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Do Emoji Have Sex? And 23 Other Questions Inspired by ‘The Emoji Movie’

The film nobody seems to like still racked up nearly $26 million in its opening weekend. But its box-office success is far from the only curious thing about it.

(Columbia Pictures)
(Columbia Pictures)

In The Emoji Movie, which was crushed by critics but still managed to bring in nearly $26 million in its opening weekend, the main character (Gene, a "meh" face emoji) deals with a conundrum that will sound like a small thing to you and I, but that’s only because you and I are humans. This particular conundrum is basically a death sentence for face emoji: Gene cannot stop experiencing all of the other emotions. More accurately: He cannot stop expressing all of the other emotions. The problem is all of the face emoji are only ever supposed to express the emotion that they’re born as. The laughing emoji can only ever laugh. The crying emoji can only ever cry. The heart eyes emoji can only ever be heart-eyed, and on and on, all the way down the spectrum. When Gene proves himself incapable of being able to stick to being meh, the emoji in charge of Textopolis — the phone app where the movie is first set — decides that he needs to be killed (deleted). And that’s how The Emoji Movie gets set into motion.

Gene and a hand emoji named Hi-5 who accidentally gets caught up in Gene’s wake escape and set out in search of a hacker emoji named Jailbreak who lives inside the phone and can reprogram Gene so that he operates correctly and blah blah blah. It’s supposed to be a movie about how it’s OK to be yourself and that individuality is the only real freedom and blah blah blah. I took one of my sons to watch The Emoji Movie and then asked him what he thought the main point was, and he said the same and blah blah blah. (He also said, "It was a funny movie, but it made me laugh zero times," which sounds exactly right.) But none of that is what I thought about or was interested in or wanted to know during the movie or after, because, best I can tell, there’s a way different conundrum that the audience has to deal with: Do emoji fuck?

The evidence seems to suggest that they do. They have family units, for one. And there are children version of the emoji, for two. And those children are aging into grown-ups, for three. And the parents pass down their genetic information to their children, for four (we learn near the end of the movie that Gene’s father, Mel, was the one who passed down Gene’s emoting condition). And also they have beds and eat food and drink drinks and socialize and so on, for five. There’s even a part where we watch Gene and Jailbreak fall in love while they dance and it’s just like, "Oh, man. They’re definitely gonna have sex soon." So: Do emoji fuck?

And if they do: How? They’re naked in the movie, and we can see all of their parts, and they don’t appear to have reproductive parts, so what do they use? And also, how long is an emoji pregnancy? And why do we never see any pregnant versions of the emoji anywhere in Textopolis? At one point in The Emoji Movie, we see one of the emoji flex his stomach muscles to reveal his six-pack abs, which would imply that, at least physiologically speaking, they have bodies similar to humans, so they’re definitely capable of getting pregnant. But where are they being pregnant? Why are the emoji who’ve gotten pregnant being hidden? Are the residents of Textopolis in favor of pregnancy-shaming? During my eighth-grade year in middle school, a girl in one of my classes got pregnant except nobody knew it until high school started because her parents just withdrew her from school until she had the baby. Is that what’s happening in Textopolis? Because that seems like a terrible thing.

Also, during a scene where Gene’s parents are talking to him in a public restroom before his first day at work, father and son poop emoji come walking out of a stall. The Son Poop mentions that he’s very excited to get to work, and that he can’t believe they let him work at only 10 years old. And so now we’ve also got two new concerns: (1) What do poops poop? Do they poop poop? Do they just lose a piece of themselves? Do they poop something else that nobody who’s not a poop emoji would ever be able to guess, like maybe it’s lettuce or rain or something? (2) Why is a 10-year-old being sent to work? Are there no child labor laws in Textopolis? Because that seems like a terrible thing, too.

Did Mom Poop and Dad Poop have a big fight the night before about whether or not to send Son Poop to work? Was Mom Poop arguing for keeping Son Poop’s innocence by letting him remain a kid and not have to work while Dad Poop was yelling about it being "time that lazy piece of shit helps out around the house," his words half-slurred because he’s full-drunk? Are Mom Poop and Dad Poop having some sort of financial hardship? Perhaps Dad Poop is wanted by the Poop Mafia for a lot of money because he has a poop gambling addiction? Or maybe they can’t afford the taxes on their home ever since the non-poop emoji moved into the neighborhood and started driving up the property values? Is there a poop emoji gentrification subplot we don’t know about? Why weren’t any of these story lines explored more in the movie? And if not those story lines, then can we at least go back to where this article started and can you tell us how Mom Poop and Dad Poop had sex? Did they just sort of mush themselves together into one?

I don’t know, man. This is all just bad and gross and terrible to think about. Same as the movie, probably.