Happy Tree Friends

Happy Tree Friends (Often abbreviated as HTF) is a Flash cartoon series by Mondo Mini Shows, created by Rhode Montijo, Kenn Navarro, Warren Graff and Aubrey Ankrum. Since its debut the show has become a popular internet phenomenon and has won a cult following.

As indicated on the official site, it is "not recommended for small children". Notwithstanding the somewhat childish shape of the series and the cute appearance of its characters, the show is extremely violent, with nearly every episode featuring blood, gore, and extremely painful, bloody gruesome deaths.

While the violence of these deaths is comparable to that of The Itchy & Scratchy Show (the short cartoon featured on The Simpsons), the portrayal of death in Happy Tree Friends is more graphic and anatomically correct, depicting bloodshed and dismemberment in more vivid, exaggerated detail.

The show is nearly free of dialogue; however, when the characters do speak, their words are severely garbled. Though it is obvious what each character's reaction is, their words can hardly be understood at all. The exceptions to this are Pop and Lumpy, who frequently can be easily understood when they speak for. Like the other characters, they also have garbled speech, but can actually be understood on most occasions. Some other characters can occasionally be easily understood too, such as Cuddles when he says "come on!" According to the website, the idea for Happy Tree Friends was conceived by Rhode Montijo when he drew a yellow rabbit, slightly resembling the character Cuddles, on a piece of paper and wrote "Resistance Is Futile" underneath it.

A HTF spin-off called Ka-Pow! premiered on September 2, 2008.



While working on Mondo Mini Shows, Rhode Montijo drew on a little piece of scrap paper a character who would later become Shifty. Then he drew on a spreadsheet poster a yellow rabbit that bore some resemblance to Cuddles and wrote "Resistance Is Futile" at the bottom. Montijo hung the poster in his workstation so others could see the idea, and eventually the idea was pitched to, and accepted by, the Mondo Media executives. 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 (earlier versions of Cuddles, Giggles, and Toothy) with a banjo. From there Mondo gave them their own internet series, which they named Happy Tree Friends. They got new writers and animators to work on the show.


Shortly after its internet debut in 2000, Happy Tree Friends became an unexpected success, getting over 15 million hits each month, and being shown in film festivals. In some countries, the episodes can be seen on television. They can be seen on the French, Dutch, German, Polish, Filipino, Brazilian, Lithuanian, Italian, British and Latin American MTV channels, the Greek Mad Music Channel, the Russian 2x2 channel (though it was pulled from the station following a warning from a government group), the Canadian television channel Razer, the American television channel G4, the Czech musical channel Óčko, and on the Australian Special Broadcasting Service (SBS) network. On June 10, 2005, the shorts were shown during Attack of the Show!. A series, Happy Tree Friends and Friends, began to air on August 29, 2005, as part of the late night Midnight Spank block, owned by G4. The series also features Harvey Birdman, Attorney at Law, Retarded Animal Babies and Angry Kid. The series has been reformed into its own show, rather than as a part of a compilation as before. Happy Tree Friends has also gained a collection of Audibles and an "IMVironment" for Yahoo!'s instant messenger. It is featured on many websites on which flash cartoons can be watched, such as YouTube, Atom Films, Purple Twinkie, Albino Black Sheep and the official Happy Tree Friends website. On select 2007 Ozzfests, some Happy Tree Friends episodes were shown on the big screen.

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!, are only available in the Happy Tree Friends: Winter Break DVD.

Happy Tree Friends is currently one of the most downloaded iTunes podcasts and thousands of fan-made videos have appeared on YouTube.

TV Series

Happy Tree Friends gained its own TV show in 2006. It was first shown at Comic-Con, 2006 and some of the segments were shown on the website a few weeks prior the show's premiere. The Happy Tree Friends TV series premiered on September 25, 2006 at midnight on G4. Each half hour episode of the TV series contains three 7 minute segments. So far 39 segments have been aired, making 13 full episodes for Season 1. Pictures of the first 6 episodes can be seen on G4's website. The Canadian channel Razer currently airs the show in syndication as do the Citytv stations throughout Canada. The show is also broadcast on MTV in Europe and Latin America. It was also shown on Paramount Comedy 1 in the UK from May 11, 2007 for a short time, with occasional reruns afterward. It has also been shown on MTV One in the UK from September 7, 2007. According to the writers a second season is planned, but it is unknown when or if it will air.

Show characteristics

All the characters are anthropomorphic mammals, and many of them show two front large buckteeth when they smile. All the Happy Tree Friends except for Lumpy and Sniffles have the same pink Care Bear or Care Bear Cousin heart-shaped noses. In early episodes, most characters played the roles of children doing childish games. However, as the series progressed the age concept was dropped, and now characters act variously like children, teenagers and adults in different episodes. The only characters who are unaffected by this concept are Pop and Cub, who always act like an adult and a child respectively, and characters whose roles usually aren't affected by age, such as Splendid or Cro-Marmot.

At the beginning of each episode, the characters are typically found in everyday situations (also, they are often seen singing or humming the same tune). However, these situations always escalate into violence and the inevitable deaths of those involved and/or innocent bystanders, mostly because of very unfortunate, surprising accidents with otherwise harmless instruments. The show's characters sometimes appear not to notice other characters' deaths/injuries, despite clear indications (such as blood coming out of the latters' mouths), or they seem to quickly overcome their fellows' deaths. The only episodes where none of the characters died (merely being maimed) were Nuttin' But the Tooth, "Sucker for Love pt. 1", "Out on a Limb", "Asbestos I Can Do", and "False Alarm pt.1". Otherwise, every episode has had at least one death.

The continuity of the series does not seem to be affected by the frequent deaths of the characters, as they always appear alive and well in episodes subsequent to those in which they were killed.

Each episode starts with introduction credits resembling a children's book, which portrays the show's logo, the episode title (which is usually a pun) and the cast. Internet episodes have a typical duration of a maximum of four minutes. Usually only a few of the characters are used in a single episode, but occasionally larger episodes have been released where most of the characters appear. TV episodes last about half an hour, having three segments of about seven minutes.

Currently, new episodes are released once a month. An episode list can be seen on the official website, which contains a list of older episodes available on demand from the site. However, some of these episodes are only available for a limited time, as this list is exchanged with other episodes every other week.

Fall Out Boy music video

Fall Out Boy's music video for "The Carpal Tunnel of Love" is an episode of Happy Tree Friends. All of them die the same type of graphic, bloody deaths that are featured in the series.


There are 20 main characters in the Happy Tree Friends series, all of which have unique personalities and appearances. There have been many 'minor' characters that have appeared on the show, some appearing many times and some appearing only once. Recently, the creators of Happy Tree Friends announced that there will be more than one character added to Happy Tree Friends in the near future. Only one of them is planned to be in the show permanently.

Video game

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. Writer Ken Pontac previously posted a blog on the Happy Tree Friends website telling fans about the adventures of the staff making the game, but it was ended before the game's first slated release date in Spring 2008.


Many parents have expressed concern about the graphic content of Happy Tree Friends. One parent even complained about the show in a letter to the Washington Post when she saw her 6-year old son watching the show.

The warning "(CV CARTOON VIOLENCE Not recommended for small children or big babies)" is displayed in two places on the home page of the Happy Tree Friends website in very small type in the bottom left hand corner, and in larger, but subdued type on the right hand side under the bulletin board section. Neither the "About the Show" nor the FAQ page indicates that the show is not appropriate for young children. However, the episodes themselves contain the warning in large font before the cartoon begins.

In February 2008 Russian Media Culture Protection Department (Rossvyazohrankultura, a regulatory body for TV in Russia) issued warnings about Happy Tree Friends and The Adventures of Big Jeff, claiming that the shows "promote violence and brutality, harm the psychic health and moral development of children, attack the social morality; all of this being a violation of license agreement". The department warned 2x2, which broadcasts the show, to remove it from air to avoid legal issue. The channel appealed to the evaluation ordered to Versia company (), which denied the accusations.



Ka-Pow! is a spin-off action series that will focus on Flippy, Splendid and Buddhist Monkey accompanied by new characters. So far the first Ka-Pow! has been released, a Flippy episode called W.A.R Journal Operation: Tiger Bomb Ka-Pow! which debuted September 2nd. The next episode will be a new Buddhist Monkey short premiering September 23rd and then Splendid's Ka-Pow! will debut November 4th.

Cast and crew

Music and sound-effects
Job title Person Description
Sound Engineer Jim Lively The music featured before, after, and during each and every episode of Happy Tree Friends is composed by Jim Lively, the sound engineer for Happy Tree Friends. Lively has been in the sound business since the age of 16. Lively primarily works in sound design and dialog editing, although he continues to mix music.
Foley Artist Francis Carr Foley artist Francis Carr joined the team later on in development. Usually working with sound engineer Jim Lively, he has been able to expand his career. Francis Carr is also noted for being the voice of Russell.

Name Position Years
Kenn Navarro Director, Animation Director, Writer, Voice Actor 1999 – present
Rhode Montijo Director, Art Director, Writer, (former) Voice Actor 1999 - 2004
Aubrey Ankrum Director, Writer, Storyboard artist, Voice Actor 1999 – 2006
Warren Graff Story Editor, Writer, Voice Actor 2000 – present
Ken Pontac Story Editor, Writer, (minor) Voice Actor 2004-present
Jeff Biancalana Writer, Animator, Storyboard artist, (former) Voice Actor 2001 - 2005
David Winn Writer, Animator, Voice Actor 2003 - present
Alan Lau Animator, Writer, Director, Storyboard artist 2001 - present
Jason Sadler Animator, Writer, Director 2001-present
Mark Fiorenza Writer 2000 – 2003
Brad Rau Animator, Storyboard artist 2001 - present
Roque Bollestros Writer, Animator, Director, Storyboard artist 2001-present
Paul Allan Writer, Animator, Director 2000 - present
Nica Lorber Animator, Voice Actor 2000-present
Michael "Lippy" Lipman Storyboard artist, Animator, Director, Writer, Voice Actor 2000 - present
Peter Herrman Storyboard artist, Voice Actor 2000 – present
Jim Lively Sound Designer, Music 2000 - present
Francis Carr Foley artist, Voice Actor 2004 - present
Jerome Rossen Music Composer 2005-present
John Evershed Executive Producer 2000-present
Liz Stuart Producer, Voice Actor 2000 - present

Name Character
Kenn Navarro Cuddles, (good) Flippy, Lifty & Shifty (present)
Rhode Montijo Lumpy, Splendid (past)
Dana Belben Giggles, Petunia, Cub (past)
Warren Graff Toothy, Handy
Nica Lorber Flaky
Michael "Lippy" Lipman Nutty
Liz Stuart Sniffles
Ellen Connell Giggles, Petunia, Cub (present)
David Winn Lumpy, Splendid (present)
Peter Herrman Disco Bear
Jeff Biancalana Russell (past), Buddhist Monkey
Francis Carr Russell (present)
Mark Giambruno Lifty & Shifty (past)
Aubrey Ankrum Pop, flipped-out Flippy
Lory Jee Panda Mom
Ken Pontac additional voices

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 for the episode Double Whammy Part 2

See also


External links

IMDB profiles

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