Music News

Harlem Shake vs. Gallon Smashing Prank: Which Meme Will Destroy America First?

I know you don't care, but I made a Harlem Shake video. Don't worry, I'm not gonna show it to you. Because I am naive when it comes to the internetz, I actually was a little surprised when it didn't become an instant viral hit. I'll be 100 percent honest with you: I made the video solely to make money. I've read somewhere that YouTube personalities like Tay Zonday and Freddie Wong make enough to cover their rent and expenses, so it seemed like a short shot to instant cash, letting me quit my job, and just lounge around all day taking bong rips with other micro-celebrities and sometimes making YouTube hits on the weekends. Sometimes, an Internet trend can feel like a lottery ticket.

But you've got to move quick as hell: The Harlem Shake trend is already over, and in its place emerges a much more disturbing trend: Gallon Smashing.

See also:

-Top 10 "Harlem Shake" Videos From Phoenix (Plus One New Times Made)

Let's backtrack. I didn't get rich by posting my Harlem Shake vid. Instead, I got into a weird, half-drunk argument with a close friend while standing in my underwear in the cold, holding a can of WD-40 and a lighter. It's less weird than it sounds, just like these videos are less weird than they look. The lighting was god-awful and our video gained only 165 views. Please don't Google it. It's embarrassing.

I did learn some important lessons about memes, however. As soon as the Bauuer videos became popular, it became instantly popular to hate the original trend. Wong is guilty of this; rather than making his own version, he just said, "We don't do this any more!" Already? Wong gained 4.9 million views just by being contrarian. Someone told me that it's a hundred bucks (in ad revenue) for every 100,000 views, so that's like a new car for him. Well, if he bought it used.

This entire thing happened in less than two weeks. Now in its fourth week, everyone is pretty sick of Harlem Shaking (myself included), despite how fun it was to begin with. This astounds me, that a joke can spread this fast, splinter into a thousand different versions, and disintegrate in less time than it takes the moon to orbit the Earth. I know the exact same thing happened with Keyboard Cat and Scumbag Steve and planking and whatever else, but I never really realized how disposable our Internet culture truly is. Is there some danger in this?

Cue the Gallon Smashing Prank. After watching this video, I found myself laughing out loud and rolling on the floor laughing (man, if only I could abbreviate those terms) until I peed my SpongeBob underpants. But then I saw copycats. And more copycats. Copycats of copycats. A copy of a copy of a copy. You get it. Whatever. Unlike the Harlem Shake, the more of these videos I watched, the more I laughed. It starts out innocently enough -- some fucking kid pretends to slip, tosses his gallons of milk in the air and makes a huge mess in a grocery store. People are shocked! They try to help him, even though he does not actually need help! He did this on purpose, you guys! Holy shit, comic gold!

It gets better: Soon, it's not just milk jugs that get destroyed. Soon, kids are knocking down light fixtures and damaging display racks. The kids pretend less and less, and soon they're just playing basketball with their Shamrock Farms fluid. What's next? Pushing down all the shelves in some twisted domino effect? Well, close.

All in good fun, right? I did much worse things when I was a kid, like steal fire extinguishers and set dumpsters on fire. We didn't have the Internet when I was young. But let's think back to the Harlem Shake. Sure, dozens of those videos became hugely popular. But think of all the videos that didn't get watched. God, there must be thousands!

I shouldn't have to tell you why it makes you a bad person if you imitate this prank, but here goes nothing. You're wasting food, you dicks. Perhaps that's why cow juice was 88 cents at the beginning of February and now it's nearly the price of gas! You are making a mess that someone else cleans up, you dicks. You entitled, spoiled idiots. Most of all, you dicks have ruined it for anyone else who enters the grocery store, ignores the "Slippery When Wet" sign and gets a concussion. People are just gonna start pointing and laughing at everyone who cripples themselves in public. Society will collapse! Order, common sense, and general decency will slip out from under us and we'll be lying spread eagle, dazed in a puddle of our own shameful white fluid! (Just like after I made love to that one chick . . .)

Well, maybe that's melodramatic. But the Gallon Smashing Prank has become less prank and more war zone. I'm afraid to go to the grocery store now, especially near any aisle that has gallons of something. I cower whenever a teenager walks by holding a jug of Donald Duck orange juice.

But I'm not saying that you should stop doing this just to be contrarian and "edgy" and whatever. Actually, my point is much different than that because I secretly hope people do continue to do this so that they get arrested. That'll be even more funny. Hey, turns out this already happened in Utah! Sucks to be you, you stupid fucking brats!

So what now? Well, maybe we could lower the drinking age to 16, so kids will find something productive to do. In the meantime, let's remember that memes are serious business. And you should never copy a trend just to make money. And if no one watches your video, don't cry over spilled milk.

Troy Farah still has a phone without internet access at

See also:

-Top 10 "Harlem Shake" Videos From Phoenix (Plus One New Times Made) -10 Greatest TV Themes of All Time -Top 10 Hard Rock Venues in Phoenix

Follow us on Twitter and friend us on Facebook

KEEP PHOENIX NEW TIMES FREE... Since we started Phoenix New Times, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Phoenix, and we'd like to keep it that way. With local media under siege, it's more important than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" program, allowing us to keep offering readers access to our incisive coverage of local news, food and culture with no paywalls.
Troy Farah is an independent journalist and documentary field producer. He has worked with VICE, Fusion, LA Weekly, Golf Digest, BNN, Tucson Weekly, and Phoenix New Times.
Contact: Troy Farah