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Play-Along Meme

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Perhaps someday, we'll uncover the truth about this Mr. Snrub.
Not all memes are the same. Some of them come from the fans latching onto a particular line or scene and spreading it like wildfire, while others are tongue-in-cheek reinterpretations and exaggerations. And, in this case, some memes are born from fans jokingly going along with what the work says, no matter how blatantly false it is.

This can take a few forms. If a character uses a Paper-Thin Disguise, fans might pretend to not be aware that they're the same person— or will guess any identity besides the real one. If a character claims to be invisible, the audience can no longer see them. If a fictional product promotes itself as real, people will talk about the work as if it is. These forms and many more exist because the audience jokingly takes the work's word at face value. A Play-Along Meme thus makes heavy use of Kayfabe— it's obvious that the meme is a joke, but everyone goes along with it for the sake of furthering the joke's humor and/or the meme's spread. Fans who don't play along are thus often jokingly "corrected" by the people spreading the meme.

A Sub-Trope of Memetic Mutation.


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    Anime & Manga 
  • Agravity Boys featured an in-series award-winning historical drama called Masaru, which all of the cast is a fan of and gets regular references throughout the story. Fans sometimes make jokes about their favorite Masaru episodes and what seasons were their favorites, despite the fact that Masaru itself was made long after the 21st century.
  • In Cromartie High School, the character Mechazawa is very obviously a Tin-Can Robot in a school uniform, yet other characters treat him as if he's just a normal high school boy. Fans often follow this, by saying that there's nothing weird when a picture of Mechazawa is posted.
  • Mobile Suit Zeta Gundam: Lieutenant Quattro Bajeena of the AEUG is, in reality, Char Aznable. This is revealed early on, and is more of an Internal Reveal since the audience has no trouble figuring it out the moment he first speaks, coupled with his first Mobile Suit in the series being red. However, most fans tend to jokingly treat Char and Quattro as entirely different people. This has extended to Alex Dino, Montag and other poorly hidden characters through the franchise, though not to the extent of Char.
  • One Piece:
    • The manga has an entire arc during which Usopp is under the guise of a super-hero named Sogeking because he doesn't want his crewmates to know that he's helping them. Obviously, being a Paper-Thin Disguise, none of the crew fall for it save for Luffy and Chopper, the two most gullible members of the crew. It is however a recurring joke for fans to refer as Usopp and Sogeking as two different characters, often complaining how Sogeking completely disappeared from the story after this arc ended.
    • An anime-original story arc sees the Straw Hats—minus Robin, disguised as an officer—trapped in a Marine prison cell. Also in the cell is the officer whose clothing Robin stole, who demands to be let out and protests his identity. Usopp, thinking quickly, pretends the man is actually a beloved member of the Straw Hats named "Condoriano", who (tragically) lost his memory and now thinks he's a Marine officer. Even Zoro, completely straight-faced, gets in on the act. Fans will jokingly claim Condoriano as their favourite Straw Hat, lamenting his lack of focus in recent arcs and building him up as a legendary warrior with the "Will of D" (as Con D. Oriano).
  • Among the One-Punch Man fandom, it's common to jokingly talk about Saitama the same way other characters talk about him in-universe (i.e. calling him a fraud who steals credit from other heroes like King).
  • In Re:Zero, Rem's existence is completely erased to the point that even close family cannot recognize her. Fans carry on the effects of this event by pretending they don't recognize her at all.
  • In Yu-Gi-Oh!, the extremely simple card Pot of Greed (which allows its player to draw two cards from their deck) is explained in full almost every single time it's played, which is extremely often. Fans like to joke that they really are that forgetful and claim to have no idea what the card does whenever it pops up.

  • One of John Mulaney's standup bits in New in Town is about how he was bullied as a child for being Asian-American (which he is not) and was also often mistaken for a woman, capping with him calling himself a "proud Asian-American woman." As such, fans will often jokingly celebrate John as an example of female Asian-American representation in comedy.

    Comic Books 
  • It's common in discussions about superhero vs superhero for fans to go the Exact Words route if one or more participant is referred to by their Secret Identity. Bruce Wayne versus Tony Stark? Why would a billionaire philanthropist be in a fight with Iron Man?

    Fan Works 
  • House of Gold, a Real-Person Fic shipping Drew Gooden and Danny Gonzalez, writes Drew's wife (or girlfriend, as written in the fic) Amanda out of the story by saying she was lost at war in Afghanistan. After Drew and Danny read the fic in a crossover video, Drew's fandom began joking that Amanda was still lost in Afghanistan, despite her never going to war in real life. Even when Amanda appears in Drew's videos, the comments section will express relief that she's finally been "rescued."

    Films — Animation 
  • Fans of Encanto tend to play along with Bruno's characters Hernando and Jorge, pretending that the three of them are separate individuals, rather than just Bruno's blatant character-acting. For example, Pepa's verse in "We Don't Talk About Bruno" will be recontextualized as though Hernando framed Bruno for causing the hurricane, as Hernando is merely Bruno with his hood up, which is how Bruno appears at the wedding. Another example is fans being thankful that Jorge was there to save Bruno when the Casita was collapsing.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Since The Bubble (2022) concerns the filming of the sixth installment of a fictional blockbuster film franchise, Netflix released a trailer for Cliff Beasts 6 as part of the marketing for the film. Most comments under the trailer's YouTube video are people treating Cliff Beasts as if they were real movies, talking about how much of an impact the franchise has had on their lives and how excited they are for this new installment.
  • Jurassic Park: Visual effects artist Phil Tippett was given the credit of "Dinosaur Supervisor" in the first film's credits, which led to fans jokingly blaming him for all the deaths in the movie as though he were an incompetent park employee. He referred to the meme a few times on Twitter, and blamed the meme in jest for causing him to be credited merely as "Dinosaur Consultant" on Jurassic World.
  • Marvel Cinematic Universe:
    • In Avengers: Infinity War, Drax claims to have mastered the art of standing so still as to become invisible, despite Quill saying that's not how it works and Mantis immediately saying hi. This spawned the "invisible Drax" meme of not noticing Drax in images, or of claiming that Drax is actually in the background of any random shot in any MCU movie. It even extends to joking that his actor Dave Bautista isn't present in his fights. His matches with John Cena (whose Catchphrase is "You can't see me") are a further example, with comments joking about why people are so excited over what's apparently just the referee bouncing around.
    • Spider-Man: Homecoming Trilogy:
      • Spider-Man: Far From Home: When Ned tries to cover for Peter, who is dressed in the S.H.I.E.L.D.-provided stealth suit, he makes up a superhero named "Night Monkey" to explain who the black-suited superhero was. Fans quickly started making jokes that he really is a separate hero that is in no way related to Spider-Man. Even Sony played along with it.
      • Spider-Man: No Way Home: After Doctor Strange uses a memory-erasing spell to eliminate the memory of Peter Parker's identity from the minds of everyone in the universe at the end of the film, some fans played along by pretending the spell had affected them too, reacting in confusion to the appearance of the character whose identity was erased whenever it was mentioned or appeared in other installments of the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
  • Star Wars:
    • In the Prequel Trilogy, Ian McDiarmid plays Senator Sheev Palpatine and his alter ego Darth Sidious. In his role as Palpatine, he will always be wearing gaudy outfits and putting on a face of benevolence, but as a Sith Lord, he wears a hooded black cloak with a Face Framed in Shadow. The fans love to pretend that there is no way the two people are the same. Similarly, they love to pretend that Anakin Skywalker and Darth Vader are two different beings and can't possibly be the same person.
    • In The Force Awakens, C-3PO introduces himself to Han by expressing that he probably didn't recognize him with his new red arm. Cue fans claiming that they have no idea who this strange red-armed protocol droid in all the pictures is.
  • Due to many viewers walking away from Tár assuming that Lydia Tár was a real person, fans have run with it, doing things like lamenting her downfall from the world of classical music, sharing anecdotes about her, and reporting news on what's happening to her. It's become so widespread that Vulture would end up getting on it, posting an article sharing fun facts about Lydia as if she were a real person, and ever since it's become a Running Gag for them to treat her like one whenever Tár gets brought up. There's also a fan-run Lydia Tár Twitter account that tweets things completely in-character with an accompanying website and Letterboxd account, also in-character.
    • This was taken to its furthest after director Todd Field claimed that Lydia was lying about having been mentored by Leonard Bernstein due to him dying when she was a teenager, leading to the actual estate of Leonard Bernstein to refute that in an article from The New Yorker, where they clarified that Bernstein noticed Lydia's talent and mentored her in the last year of his life.
  • 1986's This is Spın̈al Tap is an early example. It's clearly a Mockumentary, and a long series of improvised sketches, but fans of the film have been treating this obvious parody of a band as a real, iconic, classic rock band pretty much since the film came out— including on This Very Wiki. It helps that the cast have frequently appeared in character on stage and on talk shows to keep up Kayfabe. Plus, the film is a Fountain of Memes as it is.
  • As Weird: The Al Yankovic Story is a parody of musical biopics, particularly their tendency to employ artistic license, it has a lot of inaccuracies in the name of the Rule of Funny. Fans treat these inaccuracies as if they really happened, including the ending, where Al is killed in 1986 by a cartel hitman employed by Madonna.
  • In the film Yesterday (2019), Jack Malik wakes up in a world where The Beatles never existed. To get famous, he begins passing off their music as his own. This led to fans claiming to not know who The Beatles were, and also claiming Jack Malik to be the writer of the songs.

  • Nineteen Eighty-Four: It has been common to play along with the Double Think of the Party when talking about the book. Remember, we were always at war with Eastasia while Eurasia has always been our ally. What's that? Yesterday Eastasia was our ally and Eurasia was our enemy? Nonsense, things were always this way.
  • Candle Cove: There are typically two groups of fans that play along with the story's lore about the fictitious Candle Cove TV series. The first group of fans say that they remember watching the show, and will often have discussions as they recount various episodes and plotlines that are typically made up on the spot for the sake of the joke. The second group of fans insists that they only see static whenever they try watching the show. When it comes to fan "uploads" of Candle Cove on YouTube, expect to see the first group of fans commenting on videos that are nothing but static, and the second group of fans commenting on videos that actually have visual footage.
  • Dracula: In May of 2022, the "Dracula Daily" newsletter exploded in popularity. Because the novel is a Scrapbook Story of journals, letters, and articles, and everything in the book has a date, the newsletter sends subscribers an email with whatever happened that day in canon. (For example, the first part of the book is Jonathan Harker's journal, with the first entry being on May 3. Therefore, on May 3, subscribers got an email with that entry.) Tumblr in particular latched onto the newsletter, and began posting their reactions in real time, and many react as if they're getting emails and blog entries from real people describing things that are currently happening to them. As far as the subscribers are concerned, Jonathan Harker is their good friend, they have no idea what will happen next, and they can't wait to get his next email update about his work trip in Transylvania—and they wonder if his girlfriend Mina will update her blog soon. Similarly, days with no updates will be met with posts in the tag about how they haven't heard from Jonathan today and they hope he's okay, while others say that they miss Jon, but they're sure everything's fine.
  • Sherlock Holmes: It is a convention in publications by Holmesian or Sherlockian clubs and scholars that the Great Detective was a real, historic person and Dr. Watson really wrote the stories and novels as a "biographer." This meant they had to spend much time and effort explaining apparent discrepancies in the text (as Doyle sometimes wrote that Watson's wartime injury was in his leg, and other times it was in his shoulder.)
  • Song of the Sorcelator and Epic Legends of the Hierarchs are two projects (well, one project) that run on this. After a series of comic strips mocking bad fantasy novels in Penny Arcade, the creators set up fan wikis for the two franchises they made up and had the fanbase treat them as if they were real, letting them create as much Stylistic Suck and Fandom Rivalry as they pleased.

    Live-Action TV 
  • The Afterparty: The series released a music video that was made in-universe by murder victim Xavier. Viewers commented on the video as though Xavier were a real, sadly deceased celebrity.
  • In a later episode of Better Call Saul, Walt and Jesse, the main characters of prior series Breaking Bad, make a cameo appearance. This caused quite a few people to start joking about how this was a Poorly-Disguised Pilot for a new spinoff series focusing on these two random drug dealers, often featuring remarks about what a stupid idea that sounds like.
  • The Boys: During the third season's "7 on 7note " ad campaign, most (if not all) of the commenters on YouTube go out of their way to be completely in character as if they were In-Universe citizens of the show's reality.
    Commenter: Homelander saved my cat stuck in a tree yesterday. She lost her tail but it's a small price to pay. Thanks Homelander!
  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer:
    • Reaction Videos for the first episodes of Season 5 tend to be full of comments insisting that Buffy's sister Dawn was merely Out of Focus for the past seasons, and acting surprised whenever a new viewer "forgets" all the times when Dawn was an important part of a certain episode or season.
    • After the reveal that Glory has a spell to prevent anyone remembering her and Ben turning into each other, fans started making comments asking if there was a "connection" between Ben and Glory.
  • Doctor Who: Series 6 (2011) introduced the Silence, a religious order of creepy humanoids. Once anyone looks away from a Silent, they forget about them. However, these aliens use post-hypnotic suggestions. Many commenters act like they've never seen the Silence but remember what they said; it went as far as videos of the Apollo 11 moon landing, a major plot point in the episode "Day of the Moon".
  • In season 4 of The Expanse, Amos expresses his dislike for Murtry by calling him everything except "Murtry". Since Murtry is a Hate Sink, fans took to doing the same. They might even correct others using the wrong name, but the "corrections" are still never his actual name.
  • Game of Thrones: In Season 6, after murdering his own father to seize power for himself, Ramsay Bolton covers this up with the extremely flimsy cover story that Roose was "poisoned by his enemies", which isn't believed by anyone. Fans took to playing along by commiserating with Ramsay over his father's death and hoping he gets the chance to avenge his poisoning.
  • The Mandalorian: In Season 2, Mando and the rest of his friends agree to let Mayfeld go free as thanks for getting them crucial information from an Imperial refinery, under the cover story that he died in a botched escape from the base. Fans quickly began hailing him as a tragic martyr, staunchly denying any chance of his survival.
  • Ask any guest star on The Muppet Show, and they will tell you that co-starring with the Muppets was a great experience and that they highly respect them as actors. Both among fans and among professionals, it is considered practically sacrilege to suggest that the Muppets are anything other than skilled actors, as it would be breaking the commonly-understood idea that it's not to be done.
  • Fans of RuPaul's Drag Race particularly took to season 13 contestant Joey Jay, and her running joke of announcing she's gay... despite the fact that every season is a Cast Full of Gay and her frequent mentions of this fact are obviously redundant (come on, it's a show about Drag Queens!). Fans found this so funny that they christened Joey Jay the "first openly gay contestant" and praised the show for "finally having gay representation." It kept Joey a fan favorite long after her early elimination.
  • Succession: After Logan's death in the fourth season, several news publications posted actual obituaries for him shortly after the episode came out. Along with being a succinct look at Logan's backstory, actions, and in-universe legacy, they're also very detailed, with the LA Times article referencing two of Waystar Studio's movies, whose posters can be spotted as a Freeze-Frame Bonus on the walls of Waystar's offices, and the Vulture article including pictures of a young Brian Cox to help maintain the illusion that it was a real event.

  • Ninja Sex Party: In "6969", Danny's love interest is named Kristen, but he immediately forgets her name and instead calls her "Katie". As a result, fans will refer to her as any K-name besides Kristen.
  • Will Smith’s music video for the Men in Black theme song ends with him turning to the camera, putting on sunglasses, and “Neuralyzing” the audience. On uploads of the video, you can often find people in the comments saying they know they sat down to watch the video but can’t remember any of it.

  • Welcome to Night Vale: It's not uncommon to see fans jokingly mix up the identities of Hiram McDaniels, who is literally a five-headed dragon, and Frank Chen, a posthumous human character who is heavily implied to have been murdered by Hiram several years ago (Cause of Death: Dragon, at least three heads), after Hiram assumed Chen's identity in the wake of several unsuccessful assassination attempts on newly elected mayor Dana Cardinal, in order to avoid capture by the secret police.

    Pro Wrestling 
It’s often said that kayfabe in the wrestling world is dead and buried, but as this page demonstrates, fans will happily keep it up if doing so is more entertaining or just more funny. In particular:

  • John Cena's theme song is "My Time is Now" and features the lyric "You can't see me!" Internet users like to pretend that they can't see him whenever he is present in any image or video they see that he's in.
  • In reality, Christopher Daniels and Curry Man are one and the same. But as far as fans are concerned, there's no relation. Ditto with Hulk Hogan and Mr. America.
  • Elias, between Wrestlemania and Summerslam 2022, brought back the Charlie Brown from Outta Town gimmick of old and played it perfectly straight when he returned as his "younger brother", Ezekiel. It was less than a Paper-Thin Disguise — the only thing Jeffrey Sciullo did to change character was shave his beard – but one of the most entertaining things in the WWE over those four months was wrestlers and fans alike playing along as if the two men were separate, whilst Kevin Owens descended into insanity as the Only Sane Man in the industry.
  • Sami Zayn joined WWE in the beginning of 2013, and is completely unrelated to "El Generico", the folk-hero generic luchador who was an indie sensation until the end of 2012. Everyone knows that El Generico retired back to Tijuana to work at the orphanage that he saved with his wrestling money!

  • It's very common for fans of I'm Sorry I Haven't a Clue, especially in the older, geekier days of the Internet, to hold their own games of "Mornington Crescent," with the same mock Rules Lawyering heard on the show. Acknowledging this for the Calvinball it is is obviously forbidden.

    Video Games 
  • Arcaea: Mentioning Tenniel, a character from the Ephemeral Page side story, in a discussion about the game tends to invoke remarks of "Who's Tenniel?" Tenniel is an Imaginary Friend of Alice.
  • Arknights: Among the various beachgoers seen throughout Heart of Surging Flame, we briefly catch a glimpse of Ch'en taking a vacation after the events of the main story. However, as the game only ever refers to her with the generic descriptor of 'Female Tourist C', some fans jokingly started treating her as a seperate character actually named Female Tourist C who inexplicably looks just like Ch'en wearing a swimsuit.
  • BioShock: Adding the words, "Would you kindly...?" to a request. The game reveals that "would you kindly" is actually a phrase used to mind-control Jack, and consequently, the player.
  • In Bloons Tower Defense, Camo Bloons can't be attacked by towers who can't detect them, despite being just as colorful as regular bloons, just with camo patterns on. Players like to joke they really can't see pictures of Camo Bloons. This is usually followed by a variation of "wearing the red wristbands", since the upgrade that lets Dart Monkeys see Camo is depicted in-game as a pair of red wristbands.
  • Deltarune: In the first chapter, Lancer disguises himself by putting on a mustache. In the second chapter, this mustachioed Lancer, now titled Chef Lancer, appears in the Castle Town's bakery, with Lancer acting like they're two separate people. Fans often pretend that they are separate characters as well, and a common joke "theory" is speculating that the two are related somehow.
  • Earth Defense Force 5 introduces the Colonist enemy units, aliens who resemble giant bipedal frogs. The game never describes them as frogs; instead, characters repeatedly insist they look "almost exactly like humans." Thus, fans will comment on how much they look like humans, or pretend to mistake them for real humans. Even the EDF Wiki refers to them as "human-like creatures".
  • Fate/Grand Order: Following Miyamoto Musashi's Heroic Sacrifice in the climax of Lostbelt 5.2. "Olympus" which sees the character essentially Ret-Gone from existence, many fans and players have asked who exactly this character who sacrificed themselves is, or alternatively, refer to her simply as "Data Lost" due to the aforementioned actions. Possibly another contribution to the treatment of this character is how Kirschtaria welcomes you to the final duel, congratulating you on how you lost nobody on your team, and lists down everyone except her. Chaldea is totally pissed, believing him to be mocking her sacrifice.
  • Fire Emblem:
    • Fire Emblem: Path of Radiance has a character named Devdan. In its sequel, Fire Emblem: Radiant Dawn there's a man called Danved, who insists that "Danved is definitely not Devdan" and joins the party, so the fanbase likes to pretend the same.
    • Fire Emblem: Awakening: The character Kellam, despite being a Knight in noisy, bulky armor, is basically treated in-universe as if he's invisible. Naturally, whenever he shows up in official or fan content, fans often pretend to not see him. Alternatively, fans may claim a picture where Kellam really isn't present actually does depict him, or make "fan art" or mock up screenshots of Kellam consisting of blank or even broken images.
  • Kingdom Hearts: After the events of Kingdom Hearts: 358/2 Days, it became a joke to ask who Xion is. Since she is basically the manifestation of Sora's memories, after she dies, everyone forgets who she is.
  • The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time: The twist that Sheik's true identity of Princess Zelda is well known, but fans pretend that they have no idea who she really is.
  • Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty has fans playing along with Solid Snake's Paper-Thin Disguise as "Iroquois Pliskin", joking about him being a new character who couldn't possibly be Snake, since Snake "died" in the Tanker incident in the prologue.
  • Metroid:
    • To hide the true identity of its protagonist, the original Metroid manual described Samus Aran as a cyborg man. Therefore, the Metroid fandom continues to subscribe to her in-universe Shrouded in Myth status by jokingly referring to Samus as a robot dude in various memes. This may often be combined with referring to Samus as "Metroid."
    • In Metroid Dread, ADAM, the computer AI of Samus' gunship and exposition guide to ZDR, claims that Samus is not a worthy opponent to Raven Beak, not even at full potential, and she has a low probability of defeating him. Once it's revealed that "ADAM" is actually Raven Beak impersonating the AI, these statements come across as less of a threat and more of a narcissistic boast from the evil Chozo and consequently, fans decide to go along with ADAM's claims and begin adding their own "facts" into the pile, making Raven Beak the ultimate Memetic Badass of the Metroid universe. They go as far as claiming that Raven Beak has a shredded eight-pack and his Zero Suit is so sexy that it was removed from the game because it instantly bumped the ESRB rating from T to AO.
  • In NEO: The World Ends with You, the Big Bad Tanzo Kubo gets exorcized which means not only is he erased in the traditional sense but even his appearance is retroactively removed in the past as if he never existed. Naturally, this causes fans to say that they have never heard of him and wonder who this middle aged looking Reaper is.
  • Since the main conceit of the game Octodad is almost nobody realizing the titular character is an octopus in disguise, it's become common for videos and pictures of him to be met with comments wondering what's so interesting about this normal everyday dad doing normal everyday things.
  • Pokémon:
    • Pokémon Sun and Moon: Ask a fan who the Masked Royal is, and they'll tell you they have no idea, but it certainly isn't Professor Kukui.
    • Pokémon Scarlet and Violet: Although they have many similarities with regards to their appearance, Clive is certainly not Director Clavell.
  • Puyo Puyo Tsu: Who the heck is Masked Satan? Surely not reoccurring villain Satan wearing a fancy eyemask, right? Well, that can't be, because he has his own slot in the playable roster in the PC-Engine port!
  • You'll be hard pressed to find a guide for The Stanley Parable that doesn't include the Whiteboard Ending and the Broom Closet Ending even though neither is actually an ending, since both allow the player to move on with the story once they are done. This is because both are jokingly referred to as endings by the game: the former features a whiteboard with the words "Welcome to the WHITEBOARD ENDING!" in it, and the latter has the narrator question if you are staying inside the broom closet for so long because you're expecting to get an ending out of it, and how you'll tell your friends that "the broom closet ending was [your] favorite".
  • Whenever someone posts Steamshovel Harry, people write comments about the levels in the game, such as how they are struggling to beat them. It's an Unwinnable Joke Game that ends on the first screen of the first "level".
  • Super Paper Mario: No-one In-Universe is able to recognize the real identity of Count Bleck's enigmatic minion Mr. L. And despite the fact that he's obviously a Brainwashed and Crazy Luigi, neither are fans of the game.
  • The Spy from Team Fortress 2 is able to disguise himself as any of the 9 classes including himself on either his or the enemy's team by wearing a literal Paper-Thin Disguise. Pictures of random characters from other media often appear in the feeds of TF2 communities, much to their confusion.
  • Yakuza 5: Series protagonist Kazuma Kiryu works as a taxi driver under the alias "Taichi Suzuki" in the events of this game to distance himself from his past. Fans like to treat the ex-yakuza Kiryu and the driver Suzuki as separate characters, some even going as far as to say that Suzuki completely disappears from the game after Part 1 and Kiryu appears out of nowhere in the finale.

    Web Animation 
  • DEATH BATTLE!: The fight between Wally West and Archie Comics' Sonic the Hedgehog ends with the latter being hit with enough intensity to erase him from existence. Afterwards, it became a common joke for fans to not recognize characters from, mentions of and allusions to Sonic the Hedgehog.
  • FreezeFlame: In Bowser's Koopalings, no one is able to remember Fryguy's name and people usually forget who he is when he shows up. This appears to affect fans too, as they often get confused when someone mentions Fryguy.
  • Homestar Runner: Several fans have latched onto this with Mr. Poofers, a fictional (poodle?) dog invented by Homestar for a Halloween horror story, who has thus far resisted all attempts by various characters to murder or otherwise harm him through the medium of storytelling. This, of course, led fans to try and come up with their own stories of Mr. Poofers meeting a grisly end, only for them to fail at even putting the character in harm's way. Some fans have even likened Mr. Poofers to an SCP character.


    Web Original 
  • Chuck Norris Facts portrays American actor Chuck Norris not just as a Memetic Badass, but as a Comically Invincible Hero who can do just about anything he wants, including feats that require a Logic Bomb to work (such as counting backwards from infinity and The Grim Reaper being too scared to come for Chuck's soul). Any time Chuck Norris is mentioned, the facts are sure to follow in the comments, with commenters treating the facts about Norris as the genuine article.
  • In late 2022, a thriving fandom for Martin Scorsese's forgotten 1973 film Goncharov sprung up practically overnight on Tumblr. Memes, GIFs, and screenshots were shared of the movie's pivotal scenes, and serious critical analysis was written of screenwriter Matteo JWHJ 0715's harrowing tale of a Russian mobster climbing through the ranks of the Naples criminal underworld. There was even a dedicated shipping scene, owing to the intense Homoerotic Subtext between its characters. Despite all this, the film never existed — the whole thing is just a very elaborate collaborative meme stemming from a pair of off-brand knockoff boots that inexplicably had text from the poster for the 2008 film Gomorrah on the label, only with the title changed due to an optical character recognition error.
  • Within Neopets, since 2002 there's been rumors of a place called Jelly World — a place made entirely out of gelatin, as its name suggests. But it doesn't really exist. That would just be silly. So silly that at least one unfortunate crackpot has been canonically imprisoned for life for being caught talking of such lunacy. Users have played along with the Running Gag and dismissed the idea as the preposterous concept it is for decades, albeit in part due to the site's word filters blocking this hypothetical place's name. But mostly because the very idea of such a place would be absurd. If you haven't figured it out, it's an Open Secret that it actually is an accessible area, complete with a daily item collection and a shop. But you didn't hear it from us...!
  • The SCP Foundation has a number of "Meta" SCPs that mess with the way they can be talked or written about. This, of course, leads to the fans respecting the formats when they talk about them whenever possible. For example:
    • I, SCP-426, am a toaster that will exclusively be referred to in the first person.
    • Anyone writing about SCP-586 will inevitably make at least one shelling mistake per sentence.
    • Any direct reference to His Majesty's SCP-1561 causes any unworthy peasants writing or talking about it to describe it as befitting the King's ascended status.
    • ... -.-. .—. -....- ..—- ..... ..—- .—— / ... - . .- .-.. ... / — —- ... - / .. -. ..-. —- / .- -... —- ..- - / .. - ... . .-.. ..-. —..— / ... .—. —- -.- . -. —..— / .— .-. .. - - . -. / —- .-. / -.. .. —. .. - .- .-.. .-.-.- / - .... . / ... —- .-.. . / . -..- -.-. . .—. - .. —- -. / .. ... / .—. .. -.-. - —- —. .-. .- .—. .... .. -.-. / .. -. ..-. —- —..— / .— .... .. -.-. .... / .. - / -.. —- . ... -. .——. - / ... . . — / - —- / ..- -. -.. . .-. ... - .- -. -.. .-.-.- Translation 
    • Talking about the former library, SCP-2602, will inevitably result in many references to the fact that the ex-library was, in fact, a library.

    Web Videos 
  • Danny Gonzalez: In two separate videos, Danny attempted to fool his audience by disguising himself as new people to get clout for the new identity. Though these attempts failed, fans still like to pretend that these identities (cousin Zayden Longzan and musician Ned Flames) are separate people, such as mocking Danny's music while praising Ned Flames's "Circus".
  • Game Grumps:
    • Once Brian Wecht of Ninja Sex Party started showing up as himself in Grumps videos and as NSP's Ninja Brian, it became common to see people wondering who Ninja Brian is... While excluding Brian himself from the running. Alternatively, theories that Brian is actually Ninja Brian would be treated as Epileptic Trees for suggesting it.
    • Starting in 2020, the channel began promoting the latest work of novelist Dr. Cecil H.H. Mills (author of the "Ghost Hunters Adventure Club" series). Of course, Dr. Mills is actually a character played by Arin wearing old man makeup and a fancy suit, and speaking with a deep Mid-Atlantic accent. Of course, many fans still play along with the bit that Dr. Mills is Arin's long-lost uncle, with a long and illustrious, but troubled, career. Many of the reviews for the first GHAC book on Amazon talk about Dr. Mills' previous works with high regard.
  • How It's Actually Made:
    • The series is a parody of How It's Made, where Huggbees replaces the original narration with lies and disturbing nonsense. Naturally, the comments section is full of people vouching for the accuracy of the most outrageous things Huggbees says in each episode. Variations on "I'm a [professional in a field relevant to the topic of the video] and I can confirm this is 100% accurate" are practically a Catchphrase among the audience.
    • In the "Cheesecake" episode, Huggbees stops narrating and instead describes how people watch episodes of the original series to help fall asleep, then YouTube's autoplay starts mixing in episodes of his series as they're nodding off. He announces that he's going to randomly scream to wake up all the sleepy viewers, and he asks everyone else to help Gaslight them by not mentioning this at all in the comments. Not only did the fans comply, but they went a step further by posting about how relaxing this episode is, and what a great sleep aide it makes.
  • Jarvis Johnson: In one video, Jarvis offhandedly joked that his girlfriend might've just been a figment of his imagination. Fans took the joke and ran with it, pretending from then on that any videos with her featured in them were actually just clips of Jarvis talking to nobody.
  • Point Crow is a video game speedrunner who plays, among other things, The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild. It's become a recurring joke that every time he plays the game and completes the Great Plateau, he will be shocked and amazed when the friendly old man reveals himself to be the ghost of King Rhoam Bosphoramus, and his chat plays along.
  • Scott The Woz: Jeb Jab has a Running Gag where he mistakes things for Gex: Enter the Gecko, ranging from other video games to a gun. The fandom likewise calls these things "Gex."
  • Screen Rant Pitch Meetings videos have a screenwriter and producer (and occasionally more characters) played by the same person, Ryan George. A lot of fans joke in the comments that of course these are different individuals: they look nothing alike, they wear different clothes, and also, the screenwriter has glasses.
  • SiIvaGunner: For a few days following March 31st, 2021, all Mario videos on the channel were privated to coincide with the shutdown of Super Mario Bros. 35 and the removal of Super Mario 3D All Stars from the eShop. During this time, new Mario videos would be posted, but with their titles changed to remove Mario's name. All comments under these videos pretended to not remember Mario's existence, usually remembering Luigi as the protagonist of the franchise.
  • TierZoo discusses the mechanics, development, and playerbase of an MMO game called Outside. The "game" is just real life and everyone knows it, but everyone in the comments section of the videos will always talk about playing Outside as if it were a game because it's more fun that way.
  • Two Best Friends Play:
    • Matt and Pat loved talking about Woolie behind his back and inventing "lore" about him whenever he wasn't present for a video. Sometimes they'd take real events and exaggerate them into absurdity; other times they'd invent "facts" from scratch. The fandom took all of this as the gospel truth, interpreting Woolie as a compulsive liar, a habitual pie thief, and someone who killed a man while playing a high school football game.
    • When Liam departed from the Best Friends Zaibatsu to focus on his own solo channel, he asked Best Friends-related sites (like the Facebook group and the subreddit) not to link to his solo videos. In addition, since Liam appeared in the intro for the Best Friends sub-series Saturday Morning Scrublords, all future episodes had him edited out (very awkwardly, for laughs). The fandom ran with that, pretending that Liam has been completely Unpersoned and can only be referred to as [Redacted] now.
  • Ukinojoe: In the video Eddie Murphy, when it was revealed that Eddie Murphy passed away after making one thousand Norbit sequels, comments on the video has viewers debate which of the fake sequels were the best or worst.

    Western Animation 
  • The Amazing World of Gumball: Fans tend to intentionally forget or misspell Rob's name, because Gumball forgetting his name is a Running Gag.
  • Avatar: The Last Airbender has the city of Ba Sing Se, capital of the Earth Kingdom, which is pretty much entirely under the control of the Secret Police and their Propaganda Machine meant to convince the population of the city that there is no war in Ba Sing Se despite the pretty strong evidence that there actually is. The fans took the quote in stride and every time a viewer points out an evidence of the city not being as peaceful as the the authority pretend, they are quickly rebuked by other fans because there is no war in Ba Sing Se.
  • Big Mouth: In the Christmas Episode, the Jansen twins tell a story about a terrifying holiday mascot in their homeland known as "Vader Johan." It ends with them telling the characters, and the audience, to share the legend of Vader Johan, or the creature will eat their bones. This led to several fans posting the story of Vader Johan on the show's social media groups just to ward off the beast.
  • Freakazoid!: Candle Jack, from the episode "Candlejack", is a bogeyman-like villain who appears to kidnap children if his name is ever spoken out loud. This inspired a popular Interrupting Meme where fans pretend to be Candle Jack's victims by typing his name in a comment, then cutting off the text to make it appear as though Candle Jack himself has kidnapped them at that very moment. Sometimes, a Non Sequitur will begin from where the original text is cut off, making it seem like Candle Jack also hijacked the user's computer for fun.
  • Futurama fans often gas up the Hypnotoad and his sitcom as one of the best things ever. The Hypnotoad does nothing but stare into people's eyes and hypnotize them into loving him, so the implication is that he also hypnotizes the audience (which the show has itself implied once or twice). Often crosses over with Interrupting Meme, as people will drop everything to shout "ALL GLORY TO THE HYPNOTOAD!"
  • My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic:
    • In an early episode, Fluttershy mentioned that she would like to be a tree. Cue bronies everywhere calling trees "Fluttershy" or pointing out a tree in any shot Fluttershy is in. Similarly, when Apple Bloom called Scootaloo a chicken, the same thing happened with her.
    • Maud Pie canonically doesn't express facial emotion (at least, very rarely), so fans often pretend that she is heavily emoting in images that contain a completely neutral expression.
    • Fans will sometimes claim not to remember who Wallflower Blush is, or say that that they've never seen her before — this is because in My Little Pony: Equestria Girls – Forgotten Friendship, she used a magical artifact to erase everyone's memories of her.
  • Given that Phineas and Ferb is rife with Running Gags that are memes of their own; the fandom has gone nuts with several of them.
    • Referring to Dr. Doofenshmirtz as a pharmacist because of his lab coat, as every character who comes across him believes, despite his building being labeled "Doofenshmirtz Evil Inc."
    • Reacting with total shock whenever someone photoshops a fedora onto something (usually a platypus to match the show), like so. "A platypus?" "PERRY THE PLATYPUS!?" Dr. Doofenshmirtz is completely unable to recognize Perry without his signature fedora (and only his fedora), to the point where even when Perry had a hat and a plumber's toolbelt on, Doof still didn't recognize him.
    • Heaping joke-hate on anyone whose name is a palindrome after an episode featured an event in which there was prejudice against people with palindrome names, typified with Professor Ross Eforp being the subject of mockery and having to wear a paper bag over his head.
  • The Simpsons: In "Marge vs. the Monorail", Mr. Burns, after getting fined three million dollars, attempts to get people to invest in the Springfield Power Plant using the money by putting on a fake mustache and introducing himself as Mr. Snrub. Notably, the usually-stupid citizens of Springfield recognized him at once, but fans still like to wonder about the enigmatic Mr. Snrub. One YouTuber even made an alternate ending to "Who Shot Mr. Burns? Part Two" where Mr. Snrub was the real victim of the shooting after getting too comfortable in his role as Mr. Burns' body double and the real Burns was the shooter. Not only that, Smithers also had a body double as revealed by his Season 1 design.
  • Smiling Friends: In the second episode, The Mr. Frog Show is a fictional program starring the titular celebrity Mr. Frog, which is shown to have been a popular Long Runner with an huge following in-universe in spite of the absurdly barebones formula implied to be used for each episode. note  The fanbase ran with the joke by pretending to be reviewers or long-time fans of The Mr. Frog Show, doing everything from calling the program a masterpiece, praising the writing and performance of its (non-existent) episodes, sharing their favorite moments from the show, lamenting its Audience-Alienating Era, expressing confusion about a Bizarro Episode, etc.
  • South Park: "The Big Fix" reveals that Token Black's first name is actually spelled "Tolkien", and Stan spends the episode feeling guilty that he thought the only black boy in school was actually named "Token." The fandom ran with this by accusing anybody who still called him "Token" of being racist, and claiming that any scenes where he was still called "Token" were edited.
    • Adding to the meme is the fact that the creators went back and edited the closed captioning in previous episodes such that every mention of "Token" was changed to "Tolkien"... except in Stan and Kyle's dialogue.

  • In Australian folklore, the drop bear is a fictional animal that looks like a koala, but is carnivorous and much more dangerous, hiding in trees and dropping down onto unsuspecting humans below in order to maul them to death. It is known to specifically target tourists, being able to tell them apart based on their accent. Of course, it's all a joke, but Australian natives will often keep a straight face while describing them in an attempt at scaring tourists or making them do humiliating things (like putting on a fake Australian accent and spreading Vegemite behind their ears) in order to ward off drop bears.
  • Jára Cimrman is a Czech polymath who has supposedly invented/discovered/written practically everything known to humankind. Some teachers when giving assignments will go so far as to preemptively tell their students that of course Jára Cimrman has done everything, but the students are required to write about someone else instead.
  • George P. Burdell is one of Georgia Tech's most famous and accomplished graduates; he's also an Invented Individual (see that page for details). Tech students and alumni still perpetuate the joke, using his name in all sorts of unlikely positions.
  • Tony Hawk sometimes posts on Twitter about people almost recognizing him in public (i.e. mistaking him for a Tony Hawk impersonator, or thinking it's funny that he has the same name as famous pro skateboarder Tony Hawk). Ever since this "Existential Nightmare" became well-known, his actual fans pretend not to recognize him, both online and in real life.