Unwrapping TikTok’s Advent Calendar Drama

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S1: Who is responsible for this Hinge update? Yeah. Here’s Leonardo DiCaprio at the end of Titanic.

S2: Hi, I’m Madison Malone

S3: Kircher and I’m Rachel Hampton and you’re listening to I say, Why am I

S2: in case you missed it?

S3: Slave podcasts about internet culture.

S2: Happy holidays, Rachel.

S3: Oh my god, thank you. Happy holidays to you, too. How’s your holiday season go and you decking the halls?

S2: I the halls have been decked. I have been wrecked. It is approximately December 8th. This doesn’t bode well.


S3: Yeah, I’m going to have to like roll you out of the hospital by the end of the month.

S2: I just love to be festive and I love that we can be festive around other people within reason. Once again.

S3: I love that, too. I just I’m sending up a little holiday prayer for your liver,

S1: my

S2: liver, my arteries, I fried just an innumerable amount of lockers last week. You consumed most of them myself,

S3: as you should, as the holiday season intended for you to do.

S2: But more importantly, that eighth candle of Hanukkah burnt down and I said to my girlfriend, All right. It’s over and I put on all I want for Christmas is you? Because the rest of the month is mine. I can’t see them. I will say TikTok has not ruined but significantly altered how I listen to that song. There was a truncated version of Mariah Carey’s All I Want for Christmas Is You that was going on TikTok maybe last Christmas, the Christmas before who can tell time is fake. At any rate, the lyrics are cut, so it’s just the beginning where she’s like, I don’t want a lot. And then it’s like cuts to a parking lot. The joke is like for Christmas, I would like to not receive a parking lot.


S3: While there kind of a lame joke, it’s me.

S2: What did you expect?

S3: I mean, you’re not wrong, but I my expectations remain high for you because I always expect more and you never give it to me.

S2: That’s true. But Rachel, just to be devil’s advocate, do you actually want a lot for Christmas now? No, you do not.

S3: I would like a parking lot for Christmas. You don’t know me.

S2: Great. That’s what you’re getting.

S3: Thank you. I can’t drive, so I’ve nothing to put in it. That’s actually not me driving the Maddison’s TikTok and the fact that I don’t know what she’s talking about is a great transition for today because we’re going to be talking about a couple of things that have popped up on our respective equipoise, but that the other one hasn’t seen yet. So later in the episode, we’re going to talk a bit about how the dating app Hinge added voice memos into their interface and the chaos that it has wrought on My For You page. But first, Madison, what do you have for us?


S2: I don’t know how else to say this, but the answer, Rachel, is advent calendars

S3: like the the things that have chocolate in them for children that my mother never got me and I’m still salty about. Precisely why are we talking about advent calendars? This feels like very old school. Like, I feel like the Romanoff had advent calendars.

S2: Hmm. Maybe you don’t want one. Things didn’t turn out great for them.

S3: It’s an understatement.

S2: So what I said? No, we’re talking about advent calendars, because advent calendar drama was the only thing on my for you page this weekend and also the for you pages of a lot of people, including listener Viviana Hullo, who specifically requested we talk about this whole Michigan. This one’s for you.


S3: So what exactly is happening with advent calendars like my imagination is taking me to what amounts to twenty five days of unboxing like this is just an expansion of that genre. But I can’t imagine that a lot of people would care about that. So that’s not what’s happening, is it?

S2: That is not what’s happening, though I will say if the unboxing economy’s long hand has taught us anything, it’s that people will watch other people with nice manicures open literally anything. So we’re talking about advent calendars, not because people are enjoying them, but because one advent calendar went terribly, terribly wrong. It’s fancy it’s made by Chanel and it’s a piece of shit. After the break, we’re going to get into all of that mess. We’re going to talk about Advent Calendar Talk, why watching these basically glorified unboxing videos is actually kind of fun. And we’re going to get into the drama that gripped the advent calendar world of the weekend. You didn’t even know there was an advent calendar world, and now you’re living in it. Hey, listeners, I’m here to tell you about a new podcast from The Atlantic called the review. Each week, The Atlantic’s team of writers will challenge you to not just watch your movie, but to understand it. It’s not just hear a song, but consider what it has to say. Join the roundtable as they break down a work of pop culture each week, exploring the big questions that great art can provoke, making some recommendations for you and having a little fun along the way. Find the review at TheAtlantic.com or on your favorite podcast app.


S3: And we’re back and I’m ready for Madison to open the first store, a store, whatever door on our own advent calendar.

S2: I’m going to take a minute and put on my Catholic school uniform. It fits a little less well than it did when I was 10. And explain advent. For those of you who maybe aren’t familiar or don’t celebrate Christmas, advent is the stretch of the Christian calendar that leads up to Christmas. It’s like the four roughly the four Sundays in December. Jesus is going to be born, and we’re hyped. That’s advent. We’re counting down the days.

S3: So advent, of course, because it’s America. I think most people’s recollection of it is these calendars, which is just a fancy way to get 25 gifts.


S2: Brilliant. So an advent calendar. My memory is like they’re made of cardboard and you rip open a tiny little cardboard like door. On a box inside each cardboard door is a tiny compartment with 25 little trinkets. Sometimes it’s chocolate. Sometimes it’s a toy, a puzzle, a lipstick, and more importantly, you count down to the 25th.

S3: Yes, a great a great little invention of capitalism. It’s also seemed like a great way to keep your child. I’m not a parent famously, but a great way to keep your child from looking for the Christmas presents that you’re hiding around the house because they have this little thing they can go to and they’ll open the little door and it’s a little gift.


S2: The funny thing about Advent Calendars is they’re kind of old. They date back to the 19th century, and the original ones weren’t literally just calendars. There were no gifts involved. It was just a way to mark the days. Somewhere along the way, the gifts became part of the fun.


S3: I think they became the actual fun, and that’s the only reason we all have calendars on our phones.

S2: Christmas, as you mentioned, is a capitalist holiday, and it’s become

S1: a

S2: a battleground for luxury brands. And the adult consumers of those luxury brands who are trying to find that same many unwrapping dopamine rush they used to feel as kids. The brilliance of the advent calendar, if you’re brand right, is that in addition to it, ideally in theory being fun for the consumer to unwrap all these tiny gifts every day, it’s just free advertising and trial size products of stuff that they hope you’re going to come back and buy in a full size that you won’t be able to bring on a plane. So then you’ll buy the trial size again anyway. That’s kind of genius.


S3: You’re really exposing all these companies again. What does this have to do with TikTok?

S2: So on TikTok since the beginning of December, lots of different people have begun unboxing various brands. Advent calendars like Here’s one from Dior that looks kind of nice

S4: if you you’re like me, if I’m hitting them as all luxury advent kind of. So I thought I’d give you a little look at the your calendar, which is 450 euros, almost half the price of the Chanel calendar. Well, some of these aren’t full size. They’re also not the kind of test sachets and containers that you’d get free with a magazine, which I think was what was annoying people or as free samples at the counter or whatever. I think this one is quite good for the money.


S3: Four hundred and fifty euros, I don’t know the exchange rate off the top of my head, but oh my God, also half the price of Chanel one. There was so many things in my video that


S2: stress me out. That’s about five hundred U.S. dollars is the conversion.

S3: Oh, pretty good exchange rate. So what is in this? Well, I know, do yourself makeup. And they also have like perfume

S2: and tiny perfume, tiny foundation, that sort of stuff. OK, but more importantly, if you listen to what this person is saying about Dior, they’re at the same time mocking the Chanel calendar because that is where the advent calendar took drama begins. The calendar has gone viral because a TikTok art named Elise Harmon has been opening the boxes of the calendar kind of out of order. And she’s less pleased.


S5: Okay, hi, friends. It was a total flop. I’m really not sure how I’m supposed to live, laugh, love under these conditions, but we will prevail. I’m really thinking that 30 is the one for me. So let’s just OK, this is cute. A little baby body cream carol. I’m pretty sure this is enough cream for my left arm. But it’s very cute for, OK, now I’m feeling kind of lucky. I’m feeling really lucky. 24. Hey, I’m not really sure what these are, so I’m going to open them up

S1: the turkey and

S3: it’s a flip. Fuck, how much is this calendar? Because it feels like it’s full of shit.

S2: It’s $825. Eight hundred twenty

S3: five dollars for some enough cream to cover your elbow. Like, yeah, just buy some CRV, truly.

S2: So the calendar contains not just a flip book or a tiny moisturizer, but also crap like stickers, a keychain that has big, you know, made in China Energy, a Chanel dust bag like, you know, the nice canvas bag with the logo and the drawstring in which you might receive a piece of jewelry or a small purse or a fancy leather? Good. No, it was just the dust bag.


S3: Are you joking? Are you fucking with me? What’s the point? What excuse is the $800 ticket price?

S2: Nothing. There were a few Full-Size, you know, traditional Chanel beauty items in the box, and that’s great, but you could just buy those. The only good thing anyone has had to say about this calendar is it comes inside of a box that is shaped like a Chanel perfume bottle. The packaging from the outside is really beautiful, so it’s not terribly surprising to me that a person who’s got eight hundred and twenty five bucks to kill on a Chanel advent calendar because why not would say, Oh this? Looks really beautiful. This is from Chanel. I’m going to buy it.

S3: I don’t even know if I would buy it if I had $825 this spare, but I do know that if I did buy, I’d be pissed off. All I got was some stickers.

S2: Elise has made many TikToks about this calendar at this point, and they’re very funny. And after she went viral, she posted one claiming that Chanel on TikTok had blocked her.

S5: Oh hey, I just wanted to check in and let everyone know. Chanel just blocks me. They asked me, What’s not clicking Chanel? Something’s wrong.

S2: The thing is, after that happened, a bunch of other TikTokers started reporting that Chanel allegedly so burned by Elisa’s Tic-Tacs, which are fiery. I’ll go for that that Chanel had deleted their TikTok account.

S3: OK. I mean, how many? How many views did Elisa’s video get?

S2: Her most popular one as of right now clocks in at about 14 million views.

S3: Oh yeah, that that’s more than respectable, but that doesn’t. Quick enough for a multimillion dollar luxury brand to just wipe their account.


S2: Rachel, I like your your instincts because they’re correct. So that didn’t actually go down quite the way that it’s being purported to have on tick tock,

S3: tick tock flying.

S2: Right?

S3: Shocking.

S2: A convenient narrative. So Chanel has a private account with no likes and no follows, and it is possible that somebody over there blocked a lease. But it’s also possible that she misunderstood what she was seeing when she went to Chanel’s account page and saw no content.

S3: Why does Chanel just have an empty account? I bet

S2: they comment. Or maybe they’re, you know, sitting on the name and going to launch a TikTok strategy. At any rate, a Chanel spokesperson said that it had never been activated. No content had ever been published, and it has no subscribers and no subscriptions, and the page therefore appears empty to anyone who visits it. It is also possible that whoever is running that account saw those videos and in a gut reaction, did in fact block a list. But what they didn’t do was then wipe Chanel’s entire TikTok footprint.

S3: Yeah, yeah. OK, well, that’s fun. It was more fun when I thought Chanel was beefing with Elise, but OK.

S2: Maybe the funniest part of all this is that Chanel is very clear on their website about what comes in the advent calendar. You can see all of the images of real items before you buy it. Yes. Whoa.

S3: OK. I don’t. I’m all. My sympathy is lost. Like, the sympathy was kind of low because it was $800, and that seems like a lot of money. But like, I don’t it’s not my fault. You didn’t check the click through the images on the website.


S2: I think the thing that is most maddening about this is despite the fact that she’s been just, you know, taking Chanel to task for a week at Elise is making a free Chanel ad, that person posting about the Dior calendar free Dior ad. And by talking about it, I guess. Well, we just did the same thing.

S3: And after the break, we’re going to be talking about another kind of ad, which is one for yourself. That’s right. We’re talking about dating apps, and that’s wrong. We’re not talking about my dating life. Sorry, Madison. Damn it. After the break, we’re going to talk about the new thing that Hinge has introduced the new hell that it has wreaked on my life, the piece it has destroyed by adding voice memos to its platform. These voice memos have taken over my entire FIP because dating apps are terrible regardless, but now they feature your voices. It’s just disgusting.

S2: More on Rachel’s dating life after the break. All right, we are back and we’re talking about Hinge Voice Memos, is that right? Yeah, yeah, we are.

S3: The thing is, this is the one funny thing that has come out of Hinge recently because otherwise it’s kind of a wasteland. But what’s funny about the fact that it’s coming across my flip is that it started just as I once again boycotted the dating apps. So, you know, if any of you are in love with me, now is the time to say,

S2: OK, I have to admit I have not seen any of these videos on TikTok. So, Rachel,

S3: so the funny thing is that the reason I deleted hands for the 27 time was actually the voice memo feature. What? Yeah. So if you’re not single and are not online and you don’t know a hinge is God God bless you. But it’s a dating app that basically provides a series of pre-approved prompts for you to choose from the fill in on your profile. So Tinder lets you write your own bio, and that’s it. So a lot of people have blank bios, but on Hinge, you have to fill out. Like, I think one of the prompts, the structure of the prompts are theoretically supposed to lead you to be more creative, but a lot of them are just really embarrassing. For example, the key to my heart is, or I’m weirdly attracted to my favorite one is changed my mind about because let me tell you, do a lot of straight men reveal themselves when they use this problem? So change my mind about whether or not women are inherently weaker than men? Truly incredible. Anyway, the thing that made me delete the app was not an answer to that. It was it was like my special talent is and I clicked on this voice note because I’m an idiot. And you know what? The voice note was, Madison. Do you know what it was?


S2: Was it? Did you get Rick Rawls was like, never going to give,

S3: you know, I respect that. I would respect that. You know, it was a twenty second long fart noise. I love being gay. I. And I was like, the I think what made me really decide to click the little X was I couldn’t tell if this was a real fart or a mouth fart. And the fact that I was sitting here asking this question to myself made me realize that I was in a dark place.

S2: OK, but now I really want you to re download the app and just ask him for research.

S3: No, I shall not be doing that. But what we do have access to is people who have a heart in your stomach or leave the better eye for content than I do, because screen recordings of men’s voice notes have absolutely taken over my SYP. Gimme gimme. There’s kind of two genres of this kind of video, which is women who date men just posting kind of compilations of them. Like this one?

S2: Kinsey is broken

S1: up. I live by and I’ve been trying to make all my I limbo. I once went on a date with a girl who I later found out to be married. Yeah. Not an ideal first date. Now that is back, and please don’t ever put okay.

S3: That video goes on for another like, I think, a minute and a half.

S2: I got to say that made me laugh a little bit. My question here is, are these working for any man?

S3: I don’t know. And that’s actually a good question to hold in your head as you listen to this next one.


S1: My greatest strength is going down on a woman. And if you let me go down on you, this is what it sound like. Oh, no, no, no, no, no, no.

S2: I laugh. I’m sorry.

S3: I love to like some of the like. That’s the thing. A lot of them are depraved, but at least some of them are funny. So I said, there are two genres of this video. The funniest ones are the ones that are curated by women because they they know what’s funny and what’s depraved. Then there’s the one where it’s just men who think their voice memos are so good that they have to share them with the internet. And I think the funniest thing about this is that it reveals that there are particular prompts that men just gravitate towards, specifically celebrity impressions.

S1: OK. This is my impression of Shaggy from Scooby Doo. But if he watched a lot of TikTok who like this is like Scoob. Our table is broken. This is my impression of Andy Circus auditioning for the role of Mario as his character, Gollum from Lord of the Rings.

S6: Well, from Mo

S1: High, it was my impression of the Wii sports announcer supporting his friends at a bar. Nice shot.

S2: A rich text, Rachel, I liked this, I enjoyed this.

S3: I, you know, this is this might be where we diverge because what these scream to me is a man who thinks he’s funny. And as a woman who is actually funny, going on a date with the man who thinks he’s funny is is just the recipe for disaster

S2: that I will grant you.

S3: I feel like dating apps even more than meeting someone in real life can either tell you absolutely nothing about a person or tell you one thing, which is that they are walking red flag and voice memos are just extremely telling. I’ve heard my friends have sent me screen recordings of voice memos where it’s just a man saying that all he’s like, What do I want in a partner? And it’s like a woman who will submit to me. And so it’s really just like on some level, thank you for being so transparent and letting me know that I should not be engaging with you. But on the other hand, it’s like. A lot of dating apps have prohibited sending photos so that people don’t get unsolicited dick pics and you can’t see what’s in a voice memo before you click on it. So there’s really kind of a kind of sketchy no man’s ground of a lot of these are really funny and completely harmless, if unhinged. Aha. Oh my God. And then there’s the possibility that you can stumble into something that’s like unsettling or offensive or cruel, as I have heard without any warning.

S2: What I’m getting here is once again something on the internet, making things more egalitarian and also possibly worse.

S3: But oh, right, that is a show. We’ll be back in your feed on Saturday, so definitely subscribe. It is still free and the best way to never miss an episode, please, as you’re sitting around your tables this holiday season. Feel free to tell your friends, your family, your enemies, your lovers about the great show. That is I. Why am I? You can also follow us on Twitter at Eissa Why am I an escort pod, which is where you can view most your questions or the random thing that’s taken over your SYP? And as always, you can drop us a note. Why am I at Slate.com? Who knows? We might have you on the show.

S2: I see Why Am I is produced by Daniel Schroeder, our supervising producer is Derek John. We’re edited by Forrest Wickman and Allegra Frank. Alicia Montgomery is executive producer of Slate Podcast, and we’d like to give a special thanks to Amber Smith. See you online

S3: or in an advent calendar.

S1: No, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no.

S3: I mean, I could have been an impression of Cookie Monster

S2: Wave, Oh my God, not Cookie Monster. And my God, has that been the joke all along?

S3: Oh, stop it. Madison No,

S1: no. Oh, and this is what I want to eat. It’s a show for children.