Meme History 101

A look into the origins and histories of some of my favourite memes from the SFU Dank Memes Gang Facebook group

Image courtesy of Know Your Meme

By: Victoria Lopatka 

*Editor’s Note: These memes were taken from the SFU Dank Memes Gang Facebook Group. The Peak does not own these memes, or assert their origins and original creators.


“I Don’t Like to Feel Good” Skeletor Meme

This image is of Skeletor, the archenemy of He-Man from the TV show He-Man and the Masters of the Universe. This particular line can be seen in “He-Man and She-Ra: A Christmas Special” from 1985.


Ralph In Danger Meme

This meme features Ralph Wiggum from the Simpsons, sitting at the back of a school bus, with the caption: *chuckles* I’m in danger. This scene is found in “The Simpsons Guy,” a crossover episode between The Simpsons and Family Guy. The episode aired on September 28, 2014 in the USA. Only in March of 2018 did the image become a meme, when it surfaced on Reddit with the caption: “When your 25-year-old truck makes a new sound doing 103 miles per hour.” This student version feels a lot more dangerous.


“Me at the beginning of the semester vs. me NOW” Meme

This meme seems to have begun at the end of 2016, as the Internet reflected on how much we all (negatively) changed over the year. The earliest tweets I could find in this format were from around early December, where users would post movie screenshots or generic photos of trash and fire to describe their transformation.

On December 7, 2016, a Twitter account by the name of @CollegeStudent posted a meme captioned “me at the beginning of the semester vs. me now,” with two pictures of the same girl in her dorm room.

The original photo of the girl, when tracked through Google Image, shows 10 pages of meme accounts, Facebook groups, and meme-sharing threads in a variety of languages from English to Spanish to Japanese. For this version of the meme, the image on the left is the Teletubby Laa-Laa, from the popular children’s TV show, while the image on the right was uploaded first to Know Your Meme, with the caption “another soul battered and broken, cast aside like a spent torch.”


Calculated Risk Bird Meme

The original image featured in this meme can be found on Etsy. It was created by The Mincing Mockingbird, who specializes in cards and magnets featuring images of birds. The image was originally posted to Etsy in April 2011, the “calculated risk” phrase paired with a pink, blue, and purple bird. It was re-posted to Tumblr two years later and the original bird was replaced with different images, including different types of birds and pop-culture references.


The Eating Tide Pods Meme

On December 8, 2015, The Onion published an opinion piece about a child wanting to eat a Tide Pod. On May 10, 2016, the concept was picked up by a YouTuber by the name of Cyr, who made a video about eating Tide Pods (the original video has been taken down, but he uploaded another Tide Pod video recently). The concept of eating the “forbidden fruit” (Tide Pods) soon spread to Twitter.

In December of 2017, a Twitter user called @nightfilm (@wastelandbaby at the time of publishing) tweeted Gushers that they should make a new fruit snack that looks like a Tide pod. Unsurprisingly, Gushers wasn’t interested.  


Kanye West Smiling Meme

It’s pretty rare to see Kanye West smiling. The original image, which has now been used for a variety of phone, Internet, or happiness related memes, was taken when West arrived on a flight at LAX airport in Los Angeles, California on October 31, 2015. Nobody has any idea why he’s smiling.


“Picture This…” Meme

Users on Reddit say this meme trend began on Twitter, predominantly written by young women either reminiscing about the past or dreaming about the future. Allegedly, the first tweet was by an unknown Twitter user writing “Picture this, ladies…” then describing her ideal future as a soccer mom and housewife.

The meme really took off at the beginning of December of 2017, when people started reminiscing about the past 20 years or so, outlining their past favourite artists, trends, and tastes in fashion. One Twitter user, @jayceesue55, writes on December 8, 2017: “Picture this: it’s 2010. Tik Tok is playing on your iPod shuffle as you run home from school to feed your Webkinz. You’re excited because you almost have your black belt on Club Penguin. You get the courage to ask your mom for money for the scholastic book fair.”


Sad Pepe the Frog Meme

In 2005, artist Matt Furie created a comic strip called “The Boy’s Club” featuring four teenage animal characters: Brett, Andy, Landwolf, and most famously, Pepe the Frog. Pepe began his climb to meme fame in 2008 when a user on 4Chan posted a portion of the comic strip where Pepe is shown pulling his pants all the way down to his ankles to pee. When asked why he does this, he responds, “feels good, man.” This became the original Pepe reaction image.

From then on, users began creating their own Pepe images, showing him in different moods and scenarios. Pepe even appeared on Nicki Minaj’s Instagram in 2014. There’s been a reduction in Pepe-related memes since 2016, as the meme’s association with white supremacists, racists, and anti-Semitic groups in recent years has made widespread use of the image less appealing.