Persons are roleplaying a fictional ‘Woodchuck Revolution’ on TikTok
- TikTok users role-play memes in a fictional “woodchuck revolution” by using a remix of the famous tongue twister “How Much Wood Would a Woodchuck Chuck Use”.
- The trend was started by Pip Petersen, 21, who posted a video introducing the concept after hearing AronChupa and Little Sis Nora’s “The Woodchuck Song”.
- In less than a week, the trend quickly spread and people joined the “Team Human” or “Team Woodchuck” sites and even wrote original songs about the conflict.
- You can find more stories on the Insider homepage.
TikTok has gone completely dystopian as its creators, driven by a musical rendition of a well-known tongue twister, create lore about a fictional “woodchuck revolution” in which they fight an imminent woodchuck invasion.
In a matter of days, what started with a single TikTok set for AronChupa and Little Sis Nora’s “The Woodchuck Song” has grown into a fully fleshed-out universe in which fighter pilots sacrifice themselves to hold back the woodchuck’s front lines and coat resistance fighters Sell your fellow men for “a million feed” and tooth saboteurs destroy the woodchuck army from within. There’s even a Change.org petition asking multiple film studios to adapt the Woodchuck saga.
But let’s go back – what on earth is the “Woodchuck Revolution”?
“I think it’s just a dystopian futuristic society where woodchucks have taken power and now people are struggling to survive,” trend creator and “woodchuck resistance leader,” 21-year-old Pip Petersen, told Insider.
The meme was made so dizzying that even if you missed it earlier in the week, the woodchuck revolution has likely either hit your TikTok For You page or is about to hit it.
The ‘Woodchuck Revolution’ began with a fancy remix of the classic tongue twister
The fictional revolution might not have happened if Petersen, an astrophysics and math student who works with @piptersen on TikTok, hadn’t come across an EDM remix of the classic Woodchuck tongue twister.
On Saturday he posted a video with a green screen effect that showed him dramatically in a cave with the caption, “POV: You live in a society toppled by woodchucks and you hear their battle song in the distance and know yourself and the resistance must fight the last battle for your freedom. ”
The core of the joke is the audio. The Swedish singers AronChupa and Little Sis Nora record a well-known tongue twister: “How much wood would a woodchuck throw if a woodchuck could throw wood”.
With reverberant vocals, sharp drums and a snappy cadence, the song’s arrangement evokes both a battle cry and, as one commentator noted, “the next offspring” [movie]”- a popular Disney Channel franchise whose music has EDM-like” Let’s Fight “vibes.
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Petersen told Insider during a phone call that he frequently tries to make “fancy” point-of-view (POV) videos on TikTok. In this case, the idea was audio first: Petersen found the “Woodchuck” remix via another filtered, lip-synchronized video.
One such TikTok from @nannybrendalee, posted on January 3rd, garnered almost 250,000 likes. The original audio itself was uploaded by @houseofalbatraoz, the record label that released “The Woodchuck Song” on July 20th.
Petersen saved the audio without thinking too much and revisited it later when the desire arose for a new video. From there the woodchuck revolution was born.
In the days since Petersen’s original video, people have turned it into a full universe
The hashtag #woodchuckchallenge has become a place for the expanded lore of the Woodchuck Revolution universe and has had nearly 28 million views as of Friday. Petersen and many others have continued to make videos, many of which play on established tropes or imagery – think Katniss Everdeen with a bow in “The Hunger Games” or Luke Skywalker learning that Darth Vader is his father.
Now users of either Team Woodchuck or Team Human are in an increasingly elaborate conflict.
While many of the videos use “The Woodchuck Song” audio, others have continued the narrative with new twists. TikToker @joshuaturchin created a jazz version of the song and titled its video “POV: The Woodchuck Jazz Band Plays Their Battle Song As Humans and Woodchucks Fight”.
There is even talk of “Woodchuck: The TikTok Musical” after a number of creators who were part of the TikTok musical “Ratatouille” began to release original songs or concepts for a hypothetical production.
“This was the second musically related Woodchuck thing and I’m afraid that a whole musical will be made by the end of the month,” commented TikTok user @bunchesofbudgies on one of Christian’s videos.
“If you saw the Ratatouille group chat, you’d be even more afraid,” replied Christian.
Read more: How a 2007 Disney-Pixar-inspired musical ‘Ratatouille’ took over TikTok
Almost a week after its inception, the Woodchuck Revolution Meme has grown so much that many are no longer even using the original audio – the concept by itself is so powerful that the context is not needed. Now the Woodchuck revolution is all-encompassing and includes other TikTok trends such as “main character” memes or “The Wellerman,” a shanty hymn that is currently a TikTok favorite.
The ‘Woodchuck Revolution’ evokes TikTok’s collaborative spirit as well as familiar tropes
Petersen said the phenomenon reminded him of similar TikTok trends in the past, when creators insatiable pushed the boundaries of a concept. In terms of success, he suspected that current events and the ongoing pandemic contributed to its virality.
“With COVID, it’s so important to build a sense of community,” he told Insider. “The ‘Humans’ and the ‘Woodchucks’ can each start their own little community and expand in their own creative ways. I think that feeling of developing the community itself through something like TikTok might attract people to this trend.”
There are precedents for this kind of thing: In 2014, Tumblr users came up with a fictional “skeletal war”. and at TikTok, one-off jokes and videos can go way beyond their original limits. While it feels almost cliché to notice that we are far behind the “new” phase of our normalcy, these kinds of all-encompassing memes have evolved on TikTok over the course of the pandemic, leading users to elaborate, far-reaching collaborations.
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When it comes to the woodchucks specifically, the meme had to appeal to a generation of people who grew up amid the growing popularity of dystopian, revolutionary youth literature such as “The Hunger Games” or “Divergent”. Familiar tropes, an unbearably catchy audio clip and limitless worldbuilding potential formed a perfect storm to start on TikTok.
While it is not clear how long the woodchucks will be invading users’ For You Pages, Petersen said he had “no expectations” for the trend to continue exploding in a manner similar to the “Ratatouille” musical.
“But you know, if it continued like this, I wouldn’t stop people from fighting the woodchucks,” he said.