apocalyptic setting and crypticness" and compares it to the television series Twin Peaks. Tanner Fox of Screen Rant describes it as "nothing short of haunting" due to its "weird premises, nails-on-chalkboard background music, and shocking moments of gore and depravity". Devon Maloney of The Verge remarks its emphasis on gore and bodily fluids, calling it "basically ASMR for psychopaths". Will Ramsey of Hull Daily Mail calls it "comic, horrifying and strangely endearing". In reference to its impact online at the time of release, Emma Garland of Vice notes that the series caused both fascination and dread in its viewers, and deems it "one of the bleakest comedies to ever come out of the UK".
In 2019, a Canadian high school teacher was temporarily suspended after showing his class a range of videos that students described as "weird, creepy and inappropriate" including Salad Fingers. The teacher ultimately resigned from his job at the school and attended a disciplinary program. Firth commented on the situation on Twitter, declaring full support for the teacher showing the series.
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The most memorable of these creations came from David Firth.
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