TikTok clips | my bf wondering why im taking so long in the bathroom after out taco bell date | my parents when they find snapped android chargers with the red and black wires sticking out | my parents in 2014 when i went to my mom with an apple a water bottle tin foil and 3 bic ballpoint pens

What's He Building In There?

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What's He Building In There? refers to a trend on TikTok set to the opening of Tom Waits' 1999 song "What's He Building?"[1] Videos following the trend feature an on-screen caption that's usually structured, "My parents when I take ___ into my room," the blank being a list of seemingly random items. The TikToker, playing their parent/parents, then lip-syncs over the track as Tom Waits says, "What's he building in there? What the hell is he building in there?"


On October 29th, 2020, aidenyobear posted a video set to "What's He Building?" to TikTok[2] featuring the on-screen caption, "my parents in 2014 when i went to my room with an apple, a water bottle, tin foil and 3 bic ballpoint pens," referencing a popular DIY method of crafting a bong (shown below). The video gained over 230,000 views in 3 weeks.



On October 30th, 2020, TikToker fagioli420 uploaded a video[3] following the same format, garnering over 13,000 views in just under 3 weeks (shown below, left). On October 31st, bonecrush62 uploaded another version of the trend to TikTok[4] gaining over 18,000 views in a comparable span of time (shown below, right).


The format gained more traction in November as TikTokers began adding their own twists to it. On November 5th, TikToker snowflakes1ut uploaded a skit[5] where she plays one of her parents finding a crushed can with a hole in it in the recycling as they lip-sync to Tom Waits, inferring the can was used to smoke marijuana from (shown below, left). The video gained over 225,000 views in 2 weeks. On November 8th, TikToker mil.sir uploaded a skit to TikTok[6] using the sound depicting himself stacking a lot of old Goodwill electronics in his room, followed by his parents coming into the room and seeing him trying to repair an old keyboard (shown below, right). The video gained over 207,000 views in 11 days.


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[1] YouTube – Tom Waits – What's He Building

[2] TikTok – aidenyobear

[3] TikTok – fagioli420

[4] TikTok – bonecrush62

[5] TikTok – snowflakes1ut

[6] TikTok – mil.sir

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