On TikTok, trends come and go in the blink of an eye — from dry-scooping to “nature’s cereal,” much of the fun of the app comes from users riffing on one another’s videos to create new and exciting content. And the most recent viral trend is hitting a nostalgic nerve for cartoon lovers everywhere: the Adult Swim commercial bumps trend.
For those of you who aren’t familiar, Adult Swim is Cartoon Network’s late-night programming that focuses on teen- and adult-friendly content, home to classics including Family Guy, King Of The Hill, Squidbillies, Cowboy Bepop, and Robot Chicken. During Adult Swim’s programming block (AS content run from 8 p.m. to 6 a.m.), short clips called bumpers or bumps air between commercial breaks and TV shows. Bumps are meant to signal to viewers that the program is about to start once again.
Initially, the short clips tended to feature pools — a lifeguard shouting, “All kids out of the pool!” or elderly people swimming around (a nod to the name, Adult Swim). Later, they became more creative and sometimes absurd (one April Fools, the bumps featured cats). But for the most part, the bumpers included the iconic AS logo, stylized as [adult swim] or [as].
More recently, AS bumps are getting a breath of fresh air courtesy of TikTok, with users making up their own quick clips, mostly set to a sound that features a remix of “Time Moves Slow,” by BADBADNOTGOOD. The sound seems to be created by user VANO 3000 (username @supvano), who also created their own [adult swim]-branded bumper. And it sounds exactly like the type of music that plays during the Adult Swim bumps.
The trend quickly caught fire, and creators are going all out to produce intricately styled, yet random bumps that could very well be seen on Adult Swim today. Some recreations have figured out how to seamlessly blend Adult Swim nostalgia with modern TikTok trends, like a video featuring the famous TikTok feta cheese and tomato pasta embedded with the [as] logo. “This one is my favorite,” a user commented. “It really made me feel like I’m watching [AS] at 1am but it’s tiktok at 7pm.”
TikTok creators are having fun trying to top each other in filming the most Adult Swim-like bumper, and consumers are having a blast watching along. The trend satisfies a very specific craving for niche 2000s/2010s nostalgia — although it’s worth noting that Adult Swim is still running, and plays bumps every night (you can check out best of compilations on YouTube too). In fact, the channel has even posted their own take on the trend to their TikTok page, urging creators to “keep it going.”
Who knows — maybe one day we’ll see some of the most popular TikTok bumps make their way to the small screen.
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