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TV's Top 10 Memes and GIFs... and the Stories Behind Them

Every wondered where memes and GIFs originate? Here's our 10 favourites from TV shows and the stories behind them. You'll never react the same way again!

You've seen them everywhere on social media, but where do your favourite TV reaction GIFs originate? Here's our list (in no particular order) of some of the most used and the lesser-known stories behind them.


1. Arthur's clenched fist

Arthur's fist

Use it to say: I'm about to get verrrry angry

Origin: Everyone's favourite '90s kids TV show, Arthur. In the 1999 episode (yes, it really is that old!), Arthur is shown clenching his fist before punching his little sister, D.W., after she broke his model aeroplane. Enough to make anyone mad, huh? The meme has only recently become popular online, pictured with the caption 'when people say Harambe was just a gorilla'. Grrr...


2. Family Feud OMG

Family Feud

Use it to say: WHAAAAAT?!

Origin: On one particular episode of US game show Family Feud (or Family Fortunes, as it's known in the UK), contestants were asked: 'Things a pilot holds on a long flight'. Failing to complete the board, the Brown and Thompson families were shown the answers they could have had, and the survey said... a schlong. A shocked grandma Marion GIF is the result.


3. Roll safe

Roll Safe

Use it to say: I'm clever (but in a daft kind of way)

Origin: Actor Kayode Ewumi played the character Reece Simpson (aka 'Roll Safe') in this 2016 BBC Three Hood Documentary series. In the show Roll Safe talks about what he likes about his girlfriend, and one of his responses was 'she's got good brains', and with a cheeky laugh he points to his temple. However, it's now used on social media in a sarcastic way when someone comes up with a daft idea.


4. Arriving to the party

Da'Vonne Rogers

Use it to say: I've arrived!

Origin: This GIF of Da'Vonne Rogers exiting the US Big Brother house went viral in 2015 and is an Internet favourite. A poker dealer in real life, Da'Vonne became famous for her sassy style in the BB house and this GIF of her after being evicted shows her at her full flamboyant best. In fact, she was so popular, Da'Vonne was invited back to take part in the next series of the show.


5. Sad in the rain

Doctor in rain

Use it to say: I'm feeling sad :'(

Origin: Showing David Tennant standing in the rain, the GIF came from Doctor Who, when the Doctor (Tennant) had to erase his companion Donna Noble's memories of him to save her life. After wiping her memory, he longingly looks back at her, knowing she has no idea who he is, hence the sad face. The fact that it's pouring with rain just makes things even sadder. In fact, we're sad just thinking about it...


6. Surprise!

Surprise GIF

Use it to say: Surprise! I bet you thought you saw the last of me

Origin: Madison Montgomery was a character in American Horror Story: Coven, and became internet famous for her 'surprise' catchphrase. In the eighth episode, Madison reveals to Fiona that she had been resurrected from the dead after Fiona had killed her. Montgomery gleefully said: "I bet you thought you saw the last of me". She later got killed again (this time for good) after being strangled.


7. Homer backs into things

Homer backing

Use it to say: I’m embarrassed and am backing out of this discussion

Origin: Homer Simpson (you might have heard of him) backed into a hedge in this 1994 episode of The Simpsons after asking his neighbours, The Flanders, if they want to hang out with him. They said no, and Homer backed into the bushes as a quick exit from the embarrassment.


8. Dawson's crying face

Dawson crying face

Use it to say: I'm crying like a baby

Origin: In this 2000 episode of Dawson's Creek, Dawson is seen making his famous 'blubbering face', which has since gone viral. The famous cry (that's if you can call it that...) happens when Dawson tells Joey to start a relationship with Pacey, even though he admits he does fancy her (Joey) himself. After their chat they agree to remain friends, and she leaves. Ah, don't you just love the emotional roller-coasters that are teen soap operas?


9. Not sure if...

Futurama squint

Use it to say: Not sure if...or just...

Origin: From the cartoon comedy show, Futurama, character Fry squints his eyes when he is caught searching Leela's underwear drawer in the episode 'Lesser of Two Evils'. It turned into more of a meme than a GIF, and was often on social media with the caption: 'Not sure if trolling, or just stupid'.


10. Sad Wilfred

Sad Wilfred

Use it to say: This is too heartbreaking for words!

Origin: Another sad GIF from Doctor Who, this one of a blubbering Bernard Cribbins came from the same episode as crying David Tennant (there was a lot of crying in that episode...). Cribbins (who played Donna's grandfather, Wilfred Mott) asked if the Doctor could visit him one last time, after Donna's memory had been wiped. The Doctor then turned up to her wedding, handed Wilfred a winning lottery ticket as a wedding present for Donna and headed off. This is his tearful goodbye.