Back in February, the Rant posted a short — yet powerful — message to the Triangle’s Holderness family after their SnowDay OMG The Musical video, asking them, politely, to stop. Just stop it.
The harmless little post happened at a time when the family —headed by patriarch Penn Holderness, a former news anchor for Raleigh/Durham’s NBC affiliate — was just kind of getting started with these “parody videos,” mostly to promote their new venture, Greenroom Communications, a video production company.
But since then, despite our request that they just stop it, the family has gone off the deep end, and what once came off as cute promotion has morphed into several sad attempts at viral fame. Examples below … if you can stomach all of them in one sitting, you have no soul.
Do you want to have some broccoli: A “snowman” parody song (Frozen) … because there’s not enough of those. 355,000+ views
Perfect Father’s Day: Ol’ Penn talks about the perfect day with a synth accompaniment. 518,000+ views
Stuck in traffic on July 4th: “Hey, fans, we just wrote this on the way back home from DC” … sung to Mumford and Sons. More painful than being stuck in traffic. 257,000+ views
My wife comes home in an hour: He’s rap-Penn … get it? GET IT? C’MON … GET IT!!! 311,000+ views
Baby Got Class: He likes big buses that takes his kids to school. And he cannot lie. 5.8 million views
PENNterest: You know, I didn’t even really watch this one to give a proper description. I can promise you I didn’t miss out. 36,000+ views
Kin and Moose: Snoop Dog’s Gin and Juice, Halloween fun times version. 932,000+ views
And now this …
500,000+ views, and climbing.
If you see the trend here, the Holderness family is going to give us one of these videos any time there’s an event coming up we’re all interested in, like a holiday, the Super Bowl (oh, it’s coming … I predict Taylor Swift parody) and future 9-11 memorials and ISIS updates.
As you can see from the views above, when they hit … they hit. Baby Got Class garnered 5.8 million views and showed up on everybody’s Facebook feed at least twice, thanks to suburban stay-at-home moms and humorless dads who find this stuff perhaps mildly amusing, but moreso who just want to show their friends they’re “with it” by posting something from that YouTube site everybody’s talking about.
And because it’s the Internet and humans suck, the Holderness family has discovered that getting clicks and likes is more rewarding than the ol’ green-what’sit business they’re trying to launch. They’re parlaying these videos into Today Show visits with Carson Daly and a possible reality TV show.
A few months back, I made a dinosaur video with my kids and posted it on YouTube and Facebook (136 views). A friend jokingly accused me of being a Penn Holderness. I laughed like a bastard and got drunk afterward. I wish I could view the family’s videos as fun with the kids, because I’m sure the kids are loving it. But … it just all comes off so forced. So incredibly forced.
And because it’s the Internet and humans suck, the Holderness family is taking a beating for these videos from the other half of the nation who agrees with me. In September, Jezebel penned (get it .. PENNed… get it??) a lengthy article telling the world that not only must they be stopped, but was a bit meaner than we were about it.
It’s a three-and-a-half-minute not-so-humble brag about how their kids can count to 100 in Chinese, and win medals and shit, all set in a giant, suburban house that seems unaffected by anything remotely unpleasant that ever happened anywhere ever. Yes, it’s a video Christmas card that happens to have gotten over 14 million views. “Just so you know what we’ve been up to!” they say, smarmy grins tucked just out of reach behind the Prius charger. Just little ole us, obnoxiously overachieving fit tan people in Nawth Carolina on TV keeping it really real with our rap parody video by white people.
The article led the Holderness mom to blog about how mean the world has been to her since her childhood, taking something they could have easily ignored and making it a bigger thing all about them.
Deadspin got in on the fun after this month’s baste video, choosing more four-letter words.
Perhaps you have thought to yourself, This is a charming bit of silliness! I like these healthy, well-adjusted-seeming whites. Nah. F— you. F— you, and f— the Holderness family. Right to hell.
So, what does this all mean? What does it say about our little world that a family that looks like it’s doing pretty well for themselves can hit stardom and possibly cash in by posting some videos with marginal talent and video-making skills? I really don’t know, man. I really don’t.
But I will offer this. The Rant originally called on the Holderness family to just stop it. I remove that statement from the record and call on them to keep on keepin’ on. The Internet can’t exist without things to hate. And what better than a rich, good-looking white family producing songs about Halloween candy and turkey butter set to urban music to bring us all together to hate something so gloriously?
Holderness family, you suck. And I love you for it.
Billy Liggett is a former newspaper editor who gets occasional neck pain when sitting at his computer too long. Do you think I should get it checked out? Comment below if you have an idea of what it could be … it’s not like a muscle pain, but more of a nerve pain … sometimes my arm and leg on the right side get a little numb feeling … like it’s going to sleep or something. It’s really annoying, but I’m like … it’s not killing me, so why go to the doctor and get an MRI when I’m still like $700 away from meeting my deductible? That’s just crazy … they’ll probably just tell me it’s from sitting wrong and give me an aspirin. Then I’m out Christmas money. Damn it. Damin it all.