Rating:Not Explicit

The Brief: An off-putting YouTube nursery rhyme about a little boy named Johnny who eats sugar and tells lies is inspiring the latest internet memes.

Bluesquiggle
DEEP DIVE

Johnny Johnny! Yes, Papa?
Eating sugar? No, Papa.
Telling lies? No, Papa.
Open your mouth
O Ha! Ha! Ha!

Children’s programming and nursery rhymes aren’t always entertaining for adults. In fact, we often find them repetitive, annoying, and even creepy. Poorly animated versions of the song “Johnny Johnny Yes Papa” have been circulating online for years, gaining millions of views as a piece of catchy, kid-friendly content. Recently, the meme has gone viral as adults online have begun to point out just how strange the lyrics, tunes, and animations of the various renditions are.

On Twitter and other social media platforms, users are in awe of the video’s eerie qualities, and have been circulating memes that riff off the nonsensical video, and its even stranger connotations. Theories have been circulating online about the fictional Johnny being a victim of child abuse. If you’re curious, go ahead and watch a version of the video but beware: it is creepy and the tune is disturbingly catchy.

The maker of the most talked-about version of the video has been taking it off Twitter and YouTube due to “copyright claims.” If they’re trying to avoid having their children’s video turned into a meme, it’s a little too late for that…

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