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The cartoon Spongebob Squarepants has long been considered fertile ground for meme creators. It combines childhood nostalgia with a versatile and an expressive protagonist who has a face for every situation. The latest Spongebob meme, which is absolutely dominating the teen internet this week, is “Mocking Spongebob.” His sarcastic expression, combined with MiXed cApiTaliZation tO inDiCatE a MoCkinG TonE, can be used as a juvenile response to almost anything. Even itself.
tHe aBsoLuTe MoSt TrAsH MeMe oF 2K17 https://t.co/xtNp8EvmpM— jojo hasn't (@sekushijojo) May 8, 2017
The original screengrab comes from the season 7 Spongebob episode “Little Yellow Book,” where it’s revealed that Spongebob clucks like a chicken whenever he sees a plaid pattern. The “Mocking Spongebob” face is actually Spongebob doing his involuntary chicken impression.
But it’s been repurposed, and now it can be used to insult anyone by repeating what they just said. Just make sure to alternate capitals and lower case letters to convey the proper sarcastic, demeaning tone.
Me: I need tuition money— WORLD STAR FANS (@WorIdStarComedy) May 9, 2017
FAFSA: I nEEd TuiiiTion mONey pic.twitter.com/WmQfMC8Fvu
you: the chainsmokers are so good!— idiot (@goldfishbabe101) May 7, 2017
me, an intellectual: tHe ChAiNsMoKeRs aRe So gOoD! pic.twitter.com/1Xhomcsi8a
iPhone users: "Android quality is trash"— ㅤ (@JayNoHoes) May 8, 2017
Android users: "aNdRoId QwUliaTY iS TrwAsh" pic.twitter.com/Pf8vBfVU2j
While some say Mocking Spongebob is “the absolute most trash meme of 2k17,” others think it has huge potential and major staying power. On Reddit’s meme economy subreddit, where people treat memes as a stock market and debate their relative value, speculators are hollering “BUY THIS IMMEDIATELY!” (Buying a meme, in this context, means saving any good examples you find, as well as creating new ones to contribute to the meme’s spread.)
They have good reason to be bullish about Mocking Spongebob. Previous Spongebob Squarepants memes, including Confused Mr. Krabs, Caveman Spongebob, and Spongebob History, have shown impressive longevity and remain part of the meme canon to this day. And Mocking Spongebob fills some of the most important roles in social media: getting in arguments and complaining about things.
And, because it started on Twitter and people are still reveling in using it on its own, it hasn’t even scratched the surface of possible combinations with other memes. Certainly, dank memers on Reddit will pick it up and remix it, extending its viability even more. This meme is definitely going places.
ThIs MeMe is DeFiniTElY GoInG PlACes.
Update May 12, 4:39pm:
Mocking Spongebob continues to grow in popularity. He’s even been spotted in real life.https://twitter.com/einnachen/status/863048858154258432
And Mocking Spongebob has been used to mock Donald Trump over the latest presidential scandal.
aS A veRy acTiVe pResIDenT wITh loTs oF THinGs hAPpeNinG pic.twitter.com/m23rN1MKHJ— Louisa (@LouisatheLast) May 12, 2017
Update May 16, 3:57pm: The link between Mocking Spongebob and President Trump has grown stronger in the week since the meme first emerged. The president’s tweets are regularly repeated back to him in miXeD cApS, and a Photoshop of Trump in the Mocking Spongebob pose is becoming a meme of its own.
Jay Hathaway is a former senior writer who specialized in internet memes and weird online culture. He previously served as the Daily Dot’s news editor, was a staff writer at Gawker, and edited the classic websites Urlesque and Download Squad. His work has also appeared on nymag.com, suicidegirls.com, and the Morning News.