'Skibidi Toilet' isn't mindless — it's a 'cultural touchstone' that captures the anarchic spirit of the internet
- There's a war going on between toilet and camera-headed people, set in an orange, dystopian future.
- It's called "Skibidi Toilet."
In a haunting dystopian future, the world is over-run with toilets. Not just any toilets — Skibidi Toilets, humans infected with the Skibidi virus, which has morphed them into a military of lavatories with heads.
Humanity's only hope is an army of hardwear-headed soldiers who have been swept into a seemingly never-ending battle against the toilet pandemic, facing ever-more-powerful enemies who take their orders from a terrifying leader nicknamed the G-man.
This is the story conceived by the creator Alexey Gerasimov on his YouTube channel DaFuq!?Boom!, which has grown with a speed and scale rarely seen before on the platform.
It reached supernova levels of virality around May this year, becoming an obsession among the internet's youngest users, Gen Alpha.
Lots of people also think it's stupid, maybe even dangerous, a further dose of viral poison for impressionable minds.
Insider spoke to experts who said that was selling short a wildly compelling phenomenon that is popular for a reason.
First though - what is it?
Gerasimov kicked the whole thing off with an animation of a head suddenly emerging from a toilet, singing an edited snippet of the tune "Dom Dom Yes Yes" by Biser King.
That choice itself was a convoluted meme — Turkish creator Yasin Cengiz made the song famous by belly dancing to it in various places around the world.
Someone then remixed it with "Give It To Me" by Timbaland and the language of the Skibidi Toilets was born.
Since then there have been dozens of episodes set in this orange-hued post-apocalyptic land as this surreal virus spreads, with their song-dialect getting more and more distorted. It's part "Terminator," part "Bladerunner," and obviously, part toilets.
Gerasimov posts at least one episode per week, often only a minute or so long, told from the perspective of a nameless character capturing the brutal war with his camera. There is no dialogue.
Flying toilets somehow tug on the heartstrings
Our narrator films the onslaught of Skibidi Toilets, some with rotor blades that give them the ability to fly, while others are armed with lethal weapons. Their biggest vulnerability is right there — the resistance can simply flush them to destroy them.
Often the toilets attack the viewer, sometimes successfully, leaving him in desperate need of rescue from Cameramen and other allied forces (Speakermen and TV Men).
There is an endless arms race as both the toilets and their foes producer stronger fighters, up to the towering Titan Speakerman, who was himself swept away in an instant by something bigger, and even infected with the virus at one point, leading him to turn on his team.
It sounds mindless. But each one gets up to 85 million views — so surely it's doing something right? The narrative sucks you in from the start. It gives you hope, then rips it away.
"It ain't bad," said YouTuber Ludwig Ahgren in a video as he was about halfway through the total Skibidi oeuvre. "This kind of fucking rules."
An "unprecedented" success
Earnest Pettie, a viral-video historian who works on YouTube's Culture and Trends team, said he's hardly ever seen someone explode like DaFuq!?Boom!.
Creators have tried in the past — Ninja grew 20 million subscribers in a year, while Dream hit 14 million.
In comparison, DaFuq!?Boom! has 35 million subscribers at the time of writing.
"It's 50% higher than those numbers, which were to me mind-boggling at the time," Pettie said. "In my 15 years of web video experience, I can't recall something quite like this."
Skibidi Toilet is essentially a web series, Pettie said, a genre where hitting these kinds of numbers is "unprecedented." It's not self-contained either — it's "sneaking its way into everything," Pettie said.
Creators like MatPat of The Game Theorists has speculated in-depth about what the series could represent.
Meta-toilet content abounds — fanfinction, cartoons, streamers playing Skibidi-inspired video games. You can even buy plushies.
The 1985 song "Everybody Wants to Rule the World" by Tears for Fears features in some videos as the theme of the resistance, propelling it back into some music charts 38 years after its release.
The lore is just as important as the actual content of Skibidi Toilet, as viewers fill in the blanks of how the world collapsed and toilets took over.
"It's a viral phenomenon, it's a creative innovation," Pettie said. "It is a cultural moment, it'll be a cultural touchstone. It's really unique in that regard."
Lucy Ford, a writer who is an expert on memes and viral phenomena, told Insider that "Skibidi Toilet" might be "the most genius thing that's ever been created for the internet."
"Every episode is so bizarre, but also quite gripping, and as it goes on, it becomes almost emotional," she said. "It's something compelling in a shitpost's clothing."
Capturing the soul of the internet
There's a nostalgia element, too, to "Skibidi Toilet."
It is made using animation assets from old games like "Half Life 2," and has an endearingly basic style, like the old internet.
"It kind of looks like the stuff that would've been floating around the internet when I was a teenager online," Ford said.
In that sense it echoes earlier viral crazes like "Charlie the Unicorn," "Shoes," and Flash animations that you might find on a site like Weebl's Stuff.
"It kind of reminds me of a very chaotic time when everything was entertaining because it was on the internet," Ford said.
The people who get it, get it — the digital natives who grew up with the internet as part of their daily lives. "The internet is a language that you either speak or don't," Ford said.
Pettie agreed that "Skibidi Toilet" is a generational moment.
"The anarchic spirit of the internet is something that we've just continued to build on," he said. "For many people when they think about their childhood, this will be one of those things that they can kind of come together and reminisce over."
"Skibidi Toilet" is probably totally unique in its weirdness.
"I think that there are moments that are kind of replicable but not repeatable," Pettie said, giving as an example the Harlem Shake dance that took over the internet in 2013.
"We've had a million things like the Harlem Shake since, but we haven't had the Harlem Shake. I think this is like that. We'll have many things like this, but we will not have this."
Ford said she definitely thinks "Skibidi Toilet" is "melting people's brains," but sees the whole phenomenon as weirdly wholesome.
"I would rather have someone's brain melted by that than, I don't know, these manosphere podcasters," she said.
"If someone's going to sing that song instead of parroting misogyny, that's cool with me."
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