13 years ago, I wrote about a 16-second video I instantly fell in love with and interviewed its creator. (It still holds up.)
This week, I saw a meme pop up on TikTok where literally tens of thousands of people re-enacted the Colin’s Bear Animation dance — but with no reference to the original and entirely different audio.
Instead of Mother 3’s “Funky Monkey Dance,” the soundtrack is a deep-fried muddy version of Pharrell Williams’ “Happy,” which seems like it was first uploaded to TikTok by @zunknownhamster, kicking off the meme with this video viewed 1.5 million times.
Stripped of its original “college animation class” context, the new meme format cracks a joke about the name of some movie, show, game, or other media property, followed by “idk i never watched it” or some variation.
There are over 22,000 of these:
stranger things fans when things get stranger
death note fans when the death is noted
jojos bizarre adventure fans when jojos adventure is bizarre
when you stay at your friend Freddys house for about a week
when people build forts in the night
skyblock players when there’s a block in the sky
You get the idea.
But how did it end up on TikTok? I messaged @zunknownhamster to see where they first found it, but it’s clearly sourced from Kemdizzzle’s Garfield Dancing to Happy, uploaded to YouTube in June 2019.
That video replaced the audio from this February 2017 episode of Fatal Farm’s Lasagna Cat, a surreal webseries that ran from 2008 to 2017, and featured this pitch-perfect tribute to Colin’s Bear Animation.
Arriving 13 years after the original meme, it wouldn’t surprise me if most of the people doing the Colin’s Bear Animation dance on TikTok had never seen it before. Around 25% of TikTok’s user base wasn’t active online, or even alive, in 2008.
By definition, memes mutate and find new life and meaning over time. I’m just happy to see it keep evolving.