Don't Hug Me I'm Scared (partially lost unreleased TV pilot of British surrealist puppet series; 2018)
Don't Hug Me I'm Scared (often abbreviated as DHMIS) is a British surreal comedy horror series created by Becky Sloan, Joe Pelling, and Baker Terry. The original web series consists of six episodes, released from July 29th, 2011, to June 19th, 2016 on YouTube; the television series premiered on September 23rd, 2022 on All 4 with a simulcast on Channel 4 the next week. The series combines segments in live action, puppetry, traditional animation, flash animation, clay animation, and computer animation.
On June 19th, 2017, a year after the release of episode 6, Sloan hinted towards additional work in the Don't Hug Me I'm Scared series. A teaser trailer titled "Wakey Wakey..." was released on the channel on September 13th, 2018, teasing a new television show made in a collaboration between Blink Industries, Conaco, and Super Deluxe. The 30-second video gained over two million views within 24 hours of its release and peaked at No. 1 on YouTube's Trending list. Details of the plot were released on December 3rd, 2018 in advance of a 2019 Sundance Film Festival screening of the pilot. The pilot episode ran at 23 minutes, and it appeared in the "Indie Episodic Program 1" alongside other short films.
In the city of Clayhill, Yellow Guy, Red Guy and Duck are living with an ensemble of miscellaneous colorful characters. It is Yellow Guy's birthday, but the mayor of Clayhill, Mayor Pigface, has gone missing. An anthropomorphic talking key, the Key to the City, appears to warn the citizens about potential thieves and criminals, and that they need a new mayor to place safety for the town. Duck is manipulated and chosen by the Key to be the new mayor. Red Guy goes in the woods to find missing Mayor Pigface while Duck becomes an oppressive mayor who sets a high-security policy on Clayhill. Yellow Guy gets help from a milk-drinking rebel to fight back.
As of 2022, the pilot has never been released outside of the festival screening. The series creators had expressed dissatisfaction with the pilot. Although the pilot helped sell the show, Sloan, Pelling, and Terry decided not to pursue the story presented; they felt the Clayhill setting made the series too similar to South Park and came at the cost at the tense claustrophobic feeling of the original series. They also found that its focus on "current affairs" (i.e. the plot's focus on government surveillance) was not in line with what they were trying to do.
Small clips of the pilot from its Festival screening are currently available on YouTube. On May 24th, 2022, the original upload of the "Wakey Wakey..." teaser trailer was made private and unavailable to watch, although reuploads exist.
- CNET'S DHMIS article. Retrieved 01 Oct '22
- "2019 Sundance Film Festival: Indie Episodic, Shorts and Special Events Announced". Sundance Institute. Retrieved 01 Oct '22
- The Guardian's article about the series. Retrieved 01 Oct '22