The Into The Thick Of It TikTok Trend Explained

TikTok is to millennials as Facebook is to their parents: an essential social media app where people share and socialize for far longer periods of time than they should. But whereas FB posts are mostly made up of random thoughts, rants, birthday wishes, event photos, and phishing-scheme personality quizzes, TikTok specializes in short videos. Some are hacks that help make our lives a little bit easier, while others are purely for entertainment. Often, they involve the members performing a viral dance to a tune that has, for one reason or another, become hugely popular for these videos.

If you've been on TikTok lately, you've probably seen one of the most popular videos to date: a dance involving a little strutting, a lot of dramatic hand and arm gestures, and even a bit of butt wiggling. It's all done to a tune called "Into the Thick of It," which sings about an exotic expedition. The musicians — who sound like children — sing, "Into the thick of it/Into the thick of it ... We've made a stellar start/To find the jungle's heart/But all we'll find is nothing/If we can't see where we're going!" 

TikToks featuring the song have become instantly popular – this video alone has had more than 3 million views. What's the deal? It could be that the song itself is striking a chord with many who remember it from their childhood.

The song is from a popular cartoon

If your children or siblings were preschoolers a decade or so ago, chances are you became very familiar with "The Backyardigans," a Nickelodeon kids' show that ran from 2004 to 2013. The computer-animated cartoon (still a novelty at the time) featured five friends — penguin Pablo, hippo Tasha, kangaroo Austin, moose Tyrone, and Uniqua, a one-of-a-kind creature — who used their imagination to dream up adventures in their backyards.

Music was an important element in "The Backyardigans." The show used both original tunes and melodies to classic songs like "Buffalo Gals" and "Take Me Out to the Ball Game." They also introduced their young viewers to music genres such as soul and jazz. "Into the Thick of It" appeared in a first-season episode called "The Heart of the Jungle," with music in the style of Gilbert and Sullivan's operettas (via Backyardigans Wiki). The plot featured the three boys all playing Tarzan characters. They help Uniqua, playing a scientist, return a worm-like creature to its proper home in the heart of the jungle. (Tasha, sadly, was absent from this episode.)

"Into the Thick of It" inspired a dance (seen here on YouTube) and a TikTok challenge. The idea, per Distractify, is to record yourself performing the dance or singing the song from memory, without playing the music in the background. Then you play the song and see how close you came to matching the rhythm. It's harder than it seems — but, as many are finding out, it's a lot of fun to try.