Happy Tree Friends

Happy Tree Friends is an American adult animated web series created by Aubrey Ankrum, Rhode Montijo and Kenn Navarro, and developed by Montijo, Navarro and Warren Graff for Mondo Media. The show has achieved a cult following on YouTube.[1]

Happy Tree Friends
HTF Opening Sequence.png
GenreAdult animation
Dark comedy
Splatter
Created byAubrey Ankrum
Rhode Montijo
Kenn Navarro
Developed byRhode Montijo
Kenn Navarro
Warren Graff
Directed byseason 1–2:
Rhode Montijo
season 2-5:
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
Audrey 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 seasons5
No. of episodes194 (list of episodes)
Production
Executive producer(s)John Evershed
Producer(s)Liz Stuart
Running time1–5 minutes
Production company(s)Mondo Media
DistributorMondo Media
Release
Original networkMondo Media
YouTube
Picture formatFlash cartoon
Original releaseDecember 24, 1999 (1999-12-24) –
December 22, 2016 (2016-12-22)
External links
Website

The series features cartoon anthropomorphic forest animals, in premises akin to children's shows, who are suddenly subjected to extreme graphic violence.[2] Each episode revolves around the characters enduring accidental or deliberately inflicted pain or mutilation.[3] Because of its excessive macabre nature, Common Sense Media aged this series 18+.[4]

Characters and castEdit

  • Cuddles - A yellow rabbit who has big ears, pink cheeks and a fluff of fur on his head that looks like his tail. He also has pink bunny slippers. He is sometimes shown to be rebellious and often does things that are extremely dangerous, while he is cute and cuddly at other times. He is considered to be the series' (unofficial) mascot and has the highest death count in the series. He is voiced by Kenn Navarro.
  • Giggles - A pink chipmunk with a red bow on her head. She was the first female Tree Friend introduced. She is generally considered a girly girl along with her best friend Petunia. Her early design depicted her as a blue squirrel. She has been voiced by three actresses since her debut: Dana Belben (Season 1 - Season 2), Ellen Connell (Season 2 - Season 3, TV Series, Season 3- present), and Lori Jee (Season 3).
  • Lumpy - A blue moose with mismatched antlers. He is extremely dimwitted, which often leads to the deaths of many other characters and sometimes his own, but ironically, he has had more jobs than any of the other Tree Friends. He is the biggest and tallest of the main characters and is usually portrayed as an adult. He has appeared the most, starred the most, survived the most, and has killed the most, due to his stupidity. He was first voiced by Rhode Montijo (Season 1 - Season 2) and is currently voiced by David Winn (Season 2, TV Series, Season 4).
  • Toothy - A purple beaver with freckles and huge buckteeth unlike the others (hence the name "Toothy"). He is friends with Cuddles and many of his injuries pertain to his eye. Many people consider him the most undeveloped character in the show or a "redshirt". He is voiced by Warren Graff.
  • Nutty - A jittery green squirrel with a candy addiction and a candy outfit consisting of three lollipops on his head and a candy cane on his chest. He is shown to have an addictive personality as seen in the False Alarm episode, since after getting over his candy addiction, he gained interest in video games and quickly became addicted to them. Eating sugar makes him go hyper and somewhat insane. He has one small black pupil on his left eye and one green eye on his right eye possibly from his condition. He is voiced by Michael "Lippy" Lipman.
  • Flippy - A green bear with an army uniform. Whenever he sees or hears anything that reminds him of war, he flips out (hence the name "Flippy") and believes he is back in the war, he has Post traumatic stress disorder which generally results in him murdering everyone around him. This alter ego is known as 'Fliqpy'. He is one of the most popular characters in the series and has the highest intentional kill count. He is voiced by Kenn Navarro, while his evil self Fliqpy is voiced by Aubrey Ankrum. Ankrum also provided Flippy's normal voice up until 2005.
  • Flaky - A red, nervous porcupine with dandruff on her quills (hence the name "Flaky"). She is usually very nervous due to her fear of dying. She is also shown to be a coward and is highly unstable. For a long time, her gender was never made clear, though hints always leaned toward her being female. Eventually, Flaky was announced to be female and considered to be a tomboy, as she is not like other female characters. She is voiced by Nica Lorber.
  • Handy - An orange beaver with amputated hands, a tool belt, and a yellow hard hat. His amputated hands cause him trouble that often frustrate him and his disabilities result in the death of either him or other Tree Friends. He is the Tree Friend that most often does construction work, which he manages to do without trouble as long as it is off screen. He also briefly had boots. He is voiced by Warren Graff.
  • Petunia - A blue skunk with a pink flower head accessory and a tree air freshener necklace. She is generally considered a girly girl along with her best friend Giggles. In later episodes, she seems to have Obsessive–compulsive disorder and feels the need to keep everything clean. She has been voiced by three actresses since her debut: Dana Belben (Season 1 - Season 2), Ellen Connell (Season 2 - Season 3, Season 3-Season 4), and Lori Jee (Season 3).
  • Disco Bear - A golden bear with an afro and '70s-style clothing. He is also overweight, as is pointed out in Ipso Fatso. In most episodes, he is seen flirting with the girls, such as Petunia and Giggles, but they simply find him to be a nuisance. He is voiced by Peter Hermann.
  • Mime - A purple deer with a mime-like painted face and striped shirt. He means to be entertaining, but results in others around him getting killed or getting himself killed. He normally rides a unicycle while juggling three balls. Being a mime, he does not talk, which normally results in the Tree Friend he is communicating with not understanding him, which in some cases causes many deaths. For example, in the episode Who's to Flame?, he tries to tell the fire department that the house is burning down, but since they are talking over the phone, Lumpy the firefighter can not understand him and hangs up. Later, the Mime sees more firefighters and tries to communicate with them using body motions, but they still do not understand. His rare instances of audible noises are provided by Sarah Castelblanco.
  • Splendid - A blue flying squirrel with a red superhero mask. He causes more harm than good and bears some similarities to Superman, such as being allergic to the Kryptonut. His archenemy is Splendont. He was first voiced by Rhode Montijo (Season 1 - Season 2) and is currently voiced by David Winn (TV Series–Season 4).
  • Russell - A turquoise sea otter with pirate accessories. He has the overall appearance of a pirate, but after Season 1, he lost his five o-clock shadow. He is often seen doing water-related activities. He was first voiced by Jeff Biancalana (Season 1-Season 2) and is currently voiced by Francis Carr (TV Series-Season 4).
  • The Mole - A blind lavender mole with black glasses, a purple turtle neck, a cane, and a mole near his nose. Due to his blindness, some of his actions get him and the other Tree Friends killed. He often does things blind people should not be doing, such as reading and driving. His archenemy is The Rat.
  • Lifty & Shifty - Two green kleptomaniac raccoons who steal whatever they can when possible. Shifty wears a green Fedora, and Lifty does not. Shifty was the first Tree Friend to be created, way before Cuddles. Even though they are brothers, they often argue and Shifty is prone to turning his back on Lifty in favour of the booty. They have the lowest survival rates of all the characters as they always seem to get their comuppance. Both were initially voiced by Mark Giambruno (Season 1-Season 2) and are currently portrayed by Kenn Navarro (TV Series-Season 4).
  • Sniffles - A brainy blue anteater with big glasses and a mouth on his trunk. Sniffles is the smartest character in the Happy Tree Friends series, but sometimes he lacks common sense. He makes many inventions, but these almost always get himself or someone else killed. He often attempts to eat a family of ants, but the ants kill him in the most gory and sadistic ways possible. He is voiced by Liz Stuart.
  • Pop & Cub - Two tan father-and-son bears. Pop wears a robe and is always seen smokes a smoking pipe, Cub wears a diaper and a beanie with a propeller. Cub has appeared without Pop in some episodes and vice versa. Pop usually causes misfortune to his son casually or negligently, ending with Cub and others injured or dead. Other times it is Cub that gets himself into danger. Pop is voiced by Aubrey Ankrum; Cub has been voiced by three actresses since his debut: Dana Belben (2000 - 2005), Ellen Connell (2005 - 2009, 2011–present), and Lori Jee (2009 - 2011).
  • Lammy - A purple sheep with a purple bow and a white jumper representing her wool. She appears to be schizophrenic due to her imagining Mr. Pickels brutally murdering everyone (unless Mr. Pickels is an actual living thing). She is voiced by Renée T. MacDonald.
  • Mr. Pickels - A pickle with a tophat and mustache. He is similar to Flippy's dark side due to a likeliness of violently killing everyone he is near. He is also Lammy's "imaginary friend" that only she can see in animated form. However, in Royal Flush, Giggles is able to see him, and he also managed to single-handedly kill Flaky. At first, Lammy thinks of him as nice, but Mr. Pickels then starts causing chaos, from ripping the head off Petunia's teddy bear to running Handy over with his own truck.
  • Cro-Marmot - A yellow-green marmot who wears a leopard-skin loincloth and holds a club. He is frozen in an iceblock and lives in an igloo in a giant snow-globe in the forest. Despite being frozen, he can perform many tasks when offscreen. He often drives around in an ice cream truck.
  • Buddhist Monkey - A yellow Buddhist monk monkey who has appeared in three episodes, Enter the Garden, Books of Fury, and Three Courses of Death. His enemies, the Generic Tree Ninjas, are bears that try to destroy what he cherishes. He is voiced by Jeff Biancalana.

HistoryEdit

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.[5] 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.

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

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."[8]

In 2014, after the episode "Dream Job" was released, Mondo Media announced plans to produce a feature film based on the series,[9][10][11] but in 2016, Kenn Navarro tweeted that he was unaware of work being done on a 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" [12][13]

In December 2016, Mondo Media released five all-new episodes for purchase online.[14] 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."[15]

EpisodesEdit

SeasonEpisodesOriginally released
First releasedLast releasedNetwork
127December 24, 1999 (1999-12-24)October 20, 2001 (2001-10-20)Mondo Media
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)G4
324October 24, 2007 (2007-10-24)March 29, 2013 (2013-03-29)Mondo Media
YouTube
49June 14, 2013 (2013-06-14)March 6, 2014 (2014-03-06)
Still Alive5December 7, 2016 (2016-12-07)December 22, 2016 (2016-12-22)

Television seriesEdit

The 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.[citation needed] The TV series would premiere on September 25, 2006 at midnight on G4's late-night block, Barbed Wire Biscuit (later renamed Midnight Spank) The web series also aired on the network's animation anthology series; Happy Tree Friends and Friends and G4's Late Night Peepshow.

The Canadian channel Razer (now MTV2) aired the show in syndication with then-sibling television network Citytv.[16] Internationally, the series was broadcast on MTV in Europe and Latin America, and Animax in South Africa.[17]

In other mediaEdit

Fall Out Boy's 2007 music video for their song "The Carpal Tunnel of Love" was directed by Kenn Navarro and stars characters from the series. The band members also make a cameo as animated characters.[18]

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-offsEdit

A spin-off series called Ka-Pow! aired in September 2008. It is anthology of action-oriented stories starring 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.[citation needed]

AwardsEdit

Show Year Category Episode
Annecy International Animated Film Festival 2003 Best Animated Short Film Made for the Internet Eye Candy
2007 Best Television Series for Adults From Hero to Eternity
Ottawa International Animation Festival 2004 Best Animated Short Film 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)

ReferencesEdit

  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. ^ "Happy Tree Friends". Common Sense Media.
  5. ^ "Gruesome fun with Happy Tree Friends". G4tv.com. June 22, 2005. Retrieved June 9, 2014.
  6. ^ "The Kenn Commandments". coldhardflash.com. April 5, 2005. Retrieved April 9, 2005.
  7. ^ Citia. "2003 Official Selection, film". Annecy.org. Retrieved March 25, 2014.
  8. ^ No Comments (December 10, 2010). "Oddities Magazine interview with John Evershed". Azalert.com. Retrieved June 9, 2014.
  9. ^ "Mondo Announces Feature Film Plans for 'Happy Tree Friends,' 'Dick Figures' and 'Deep Space 69'". cartoonbrew.com.
  10. ^ "'Happy Tree Friends' Movie Leads Three-Film Slate For Mondo Media". Tubefilter.
  11. ^ "FEATURE FILMS ‹ Home Plate Entertainment". homeplateentertainment.com.
  12. ^ 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.
  13. ^ "QA – Happy Tree Friends – Mondo". mondomedia.com.
  14. ^ "Happy Tree Friends: Still Alive". htf.mondomedia.com. Retrieved November 28, 2017.
  15. ^ Kenn Navarro [@ChainKnuckle] (January 16, 2017). "@BL00DYKILLS As I understand, sales were ok but fell below what was expected. 😔" (Tweet) – via Twitter.
  16. ^ CityTV.com Archived June 18, 2008, at the Wayback Machine
  17. ^ "Mondo Media Gaining Revenue from International Licensing". Beet.tv. March 9, 2010. Archived from the original on April 18, 2013.
  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.

External linksEdit