“Let’s get creative!”—The very words that sparked an Internet obsession with one of the most perplexing, mysterious, disturbing, and downright creative experiences ever to grace the visual and storytelling mediums. Though our hearts were understandably shaken that fateful day in 2011, when we were introduced to the communally-named Red Guy, Yellow Guy, Duck Guy, and the infamous Notepad, there is no denying our curiosity was all the more enlivened, so much so that no matter what happened in subsequent episodes, we not only found ourselves unable to look away, but also actively anticipating, albeit in a rather masochistic manner, what unexpected turn would next arrive.
In recent years, I have been a critic of creative content, disappointed with that to which I have born witness, whether it has been projected onto the silver screen, printed upon the page, or painted upon the canvass.
For those of you who are unfortunately unfamiliar with the masterpiece about which I write, the ambiguously, elegantly, and punctuationally awkwardly entitled Don’t Hug Me .I’m Scared, known also by its abbreviation, DHMIS, is a six-episode series, which began with a bang four years ago on July the 29th—the day the Internet stood still—and seemingly ended three weeks ago on the 19th of June. Episode One was so wildly new and unexpected that it gained millions of views in a viral fashion, and stands now, triumphantly, with over 37 million views. Subsequent episodes, all equally dense in their creative content, production value and effort, and unique method of visual and lyrical storytelling, have earned equal attention and praise—but most importantly, they, like the first episode in the series and the two, twenty-second Kickstarter campaign videos, which sought support from the public rather than from corporate funding, have gotten the lips moving and the cogs spinning.
I write today because, in recent years, I have been a critic of creative content, disappointed with that to which I have born witness, whether it has been projected onto the silver screen, printed upon the page, or painted upon the canvass. Disagree with me if you will, but a great deal of the content I have received in recent times has, to me, felt repackaged, as if there really is nothing new to say (example, Hollywood’s never-ending obsession with comic book adaptations, or anything from Michael Bay—except for Armageddon, because who doesn’t love Armageddon?). Such content, I believe, does less to inspire others to be creative and new, and more to encourage mediocrity and cliché, which in turn produces more and more of the same from minds that have seen their creative centers atrophy from lack of exercise.
Never stop striving toward the novel, the unexpected, the truly unique, as only you can construct; and remember always not to let your stories be ordinary.
Like the series or not, one cannot deny DHMIS has not only produced something novel, but has also demonstrated what happens when truly creative work enters into the mainstream—it sparks deep interest and discussion, compels its audience to utilize the old coconut to decode the cryptic and unearth the masterfully inhumed; forcing all who have found themselves enthralled by its refreshing and creatively captivating heart to exercise their own creativity to solve the puzzle. This has and will always lead to the implanting of inspiration within the masses, compelling others to create their own, unique stories, and to tell those stories with their own, unique voices through whatever medium or mediums they so choose.
So, to all of us who bear the title of creative, never stop striving toward the novel, the unexpected, the truly unique, as only you can construct; and remember always not to let your stories be ordinary, lest we, the light of vision and artistry in an ever tiring world, beset with so many stale creations, pass not the torch of imagination onto future generations, and see the light of our horizons fade.
And for those who would like to dive into the world of DHMIS, follow the link below. But be forewarned, what follows is not for the faint of heart. Watch at your own risk—and enjoy!
©2016 by C. K. Conners