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The Sonic the Hedgehog cartoon got real weird for a brief moment this week

Michael McWhertor is a journalist with more than 17 years of experience covering video games, technology, movies, TV, and entertainment.

Sonic the Hedgehog's current animated series, Sonic Boom, ventured into bizarre territory for about three seconds during an episode that aired in the U.S. this week. A brief live-action moment in the otherwise computer-animated cartoon is either a just a pretty good gag... or a shocking reveal about the strange nature of the Cartoon Network show.

Here's the setup: In the Sonic Boom episode "Just A Guy," Sonic makes a dismissive comment about Mike the Ox, calling him "just a guy" in a conversation with Knuckles and implying that the ox isn't worthy of being included in the core team in a battle against Dr. Eggman. Sonic ultimately apologizes to Mike, and pledges to include him in a future battle. Mike quickly begins to annoy Sonic, leading the neckerchiefed hedgehog to find solace in his "happy place." And then to find a happy place within that happy place.

What follows is a multi-layered, Inception-like reveal that shows what's really going on with Sonic Boom and the reality in which it takes place.

The next level of puzzles.

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