That One Sound is a weekly column from senior internet culture writer Audra Schroeder that explores the origin of popular sounds heard on TikTok. Suggestions? Tips? Email [email protected].
Bo Burnham’s ascent on TikTok—while not actually being on TikTok himself—has been fascinating but somewhat expected. Post-Inside, his songs found an audience ready to recontextualize them, on a platform suited for musical mimicry. But he also had fans who’d grown up watching him on Vine or YouTube, and Burnham fan accounts have only grown on TikTok.
This week, a look into another Burnham song that’s gone viral, though he’s been doing scarecrow-based comedy since at least 2013.
The sound going around TikTok includes Burnham singing: “Good girl/In a straw hat/With her arms out/In a cornfield/That is a scarecrow.”
The original sound was posted by mochadrift, a Burnham fan account, in early August, and has since been used in more than 20,000 TikToks. That clip includes a little more context: Burnham squints into the distance after saying “That is a scarecrow,” illustrating that he’s obviously wrong.
As a TikTok trend, it’s being applied to situations where someone states things they believe to be true, before the “scarecrow” swoops in with some harsh truth. Or, in many cases, some very obvious truth.
Other TikToks used it to address mental health.
One TikTok addressed popular Netflix show Midnight Mass and the big head-scratcher around its central premise.
Where’s it from?
It’s a line from Burnham’s “Country Song,” from the 2016 Netflix special Make Happy. The song interrogates the “pandering” and misogyny of modern country music, and the line that’s going around TikTok is from Burnham’s verse about how women are often described in country songs, men unable to differentiate between a “human woman” and scarecrow.
In 2014, Burnham appeared on Parks and Recreation as 17-year-old country star Chipp McCapp, an earlier iteration of an entitled, clueless singer who might pen “Country Song.”
Another verse of “Country Song” is circulating on TikTok, in which Burnham sings about undressing his “country girl” only to discover “It’s a fucking scarecrow again.” It’s been used in TikToks about mental health and identity, as well as more literally.