And I LOVE it
I don’t know if spending all my time online has made me lose my goddamn mind, but I am well and truly obsessed with ‘Johny Johny Yes Papa’. I hum it in the shower, I shimmy to it on the train, I belt it out at my desk to supportive cries of ‘shut up’, ‘not again’, and ‘I’m calling HR.’
To provide you with a little context – and change your life for the better – ‘Johny Johny Yes Papa’ is a child’s cartoon about a father (Papa) and his son (Johny). The most-shared version, which went viral on Twitter a couple of days ago, goes like this: Papa catches Johny eating a sugar cube, he then confronts his big-headed baby asking “eating sugar?”, Johny asserts “no Papa”, to which his father asks “telling lies?”, Johny again confirms “no Papa”, only to be greeted with “open your mouth” by his unconvinced father. But Johny, unfazed, laughs it off. And, all the while, they’re dancing to a certifiable bop.
There are tons of versions of this narrative uploaded to YouTube, with the original seemingly dating back to 2009 – this rendition is set to the tune of “Twinkle Twinkle Little Star”, and is much more lo-fi than the viral nightmare above. The newly popular version, featuring an apparently fuckable Papa, is the creation of ‘new age media company’ Billion Surprise Toys, who create 3D animation videos for kids, and have been active on YouTube since 2013. As far as I can tell, the first appearance of Johny and Papa (as we know them) on the Billion Surprise Toys channel came in November 2017.
Since then, there have been countless videos of similarly unusual family scenarios uploaded to the channel, which Mashable reports make up only a small portion of disturbingly weird (AI-generated) children’s cartoon videos on YouTube as a whole. (For more on that disturbing trend, read James Bridle’s 2017 “Something is wrong on the internet”).
Although the cartoon definitely has some questionable themes, there is no denying that the Billion Surprise Toys series is particularly catchy – basically, I love this version of ‘Johny Johny Yes Papa’ (hereby known as ‘JJYP’), and will now succinctly list my reasoning below.
IT’S AN ABSOLUTE TUNE
TBH, the list could probably end here, given this is 90 per cent of the reason I love ‘JJYP’, but where would be the fun in that? The combination of video game sound effects, glorious harmonies, and just the catchiest beat ever makes for a winning track that should absolutely, definitely be rated at least 9/10 on any music publication worth its salt.
DAMN, THAT DAD CAN DANCE
Papa’s got moves. Not concerned by the fact his baby is five times the size of him, Papa is throwing some serious shapes. From the wave and Beyonce’s “Single Ladies”, to what can only be described as Gangnam Style-style bopping, Papa’s dancing adds a whole new layer to this pop culture sensation.
THE INEXPLICABLE ICE CREAM CONE
Okay, so the ice cream cone does not feature in the viral dancing video you may have seen of ‘JJYP’, but is a regular recurring character in the rest of the videos on the Billion Surprise Toys channel. And I need to know: what the fuck is its deal? Is the anthropomorphised ice cream a member of the family? In the OG video, it lounges on the decking like a tired auntie, and sleeps in the bed with the baby (which is pretty weird). Surely Papa should be more concerned with the fact that Johny is spooning a massive glove-wearing ice cream cone every night, rather than obsessing over whether he’s scarfed down a teeny tiny sugar cube? I have so many questions.
THE GROWN UPS’ OBSESSION WITH LIES
Is there a lying epidemic among today’s youth? Are sugar cubes disappearing from homes at a faster rate than the pound is dropping? Maybe the reason every adult in the cartoon is obsessed with lies is simply because Billion Surprise Toys couldn’t be bothered to think of any more lyrics, and sure I’m here for that. But I prefer the idea that Johny is actually a pathological liar whose head grows every time he lies.
IT MAKES ZERO SENSE
I love the fact that ‘JJYP’ makes no sense – but being governed by logic as I am, I also have a few questions. How old is Johny? He has the ability to dress himself, brush his own teeth (well, gums), and get the bus alone to school, but he’s technically depicted as a baby? (Albeit a massive baby, which is another question altogether.) Why is Johny eating sugar cubes – is he actually a horse disguised as a baby? Why are they dancing, and why can’t I find the original dancing video on YouTube?
Most importantly, who is watching this? Who is it even made for? Here is a possible explanation from Billion Surprise Toys’ website (spoiler: this does not make sense): “(Our videos) inculcate them (kids) some very important values like sharing, loving, to be kind, learning common etiquettes in the growing stages.” Cool! I’m not sure how much the series succeeds in inspiring me to love, share, or be kind to ice cream cones – but my God, haven’t they made a bloody tune.