Discredited Meme

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A must for fantasy Tabletop Gamers
($1 for a standard Monty Python reference, $2 for a Holy Grail reference).

"My own suggestion for the 4.0 edition rules: Anyone who quotes Holy Grail during a session should be made to eat their own character sheet."

Any meme that has fallen out of favor with pop culture, or at least the segment it was popular in. Either the meme was simply forgotten over time, it was one of many Advertising Campaigns that got discontinued, it was associated with something that fell victim to changing politics, it was a Catch Phrase that got repeated too much, or something else.

Note this is not about whether the meme was any good or not. Most appealed to enough people in the first place to become memes. It's just that some aren't looked on too fondly after the fact. Until the Nostalgia Filter kicks in, some of these memes are Deader Than Disco. A meme appearing on any of the old media is generally considered its dying breath, at least to the internet-at-large.

Now the internet allows memes to propagate faster than ever, but then get discredited faster than ever, usually thanks to the repetition reason.

This can also use Hypocritical Humor, with someone complaining about a meme, but in the form of the meme.

Compare Discredited Trope, Dead Horse Trope, Deader Than Disco, Never Heard That One Before, Seinfeld Is Unfunny, Popularity Polynomial, Forced Meme, Defied Trope.

Contrast Cliché (what some memes settle into).

Since nearly every meme gets discredited to at least some degree over time, In-Universe and Creator-Acknowledged Examples Only.


Examples:

    open/close all folders 

    Advertising 
  • A Geico commercial mocks how one of their own running gags (the "Hump Day" camel) has gotten so overused and exposed that it's not funny anymore. It demonstrates this by depicting a pair of exasperated camels getting the notorious Hump Day line shouted at them over and over again by obnoxious zoo-goers.

    Comic Books 
  • An issue of Sonic Universe has a very annoyed Silver telling Original Character Gold the Tenrac that he's "getting really sick of people saying 'It's No Use'." In context, it seemed that everyone was using that phrase to tell Silver to give up; readers have also taken it as a stealth Take That towards Silver's repeated phrase from Sonic the Hedgehog (2006)
  • From Larry Gonick's The Cartoon History of the Universe, in which he illustrates the origin of language, which soon led to the first jokes:
    First Caveman: Why chicken cross road? Yuk yuk
    Second Caveman: Hmph. That one old already.
  • The Wicked + The Divine had "Fucking Tara" in reference to how the protagonist Laura referenced Pantheon member Tara and the various complaints we heard about her from other people in the story. Issue 13 is Tara's spotlight issue, and shows she became hated for trying to be recognized for her own talents instead of the insta-rave powers the gods have, to the point where "Fucking Tara" is one of the nicer things said about her when compared to the rape and death threats, and the harassment and hate eventually makes her commit suicide after which the meme died very fast.

     Comedians 
  • At one of his concerts, Dave Chappelle finally chewed out fans for endlessly repeating "I'm Rick James, Bitch!" from Chappelle's Show. At one point someone came up to him and said it while he was at Disneyland with his family! This is one of the bigger reasons for his Creator Breakdown.

    Fan Works 
  • Sophistication And Betrayal has the protagonist comment on the tendency for people to mock Twilight whenever sparkling is mentioned, and opines that it "stopped being funny two years ago".
  • On August 14 2013, YouTube user seinfeldspitstain uploaded the bizarre Jimmy Neutron Happy Family Happy Hour, which became his most popular video with over one million views. Two months later, the joke was declared dead by the author when a sequel was uploaded where Jimmy Neutron/Nutrin is lying in a grave surrounded by characters, ending with the camera flying backwards and revealing that Jimmy is being buried in the "Dead Joke Cemetery". Even the Facebook page Why helo it is i jimbles notronbo is tired of it after having the video repeatedly posted onto their page.
  • The infamous Minecraft Creepypasta Herobrine has been deemed not-scary and way overused by many creepypasta community members, and, in spite of Notch's recurring mentions of the ghostly NPC (including an explicit statement that it's fake, which may have also contributed to the popularity downfall), Notch's ex-wife ezchili made this tweet regarding the character's overbearing prominence, a statement with which a good amount of members of both communities seem to agree.
  • LittleKuriboh:
    • In a moment of Self-Deprecation, he discredited his "Card Games on Motorcycles" meme by having Lector destroy it in order to demonstrate Jinzo's special ability. Lector then laughs and says "I've been waiting a whole year for that!"
    • He promoted the possibility of a Yu-Gi-Oh! 5D's Abridged for charity, and specifically said that it won't involve the phrase.
    • This episode features Jack trying to find a new catchphrase. He's told that his paycheck will be doubled if he never says the old one again.
  • Hellsing Ultimate Abridged: As a walking, talking caricature of the stereotypical Tumblr user, Rip Van Winkle spouts those like there's no tomorrow.
    Rip Van Winkle: Ze Game~!
    Commander Violet: What game?
    Rip Van Winkle: You lose! Lol I so random!
    (later...)
    (Rip Van Winkle sings the infamous Rick Roll)
    Millennium Officer 1: The hell is she singing now?
    Millennium Officer 2: I have no idea. I think it was popular a couple years back.
    Millennium Soldier: At least she's no longer going on about the ponies and the friendship and the wrapping up of winter!
  • Sailor Moon Abridged invokes this trope with the "Power Levels" meme:
    Sailor Venus: Okay... no. Maybe there's enough underage kids here that you thought this was 4chan, but it's not and that shit hasn't been funny since 2007, anyway, so I don't even wanna hear it. Venus Meteor Shower!

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Monty Python and the Holy Grail has been quoted so much, it's now a joke to mock the fact that it's quoted so much.
    • Part of the lyrics of "White and Nerdy" by "Weird Al" Yankovic.
    • DM of the Rings had a strip where the players started quoting it. The author note stated the next Dungeons & Dragons edition should have the option to punish players for quoting the movie.
      • 7th Sea actually has this enshrined in the rules.
      • White Wolf's The World of Darkness games mention this in many of their Storyteller handbooks. In fact, they even tell you how to deal with a player who is an obsessive quoter.
    • xkcd had an old strip encouraging Python fans to celebrate the group by making up their own surreal, Pythonesque jokes rather than endlessly parroting their lines.
    • An episode of LoadingReadyRun's commodoreHUSTLE involved a D&D group with a "no Monty Python" rule.
    • Anyone who's been in a LARP group knows that inevitably a newcomer to the group will quote the movie. The stigma isn't just that Holy Grail has been quoted to death, it's the fact that no matter how taboo it is, once one person quotes it everyone in the group will begin doing so as well. Including the ones that were just whining about someone having started it.
  • The Princess Bride sees elements of this in LARP and fencing groups as well. We all love the movie, everyone knows the lines, but please don't say it. And then one person does anyway and the rest of the gang is at it like a bunch of chattering parrots.

    Live-Action TV 
  • A running joke in one episode of How I Met Your Mother is that immediately after an exchange like this...
    Barney: By the way guys, this is Lisa. You'll be seeing a lot more of Lisa. (closes the door) And they never saw her again. Whassup!!!
    • ...Barney, when asked to envision his life in three years, would describe the exact same thing happening with a different girl. This would then come to pass three years later. After describing 2009 in this manner:
      Ted: Seriously? Please tell me you will at least change what will then be a nine-year-old beer commercial reference.
  • An In-universe example from Seinfeld: Jerry (Seinfeld) jokes about his current girlfriend's belly, as if it speaks in a funny voice. She tells him he has to choose between the joke or her. He chooses the joke, only to find out his friends think the voice is 'played out'. He quickly reconciles with the girlfriend.
  • Quotes from The Inbetweeners became so memetic in the UK that one of the lead actors, Simon Bird, got sick of them before the series ended its run.
    Things gameshow audiences do not do: Shout out quotes from The Inbetweeners such as: Clunge. Bus Wankers. Football Friend. Right, that's all you're getting.
  • The entire concept is embodied in a The Man Show sketch of their "Museum of Annoying Guys" (faux Latinate name: "Jokus Repeatus Shut the F Up-us"). "It's the beat a Catch Phrase to death guy."
  • In an early episode of Community Jeff takes a pottery class. One of first rules the teacher imposes is that due to somebody in class always referencing the scene from Ghost, nobody is allowed to do it anymore. Likewise, a similar gag happens at the end of the episode's B-plot, where Shirley and Pierce's boating class instructor reveals nobody is allowed to go to the mast and yell out "I'm the king of the world!" from Titanic when Pierce attempts do so.

    Video Games 
  • Star Trek Online:
    • The game took a potshot at one of its own memes during the two-year anniversary celebration. Previously a lot of newbies got confused about where to find Captain Sulu, leading to "Where's Sulu?" meme. During the celebration you could ask Q Junior where Sulu was, and he would complain about your use of an ancient meme.
    • They took another potshot at "KURLAND HERE", which had players driven up the wall when the aforementioned (James) Kurland would constantly pop up and utter "KURLAND HERE". His voice actor, dev Jeremy "Borticus" Randall added it to his forum signature and has gone on to mention that it wasn't his best.
    • When the second expansion, Delta Rising, dropped, players took satirical glee in attacking a number of statements made by the devs and then-Executive Producer Stephen D'Angelo, the most noticeable one being "Delta Rising is the BEST Expansion ever and the players LOVE it!" (the statement was even taken out of context). At least one dev has spoken up about it and the players at r/sto will most likely downvote you to oblivion if you post anything like that.
  • Portal's The Cake Is a Lie meme got discredited by the time the sequel rolled around, through massive overuse. The following media has mentioned that:
    • Cracked pretty much demonstrates how a meme gets discredited (using The Cake Is a Lie as an example).
    • Gamesradar was one of the first to declare this, and Valve agreed, stating in commentaries and interviews that they were so sick of it that they excluded it from Portal 2 for that very reason. They were unable to help themselves entirely, however, as there are two specific references in the game. One is in Rattman's mural depicting Chell's victory over GLaDOS and the other is Shmuck Bait that serves as a Take That from both GLaDOS to Chell and Valve to the player. There's also a bit of binary code in Chell's file in the "Lab Rat" tie-in comic that translates to "the cake is a lie".
    • Just in time for people to start referencing "Nicolas Cage Wants Cake" instead. Apparently it is a meme now.
    • Yahtzee of Zero Punctuation is similarly heartily sick of The Cake Is a Lie meme. He generally refers to it as "a Portal reference," but it's always the same one. He's so sick of it that he completely trashed Castlevania: Lords of Shadow just for containing the reference (in spite of other given reasons) long after the meme had stopped being funny. He also bashes anyone who dares to use the cake reference in their Web Comic for the same reason: "And if that doesn't work then just go on about the cake being a lie."
      Yahtzee: Castlevania: Lords of Shadow contains a Portal reference. That is literally all you need to know. It's attempting to jump on a bandwagon so late that the band has completed three sell-out world tours and sold their wagon to a scrap dealer. It's not even a clever reference, a note found on a dead character ends with the words "the cake is a lie". There's no contextual sense, it's just thrown in there like a random zombie wearing Groucho Marx glasses. [...] If a game has a Portal reference, whatever purpose it serves, it tells you everything you need to know about the absolute wankers who had creative control of the thing.
    • In this xkcd strip (from 2009), the downside to buying games on a five-year lag is that in 2013 you'll suddenly break out in Portal memes.
    • In the Portal reveal trailer for LEGO Dimensions, Gandalf requests to GLaDOS that they (they being he, Wyldstyle and Batman) wants to buy a cake, the AI responding exasperatingly "Why do they always want the cake?"note 
    • In Poker Night 2, if the player wins GLaDOS' bounty item, she says, "I hope you weren't expecting baked desserts, because I don't do that anymore."
  • In Crash: Mind Over Mutant, Cortex says over an intercom at one point "No, you can't haz cheezburger. It's a stupid meme anyway..."
  • The Left 4 Dead custom map "I Hate Mountains" has some (custom-made) graffiti where someone asks "What Would Chuck Norris Do?" about the Zombie Apocalypse. After a couple of lines of banter, the exchange is ended with four words: "Seriously, he's fucking dead."
  • The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim:
  • Pokémon has fans waiting for Hoenn remakes. People make Hoenn "confirmed" because of many things, some making sense, some being utter nonsense.
  • When it comes to videogame critiques/reviews, calling a game "The Dark Souls of X "note  is considered a major faux pax, and black-mark against the reviewer that uses the analogy. The term has been used (and abused)note  so much by this point, that nowadays the phrase is almost devoid of meaning.

    Web Comics 
  • In Knights of Buena Vista, Walter has an "overused reference jar", which he treats more seriously than the swear jar.
  • xkcd:
    • Old memes don't die, they just become undead, and get recycled on Twitter.
    • Similarly, with some Nostalgia Filter tossed in for the hell of it.
    • In strip #1212 he lays out a few dozen stars within about 100 light-years of Earth, and the corresponding meme "they just learned about and are currently repeating way too much."
      Alt Text: The strongest incentive we have to develop Faster-Than-Light Travel is that it would let us apologize in advance.
    • In this strip Star Wars (specifically "May the Force be with you") is quoted for the last time.
  • According to Dork Tower, a meme is 'officially' dead whenever Matt Groening adopts it. The case in point that led to this observation? "All your base are belong to us!"
  • Nodwick drove the new swearword "krutz" out of fashion by getting henchmen to adopt it en masse. A good thing, as a group of villains had created the new swearword as a means of accumulating mystical power.
  • Gigi Digi has stated that she's been tired of Hiimdaisy and its memes, which continue to see use amongst fans of Shin Megami Tensei: Persona, Metal Gear, Ace Attorney, and the like, for years.
  • Dumbing of Age: Eventually, David Willis got fed up of people using the But for Me, It Was Tuesday meme all the time, and set the filter to block any use of the word Tuesday.

    Web Animation 
  • Strong Bad complains about this in the Homestar Runner short "Trogday '08".
    Strong Bad: You Internet types ruined Trogdor! Just like you did zombies, pirates, ninjas and Strong Bad! Er, wait, no. Yeah!
  • On Sonic for Hire, Sonic goes back in time to try to make sure that he doesn't squander his money. The event that he goes back to is when he and Knuckles battle Robotnik at the Death Egg Zone. Since the battle takes place in the 90s, Knuckles says a bunch of 90s lingo. Sonic gets really annoyed by it and quickly tells him "Now the novelty's worn off" when Knuckles says "Don't go there beyotch!"
  • Lampshaded in The Frollo Show among some of Hell's rules. (Ironic for that last one as Gwonam appears as a major antagonist of the series.)
    Thou shall not use memes from 9gag.
    Thou shall not make Soviet Russia jokes.
    Thou shall not rely on mainstream sources like
    CD-I Zelda and use very obscure ones like Panty and Stocking.
  • Three months are the end of RWBY Volume 3, Black Comedy jokes about Yang losing an arm are more likely to induce groaning than laughter due to sheer overuse.

    Web Original 
  • Images with captions were so often used in memes when people started to become familiar with the current usage of meme that many think that a "meme" is simply an image with a snowclone caption.
  • SF Debris started his review of the Star Trek: Deep Space Nine episode "In the Pale Moonlight" by playing the clip of Senator Vreenak saying "It's a FAAAAAAAAAKE!", then saying "There, you got that out of your system?"
  • Survival of the Fittest: According to one of the administrators, Kenny the bear's appearance was done mainly to make people shut up about the "inactivity bear" meme.
  • KnowYourMeme, a website dedicated to... well, memes, has an upcoming dictionary term called "The Family Guy Effect." To wit: "when Internet memes are showcased on the animated television show Family Guy, the meme will see a brief burst in popularity, followed by an immediate sharp decline." Oddly enough, their use of Rick Astley's "Never Gonna Give You Up" may have been too early (depending on how long episodes take to produce) to have been a reference to Rickrolling.
    • This very page gets a mention — hi there! note 
  • TV Tropes:
  • The trend of predicting a post number ending in doubles on 4chan got old to mods rather sooner than it did to posters. On boards such as /b/ and /v/, the final three digits of the post number were blocked out by X's as to make it harder to ascertain whether doubles were achieved (and to prevent the server from crashing so badly the next time the board hit another hundred million posts). When this did not hinder posters attempting to predict their post number, over the years it was removed. In another zig-zag, the mods eventually got so fed up with /v/ and /vg/'s dubs that every post that would have ended in the last two numbers matching skipped to the nearest set of numbers that didn't. It seemed to have finally worked...until browsers began predicting the final number of their post only.
  • Chuck Norris has fallen out of favor with Cracked even though they had an article idolizing him. They worship Theodore Roosevelt and Nikola Tesla now.
  • "folieadonteven" has the character of Derek Ashley RedSweatergGuy, who is both an in-universe and Real Life example. Derek was a meme Kax had tried to spawn last year, but he never took off. He later became a recurring character in their reviews, representing a failed meme which was Back from the Dead.
  • This video jokingly addresses the age-old question of "Why Doesn't MTV Play Music Video Anymore?", rightfully pointing out that the question itself is old enough to drive.
  • On the subject of Rick Astley, he's stated at least once that he's tired of the Rickrolling meme at this point.
  • On Two Best Friends Play, Matt and/or Pat tend to get sick of any of their running gags that catch on as fandom memes. In particular, after people started posting "[X] is the Origami Killer!" under every video they uploaded, Matt said that the joke was no longer funny.
  • The Nostalgia Critic:
    • The Critic admitted in his Adventures of Sonic the Hedgehog review that his use of M. Bison exclaiming, "Of course!" in response to world domination plans was no longer funny. The clip has made a handful of NC-related appearances since then, but the buildup in each instance deviated from that past reviews (NC simply saying, "He has an evil plan to, you guessed it, take over the world") in order to make the gag less stale (eg, a character announces world domination plans himself, NC notices a character looks like M. Bison, or someone says "Of course").
    • In the commentary for the same video, he cited this trope as his reason for not including the famous "bad touch" clip, mentioning also that, really, it was good advice and it was pretty ballsy of the show to make it.
    • He ran out of Lord of the Rings jokes during the Star Trek Generations review
    • He also stated on his commentary for "Top 11 Batman the Animated Series Episodes" that he's really gotten sick of the "Bat-Credit Card" joke, to the point where if someone says it to him at a convention, he'll only respond once.
    • On his "Christmas with the Kranks" review, he discredits almost all his memes (including Of Course, That's a lot of Fish, Elephant...)
    • When Doug and Rob do real thoughts on older reviews, they'll usually complain about a meme they got tired of, like "timing", "of course" and Rob's Goldblum impressions.
  • For an omnipresent meme, numerous sites have rules about not saying "First" in comments.
    • Fark.com has turned it into a new meme: its filter replaces "first (to) post" with "Boobies" and "first comment" with "Weeners", and if the post actually was first, adds twelve hours to its time stamp, thus pretty much guaranteeing it will be the minimum post (last post in Fark filter).
    • The Escapist, home of Zero Punctuation has a rule that comments in a thread about one of Yahtzee's videos are automatically deleted if they appear less than X minutes after the video is posted (X being the length of the video itself).
    • About two-thirds of the way through DM of the Rings, author Shamus Young started preemptively posting "first" in various snarky ways (e.g. an image of Steven Furst).
    • Screwattack has made a clip of the week stating to stop this or a "first monster" will come and delete the post.
  • The creators of Marble Hornets have said that they are sick of the "Gimme 20 Dollars" joke (which in their opinion bordered on a Forced Meme when it was new).
    • Referencing it on SlenderNation will get you mocked. Mercilessly.
    • The meme got a temporary new lease on life with the game "Slender", which had an unlockable "$20 Mode". Due to copyright concerns, the creator of the game removed the mode from the renamed "Slender: The Eight Pages".
  • Saying "I'm 12 and what is this" is a bad idea in places where the terms of service explicitly state that you must be at least 13 years old.
  • Dragon Ball Z Abridged referenced the "over 9000" meme by having a bored Vegeta say the line (and this is after he ended up having his scouter on upside down and reading the power level as 1006, leading to Goku kicking Nappa's ass) and Nappa being disappointed by it. A later video celebrating Team Four Star's YouTube account passing 9000 subscribers did it again, with Vegeta using the original "Over 8000" line with an annoyed Nappa telling him he didn't do it right.
    • Referencing the meme at all is a bannable offense on the Unfiction forums.
  • Zany VG Quotes's Zero Wing page says, "It's dead, Jim," and has a link to the infamous intro that simply says "Oh hell, you already know what this one is." At one point there was a snarky comment about it being time to stop wearing the AYB t-shirts and repeating it all the time. Notable because the entire All Your Base fad can be traced back to a Zany VG project.
  • Chuggaaconroy has completely disavowed Steve the Trooper, a red leaf Pikmin. Originally a throwaway gag, as Chugga often names characters, the fans picked up Steve and made fanart, videos, Facebook pages, and more. Throughout his Pikmin 2 let's play, he has specifically avoided the name Steve, sometimes stating "You know what that Pikmin's name is". Still, this being YouTube, most comments on his videos relate to Steve in some way. And then when Pikmin 3 was announced, all the trailers were flooded with "Steve" comments, this actually caused a large amount of ire to be turned on Chuggaa, despite his attempts to make the joke die.

    Western Animation 
  • From the Futurama episode "Ghost in the Machines":
    Fry: All I know is, I've got a ghost that needs busting.
    Hermes: Who You Gonna Call?
    Fry: Gho--
    Answering Machine: The number you have dialed has been lame since 1989.
  • On Danny Phantom, Danny makes a joke about "Who let the dogs in!", obviously in reference to the "Who Let the Dogs Out" song that was everywhere when Rugrats in Paris came out years earlier. He briefly tries to explain the joke while his friends just look at him like he's an idiot.
  • In The Simpsons examples:
    • In "Simpson Tide", Bart sings a short ditty of his 90's Ear Worm song "Do the Bartman"- even Ralph Wiggum comments "That is so 1991!"
    • Likewise, in "The Father, the Son, and the Holy Guest Star", when Bart goes to a Catholic school, he introduces himself by rattling off one of his old catchphrases ("I'm Bart Simpson, who the hell are you,") in a very bored voice, ending in saying "yadda-yadda-yadda."
    • Also in "Bart Gets Famous", when Bart briefly gains 15 Minutes of Fame on the Krusty the Klown Show as the 'I Didn't Do It Boy'.
    • By about season 5 or so, it seemed they could only use "Ay caramba," "Don't have a cow, man," and "Eat my shorts" if they were making fun of them.
    • Mentioned in the episode "Skinner's Sense of Snow", where Bart found his permanent record: "'Underachiever and proud of it.' How old is this thing?"
    • Lampshaded in the "Treehouse of Horror VI" story "Attack of the 50 Foot Eyesores", as giant advertising mascots running amok. The solution was to start ignoring them as ads go away if no one watches them. "Like that old woman who couldn't find the beef?'" Lisa observes.
    • In "The Blunder Years", when the Simpsons family tries to find out why Homer cannot stop screaming after being hypnotized, Homer starts flashing back to his greatest moment: the clip of Homer (almost) jumping across Springfield Gorge in "Bart the Daredevil", when Lisa interrupts him, saying "Everybody's sick of that memory!"
    • The beginning of "Gump Roast" has Homer parodying the opening of Forrest Gump when Chief Wiggum informs him that Springfield Police has been cracking down on people imitating movie characters, as Moe is immediately arrested after imitating Austin Powers.

Alternative Title(s): Old Meme

http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/DiscreditedMeme