Discredited Meme

aka: Old Meme
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).

In-Universe and Creator-Acknowledged Examples Only:

  • 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!
  • 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.
  • From Larry Gonick's 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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 carumba," "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 Eyesore", 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!"
  • According to Dork Tower, a meme is 'officially' dead whenever Matt Goering adopts it. The case in point that led to this observation? "All your base are belong to us!"
  • 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 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."
  • According to the image and caption for Fauxtivational Poster, this wiki has declared Demotivators to be unnecessary.
  • It's been old hat since about the mid-1990s to observe that MTV doesn't play music videos anymore.
    • This video jokingly addresses the age-old question, rightfully pointing out that the question itself is old enough to drive.
  • 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:
    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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • The Nostalgia 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 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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!"
  • 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."
  • In a moment of Self-Deprecation, LittleKuriboh 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! 5Ds 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.
  • 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 Pikmin2 review, 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.
  • This video is a Take That to arrow to the knee jokes. Commentators got tired of those barely a month after the game came out.
  • On this very website, Candle Jack is loathed by many. note 
  • 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. GameFAQs is a rather infamous example, but there are others.
  • 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 the meme at all is a bannable offense on the Unfiction forums.
    • 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".
  • The trend of predicting a post number ending in doubles on a few boards 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.
  • 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.
  • 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 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.
  • 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!"
  • 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?".
  • 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".
  • Star Trek Online 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.
  • TV Tropes enforces this from time to time, when a Pothole Magnet results in Trope Decay.
  • Pokémon has fans waiting for Hoenn remakes. People make Hoenn "confirmed" because of many things, some making sense, some being utter nonsense.
  • From the Futurama episode "Ghost in the Machines":
    Fry: All I know is, I've got a ghost that needs busting.
    Fry: Gho-
    Answering Machine: The number you have dialed has been lame since 1989.
  • Lampshaded in The Frollo Show, where one of the Underworld's rules reads "Thou shall not use memes from 9gag."
  • In Knights of Buena Vista, Walter has an "overused reference jar", which he treats more seriously than the swear jar.
  • 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.
  • A recent 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.
  • 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.

Alternative Title(s):

Old Meme