In a scene from “Saturday Night Live”, English actor Daniel Craig stares into the camera and half-heartedly dangles his arms as if to lift them over his head, but got tired halfway through.
“Ladies and Gentlemen, the Weeknd”, he says and announces the musical guest of the episode: the Canadian pop star Abel Tesfaye. The studio audience begins to cheer.
Those four seconds of footage, notable for the ambiguous tone of Mr. Craig (was he angry? Doubtful? Expectant? Neutral?), Was surely forgotten by most viewers after the episode aired on March 7, 2020. But not from Miles Riehle.
When he saw Mr. Craig on SNL, he was amused by what he saw as an ambiguity. “Sounds like he’s welcoming you on the weekend, like on Saturday or Sunday,” says Mr. Riehle, 18. “I thought: ‘Man, that’s really funny.'”
Following in the footsteps of Twitter accounts that only tweet on certain dates – think “Mean Girls” and October 3rd – Mr Riehle claimed the handle @CraigWeekend and began tweeting the clip every Friday afternoon.
When the account ran months later, in November, “I was excited that so many people were watching what I was doing,” said Riehle. Queries for interviews soon came in.
The extra attention, while exciting, but also daunting, he said, “because now I have to make sure I keep all these people happy.”
Even so, he seems to be keeping the interest of his 450,000+ followers waiting Friday after Friday for his announcement that the work week is over. Some people write to him when they feel he didn’t deliver his proclamation early enough.
Mr. Riehle is of the opinion that the attractiveness of the account in a time marked by fear and uncertainty is due to its positive and predictable messages.
“Given the stress in the world, it was especially strong for many people to enjoy the weekend and look forward to it,” he said. Fans of the account, he said, have developed “a community of good spirits”.
“It always seems as if the people in the replies and comments and quote tweets are nice to each other,” said Riehle. “I think that’s pretty rare on the internet.”
He usually posts between 3:45 p.m. and 4:20 p.m. Pacific time, but never on the hour. “I want to keep people on their toes,” he says.
That his followers know something is coming – but not exactly when – could be key to keeping them occupied, said John Suler, professor of psychology at Rider University.
Predictability “is very reassuring to people, especially during a pandemic when people have little else to do on a Friday and everything else in life seems so unpredictable,” said Dr. Suler. “But then he mixes in a bit of unpredictable reinforcement by posting at different times of the night.”
Josh Varela, a fellow at Lead for America, a local government graduate leadership program, of Ventura, Calif., Has enabled notifications on the account so he and his roommate know it is time to leave their responsibilities for the week.
“Whenever @CraigWeekend tweets, we see it as the time to crack a beer and hang out,” said Varela, 23.
Derek Milton, a 34-year-old Los Angeles film director, said that “any fears, worries, and hardships that have accumulated over the past five days will be alleviated by a four-second clip.” He and his friends love the video so much that they filmed their own parody version on the set of a photoshoot with none other than The Weeknd.
Mr. Craig was not available to comment on the “SNL” clip, but the Weeknd seems to be getting into the joke. In May he tweeted: “Ladies and gentlemen, who …”
Filling out was not difficult for Mr. Riehle.
“I think that’s a call-out tweet for me personally,” he said. “I think he likes it.”
Mr. Riehle will start his studies this fall at the University of California, Davis, where he would like to study environmental policy and planning. He intends to continue to run the account while he is still in school.
“I don’t know when it will end or if it will end,” he said. “If it gets to the point that it harms my relationship with the Internet, I will of course get rid of it, but at the moment I have no plans to ever end it.”
For all the relief his report brings to the crowd on weekdays from 9 a.m. to 5 a.m., Mr. Riehle knows that the tweet could also be a daunting reminder of upcoming duties for some workers. He himself works as the Orange County’s public transport ambassador – on weekends.
“It’s kind of ironic,” he said.