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Bo Burnham’s ‘That is a scarecrow’ TikTok sound points out the obvious

It's scarecrow season.

 

Audra Schroeder

Internet Culture

Published Oct 15, 2021   Updated Oct 16, 2021, 7:10 am CDT

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

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.

@mochadrift

Reply to @hybrid_fam870 I won’t be taking suggestions for a while because I already have quite a few I promised to do. #boburnham#pandering

♬ that is a scarecrow – ☕️ Mochadrift

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.

https://www.tiktok.com/@princewillyum/video/7015722056167787782/
@urcuznthrockmorton

whole time i thought the sky was screaming

♬ that is a scarecrow – ☕️ Mochadrift

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.

@ceekayye

he may be stupid but at least hes pretty :’) guess whose back from being banned and ready to cause problems #midnightmass #fatherpaul

♬ that is a scarecrow – ☕️ Mochadrift

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.”

Sound off

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.

@vanessarice3

Discover Charlottetown pls take them down I hate it, we don’t need one on each streetlight. #pei #charlottetown #scarecrowfestival #boburnham

♬ original sound – <3

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*First Published: Oct 15, 2021, 11:08 am CDT