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When an handshake is this epic, it’s bound to make a comeback.
If there’s one scene from Predator that everyone remembers, it’s when Arnold Schwarzenegger screams “Get to the choppa!” But if there are two scenes everyone remembers, the second one is when the commandos spend more than a full minute using machine guns to turn a patch of jungle into a clearing, and if there are three scenes everyone remembers, the third one is when Schwarzenegger calls the creature “One ugly motherf**ker.” Anyway, somewhere down the list is the scene where Arnold Schwarzenegger and Carl Weathers shake hands. It might not sound like much but, just like everything else in Predator, it’s so over the top as to border on lunacy.
It starts off with a bent elbow, bicep-bulging hand slap that would no doubt break the palms of most mortals, and then, inexplicably, turns into an impromptu arm wrestling match. When the film debuted in 1987, audiences where probably like, “What the hell was that?” but no doubt forgot the moment somewhere between hearing Jesse Venture say “I ain’t got time to bleed” and seeing Arnold Schwarzenegger coat himself head to toe in mud.
Luckily, by 2007, the age of memes had arrived and every film ever produced by Hollywood was mined for sweet meme gold. On August 25, 2007, a YouTuber named Kristian Odland created a shot-for-shot remake of the scene entitled “A Tribute to The Handshake in Predator,” leaving in the original audio and all the close-up shots of the arms.
To date, the video has been viewed more than 400,000 times.
From there, people began creating their own versions of what came to be known as the “Epic Handshake”. There was a version featuring the 1983 Paul Engemann hit “Push it to the Limit”. A version where the handshake leads to the destruction of the earth (utilizing scenes from the 2009 John Cusack movie 2012). And, naturally, one where they just fart a lot.
In 2012, an artist named Rory Dean created an oil painting version of the Epic Handshake and uploaded it to Flickr.
And an artist on Deviantart named MILOSLAVvonRANDA created a similar work using chalk.
After that, the fun seemed to be over and people went back to creating SpongeBob memes.
But now, suddenly, the Epic Handshake meme is back, and it has become an object labeling meme. The idea is that the two arms are either agreeing or perhaps fighting over something.
For instance, it could be used to illustrate how punks and rappers both agree that calling the police is totally lame.
Or how weird it is that everyone thinks they could be a farmer.
You get the picture.
By the way, it’s worth mentioning that Arnold Schwarzenegger’s character in Predator is named Dutch, and in 2015 a Dutch soccer player created a series of epic handshakes.
We’re pretty sure that’s just a coincidence though.
David Britton is a writer and comedian based in Rhinebeck, New York who focuses on internet culture, memes, and viral news stories. He also writes for the Hard Times and is the creator of StoriesAboutWizards.com.