The Backyardigans Have the Hottest Song on TikTok

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S1: Ahoy there, anybody. Hello.

S2: Oh, hi, it’s me, you Nakhla, and I’m a castaway on a desert island.

S3: Hi, I’m Madison Malone Kirchherr.

S4: And I’m Rachel Hampton. And you’re listening to. I see why my

S3: in case you missed it,

S4: Slate’s podcast about Internet culture

S3: today. Rachel, today I have to show you a cursed object courtesy of my little sister.

S4: I see cursed objects run in the family.


S3: It’s true. This one is an Instagram post that comes courtesy of the official Instagram account of vegetables, which is a children’s TV show about Sencion. Oh, yeah. Oh, yeah.

S4: It’s also and they sing Bopp’s.

S3: It’s also a very Christian TV show. Yeah.

S4: Oh. Propaganda from. Yeah, no.

S3: Yeah, yes. So there’s a cucumber named Larry and I believe a tomato named Bob.

S2: Mm hmm.

S3: This particular post is Larry who is a cucumber. Yes. And in it he is Chillen the the text says just chillin and he’s lying with his head atop a pillow and notably he has two cucumber slices over his eyes late, but he’s. Uh huh.


S4: And this is the official vegetables Instagram account and. OK, OK, so they’re condoning cannibalism. I mean. Yeah, yeah. It’s unclear.

S3: What did Larry did Larry eat the cucumbers when he was done? Did he throw them out? Who who did he chop up? Is that just like his feet on his face?


S4: Now, I have questions. I got to say, when you first sent this to me last night, I didn’t quite realize what, like exactly how haunted this post was. I thought you just sent to me because the caption says God is good or some shit. And I was like, I forgot. The vegetables are deeply Christian. But no, no, this is even more terrifying and morbid. Christian and Cannibal is


S3: that’s actually not the only cartoon kids show we’re going to talk about today, though, right?

S4: No, because later in the show, we are going to be explaining why a 15 year old song from an animated show for toddlers is a tick tock song of the summer. But first, you know them. You love them. We’re giving you a few high speed downloads.

S3: High speed downloads is a game we like to play here on. Why am I where Rachel and I get 60 seconds to explain a piece of Internet from the week to each other? So maybe it’s a tweet that came across your timeline, a tick tock that 17 people sent you. Just an inexplicable something like that. And we will take one minute and talk as fast as we possibly can. Try and make sure you get what’s going on. If you don’t like listening to people talk really fast, maybe consider listening to this part of the show at point five speed, because we’re going to talk faster than


S4: the speed of light, the speed of sound.

S3: Sure. Yes. I was going to say someone auditioning for an Aaron Sorkin movie, but that’s better. The speed of sound. All right,

S4: Madison, what are you Speedo’s sounding in my ears today,


S3: and I want to give too much away. So all I’m going to say is I’m talking about a photo, a paparazzi photo of faggoty Tessa Thompson and Rita Ora.

S4: Wow. Already into it. All right. You have one minute on the clock. Three, two, one, go.

S3: OK, Go is a film and television director, producer, screenwriter, actor and comedian. He’s New Zealander. He’s from New Zealand. He’s low key, actually, not even low key. Kind of a daddy, although he’s literally a father. Did you see Judge Rabbit? That was him. He was the titular rabbit. I’m kidding. That’s that’s just totally inaccurate. He played Hitler, but it was his movie, his divorce. He directed Thor Ragnarok, which stars Tessa Thompson and also some men. He’s also directing the new Thor, which Tesa is also also in. This will become important in a moment. Tessa Thompson. I’m not going to even devote any breath to explaining to you who Tessa Thompson is on this podcast. Either you know who she is and I’ll see what pride. And that’s why I’m not explaining. Or you can head to YouTube and watch the music for comedy or you can head to YouTube and watch the music video for Denominator’s Pink Raita or oh my God, Rita Ora, who is Rita or a shadow who weakly Rita or is a pop star. SINGSONGS You know, probably if somebody started singing them, but you’d also all be like, who the fuck sings this? And they be like, I don’t know, schweik. Christian Grey Sister and Fifty Shades of Grey. She has that one track called Girls with Cardboard Box Intralytix that was so homophobic. Exactly. Because we are also notably Rita, are is what all these people have to do together. They were spotted by the paparazzi in Australia, maybe making out there potentially a threat. I don’t really know.


S2: I mean,

S4: honestly, for spending majority of your time not explaining what’s going on, you know

S3: pretty well, I just I said I wasn’t going to talk about Desert Thompson, and then I proceeded to, like, talk about it.

S4: Who can talk about Tessa Thompson when she’s right there in front of you? Like, come on. All right. However, you do get one more sentence if you need it. It can be a run on. It can contain seven dashes if you want.

S3: All right. So basically what you need to know about these photos is that there’s at least in my opinion, some interpretive license being taken. Frankly, the pictures of them, quote unquote, kissing look a lot like that video of Karlie Kloss on Taylor-Smith making out. Are they all smooching? Are they other people or are they just shotgunning some smoke? Like we have questions and no answers, which is Rita Oros entire rant, come to think of it. Also, Rita Ora one more time. This cheating Reidar is white.


S4: News I can definitely use because I did not know that I did not know that until today.

S3: OK, Rachel, it is your turn. What are what do you have for us today?

S4: I have for you a tale as old as time girl flies cross country to meet. Boy boy rejects her goes viral on Twitter.

S3: Yes. A classic. I believe Jane Austen wrote that one.

S4: Mm hmm. Yeah.

S3: Already you have 60 seconds on the clock. Three, two, one, go.

S4: OK, Rebecca Renner is a science writer on Twitter and she flew across the country to meet this boy. And she’s like a personal tragedy in my life, reminding me that life is uncertain and too goddamn sort. We don’t know what the tragedy is that someone dies. So she booked a plane ticket and now she’s going to go tell this guy that she loves him. The tweet currently has eleven point eight likes and over 600 tweets. She’s an airport. Namaz clear, ready for a rom com moment almost immediately went viral. People being like, I love those people to take more chances. And someone was like, this should be a rom com. It should be a novel. And she’s like, I lived an entire romance novel in the past month then. So the power structure is truly wild. She talks or in a tweet to sell the Redser story also plans Right and Modern Love column, because apparently she went on a road trip with this guy across like Route 66 and was like, we are in love, but maybe not. And so, as you can tell, in fact, we’re talking about this. It did not end well. She’s like, I got rejected. Here’s me and my shitty motel in Ashland, Oregon. Sorry to disappoint Tachometer. And so she does the story with New York Post, with the guy we’re your field is extremely unique name,


S3: which I won’t be repeating on him. I will be repeating on here

S4: and did so with the permission. But he’s not

S3: a public figure and she very much is and. OK, when we’re done with this episode, I want to talk about this for six hours with you, because I’m fascinated.

S4: I like I feel like I just start yelling towards the end. I’m just like, I need to get out everything that’s in my brain right now. Also, Route 66 sounds fake. I was like, wait,

S3: that’s a thousand cars like a Pixar universe of car. Life is a

S2: highway.

S3: Wow. OK, so what is your final addition to the just tweeting through it romantic saga of one Rebecca Renner?


S4: It’s a two part sentence. It has two clauses. The first clause is that she has over 100 followers on Twitter. So I just immediately had the little voice in my head. That is you. That was like whenever someone who is already kind of Internet famous tries to go viral, I’m immediately like, Hmm. And I was like. And in your head, that’s exactly what you sound like. I’m like,

S2: what do you mean?

S4: And then she also did this New York Post piece. And in the piece she says, We are being forgiving of each other, to which I have many questions, which is what do you have to forgive him for? He you you flew across the country to surprise him. And I tweeted it to thousands of people. I would be set. You need to apologize to him.


S3: I have a question that I need you to answer, which is not violating the rules because. Oh, you it’s I’m asking, did she write the New York Post article or did they interview her?


S4: They interviewed her. She did not write it. But, you know, you might see this coming to a modern love column near you if Miss Runner has her way.

S3: OK, we are going to go use our inhalers. And while we do that, think about why it’s a good idea that none of us ever tweet. When we get back from the break, though, we are going to shift gears and talk about Tic Tacs latest viral earworm, a 2005 song from the Backyardigans


S4: apologize in advance for getting this absolute Bangar stuck in your head.

S1: Castella’s We are Castella’s alloyed a we. Castella’s of where we. With no house, no. That’s the way the hard.

S2: Castaways.

S3: All right, we are back and we are stuck where we are with no house, no car. What I’m saying is we are castaways

S4: fact, no cap,

S3: no, we’re going to talk about how to talk, has given a perfectly fine, actually a very good children’s television show about a tiny pink cartoon who is friends with most and a penguin and a kangaroo, how the show got a second life as a viral phenomenon.

S4: We are going to talk about how, like every third video on tick tock is somebody throwing it back or remixing castaways, which has led to the song hitting the top of the Spotify Viral 50 chart, which has some kind of murky calculus. I have no idea how this is calculated, but it’s number one. That’s all you need to know. We’re going to get into the how and why of it all. And perhaps more importantly, why tick tock position as an ever churning factory of nostalgia bait all but ensures that this exact same thing will happen again in approximately two weeks or is happening right now.


S3: Whose thing we’re going to take? This is chronologically, as one can, with the caveat that tick tock by design really does not like.

S4: No, they hate immunology.

S3: Yeah. To help a person make a timeline to help the person find an original source creator.

S4: Is this by design? Is it a sign up? We’ll never know, but we can somewhat traces back to one woman on Tick Tock announcing that Backyardigans is on Paramount plus which to my knowledge is just a repository for like Cheers and Backyardigans and nothing else. Please no one tell me what else is on this platform.

S3: I that’s it. And I have only seen one of those and it’s not. Cheers.

S2: Hey, I was watering my plants, but they don’t notice that kids born after 2013 do not know perpetuator. Kids like this ugly has that little boy. So that’s why I’m here, to push our kids onto the fresh and shoot sea buffs that you require and the game was making. OK, now let’s get into the immaculate flavor of what is Backyardigans music part. But this morning in every tax bracket.

S4: So it pans over to her in her living room, I’m guessing, and her TV is on the floor. This is important. The TV is on the floor behind her playing the scene from castaways and she is in front of the screen just doing a little like somber move, like dancing along, adding in her little ad libs like throwing it back to this absolute bar. Oh, hit that ball.

S2: No, hit that with that one.

S4: I love that video. I love every single one of those videos. She has a series. And I think that the one with castaways is like part four in her series. And they mostly feature her kind of either sitting down scrolling through Paramount Plus or one of them features her watering her plants.


S3: I like that she’s watering her plants with an empty wine bottle with a cap in it.

S4: How else do you what are your plans?

S3: Madison, Fairpoint. We will link in the show notes. But if you want to go find her, her name is Leesha on Tic-Tac and she’s at Swag Surf with three FS. So this series from Swag Surf starts in early March. The castaways video is from the beginning of April. So this trend has been brewing for some time now. A nice, slow build.

S4: But so before we get into the kind of may rise of castaways, we kind of have to do a little background on what exactly The Backyardigans is for getting, you

S3: know, the time machine.

S4: Our audience member

S2: is familiar

S4: with the immaculate flavor of the Backyardigans.

S3: I am mostly familiar with The Backyardigans because I spent one summer as a very lackluster, glorified babysitter for a five year old. And, you know, it buys you some time where you don’t have to engage with a five year old. Several episodes of The Backyardigans.

S4: Oh, I would say same, but I wasn’t babysitting because it was my little brother. But I spent a lot of time with a lackluster, like, older sibling who didn’t want to actually babysitting. And so I just I put on Backyardigans so I could probably sing most of these songs from memory, given the opportunity to

S3: this is the opportunity to

S4: highlight. I’m not going to take that opportunity anyway. The show started in 2004. It lasted for four seasons and ended in 2013. I think the most important thing about the show is that it was created by a black woman named Janice Bourges. And I’m just going to say I really feel like the BOP’s, the flavor all come down to the fact that a black woman had the major creative hand in this.


S3: The show was on Nickelodeon. It stars a tiny pink being not of this earth. She’s a unique creature and that is her name to unique. And her little gang of friends, as I mentioned, a kangaroo, a moose are really testing my memory here. There’s one more penguin. There’s a penguin. Pablo, Pablo, the penguin. Sorry, Pablo. Sorry to this.

S2: Pablo High legal high. Jerone. Pablo, you’re a castaway on this desert island, too. You bet you. Oh, we thought we were all alone. Nope. I’m definitely here, too, huh?

S3: All right. Shout out to Evan Lurie and Doug Wesselmann, who wrote the music and lyrics for these Bopp’s. So, as we mentioned, the the timeline of the show airing lines up perfectly to the childhood of most GenZE year slash an era where young millennials or middle millennials like Rachel and myself would have seen this show passively. You know, we weren’t actively it’s consumers,

S4: but it was always a route. If you had younger siblings, if you babysat, you would probably be familiar with the concept of this show. And like the Backyardigans theme song at the very least, which means that it kind of has all the perfect makings of a tick tock sound, which is Ubiquiti catchiness, simplicity, endless ability to be remixed and covered, which gives us the current moment we’re in where every third video on my iPhone app is just people doing some to castaways, something, anything, everything, all of its castaways.

S3: In case you haven’t experienced that particular joy, we’re going to create a little FIP experience that’s for you page in tick tock parlance right here on ICEE. Why am I starting with probably the most simple of the options, which is just a straight up clip from the show that has been like a million times on Tick Tock


S2: Castella’s we

S4: are Castella’s. So this clip, it’s just the clip of the show. So it’s unique. And Pablo and Tyronne just doing a little kind of a bossa nova dance in a backyard’s. It’s all in this like supersaturated kid’s colors. Like it’s that that’s the entire video.

S3: Castella’s if that’s not your vibe, there are covers. There are covers of covers. We’ve got indie pop culture.

S1: We look at.

S3: We’ve got bossanova. We’ve got not great choir kids.

S2: Here we go, castaways, we are castaways.

S4: We’ve got black church castaways.

S2: We have a whole.

S3: They don’t end here, the joy, the joy expressed, that is castaways, we’re just getting started, there’s a tick tick I really love of a guy just absolutely roasting the Backyardigans

S2: Backyardigans from least the most talented, I will say too much. You know, kangaroos, not a fight. But anyway, your singing is off key black.

S4: You look hot every so because you can actually see this video. I’m just going to give you the order from least to most talented blast. We have asked them the kangaroo. All righty then. Tyrone the moose. Right. Pablo the penguin. Tarsha the yellow hippo, followed by none other than the most important character on the show, Miss Universe.

S2: I don’t know what animal you supposed to be, but to me, you like a mutated rodent. But either way, this was the boss at the backyard.

S4: And because it’s tick tock, we can’t just have, you know, people roasting cartoon characters. We also have to have dances. So there are a few dance routines which they’re all set for the castaways theme song, which at this point I’m sure you can probably sing because you’ve heard it so many times on this show specifically. But the ones that we are talking about are made by two very popular tick tock dance accounts. They are the Basement Boys, which are three Canadian boys who dance in their basement. It’s very self-explanatory. And then there is Austinmer, who are two dancers who just dance to every popular tick tock sound, basically, and both of them have over a million Tic-Tac followers, which is kind of really important in terms of the scheme of how far this sound is going is once the kind of really big accounts start hopping on a trend, you know that it is indeed popular and also probably about to be on its way out. But there’s also some interesting kind of like representation talks. Like people seem fully convinced that these anthropomorphic animals, they are also people of color. And to be quite honest. Yeah, like uniquely black s name, like unique being black problem. People are saying he’s Latino or indigenous. Tyronne, I’m sorry, that’s also a black name. And so there are just a few tick tags in this kind of vein of being like these characters who are saturated pink and blue and orange. They are people of color and these dark thoughts are not wrong. I’m going to I’m just going to say that I’m going to go out on a limb and say that


S3: the bigger question here is, why did this happen? Like, what about Tic-Tac was the perfect medium. For the the rise, the return, the rebirth of the Backyardigans,

S4: the triumphant return of Uniacke was brought on by the fact that, as I’m sure most people who have used Tic-Tac before know is that Tick-Tock is kind of a bit of a nostalgia factory.

S3: That’s true. Like the sounds that often go viral are new songs that quickly become ubiquitous or like remixed older songs that already have some ubiquity and castaways, as evidenced by the fact that Rachel and I to people who never anecdotally, Rachel and I, to people who who never watched the show as children know all of the words is a very scientific study. It has been peer reviewed. The peer is Rachel.

S4: We are the peers reviewing.

S3: We are the peers reviewing castaways hits into that second category. Yeah, the Backyardigans Renaissance actually reminds me of there was a moment in March where Out of the Box, which was a 90s children’s television show on the Disney Channel hosted by just two lovely souls. Tony and Vivien had it had its had its sort of moment, like Tony’s daughter joined Tick-Tock and it all transpired to Tony and Vivian singing the show’s closing number together on Tic-Tac. And I was very tickled.

S4: I just cried. Of all the pandemic reunions I was forced to consume, this is the only one I really wanted,

S3: truly, and I didn’t even know it. But it speaks to the idea that the the captive audience is on Tic-Tac span an age range, but it’s not. What we’re trying to get at is right that Tic-Tac is not just that newfangled app that I like young kids use. Like everybody’s on tick tock right now. It’s extremely fun. It’s extremely entertaining. And it means that, like, when things like this or God, I’m I’m sorry, but I swear this is a decent parallel. The West Wing has also had a bit of a tick tock renaissance. And I think it’s for the same reason that The Backyardigans has, and it’s that there is a generation of people using this app who know that show intimately and therefore are ready for the interpretations of it as comedy, as dance routines, as thirst, you name it.


S4: You brought it home. And I’m going to I’m going to bring it home even further to another kind of I mean, this is what Harry Potter is so popular on the app. Like it’s a specific generation. Antwine Like what?

S3: Harry Potter. I could talk about the West Wing.

S4: Fine. But Harry Potter and Twilight both have very large fandoms on the app, but most of them are not it’s not fandoms in the same way that you kind of really expect it to be where it’s like somewhat rabid, somewhat uncritical. It is mostly people who engage with it when they were much younger and have a certain nostalgia for it, but also fully acknowledge that it was not great, like their their half way making fun of it, especially in regards to Twilight. It is mostly all jokes, but like they also fight you about it, you know, and that is kind of the perfect description of like the kind of tick tock nostalgia that has become the abs bread and butter.

S3: Yeah, I just we’re all sitting there ready for tiny micro doses of the hell of a drug that is feeling kind of old and a little bit wistful.

S2: Hey, Tony. Hey, guys. Thanks, everyone. Home safe, safe and sound. Great. So you ready to sing goodbye? Sure. All right. So long, farewell to you, my friend, goodbye.

S3: All right, that’s the show. We will be back on your feet on Saturday. So definitely subscribe. It’s free and the best way to make sure you never miss an episode if you’re checking us out for the very first time. Welcome. We’re so glad you’re here in our backyard. And if you liked what you heard, please leave us a rating and a review and Apple podcasts. And in the meantime, if there is a children’s cartoon viral thing happen in that you would like, explained a


S4: Harry Potter fan at a set to prank by Kesha that you would like to speak to me about.

S3: Drop us a note at Icee. Why am I at Slate Dotcom or follow us on Twitter at. I see. Why am I underscore pod isoo?

S4: I am. I is produced by Daniel Shrader, a supervising producer as Derek John Force McManus, Slate’s culture editor, and Gabe Brothas Editorial Director of Audio. See Online or not. I think you’ll call them Ed and Larry,

S2: and it’s Bob and Larry. I knew it wasn’t. Oh, no. Ed and Larry are West Wing characters, but you lose.