I’m not sure if it’s just me, but everything happening in pop culture this week fills me with ambivalence. I appreciate that you’d want to raise an army of frogs, but am aware of the potential environmental impact. It’s funny to ask your child if they’ll fight alongside you, but fighting is bad. The big telescope is awe-inspiring, but memes are funny too. You get the idea.
The internet reacts to the first images from the Webb Space Telescope
The smartest people on earth spent the last 20 years and 10 billion dollars launching the James Webb Telescope into space, and this week it sent back its first images: Photographs that literally show us the birth of Time itself.
The internet reacted predictably: with fleeting interest, indifference, and memes. Many looked at the images and said, “whoah, cool” then went back to playing Apex: Legends. Redditors made memes. Twitter came with the hot takes. Telegram users immediately called the images out as fake, saying NASA “put a shear (SIC) stocking over the lens pulled tight” so “you get light sparkles.”
I wasn’t really expecting anything else, but I’m still hoping that people will be cooler when we find the aliens.
What is #fightprank?
I have mixed feelings about the #fightprank trend taking over TikTok. It works like this: Parents walk up to their child (if they’re still young enough to fall for things) and say something like, “listen, I’m going to fight our neighbor, and they have a kid about your age that you’ll have to battle. So get your shoes on and let’s get scrappin’.” And then film the reaction.
Some kids are shook. Some kids, like Rocco, are immediately down to beat ass. Some kids are just too mature to fight. The challenge/meme’s popularity led to videos where kids put their parents in the same situation, which are funny in a totally different way.
I know I’m supposed to say, “that’s terrible! Parents shouldn’t do that!” but I mostly think it’s funny. There’s not really a fight, and it demonstrates that “I got your back” love we have for our people. I asked my own son—sadly too old to trick—whether he would have fought alongside me, and he said, “100 percent.” I regard this as a parenting win.
TikToker creates Frog Army
TikTok user @thinfrog had a dream: They wanted to create an overwhelming army of frogs. Rather than sit around, @thinfrog did something about it. Beginning in February, they gathered frog eggs from puddles all around, and dropped the spawning goo in the pond near their house. A few month later, there were more than a million tadpoles in the pond, then froglets, and finally a million and a half frogs! A true frog army! They also raised two million followers on TikTok, as an added bonus.
An interesting copycat followed: Ladybug Raid, in which millions of Ladybugs are being released all over the world. I feel obligated to point out that this is a very bad thing to do because the environment and ecosystems or whatever. Also: Like everything on the internet, these videos are probably fake.
Older influencers warned to stay off TikTok
Do you want to know that the kids on TikTok really think about you? Me neither! But that isn’t stopping TikTok tastemaker Celeb Spellcheck from telling us. Although their feed has gone private, in a recent interview, Celeb was asked who should stay off TikTok, and responded, “I would say it’s all the 30-something old-school influencers who got lucky with an Instagram following years ago but bring absolutely nothing to the table…TikTok is a whole new ballgame, you need something to offer and a pretty face doesn’t cut it. Plus it’s absolutely brutal.”
That’s probably true, but I’d like to point out that Celeb Spellcheck spent quite a bit of the interview talking about Kim Kardashian’s relationship to Pete Davidson, and they live in Australia, so they aren’t really in a place to call other people lame.
Viral video of the week: SML Movie: Brooklyn Guy’s Dad
I usually only share produced comedy videos that are smart, funny, and good, but this week’s viral video, SML Movie: Brooklyn Guy’s Dad, is dumb, boring, and bad—at least to me. Entertainment that I personally don’t like is still important though, and the more than 2 million people who watched this video its first day online are important too—even if I probably wouldn’t like hanging out with them, and their opinions about comedy are wrong and bad.
The product of 28 year old YouTuber Logan Austin Thirtyacre, SML is a puppet-based sitcom/series/movie that really connects with kids, even if it isn’t viewed favorably by pretentious internet writers and fans of Japanese bunraku style puppetry…
Alright, It’s not horrible. it’s mildly charming in a cheap-looking-puppets-that-yell-at-each-other way, and it’s homemade and sincere, and at least as funny as anything the Muppets have done in the last decade. Fine. It’s good. I’m a fan now. Are you happy?
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