We can always count on the Internet to take the most mundane thing and make something absolutely hilarious out of it. The latest craze to take over the web is the hilarious "Arthur meme," which takes the iconic PBS cartoon and applies it to the frustration of everyday life. Not everyone is laughing though, as PBS has just issued a statement of disapproval towards the recent Internet trend. A spokesperson for the network said:
According to a new report from EW, a spokesperson for PBS issued the above statement about the recent Arthur memes. It appears that the network doesn't necessarily mind that the memes themselves actually exist, but the explicit, overtly offensive, and distasteful versions of the meme do not sit well with the folks at PBS. We can't exactly say that we blame them; Arthur is a children's property and as such these (admittedly hilarious) memes do take the character and the universe in a direction that was never intended by the network.
If you don't immerse yourself in the Internet as much as other people, there's a chance that you might not have even seen one of these memes yet. Check out an example below to get a general understanding of how they're used:
From that you can probably get a quick understanding of the meme's intended purpose. The above example is a somewhat tame version, but there have been somewhat less savory versions which address things like drugs, alcohol, sex, and race, that clearly don't sit well with the network. You can see a sample that below as well:
These Arthur memes appear to have taken off because they combine the perfect elements of nostalgia with social frustration. Arthur has aired on PBS for the better part of the last two decades, and as such the series has become instantly recognizable -- particular to the millennial audience who grew up with it. This means that when people see the still shot of Arthur's fist, they have been able to quickly understand it and apply it to their own everyday annoyances.
Of course, Arthur isn't the first children's cartoon to experience this type of treatment. Aside from this latest meme, children's series -- particularly Nickelodeon's iconic SpongeBob Squarepants -- have become major sources of Internet fodder. For better or for worse, these cartoons have developed a legacy that exists far beyond our collective childhoods.
At the end of the day it seems like the Internet is just having some fun with an iconic facet of pop culture. PBS might not appreciate some of the more graphic memes, but we have a feeling that the web community will probably move on to something else pretty soon anyway; it's just a matter of time.
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