As reporters/journalists/chroniclers of all things “new media,” NMR is often people’s source for questions, such as: “What the hell happened to the ‘diarrhea jacuzzi girl’?” Frequently, there aren’t any answers because they dropped offline and stopped making/showing up in videos. But these people/animals/objects are an important part of the culture. And so, as often as we can, we track them down so that you can get some closure in your life. Join us as we search for answers in our recurring weekend feature “What the Hell Happened To __________________?”
This week, we find out what the hell happened to the “I like turtles” zombie kid:
Watching news reporters fail at their job is a personal joy. She could have easily asked a follow-up question, but this small town reporter was so flustered that a delightful meme was born — one that has accumulated over 48 million views on YouTube. But it’s been a long time since anyone has checked in with Jonathan Ware (the “I like turtles” kid), so we figured we’d see what he’s been up to since the days of having his face painted.
Right after the meme aired, the news caught back up with Jonathan, to find out why he said what he did: it turns out, he’d just been to a turtle display booth at the fair, not far from the faceprinting. And he’s a little kid who was excited, so cut him some slack.
A scant three years later Daniel Tosh caught up with young Jonathan, then 13, and offered him a chance at web redemption. It was a pleasant and kooky thing, like Daniel does. It was also filmed back in 2010 — five years ago. So let’s see … that should make Jonathan … why, 17 or 18! That’s plenty of time for him to have extended his track record of zaniness. Well, according to Bustle.com, this is him now, so you be the judge:
Strangely though, there is a note on the top of the channel, which is even called ItsTurtleTime, that resolutely proclaims, “Not the I Like Turtles kid.”
It’s probably for the best because this guy just also recently shut down his YouTube channel:
So if that’s not him, where is the real I like Turtles kid?
Well, he’s not on Facebook under his given name. There are several Jonathan Ware’s on there, but the closest match seems to have graduated from Juilliard in 2009 … when he was 12. Soo00000, that’s not it. There is a Tumblr account with his name on it AND a reference to the I Like Turtles thing as well as potentially a pic with Lea Michelle of Glee:
If I am wrong about the identity of the guy in the photo, don’t blame me — I didn’t watch Glee a second longer than I had to for me to maintain my relevance in the cultural zeitgeist. There isn’t much else on the page. So could Jonathan Ware have shook off his love of turtles and zombies for a Glee fetish? There isn’t much out there, and what 17/18-year-old kid doesn’t have a social media presence? I gotta believe this is at least a peek.
But I think I prefer that it was something more like this:
And as this is also from 2007, no, I don’t think it is actually him.