A brief history of Arthur memes

Barney Nursery Rhymes & Kids Songs/Youtube

A brief history of Arthur memes

Arthur memes continue to captivate audiences, merging humor with slices of everyday life and important cultural discussions.


Kahron Spearman


Posted on Dec 18, 2023   Updated on Dec 15, 2023, 3:34 pm CST

The anthropomorphic aardvark, Arthur, holds a special place in the diverse world of internet memes. Striking a chord of nostalgia while also providing commentary on contemporary events, these memes may have originated from the children’s TV show, “Arthur,” but they have now become a staple of online humor and cultural expression.

Arthur’s Fist

Arthur’s fist is arguably the pinnacle of all Arthur memes. This reaction image of Arthur with a clenched fist symbolizes anger and frustration. The image originates from a 1999 episode titled “Arthur’s Big Hit,” in which Arthur punches his sister, D.W., after she breaks his model airplane.

@therjpowell THE ORIGIN OF THE ARTHUR FIST MEME😂 #fyp #arthur #childhoodruined #fist ♬ original sound – robearl

The meme saw a resurgence in 2016 when Twitter user @AlmostJT highlighted its relatability. Its quick spread across social media platforms like Reddit and Twitter reflected its versatile use in various infuriating scenarios.

The meme also became a go-to representation for moments of silent, seething anger, which resonated deeply with internet audiences.

@knowyourmeme The first Arthur fist meme was posted on this day in 2016! #arthur #arthurfist #pbskids #pbs #dw #knowyourmeme #origins ♬ original sound – Know Your Meme

The meme’s popularity increased even more when various celebrities, notably LeBron James, posted the iconic fist on Instagram. Although fans initially assumed James was expressing frustration about something, the basketball star later clarified that he was using it as a symbol of excitement.

The crossover of Arthur’s fist into mainstream media underlines the meme’s broad reach and impact, transcending the confines of typical internet humor.

Tired D.W.

The “Tired D.W.” meme, which gained popularity in 2014, shows an exhausted D.W. with dark circles photoshopped under her eyes. This meme perfectly encapsulates the feeling of extreme fatigue or being overwhelmed and it quickly became a favorite among many online communities.

@yourwatchingtiktoktv How it be after dealing with a busy day. ☠️ #fyp #arthur #memes #dw ♬ Laughing Hard – Tik Tok

Muffy handing the phone to Francine

Gaining traction in 2016, the “Muffy giving the phone to Francine” meme, known for its cheeky and bold captions, became a common way to express surprise or disbelief in various situations. Its adaptability and humorous appeal have made it a beloved format in the meme community.

@yourwatchingtiktoktv The SpongeBob memes and Arthur memes are so funny to me💀 #fyp #arthur #memes #francine #muffy ♬ About Damn Time – Lizzo

The ‘You’ve Got To Be Kidding!’ game

Arthur memes expanded to include the “You’ve Got To Be Kidding!” game from PBS Kids, with online users altering the characters’ dialogue, and sometimes the characters themselves, for comedic effect. Starting in 2015, these creative edits demonstrated the flexibility and humor inherent in Arthur memes.

@plush.nostalgic “You’ve Got To Be Kidding!” #arthur #francine #muffy #binky #dw #fy #fyp #foryou #foryourpage #featureme #funny #meme ♬ original sound – plush.nostalgic • Friends

D.W. holding a fence

Arthur’s little sister, D.W., appears in yet another popular Arthur meme. This meme is an image macro that features a screen shot from the show of D.W. in a pink swimsuit and sunglasses, holding on to a chain link fence. The meme gained popularity in 2014 with users posting it as a way to express longing or feelings of exclusion.

Mr. Ratburn’s wedding

A culturally significant moment in “Arthur” came during the season 22 premiere of the show in which Mr. Ratburn marries a man. The episode, titled “Mr. Ratburn and the Special Someone,” was mostly met with positivity with fans applauding the children’s show for its portrayal of same-sex marriage.

The episode also sparked memes with some celebrating the LGBTQ+ representation in the show and others humorously addressing the surprise element that Mr. Ratburn was gay. The episode and ensuing memes also contributed to larger discussions about representation in media and highlighted the place children’s shows can have when it came to addressing contemporary social issues.


You can find the whole episode on YouTube

♬ original sound – Arthur Supremacy


Arthur memes continue to captivate audiences, merging humor with slices of everyday life and important cultural discussions. The popularity of these memes lies in their ability to express emotions in a universally understandable and humorous way, ensuring their place in the ever-evolving narrative of internet culture.

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*First Published: Dec 18, 2023, 6:00 am CST