Whether it’s to soothe the mind after a rough day of online classes or inject that much-needed shot of fun in a conversation, memes have become the go-to fallback mechanism for almost the entirety of the current generation. Initiating outrageous conversations and crazy ideas such as “meme investing,” memes have become cultural symbols and carriers for social ideas, and they’re just cute and hysterically funny.
Imagine you’ve had a long day of continuous classes and assignments and pick up your phone. You open the first direct message on Instagram and see something you instantly recognise — a meme of Elon Musk as the “Dogefather.” You immediately crack up with a rush of dopamine. Have you ever thought about which dog it’s inspired from? Why it was such an instant success?
It’s hard to keep track of the endless number of memes scattered throughout the internet. Just when you think you’ve figured out the meaning of one, it’s obsolete and is replaced by something equally amusing. And somehow, they get more fascinating when you discover what happens behind the scenes.
Here are the amazing stories behind some of the internet’s most hilarious memes!
The image from Elon Musk’s famous tweet
This is arguably the meme of the decade when it comes to popularity and reach on the internet. The dog in the original Doge meme is a Shiba Inu — a Japanese breed known for its cute expressions and puzzled looks (which explains the memes). However, many don’t know that Kabosu, the original dog, or doge, almost died before becoming the internet hotcake that she is today.
The poor furry face that launched a thousand quips almost never made it to the internet. The puppy mill that raised her shut down, and she was stuck at an animal shelter with 19 other Shiba’s. Some were adopted. But for the rest, no one knows what exactly happened. They weren’t adopted, and no one heard of them. It’s also adorable that the Shiba is named after the Japanese citrus fruit, Kabosu. It made sense because the face of the dog was so rounded.
Ergo, the meme is not only a hilarious take on dogs but a heartwarming, and triumphant story centered around overcoming unbelievable odds and restoring faith in humanity.
(Accidental) Disaster Girl (2004):
The Accidental Disaster Girl
This meme has been used in probably every creepy context possible. The image’s highlight, Zoe Roth, was snapped by her father, Dave Ruth, while the kids watched a house burning down. With his new digital camera, he snapped 20-30 pictures of Zoe. Surprisingly, he noticed that one of the pictures shows Zoe with a look of absolute sinisterness.
Contrary to popular opinion, she isn’t a pyromaniac. It was a house donated to the fire department for them to carry out a fire drill. In fact, they were inviting the kids from the neighbourhood to help douse the flames. Unfortunately, it was a Wednesday, and most kids were at school, while Zoe had called in sick — undeniably a feather in everyone’s cap — and the rest is history.
A little bit here and there in the timeline of events, or Zoe not being the cheeky kid she was, and we might have never got what is an iconic meme for the ages.
For The Better, Right? (2021):
The famous meme from Star Wars’ fictional universe
This meme serves as a tribute to all the prequel fans and describes a scene from Episode II — Attack Of The Clones where Anakin (Hayden Christensen) and Padme (Natalie Portman) enjoy a picnic while discussing the politics of the Republic.
While the dialogue does have the phrase “I don’t think the system works,” the actual subtitles of the meme were never said in the film. It features neither in this scene nor any scene in the movie, and is wholly invented. Many find this hard to believe as this meme has been shared by numerous people who haven’t watched the series or haven’t paid attention to the scene.
Pepe Silvia Meme (2008):
It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia — Pepe Silvia
The human mind often classifies something as complicated and overthinks situations, exaggerating them. The chaotic background perfectly describes the panic we feel, especially during the ongoing pandemic
It is a reference from a hilarious scene in “It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia,” where Charlie goes on an out-and-out rant about how he’s been getting emails from “Pepe Silvia” and was tipped off by an inspector to look into him. He insists that no one named Pepe Silvia exists, and the HR in charge of him, Carol, doesn’t exist either. When he points to detective Mac, he realises that the detective doesn’t exist as well. — so, he’s been chasing an imaginary lead.
This scene was going to be excluded from the final cut as “too dramatic and out of place” but was included in the end. And well, we all know what happened next.
Bernie Sanders In A Chair (2021):
Sanders sporting the oversized mittens
Bernie Sanders sitting on a chair snugly with his mittens to keep him warm on a cold February morning would be the absolute mood to mimic for anyone stressed with how their day was going. Sadly, the man chose the wrong time and the wrong place.
Dubbed as the disappointment of losing the election to Joe Biden, the meme became an instant hit with him sitting in various situations such as Game of Thrones, Pokemon, Football, racing, and other areas where defiance or waiting was to be hysterically magnified.
Much to our surprise, it was later understood that the mittens were actually meant to be highlighted as Bernie Sanders revealed that they were made from repurposed sweaters lined with fleece from plastic bottles. Essentially, he exploited the meme fraternity to drive home the important message of climate change. Who knew a meme could have such deep roots.
Pepe the Frog (2008):
Pepe the Frog
Pepe the Frog is arguably the most recognised meme character after Doge. Not many realise that while Pepe does look like an anthropogenic frog, the original creator, Matt Furie describes the character as a “monster” and insists that the entire story revolves around this monster and his monster friends. What started as a monster morphed into a quirky creation that hysterically soothes many turbulent minds.
But, Pepe went on to morph into a symbol of hate, with versions of Pepe promoting antisemitism and white supremacy. Many of the original users who shared the meme have condoned these actions popularising the phrases “Pepe is Dead” or “Rip Pepe.”
After a hectic day, memes have become a safe haven to sit back, relax and learn something new or rest ourselves. The added context of how and why particular memes came to be create a new dimension to their meaning. Memes are the balm to the splitting headaches that life throws at you. This has been the reason for their growing popularity and influence over the past decade. They also led to social media being widely established due to how enjoyable scrolling through your Instagram feed becomes.
So, the next time you see a meme, remember its story and enjoy the playful chuckle it brings.
Written by Aditya Arun Iyer for MTTN
Edited by Suhani Kabra for MTTN
Featured image via Pinterest
Images via Twitter, Refinery29, Reddit, The Guardian