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Category:    Home > Reviews > Animation > Comedy > Happy Tree Friends – Season One, Volume One

Happy Tree Friends – Season One, Volume One


Picture: B-     Sound: B-     Extras: C     Episodes: C+



WHO LOVES SENSELESS VIOLENCE?!?  This reviewer surely does.  Happy Tree Friends: Season One, Volume One is a title that fits this new cycle of entertainment.  For new comers to the violent cartoon series, the series takes place in a variety of locations with a cast of cute and cuddly woodland creatures.  Their general appearance is where the cuteness ends, the show’s main feature and intention centers on violently mutilating the creatures in every way imaginable, and many unimaginable.  The basic storyline for each episode is similar to any basic cartoon short, setup with a light situation and a cast of bumbling misfits.


The spark that Happy Tree Friends brings to the table, however, is the massacre of its characters until none are left standing.  In some ways this may be a simplistic take on a Shakespearean tragedy or Tarantino film with a mixture of comedic relief.  This reviewer failed to see the humor in most of the work, and merely questioned the artistic direction of the animators with this senseless violence.  With such great animated series as Aqua Teen Hunger Force, The Venture Bros., and Harvey Birdman that manage to use senseless violence as a mode to reinforce a creative storyline, it begs the question of why can’t Happy Tree Friends do the same?  The show does have its occasional moments throughout its 7 minute shorts, but loses its luster quickly.  The show has a huge internet based following, that not only supports the series but a plethora of merchandising as well.  The creature debacle is better watched in a group setting where you can better hear the ‘Owws’ and ‘Ekkks’ of the audience, making it more exciting when infused with mob mentality.


The technical features of the DVD are nice, though the extras are quite boring.  The picture is presented in a 1.33 X 1 Full Screen format that is clean, crisp, and has well balanced colors.  The original picture being created in flash, the animation remains very fluid and clear.  The sound is adequate in its Dolby Digital 5.1 mix, though not much is said throughout the series except a few mumbles and screams.  The background music is well balanced and fits the chaotic atmospheres dreadfully well.  The extras are a random set of not very entertaining features.  Features include still storyboards, useless commentary, and two featurettes.  The one featurette centers on the creative process for the show, which is nothing more than the creators goofing off in an attempt to be humorous that falls short.  The second featurette is entitled ‘Cubes,’ being a parody of MTV’s Cribs, meant to poke fun at the less than stellar work atmosphere of the crew and once again falls short of being funny.


In the end if you are a fan of the series this 1 disc, 9 episode set is perfect for you.  New comers may want to hold off or view a few Webisodes off the internet prior to purchasing.  The show did cause this reviewer to chuckle occasionally, but overall fell too short creatively.



-   Michael P Dougherty II


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