Viral videos crashing the Billboard charts are a fact of life in 2013. Doesn’t “Harlem Shake” seem like forever ago now? Ylvis’ “The Fox (What Does the Fox Say)” is No. 6 on the most recent Hot 100 — check out our in-depth feature, 120,000,000 Ylvis Fans Can’t Be Wrong. And by now you’ve probably seen long-lost acquaintances on Facebook sharing a music video called “Chinese Food” by a singer named Alison Gold.
Curiosity-clicks or hate-clicks, Billboard’s chart methodology takes them all into account, so a little indigestion will probably be in the offing for us next week — “Chinese Food,” posted October 14, has almost 1 million views as of this post. But if there’s any extent to which the quality of a silly novelty clip matters, let the record show we’re siding with “The Fox” bros. As Gawker explains, this one is the latest product of Patrice Wilson, the man behind Rebecca Black’s song “Friday,” and who must have felt left out lately.
You know the viral formula by now: Vague EDM influences, innocently inappropriate/druggy visuals, goofy dance moves, and, in this case, lots of worldly subtitles. Egg rolls, fortune cookies, Wilson as a giant rapping panda, an intentionally cringe-worthy Monopoly reference, okay, okay — but there’s no “ancient mystery” here. Chinese food isn’t Gold’s “guardian angel.” And we’re pretty sure Panda Express isn’t actually Chinese food.
Ylvis’ great accomplishment may have been to show that culture can be viral and ridiculous without being crass or condescending. Somewhere deep in the woods, perhaps we’ll find General Tzo, but not today. And preferably not ever, because that’d be pretty awful.