Existing on the internet means continuously watching popular culture get remixed and recycled until it’s memed into oblivion and still having the courage to log on each day and see what new delights, curiosities, and abject horrors await. Today it’s the Angry Birds mascot being horny on main for clout.
Red, the leader of the hit mobile game’s wingless flock, appeared in a recent TikTok video sitting at a PC with a gaming headset on playing Smash or Pass as characters from Pokémon and other games scroll by. A perennial favorite on the party game circuit, Smash or Pass is one of the most popular TikTok archetypes, with strangers listing things like which Disney character they would or would not fuck as millions watch and the irreplaceable minutes of their precious lives slip by, one after the other.
Uploaded on April 21, the Angry Birds version sees Red approvingly vote Smash on the likes of Zelda, Bayonetta, and Assassin’s Creed’s Ezio while passing on Link, Final Fantasy XV’s Noctis, and Overwatch 2’s Tracer. Red also says no to Pit from Kid Icarus and Ash Ketchum from Pokémon because they’re children. Perhaps in an attempt to play up the goofiness of the exercise rather than the creep factor, the TikTok ends on Minecraft’s Steve. “Ooh!” Red says. “Immediate Smash.” I wonder why.
Is this a bewildering new level of cringe for a brand that exceeded its grasp long ago? Or a daring first glimpse of the next phase of the Angry Birds cinematic universe being born before our eyes? Is it now canon that Red is queer? Or is the Red in the TikTok actually just the actor who plays the character in the game speaking for his preferences in the real world? Do Angry Birds even fuck anyway?
The video came the same week that Sega announced its friendly takeover of Rovio, Angry Birds’ parent company, in a deal valued at over $700 million. Sega mascot Sonic the Hedgehog’s social media presence was unleashed long ago, replying to fans and haters alike as if it had nothing to lose. It quickly won over millions of people, in part because it seemed genuinely committed to the poster’s life for its own sake.
Sonic has saved the world plenty of times. Hopefully he can save us from Rovio’s TikTok.