Millions on YouTube an epic war between a race of evil toilets who have taken over the world, and the TV-headed revolutionaries who are fighting back
Earning millions of viewers since its launch this February, Skibidi Toilet is frenetic, unpredictable, funny and at times genuinely unsettling. Growing more bombastic with each season (it’s already on its 15th), it tells the story of a vicious battle between the titular toilet-dwelling villains, who have taken over the world, and their enemies: a group of revolutionaries with various hardware for heads, including TVs, cameras and speakers. In each episode, one side gains the upper hand, before losing it in the next – a powerful commentary on the cyclical, brutally repetitive nature of war.
The Skibidi Toilets are truly terrifying, whether they’re scuttling around with spider legs, looming in the sky as gargantuan spaceships, lunging towards the screen as a many-headed hydra, or adopting the appearance of policemen, soldiers and priests (do we detect a hint of wry political critique? Are the toilets, in fact, the very forces which oppress us under late capitalism? Or would a psycho-analytic reading be more apt? Do they instead represent the monstrous return of the Freudian anus? Much to ponder...) But as frightening as they are, they can be killed simply by flushing them – which is a convenient Achilles heel for an evil toilet to have.
The lo-fi nature of the animation, which is made using Source Filmmaker and assets grabbed from video games like Half Life 2, makes the whole thing even more disturbing: as many have pointed out, it’s like Slenderman for the chaotic and overstimulating post-internet era.
While Skibidi Toilet feels like a grotesque hallucination of the internet itself, the series is the work of dafuqboom, an animator based in Georgia who has been making films for nine years. The original inspiration was a recent TikTok meme, in which user yasincen dances to a Turkish song – this is what the toilets now sing, often in a distorted, demonic pitch, as they charge into battle or advance towards their prey. Starting out as a spin on a niche bit of online ephemera, the series has become a full-blown phenomenon (with over a million TikTok followers and 10 million YouTube subscribers), and caused scores of baffled outsiders to realise that they’re not quite as online as they had thought: this is what the teens are watching these days!?
The series might not be for everyone, but it’s hard not to admire its visual ambition, the way it keeps upping the intensity again and again. In fact, its action scenes are more gripping than those of many blockbusters released in recent years. After a string of big-budget flops, and with the superhero movie in terminal decline, could these weird, horrible toilets be the answer to Hollywood’s prayers?