In Review: Skibidi Toilet

Review by Tim Robins

Run for the hills! Keep your kids away from their computers! Skibidi Toilet is here! Don’t go to the lavatory! Tim Robins’ mind teeters on the brink of insanity as he explores the new social media phenomenon gripping the imagination of Generation Alpha...

Skibidi Toilet

Skibidi Toilet is the biggest internet craze you have probably never heard of. Created by YouTuber DaFuq!?Boom!Skibidi Toilet features an ever-escalating war between toilets with dancing heads sticking out of their bowls and man-machine hybrids with the heads of CCTV cameras, speakers and/or TV sets. 

The short, animated episodes have grown from modest beginnings to garner billions of views on YouTube and TikTok. The series began in February 2023. By July, Newsweek’s Ryan Smith reported that “Videos tagged “DaFuq!?Boom!” had been viewed more than 2.2 billion times on TikTok”. At time of me writing this, DaFuq!?Boom!’s YouTube channel has 27.6 million subscribers

Even commentary channels dissecting the very short, animated, episodes attract millions of additional views to their own and others’ channels. “Everyone is suckling at that milky breast of Skibidi Toilet”, observes YouTube content creator Penguinz0 (aka Moist Cri1TiKaL aka Charles White). 

“Anyone who’s even making content around Skibidi Toilet such as ‘Here’s what you didn’t understand about Skibidi Toilet number 33’ (or) ‘Hidden Moments of Skibidi Toilet number 41’, ‘Is this the End of Skibidi Toilet Cameraman in episode 42?’…are also getting tens of millions of views a day. This is probably the biggest branch of content  I’ve seen since Minecraft first blew up, maybe even bigger than Roblox.”

Skibidi Toilet

Episode One began simply enough, with a tracking shot leading to a washroom, past a tiny office worker, then in on a single toilet, its bowel filled with grey water. Suddenly, a man’s head pops up and starts singing, “brrr skibidi dop dop…”. The final shot, the grotesquely grinning head lurches towards you. In all, the sequence lasts no longer than ten seconds. By Episode Four, we have been introduced to mobile toilet legions and then their opposition – so-called cameramen, who begin flushing the heads down their own toilets.

Skibidi Toilet

DaFuq!?Boom! creates Skibidi Toilet episodes by cutting, pasting and animating assets (e.g. non-player characters, scenery and objects such as boxes or guns) found in computer games using GMod tools. This repurposing of existing materials has been encouraged by computer game companies because it promotes players’ engagement with the game which in turn contributes to a game’s commercial success. 

Skibidi Toilet is animated using source filmmaker. The resulting moving collage of material can be found in a number of internet creative genres, including MLGs and machinima. 

Seasoned YouTubers such as Penguinz0 and Pyrocynical were quick to identify Skibidi Toilet as a form of ‘S*** Posting’ – short, provocative, posts designed to disrupt on-line discussions – first named on the image boards of 4.Chan.

Each element in a Skibidi Toilet cartoon has its own historical sources. Skibidi is a nonsense word used to describe a form of eccentric dancing popularised by Russian group Big Little. The song ‘Skibidi dop dop dop yes yes’ is clipped from Turkish group, Biser King’s “Dom Dom Yes Yes” and was popularised by a TikTok meme featuring a heavier-weighted young Turkish man, YasinCengz, belly dancing to the tune

It’s unclear whether or not Skibidi Toilet’s audience know the complete history of the various elements in the Skibidi Toilet cartoon. They are quite capable of making their own connections to popular culture and their own, wider tastes. Writing in the Skibidi Toilet fandom Wiki, Reverse Primal asks, “Does nobody notice the similarities between his cannon and Megatron’s from Transformers: Fall of Cybertron?” and CutieKatCookie notes, “As a Tears for Fears fan, as soon as I heard the music I was like: *INTENSE VIBE*” And, of course, the episodes are quite literally ‘toilet humour’.

Skibidi Toilet

DaFuq!?Boom! has emphasised the random nature of his creation, citing the work of TikToker Paryssbryanne as his immediate inspiration, “I did a parody of her take on the ‘skibidi dop dop yes yes’ meme. (The) Skibidi toilet video was a random thing”. Maybe, but the fact that Skibidi is a word from Russia and DaFuq!?Boom! is suggestive even if it is not clear exactly what it suggests.

At this moment in time, the popularity of a series depicting an ever -escalating war may not be entirely random or meaningless to its young audience, particularly if we recognise their engagement with the animated series as a form of play and the role play plays in allowing children to process, understand and handle stressful situations such as war and even news of war.

The importance of play in children’s lives has recently been emphasised during the COVID-19 pandemic, not just access to play but the role it plays in helping children process and handle information. In a report by the US-based not-for-profit Child and Family Blog CorporationChildren’s Play in the COVID-19 pandemic, the organisation promotes access to play as a way for children to alleviate ‘toxic stress’ which occurs when children are exposed to prolonged and frequent events that are out of the child’s control.

Kids playing war
Two young children at play in wartime Britain in 1944, “attacking the German held French beaches. The boy sails his battleship across the ‘channel’ to bombard the enemy’. His sister is playing with a piece of wood.” Image: © IWM

The COVID-19 pandemic may be yesterday’s news, variants permitting, but war is not. During the war between Russia and Ukraine, news coverage of Vladimir Putin’s threats of nuclear retaliation and wider discussion of a possible nuclear war may have hit children particularly hard.

Research in The Medical Implications of Nuclear War (1986) found that children were particularly impacted by the prospect of nuclear war, with 49 per cent of those children questioned saying that news of nuclear war negatively affected planning about the future and left children feeling pessimistic and helpless.

More recent research on Children’s Reaction to Media Coverage of War, by B Pfefferbaum et al (2020) argues that there is a strong theoretical basis for developmental influences on children’s war media reactions, noting ” Younger children are more affected by news stories with visual cues, while older children are more distressed by stories about actual threat”. Play can help children to work-through toxic stress. And that may well be happening through the imaginative engagement with the Skibidi Toilet episodes.

The turn to nonsense as response to war has been noted by critic Sam Greszez on Polygon, in 2018. He compares “s*** posting” to the Dada movement’s use of nonsensical images as a response to the aftermath of The Great War, including a questioning of traditional authorities such as religion and art. Gresezez sees the peak of shit posting from the United State in 2016 as related to factors such as rise of nationalism, the fall of social mobility and economic uncertainty. 

We can see the celebration of meaninglessness in the films of Hans Richter. His VormittagsspukGhosts before Breakfast, released in 1928, comprises a nonsensical montage of elements, reversed in time.

For ‘boomers’ like me, the animated photograph of a man’s head rolling off his body echoes in the tomfoolery of Terry Gilliam’s cut out animation for Monty Python’s Flying Circus.

So Skibidi Toilet is a spiritual descendent of Dadaist works. Both can be seen to represent responses to wars and rumours of wars. If you doubt the similarity, ask yourself can it be entirely coincidental that Dada’s most iconic work was – a toilet? Or, at least a urinal: Marchel Duchamp’s, 1917 ready-made, Fountain.

Tim Robins


Please note, some links contain profanity

Skibidi Toilet – Season One

• YouTuber DaFuq!?Boom!

• An example of an MLG: Pyrocynical’s MLG Teletubbies on YouTube

Categories: Digital Media, downthetubes News, Features, Other Worlds, Reviews

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