A group of "huggers" infecting Leslie, while avoiding Tobias.

The Joy virus, or the Joy, as it is called by Miss Simian, is a highly contagious virus. It makes its first and only appearance and major role in "The Joy."

The virus gets its name because it causes the infected person to become extremely happy and ecstatic. The virus can spread by hugging and physical contact.


The virus is triggered when a "Wonder Hug," a hug filled with all the love and happiness in the world, is given. It is unknown if it affects the person who gives the hug. The Wonder Hug will cause a rainbow-colored mushroom cloud to appear, and the person becomes "patient zero."

Symptoms and development

Symptoms of the Joy virus include unwanted happiness, fever, dilated pupils, rainbow-colored bodily fluids, high temperature, uncontrollable smiling and singing, and a fast heartbeat.

Stage 1: smiling


Stage 1. The victim will keep a huge grin on their face. The victim will also heel-click uncontrollably.

The infected individual will start smiling uncontrollably. The face will remain this way, and any way to change it usually results with the face distorting itself in order to return to the smile. An alternative form is heel-clicking.

Stage 2: singing


Stage 2. The victim will start to sing in an auto-tuned voice. Not only that, they will also begin to hysterically laugh, and cough up a mysterious rainbow-colored liquid.

The infected individual will then start to sing in an auto-tuned voice. After that, the individual will then begin to laugh hysterically for short periods of time, and they will begin to cough up a rainbow-colored fluid.

Stage 3: hallucinations


Stage 3. The victim's pupils will dilate, and they will begin to hallucinate.

At this point, the individual begins to hallucinate. The individual's pupils dilate, which shows they are in the middle of the infection.

Stage 4: hugging and kissing


Stage 4. The victim will have the urge to hug/kiss others. This is how they pass the infection.

Shortly after hallucinating, the individual will feel a dominant need to hug and kiss people. This is how the infection spreads.

Stage 5: final moments


Stage 5. The infected will pass out for a short period of time, then awaken again, this time, fully infected.

The individual will begin to laugh very hysterically, cough up rainbow fluid, then pass out for a short period of time, while they are unconscious their heart beat monitor plays a small happy song from the beeps and fills with rainbows. When the subject wakes back up, they are now fully infected and are in a zombie-like state.



Fully infected "huggers" claim their next victim.

A hugger is any infected individual who has gone through all five stages of infection. They are mindless, zombie-like, and highly contagious. 

Physical traits


A close-up of a hugger.

These traits denote a hugger physically.

  • The goofy grin.
  • The rainbow fluid, which the infected individual would continuously cough up before passing out, will now drool out of their mouth.
  • The dilated pupils. In Mr. Small's case, the pupils are smaller and red, and in Tina's case, her pupils seem "demonic," and Gumball gains eyelashes.
  • Arms held out.
  • Hysterical laughter.
  • Ripped clothes.

Mental traits


An example of a hugger retaining some of his memory.

These can denote a hugger mentally.

  • Huggers lose most of their intelligence and memory when they pass out. They remember basic skills, such as running and hugging, and have retained some memory, as when Gumball hugged (and infected) Penny, after kicking away an infected Banana Joe.
  • They are easily fooled. If one acts like a hugger, the person can get through an entire horde with ease. However, they are attracted to yelling, discipline, and unhappiness, and will try to infect any depressed person.

A hugger hugs any individual in its sight. Any normal hugger is not very strong, yet an entire horde is enough to rip a room apart board by board.


A hugger infects people rather quickly. The more huggers, the quicker the infection will spread. Following this rule, one or two huggers can infect an entire school within five minutes. 

The infection for people hugged by a hugger is faster; the infection stages speed up greatly, causing a hugged person to be fully infected within five seconds, unless they are very miserable, like Miss Simian, which in that case the infection will take longer (up to thirty seconds).

Cure and prevention


Principal Brown being warded off by depressing music.

The only known possible cure is to play depressing music, such as Beethoven's "Moonlight Sonata." Because of the music's dark and depressing nature, this combats the virus and cures the huggers. The hugger's pupils are no longer dilated and will return to their original look.

Prevention of the Joy virus includes camouflage. Multicolored individuals, such as Tobias, are seen as already infected by the huggers, and are therefore passed over.

People infected



  • Miss Simian managed to survive the first wave of the infection and even find the cure, but she failed to completely neutralize it, and got infected by Gumball and Darwin when they ambushed her from behind.
  • It is possible that Richard was not infected because he caused the epidemic via the "Wonder Hug."
  • Carrie, Ocho, Hector, Rob, and Molly were some of the few students not seen being infected. This is because Carrie, Ocho, and Hector were absent for the duration of the episode. As for Rob and Molly, they had been sucked into the Void. It is also probable that Sarah and Idaho managed to escape, as they were not seen being infected.
  • Gumball and Darwin were the Joy virus' first victims.
  • Principal Brown is the only known survivor of the Joy virus.
  • Surprisingly, Bobert was able to get infected despite his emotionless and inorganic nature.
  • Richard was responsible for the outbreak of the Joy virus.
    • Anais might be somewhat responsible for the outbreak as well, since she convinced Richard to hug Gumball and Darwin to begin with.
  • In "The Tape," a similar rainbow liquid to that of the virus comes out of Gumball when he is affected by Darwin's cuteness, and in "The Blame," the rainbow drool from Billy's mouth looks similar like the infected person.
  • It is shown that Tobias was the last student infected, although it is unknown how or who infected him, as he was shown to be infected when most, if not all, of the infected ones were shown forcing themselves in the principal's office where Miss Simian was (as seen in picture 12 of the gallery).

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