This is really long because I have a TON of thoughts about DHMIS pent up.
A lot of the Don’t Hug Me I’m Scared “theories” bother me. I think there’s a certain emotional resonance to the ‘implied’ story of the show and the narrative provided by the swarms of speculation don’t really gel well with the show’s actual emotional beats. This interpretation won’t take any grand strides to explain the lore of the show, although it will tell you how I’ve been watching it and the certain feelings the show might be trying to convey with each episode.
I think there are several core themes to DHMIS, and one of those themes is obviously the impact of children’s media and morals on the children who are actually viewing the media, but I think fans are mistaken when they assume children’s media is meant to be the main through line of the show. I think the creators chose a kitschy children’s puppet show aesthetic not to prove a point about children’s puppet shows but rather as a gateway to make points about the general world and society using the puppet show as a metaphor. The Red Guy, remember, doesn’t wake up in a playground in the finale, but rather in an office that looks perfectly real outside of the costumed muppets working there.
I’m getting ahead of myself, however. What is the running “main” thesis that DHMIS wants the watcher to take away, exactly? I think its making a comment on the oppressive and creatively stifling nature of modern society, and uses the puppet show version of the world as a ploy to represent the world. The strict and formulated but still overly sanitized nature of children’s puppet show episodes is meant to be a backdrop to all the weightier themes it will later try and ring into that context. All of the instructors, on the other hand, are supreme characters who act as manifestations of the world’s forces and controls over citizens both subtle and overt.
Something is cosmically horrific about notion of living in a children’s puppet show. They seemingly have absolutely no control over the plots of each episode and only get limited actual information as to what the plots will even be. The wooden and unnatural acting from the first episode conveys a group of characters who are disenchanted by their surrounding but still compliant, seeming as though they’re reading uninspiredly off cue cards. But as the episodes progress the acting gets more and more reactionary as it becomes clear they’re being forced to improvise under unexpected situations. Is it any coincidence, then, that when the Red Guy wakes up in the real world everyone around him acts as uninspired and wooden as he did in the first 3 episodes?
The trio only get less compliant as the episodes progress. First it’s Red Guy who starts making small aloof comments about the innate weirdness of the lessons early on; But the main trio by and large seems happy to comply with the demands of this sort of world. They read woodenly off scripts and respond to direction cues, and the instructor's performances are more forgiving and impassioned feeling as a result. It's only as the various characters do/say things out of line that the instructors begin to reveal their true colors; They become more and more restrictive as the episodes go on and, by the end of it, don't even let the character's speak, instead giving elaborate lectures for the entire duration of the episode.
I don't think it's a coincidence, either, that the actual lessons given by the instructors get progressively worse as the episodes go on. It's as if the universe that constructs these lessons becomes more and more desperate and haphazardly puts together coy and meaningless presentations. The instructors make quite a few backhanded and passive aggressive attempts to smooth out the lack of trio compliance with clearly improvised and usually aggressive hastenings of their dialogue, such as the Notepad’s stern and slightly bewildered “I use my hair to express myself.”
There's a desperate sort of fear they seem to exude, combined with what feels like a genuine contempt for the main three characters when they mess up their lines or don't follow along with what the instructors are telling them. You can only imagine what happens if the episodes are complete failures. Of course the instructors do appear again as cameos and in the 6th episode as seemingly mindless unresponsive drones that do nothing at all other than perform their respective songs.
EPISODE ONE: Get Creative
The first episode starts with several shots that let the watcher in on the innocent cutesy setting they’ll be spending the rest of their time with in the following five episodes. One of these shots shows a suspiciously laid out stickynote pad with the words “Get Creative” written on them. This appears to be some form of a title card although there aren’t any things like this in the following episodes.
Then the shot changes and we catch our first glimpse at our main leads. They are, from left to right, a large red man with a head like a mop with two eyes on top, a small yellow boy with blue hair and suspenders, and a green elderly duck with a brown coat. They sit passively at a table, not saying a word and staring blankly into space. It’s a position we’ll see them in very often after this, only later on they’ll be saying something to let the audience know about some kind of vague exposition. Here they simply sit and patiently wait for the story to begin, this first episode is where they’re at their most impressionable and it’ll backfire tremendously by the end.
Then the camera cuts to a white notepad flipping open with a pleasant face drawn on it. Up until this point the episode has been perfectly silent other than a ticking clock but when the notepad flips open a swarm of synthetic instruments follow it into a song. The Red and Yellow Guy’s both turn over in an unconvincing look of awe, but the Bird doesn’t visibly respond whatsoever.
The Notepad sings the words “What’s your favorite idea? Mine is being creative!” to which the Yellow Guy responds: “How do you get the idea?” “I just try to think creatively!”
This conversation only vaguely makes any sense. The Yellow Guy’s response doesn’t perfectly work in the context of the Notepad’s exclamation and the Notepad’s response doesn’t give a helpful answer to the Yellow Guy’s question. There’s a lot of stilted conversations like these in the show so it’s fitting that the first time an instructor says something scripted it doesn’t make any sense.
The Notepad directs their attention to an orange and asks the group what they see. The Bird has its first line: “It’s just a boring old orange!” and the Notepad explains that with creativity it can be more than that. It’s useful to note that most of the lessons about creativity in this first episode aren’t actually problematic, unlike in the later episodes where nothing the instructors say whatsoever is actually useful advice.
After the Notepad covers the Yellow Guy’s painting of a clown in ink, she also makes up the seemingly asinine activity of gathering sticks and arranging them into the word of your favorite color. The trio comply and she puts an X over Yellow Guy’s word saying “green is not a creative color.”
The world seems chillingly willing to expressly put Yellow Guy down more than the others.
EPISODE TWO: TIME
This episode starts with a black screen and a much more deliberate title card stating ‘DON’T HUG ME I’M SCARED II: TIME’ but again, nothing this overt happens in the later episodes.
This time the trio are all gathered in a television room sitting on chairs that seem respective to their ages: Red Guy’s lounging on a sofa, the Duck is on a rocking chair, and the Yellow Guy’s sitting upright on a colorful wooden chair. Even though nobody is doing anything, the Red Guy interrupts the silence to say “Come on guys, stop mucking around. We only have five minutes until our shows on”. Again, even though nobody was doing anything at all, the Duck says “That’s not enough TIME!” in another clearly badly written sequence that the trio are nonetheless willing to comply with.
The bad writing still shines through as the Duck’s vague mention of time is meant to be construed as a perfect transition for a Clock character to pop into the episode. As he says his opening line, the trio seem genuinely surprised. Red Guy turns to behind the camera and says “What? Who is that?” as if the Clock character being the instructor for the day wasn’t told to any of them beforehand.
The trio seemed to giddily overact (even as they read their lines poorly) in the first episode but here they simply stare and watch dumfounded-ly as the Clock begins his song, and the Duck subtly says “Oh…” after the first verse.
Still the trio mostly cooperate, although they certainly ask more questions than they did the first episode where they were actually told beforehand what to say. Yet again the Clock only scrubs Yellow Guy when they get transported into a bathtub, another sign of him getting worse treatment than the rest.
The Clock says: “Time is a ruler to measure the day, it doesn’t go backwards, only one way.” Which, yet again, is actually a good way to simplify the subject matter. So far the lessons themselves are mostly innocuous, and the trio don’t seem to be very put off by them.
The Instructors are still very strict however, when the Red Guy objects to a lesson in favor of watching television, the Clock says “Don’t be stupid, friends” with an angry expression on his face.
When they transport to Victorian times Yellow Guy’s face is on a wanted poster saying WANTED: DEAD OR ALIVE, which shows the same animosity towards Yellow Guy specifically as the rest. In this scene as well we get the first look at the Yellow Guy’s Father who stares grimly into space while holding his hand.
The Red Guy says ‘and then what happened after the olden days’ very woodenly, implying he was reading from a card offscreen, and the Clock begins talking about the wonders of the future. Among these wonders he brings up the amazing things you can do with the internet, but gets cut off by the Yellow Guy standing behind his father (who is clearly on a pornography site named “Looksite”) and says ‘My dad is a …com-computer!’ The Yellow Guy seemingly has genuine affection for his Father but it’s clearly misplaced, as the following episodes will make progressively more clear
The Clock later explains how time is very important but dodges any questions and speculation that proceeds his lesson by first respond with the meaningless ‘Time is important, and I am a clock!’ before making a loud high pitched buzzing noise into Yellow Guy’s ears. After this he demonstrates the effect of time by making them all horrifically deteriorate rapidly, but the camera zooms out to reveal the entire episode was just the show the trio were watching on their television.
EPISODE THREE: LOVE
This episode has the clearest standalone story compared to the others so I’ll be writing more about the beat to beat moments it has. It also takes place in a foam-patterned and cloth based version of “outside” where the trio are having “a delicious chicken picnic” which apparently the Duck packed despite also being a bird.
Yellow Guy’s the star of this episode. He gets distracted and enchanted by a butterfly, but the Duck kills it with a flyswatter and says ‘Pesky bee!’ which causes Yellow Guy to get incredibly upset and run off. This is the first time the Red Guy says “I wonder what will happen…”
The scene changes to the Yellow Guy on a tree crying, when another larger Butterfly shows up. The Yellow Guy calls him a little baby pigeon weirdly enough, but the Butterfly ignores him and starts singing a song about love. After a moment, Yellow Guy gets swooped up in a cloud and flies into the air as voices off screen chat ‘Love is a place! Love is a thing!’ happily. The Butterfly explains that life can seem troubling but if Yellow Guy follows him he can show him how love is everywhere. The lesson in this episode is the first where the actual morals become more and more troubling, whereas the second episode was simply an unhelpful lesson, this one seems to provide an actually problematic lesson.
The bridge of the song has the Duck and Red Guy noticing Yellow Guy flying in the sky but not following him because they’d like to eat the chicken they’d packed first. Without them, the Yellow Guy arrives at a cloud-based paradise with a tree somehow rooted in the floor. The Butterfly introduces Yellow Guy to his ‘friends’ and claims they all love Yellow Guy. But some seeds of doubt are planted in the audience by this point and the Butterflies love cult becomes more threatening later on. Meanwhile the other two have finished the chicken picnic, and they get ready to find their friend.
Despite a wave of cult members explaining how they love random innocuous things, the Butterfly explains to Yellow Guy that he must save his love for his ‘special one’ which is personified by a slightly gruesome female version of him. When Yellow Guy seems confused the other cult members explain that ‘everyone has a special one!’ The Yellow doesn’t believe them and says ‘but I am lonely’ which is a seed planted into him earlier by the Butterfly. This episode is basically an elaborate indoctrination and they’re preying on Yellow Guy’s vulnerability.
It’s at this point that they tell “The Story of Michael” which does itself justice better than I could so I'’ll just transcribe it on the next page.
This is the story of Michael,
The loneliest boy in town.
This is the story of Michael,
The ugliest boy in town.
Ugly and weak,
They called him a freak.
So, he lived on his own underground.
He lived on his own underground.
He lived on his own underground.
“See everyone has a special one!”
This moment is funny to the audience because the story that was told to them blatantly doesn’t have the moral the cult presents it with. There’s no reason why they even had to tell that story which makes the presentation baffling, and amusing. But it’s still a good example of the cult trying to indoctrinate Yellow Guy with a character they’ve convinced him was just like him, even though it’s a cartoonishly lonely ostracized recluse, and Yellow Guy has two good friends and a father he greatly enjoys being with.
They also convey the morals that true love is confined to your ‘special one’ (who don’t worry, will find you someday if you’re patient), protected with a ring, lasts forever and grows like a flower. These are gross simplifications of love and really convey just why a children’s show aren’t a good medium to explain something as complicated as LOVE but also are examples of the kinds of troubling morality and expressions perpetuated by interactions that aren’t targeted at children, ie: cults.
They very abruptly stop talking about love and bring up their supposed king, a giant statue of a man’s head with a heart on his forehead. They explain that Yellow Guy can begin anew and start over as long as he worships their idol and other strange unpleasant things like ‘clean his brain’, ‘forget about anything you ever knew’, and change his name to ‘shrignold’.
They keep singing though, in the same chipper goofy voices, only the subject matter has gotten darker now. The Yellow Guy doesn’t seem to want anything to do with the cult at this point anymore but they keep singing as he’s bound to a chair. With the line:
“Now wear this ring!”
“And join the king!”
“And you will never be alone”
Yellow guy wakes up back on the branch from before. His two friends are at the bottom of the tree and explain that they were looking for him all afternoon. They apologize for upsetting him and tell him they brought the last boiled egg to cheer him up, to which the Red Guy explains is because they ‘love…you’ in a wooden manner similar to his other performances.
EPISODE FOUR: COMPUTERS
This episode starts off with a great piece of misdirection. As woodenly as ever, the Red Guy walks the audience into the set up, which is a boardgame named “question fun”, and chooses a card reading “What is the biggest thing in the world?”
After this, Red Guy strongly indicates towards the globe across the room, expecting it to begin a lesson. After nothing happens, the Duck reinforces it by also directing the attention at the globe. A savvy viewer might expect the globe to be unimportant but if they did they’d get thrown off anyway when the globe does turn around with a silly face drawn on it. The Yellow Guy begins to recite his line about the globe but they all get cut off by a previously unseen computer who starts singing a song.
The globe still has a hollow looking smile as he stares at the suddenly present new instructor, and all the other puppets turn cautiously at the computer. This time it’s clear that the trio weren’t just “left in the dark” they were deliberately told to expect a different lesson to occur than actually did. The globe itself seems pissed but after this is never seen again.
Yet again, the trio don’t say anything at the beginning of the lesson. They just watch in vague curiosity as the computer sings the first verse, all about how computers can help you with information you need. The Red Guy thinks he’s caught onto the change and tries to smoothly tie the unexpected computer back into the plot by trying to ask it about the board game question he picked. But he gets interrupted by the computer who doesn’t seem to have noticed Red Guy at all as he sings about how clever he is. Something about this resonates with Yellow Guy, who says aptly “Wow, I’d like to be as smart as a computer” but the Red Guy interjects by explaining that the trio already own a computer.
The Computer clearly improvises yet again as he interrupts Red Guy with “GREAT” and then back peddles into “Great news!” as he progresses with the song. He asks the trio to answer some questions but yet again interrupts Red Guy before he can answer. After this he starts to say a long stream of progressively weirder questions as Red Guy tries to say something until Red Guy puts his hand on the keyboard which causes the Computer to freak out and scream “DON’T TOUCH MEEEEEE!!!!”
After this they all get transported into the computer CGI world, which makes sense considering you can’t do anything online without first touching the keyboard. The Red Guy sarcastically reads his line asking what computers are used for but when the Computer doesn’t respond he hastily repeats it. Yet again, the Computer interrupts him, and explains what activities people use computers for; which are learning, style, and pure entertainment.
This is manifested by three doors and as the song starts repeating the other two both end up on the other end of the pure entertainment door, multiplying and filling It up like a party. The Red Guy remains outside the door however, looking uncomfortable and unsure of what’s going on. It keeps cutting to the Red Guy in a dark room looking into the computer screen until he eventually realizes his other friends are vanished into the computer. He starts frantically pushing buttons on the keyboard as the song starts looping and becoming unpleasant. After a moment his friends flash into the room for an instant, with CGI bodies and open brains covered in wires. Red Guy notices a long red wire coming out of the computer and follows it to find the wall outlet it’s plugged into.
He follows it into a poorly built white room with shoddy prop versions of him and his friends being physically manipulated by performers dressed in white morph suits to perform the first episode, as a text to speech generator taped to the Yellow Guy prop says: “I am the stupid one. I am going to paint a picture of a clown. My Dad is a computer. You are not invited to the party.”
The crew on the incredibly rudimentary set scramble aside and hesitantly look towards Red Guy as somebody with a large puppet clapboard runs into frame and closes it. When the clapboard clacks closed Red Guy’s head explodes, and the episode abruptly ends.
There’s been lots of speculation as to what this means but if I’m going off of the “discovers the matrix” vibe this moment holds I’d say the Red Guy was hastily erased from existence and didn’t “realize that the show he’s a part of can be done with low budgets” considering he finds the room inside the world of the villainous show and the version of the show being performed in the room is awful.
EPISODE FIVE: HEALTHY EATING
This episode resonates with me the most, purely because the completely inane and contradictory advice about eating healthily feel true to real life and there’s not a single moment where either of the two remaining leads play along.
Red Guy is missing, and the episode is full of visual metaphors of him looking in from the outside. The Duck and Yellow Guy clearly notice that something is wrong but for whatever reason can’t seem to fully put together what’s different about the room. It seems like the show is still trying to erase him from existence as pictures with him in it magically change over the course of the episode and the duo seem not to remember him at all.
Out of nowhere, a lesson starts. This lesson is the first to be taught by co-instructors, the first introduced being a can of spinach. She playfully sings “Are you hungry? You look to be a bit hungry!” to which Yellow Guy flatly responds with “No”. She clearly doesn’t actually have instructions for if he answers anything but ‘Yes’ and simply interrupts him with “Doo doo doo doo, lots of people get hungry” and the second instructor arrives to give her backup.
This next instructor is a giant steak with a chefs hat and gloves. He prods the Duck with a fork as a visual cue but this just annoys the Duck and the Steak moves on with the song. Throughout this entire song the instructors never once acknowledge anything the duo say, which escalates from the previous episode where they kept being interrupted but still could ask questions. This time, it’s a lecture the entire time.
And they’re teaching style isn’t even as interesting as the nonsensical stuff they actually teach. The advice they give is all contradictory to each other, the metaphors they provide don’t make any sense, and the explanations behind what’s healthy and what’s not are completely false. It puts me in mind of Dr. Oz type shows where after a couple weeks everything they said turned out to be bad for you so do the opposite but then a couple weeks after it turns out the alternate was even worse for you so try a third thing. In real life the nonsense that advice like this claims to defend against is cancer but in the episode they say they’re avoiding ‘turning your teeth all grey’ which doesn’t happen when you eat unhealthy foods.
Yellow Guy exclaims “Hehe…food is talking!” which is another hint that they weren’t even told a lesson was happening today at all, let alone what that lesson would be. They don’t seem to have even caught on to the current situation, or at least they’ve realized the absurdity of their day to day lives. The Steak gets interrupted when the phone rings and both instructors look nervously at it. When the Duck picks it up and speaks into it he catches a glimpse of him in a hospital bed covered in a white sheet in a dark room before the song continues and he’s back in the kitchen.
Again, the asinine metaphor given here speaks for itself, so I’ll simply transcribe it.
How do we know what’s right from wrong? You see, the body is like a special house! With blood, hair and organs in the different rooms! Oh look! There’s Mr. Bladder in the basement! Ha ha.
Now food comes in through the chimney (mouth) and goes from room to room, greeting the different organs. Now, the good healthy food is very nice and polite to the organs, and so is invited to stay! For a party! Yaaay! But the bad, not healthy foods are very rude! And must leave through the cat flap. (Rude!)
“That doesn’t make sense!”
The Duck is right, by the way, that doesn’t make sense. It seems to imply that if you ate healthy foods it’s stay inside you forever and only the unhealthy food leaves your body, also, which is blatantly wrong. And why is Mr. Bladder in the basement exactly?!
Yet again, the phone rings from the little set of a house provided by the lesson, but before the Duck can speak into it the scene changes and the universe hastily turned the phone into a sub sandwich. They try to explain the lesson to the Duck but he simply says “Yeah but…something’s wrong” as a ploy to try and think about what’s missing, because that’s all he’s valuing at the moment. He gets interrupted of course by the Can. And anxiously sinks into himself.
The Steak explains that the body works best when eating plain looking foods like aspic and white sauce because the lack of visable detail keeps things running smoothly, and that fancy showoff-y foods like fruit salad and soil foods are very bad for the body because the excess of visible details cause the organs to…get confused? I guess?
A third instructor arrives after this, a fridge with arms and a face, and begins singing the song’s bridge. But the Duck is fed up and seemingly terrified. It exclaims with “NO, ENOUGH!” desperately, “I DON’T WANT TO DO THIS ANYMORE!” and runs off towards the camera, knocking it over onto the ground.
The Duck wakes up on the hospital bed from before with a foreboding looking figure shaped like a yellow can doing something to him. We don’t get to see what the can is doing but the Duck’s perspective looks at a screen that’s showing the episode from the kitchen and the scene cuts back where both instructors are giving harsh and nonsensical advice to only the Yellow Guy. After this the Can lady give him a plate of plain white sauce which the Steak confusingly says “makes your teeth go grey!!” despite plain white sauce being on the list of plain foods that were okay to eat.
The Fridge says “Doesn’t matter! Just throw it away! Why not try something else on your tray” and gestures towards a microwave with a single can of green feathers and a cartoony mascot version of the Duck printed on it as a label. The song progresses with more foods that aren’t good for you before it cuts back to the hospital room with the Duck.
It becomes horrifically clear and shown vividly to the camera that the giant yellow can is eating the organs from the exposed flesh of the Duck, whilst laughing goofily. The observant viewer might notice in the background that the Spinach Can sings “What’s that? It’s your kidney spleen? Kidney spleen makes your teeth go grey!” which not only describes the current scene but also doesn’t make sense. There’s no organ in the human body named a “Kidney Spleen”.
Another great example of advice that doesn’t make any sense: If your teeth goes grey, just eat yeast! Unless you’ve already eaten too much yeast because too much yeast makes your teeth go grey.
You see a shot of Duck’s intestines being pulled out of him as the lyrics “How about some onion paste? Looks like fun have a taste!” are heard and he cut back to the Spinach Can shoving a spoon forcefully into Yellow Guy’s mouth. The Steak scolds him saying “That wasn’t ONION PASTE, you shouldn’t eat food from a strangers plate!” and they begin chanting “A strangers plate” over and over again. The plate of spaghetti briefly grows eyes like the Red Guy’s before fading away before cutting to a shot of the first yellow can stepping out of the operating room so another can can do what he was doing. We get red smoky views of the Duck Can in the microwave before an animation of the Duck with X’s over his eyes swallows the camera. A microwave ding is heard and a yellow can holds up a tray of random organs and the Duck’s open beak as confetti explodes into the air.
Cut to a shot of the Yellow guy with a mouth full of Duck, several empty cans surround him and he/the counter is covered in blood. It's disconcertingly funny to see a goofy cartoon steak spread conflicting and confused lies about the human body, but by the end of the episode it stops being entertaining and becomes more mean spirited.
And then the Duck gets eaten.
There's a lot of foreshadowing to this throughout the episode, brief pictographs and props of the cans he gets served in later on sprinkled throughout. The universe has taken to next most confronting character and torn it apart, using it's cutesy messages and funny mascots to convince the last standing, and most innocent, character to eat the canned Duck. The symbolism is clear, the show isn't just hastily removing the problem anymore, it's reveling in the Duck's destruction with absurdly dark punishment, that was planned from the start of the episode. Every time the phone rings, however, the instructors lose their confidence abruptly, they look unsure of what to do as the Duck answers the phone and catches a brief glimpse of what the fun songs and nonsensical lessons are really doing to him: tearing him apart. At the end of the episode, the phone rings again. The Yellow Guy looks ambivalent and unsure, sitting mouth full of Duck in a dark empty kitchen after the production's finale. We aren't told whether he answered the phone or not, but we can see Red Guy--now in clothing--leaving a red phone booth as the credits play.
EPISODE SIX: DREAMS
This is the first and only episode where the Yellow Guy actively resists the lesson he’s given. The episode starts with him in a bedroom, the other two beds are empty and he sleep in the middle one, holding a scrapbook. He gives off a heartfelt moment of sadness in relation to his missing friends, before trying to get some rest.
The Lamp lighting up suddenly with a sparkly synth soundcue doesn't seem threatening at first at all--it seems rude.The universe doesn't expect Yellow Guy to resist whatsoever so it boldly and confidently barges in with an obnoxious lesson given by an annoying instructor even at Yellow Guy's most downtrodden and distraught moment, instead of being respectful. There's a brief moment of quiet before the universe catches up with the situation and the lamp magically appears on the other nightstand. The lesson proceeds forwards, full steam ahead, with a song that's inherently unpleasant to listen too and filled with dissonant and disagreeable notes playing completely assuredly even despite Yellow Guys obvious and apparent distress. It's not funny, like the last episode could be; Yellow guy had barely of moment of solace to think about his grief before another rough and ugly lesson invades his life, and there's nothing he can do about it. You, the viewer, feel sorry for his plight, and the world around him doesn't seem innocuous, hastily put together, and somewhat vacuous, its true colors reveal it to be cruel with genuine disdain for its characters. It pulls him by the hand through a whirlwind tour of obvious and useless information instead of letting him rest, which is inconsiderate, sure, but then proceeds to drown him black oil whilst repeating the words "BAD DREAM" over and over again.
This entire puppetshow world was just a bad dream, a metaphor dreamt up by the Red Guy.
The repeating "BAD DREAM's" echo outwardly as the scene transitions into another, very different set. This new world isn't foam patterned or colorful, it's an office environment full of cubicles and desks--real ones. The people in it, though, are still the simple foam puppets as the ones from before, only masking themselves with regular clothes. Again, the symbolism is clear: these people are the same as the red guy from the puppetshow. They're restricted and oppressed, creatively stifled and all sound disenfranchised by the world around them. They talk woodenly, the same as The Red Guy did in the show, as if they're talking unmotivated-ly off of scripts and cues. Everyone in this world, just like the puppetshow, says what they're supposed to say, because that's what they're supposed to do. The word's "BAD DREAM" get interrupted by the fade in of the word "files" as our main Red Guy wakes up from his keyboard. Our main Red Guy seems hesitant at first, to take the file from the hand of the hands of the other Red Guy, but he doesn't seem shaken. He was abruptly waken up from a bad dream, about a harsh puppet show that creatively oppressed three other stylized puppets.
The three main characters have been "missing" on posters all throughout the show. This metaphorical puppetshow world is a world where the positivity and friendship of our main trio don't exist anymore, not since June 19th: the day many fans have deciphered as father's day--The Father represent's everything evil about the puppetshow, everything stifling and oppressive that I've already brought up, so our three positive leads have been "missing" ever since he became prominent.
The Red Guy tries to exercise some creativity in the real world, he proposes a familiar idea about the file singing a song about the function of a file. The people around him respond like the instructors did in the dream, however, by seeming unsure and alarmed at first, before cutting him off mid-pitch.
After this, the main Red Guy is at a bar, surrounded by other red guys. They're all drawling off their droning monologues from scripts provided not by some director of a puppetshow but rather by society and expectation from outside and within them. At this point, the Red Guy shed's his masking clothes and performs onstage, singing the song about creativity. The audience does not take it well, instead they boo him incessantly, calling the song "just not very good" and other downplayed remarks. As this happens, the Red Guy sees the Father sitting in one of the seats: the creatively stifling world of the puppetshow is real, the Father sits in the same seat as the main Red Guy's wine glass. As he notices that the Father and everything he represents exists in the audience, the entire world around him morphs back into the puppetshow set. The main Red Guy is realizing that there's no difference between the puppetshow and the real world, in terms of the oppressive nature.
He approaches a big machine that controls the puppetshow, and tries in vain to help the Yellow Guy. But all it does it cause the instructors to explode into static before swapping with another instructor, one after another. As he keeps hitting random switches the hand of the Father steadily approaches him on a long arm. Yet again, the symbolism is clear: The dark nature of the show "reaches" far, and the Red Guy still hasn't evaded it even if he thought he had. But then he does, he slips away from the Father's hand and approaches the plug that powers the machine, and pulls it from the wall.
The entire world resets, he's abruptly in a color swapped and emptier version of the first episode's set; the date on the calendar moves on (it's NOT Father's day, anymore) and the notepad flips open again.