EVERETT — Give this teacher an apple and — shazam! He’ll give back a perfect half.
Sean Reich splits apart an apple with his bare hands. No knife needed.
What’s up with that?
It’s a party trick he says most can do. Some get it right away, while others need tons of practice.
His feat led to an all-expense-paid trip to Burbank, California, to be on “The Ellen DeGeneres Show.”
“It’s just something my dad taught me when I was young. I show my students every year and it always blows their minds,” said Reich, 35, a second-grade teacher at Penny Creek Elementary in Everett.
It almost looks like magic.
“Everyone gives you this sideways look like, ‘What did I just see? Did you really just do that?’” he said.
The technique seems simple: Grip, roll, rip.
“It’s not a strength thing, it’s more the grip of your hands and finding the right spot,” Reich said. “You want to be able to have palms on one side and fingertips on the other.”
Reich’s catapult to fame was an apple-hack TikTok video he made in September.
“The craziest thing was that no one believed it. They all thought I pre-cut it or something,” he said. “So I made another one, saying, ‘No, I didn’t pre-cut it.’ And that’s the one that really blew up.”
It gained global attention from Italy-based TikTok star Khaby Lame, who wordlessly mimics hacks for his 120 million followers.
As for Reich, he’s up to 40,000 followers on TikTok, where his name is SubieNewbie, in honor of his first Subaru car purchase. The Mill Creek dad also makes TikToks of his two young children and life as a teacher.
His second-grade students got a crash course in apple-splitting last week. Using an overhead projector, Reich showed where to place fingers and palms. He had success teaching some of his third graders in the past, and said this younger grade’s hands might be too small.
The students tried their best as they took on the challenge. One gave up and bit into it.
“I got it!” shouted Emma Behboud, 8, leaping in the air. Holding an apple half in each hand, she did a victory lap around the room while her peers congratulated her.
The Penny Creek principal had Reich train the staff at a meeting in October.
“Out of 40, about five got it right away,” he said. “Another five or 10 said they practiced at home and were able to get it.”
Reich said Gala, Fuji and Jazz apples work best.
“I struggle with Granny Smith, I have to turn the apple a few times. The Red Delicious can be tricky,” he said.
It’s not limited to apples.
“You can do peaches,” he said. “I had a buddy who could do a pear. I’m still working on a pear.”
On the “Ellen” show, he was in the audience for a planned apple lesson with host Ellen DeGeneres.
First, Reich demonstrated his apple hack.
“Grip is important. Think of your fingertips as a hinge and pull it apart, and if it doesn’t work you’re going to turn the apple,” he said.
He effortlessly cracked the apple in half.
“I don’t know how you did that,” DeGeneres said.
She grimaced as she squeezed her apple, to no avail.
“It’s not strength. It’s not. I promise,” Reich said.
She gave up and summoned the show’s producer, Andy Lassner, to the rescue.
After one failed try, Lassner got it. He didn’t jump up and scream with quite the enthusiasm as Reich’s second-grade prodigy, Emma.
“Wow, that was impressive. I still don’t know what happened,” DeGeneres said.
Reich never doubted he’d pull it off in front of millions of viewers.
“I was more nervous about saying the wrong thing or tripping or falling,” he said.
Any other party tricks?
“I can walk on my hands pretty well,” he said.
Can he do that while eating an apple?
“I haven’t actually tried,” he said.
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