DISCLAIMER: Before I start, I really feel the need to ask that you don’t include any pictures if you choose to put this traumafession on your website. Unlike my previous entries, this particular trauma was, in fact, so traumatizing that any picture from the trauma inducer in question leads me into a mild panic attack. I’ve got no problem if you post a link to the youtube video at the bottom of the page, but please keep this entry free of visuals. Again, please do not post any pictures/videos of the front page from this, I really, honestly have a mild panic attack from anything associated with the whole ordeal. Thank you for understanding.
I was no more than nine years old when my life was forever changed (O.K., a bit dramatic, but it had a lasting effect on me none the less). I was at a sleepover at my dear friend Anna’s house and she had recently discovered “This really funny cartoon!” The cartoon in question was none other than HAPPY TREE FRIENDS. Now, I’m sure that most of you have heard of this little gem. Those of you calling me a sissy probably saw this later on in life than those of you who are now curled up in a ball under your desk. Either way, the whole thing screams TRAUMA!
Well, the particular episode that I viewed at the tender age of nine was entitled “Flippin’ Burgers.” The site was colorful, and filled with pics of cute little cartoon animals. Now, my friends and I often got our kicks from laughing at stupid little kid shows (usually the ones found on Nick JR that were so happy and pointless that it amused our nine-year-old minds). I assumed that this was a similar case, but damn was I wrong.
Before the episode, there was a loading screen. There was a claw machine full of cute little cartoon animals. The claw picked up one and slammed it against the side, causing it to become bruised and bloody. That made me a bit nervous, but I laughed it off.
The episode opened with a little pink rodent like critter and a yellow bunny eating at a McDonald’s style joint. The rabbit accidentally squirts ketchup on the pink rodent, and both of them giggle in a stupid/sickeningly cute way. And then the whole thing takes a hard left turn. A little green rodent dressed like a War Vet sees the ketchup and has a flashback of little dieing rodent children from the war. He goes apeshit and starts killing everybody.
First he runs up to the bunny and stabs it through the jugular with a straw. In an attempt to get the blood back into his body, the bunny starts drinking the blood, which is coming out of the straw, passing out/dieing. At this point I was pretending to laugh, but feeling a bit ill. The green rodent then moves on to the little pink one, coming up behind it and jamming a ketchup bottle in one ear and a mustard bottle in the other, squeezing them until they come out her nose (I may be mistaken, but I believe that her eyes popped out and the condiments came from them too).
Then came the grand kill. A cute little skunk was in the kitchen flipping burgers over a Sponge Bob style grill. The green rodent slammed the skunkie’s face onto the grill. I assumed that the worst was over, and so laughed at that kill to please my friend. But oh no, the initial face slamming was just the start. The green dude pulls the skunk’s face back up at the camera. The skunk is screaming in pain, one of its eyes is squinted shut and the other is left behind on the stove with a bunch of her burning facial flesh. Its face is burnt up and disgusting.
I started sobbing at that point, and my friend turned to comfort me. However, she forgot to turn off the cartoon. A father bear and a baby bear are entering a car. The fast food place explodes behind them, and they go up in flames/are crushed by falling debris. Another critter is killed by a falling sign, and more are burned alive, screaming in pain, pure terror on their cute little cartoon faces.
At the end, the green rodent takes a French fry, dips it in the bunny’s blood, and eats it contently.
Later that night, I had my Mom pick me up, too upset/in shock from the cartoon to want to play Barbies as was the plan. Before I left, my friend begged me not to tell about the cartoon, afraid that my Mom would tell her Mom and put the squash on it. And so, true to my word, I didn’t tell my Mom until a full month later, after a month of sulking around feeling sick and bursting into tears whenever I saw a squirrel/a cartoon/a person eating a burger. I refused to go to fast food places, and wouldn’t eat French fries.
About six months later, I saw it in a Hollywood Video (I believe it was a boxed set). From then on, I refused to walk into that store, knowing that the dreaded box with the smiling green rodent would be ready to stare me down as soon as I walked through the door. It wasn’t until last year, at fourteen years old, that I managed to walk in (eyes shut), rent saw 3 (ironic, right?), and walk back out of the store. HAPPY TREE FRIENDS will forever be burned in my mind as one of the most traumatizing things I’ve ever watched (Coming from a girl who watched MEET THE FEEBLES at age 6.)
JOHN METHUSELAH SEZ: Carolyanne, not only is yours the first TRAUMAFESSION to come with a non-graphic clause, it also the first to make your Aunt John feel ancient. You’re 14? Really? Is it hot in here or did you just send me into pre-mature menopause? I was well into my (cough) thirties when I first encountered the HAPPY TREE FRIENDS via a creepy janitor that worked in my office. He was really into the psychotic critters and forced me to watch them while he stood a little too close to me mouthing all of the words. I was more traumatized by the personal space violation than the candy-colored ultra-violence unfolding on the screen. Anywhoozles, please excuse your dear old Aunt John while I bum a handful of Geritols and a cup of Activia off of JAMIE LEE CURTIS… in the meantime, everyone (except for you, Carolyanne) should check-out FLIPPIN’ BURGERS.