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Top 10 TV Scenes that Became Memes

VO: Rebecca Brayton
Script written by Shane Fraser These are the pinnacles of popular culture. Join WatchMojo.com as we count down our picks for the top 10 TV scenes that became memes. For this list, we've chosen internet memes that were borrowed from TV scenes. Special thanks to our users Muppet_Face for submitting the idea using our interactive suggestion tool at WatchMojo.comsuggest
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Script written by Shane Fraser

Top 10 TV Scenes that Became Memes


These are the pinnacles of popular culture. Welcome to WatchMojo.com, and today we’re counting down our picks for the top 10 TV scenes that became memes.

For this list, we’ve chosen internet memes that were borrowed from TV scenes. These television moments were captured and then embraced by internet culture to be altered and adjusted endlessly. We are excluding cartoon shows, as we've already covered them in another video.

#10: Maury Lie Detector
“Maury” (1991-)

Have you ever wanted to know how you’d fare hooked up to a lie detector? Wonder no longer. Maury Povich has made it his business to bring one of these bad boys onto his show to confirm or debunk what is often unusual, and of course the internet embraced it with open arms. The meme itself uses a random shot of Maury from one of the nearly 2,700 episodes, and has become a template that hosts tons of meme-variations based on current events and general topics to hilarious results. Now THAT we can we can determine is true.

#9: Better Drink My Own Piss
“Man vs. Wild” (2006-11)

As incredible as the notion may be, Bear Grylls has taken a sip from his own personal tap on more than one occasion, and so of course a meme cropped up applying his apparent urine fixation to unrelated and absurd situations. The Man vs. Wild star first displayed this incredible survival technique in episode 13 of the first season. In the scene, Grylls, while suffering from dehydration in the Australian outback, pees into a canteen and drinks it. This planted the seed for a myriad of memes accentuating the humor of the action, such as “Oh man, it’s cold out…better drink my own piss.” We’re definitely not thirsty.

#8: You Get a Car!
“The Oprah Winfrey Show” (1986-2011)

Oprah’s generosity is the target of this widespread meme. A staple of her long-running talk show was to present audience members with sometimes substantial gifts, making everyone watching wish they were Oprah’s best friend. Oprah surprised everyone with her first car giveaway back in 2004, and the situation was ripe for satire. The extravagance of the gifts and her intense enthusiasm launched memes in which Oprah gives away other things—mostly of the unwanted variety. Probably the best spin on this concept is the bee video, in which Oprah presents the audience with…well see for yourself.

#7: I’ve Made a Huge Mistake
“Arrested Development” (2003-06; 2013-)

“Arrested Development,” in all its calculated absurdity, is a meme goldmine. There’s enough dysfunction for hundreds of memes thanks to its cast of offbeat characters, especially Gob, whose stupidity is awe-inspiring. Early on in the show’s first season, Gob, a disgraced illusionist, tries to reinstate his status as a magician by breaking out of a jail, which turns out to actually be an awful idea. [“I’ve made a huge mistake.”] This was the first of many opportunities for Gob to express his deep regret. And as one of the few memes that is used un-ironically, it’s been applied liberally on social media to express emotion in awkward situations.

#6: No God, Please No!
“The Office” (2005-13)

“The Office” has produced dozens of popular and unique memes thanks to its quotable all-star cast of characters, including a still-frame of Andy saying “I’m sorry I annoyed you with my friendship.” But it’s Michael Scott whose crazy antics and outbursts are just right for meme-dom. One of the best “Office” memes comes from a scene in which Michael finds that his archenemy, Toby, is back from vacation. His reaction is one of absolute disgust, and the scene’s conversion into a reaction meme is pure perfection.

#5: Aliens
“Ancient Aliens” (2010-)

First off, “Ancient Aliens” is a History Channel show that proposes that aliens helped civilize and industrialize humanity. Interesting enough, right? Maybe not for ten seasons, but we really can’t get enough of presenter Giorgio A. Tsoukalos, between his ridiculous hair and his obsession with aliens. If you’ve ever had a mystery you couldn’t solve – or if you’ve ever questioned something that has been explained – well our boy Giorgio has a one-word solution: aliens. The meme blew the possibilities wide open to explore what everyday occurrences may be the work of E.T.s. And the more unrelated the topic, the funnier the meme.

#4: Dawson Crying
“Dawson’s Creek” (1998-2003)

“Dawson’s Creek” is full of unintentionally hilarious moments, and the best example of this is Dawson crying after breaking up with Joey. Dawson and Joey meet on a pier to discuss their relationship and its hurdles, including Joey’s new love interest, Pacey. Dawson keeps it together until Joey leaves, and then he is left in shambles. Internet scavengers found the now-infamous scene and isolated the single shot of Dawson breaking to make the one reaction meme to rule them all. Even James Van Der Beek knows how iconic it was, as he gave us a ten-year anniversary edition. So many Van Der-feelings.

#3: Surprise Motherf*cker!
“Dexter” (2006-13)

James Doakes is a detective sergeant and recurring character on “Dexter” and is one of the titular character’s main adversaries, passing judgment on the psychopath at every turn. Known for his explosive and confrontational nature, Doakes has been immortalized in a memethat captures his shining moment on the show. In episode 12 of the first season, Doakes finds Dexter snooping around a shipping yard and sneaks up on him. Thus the meme was born that takes Doakes and his signature phrase, and turns them into absurd and even rhyme-tastic twists on the original concept.

#2: Brace Yourselves; Winter Is Coming
“Game of Thrones” (2011-)

Ned Stark, the patriarch of the Stark family, is the lord of both Winterfell and the meme world. The picture of Ned Stark looking ominous with the caption “Brace Yourselves, Winter Is Coming” is nothing short of iconic. The phrase itself was referenced in several scenes on “Game of Thrones” where characters recite the “winter is coming” motto as a warning to others, and the internet uses it in the same capacity. The meme has been altered countless times to anticipate just about anything – even the meme itself, once the colder months roll around. How very meta, Lord Stark.

Before we unveil our top pick, here are a few honorable mentions:
- Yeah, Science!
“Breaking Bad” (2008-13)
- True Story
“How I Met Your Mother” (2005-14)
- Sad Don Draper
“Mad Men” (2007-15)
- Nancy Grace False Facts
“Nancy Grace” (2005-)
- Raw Beef
“Hell’s Kitchen” (2005-)

#1: Annoyed Picard
“Star Trek: The Next Generation” (1987-94)

One of the most popular memes on the internet, Annoyed Picard is also known as the “htf” or the “wtf” meme. It originates from a season three episode of “Star Trek: The Next Generation” entitled “Menage a Troi.” In the scene, Captain Picard recites Shakespeare sonnets with exaggerated animation – and who else could pull it off so affectively but Sir Patrick Stewart. The most exaggerated frame was converted to meme form to express exasperation or confusion with a situation. Picard is no stranger to memes though, with the Facepalm and Song becoming internet staples as well. If you want to rule the internet Picard, make it so.

Do you agree with our list? Which TV show meme do you like the most? For more cultural Top 10s published daily, be sure to subscribe to WatchMojo.com.
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