Russia’s Federal Service supervising the field of mass communications and the nation’s cultural inheritance issued a formal notice to 2x2 TV channel in connection with the broadcast of cartoon series propagandizing brutality and violence.
It goes about “The Adventures of Big Jeff” and “Happy Tree Friends” cartoon series. Specialists concluded that the series propagandize the cult of violence and brutality, cause damage to health, to the moral and spiritual development of a child and infringe upon public morality. Such violations break Article 4 of the Russian Federation Law “On Mass Media.”
If the TV channel receives another such notice during this year, it will not be possible for the channel to prolong its broadcast license.
The above-mentioned TV channel does not recommend the viewing of Happy Tree Friends for children, mentally unbalanced and sensitive individuals, and those who defend “snotty childish cartoons.” “Each of these sweet little animals dies odd violent deaths in each episode,” the TV channel warns on its official website. It is worthy of note that the channel positions itself as an animation channel for young adults. It targets audiences between 11 and 34 years of age.
Happy Tree Friends, is a Flash cartoon series by Mondo Mini Shows, created by Kenn Navarro, Aubrey Ankrum, Rhode Montijo and Warren Graff. Since its debut the show has become a popular internet phenomenon and has won a cult following.
As indicated on the official site, the show is "not recommended for small children". Nonwithstanding the cute appearance of its characters, the show is extremely violent, with every episode featuring blood, gore, and violent 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 articulate.
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 barely be understood. The exceptions to this are Pop and Lumpy. They have garbled speech as well, but can actually be understood on most occasions. 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.
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, Canadian television channel Razer 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 Newgrounds, 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.
Translated by Dmitry Sudakov