Pixar’s “Ratatouille” is a beloved children’s movie. A whimsical tale of a sewer rat who becomes a talented chef, it has captured the hearts of audiences around the globe. The love for the film has now made its way onto TikTok, appearing in a trend known as the “Ratatouille” musical.
The TikTok video that started this trend was published by user e_jaccs in August. In the video, there is a slideshow that includes pictures of Remy the rat, the main rodent character in the movie. However, the slideshow isn’t what made this video so popular. Playing over the images is an original song, which is the basis of what would become the “Ratatouille” musical.
The song is short, bizarre and extremely catchy. Its lyrics are, “Remy, the ratatouille, the rat of all my dreams. I praise you, my ratatouille. May the world remember your name.” The video has over 79,300 likes, and more than 11,700 other videos have been produced on TikTok using this original sound.
However, the “Ratatouille” musical trend didn’t take off until October. TikTok user danieljmertzlufft posted a video with the caption, “Remy: The Musical.” He overlaid the original sound with a variety of vocal harmonies and instruments to make it sound like something straight out of a Broadway soundtrack.
To make the TikTok video even better, danieljmertzlufft added written captions to provide viewers with additional context. In all capital letters, one of the captions read, “Confetti everywhere! Lights going crazy! Remy on a lift flying over the audience!” The TikToker paired this caption with a special effect to make it look like confetti was flying across the screen to make viewers feel the true magic of the “Ratatouille” musical trend.
Though wildly entertaining, generally, a TikTok like this would be enjoyed, shared and then easily forgotten among the slew of other hilarious videos published on the app. However, instead of disappearing, the TikTok video kickstarted the “Ratatouille” musical trend, which has yet to calm down.
Most videos from the trend are concentrated under the tag “#ratatouillemusical.” Currently, the videos under the hashtag have accumulated a total of 10,500,000 views. It looks like TikTok users enjoy both making and consuming this content.
Songs from different “Ratatouille” characters’ points of view make up a huge portion of the videos under the hashtag. The points of view include Colette Tatou, who is the only female chef in the restaurant where “Ratatouille” takes place; Emilie, who is Remy’s little brother and best friend; Anton Ego, the food critic; and even Remy’s dad.
Some of the songs are upbeat and humorous, but a few of them are also quite sad. The videos do a lot to humanize the rodent characters from “Ratatouille.” For example, in the movie, Remy’s dad is portrayed as a stubborn rat who wants Remy to one day take over as the leader of his extended rat family. Remy’s dream is to become a chef, so there is a little bit of tension between Remy and his father throughout the film.
One TikTok user known as fettuccinefettuqueen wrote a song from the perspective of Remy’s dad. She paints him as a cautious figure who only wants his son to stay safe from the humans who might harm him. As Remy’s dad, fettuccinefettuqueen sings, “Humans aren’t friends, to them we are pests. They think we are vermin, nothing more, nothing less. So you think you’re exempt? Well that’s fine, run on back! But don’t cry to me if you fall in a trap. Because in the end there is one thing I know. The death of a rat is painful, messy and slow.”
The deep alto sound, haunting background piano and surprisingly poetic lyrics create a deeper character arc for Remy’s father. It makes the viewers feel more sympathetic toward him, and after listening to this song, they can understand why he was so tough on his son. The fact that this TikTok user was able to achieve this level of character depth in a 60-second song shows just how strong her musical and storytelling abilities are.
The breathtaking vocal ranges that some TikTok singers boast in their videos make their work even more enjoyable to listen to. A person could scroll through any of the “Ratatouille” musical duets and listen to beautiful voices singing about what it’s like to live in the film’s universe. It’s a wildly entertaining way to pass the time.
The “Ratatouille” musical trend has even extended past the need for just musical creativity. Under the hashtag, there are multiple artists creating merchandise for the musical, either to sell or just to enjoy for themselves. One of the users on the app, yeehawsnail, made dangling Remy earrings. Alamondeemoji flexed their graphic design skills to create playbills for the “Ratatousical,” another name for the “Ratatouille” musical trend. They put the playbill on keychains and stickers, which are available for purchase at their shop, AlaMode Magic.
How did one video manage to kickstart such a popular and strange trend? One reason could be because people simply need some high-quality comedic relief right now. The COVID-19 pandemic has been raging since March, and cases are spiking again in many countries. Some people, especially those more vulnerable to the virus, have been isolating for months.
It makes sense that people would be looking for a way to forget about the virus for a little while, and this trend gives TikTok users a creative way to spend their time. Whether they’re into theater, musical composition, singing, dancing or any other type of art, anyone can join in on the “Ratatouille” musical train. All they need is a passion for their craft and a love of Remy. After all, isn’t he the rat of all our dreams?