Jalen Brooks could barely keep his composure in a zoology class as he watched a herpetologist display wild animals to the class.
A high school student's amusing reaction to seeing wild animals in a science class went viral after his classmate Jill Lojas posted a clip of his exaggerated reactions to the animals. Jalen Brooks, then 17, and Jill Lojas, then 18, were seniors at Riverside Brookfield High School in Riverside, Illinois. Brooks could barely keep his composure in a zoology class as he watched a herpetologist display wild animals to the class.
"I already knew it was going to be nuts," the then-high school senior from Riverside, IL, told BuzzFeed at the time. His hilarious reaction has over 41.6 million views today, and people still crack up at the video, posted nearly seven years ago.
Zoology wouldn't be the same without @jloading33 pic.twitter.com/lFw2WSuZUB— Jill (@unactiveun) December 9, 2016
Brooks said he was surprised to see the animals, which were part of a presentation by a guest speaker, a herpetologist. "He started with a small rooster used in cockfights, so I didn't think much of it," Jalen said. "It began when he pulled out the biggest duck species there is! I was super intrigued. After that, he pulled out a series of crazy reptiles that were honestly dinosaurs, in my opinion. Then he pulled out the largest python I've ever seen, and I lost it."
Speaking to TODAY, Lojas said she was trying to take a photo of the animals when she saw Brooks' expression. "It was the one class where we were allowed to take our phone out and take pictures, and I was trying to take a picture of the black duck, and I saw Jalen's face over the duck, and I just zoomed in and started filming," Lojas said.
His relatable reaction has turned into a meme across the internet, with people even wearing T-shirts of Brooks's shocked Pikachu face. "He had no idea I was filming him," Lojas added. "He's just a very animated guy." Since the video went viral with over 113.2K retweets, people assumed that Brooks had never been to a zoo. However, he noted that his school is next to a zoo, and he had been around animals his whole life.
Shoutout to @NotSylviaHarvin for the shirts!! pic.twitter.com/kzNNFPJ6T4— Jill (@unactiveun) December 12, 2016
December 12, 2016
The duo has enjoyed the fame of being an internet sensation. Lojas said, "Jalen is loving it," and that he called Lojas his agent. "I had no idea what to think when it went viral, to be honest. I saw it on all corners of the internet, and it just made me happy knowing I was bringing joy to other people," Brooks said. "It gave the community something to be excited about, and that's something I could say I'm very proud of personally."
He shared that he was happy because the video shared a positive message about paying attention in the classroom. "A lot of teachers are contacting me saying how much they enjoyed it. And the community is getting attention, too. It just makes me happy," he added.
December 10, 2016
Came a long way! pic.twitter.com/sfm6NHpogl— Jalen (@jloading33) December 17, 2021
In the comments, people could not help but poke fun at how funny and relatable Brooks' jaw-dropped face was. "Omg he was so into it, I love this so much," said @Jessicayoung_99. "My man deserves an A+ in that class, he fully paying attention," tweeted @uncimz. "I hope he becomes a veterinarian or zoologist. He would really enjoy his career," wrote @LOfficielEbony. "I love how sincerely amused he is," added @remimin__. The memes are still coming in like hotcakes today and we sure hope it does not stop anytime soon!
@jaslizet @jloading33 pic.twitter.com/T1usFo4IjU— JUSTRICH🔗 (@twojustrich) December 10, 2016
my newest memes pic.twitter.com/HELlZujouG— t (@Monosyllabik) December 10, 2016