Thoughts on Jason Derulo's pivot to TikTok chef

The Bon Appétit test kitchen is shaking rn.

by Roisin Lanigan
|
09 March 2020, 12:51pm

Look, I’m just going to say what everyone else is afraid to admit: celebrities on TikTok are inherently cringe. There is something very off about rich and beautiful and inaccessible people forgoing the aspirational vibes of their highly curated Instagram grids to instead start dancing for teenagers in 13 second clips. TikTok is for chaotic memes and horny cosplayers and nobody else. But it seems they cannot resist getting involved nonetheless.

This weekend the internet collectively grimaced when Elizabeth Warren, fresh from withdrawing from the Democratic presidential nomination race, took to TikTok to join in the #FlipChallenge. The craze sees two people dance to the first line of “Nonstop”, from Drake’s 2018 album Scorpion (“I just flipped a switch / Flip flip”) while they switch places and do a weird little dance. Liz did it with her SNL doppelganger Kate McKinnon, and in thirteen seconds flat the #FlipChallenge went from ‘funny meme’ to ‘thing earnest people will tweet about when comparing politicians to characters from Harry Potter’. In the middle of all this A-Rod and J Lo were doing it too (theirs is slightly less painful to watch).

The appeal of TikTok to celebrities and politicians is obvious. It’s the most popular platform with The Young People and as such it lends them a degree of authenticity and relatability that, when you’re a multimillionaire who performs at the Superbowl or doesn’t believe in free healthcare, you lack. But what J Lo and Liz Warren are missing is the true heart of TikTok: chaos. To truly prosper on the platform, your content has to make absolutely no fucking sense. Enter Jason Derulo.

This weekend the internet took a brief sabbatical from panic stockpiling 300 toilet rolls to marvel at a video of Cats’s horniest star as he tried out a new side hustle as an online chef. In a 25 second video Jason Derulo shows himself cooking a skillet cookie, Claire Saffitz style. With 12.5million views on the app, it's Jason's most successful TikTok video to date -- although, it should be noted, is not the most cinematic, as he frequently stages short videos of himself performing to his own songs or dancing around supermarkets. This perhaps goes someway to explain why the singer has emerged as an unlikely TikTok icon, with over eight million followers.

But back to this most recent film. It leaves the viewer with more questions than it answers. I have included just a few of those questions:

1. The short film opens with several shots of Jason Derulo throwing various treats -- Hersheys, Reese’s, Oreos, KitKats -- on his skillet cookie. However in a later shot these toppings have disappeared. Is this a continuity mistake? Or is Jason Derulo making a point about mass consumption and the carelessness of our consumer culture?

2. Did Jason Derulo put his phone in the oven to get the shot of the skillet cookie going into the oven before or after pre-heating it to 200 degrees?

3. Why does Jason Derulo cook wearing thousands of dollars worth of jewellery? It is a style Chris Morocco would pull off too, arguably.

4. What diet is Jason Derulo on which allows him to be stacked and yet enjoy this skillet cookie? I would buy this cookbook. Everyone would buy this cookbook.

5. Does the inclusion of the Ratatouille song mean Jason Derulo is a fan of Ratatouille? (Although who isn’t a fan of Ratatouille?)

6. WHY DON'T YOU EVEN GET TO SEE HIM EAT THE SKILLET COOKIE AT THE END?

The clip emerged on Twitter with a caption that sums up our thoughts on Jason’s pivot to TikTok food content: “I’ve just spent 20 minutes trying to figure out why Jason Derulo did this”. I’ve just spent the past hour and 600 words trying to figure out the same thing. We’re none the wiser. But in terms of celebrity TikTok content this is one thing we can get behind: in the quest for authenticity and relatability, there is nothing more potent than carbs.

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Jason Derulo
TikTok
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