This is the Internet, right? Right (hopefully you knew that). And if you know the Internet, you’re certainly familiar with meme culture, whether it’s Star Wars Kid or Nyan Cat or Numa Numa Guy or any number of… wow… those are some REALLY dated references that I’m making. But, on a long enough timeline, all memes become the property of pop culture, and with that, advertising campaigns and mainstream references. Here are five moments when internet memes jumped the shark.
Truth Anti-Smoking Commercials
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not the kind of jerk that’s going to argue with an anti-smoking campaign. But I am the kind of jerk to lament the fact that anti-smoking campaign Truth has begun co-opting memes as old as Overly Attached Girlfriend (three years old), Archaic Rap (six years old) and Dramatic Chipmunk (eight years old). You know, now that I think about it, I’m just mad that Insanity Wolf didn’t make the cut, because honestly, what meme would be more effective at scaring teens out of smoking than the blood-thirsty Insanity Wolf? LIGHT UP A CIGARETTE, TURN TO ASH IN THE BURNING SUNLIGHT OF THE APOCALYPSE.
Ally McBeal Hallucinates The Dancing Baby
If you’re reading this, chances are extremely high that you have no idea what the Dancing Baby was or how massive it became. Back in 1996, the Wild West era of the Internet, things went viral as a result of e-mail chains forwarded from person to person. One of the most prominent examples of this was the Dancing Baby, a 3D-rendered baby who danced to the intro to Blue Swede’s “Hooked on a Feeling” (you know, “Ooga-chaka”). The popular TV show Ally McBeal launched the meme into the stratosphere and right over that damn shark when the title character hallucinated, and subsequently had a dance party with, the Dancing Baby. I mean, imagine if iCarly danced it up with, ohhh, I don’t know, INSANITY WOLF. CUT A RUG, THEN CUT EVERYONE.
Congressional Representative Thomas Massie Invokes The Doge
We all love the celebrated Doge meme. You know the one, with the adorable Shiba Inu and its terrifically broken English. But you know who else loves Doge? The Kentucky 4th’s own Representative Tom Massie, or at least someone close to him with a barely-working knowledge of Internet culture. In December of 2013, the congressman tweeted a Doge meme blasting a bipartisan budget deal in straight up HILARIOUS fashion. Representative Massie, I find your lack of Comic Sans disturbing.
Chris Crocker Is Referenced In Meet the Spartans
If there were ever a litmus test for references jumping the shark, it would be inclusion in a spoof movie directed by Jason Friedberg and Aaron Seltzer (Date Movie, Epic Movie, your worst nightmares). In 2008’s Meet the Spartans, the film’s version of Xerxes dons a Transformers-esque mech suit, claiming it uses the “latest alien technology”. Then, the screen on his chest comes to life with the YouTube logo (because references), before Chris Crocker’s infamous “Leave Britney Alone” video is cued up (because, still, references). And that’s pretty much it. I don’t have much to add to that hot garbage, so Insanity Wolf? Take it away. MAKE WORST FILM OF ALL TIME, EAT EVERY COPY IN EXISTENCE.
Tay Zonday Pimps Diet Cherry Chocolate Dr. Pepper
Tay Zonday’s immortal hit “Chocolate Rain” has been dead for a long while, albeit solidified in the annals of internet history. But it didn’t take long for an ad campaign to snatch him up to write a sequel. In November 2007, Tay wrote a follow-up, “Cherry Chocolate Rain”, for a commercial promoting the limited edition Diet Cherry Chocolate Dr. Pepper. There’s something that feels oddly deceptive about the fact that a bottle of the drink doesn’t appear until about a minute and a half into the video, but what’s even worse is how damned catchy the song is. It’s been over eight years now since the original “Chocolate Rain”, and some people remember that more than they do songs that won Grammys, so you know what? Good for Tay. Now let’s get cracking on the trap remix, guys.
5 Times Memes Jumped The Shark