about how a green bear from a 2000s Flash cartoon about joyous woodland animals is a huge gross mary sue
because he is kind of unemployed and has too much time on his hands right now
NOW, I'm not saying this argument is flawless, or that it's sound. It definitely needs a lot of fucking work, but I'm gonna present it to you anyway
basically, the main "gimmick", or in other words, the "shtick" as such, of Happy Tree Friends is that it's a bait-and-switch. It's a prank toon that got incredibly popular.
each episode starts off by presenting you with a harmless-looking adorable pastel-colored world inhabited with lots of cute critters which lures the viewer unfamiliar with the show into a false sense of security.
let me rephrase that- it's deliberately made to look like something out of a children's cartoon or storybook, the latter quite blatantly so in places. Lots of nostalgia is invoked if you're in the older set that saw the cartoons and things HTF pays mild visual tribute to.
you are presented an idealistic, wide-eyed innocent world where you can and possibly do literally easily believe that nothing bad can ever happen. And that's when the show pulls a fast one on you blood starts spurting and the guts are all over the sidewalk, there's brains on a corner and everyone's dead, and fire coming out of a monkey's head.
When the surprise wears off, you can still enjoy the juxtaposition of disgusting, over-the-top bloody violence and adorable candy-colored critters, who ARE genuinely adorable.
BUT, and this is a big but:
Flippy's character design FUCKS THAT CAREFUL SETUP UP.
he just marches in with his army camo and dog tags, and is explicitly a war veteran. And one of the official artworks has him riding a bomb in homage to the ending of Dr. Strangelove.
the presence of his army uniform alone tips you off to the idea that there is a military in the HTF universe, that there is and has been war in the HTF universe, that mass-scale death and violence has occurred in the HTF setting before
So he ruins the "surprise" for newer viewers.
All the other character designs for the HTF characters don't really do that the way Flippy does
Splendid is a superhero, a concept that's already wide-eyed idealistic in a way, and so is already pretty fantastical and works within the "children's book/toon" theme.
Russell is a pirate, but hell, five year olds fucking LOVE pirates. People remember the swords and the hook hands and the eyepatches and the precious booty and the inexplicable Cornwall accent without remembering that violence and bloodshed is involved.
TL;DR: War is very real and soldiers are very real (for us, the viewers), when compared to superheroes and cornwall-accented pirates and so is the violence associated with them- so Flippy ruins the surprise of the violence for the audience.
Flippy is not only a poor design, he's also an incredibly terrible character:
He's THE singular main recurring character shown explicitly and deliberately (as opposed to accidentally or unintentionally like literally everyone else) killing other characters.
And he's hyper-competent and borderline unstoppable at killing other characters, too. Unlike Lumpy who, even when he's flexing his villain muscles, is still a hilarious fuckup.
He seems to BEND the plot of 90% of his episodes to revolve exclusively around him and his murder shtick- like with that Double Whammy two-parter ep and that ep with Cub's tricycle, instead of doing the usual thing HTF does. Though arguably, the tricycle ep passes because it's a tribute to horror movies.
Plus he's a "hollywood psycho". his entire motivation for killing people stems from this... poorly and unfortunately written mental illness. He's got this version of a split personality disorder that only exists in terrible movies.
EDIT: One of my tumblr friends added that:
"another thing for your argument: Flippy is basically a giant ableist stereotype which depicts all people with PTSD as time bombs waiting to go off and kill everyone. It plays on the struggle of someone with PTSD for laughs. Which is pretty fucked up."
EDIT 2: A friend here on deviantART adds that:
"Even the name Flippy implies "flipping out" in a pretty disgusting and ableist way. I mean, after all, they may as well have turned the blatant stereotyping up to 11 and called him Skitzy.
And note, I haven't seen much HTF, nor am I really qualified to critique it accurately, but if all the characters have to die at some point, then what is it about Flippy that makes him the recurring survivor? Other than the fact HTF always starts each episode off all innocent and normal again, Flippy has this air about him of "let's just toy with his trauma so he can get even more triggered in the next episode".
This character, to me, falls into the same category as Seth McFarlane's recurring stereotypes, meant solely to take the piss out of a particular group of people - while failing to provide any logical reason other than derogatory satire."
EDIT 3: And another friend of mine on deviantART sums up the argument about why he's a Mary Sue brilliantly as:
" hes an indestructible "PSYCHO"-esque character who kills everybody every time and is "badass", super rich, has a huge house with a bunch of priceless shit, laides looove him, etc "
EDIT 4: And another friend adds that "Flippy's "official" illness is PTSD, but his symptoms are more similar to DID/MPD", but while even THEN his symptoms do not match up with that of MPD, "Hollywood's idea of MPD does".
He then goes on to add: "I had an uncle who served in 'Nam and has PTSD, and he tends to get more depressed and suicidal than bloodthirsty and insane"
SO, let's go over that again-
egregiously stand-out design, incredibly powerful and murderous, near-unstoppable, forces the plots to focus on him, plus- he's "insane"... That sounds like a "Mary Sue" to me, fucking hell.
... hell, come to think about it, "Double Whammy" comes off as like a really shitty fanfic when I think about it,
Granted, this argument is tainted with bias. I am incredibly biased against Flippy. Mostly because of nasty experiences with some of his fans and because he commands a lot of popularity in spite of not being properly representative of the series and it's shtick.
And because of the glaring hypocrisy in how fans treat "Flippy-Sues" compared to how they treat Flippy. It's very rooted in glaring misogyny which this fandom has a slight undercurrent of- you can spot bits of it in how some of the fans call Giggles a slut.
Though actually, the treatment and condemnation of Mary Sues in general in ALL fandoms is pretty much based on sexism.
Simply put- Flippy gets away with being a Mary-Sue because he's a guy character, and because he's canon, in the same way that, for example, BATMAN gets away with being a Mary Sue. And you can bet that if both of them were suddenly girls instead of guys they'd get hate out the asshole.
And if Giggles was a dude they'd probably treat him like some sort of ladies man or something.
IMO, if the entire HTF show was focused about cute animals engaging in bloody warfare like that Operation Tiger Bomb short was, then Flippy would stand out far less and NOT be a Mary Sue. He fits in well with THAT spin-off world more than with the main HTF world.
Listening to: Devin Townsend- Hide Nowhere