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What is the web series ‘The Amazing Digital Circus’? Why are people obsessed with it?

What is the web series ‘The Amazing Digital Circus’? Why are people obsessed with it?

The internet can’t stop talking about The Amazing Digital Circus, a 3D-animated web series that went viral on YouTube as soon as the first episode dropped on Oct. 13.

The dark comedy was created by the animator and composer Gooseworx and produced by Kevin and Luke Lerdwichagul of the Australia-based animation studio Glitch Productions. Since its premiere, The Amazing Digital Circus pilot already has upwards of 57 million views on YouTube — and that number keeps growing.

The animated series centers around the character Pomni, who winds up inside a wacky virtual world with five other strangers who can’t seem to remember how they got there. Though they’re desperate to return to reality, all the characters find themselves helplessly trapped inside cartoonish-looking bodies and at the mercy of an artificial intelligence (A.I.) that takes the form of an eccentric “ringmaster” named Caine.

Gooseworx wrote on X, the platform formerly known as Twitter, about her inspiration, citing I Have No Mouth, and I Must Scream, a short story from 1967 by Harlan Ellison.

In that story, readers follow the last humans on Earth as they navigate a post-apocalyptic world controlled by a maniacal A.I. known as AM. But in Digital Circus, Gooseworx said she tried to portray Caine as “a fun-loving wacky little guy” instead of “a living embodiment of hate.”

That said, even Gooseworx seems taken aback by the skyrocketing success of Digital Circus. In another recent post on X, the animator admitted that her “compulsive contrarianism” is still at odds with the fact that she created something “so insanely popular.”

Interest in the new web series began months before its release — starting with a teaser dropped earlier this year, followed by an official trailer last month. In both cases, the videos racked up millions of views each, creating a ton of anticipation around the official series release.

So far, the show’s popularity has spawned countless fan-made videos on YouTube with clickbaity titles like “Does THE AMAZING DIGITAL CIRCUS Live Up To The HYPE?” and “The Amazing Digital Circus Problem.”

An intense fandom has also emerged on TikTok.

TikTokers memed and shared clips from the show so many times that the hashtag #TheAmazingDigitalCircus has more than 1.5 billion views at the time of reporting. Many of them feature Pomni, who fans seem to find hilarious, endearing and relatable.

Some of the memes even merge Digital Circus with Five Nights at Freddy’s, the horror-themed video game-turned-movie.

But, arguably, the largest theme throughout Digital Circus memes is that adulthood can be hard and sometimes scary.

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