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Who’s that wonderful girl? Obscure origin of TikTok’s new viral sound

A song from an obscure 2000s Canadian children’s television show has found a new life on TikTok.

For the past month, the viral soundbite from the show Nanalan – a children’s TV program that aired on the CBC from 1999 to 2004 – which followed the adventures of two puppets: a three-year-old named Mona and her grandma Nana, has circulated on TikTok. In the scene the soundbite was taken from, Nana plays a “song that fits a princess” for her granddaughter, who’s dressed up like one.

In the clip, Mona enters the room in her princess costume with Nana’s dog, Russell, dressed as a royal courtier following her. Nana dotes on her, playing the piano and singing, “Who’s that wonderful girl? Could she be any cuter?”

Although the soundbite is fragmented and taken out of context in its TikTok iteration, the sweet words of praise that Nana imparted on Mona became beloved by social media users, especially when they applied it to their everyday lives.

In one of its earliest uses on the platform on 12 October, TikTok user Jess (@xcomedown) paired the clip of the show with overlaid text that reads: “When the clothes you ordered arrive and you treat the family to a fashion show.”

Since posting it on TikTok, Jess’s video has since received over 1.7m likes and 5,000 comments. The soundbite itself has since been used in over 1,700 videos on the platform along with the #whosthatwonderful girl tag receiving over 89m views.

From hyping up the favourite furry friends to illustrating positive point-of-view scenarios, the “who’s that wonderful girl” soundbite has become an inescapable earworm that’s warming hearts and giving people a good laugh, too.

In a recent interview with CBC Kids News, the creators of Nanalan, Jason Hopley and Jamie Shannon, reflected on how surreal and “wild” it is to see a clip from the show go viral 20 years after it ended. “Something goes viral and when you start to see the numbers, you’re like: ‘It seems really weird,’” Shannon said. “It has been astounding.”

Reflecting on Nanalan and its resurgence in pop culture, the creators said they hope that the show’s legacy of positivity and joy continues to impact and inspire people of all ages, even if it’s through a silly little snippet of a song from the show. If Nana singing “who’s a wonderful girl” brings a smile to your face, according to them, it makes their efforts worthwhile.

Shannon told the outlet: “It’s really easy to get bogged down by the 24-hour news channel of terribleness, right? So to keep yourself joyful by seeing what’s beautiful in the details is what I think resonates.”

The creators said they drew inspiration from their own nanas when creating Nana’s character, and got in touch with their inner child to bring little Mona to life. They added that, at the time, they wanted to capture the wonder of being a child and discovering the world around them.

“Every little moment has details in it that are wonderful and exciting to a three year old, things that adults just miss completely,” Shannon explained. “But to a little kid, there is magic in dust dancing in a sunbeam. There’s magic of what the [wood] grain looks like in a table leg.”

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