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Meme Acknowledgment
aka: Meme Acknowledgement

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Memes happen. Whether it's a Catchphrase that catches on, an intentionally or unintentionally funny moment, or an unfortunate coincidence, these things spread throughout the Internet like a virus. Sometimes crew members catch on and reference them.

It can be anything—a line at a convention, a YouTube video, even a piece of supplementary material. To qualify for this trope, it just has to be outside the show.

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Often, this takes the form of a "lesser" worker (as in, not the creator or showrunner himself) referencing it, as trying to get it put into the script could potentially cause an uproar. Also, a lot of memes are OOC, risqué, or just plain random, which wouldn't fit at all in canon. The Expanded Universe gets more leeway in this department.

A Sister Trope to Ascended Meme, which is when the show itself references the meme.


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Examples:

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    Anime and Manga 
  • Wayne Grayson, voice of Joey in Yu-Gi-Oh!, said "Brooklyn Rage!" several times at a 2008 convention. He referred to it as "his favorite line" even though "It's not even a line my character says, but I've been saying it all weekend".
  • Christopher Sabat frequently acknowledges the "OVER NINE THOUSAAAAAAAAAAND!!!!" meme, though he does find it odd that people ask him to say it when it was a line from the older dub that he had no involvement in.
    • He intentionally trolls anyone who asks him to say it by stringing them along in the conversation until they figure out that they're being trolled.
    • In the TV version of Dragon Ball Kai, his "Over 8,000!" linenote  from the DVD release is changed to 9,000, complete with the hammy delivery.
    • Also in Kai, Funimation cast Team Four Star to play characters in the Cell Games reenactment movie from the Buu Saga, in a scene that references several DBZ memes (including Over 9000!). Although Toei Animation forced them to remove the audio from the TV broadcast, the OTHER Krillin's voice can still be heard at the very end since it's part of a scene rather than the "movie".
  • The Funimation announcement of Nagisa's VA for the English dub of Free! referred to him as "the cute, hilarious, definitely-not-a-thug Nagisa Hazuki", referencing 50% OFF's version of the character.
  • Attack on Titan: The parody Spoof on Titan, made by Hajime Isayama himself, pokes fun at some of the fandom's memes and shipping pairs.
  • JoJo's Bizarre Adventure is infamous for its dramatic, stylish poses, and the fan tendency to recreate them in real life. Not only has the author/artist, Hirohiko Araki, done it himself (see his page image), but the posing made it into an ad for one of the video game adaptations!
  • In Japan a meme surfaced in 2017 that briefly crossed Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba and The Promised Neverland over, an image edit of Zenitsu, a Demon Slayer character, being scared witless of Sister Krone, a Promised Neverland character, made its rounds in Japanese imageboards, to the point Zenitsu somehow was voted the 29th most popular character in The Promised Neverland for its first official poll, while Sister Krone was voted the 59th most popular character in Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba for its first official poll. Going even further the meme was in fact recognized by Shueisha itself in 2019, as they made a gigantic mural with hundreds of Shonen Jump characters being all over a school building, Zenitsu and Krone were paired together alone, creating the same effect of Zenitsu being scared of Krone as she looms behind him.
  • The The Demon Girl Next Door meme "It's all Shamiko's fault" comes from a fanart, yet it became trending in 2019, to the point of being named number 1 in Nico Nico Douga's top 100 memes of the year. Nico Nico presented a trophy to Izumo Ito, the creator of this series, and Ito responded with art of a puzzled (because they didn't say that in canon) Yuko and Momo receiving the trophy.

    Film 

    Literature 
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    Live-Action TV 
  • "Bear" Grylls of Man vs. Wild has occasionally made jokes about reacting to events with "better drink my own piss" just like the meme parodying this trait of his.
  • When Elizabeth Berkley, best known as Jessie Spano on Saved by the Bell, appeared on Dancing with the Stars, she and her partner Val had some fun before they had to do a jive routine by recreating one of the 90's series most iconic (and infamous) moments that has reached meme status: Jessie's caffeine-pill fueled breakdown while singing "I'M SO EXCITED!" The Internet rejoiced.
    • Similarly, Alfonso Ribeiro's jazz routine to "It's Not Unusual" in Season 19 included the Carlton Dance.
  • Oprah Winfrey famously gave away cars to everyone in her audience in a 2004 episode of her show. Her screams—particularly "YOU GET A CAR!"—quickly reached meme status. Nine years later, when Oprah appeared on Jimmy Kimmel Live!, she was in the middle of talking about her new film The Butler when she suddenly stopped the interview and declared "I just got that feeling again." She called a random woman from the audience down to the set and abruptly screamed "YOU GET A CAR!," giving her the keys to a brand-new Ford Fusion that was outside. The whole thing was played as a joke, with Oprah describing her "problem" of giving away new cars as a compulsion that she tries to keep under control—in this case, she apparently skipped lunch, which made her condition flare up.
  • In The Sopranos, a second-season episode has Livia Soprano watching Emeril Lagasse's cooking show, Emeril Live, on television, and complaining that he doesn't wash his hands at all before preparing food. Due to the popularity of the series and fan amusement with this comment, Emeril himself would make a point of washing his hands before making anything afterwards, and turned the comment into a Running Gag about how he hoped "the woman from Sopranos doesn't bug me."
  • In the UK comedy Wasted, Chronically Killed Actor Sean Bean appears as the spirit guide of one of the protagonists, frantically Adam Westing the whole time, while dressed as Ned Stark from Game of Thrones. The first season ends with him delivering the line "One does not simply kill Sean Bean".
  • After the LazyTown song "We Are Number One" became the subject of a number of parodies (usually titled "We Are Number One but [description of the changes]"), the official YouTube channel went ahead with "We Are Number One but it's the original and it's 1 hour long...."
    • In addition, the original actors performed a live version of "We Are Number One" and also released a video of all the individual components making up the song. All of this was done to keep the memes flowing.
  • People getting disturbed by the world, specially technology-related news, often inspires "This is so Black Mirror" responses. Twice, it warranted the show to respond, once when Life Imitates Art, and another when the 2016 election led the phrase to be used too many times.
  • During the run of Kamen Rider Ex-Aid, the web-exclusive Poppy Pipopapo's Room video series had an episode where Poppy and Emu try some gummies and scream "JUICY!", parodying the "Juicy Kid" from the Kamen Rider-branded gummy advertisements.
  • The Doctor Who Twitch marathon spawned a meme from Ian Chesterton's excited reaction to returning home to "London 1965!"
    • As a result, the official Doctor Who YouTube channel changed the title of the clip where this happens to "London 1965".
    • The 2018 Doctor Who Magazine Christmas Quiz, had a section of questions about "The Chase", in reference to Bradley Walsh hosting The Chase. The first one is when and where Ian and Barbara arrive, and the answer is given in the following issue as "London, 1965!"

    Music 

    Professional Wrestling 
  • Late 2014 saw a meme on Vine featuring Randy Orton using his signature RKO finishing move on people who were falling or in accidents, making it appear as if Orton had caused them to fall. WWE eventually acknowledged it on their front page, and even posted a few vines of their own.
  • Botchamania created "The Cornette Face", a screenshot of Jim Cornette with his mouth agape, looking like he just saw the most ridiculous thing he's ever seen. Cornette loved the concept so much that he enthusiastically agreed to the usage and even had merchandise made with the face on it(and proudly wears the t-shirt regularly).
  • For a while, when the WWE has fired or released a wrestler from their contract, the announcements almost always ended with the phrase "We wish him/her the best in all his/her future endeavors." The term "future endeavored" became a meme among the Smart Mark crowd as a means of talking about someone being fired. In The New '10s, WWE actually started selling shirts with "Future Endeavored" on them.
    • For a short time, they also started selling shirts with other common smart mark lingo, such as "I'm So Over," "I Get Heat," etc. However, the shirts quickly fizzled out of production.
  • John Cena has publicly acknowledged the meme surrounding him (and how annoying it is), and teamed up with Cricket Wireless to perform his own take on it.

    Video Games 

    Visual Novels 

    Webcomics 
  • Homestuck: The Betty Crocker corporation has referenced their role as a villain in Homestuck several times on their Twitter account. They were once asked if they were aware that their CEO was an alien troll queen attempting to destroy the universe. Their response was "We can neither confirm nor deny."

    Web Original 

    Western Animation 
  • My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic has a lot of these.
    • This season 2 promo acknowledges acknowledged the fan terms "brony" (term for fans of the show, usually defined as the older male ones) and "DJ Pon-3" (for the DJ pony seen in "Suited for Success").
    • At the January 2012 Bronycon, Ashleigh Ball was asked to say one of Jappleack's lines from APPLE.MOV. She settled for "Uh... Fu... Forget you! Ah can eat all these apples!" Hotdiggedydemon, the maker of the .MOV series, posted a response.
    • May 30, 2012 saw the announcement of a special edition toy for Comic-con. The toy packaging is nameless, but contains a gray pegasus pony with blond hair, bubbles cutie mark, and yellow walleyes. The package is complete with muffins on the box art.
    • Speaking of, even in the show itself pretty much everything owing to Derpy Hooves' character, from her status as a lovable good-natured ditz, her job as a postal worker and mail carrier, and her (potentially romantic) relationship with Doctor Whooves all come from memes created by fans.
    • The nature of Lyra and Bon Bon's friendship being so overtly romantic (though stopping just short of admitting it, or insisting they're "best friends") is a response to their now memetic standing as a very popular One True Pairing among fans. Coming full circle, the term "best friends" has become a meme in the fandom that refers to characters who are in love.
    • WeLoveFine's officially licensed My Little Pony line of shirts is at least half ascended memes.
    • Also inverted in a way: Ghost of True Capitalist Radio would often describe himself as "Melting Pot of Friendship" to deflect accusations of racism. He also hates the show and its fandom. So a "fan" recorded Tara Strong saying in her Twilight Sparkle voice that she's a Melting Pot of Friendship. Ghost took it well.
    • A DVD box set featured a "Now 20% cooler!" sticker.
    • The official extended version of the song "Awesome As I Wanna Be" includes the line "You wish you could be 20% cooler."
    • The song "My Little Pony Friends," a song originally written as the end credits song for the My Little Pony Equestria Girls movie, includes the lyrics "Love and Tolerate."
  • The Legend of Korra fandom managed to get Steve Blum to read out some "Comedy Amon" jokes at a convention.
  • Comedy Central's bumpers promoting the 2012 season of Futurama were based off of several popular memes, including Fry's "Not Sure If..." and "Why Not Zoidberg?", with Billy West providing the voiceovers.
  • An ad for the 2014 Kids Choice Awards on Nickelodeon makes use of the the Surprised Patrick meme.
  • An arguable case, since the meme referenced isn't related to the work itself, but The Lion Guard character Bunga, known for extreme bravery and and not being bothered by anything, is a Honey Badger. The creators even admit that the character was partially influenced by the "honey badger don't care" meme.
  • Steven Universe:
    • Steven Universe has the incredibly well-known meme known as ""Pearl's secret rap career" note . The meme features Pearl singing and dancing to the song "LA" by The Party, but only the verse sung by Deedee Magno Hall, Pearl's voice actress. Hilarious, especially since the final installment of this meme features footage of Deedee herself REACTING to it.
    • For a while there was a meme of portraying Peridot as very stereotypically Canadian. This was because some fans speculated she had landed in Canada, however it was later shown that she didn't. Still, Peridot becomes obsessed with a very Canadian Show Within a Show called "Camp Pining Hearts".
  • The creators of Voltron: Legendary Defender have acknowledged Shiro as being the "Space Dad." Shiro's voice actor, Josh Keaton, seems to be especially fond of using it on social media.
  • After the series finale of Samurai Jack, Aku's voice actor Greg Baldwin had this to say.
  • The Special Edition Title of Season 30 of The Simpsons had a very brief clip of an episode from the previous 29 seasons play in reverse chronological order. The clip that represents Season 7 was Superintendent Chalmers saying "steamed hams" from the episode 22 Short Films About Springfield, specifically Principal Skinner's segment of the episode. That segment was a rather popular meme during the year of the Season 30 premier, flying under the name "Steamed Hams".

    Other 

    Real Life 
  • Ryan Gosling has been asked in interviews about fuckyeahryangosling.tumblr.com and has read out some of the captions of the images on that site.
  • After Chicago Blackhawks fans adopted Lindsey Buckingham's "Holiday Road" as their unofficial anthem for the team's run through The Stanley Cup playoffs, the NHL Network used the title of the song when noting that five of the last six Stanley Cup winners have won the Cup on the road.
  • The NBA Youtube account acknowledged Memetic Badass Brian Scalabrine by making a mixtape of his best moments, something usually reserved for superstars of the game.
  • Chuck Norris and his public acknowledgement of Chuck Norris Facts in TV interviews. For the most part, he finds them very amusing.
  • Barack Obama used the popular "Thanks, Obama" meme while he was still in office by posting a video of himself trying to dunk a large cookie into a glass of milk that was clearly too small for the cookie. The "Thanks Obama" subreddit promptly shut down, noting that there was no way anyone else could ever top that.
  • A 2008 video of a lecture by law professor James Duane became a meme within legal circles as "Don't Talk to the Police." In 2014, an episode of Chicago P.D. directly acknowledged this video, and in 2016 Duane himself wrote a book based on the video, You Have the Right to Remain Innocent.
  • Trivago has some played-to-the-point-of-overkill ads. In Brazil, not only they brought back the "Mr. Trivago" to read some comments, but the website also listed their favorite memes inspired by the commercial.
  • Augusto Pinochet Molina, the grandson of the Chilean Dictator Augusto Pinochet Ugarte, frequently shares the American "free helicopter ride" memes.
  • Someone tweeted in Febuary 2017 that "John Legend look like Arthur lowkey" which quickly caught on. His wife, Chrissy Teigen, used the Arthur fist meme to tease him about it [1] and posted a picture to Instagram of their daughter holding an Arthur doll captioned "Luna and Daddy". He would later acknlowedge the meme himself in an ad for Google Home where he dressed like Arthur and recreated the fist meme. [2]
  • After the death of Kobe Bryant, a tribute was held in Bryant's honor at the Staples Center in Los Angeles, where Bryant spent his entire career playing for the Lakers. While giving a tribute speech, Michael Jordan referenced the "Crying Jordan" meme, saying that now he'll have to look at another one.
  • Senator Ted Cruz has seemingly embraced the "Ted Cruz is the Zodiac Killer" meme.
  • Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg was known to find the “Notorious RBG” meme about herself hilarious and gave merch of it to her staff/interns when they left her office. Her granddaughter says she drew the line at tattoos though like any Jewish grandmother would.


Alternative Title(s): Meme Acknowledgement

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