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Salad Fingers
Salad Fingers and Horace Horsecollar.png
Salad Fingers plays with Horace Horsecollar in Episode 6.
Genre Psychological horror
Dark humor
Format Flash cartoon
Created by David Firth[1]
Developed by David Firth
Written by David Firth
Christian Pickup (co-writer)
Jimi Mwng (co-writer)
Directed by David Firth
Voices of David Firth
David Ellis
Composer(s) Boards of Canada
Brian Eno
Sigur Rós
Aphex Twin
Chris Gladwin
Lustmord
Country of origin United Kingdom
Language(s) English
No. of episodes 8
Production
Executive producer(s) David Firth
Running time 1-6 minutes
Production company(s) Fat-Pie.com
Broadcast
Original channel Newgrounds
Original airing July 1, 2004
External links
Official website

Salad Fingers is a psychological horror Flash cartoon series originally created by British cartoonist David "Foyf" Firth in July 2004[2] which gained rapid internet popularity in 2005. The San Francisco Chronicle ranked it in the "top 10" pop culture phenomena for that year.[3]

Already a well-known Flash animation series available on the internet, Salad Fingers premiered in Australia at the 2007 Sydney Underground Film Festival at the Factory Theatre. The first seven episodes were shown back to back, along with a variety of other animated short films, during the "Re-animation" session. [4] The cartoons' musical score features theremin played by Clara Rockmore.

Contents

Summary

In the cartoons, the eponymous Salad Fingers inhabits a desolate, sparsely populated world that could be assumed to be post-apocalyptic in which he revels in the delightful feeling of the textures of various objects on his "salad fingers". He enjoys rusty articles (especially spoons) and derives similar pleasure from experiencing pain. He appears to enjoy meeting new people, though many of his acquaintances are simply avatars (such as finger puppets including Hubert Cumberdale, Jeremy Fisher, and Marjory Stewart-Baxter) for which he provides voice.

The eerie music featured in the background is the tune "Beware the Friendly Stranger" by Boards of Canada. The dark music in the soundtrack that appears when Salad Fingers is scared is actually Firth playing the guitar, slowed down and reversed. Other music included in Salad Fingers episodes includes work credited to Brian Eno, Sigur Rós and Aphex Twin.[1] David Firth frequently inserts references to Aphex Twin in his flash cartoons; for example, the Aphex Twin logo can be found on the telephone in Salad Fingers episode five. Firth has also cited the works of David Lynch, South Park, Tim Burton, Tideland, The League of Gentlemen and Chris Morris as sources of inspiration.[1][5]

Characters

Salad Fingers greeting his finger puppet friends. Left to right: Jeremy Fisher, Marjory Stewart-Baxter, and Hubert Cumberdale.
Salad Fingers 
The main character is a bald hunchbacked humanoid with light-green skin, and no visible nose or ears who speaks with a Northern accent. His long, strangely-shaped fingers are his most notable feature. They were the focus of the first episode of the series, where Salad Fingers is shown deriving pleasure from rubbing various objects, particularly rusty metallic ones such as spoons, taps and a kettle. Salad Fingers appears to suffer from psychosis, and is unable or unwilling to distinguish between living beings and inanimate objects, and is frequently found talking to various inert articles (notably his finger puppets and in two cases a human corpse). He often assigns such objects proper names and appears to believe that they can communicate with him directly, sometimes voicing their perceived thoughts himself. He lives alone in a small shack (containing, among other things, an oven, bedroom, safety cupboard, radio, phone, and table) with the number 22 on the door. His talents include playing the flute and speaking French. It is implied that the desolate world Salad Fingers inhabits is the aftermath of the "Great War", a conflict which is referenced several times in the more recent episodes.
Salad Fingers takes up various habits, including a regular measurement of the distance between his house and a tree, tasting of the dirt ("floor-sugar"), and listening to his radio. Sometimes he also displays a raspy asthmatic-like breathing when he becomes mesmerized at something or experiences extreme pleasure. The name "Salad Fingers" was invented by Firth's co-writer, Christian 'Crust' Pickup, who described Firth as having salad fingers while playing the guitar.[1]
Hubert Cumberdale, Marjory Stewart-Baxter, and Jeremy Fisher 
Finger puppets who appear variously in episodes two, three, five, six, seven and eight. They often appear in Salad Fingers' fantasies as life sized beings. Jeremy Fisher is thought to be named after the Beatrix Potter book The Tale of Mr. Jeremy Fisher.[6] In episode 3, Salad Fingers tastes these puppets, claiming Hubert Cumberdale tastes like "soot and poo" and Marjory Stewart-Baxter tastes like "sunshine dust". Jeremy Fisher is not tasted, which is revisited in a later episode. Salad Fingers has also referred to Jeremy Fisher as having been out fighting "The Great War". In episode five, Hubert Cumberdale is temporarily renamed Barbara Logan-Price. In episode eight, Salad Fingers calls Cumberdale a "dirty immigrant" after dropping him in a litterbox.
Harry/Milford Cubicle 
Appearing in episode three, Cubicle is an aggressive, armless human-like being who wears an apron identifying him as being employed at a "BBQ". Though his nametag reads "Harry" and indicates that he is "Happy to help", Salad Fingers calls him Milford Cubicle. He dies of exsanguination after repeatedly banging his head on Salad Fingers' door. Salad Fingers then finds him and drags him inside his house and hangs him on a meat hook, believing him to be alive and conscious.
Bordois 
Appearing in episode four, Bordois is a woodlouse which Salad Fingers accidentally kills by attempting to pet her. He refers to this bug as "little sister". Once he squishes her, he says "You've gone all flat, little sister. And you're all gooey! I shalln't play with you again until you've had a wash."
Mable
Appearing in episode five, Mable is a scuffed, grubby, scarred young girl who goes to a picnic with Salad Fingers. She is the first character other than Salad Fingers who can communicate in English, and she is the first person other than Salad Fingers to actually speak— something that seems to shock and dismay Salad Fingers. When she sees Salad Fingers looking at her in dismay she says "What's wrong? Do you not like my mouth-words?" While this is going on, she is seen with her eyes gouged out and bleeding; this is likely a mental vision or hallucination in Salad Fingers' mind, as he is seen cowering in the corner of his house between the shots of the "eyeless Mable". Nothing is known as to what happened to her as she could have left the picnic, or (rather less likely) was killed by Salad Fingers. Either way, she has never reappeared.
Kenneth 
A decomposing corpse found in a hole (one which was apparently dug up completely by Salad Fingers' finger puppet, Hubert Cumberdale) near Salad Fingers' house in episode seven; Salad Fingers claims that it is his little brother, "back from the Great War," and invites him in for dinner before eventually putting him back while singing "We'll meet again".
Roger 
Appearing in episode eight, Roger is a broken radio that speaks in a robotic, aggressive manner (much like a Dalek) and scares Salad Fingers into the cupboard twice. Roger, according to Salad Fingers, must be given 'sustenance' (in the form of small brown pellets which appear to be beans or marbles).
Horace Horsecollar 
A toy horse with which Salad Fingers indulges his senses.
Penny Pigtails 
A character Salad Fingers' imagination created while hiding from Roger in the safety cupboard. She is nothing but Salad Finger's hand 'walking' across the ledge. Salad Fingers imagines that she is denied raspberry jam by a market trader, who bases his actions on the grounds that her legs are "too long" and "made of cotton".
Mr. Branches
A tree 21 yards from the house. Salad Fingers measures this distance, and then comments to the tree that it's "barely shuffled an inch this week"—implying that it moves (or, at least, he perceives it to) and that he regularly keeps track of this measurement.

Salad Fingers also ramblingly mentions he has an "old pal" named "Charlie" as well as a daughter, though neither of them are seen. It could be that neither of these characters are real, as they could be nothing more than the title character's delusions.

Unnamed Characters 
  • A child whom Salad Fingers visits to "enquire about his spoons" in episode one. He (or she) appears to have a wrinkled complexion, as well as large eyes and can only communicate through screeching.
  • A young child wearing a varsity-type jacket whom Salad Fingers appears to have accidentally cooked in an oven in episode two.
  • A big-eyed, grotesque, small mutant creature who falls in love with Salad Fingers in episode four. This character was originally created by Jimi Hollis, who refers to it as the "bug-eyed kid".[citation needed] It uses a bear trap and a grubby tap to capture him, then cages him and proposes with a ring topped with a human molar.

Episodes

Each episode is 1–6 minutes long; the narratives themselves are quite oneiric, and each one only follows a semblance of a story.

Episode 1 - Spoons

  • Release date: July 1, 2004
  • Credits: Drawn, animated and voiced by David Firth. Written by David Firth and Christian "Crust" Pickup. Music by Boards of Canada (in particular, the song "Beware the Friendly Stranger").

This episode introduces us to Salad Fingers and his love of touching rusty spoons. He explains how touching any form of rust—including spoons, a door bell panel, and a kettle—stimulates him ("The feeling of rust against my salad fingers is almost orgasmic"), and that he holds a particular love of spoons. Salad Fingers walks to the house of a strange young boy to see if he has any rusty spoons; the child screeches two times, at which point Salad Fingers leaves, after asking to caress a rusty kettle that is on a table beside him.

Episode 2 - Friends

  • Release date: July 15, 2004
  • Credits: Drawn, animated and voiced by David Firth. Written by David Firth and Christian "Crust" Pickup. Music by Boards of Canada and David Firth.

Salad Fingers has a get-together with his "friends"—finger puppets—whom Salad Fingers introduces as Hubert Cumberdale, Marjory Stewart-Baxter and Jeremy Fisher. He appears to believe that his "friends" are real, living beings. Wondering what his friends taste like, he briefly inserts them into his mouth, exclaiming that Marjory Stewart-Baxter tastes like "sunshine dust", while Hubert Cumberdale tastes like "soot and poo". Salad Fingers then tells them that he has a fish cooking in the oven and speaks a nonsensical phrase in French: "Alors. Habille-la. Comment t'appelles-tu? Qu'est-ce qu'il y a?." This roughly translates to, "So then. Dress it. What's your name? What's the matter? or What is there?"

In the next scene, a frightened child responds to Salad Fingers's call for help. Salad Fingers cannot reach the fish cooking in his oven and asks the child to get it for him. As the child reaches into the oven, Salad Fingers sees a rusty nail jutting out of the wall and reaches to stroke it, causing the oven door to close with the child still inside. Salad Fingers then impales his finger on the spike and begins bleeding, blissfully saying "I like it when the red water comes out."

Salad Fingers pales and passes out. Apparently dreaming, Salad Fingers walks through a large meat locker singing Somewhere Over the Rainbow to himself. While inside, he meets a full-size Hubert Cumberdale, who screams distorted electronic noises at him. When Salad Fingers awakens he sits in a pool of his own blood. The oven smokes and oozes as Salad Fingers states, "That fish smells about done," ignoring the fact that it was the smoke from the "cooked alive" child that he'd forgotten about when 'dozing off'.

Episode 3 - Nettles

  • Release date: August 1, 2004
  • Credits: Drawn, animated and voiced by David Firth. Written by David Firth and Christian "Crust" Pickup. Music by Boards of Canada, Brian Eno and a yoga flute.

Salad Fingers is playing with nettles and has irritated blisters all over his hands. He then comes across an empty baby carriage, which he calls a "nettle carrier" and then leaves with it. A deformed armless man wearing an apron labeled "BBQ" appears and chases after Salad Fingers, screaming and babbling unintelligibly. Salad Fingers is sitting on the floor at his home and brushing the nettle over his nipple (while appearing to have an orgasm), which makes him lactate, and says "It seems... Nettles... have made the milk... drop out... from inside my teat!", when the armless man runs to Salad Fingers' house and begins to bang his head on the door. Salad Fingers daydreams of "happy times" (in which he and a life-sized version of the Hubert Cumberdale puppet are getting hair-dried). Eventually, Salad Fingers comes outside and finds the man dead on the floor, his head bloodied. He names the man "Milford Cubicle", ignoring the man's name tag reading "Harry". Ignorant that the man is dead, Salad Fingers then drags "Milford" inside, hangs him on a meat hook on the wall, plays the flute, and offers him a "warm glass of milk" (which presumably is the milk that dropped "out from inside [his] teat").

Episode 4 - Cage

  • Release date: August 20, 2004
  • Credits: Drawn, animated and voiced by David Firth. Written by David Firth, Christian "Crust" Pickup, and Jimi Mwng. Additional character design by Jimi Mwng. Music by Boards of Canada, Aphex Twin and David Firth.

Salad Fingers wears a beret and declares that he is going to try and find France. However, he is frightened by a mutated boy with disproportionately large eyeballs that has been "watching him for a while". Salad Fingers becomes uncomfortable with the child's proximity and begins to leave. The boy, who speaks only in growls and grunts, approaches Salad Fingers, having apparently fallen in love with him. Inside his house, Salad Fingers sees a gray millipede-like bug coming out from a hole in the wall. He addresses the bug as "Bordois" and his "little sister." Feeling very comforted by its presence, he starts talking to the bug. He becomes zealous and goes to touch it and, in doing so, accidentally crushes it and looks at it in curiosity which turns to disgust. He then says to Bordois that she's "gone flat" and become "all gooey", and that he "shalln't play with [her] again, until [she's] had a wash." Salad Fingers then hears a knock on the door, which he opens to find a "grubby tap" attached to a string on the ground. Salad Fingers becomes excited about this "gift" and begins to fantasize about taps. He attempts to fetch it, but it is drawn away on the string as bait. He is caught in a bear trap which causes him to lose blood and consciousness while savoring the desanguination blissfully. He wakes up in a cage, and enjoys rubbing the rusted bars. The grotesque boy approaches the cage and holds out a ring (on which is mounted a human tooth) as if proposing marriage. Salad Fingers becomes distraught, states "I don't like this game", then pulls a curtain down over the window of the cage, angering the boy. Once angered, the boy makes an unintelligible noise that sounds like "You're my own now." When the curtain lifts, the boy, seeing that Salad Fingers has disappeared, begins to cry. The episode closes with Salad Fingers, wearing his beret, flying away gleefully on a giant tap.

Episode 5 - Picnic

Salad Fingers talks to an apparently broken and disconnected phone, asking the operator to connect him to his "old pal Charlie" so he can invite him to a picnic, but only garbled noises are heard. Whilst describing the picnic fare, Salad Fingers rubs his stomach in hunger, then claims to have been rudely disconnected. Hubert Cumberdale is on one of the fingers on Salad Fingers' other hand, but he seems dismayed to see him. Instead of referring to him as Hubert, he instead calls him "Barbara Logan-Price", and gives him a "friend-hat", which is a miniature captain's hat.

In the next scene, Salad Fingers wears a bridal train and talks to himself in a mirror, declaring "You look so beautiful". He then goes outside for his picnic, which is attended by a strange crow (which appears in other David Firth cartoons) that makes garbled noises and a little girl with scars on her face, a filthy, stained pink dress and orange hair. Salad Fingers asks the orange-haired girl a question and answers it for her (as he seems to think that only he can speak), ending with "replied Mable". Salad Fingers calls her his new playmate and compliments her on her dress, and as he does this, Marjory Stewart-Baxter is seen in the window, jealous. Salad Fingers offers "Mable" some "Pease Pudding", which he feeds to her with a dirty, rusty spoon. The crow then swoops down and steals Salad Fingers's spoon.

The little girl giggles and says that the crow must like spoons too. The shock of the girl speaking to him in English and not via Salad Finger's own voice drives Salad Fingers to temporary insanity, hallucinating, hearing screeching, distorted noises, and seeing the girl (complete with empty eye sockets) saying, "What's wrong, Mr. Fingers? Do you not like my mouth-words?"

Episode 6 - Present

Salad Fingers' teeth often have alphabetical characters drawn on them. In some frames there are other characters (eg. "j") or even smilies.

The episode begins with Salad Fingers walking about his house. He sees Hubert Cumberdale on top of a cupboard, and instructs the finger puppet to come down at once. Hubert turns into a black, viscous fluid and oozes down the cupboard. A silhouette is then seen walking through the house and Salad Fingers asks if somebody is there; it is, in fact, the Jeremy Fisher puppet on his finger. Salad Fingers remarks that he thought Jeremy was out "fighting the Great War".

Another perspective shot shows Jeremy Fisher (now with arms) handing Salad Fingers a toy horse. Salad Fingers is pleased with the present, and remarks on the pleasing texture of the toy. He then eats Jeremy Fisher and plays with the toy horse while making "neigh" sounds. He walks outside with it and goes to an abandoned toilet which he starts having a conversation with. Suddenly, the mood changes and the music becomes sinister; he grows concerned and he begins defending himself, saying "You've got the wrong bloke, squire." He then flushes the toilet to "wash those bad thoughts away".

Upon arriving home, Salad Fingers gasps and sees himself sitting inside. The Salad Fingers inside appears to be hallucinating, seeing the "outside" Salad Fingers as a life-size Jeremy Fisher. The "inside" Salad Fingers speaks in a slightly different voice and also has rougher text showing what he is saying. The conversation starts off just like the earlier one with Jeremy Fisher, but goes on to include accusations that Jeremy Fisher has been "tailgating [his] daughter with aspirations of deflowering her rose". This appears to be the other "side" of the conversation Salad Fingers had into the toilet.

The inside Salad Fingers is now seen with the Jeremy Fisher finger puppet. Salad Fingers remarks that he never did "sample the delights of your flavour", which is a reference to when he tasted his other two "friends" Hubert Cumberdale and Marjory Stewart-Baxter in episode two. He begins putting the finger-puppet in his mouth, but the scene quickly changes to a bloody scene of the "inside" Salad Fingers eating the "outside" Salad Fingers' head/brains, suggesting that Salad Fingers is actually experiencing the personalities he invents (Dissociative identity disorder). The episode ends abruptly.

Episode 7 - Shore Leave

  • Release date: January 28, 2006
  • Credits: Drawn, animated and voiced by David Firth. Written by David Firth, Christian Pickup and Jimi Mwng. Music by Boards of Canada, Chris Gladwin and Brian Eno.

As Salad Fingers is digging holes outside with his finger puppets, occasionally tasting the sand (which he calls "floor sugar"), he finds the decomposing torso of an old corpse. Salad Fingers immediately "recognizes" the cadaver as "Kenneth," his "younger brother" who is back from the previously mentioned "Great War" on shore leave. Salad Fingers pulls the gruesome, dismembered corpse out of the hole, saying it was rude of him to leave for the "the Great War" without him, but promises to draw him a hot bath.

The next scene shows Salad Fingers turning a cog which pulls a clothesline, drawing Kenneth out of a wardrobe, now dressed in a white dinner jacket. He starts to talk about life with the women of the great war. Salad Fingers has prepared a dinner of sand for his guest, saying "I—hope you like... SAND". Salad Fingers tells Kenneth of his life, keeping busy with "every shift I can... [and] sing[ing] at all the functions". There is a flashback in which Salad Fingers measures the distance from his door to a tree named "Mr. Branches" with a clickwheel and subsequently teases it for its slow movement.

It is now evening, and Salad Fingers is with Kenneth outside near the same hole he found him in. He cries over the fact that Kenneth has to go "back to the ghastly trenches". He salutes Kenneth and sings "We'll Meet Again" for him. He then kicks Kenneth back into the hole. A dream-like sequence follows in which Salad Fingers sings the same song, in a white dress, on a stage in front of an audience of a theatre. After singing a few strains, he complains to the pianist - who is shown as the silhouette of a marionette, with strings attached - that the key is wrong, walks off the stage, and the screen fades to black.

Episode 8 - Cupboard

  • Release date: September 22, 2007
  • Credits: Drawn, animated and voiced by David Firth. Written by David Firth and Christian "Crust" Pickup. Music by Boards of Canada, Lustmord and dyzv0r

Salad Fingers is sitting in his armchair, trying to tune his radio, which he calls "Roger." After feeding Roger his "sustenance" (which seems to be marbles, peas, rocks or beans), it begins to emit a strange, piercing frequency. He decides to wait out the tormenting event in his "safety cupboard."

When in the cupboard, Salad Fingers begins to converse with his hands. One hand enacts "Penny Pigtails," the other a market vendor. After being refused her purchase of raspberry jam on the grounds that her legs are "made of cotton" and "far too long" (an event that Salad Fingers finds most upsetting), Penny Pigtails discovers a long strand of hair, which Salad rubs over his eyeball, apparently causing him great pleasure, although it makes his eye red and inflamed. He then leaves the cupboard and tapes it to a wall to form a "quintette" with four other hairs he has collected. Next, he goes to bed with the Hubert Cumberdale puppet. Before going to sleep, Salad Fingers sings "Three in the Bed," and instructs Hubert Cumberdale to "roll over"; as a result, the finger puppet is sent off the bed into a bowl of a filthy, brown substance (likely a chamberpot). Salad Fingers orders Hubert Cumberdale to "scrub that muck off at once!" as he doesn't want any "dirty immigrants" in his house.

Later that night, the radio begins to emit strange sounds again and wakes up Salad Fingers. Salad Fingers approaches it warily and threatens Roger with expulsion from the house. The radio replies it was rude of Salad to take his hair. The radio speaks in a static voice, instructing Salad Fingers to return its hair, as well as to tidy the house. Salad Fingers declares that he shan't, on the grounds that it isn't "his turn" and that it is an extremely unpleasant job. The radio continues to torment him, causing him to eat all of the hairs from his quintette, tape and all, and return to his cupboard in tears.

The Great War

A recurring reference made in the series is to the "great war"; for example, in Episode 6, Salad fingers says of his "friend" Jeremy Fisher: "I thought you were out fighting the great war." Salad Fingers says the corpse he identifies as his "brother Kenneth" in Episode 7 is "on shore leave" from the "great war" as well. And in Episode 8 he references how he enjoys listening to the war on his radio. Though it isn't specified, The Great War could be a reference to a fictional war that created the seemingly post-apocalyptic world Salad Fingers lives in, but is most likely a reference to World War I, as World War I was well-known as The Great War. Additionally, Salad Fingers explicitly says to the corpse of his friend that he is off to fight in the trenches before kicking him into a hole in the ground. This is undoubtedly a reference to the characteristic trenches of World War I. The Great war could also be Salad Finger's concept of death, since when characters disappear, they die, and War could be an excuse for death, (Salad Fingers also seems to have a hard time recognising things when they're dead, thinking they're just weary, or sleeping). Also, the reason he could think this of Jeremy Fisher was that Jeremy was gone for a long time between the period of episode 2 and episode 6, and he could of thought to be be "dead" by viewers. Another reason he thinks this of the corpse is because the Corpse was also dead, buried for a long time obviously, and then found again meaning that he could be "back from the Great War". However this is somewhat unlikely, as there are a few dead characters in Salad Fingers, and he never says that they were fighting any kind of war.

References

  1. ^ a b c d "Interview with Salad Fingers Creator David Firth."
  2. ^ "Salad Fingers' Stream Of Consciousness Entertains Viewers." The Daily Campus Online Edition. December 8, 2005
  3. ^ "2005 In Review: Pop Culture." The San Francisco Chronicle. December 25, 2005.
  4. ^ Syndey Underground Film Festival 2007 Program
  5. ^ Salad Fingers vs. Tideland
  6. ^ Encyclopedia Database: Salad Fingers [1]

See also

External links

Episodes

David Firth








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