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Peppa Pig, the cheery British cartoon character for kiddos, has been through a lot on the internet. In the late-2017 uproar over creepy, bootleg kids’ videos on YouTube, critics pointed to a video where Peppa has all her teeth pulled out. Before that, Peppa parody meme videos were introducing kids to “grown-up music.” But Peppa never starred in a real, popular meme that people actually used—until this month.
A wryly funny Peppa scene is all over Twitter now, featuring a phone conversation between the titular pig and her friend Suzy Sheep. Peppa can’t whistle, and she’s relieved to find out Suzy can’t, either. Until Sally tries whistling for the first time and discovers she can do it after all. Peppa hangs up immediately.
I wanted to share this because I LITERALLY DIE EVERY TIME LIKE PEPPA WAS PISSED 😭😭 pic.twitter.com/RpB8rbB3l6— elzbthxo_ (@elzbthxo_) March 15, 2018
A frame of Peppa’s upset, disbelieving face is now a meme. It’s suitable for use in any situation where you’d rapidly hang up the phone on someone. For example:
“Congratulations American Express card holder! You just won a free crui-“— Making My Way Downtown... (@staynsee_) March 17, 2018
Ex : I miss yo..— YouTube: Sanda and Ed (@East6lack) March 17, 2018
“Are you able to work toni-“— caleb (@calebxbbii) March 17, 2018
“Hi this is Nev from the MTV show Catfish, do you have a moment?” pic.twitter.com/kxqQWEMTzV— Ya boy (@ElJunJun98) March 17, 2018
These are mainstream “normie” memes, to be sure. They don’t get into offensive humor or broach anything controversial. They just deal with straightforward, annoying phone scenarios. The meme is popular because it’s relatable, not because it’s especially clever. Some have compared Angry Peppa to another kids’ cartoon meme, Arthur’s Fist, but there are some important differences. The fist was about anger generally, while the Peppa meme focuses on phone-based situations specifically. Plus, the Arthur meme produced sharper social commentary—check out this Black Power Arthur, for example:https://twitter.com/jstcwarrior/status/758570659303854080?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw&ref_url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.dailydot.com%2Funclick%2Farthur-cartoon-fist-meme%2F
The Peppa meme is just not able to go there.
Peppa Pig has never inspired the kind of hit memes that other animated shows have, like Spongebob or Jimmy Neutron. The late-teens and early-20s meme kids of today didn’t grow up with her, and her show was aimed at a younger audience. But she’s starting to catch on. As the generation raised on Peppa comes of age, look for nostalgia to give us bigger, better Peppa memes.
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.