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Finger-Snapping Street Gang

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"I think we've made our point with the snapping!"
Bubble Poppin' Boys Leader, SpongeBob SquarePants, "What Ever Happened to SpongeBob?"

A group of young hoodlums, typically styled as Greaser Delinquents in street gangs, advance on someone while rhythmically snapping their fingers in unison as an intimidation tactic (Or as an attempt to appear intimidating). This tends to be combined with a Team Power Walk, with the finger-snappers all walking side-by-side in a line.

This is usually done as a Stock Shout Out or Stock Parody of West Side Story, and as such, the young ruffians also tend to be prone to breaking out into choreographed song or dance as they snap to a rhythmic beat.

Because most gangs that engage in this sort of activity are rarely, if ever, seen engaging in acts of crime or violence, they may be viewed as Badbutts.

Compare Badass Fingersnap, where the finger-snapping serves a more practical purpose.


    open/close all folders 
  • Parodied in the Cravendale "cats with thumbs" milk commercial, where the cats — having recently developed opposable thumbs and begun plotting world domination — are seen congregating in an alley, snapping their new digits in sync.

    Anime & Manga 
  • Jewelpet Sunshine: In episode 34, the students of Sunshine Academy perform a School Play called "Jewel Side Story" with rival gangs named the Cats and the Dogs. And, yes, they do the finger-snapping as well.

    Comic Books 

    Film — Animation 
  • Despicable Me 3: The Minions are sent to prison and form a gang feared by the other inmates. They march into the yard while snapping their fingers, and all the other criminals run for cover.
  • The Grinch (2018): Early on, the Grinch is harassed by a group of carol-singers performing "God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen". At one point, their singing becomes slower and more sinister, and they begin advancing on the Grinch while snapping their fingers in unison for no apparent reason other than to troll The Grinch, who in this version actually has major PTSD regarding Christmas and is genuinely terrified of them.
  • Paws of Fury: The Legend of Hank: The dogs who bully Hank in his flashback approach and snap their fingers like the Jets in West Side Story.
  • Sausage Party: When the Fruit prepare to go into battle, they dance and snap their fingers.
  • Shrek: Towards the end of Robin Hood's song, his Merry Men begin snapping their fingers in time to the beat as they all advance on Shrek.
  • Tom and Jerry: The Movie: The second song in the movie ("What Do We Care") begins with the five stray cats surrounding Tom from both sides of the alley while snapping their fingers. It ends with Tom temporarily joining them so that he could get a head start after running away.

    Film — Live-Action 
  • The Cool Ones: The Whiz-Bam Dancers, as well as Patrick and the East Enders, threaten the producers by snapping their fingers as they approach them.
  • La Grande Java: As the confrontation escalates, Les Charlots start snapping their fingers like the gangs in West Side Story.
  • Saved!: Hillary and her friends approach Mary while crouch-walking and snapping in unison.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Count Arthur Strong: Parodied in a flashback to Arthur's youth, when he and his friends in the Greenwich Mean Gang (a gang of Greaser Delinquents) walk down one side of an alley snapping their fingers. On the other side appear a gang of Victorian street urchins straight out of Oliver Twist, also snapping their fingers. Greasers and urchins end up fighting one another.
  • Delusions Of Grandeur: In "The End: Part 2", the Ghosts snap their fingers as they prepare to fight Evil Alan.
  • The Goodies: The final chase scene in the episode "Saturday Night Grease" features the "Mambo" music as the titular Goodies snap their fingers and pose just as the street gangs do in West Side Story.
  • It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia: In the episode "The Gang Sells Out", after Frank gets back together his childhood gang to try to dissuade a restaurant chain from buying a rival property, they are shown snapping their fingers in unison a few times. Rather than making them look intimidating, it's done to highlight how out-of-touch and old the gang members have become, to the point that families mistake them for performers and give them cash.
  • The Office (US): In "The Fight", Michael claims to have been involved in a gang as a youth. Jim snaps his fingers and says, "Once you're a Jet, you're a Jet all the way." Later, Michael has to confront Dwight about an issue and Jim follows him, snapping his fingers in rhythm.
  • Saturday Night Live: Parodied in the sketch "Cobras & Panthers" where Norm Macdonald plays the Straight Man leader of a gang called "The Cobras" who has to deal with the other gang members breaking out into spontaneous song and dance, complete with them all snapping their fingers before they are confronted by a rival gang.
  • Scrubs: The episode "My Way or the Highway" depicts the rivalry between surgeons and internists like that between the Sharks and the Jets, complete with the finger-snapping fights.
    J.D.: You see, the surgical and medical interns are kinda like two rival gangs. Not real gangs, more like those cheesy gangs you see in Broadway musicals.
    [The interns start to snap their fingers and dance like in West Side Story as the soundtrack goes all brassy]
  • Welcome Back, Kotter: In the episode "Sweatside Story," after the Sweathogs try to form their own street gang in response to a scare from another gang (who all snap their fingers), Mr. Kotter, Horshack, and Mr. Woodman intervene while snapping their fingers and acting tough enough to scare both gangs out of any violent activity.

  • Hearts in Atlantis: Referenced. When Bobby runs into the Blue Devils street gang, he briefly fantasizes that they'll help him save Ted from the low men in yellow coats while "snapping their fingers like the Jets in West Side Story." Reality ensues a moment later when they tell him that there's no way in hell they're tangling with the inhuman low men.

  • Alice Cooper: The song "Gutter Cat vs. the Jets" on the album School's Out contains references to the finger snapping and gang fights; moreover, the song includes writing credits for Leonard Bernstein and Stephen Sondheim of West Side Story.

    Music Video 
  • Michael Jackson's music video for "Beat It" is an homage to West Side Story and features Jackson and others doing the snap walk throughout the video, most notably when Jackson stops the gang war and leads the gangs into the walk, before launching into the video's famous dance routine.
  • "Weird Al" Yankovic's parody "Eat It" has a video that mirrors Michael Jackson's, including the West Side Story homage.

  • West Side Story, and specifically the Jets, are the Trope Maker and Trope Codifier. Walking down the street while snapping their fingers is their signature trait, and they do it repeatedly, most prominently during "Jet Song"—though at that point they're literally just walking down the street, not threatening anyone.

    Video Games 


    Western Animation 
  • American Dad!: In the episode "I Am the Jeans: The Gina Lavetti Story", The boys club "gang" parodies the finger-snapping prologue from the 1961 film adaptation of West Side Story.
  • Bob's Burgers: In the episode "Burger Wars", Linda mentions that the situation with their kids and Jimmy Pesto's is similar to West Side Story. She sings and snaps her fingers like the Jets.
  • Camp Lazlo: In "Where's Lazlo", when the other campers approach Raj and Clam on their first day at Camp Kidney, Raj is so nervous that he actually imagines the campers as a street gang approaching them while snapping their fingers.
  • Family Guy: In the episode "Chitty Chitty Death Bang", Meg says that she has trouble fitting in with anyone in high school, and Peter says he can relate to that. Cut to Peter as a part of the Jets from West Side Story; he snaps his fingers out of rhythm with everyone else, messes up the dance steps, and falls over a garbage can.
  • Foster's Home for Imaginary Friends: In "The Bloo Superdude and the Great Creator of Everything's Awesome Ceremony of Fun That He's Not Invited To", the Bloo Superdude (actually a sick Bloo hallucinating) and a rabbit monster (actually a stuffed toy) snap their fingers before fighting each other.
  • Gravity Falls: In the episode "Boyz Crazy", Mabel finds herself in the possession of boy band Sev'ral Timez and quickly grows possessive of them. When Grenda and Candy try to intervene, Mabel sics the band on them, and they proceed to Angry Dance their way toward the girls, snapping their fingers as they go, before ejecting them from the premises.
  • Hoops: In "Zen", the Lenwood Colts basketball team approaches a group of bullies called the "Gay Mafia" while snapping their fingers and walking together like the Jets in West Side Story. They were under the impression that their fight was going to be a Campy Combat, but, instead, the Gay Mafia proceed to deliver them a good, old-fashioned ass-kicking.
  • Phineas and Ferb: In "Phineas and Ferb Save Summer", the members of L.O.V.E.M.U.F.F.I.N. snap their fingers while kidnapping the O.W.C.A. agents and singing "O.W.C.A.'s Goin' Down", a number clearly inspired by West Side Story.
  • Samurai Rabbit: The Usagi Chronicles: In the sewers under Neo-Edo, Usagi and friends run into a gang of moles who start snapping their fingers at them, as a build-up to a sonic attack.
  • SpongeBob SquarePants: In the episode "What Ever Happened to SpongeBob?", the Bubble Poppin' Boys are a group of Greaser Delinquents clearly modeled on the Jets from West Side Story. They're first seen walking side-by-side and snapping their fingers, and after stopping to introduce themselves to SpongeBob, they start right back up again as they close in on him.
  • Tom and Jerry Tales: In "League of Cats", when Tom is recruited into the "cat mafia" to scare mice, Jerry and other mice create the League of Mice. Jerry summons them with a Badass Fingersnap, and then all the mice started singing and finger-snapping, scaring cats into submission and beating the crap out of them. In fact, their song is a Shout-Out to aforementioned Tom and Jerry: The Movie.