Alek Lewis is a junior journalism major.
The Onion Bagel is a satirical column for The Statesman.
As I stare into the endless void that is my Instagram feed, the one millionth Baby Yoda meme enters my view and catches my attention. I can’t stop my face muscles, as they mold into a big fat grin. This one, which shows a picture of the icon holding a cup of soup, reads “When you wake up feeling a bit cranky-crank, then you put some coffee in your cuppy-cup and take the first sippy-sip,” gets instantly sent to my girlfriend.
That meme is me, every morning.
Baby Yoda is funny and relatable, or should I say, the internet has made him that way. Even though he is a fifty-year-old baby, he exudes personality and warmth without uttering more than a high-pitch baby noise. Social media has molded Baby Yoda’ into a meme machine, one that never stops production and gives me the constant desire to rewatch the Disney Plus show “The Mandalorian,” the Star Wars show that he is the catalyst of.
So, when I watched the Super Bowl last Sunday (for the commercials, of course) I found my mind dwelling on one commercial in particular. That commercial showed the funeral of the Planters Peanut man, as he had sacrificed himself to save two of his friends in a previous commercial a week earlier.
The Kool-Aid Man tears in combination with the lights of the heavens, as the sky opened up to give birth into Baby Nut, a cute version of Mr. Peanut aka another Baby Yoda. It became clear, after this commercial, that babies will become our new entertainment overlords.
So as I lay awake that night analyzing this new development, the question became: Will other companies start creating baby versions of their beloved characters?
My mind shifted to a piece I read back when “The Mandalorian” was released by James Poniewozik, The New York Times chief television critic, entitled “Baby Yoda is Your God Now.” In the article, he discusses the possibility of entertainment media’s future being consumed by the baby forms of beloved characters, as set into motion by Baby Yoda’s extreme cultural presence.
Poniewozik points out that “[Baby Yoda] is vulnerable — we are biologically wired to protect that tiny form and those big eyes — but also, from all we know of the Force and his look-alike who wielded it, almost unimaginably powerful.”
Baby Nut shares all those distinct features with Baby Yoda. In fact, Baby Nut, at first glance, seems to be a parody of the idea that Poniewozik discussed in his article.
It’s more than that. It will only help to propel the media revolution.
If we are seeing the novel form of a growing trend, the questions now shift to: Will the trend keep working? Will the people of the world forever be consumed by the cuteness of these characters? What other characters, or people, will be morphed into the next big sensation? Homer Simson? Kanye West? President Donald Trump?
And will the trend be so popular that these characters will become billion-dollar commercial icons?
Yes. Maybe not with Baby Nut, but if this trend sees other beloved cultural icons recreated into adorable versions of themselves, then we will certainly know we are in the middle of a media transformation.
As Ian Fleming wrote in his 1959 James Bond novel “Goldfinger”: “Once is happenstance. Twice is coincidence. The third time it’s enemy action.” Or to say, from the third time on, it’s no coincidence.
When the babies take over, it will be no coincidence.