Blade Runner 2049 Cells Interlinked Scene man in front of blurry white wall with electronics

Ramat Videos/YouTube

‘Within cells interlinked’: This ‘Blade Runner 2049’ meme is back thanks to the ‘ice cream so good’ NPC streamer

TikTok NPC streamers are earning comparisons to cyberpunk 'Blade Runner' androids.


Gavia Baker-Whitelaw

Internet Culture

Posted on Jul 19, 2023

TikTok streamer Pinkydoll is everywhere this week, hypnotizing viewers with her smoothly robotic delivery of catchphrases like “ice cream so good” and “gang gang.”

Popularizing the bizarre world of NPC streamers, she’s been praised for finding a rare way to make money out of TikTok—while also being characterized as a sign of cultural collapse.

Unsurprisingly, NPC streamers are attracting comparisons to dystopian cyberpunk fiction. Particularly Blade Runner 2049, where Ryan Gosling plays an android replicant and Ana de Armas plays his commercial hologram “girlfriend.”

One specific scene is coming up again and again: The “baseline test” sequence where Gosling’s character is tested for psychological malfunction.

The scene sees Gosling repeat emotionless keywords into a camera, responding to questions like “What’s it like to hold the hand of someone you love?” If a replicant replies with anything more emotive than the target keywords “cells” and “interlinked,” they’re deviating from the norm.

The ‘within cells interlinked’ meme

According to Know Your Meme, this scene inspired copypasta memes soon after the film came out in 2017. It became a textpost format for 4chan users to bemoan their disconnection from society.

Now, it’s evolved into a satire of memes themselves. Twitter users are comparing Pinkydoll’s NPC dialogue—and other recent memes—to an android repeating meaningless quotes.

For instance, here’s someone making fun of trends like girl dinner, Oppenheimer discourse, and Twitter arguments about whether ice cream is an acceptable first date. These topics suddenly seemed to dominate people’s timelines, pushed into prominence by social media algorithms.

In some ways, these Blade Runner 2049 references are eerily apt.

There’s an undeniable dystopian cyberpunk vibe to a lot of TikTok Live culture, where people humiliate themselves on camera for monetary tokens. And Pinkydoll went viral because her performance is jarringly unexpected, reflecting the same Uncanny Valley tone as certain characters in Blade Runner.

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*First Published: Jul 19, 2023, 9:18 am CDT