We all love gifs, and most of us use them on a daily basis. In fact, some people use them as a form of communication when words simply won’t describe how they’re feeling in that very moment. While the pronunciation of gif is a hot topic of debate, there’s no doubt that gifs are universally loved, and the internet would not be the same without them.
There are certain gifs that have become so popular over the years, though, that people use them without thinking about their origin. Today, we’re going to do a little bit of internet history behind some of our favorite gifs. How did one obscure part of something grander become the most popular part through the power of gifs? Here are five obscure gifs that surprisingly took over the internet and how they came to be.
Michael Jackson Popcorn
Michael Jackson is by no means obscure himself. After all, the late singer was dubbed “The King of Pop”. Not only that, but Jackson’s video for “Thriller” in 1982 was one of the most successful music videos of all-time, and it came from the highest-selling album in music history. There is one part of the music video that was an afterthought when it was shot, though, and that’s Jackson munching away vigorously on a handful of popcorn.
In the music video, it’s a very brief shot, but the internet has used it as a staple for reaction gifs. When you see two people arguing and don’t want to enter the argument yourself, you simply post the Jackson gif to show that you’re eating popcorn and enjoying the show while the internet rage commences.
Robert Redford Nodding
When you wholesomely agree with what someone is saying or doing on the internet, there’s a good chance that you’ve responded with a bearded man and long hair slowly nodding in the wilderness as a smile slowly forms on his face. The gif has become a thing of legend, and it’s actually a gif of one of the most popular actors of all time.
The lumberjack-esque actor is none other than Robert Redford, who looks almost completely unrecognizable with the beard and hair combo. The gif comes from the 1972 film “Jeremiah Johnson”, with Redford playing the titular character who fought in the Mexican War before residing in the mountains to get away from it all.
Supa Hot Fire
Have you ever looked at a message board or social media post and witnessed someone get absolutely roasted? There’s a good chance, then, that you’ve seen the gif of a stoic man surrounded by his friends who are hyping him up while one man in particular is so stunned by what was said that he walks away with his hands holding his head.
This gif comes from the character Supa Hot Fire, and the original video was completely satirical. The video shows a rap battle that’s obviously bad in quality, and the hyped-up reactions are simply for show. The five-minute video showed the overreactions that people have during rap battles in 2011 and the video caught (supa hot) fire, with the gif remaining a legend of the internet.
Homer Backs Away
We’ve all seen conversations on the internet that we want no part of. We’ve also been completely wrong on topics, only to be exposed by others fact-checking us. When that happens, you might just want to back away into some shrubbery and hope that nobody sees you again. For that occasion, Homer Simpson slowly backing into a hedge is the perfect way to encapsulate that feeling.
In the original episode of “The Simpsons”, Homer isn’t actually embarrassed. Instead, he’s slowly approaching his newfound friend: neighbor Ned Flanders. He creepily emerges from the bushes only to be told that the Flanders family has plans and he retracts back into the bushes to return home.
The Undertaker Rises
Have you ever had something that gets your attention to the point where you went from bored and tired to wide awake? Perhaps a party invite or the end of the work day comes to mind, and professional wrestler The Undertaker has just the gif for you. Rising from his ringside casket, The Undertaker goes from perfectly dead to wide awake in an instant.
Pro wrestling (and the WWE specifically) is ripe with gif content, especially from “The Deadman”. This particular gif comes from when Brock Lesnar opened a casket with somber music playing, only to find it empty. When he returns to the ring after confronting some druids, the Undertaker magically appears and is ready for battle.