The Brief: TikTokers are pretending to hit  or "bonk" people on the head in order to fix a "malfunction," usually an emotion or a trait someone else might deem controversial.

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TikTokers are using sound effects from video games to pretend to reset an emotion or characteristic that might be deemed controversial by others. These videos are intended to be humorous. The “malfunction” is fixed when the creator pretends to hit or “bonk” the individual on the head to get them to “function” correctly.

These videos use audio from a June 25 video from creator @Ilivemyfollowersmhm. In it, a cartoon dog barks at another wand-wielding cartoon who hits the dog on the head. The dog then becomes a piece of wood (tree bark?) pictured in a meme. According to the comments section, the audio is said to be a mash-up of sounds from Undertale and EarthBound video games.

@ilivemyfollowersmhm

Thanks for the follow @kaleb_shot

♬ Omg people are using my sound – ilivemyfollowersmhm

The sound effect “bonk” has been long established as a meme within video game culture. According to KnowYourMeme, “bonk” memes date back to 2007’s team-based first-person shooter Team Fortress 2 video game. “In the game, the Scout class can utter this phrase when the player either taunts with the bat equipped, or upon landing a critical kill on the enemy with the bat,” reports the site. By 2008, the meme took on a musical form called “Bong Songs.” This referred to mixing the sound and tone of Scout’s “bonk” over a musical track.

As advancements in social media developed, so did many more avenues for the “bonk” meme to exist. Snapchat introduced a bonk filter in 2019. When applied, a hammer hits the subject and distorts their face using augmented reality, explains HITC. TikTokers then began integrating the filter into their videos.

@art.by.livvv

Reposting this masterpiece bc TikTok decided to mute it #starwars #tros #theriseofskywalker #bonk #fyp #foryoupage

♬ original sound – art.by.livvv

Now, “bonk” is taking another form on TikTok. There are over 29,000 videos linked to the sound featured in @Ilivemyfollowersmhm’s TikTok, many of which are videos of people or things getting bonked on the head in order to fix a malfunction. One of the most popular and earliest takes on the trend, features a small child sitting next to her mother. She taps herself on the head and disappears. The July 5 video received over 565,000 likes and over 2.1 million views.

@nashlycamacho

♬ Omg people are using my sound – ilivemyfollowersmhm

Creator @Oomanity’s July 10 video about fixing his hangry girlfriend flashed food-based emojis on the screen once he “bonked” her on the head. The video received over 267,000 likes and 1.5 million views.

@oomanity

Best medicine for a hangry girlfriend #fyp #foryou #girlfriend #GimmeLove #ReadingList

♬ Omg people are using my sound – ilivemyfollowersmhm

TikToker @Doofapus’ July 11 video about catching feelings and realizing its time to “ghost him” garnered over 308,000 likes and 952,000 views.

@doofapus

😹😹😹😹😹😹😹

♬ Omg people are using my sound – ilivemyfollowersmhm

Other takes:

@keylonerr

#realityripple

♬ Omg people are using my sound – ilivemyfollowersmhm

@punanih0e

bruh moment #fyp acab

♬ Omg people are using my sound – ilivemyfollowersmhm

@maddysioulas

true story

♬ Omg people are using my sound – ilivemyfollowersmhm