From classic movies to Chick-fil-A: Millennial reaction videos reach critical mass

Posted On May 19, 2018

Just when you thought there wasn’t anything else that millennials could try while their reactions are filmed for a cheesy video, Business Insider has found a new one: Chick-fil-A.

That’s right: Somewhere in this country are 10 millennials who apparently had never tried Chick-fil-A until Business Insider stuck a camera in their faces and shoved a chicken sandwich in front of them.

One said she grew up in Europe. One was from Montana. One was a former vegetarian. One just said “the lines are always really long.”

This worn-out trope has come in many forms, perhaps the best of which was kids listening to hard rock bands like AC/DC and Metallica for the first time. But while seeing a kid’s mouth drop with the blast of a James Hetfield power chord is cute, the millennial subgenre of these videos seems much more like it’s mocking a group that have turned into our favorite generational punching bag.

Business Insider, in particular, has become notorious for nit-picking millennials, faulting them for the demise of everything from chain restaurants to beer. Other outlets, like AL.com here in my home state of Alabama, have done their own variations of the millennial reaction theme, such as asking them about classic movies made before they were born.

From 1980s pop music hits to pickled pig’s feetto McDonald’s McRib sandwich, reaction videos are multiplying faster than emojis and fake Twitter accounts.

Why are there so many? Because people watch them and share them on Facebook, and media companies justify their online ad rates through clicks. Why do people watch them? To laugh at millennials.

The fries are too “potato-y”? They think The Godfather is about a cat? Hilarious!

Videos like this seem to confirm what we think we know about millennials, but all they really are is a cheap attempt at humor designed to look like it confirms what we think we know about millennials. If these twenty-somethings didn’t say something silly or seemingly naïve, would they have been cast in the video at all?

Have these things finally reached critical mass? Can there be anything left they haven’t tried? As long as we keep watching, they’ll keeping finding something else.

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Advertising, Generation Y / Millennials