Don Hertzfeldt

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Don Hertzfeldt (born August 1, 1976) is the creator of many short animated films, including the Academy Award nominated Rejected and World of Tomorrow. He has an odd style, stick figures on paper with very little use of digital processing. You can get his films at his website, Bitter Films, and read up on some Word of God in this Reddit thread.

His works are surreal displays of Deranged Animation.

His animated shorts include:
  • Ah, l'amour (one of his earliest works)
  • Rejected
  • The Meaning of Life
  • Billy's Balloon
  • Genre
  • Lily and Jim
  • A trilogy concerning a mentally ill man named Bill; Everything Will Be OK, I Am So Proud of You, and It's Such a Beautiful Day.
  • The opening, intermission and ending to the first The Animation Show he did with Mike Judge. These are called, respectively:
    • "Welcome to the Show"
    • "Intermission in the Third Dimension"
    • "The End of the Show"
  • Wisdom Teeth (an adaptation of this Temporary Anesthetics strip and currently his newest film)
  • World of Tomorrow and World of Tomorrow Episode Two: The Burden of Other People's Thoughts

There was a series of Pop-Tarts commercials that looked like they were done by him. They weren't.

Don Hertzfeldt provides examples of the following tropes:

Billy's Balloon

  • Surreal Horror: Ever been beaten to death by a balloon?
  • Balloonacy: Ever be captured and lifted up against your will by a balloon.


Lily and Jim

Wisdom Teeth

"Yes, yes! I think this is finally the end of it!"

  • Some more pulling*

"No, wait, there's more. Much, much more."
Cue WTHH face from Nigel.

The Animation Show

  • Breaking the Fourth Wall: There is at least one reference to the audience in all three segments.
  • Brick Joke: The beginning segment starts out with the two characters talking about the lobby of the theater, and by the ending there are a slice of pie, a hot dog, and a soda cup walking towards the right of the screen, with music in the background singing about, whaddaya know, the Lobby.
  • Call Back: Both the characters are based on the "Fluffy Guys" in Rejected, down to the Swedish christmas carols playing in the background.
  • Captain Obvious: The second half of the beginning of The Animation Show.
  • Department of Redundancy Department: The erudite character tends to do this a bit. It's especially prominent in the beginning segment.

"The Animation Show is the greatest animation show ever created by human beings. Only the most animated animation film animations make it into the Animation Show."

Left Fluffy Guy: An animated film is not just a random series of mindless, self-indulgent violent cartoon images meant only to be enjoyed by young children and people with mental handicaps, but as a serious, valid art media all unto itself, in which the artist is free to explore the purity of the film medium down to each and every single frame! The animated arts are-
Right Fluffy Guy: ROBOTS!
(over a minute of Fluffy Guys getting mauled by robots)

  • Mushroom Samba/Nightmare Fuel: The third dimension. At the end of the sequence, one of the characters is holding a giant lollipop shouting nonsense as Swedish Christmas music plays in the background. Then the lollipop becomes a swarm of spiders which begin to eat the character.
  • Offer Void in Nebraska: "3-D Glasses may not be available in all areas!"
  • Robot War: "ROBOTS!"
  • Tank Goodness: Complete with an autocannon on top.
  • Techno Babble: In the second segment, one of the characters asks the other about 'the third dimension', prompting a verbose response that ends with "The very face of god!"
  • Tin Can Robot: The enemy robots.