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This meme is back and stronger than ever.
The next up-and-coming meme is, in fact, pretty old.
The “unsettled Tom” meme template initially cropped up in 2012, when it was still part of an online comic, according to KnowYourMeme. The template is simple. A phrase at the top gently sets the tone, only to undergo a complete 180 with a shocking twist. At the bottom, an image of Tom and Jerry‘s Tom the cat perfectly captures our feelings with his highly disturbed expression.
The template has been on the rise for weeks, but only recently has it has blown up online. Reddit, of course, began the craze when user inactive_meme shared it this month. In no time, a trend was born.
Most of the memes rely on shock value when the big reveal exposes how inappropriate the initial—seemingly benign—action was.
Someone even created a subreddit just for the meme, r/UnsettledTom six days ago. There, redditors have been sharing different versions of the meme nonstop.
The meme has lots of universal potential. It could be a political template or a way to mock the next celebrity to accidentally reveal their racist or sexist beliefs. It will surely die out in time—as all memes do—but for now, Unsettled Tom is going strong.
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H/T Trend Prediction
Nahila Bonfiglio reports on geek culture and gaming. Her work has also appeared on KUT's Texas Standard (Austin), KPAC-FM (San Antonio), and the Daily Texan.