What Is Horse Plinko? Who Is Vanessa?

Listen to this episode

S1: Freddie, you’re supposed to be on lockdown, Vanessa. This is my entire for you, please. Hi, I’m Madison Malone

S2: Kircher and I’m Rachel Hanson and you’re listening to I see. Why am I

S1: in case you missed it?

S2: Please podcasts about internet culture.

S1: Rachel, I’m so sad. Why are you sad? Because you’re going to leave me soon?

S2: That’s right. I’m going into the great beyond. Also known as France,

Advertisement

S1: to be clear, Rachel’s not leaving the show. She’s just taking a vacation and perhaps overly attached.

S2: Imagine if this is the house announcing my farewell. Actually, Madison, I do have something to tell you now, but we’re at the red table. It’s said I’m not bringing you back anything.

S1: Well, we’ll always have Paris, or at least you, well, I’ll be here

S2: as many vacations as you gone on without me. I feel like this is my chance to get back at you miss. I go into the woods once a month and stay off the internet.

S1: One time in one year, I’m very excited for you. I look forward to season three of Emily in Paris. Malarious in Paris. Emily Empathy. Rachel in France.

Advertisement
Advertisement

S2: Yes. That rhymes.

S1: Look, I’m trying. Netflix is trying. I think if you ask the general population of Emily in Paris viewers, they would not know that that title is supposed to be a little rhyme you play.

Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement

S2: I just realized that it’s a rhyming play,

S1: as is what I’m saying.

S2: My jaw actually just just wait.

S1: I’m saying Emily Chris in Paris two four weeks now. Would you just think I was insane?

S2: Yeah, sometimes you just say, should not my guards. That’s not a

S1: dollar for every person in my life who has at some point said yes, and you just say things and I let you and I nod. I would have at least ten dollars.

Advertisement

S2: I mean, I feel like it’s a sign of how much we love and respect you. I generally assume that you’re talking about something. I think I think that it’s a deficit on my part that I don’t know what you’re talking about. So I just don’t. I’m like, Well, I’m not going to reveal that I’m more dumb. I already don’t know where musical theater references so well. All right, we’ve lost the plot.

S1: Rachel, perhaps the best way to answer those questions would be to ask, which does bring us to the theme of today’s episode because it is a mailbag day where opening the mailbag and it is time for us to answer some of I see why am I guys burning questions that you’ve sent to our DMs and our email?

Advertisement
Advertisement

S2: Well, congrats on bringing us back to the plot, which is that we have a whole episode of read receipts today.

S1: I want to see the receipt. Oh, Rachel, I believe you mean whose receipts?

S2: I can’t even be mad about it.

S1: Thank you.

S2: After the break, we’ll be back answering questions about tick tock sounds, cooking videos,

Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement

S1: Tumblr

S2: and more. And we’re back

S1: first up, we’ve got a question from ABC asking about a weird and pretty prevalent tick tock sound.

S3: Hi all, love this show! My question is about that tick tock sound that I keep hearing. That’s like. But Vanessa, I am a material girl. I know what a material girl is. Obviously, I know where that comes from. But who’s Freddy? Why is he on lockdown? Is it because he’s a robot? He kind of. Sounds like a robot would love some clarity. Thanks so much.

Advertisement

S2: AC have come to the right place. Madison, who’s ready? Why has the lockdown? Is he a robot?

S1: Does it matter? We’re all on lockdown. It’s been years, Freddy to start with. We’re going to play the audio that AC is talking about. Freddie, you’re supposed to be on lockdown in Venice.

S4: I’m a material girl

S1: to pick apart this audio. You actually need to know that there are two different trends converging to create this, Vanessa. I’m a material girl meme. That’s the only impression you’re getting. You’re welcome. Near the end of last year, a clip of the song Material Girl, not the One by Madonna, but by saucy Santana starts making the rounds on Tik Tok. Chanel’s appearance at the Shriek Daddy takes the cake. The grime people used it to post videos of bits of luxury they were indulging in or jokes about indulging in luxury because Tik Tok loves earnestness and irony in equal measure. So this could be like someone buying an actual luxury Chanel handbag in a Chanel store. Or it could be, you know, for me, the personal height of luxury, which is going to McDonald’s to buy myself an afternoon depression Diet Coke.

Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement

S2: We will talk more about that after the show, but keep going.

S1: While this trend was surging forth, another trend starts emerging over on gamer talk. Over there, people are making jokes about a clip from the latest entry in the Five Nights at Freddy’s video game series Five Nights at Freddy’s security breach. In the game, you wander around a closed mall while being hunted by what I can best describe as murderous Chucky cheese esque animatronic robots.

S2: That sounds like my fucking nightmare. Chucky E. You scared me as a child, and Chuck E. Cheese like robots scare me even more as an adult,

S1: Rachel, I don’t think you need to fear Charles Entertainment Cheese.

Advertisement

S2: Don’t tell me what to do.

S1: So in that game is a scene where security guard Vanessa confronts the titular Freddie, who is one of the animatronics. Freddy, you’re supposed to be on lockdown, Officer Vanessa.

S4: I do not know how I got here.

S1: Well, people started playing with this audio making Freddie respond with just all sorts of answers. Freddie, you’re supposed to be on lockdown, Vanessa.

S4: Where the hell have you been, Luca? Vanessa? Life goes on and on and on

S1: and on,

S5: Vanessa. We don’t talk about. No, no, no.

S1: And then somebody finally merges these two trends giving us, Vanessa, I’m a material girl.

Advertisement

S2: I had come across this TAC audio organically and loved it, had no idea where it came from. I was just like, what a wild world the internet is. And now that I know, I’m still just like, Wow, what a wild world the internet is. I love this.

S1: It’s just another illustration of how rapidly TikTok can iterate on itself and how much TikTokers to my glee love to weave together different memes and jokes that come from the app. Sometimes you can only understand TikTok if you are always on TikTok, which does lend itself to the overwhelming feeling that you’re always missing something. Just why we’re here.

Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement

S2: Stream, I see. Why am I?

Advertisement

S1: Except when we’re not. Because let’s be real to be human is not to be on Tik Tok 24 hours a day.

S2: What do you mean? I just have it always going in the background.

S1: I’m worried. I’m really glad you’re taking that vacation.

S2: OK, next question.

S1: Listener Kevin writes, You’re probably already looking into this, but what in the world is going on with at the shop a kitchen on Tik Tok? They make that weird grape pasta video and videos of countless other disgusting concoctions, and they need to know what it all means. The incongruous ingredients, the copious amounts of parsley and charcuterie cheeses, the refusal to boil pasta seven question marks. Are they serious? Is this some kind of kink? No shame. What’s happening?

Advertisement

S2: Kevin, you’ve come to the right place. Once again, all of you have come to the right place.

S1: I also would like a dollar for every person who over the course of making this show, has asked us if a cooking video is secretly a kink thing.

S2: The answer’s always yes. I’m sorry to say, unless it comes from the Food Network, in which case if it’s a king gets by accident. The Shalwar Kitchen, however, seems to be trading on the weird videos that emerged sometime during the pandemic that feature a woman usually standing behind a beautiful kitchen island. I’m always jealous of their kitchens and a man is recording her. You only hear him. You never see him. I have never once in my life seen the man recording the video, but he’s just encouraging her in a way that is reminiscent of pornography. And the Shaba Kitchen specifically is in the genre of a woman cooking at her extremely beautiful kitchen while seemingly her partner films her and they post unhinged videos like the aforementioned weird great pasta, which consist of green grapes, brie, bow tie pasta, walnuts and parmesan cheese.

Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement

S6: And I’m just going to slowly pour these into here in our casserole dish, and you’re going to want to evenly distributed these, making sure there’s none on top of the cheese, and you’ll see why in a bit. Now I’m going to take some whole walnuts, and I’m just going to add these right on top of our grapes here,

S1: just like that. Can I say something controversial?

S2: Oh God, what are you about to say?

S1: It doesn’t sound that bad. Oh my God. It’s like a hot chicken salad kind of thing.

S2: Madison, this is where your whiteness shows,

S1: I look, I’m not trying to hide this.

S2: Yes. So the issue with the pastor is less of the ingredients, which I’m not going to say. I agree with Madison, but if it was in like a fancy chicken salad at a restaurant, I’d be like, Yeah, sure, whatever. It’s that that the way that they cook this pasta, as listener Kevin points out, is that they combine all of the ingredients beforehand, usually with cream cheese. They like cream cheese and then they stir it all together. Keep in mind, the pasta is uncooked at this point. There’s there’s very little water involved. They start all together and then they stick it in the oven and then they take it out. And when they when they take it out, they always do this like stirring sound. And it just always sounds so wet and I don’t like it. It’s really uncomfortable. Set up Madison. I see the things that you’re making.

S1: You don’t even let me get in my, you know, before they cook it. It’s roster joke. Some of the other non pasta dishes include a deep fried avocado with a hard boiled egg inside and some, let’s say, imaginative chicken leg preparations. Just imagine, like the most dirty things you could do with a chicken leg. That’s pretty much what we’re talking about.

Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement

S2: Look, maybe we’re talking beer. Listen, I don’t trust that our audience won’t go too far. It’s not that dirty. It is weird.

S1: And trust them.

S2: I believe what’s fascinating about this specific account is that it only has 12 videos posted, but 10 of them have over a million views, with five of those breaking 10 million views, which lets me know that the Shaba Kitchen knows exactly what it’s doing. It’s trading on the genre, which I think first emerged on Facebook. VIDEO That is where I first encountered a lot of these videos, and they were all in the kind of lineage of tasty videos, BuzzFeed Tasty videos. But BuzzFeed Tasty, while they did use copious amounts of cream cheese, did not seem to be running at home porn studio in their house

S1: that we know of. If you know anything, to the contrary, we are listening. Yeah, it’s true, actually. The shop kitchen has like a pretty big Facebook arm too, with like tens of thousands of followers over there. So it does make sense that this is like the logical conclusion. So to answer your question, Kevin, we are I feel we have explained to you why this stuff goes viral, which you already had a pretty good hand on. But as we said before, when it comes to weird food videos, this definitely just might be king content. And if it’s working for you,

S2: we’re happy for you. No shame in this game. The only shame is if you make this food, and I feel like at least 70 percent of the views on these videos are all people asking the same questions that Kevin asked, and the other 30 percent are the ones that we’re like, no shame in the game.

Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement

S1: So what you’re saying is, if I hypothetically had some great brie walnut pasta cooking right now in my oven, I would be shamed.

S2: Yes. Cool. Cool. Keep that to your. That’s an inside thought after the break. We’ve got more inside thoughts.

S1: We’re going to be talking about core memory TikTok. And, well, here’s the phrase I never thought I’d say horse Plinko Tumblr. Hey, I see why my guys, if you want to support the great journalism slate, does consider joining Slate Plus, it means you’ll get no ads on any Slate podcast, including your favorite one. Oh, come on, don’t make me say it. I so am I. But seriously, the show would not be possible without support, and Slate Plus really does help us keep making episode after episode every week. You’ll get bonus segments or extra episodes of shows like Slow Burn and Anarchist Culture Gab Fest. You’ll get unlimited reading on the slate website, access to every article and in Vice Column Slate has to offer, and you’ll never, ever hit the paywall. Sign up at Slate.com. I seem I am I plus again at Slate.com. I see. Why am I? Plus? All right, we are back with another question. This one comes from listener Molly.

S2: Molly asks. I took some time off from the internet to study for the degree. A congrats for actually taking time off. B Congrats on taking the GRC back to the question. And when I came back to my favorite and only social media platform Tumblr Molly, I love you. Everyone was going absolutely nuts about horse Plinko. I think I missed round one of the meme and now it’s completely incomprehensible. Where did it come from? Why did it suddenly get so popular? Is it OK to still be on Tumblr in 2022?

Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement

S1: I’m putting this in the category of questions that I cannot be certain you did not see it from an all email, Rachel.

S2: I would never fake taking the green, not even in an email like Godspeed. See you, Molly!

S1: I do need to come clean and tell you that the minute I hear the word Plinko, I immediately hear Macklemore in my head. Why there’s that line and can’t hold us where he’s like, Got that Bob Barker suit game and Plinko in my style money. And I just it’s playing in my head right now and I wanted it. Play in your head, too.

S2: Oh my god, that’s what do you say?

S1: Why did you think he was saying?

S2: I don’t know. I think I’m realizing that I don’t actually listen to song lyrics. I think I just hear sounds and a B, and I’m like, All right, go, we’re going. The amount of times you’ve told me what people are saying in a song and I was just

S1: like, Oh, like Ben, I’m still going to actually says Venom. OK, so Rachel, I must ask because I, like Molly, have no idea what’s going on here. What’s horse Plinko and why is it on Tumblr?

S2: OK, so we got to start from the very beginning, which is a GIF of a CGI horse falling through a Plinko board. Does that make any more sense? No, but I’m going to make it make sense. Thank you. So Plinko is the infamous famous price is right game of chance where in which these tokens get dropped down a board with like rows of bumpers throughout and they bounce the token into a random slot at the bottom and there’s like money associated. I’m going to be honest, I’ve never actually watched. The price is right, so this is all me kind of conjecture on what Plinko get it.

Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement

S1: You’re young

S2: anyway. So the horse give has nothing to do. Originally with Plinko, I know this comes as a shock.

S1: Continue, please, I beg.

S2: It actually comes from a 2017 video made by two students at the University of Minnesota. The video has to do with kind of like simulating the movement of objects, but I I cannot emphasize enough that I am not equipped to go any further on the subject, and I quote applying the alternating direction method and multipliers optimization algorithm to implicit time into creation of elastic bodies. So this is where the knowledge of the original video stops is the student video that has to do with people who are much smarter than I am. Go go first. Why did you know that?

S1: I just I just do anyway.

S2: Okay. Well, more to discuss after this recording. But this is also where the internet stops. As in just the GIF, nothing to do with the alternating direction method of multipliers. Nobody is posting this horse animation on Tumblr to get into computer science weeds. They’re just laughing at a horse that’s tumbling down through some pegs.

S1: OK. This is actually finally starting to make sense to me, that’s the first sentence you’ve said where I have nodded my head and gone. I see now.

S2: Yes. Horse tumbled down through pegs. Keep that in mind. In 2017, this GIF was posted on Tumblr by fruits of the web phenomenon username and received over 12000 likes and blogs between 2017 and 2020, which is like a decent showing, but not a lot.

S1: OK, that was five years ago.

S2: Yes. Oh God. 2017 was five years ago, anyway, so yeah, that was five years ago. Shit starts popping up in August 2021 because somebody takes the GIF, realizes what a horse fallen through some pegs looks like Plinko and adds the phrase horse Plinko at the top and importantly, a fire animation at the bottom. So it looks like the horse is falling into an incinerator.

Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement

S1: Again, I’m nodding. This makes sense.

S2: So this version starts popping up on YouTube, Reddit and Discord for the next few months. But from what I can suss out deduce, the instance that family is specifically referring to is when it popped back up in December of 2021 because Tumblr user at Skull Dash, Sarah. Posted a version of the GIF rotated 90 degrees, so it looked like the horse was moving from left to right. Running away from the incinerator rather than falling down to the bottom of the incinerator, that post gained a little over 35000 likes and rewards in four days.

S1: If you like me are trying your damnedest to picture a Plinko board, a horse who claims the horse running from the flames, we will. We will share some of these things on Twitter.

S2: Yes, yes we will. And that’s why it’s Plinko to answer the more important question of is it OK to still be on Tumblr in 2022? The answer is yes. No shame, no shame in this game.

S1: Yeah, the only the only shame in the game is that I don’t. I’m trying to make a Plinko joke and I can’t get there. All right. You’re in luck. No pun. Yeah. Yes.

S2: Christmas came early, really early.

S1: Now that horse Plinko is out of the way, though, let’s wrap things up with a question from listener Ryan about core memory. Tick tock

S2: Hale. I’m just wondering what’s going on with all these Tik Tok videos with core memory and the inside out music playing

S1: their weird and a little annoying.

S2: I have noticed this the phrase Kircher memory becoming part of the TikTok lexicon along with Material Girl, but I didn’t actually know there was a trend associated with it.

Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement

S1: Yeah, I mean, look, Ryan, I get it. This is so earnest, it is physically painful. However, apparently I’m just aging at a rapid rate because I find it kind of sweet. Wow. Look, I am who I am. Well, Ryan’s talking about is a genre of video where people post what are called their core memories. Like, I’ve seen, you know, videos of a woman who gets her law degree or somebody getting engaged way, way, way too many gender reveals it’s weird to have a party, but your kid’s genitalia. But OK.

S2: Oh, what? How is that? Whose core is that the core memory for the parents or for the child? When you said gender reveal, I was like, Oh my God, trans people coming out. But no,

S1: no, no, no, no. Core memory for the parents. So the phrase itself comes from the movie Inside Out, which Ryan alluded to where core memories are major events in a person’s life and those memories define who we are. The plot of the movie is that the core memories are gone. Oh no, what are we going to do? Mindy Kaling help.

S2: I got to say all these Kircher memories sound really happy, and I feel like my core memories are not not happy.

S1: We can unpack that. We’ve got a lot of things were unpacking off Mike after the show what it is about the mailbag, but we are just wilding today, so the videos themselves have one of two songs usually playing. So one option is a piano piece by musician Dorian Marco. Here’s that. Or the other song, and this one’s my favorite is the song bundle of joy from the inside out soundtrack, though interestingly enough, it does seem like there are two versions of the inside out track going around, one of which is a little slowed down and pitched a little lower than the real version, probably to skirt around copyright. As you said many times on the show, Ticktalk does make it tough to find the starting point for a trend, but there are tons of videos from the last, let’s say, month where this really takes off. And honestly, it’s not much more than, you know, a trend that sits squarely in one of TikTok’s favorite places. And one of the best growth hacks on the app, which is being genuine and almost embarrassingly sincere.

Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement

S2: Also, importantly, if your core memories are things like weddings, engagements, gender reveals, you probably dressed up for it and you look nice. So it’s a good way to show people you look in your best. Again, my core memory is not me looking my best.

S1: It kind of reminds me of what was that trend we talked about. Was it future self or former self?

S2: Oh yeah. It was like past self or some past self.

S1: Yeah, yeah. I feel like writing open letters to little tiny you who hasn’t grown up and figure things out yet. Yeah, same sort of heart string tag.

S2: That’s song that whatever song played on there was really sad. I loved it.

S1: Wow. We absolutely have to end here because Rachel just admitted she genuinely like something earnest on Tik Tok. We will catch you in our next episode.

S2: All right. That was the very chaotic show. We’ll be back in your feed on Saturday, so definitely subscribe. It’s the best way to never miss more chaos. Maybe next time we will actually delve into the many reasons Man Madison should go to therapy. If you have any more questions that you want us to answer, please, please send them to us. If I see why my underscore pod on Twitter or email them to us and I’ll see why am I at Slate.com? We love hearing from you all, and you all have incredible questions, clearly.

S1: I see Why Am I is produced by Daniel Schroeder, were edited by Forrest Wickman and Allegra Frank. Amber Smith is senior manager of podcast Audience Development. Alicia Montgomery is executive producer of Slate Podcast. See you online

S2: or improv or maybe just because a minor key always makes people tear up.

S1: Well, if it’s pitch down, it doesn’t necessarily mean it’s in a minor EPS and believe

S2: it’s trying to sound smart

S1: and you have to do it. Then you go gophers.