what the sigma handsome Squidward with THAT ONE SOUND FROM TIKTOK logo

SpongeBob SquarePants Official/YouTube Remix by Caterina Rose

‘Erm, what the Sigma?’: Squidward has been meme’d. Again

The latest TikTok hit involves Spongebob, Squidward, and an ice cream cone.

 

Charlotte Colombo

Pop Culture

Posted on May 13, 2024   Updated on May 13, 2024, 5:46 pm CDT

That One Sound is a column from internet culture reporter Charlotte Colombo that explores the origin of popular sounds heard on TikTok.

Squidward from SpongeBob becoming a viral meme isn’t exactly new, but this sound has so many layers, it genuinely rivals an onion. Stay with us on this one, we promise it’ll end up making sense. 

The sound

@annamae_83 #rizz #sigma #squidward #fyp ♬ What the sigma – Annie Mae

As the title implies, this sound is pretty simple. It just consists of a voice which sounds like Squidward saying “Erm, what the Sigma?” while a voice that sounds like Spongebob replies: “Bro.” 

In its original form, ‘What the sigma”’ was a voice memo. It was posted by TikToker @lawfreeza on March 4, and later went viral when @annamae_83 reposted the screen recording and pointed out how the person speaking sounds remarkably similar to Squidward. 

But the magic really started on April 1, when TikToker @huugh_mungus crudely dubbed this sound over a video of Spongebob and Squidward reacting to an ice cream cone and turned it into a multi-screen, overstimulation video.

From there, the video amassed 4 million views, while a repost by @crazyboiiiivr_offical amassed a further 3.5 million views. And now everyone can’t stop saying “What the sigma” at every possible opportunity.

‘What the Sigma?’: Where’s it from?

@huugh_mungus um what the sigma #sigma #sigma #sigma #sigma #sigma #sigma ♬ original sound – Jummer

This sound is actually a riff on an ongoing Family Guy bit—more specifically, Stewie Griffin’s catchphrase when he says “Erm, what the deuce?”

And in case you didn’t know, “sigma” in internet terms refers to lone wolf, “alpha male” type men who are just considered really cool and worthy of respect. Calling someone a “sigma male” is actually a term of endearment in very online circles.

“What the sigma” in turn is the result of netizens combining these two memes together. It’s basically another way of saying “what the heck,”’ just in a very convoluted, chronically online manner. 

Sound off

@mr_lindsay_sped What the #sigma are these kids saying? #genalpha #slang #middleschoolslang #teachersoftiktok #teacherfyp #fyp #whatthesigma ♬ original sound – Mr. Lindsay

Now, the sound has been used in over 8,000 different TikToks, and ended up being so overused by Gen Alpha, middle school teacher and TikToker Mr. Lindsay even ended up making a viral explainer about it.


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*First Published: May 13, 2024, 10:57 am CDT