A nostalgic trend paying homage to Cartoon Network's Adult Swim is blowing up on TikTok

·5 min read
adult swim tiktok trend
TikTok users are making their own spins on Adult Swim's iconic bumps. @abbyroberts/@adultswim/TikTok
  • A TikTok trend in which users recreate Adult Swim's late-night bumps has gone viral.

  • The bumps are short sequences that incorporate text and the stylized [adult swim] logo.

  • The trend started with music producer Vano 3000, who created the beat driving the trend.

  • Visit Insider's homepage for more stories.

A new TikTok trend has creators leaning into late-night good vibes by paying homage to the "bumps" on Adult Swim, Cartoon Network's overnight programming block that airs shows geared towards an older audience.

These bumps - transition clips between commercial breaks and featured programming - include short films, brief textual sequences, or time-lapses. They all end with the Adult Swim logo appearing somewhere within the action.

Bumps aren't unique to Adult Swim, but the programming block's transitions have become known for their conversational style.

The bumps' brevity, cheeky tone, and tendency to break the fourth wall and speak directly to the audience through on-screen text make TikTok the perfect format to parody them.

The trend can be as simple or elaborate as a creator wants, but typically involves hiding the Adult Swim logo - stylized through text as [adult swim] or [as] - somewhere in the environment, revealing it by moving a subject's head, exposing someone's back as they lay down on a towel, or flipping a mirror.

The trend started with a beat produced by Vano 3000

The Adult Swim TikTok trend is soundtracked by a dreamy beat produced by Vano 3000, whose path to TikTok fame began when he joined the platform in January.

Vano 3000, who does not share his legal name publicly, told Insider in an interview that he started posting TikTok videos while making beats in his truck in Florida. Since then, he's released several beat tapes online and moved to New York City, building a following that's culminated in this particular bout of viral fame.

On May 23, he used the now-viral Adult Swim beat on TikTok for the first time to soundtrack a video of him standing on a street corner, eating a sandwich.

@supvano

Mukbang with VANO 3000 (short version) 🕊##mukbang ##nyc ##fyp ##4u ##viral

♬ VANO 3000 - VANO 3000

The beat itself, as many TikTok commenters have pointed out, samples BADBADNOTGOOD's song "Times Moves Slow," which also features singer Samuel T. Herring. The beat that Vano 3000 produced chops and pitches up bits of BADBADNOTGOOD'S song, in the process creating what's now become TikTok's biggest earworm.

On May 24, he originated the trend with a video of a person in a Spider-Man costume in the Times Square-42nd Street subway station in New York, adding text and the Adult Swim logo.

Over the past several weeks, and particularly over the past weekend, the concept has grown massively viral.

@supvano

Spider man acting boujee 👁👄👁 🤷‍♂️🕊 ##adultswim ##commercial ##spiderman ##fyp ##4u ##vano3000 ##nyc

♬ VANO 3000 - VANO 3000

"I watch Adult Swim every single night, like, I grew up on Adult Swim," Vano 3000, who said he's a millennial, told Insider.

"I just thought it was so genius. I'm like, I love Adult Swim, you know? And then the cartoon selection that they've got and all that, I just love their aesthetic," he said.

The trend ballooned to dynamic proportions on TikTok in weeks

After Vano 3000 posted the Spider-Man video, he continued posting Adult Swim bump parodies on his own TikTok account. Eventually, others began to partake, and over the past week, the trend exploded on TikTok.

Adult Swim even joined in, acknowledging the trend on its own TikTok account using Vano 3000's beat.

This isn't the first time Adult Swim viewers have created their own bumps either. As USA Today reported in 2013, Adult Swim launched an app at the time that allowed people to create their own bumps with the possibility of airing on television.

"We've been creating bumps on our air for over a decade," Michael Cahill, vice president of on-air and social media for Adult Swim, told Insider. "To see people having as much fun with them as we have over the years is incredible."

Over the weekend, the trend spread like wildfire on TikTok. The sound driving the trend has over 123,000 videos to its name as of Monday, and the #adultswim hashtag has over 882 million cumulative views. Word of the trend has spread to other social media platforms, particularly Twitter, as well.

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The trend allows room for TikTok users' creativity

The format of the Adult Swim bumps is quite particular, between the rich visual communication necessary for the [adult swim] logo reveal and the conversational tone of the on-screen text.

Given the specific tone, it's raised some questions on TikTok about those who may not have "understood the assignment" - users couldn't properly replicate the style of the trend or were unaware of the Adult Swim reference.

Still, the trend has established a creative sandbox on TikTok: by riffing on an established format, creators can play around with an existing video syntax that opens the door to endless possibilities. It's hard to think of a TikTok trend that's led to such a range of spins on a single format at quite the same scale.

"It pushes the app to its limits, you know?" Vano 3000 told Insider. "It's showing you what TikTok is really capable of."

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