"Mr. Happy" By Roger Hargreaves: A Critical Analysis



One need only read the first few words of Roger Hargreave's 1972 work "Mr Happy" before one begins to see gaping flaws: "On the other side of the world where the sun shines hotter than here" it begins; a little general, don't you think Mr. Hargreaves? The "other side of the world". And where exactly is that? I guess that would depend on where in the world you are, wouldn't it? This is the very first line mind you.

Hargreaves then describes a Utopia called "HappyLand", where "everyone is as happy as the day is long". Predictably it goes on like this, asking you to suspend your disbelief but giving you no reason to do so:

"It's such a happy place that even the flowers seem to smile in HappyLand".

Maybe if you're tripping on mushrooms the flowers appear to be smiling. It seems to be rather stating the obvious to note that a flower is incapable of smiling, it is basically an inanimate object.

"All the animals are happy in HappyLand as well".

That seems a bit presumptuous. How would you know whether an animal is happy Mr. Hargreaves? Are you an animal psychiatrist? And are you telling me that you've done a thorough analysis of every animal in HappyLand and arrived at the conclusion that nowhere in this vast land that allegedly encompasses half the world is there an animal that might not be so happy?

"If you've never seen a smiling mouse, or a happy cat or dog, or even a worm, go to Happyland."

Well there's a small problem with that Mr. Hargreaves. First of all you've been totally unclear as to wherever this place is so I would have no way of going to HappyLand even if I wanted to, would I? And how would one determine whether or not a worm is smiling? It's a rope-like thing in the dirt with no face. Are you expecting me to somehow find this place Happyland, book an an airline ticket and travel there just to crawl around in the dirt to see if I can tell if the worms are smiling?

We then are introduced to the story's protagonist, Mr. Happy, who evidently was not informed about things like September 11th and waterboarding because there is nothing that makes him unhappy! Apparently word of the holocaust never spread to Happyland.

While walking around in the woods, Mr. Happy comes across a door in the side of a tree, and for some reason this asshole decides it's acceptable to break into and enter the home of Mr. Miserable, who for some reason doesn't object to the intrusion nor does he object when he is forced out of his home and into the fascist world of Happyland where he is forced to be happy.

During this inquisition Mr. Miserable claims that he "would give anything to be happy" but it's reasonable to reach the conclusion that he is being intimated by Mr. Happy, the one man gestapo who has invaded his home.

After a little while in HappyLand, miraculously, Mr. Miserable then begins smiling all the time, probably due to the effects of medication he was forced to take by this fascist regime, a regime which endorses a kind of euthanasia if you will, since Mr. Miserable and those of his ilk are being forced out of their homes and basically executed; killed and transformed into a nation of Mr. Happys.

It's no wonder that the generation that grew up reading Mr. Happy has so happily and readily paved the way for the kind of totalitarianism that is currently creeping like a black shadow over the entire globe. We all trust Mr. Happy to take care of us. Mr. Happy is going to make it better. Give yourselves to Mr. Happy.

Mr. Hargreaves attempts to sell us Utopia, as totalitarians always do, but we must give up our souls to achieve it.

Shame on you Mr. Hargreaves!