In the month where everyone was expecting the classic “Spooktober” memes to make their annual Halloween comeback, the Meme of the Month for October 2019 must go to the swathe of memes that have graced our screens in the aftermath of the release of Joker.
First, it must be said, that if you haven’t seen Joker, you simply must. The hype that has surrounded it, and the numerous box office records it has broken, are thoroughly deserved. Joaquin Phoenix puts in an Oscar-worthy performance, and Todd Phillips’ direction paints a mind-blowing, yet harrowing and sometimes very sad picture of a man who’s been kicked around to the point where he breaks.
But enough about the film, let’s talk about the memes. One of the most popular memes of September came from the build-up to the film’s release and featured the new Joker dancing on the now-famous New York stairs.
He would often be accompanied by Toby Maguire’s Peter Parker, dancing during his Venom-suit phase in Spider-Man 3 [Fig. 1]. Since the film’s release, however, the sheer volume of memes, plus the number of different templates, has exploded.
The most popular one of probably the Joker walking confidently down a corridor in the first frame, then subsequently getting hit by a taxi in the second. As usual, accompanying this is a vast variety of captions [Fig.2]. This template is a favourite, although it is by no means the only one.
Other templates include the Joker being pursued by detectives [Fig.3], more of the Joker dancing on the stairs but this time with a shortened or lengthened version of himself [Fig. 4], and either him leaning against a train window in misery at the beginning of the film, or against the window of a police car in insane bliss at the end of the film [Fig.5].
Some memes refer to some people’s fear that the film would inspire real-life acts of violence, like the mass shooting at the cinema in Aurora, Colorado during a screening of The Dark Knight Rises. Fortunately, no such event has taken place; this has inspired other memes, taking aim at the mass media’s disappointment that the film didn’t inspire a shooting [Fig.6].
The opening scene, where we see Arthur getting hit in the face by the sign that was stolen from him by a gang of youths, was of course used as a template as well [Fig.7].
Real-life chat show hosts, such as Jimmy Fallon, fearing a grisly fate whilst interviewing Phoenix, like Robert De Niro’s chat show character in the film, made me chuckle too [Fig.8].
Finally, Phoenix’s portrayal as the Joker has been compared very favourably to that by Jared Leto in Suicide Squad, and the 30 Seconds to Mars frontman has been on the receiving end of much ridicule, in the form, of course, of numerous memes [Fig.9]. You can’t deny the memes are pretty funny.
Honourable mentions for October’s Meme of the Month include (but aren’t limited to) the introduction of a chap named Joe [Fig.10]; Post Malone being flashed by a female fan at a concert of his [Fig.11]; estimations of what life was like before oxygen and other elements were discovered [Fig.12] ; and Yoda in Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back revealing that “There is another” [Fig.13].
It was surprising that there were so few “Spooktober” memes this month, but of the ones that did come out, the “Raveyard” meme is the favourite [Fig.14].
Happy Halloween everybody!