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February 17, 2013

Harlem Shake: Breaking down the AU Jungle’s ol’ college try at the Internet craze

AUBURN, Ala. – The Harlem Shake is alive and well, and isn’t going away too soon, for really one simple reason: this is why our college years are the best.

True story: on Saturday morning, as I dressed for the Florida-Auburn game, an arbitrary hypothetical popped in my head: “If I had to take part in one of these things, right here, right now, what stuff laying around my apartment could I use?”

Other than a snorkel and my old hockey uniform, I got nuthin’. Then I remembered: I had a lot more random crap lying around the apartment in college than I do now. An unnecessarily large sombrero, a Team USA jersey, an oversized parka, a Burger King crown, to name a few.

Why? Does it matter? College needs no explanation.

Frankly, I don’t care that people are already sick of the Harlem Shake. Every school in the country that wants to film one: Go for it. It’s why we go to college – college isn’t college without the juvenile pranks and wild, unjustified fun.

But please, if this old man harkening back to his whippersnapper days may cut in for just a moment, and help relive the AU Jungle’s latest contribution to the YouTube sensation, filmed and produced all in about a two-hour span yesterday afternoon. Let’s take this in two-second increments, picking out all the hilarity you can handle.


Justin Lee of The Corner was the first to notice this: the video strip underneath press row did change from ‘Welcome to Auburn Arena’ to “MAKE SOME NOISE!!” at the picture-perfect moment. I’ve said this before, and fully intend on printing it more often: Auburn’s social media people, who concocted and planned this event, are ahead of the curve. For an organized effort in the middle of its basketball team trying to play a game (emphasis on trying), this was seamlessly accomplished.

I just thought this was worth pointing out. It is no way the most interesting moment of the 30 seconds. Read on.


Sure, there were plenty of Florida supporters at the game, but take note of a girl in a gray Gators shirt seated right next to Aubie, in the thick of the AU Jungle. She’s got a look on her face, like, “no way, no how, no way am I participating in these shenanigans. Nope. Ain’t gonna happen.” Stay tuned.


There’s a male wearing a blonde wig. This is obvious, yet simply must not go without note.

Oh, and the Jabberwocky. To Aubie’s right, your left. He’s got his GAME. FACE. ON. He’s fully ready for battle … or random gyrating. You know. Either/or.


Ryan Wood of the O-A News. Collared shirt, on press row above the ‘Arena’ in ‘Welcome to Auburn Arena’. My good buddy, a great writer, and he’s clearly in the Harlem Shake spirit with his … wait, he’s not moving. And he appears to be staring at the floor. … Hang on … is he … is he sleeping?

No, really. Is he?

We’ll get back to this.

Back to the Jungle, it’s good to see a few bright pupils in the back row of section H, catching up on their current events by perusing through a local newspaper. (Yes, we still exist. And matter. We do! Harrumph.) Thank you, young future leaders of this great nation, for consuming our product. It’s totally relevant.


Kelsie from your hard-working media relations department is efficiently doing her job, hastily handing out stat sheets at the U12 timeout – you know, because there is actually a basketball game going on – and scrambling the heck out of there, so as not to end up in the money shot AND so she can get a good look at the Jumbotron as it’s happening. Nicely executed.


Guy sitting next to Gator Girl: at some point as the Shake was beginning, you had the following conversation with yourself:

“Well, I’ve got this one hand, and then I’ve got this other hand, but then I’ve got this orange foam finger, and I just don’t know what to do with it. Oooh! Oooh! I’ll wedge it on my head, underneath my hat.” Far be it for us to stop you, sir.




Let’s begin by revisiting some of our acquaintances: Gator Girl gave in to peer pressure by standing, but she’s smiling and refusing to add much to a rival school’s silliness. That’s fan loyalty right there … blonde wig, meet lame-white-guy-at-a-wedding dancing … Jabberwocky remains 100 percent committed to the role … DEAR GOD WAKE UP RYAN … bye-bye, newspapers. Those studious minds are now violently vibrating to the electronic music … you’re not going to believe this, but the hat-and-foam-finger combo fell apart quickly. So much for a fashion fad.

Whoever brought the pink umbrella … it’s not quite Malcolm Mitchell, but still, well done. Mary Poppins would be proud.

The two front-row guys on the left, one in a pink shirt and one in a black and red costume-store wig. Doin’ the Bernie. I like the homage to another recent YouTube craze, but it’s not quite the original Harlem Shake; while close, the throwback version requires a little more shimmying of the shoulders and a lot more flailing of the arms. Like this. This is basically the Harlem Shake, animated.

I also enjoy the two girls next to them, just repeatedly high-fiving each other with the foam fingers. Cracked me up.

Lastly, gotta love Todd Van Emst just casually strolling onto center court, to get the ideal photo. Man’s a pro at his craft, especially under pressure, as prominently displayed here.


Buddy in the red shirt and suspenders. You, my good fella, came prepared. And such a wide smile on his face, even though Auburn’s already down by, like, five touchdowns this early in the game.

However, the boy next to Farmer Fran. You brought a Chris Denson cutout! Why hold it so low where we can’t see Auburn’s best player this year? No matter, AUHD will find you, one way or another.


But hey, at least the Rob Chubb FatHead was raising the roof. Sigh.

As you might be able to tell, I’m a fan of fans who found something unique to do, rather than just put their hands in the air and step from side to side. (Which, for the record, is what I would be doing, because I’m a lame-white-guy-at-a-wedding dancer.) So, I present to you: the Charleston Knees Dance Guy. Orange shirt. Front row, just to the right. Find him.


Oh, look, Ryan’s awake and alive! Whew. Got nervous for a second there. Try to contain your excitement over Harlem Shake, big guy.


Saving the best for last: Batman and The Joker are in an all-out smackdown.


The kid just behind Joker? His face. Oh my god, his face. Just watch it over and over. It’s spectacular.

Overall, I’m not sure the Jungle Shake can top Georgia’s swim and dive team, or the University of Colorado-Boulder’s TrapFest, or certainly the Army edition, but I’d say it was a successful effort. Counts as a winning effort in my book.


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