The Out-of-Touch Adults’ Guide to Kid Culture: Who Is Wednesday Addams?

The Out-of-Touch Adults’ Guide to Kid Culture: Who Is Wednesday Addams?

This week’s look at the secret world of kids and teenagers sees us examining a dubious TikTok orthodontic trend, singing songs about poop, and enjoying the absolutely delightful teen show Wednesday. Strap in.

Everyone is watching Wednesday

You’re probably asking yourself, “Steve, what are the kids watching on the television machine?” The answer: Wednesday. (The cool kids, anyway.) The series has only been available for streaming for a couple weeks, but it’s already one of the five most-successful Netflix series ever.

Wednesday gives its comically dark protagonist a breezy series full of weird monsters, mysteries, jokes that are actually funny, and all the goth you can handle. It’s a great show on its own terms, but it’s also interesting because of just how many generations have discovered and been delighted by the character of Wednesday Addams. She first appeared in 1938 in cartoons drawn by Charles Adams for The New Yorker — although back then she didn’t have a name. Fast-forward to 1964 when Wednesday Addams appears in the short-lived but influential sitcom The Addams Family. Then, in 1991, Christina Ricci’s portrayal of Wednesday steals the show in The Addams Family and its 1993 sequel Addams Family Values.

It’s just cool how Wednesday Addams appears in popular culture every 27 years or so like a leisurely werewolf to enthrall a new generation of young people who prefer the dark to the light. Plus, any show that makes The Cramps’ “Goo Goo Muck” trend on TikTok is obviously awesome.

What is “mewing” and why has it taken over TikTok?

Have you heard of “mewing?” It’s all the rage on TikTok these days. Here’s how it works: If you want to have straighter teeth and/or a more pronounced jawline, you rest your tongue on the roof of your mouth with your teeth closed and stay that way as long as possible. That’s all. I can’t believe my folks wasted all that money on braces.

The technique was invented by controversial British orthodontist John Mew in the 1970s, but started gaining popularity among insecure incels a few years ago, and has since gone online-mainstream by growing in popularity among young women. The #mewing hashtag on TikTok has nearly two billion views on TikTok. It’s full of before-and-after videos documenting successful mewings (that look like someone stuck their chin out for the “after” pic to me), “scientific” explanations for how it works, instructional videos, and more.

The big question is: Does mewing actually work? The answer is: fucking of course not. Legitimate orthodontists and common sense agree that you can’t change your bone structure with your tongue. The bigger issue is that so many kids are so unhappy with how they look that they’re falling for this shit.

But hey, at least it’s free to mew, and it doesn’t seem actively harmful (unless you use it to replace legitimate dental work). Still, if these kids understood how much worse they’re going to look in the future, they’d be gazing lovingly in mirrors all day instead of doing tricks with their tongues.

Matt Farley: the Elvis of songs about poop

My niece recently introduced me to the musical stylings of Matt Farley, the undisputed king of songs about poop. Farley hit on a positively genius idea several years ago: Record tens of thousands of original, improvised songs that have the words “poop,” “fart,” and “pee” paired with someone’s name, upload them to Spotify, Apple Music, TikTok, and anywhere else that will host them, then wait for children to find them and play them over and over again.

Farley’s scatological tracks, recorded under the name “The Odd Man Who Sings About Poop, Puke, and Pee” are about as mediocre as you’d expect, but when you hear the one with your name in it, you go, “OK. I get it.” (Go ahead and go to Spotify or Apple Music and enter “[YOUR NAME] + Poop” in the search bar to see what I mean.)

I can’t find any info on how much Farley actually earns with his unique job, but even the pittance that platforms like Apple must pay per stream has to add up eventually. (Yes, I am bitter because I did not have this idea first.)

Spotify Wrapped memed into something interesting

It’s the end of the year, and that means Spotify is releasing its personalised round-ups of the music you listened to in 2022. These social-media-shareable advertisements are really popular among people who assume that other people give a shit, and that means kids and teens. I wouldn’t be talking about a streaming service’s marketing gimmick if it wasn’t for the much more interesting meme response: Dating wrapped.

The tag “dating wrapped” is made up of mostly women summarizing their year in dating with hilarious and fascinating results. The trend started with TikToker AmberwavesofBrain, who loves socialising and Power Point and went on 18 first dates in 2022 where she says she learned nothing. Adri_Mitchell says she went on 40 first dates and found no difference in dating success between Tinder, Bumble, and meeting men in clubs. I went on only one first date in 2022, but it turned out it was actually a doctor’s appointment.

Viral video of the the week: I Went to the MOST EXPENSIVE AIRBNB in the WORLD!!

Over two million young people on YouTube have watched or shared a video called “I Went to the MOST EXPENSIVE AIRBNB in the WORLD!!” by YouTuber FaZe Rug this week. I get it — it’s a succinct and intriguing premise that practically begs you to click it. But I hate this video.

I don’t begrudge this kid and his friends for being able to afford to rent this house — good for them — but they’re just so uninteresting. And so is the “most expensive Airbnb” — it’s just a shell with beige walls and hardwood floors designed to hold billiard tables and hot tubs. It looks like the kind of place a company rents so their salespeople can spend a weekend with the people they work with.

It’s all so empty, from Faze Rug’s wide-eyed, YouTube-cliche line readings, to the fake-arse competitions he and his friends do to fill up the video long enough to monetise it, to the obvious product-placement and synergy between this YouTuber and Airbnb. In spite of the cast’s forced enthusiasm for playing wiffle-ball and horseshoes, there’s just nothing fun about any of it. I’m going to binge more Wednesday now.

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