I’ve watched ‘Trolls World Tour’ 5 times and counting, and it’s my biggest source of joy in this broken world

Queen Poppy is the star of ‘Trolls World Tour,’ and an argument for ending the monarchy. Dreamworks

I watched “Trolls World Tour” for the first time on April 19, 2020. It was love at first sight.

“I’m jealous of the trolls. Look at them. Dancing together,” I texted a friend. Ninety minutes later, I texted again: “I f—ing love Trolls two.”

I watched it for a second time on April 20. (I spent $US20 to rent it, so I wanted to get my money’s worth.) The third time I watched it, this time drunk, was August 15. The fourth time was December 12. This week, in preparation for writing this piece, I watched it a fifth time.

I am 29 years old. I do not have children. My taste in movies is admittedly poor, but I am not in the habit of rewatching children’s films.

Then I discovered the sequel to “Trolls.” Since the pandemic began, it’s become my favourite way to escape the horror of the world outside, a tool for ensuring my brain is as smooth as the saxophone solos of Chaz, the smooth jazz Troll. I do not know where I would be without it.

‘Trolls World Tour’ tackles friendship, cultural appropriation, and Justin Timberlake as a sad Troll

Trolls World Tour Univesal
My friends’ expressions when I tell them I’m planning to watch ‘Trolls World Tour’ a sixth time. Universal

It was released on April 10, 2020, making it one of the first blockbusters to debut as a digital rental in the pandemic.

It follows Queen Poppy — née Princess Poppy — voiced by Anna Kendrick. Poppy is living a happy life as a monarch with her depressed best friend Branch, voiced by Justin Timberlake. Her kingdom of pop Trolls finds itself under attack when Queen Barb, leader of the neighbouring rock Trolls, decides to destroy all other music in order to prove the supremacy of hard rock.

The movie goes on to tackle cultural appropriation, homoerotic friendships between young women with daddy issues, and what certainly appears to be Troll genocide. The soundtrack features a lot of Timberlake and Kendrick, but also Mary J. Blige, Kelly Clarkson, and — for some reason! — Haim.

Perhaps you clicked on this link to mock me. But aren’t you a little bit intrigued? Don’t you want to watch a movie where — SPOILER ALERT — Sam Rockwell pretends to be a half-horse country Troll to hide the fact he is actually a yodeling Troll named Hickory trying to assassinate Anna Kendrick with his brother Dickory?

No? Well, more “Trolls World Tour” for me.

I hate good movies

Trolls world tour universal
The only tension I want in movies is the tension between Queen Barb and Queen Poppy. Universal

I’ve never particularly enjoyed stressful movies. I view the need for tension in in TV shows and films as a design flaw.

Personally, I love a movie with no tension, just vibes. My favourite film is the trailer for “A Star Is Born.” (The actual movie? Just ok.) My second favourite film is the Wikipedia entry for a horror movie I will never see.

I can psychoanalyze this very, very easily. Do I hate conflict in my personal life? Yes! I look at people who do not hate conflict the same way I look at Olympic athletes: We are both technically the same species, but our capabilities and limitations are so different it boggles the mind.

But right now, things are also simply horrible. While I have largely been very lucky in the pandemic, my job means spending every day thinking and writing about workers getting sick, with brief breaks to worry about my friends and family getting sick.

After a day of thinking about sickness and capitalism and fear, I watch “Trolls World Tour.” If I have the choice, I do not wish to experience anything more stressful than the suspense of waiting for King Trollex’s beat to drop.

The only thing that has brought me more joy than “Trolls World Tour” is forcing other people to watch “Trolls World Tour”

One friend who I haven’t seen in person in months has watched “Trolls World Tour” with me three times. Another friend completely missed the news that the Pfizer vaccine had been authorised because it broke while we watched it over Zoom (my fourth session).

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Important research! Sophie Kleeman

I will admit that I am having an increasingly hard time figuring out how much I love “Trolls World Tour” and how much I love the bit of loving “Trolls World Tour.”

On one hand, this movie is objectively not very good. At one point, Troll Kelly Clarkson locks three of the characters, including Troll James Corden, in jail, telling them they committed a “crime against music.”

On the other hand, there are moments of brilliance, like casting the “50 Shades of Grey” guy as Chaz, the aforementioned smooth jazz Troll. It’s enjoyable in a bafflingly mind-numbing way. Why does Troll Kenan Thompson come into being by emerging out of another Troll’s hair as — to quote Wikipedia — his “rapping newborn son?” Who knows! It doesn’t matter!

A woman cannot live on bits alone. But in a pandemic, the bit of loving “Trolls World Tour” has provided some sustenance when few other crumbs can be found.

At this point, I’m taking my serotonin where I can get it. Trolls just wanna have fun, baby, and I am trying as goddamn hard as I can.

Do you have a funny, strange, or otherwise compelling coping mechanism for the pandemic? Let our essays editor know.