The year is 2016, and the little blue amphibian still has legions of weirdly devoted fans.
Do you remember the Crazy Frog? Silly question. Of course you remember the Crazy Frog because the Crazy Frog's up there with Andrew Gilligan and Harvey Walden IV—the tough as old boots American Marine who ruled Celebrity Fit Club with a rod of iron—as a genuine relic of the early-00s. The image of Crazy Frog, in his goggles, naked as the day he was born, grinning like only a perturbed amphibian can, has haunted me for as long as I can remember. A truly vile and detestable creature, it is only rarely that I find myself dedicating anything close to attention to him and his malnourished form.
The Frog was spawned in 2003 by Swedish animator Erik Wernquist, and by 2006, he'd slunk back into his pond to die a necessarily sad, lonely, and hopefully painful death—a victim of his own viral success, an abject aberration who left nothing behind but a bloated, drug-stuffed corpse.* Or so I thought.
Crazy Frog, that pond-lurking irritant, that fly-eating miscreant, the asshole who spawned a thousand shitty ringtones, lives on. Out there, in the eternally terrifying wilderness that is the outer edges of the internet, Crazy Frog is alive and kicking and beeping away ceaselessly, presumably joined by the three million melted and mangled Big Mouth Billy Basses that ended up in the bin for company. Out there, not too far away from you right now, are human beings—actual human beings who sleep, shit, and play badminton, just like you—besotted with Crazy Frog, in 2016.
You'll remember that Crazy Frog rose to prominence (and the top of the UK charts) in 2005 with his croaky cover of "Axel F" by Harold Faltermeyer. That record—a perfectly acceptable example of the kind of kid-friendly, novelty bubblegum that used to clog the upper reaches of the hit parade back when anyone apart from industry insiders gave a fuck about singles—wasn't hugely offensive, being about as good a cover of an early electro staple as you could expect an animated frog to provide. Even today, it's as absolutely anodyne and acceptable as the version dear old Chic-champ Nile Rodgers turned in for the now-forgotten soundtrack to Beverly Hills Cop III, a film that approximately no one born after 1992 has seen. Had Crazy Frog left it that, had he accepted that fame is fleeting and prone to fizzling out, he'd have been nothing more than another cultural figure turned to dust, a museum piece for an age that doesn't deserve memorialising. But he didn't do that.
Instead, he kept on croaking; croaking through Christmas singles, croaking through a cover of "We Are the Champions", croaking through whatever the fuck "Daddy DJ" was supposed to be, croaking all the way through seven albums and ten singles. If there was a kickdrum and a bassline going spare, he was primed and ready to croak all over it. Which might explain why he's still got an active following today.
A following that seems to be really into Crazy Frog. Like, unnaturally into Crazy Frog.
Some of his fans like to draw him engaging in autofellatio (NSFW by the way, obviously), others tweet about unmemorable Matt Damon vehicle The Informant! And some, for some reason, decide to take photos of a mocked up Frog bombing over scrubland on a quad bike. I don't know why, and it's likely you'll be left similarly unsure, too.
I understand that the nature of fandom means that fantasy and reality coalesce—and that the object of your affection becomes a malleable property—but surely there have to be limits? When we looked at dance music fan-fiction earlier in the year we dealt with the realm of sexual fantasy that's usually curtailed when wet dreams become a shameful memory rather than a clear and present danger, and it was, well, funny. Crazy Frog on a quaddie, going for a mid-afternoon razz? That's going too far.
You know what else is going to far? The following question is going too far.
What colour would you like Crazy Frog's skin to be?
Think about that for a second. Really think about it. Then work backwards. Why, you begin to wonder, do we live in a world in which Crazy Frog—literally an animated frog that was borne out of a clip of a teenager trying to be as annoying as possible—exists in the first place? Why was he then allowed to record his own strain of happy hardcore? Why did he become a ringtone icon? And why, now, are people discussing what colour skin Crazy Frog should have if for some reason it was decided that Crazy Frog needed a skin-related overhaul? I am yet to find answers to any of these, outside of the obvious get out that "people are actually a lot fucking weirder than we ever give them credit for, and yes even the people who still haunt the Crazy Frog fansites like Banquo's ghost wondering what colour skin Crazy Frog would look best are weirder than you'd give them credit for."
There was another equally odd question asked by someone called Helen. Helen's query really made me think about how we use the internet and what we get out of the million connections we can make a second, and how the whole thing has effectively rewired the human brain and turned it into something quite, quite, scary. Here is Helen's question:
As I lay dying, my whole life reducing into pinhole-nothingness, wasted decades condensed into a few dismal and disappointing seconds, I'll be sure to try and conjure up an accurate transcription of the Crazy Frog's scream, and I'll do it with Helen in mind and somewhere, somewhere far across the universe, Helen will see my "noooooooooooooo"s and my "aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaah"s and she'll let me know—via telekinesis or text message—that it doesn't matter how you type the scream: the scream remains the same. The scream, in fact, is all that's left of both the Frog and me and Helen. Here in the void, the scream stretches into the infinite. Right?
Fearing for my own sanity at this point I did the sensible thing and hot-footed it over to Tumblr to see what kind of traction Crazy Frog gets on there these days. Now, I've not looked at Tumblr since I spent a very low point in my life alternating between hour long binges on 2048 and repeatedly scrolling through the Cook Suck archive. It was an age I wasn't really ready to throw myself back into, but here I was confronted the horror of Crazy Frog related Tumblr content in 2016.
There were Aerosmith album covers and scenes of a sexual nature, memes about memes and more scenes of a sexual nature. I saw squalid bedrooms and whatever the fuck this was. Before I closed Google Chrome in a state of horror I saw this and this and this and this too.
I felt hollow and unusually sad. This was a phenomena that had beaten me, a cultural conundrum that not even listening to the Crazy Frog's fifth or sixth albums would solve. I slunk away, beaten, defeated, chastened.
I was left with one question of my own, though. Look at the image below. Now try and answer me one of the following: why does the Crazy Frog look like he's stroking his erect penis on the front cover of his Christmas album? Who did this? Who allowed it to happen? What is he aroused by? Why is the snowman watching on, saying nothing? Does Crazy Frog get off on being watched by snowmen? Was life meant to end up like this? Can the seen ever become unseen? When will the little blue bastard sod off forever?
I don't have the answers but someone, somewhere, will. And that, reader, is a truly terrifying prospect indeed.