By Rachel Zimny
The Adult Swim commercial bumper trend on TikTok has been everywhere for the last week. Thousands of creators are making their own creative takes in homage to the programming block.
TikTok is known for its rapid trend cycle and ingenuity amongst creators, but something about this trend is special. For those unfamiliar, Adult Swim is a programming block broadcast on Cartoon Network at night. It hit peak popularity in the mid to late 2000s although it’s still popular today. One of the unique parts of their programming is eye-catching commercial bumpers consisting of cynical quips, funny animations, and great music.
The trend features a short, unnamed song produced by New York musician Vano 3000 that was never included in Adult Swim’s programming. The song is reminiscent of the network’s catchy, sped up loops. With this backing track, creators have taken this trend in incredible directions. Creators pair it with personal, relatable scenes and jaded, comical advice. User @ghettoironman, for example, staged a scene about suffering through a miserable shift with customers complaining, her tagline being “We know your job sucks,”
Another creator, @theceramicshack, filmed removing a piece of pottery off the spinning wheel to reveal Adult Swim’s iconic logo, [ as ] .
It’s interesting why people are so keen to pour such creativity and devotion to these commercial bumpers.
Nostalgia no doubt is a large part of the reason. People want to remember simpler times, especially after the last year and change of grief and uncertainty. Users have utilized this trend to show snapshots into their life, their internal monologue, and their childlike creativity and imagination in a way other trends haven’t. I know personally this trend reminds me of sneaking to the den in my parents’ house after everyone was asleep to catch glimpses of the grown-up programming on Adult Swim. Perhaps it has something to do with the programming itself, which was and is entirely adult animation and anime. Something about the freedom of animation with the bite of the commercial bumpers inspires a feeling of warmth and recognition. It’s inspired a completely different result in the what creators have made each time.