Instagram stories used to annoy me. As an old person, I resent change, and remember when the Instagram logo used to be a brown camera. I used it exclusively to follow celebrities, which to be honest, I still do. Except now I follow their stories too because I have been intoxicated by them. In fact, when opening insta (it used to be cool to call it this, and now it reveals the dust in my bones), my suggested stories are Brie Larson, Hailee Steinfeld, Barbie Ferreira, some real life friend (ew) and Netflix. This is a pretty good microcosm of my Instagram life. While stories were the attempt to become Snapchat, they were soon followed by reels, which were the attempt to become TikTok. Simply put, they're like stories, except they only last for one clip instead of a whole collection, and they're from people you don't follow. I used to hate them, but one reel in particular has won my heart: treadmillguy.
Reels come to you on instagram with no apparent rhyme or reason. Some seemed systematically designed to annoy you, others to make you say 'aww', and others to freak you out. They all share the same goal – to make you watch until the end. Sometimes they even come with the caption 'watch until the end!' plastered over the screen, and many of them use some pretty irritating tricks. A popular one is a cooking reel, where the person will cook in an obviously stupid or messy way, and you feel compelled to keep watching in order to see what disaster awaits at the end of it. Not so with treadmillguy.
As his name suggests, treadmillguy makes videos about treadmills. Specifically, he puts a bunch of different objects on a treadmill and slowly speeds it up until just one item is left. There's enough time for you to place your bets at the start – no actual money changes hand, you're only wagering your own pride – before the items start walloping into each other. The most popular version is the colour battle, wherein a variety of different items of the same colour all compete for superiority. These include big toy cars, small toy cars, soda cans, rolls of tape, Poke Balls, various tubes, and a whole host of other oddities. Green's race even featured a watermelon, which has all the assets of a champion. Winners tend to be heavy (so other items can't knock them off course), need to be able to roll themselves upright, need to be able to bounce away from the edge, and need to move around enough to disrupt other contestants.
There's a meta to these races, which you'd think would make it boring, but being able to understand when an upset has been pulled off only makes it more exciting. Tape is usually dead in the water, since falling means arrivederci, but if it stays upright it can sometimes go the distance. There is also a lot of level playing field clashes, like different types of Poke Balls, all soda can races, or a bunch of Mario Kart toys all thrown on there. Complete with colour commentary from treadmillguy, it's one of the most relaxing, yet exciting, places on the internet. Check it out next time you find yourself scrolling mind-numbing reels.
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