If you've been on the internet at all in the last few months, then chances are you've seen the popular "Woman Yelling at Cat" meme featuring "The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills" stars Taylor Armstrong and Kyle Richards arguing with a snarky looking cat. And if you're sick of seeing it everywhere, then I have some good news -- it's almost over.
At least that's what meme history would tell us.
As a mid-1990s baby who was practically raised on the internet, I've noticed a pattern when it comes to the life-span of even the most viral memes. If this pattern holds, then my guess is that this viral meme has maybe a couple more months at the most before it finally goes away.
The life-span of a meme can be broken down into three phases.
Phase One: The meme is typically taken out of context from a bite-sized moment in pop-culture.
In this case, the meme is taken from a surprisingly dark moment in "The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills" where Armstrong confides in a fellow cast member about the abuse she faced at the hands of her late husband. Said cast member was later caught gossiping about the abuse to other women on the show, sparking the moment that is known as "Taylor's Meltdown."
Clearly, Armstrong isn't yelling at a smug cat, but a questionable friend. That's when Smudge, the grumpy-faced cat (who isn't the late, great Grumpy Cat) comes into the picture. Smudge had his own viral moment when his owner posted a photo to Tumblr of the cat looking unimpressed at a plate of food. Smudge's mug caught on and now he has his own Instagram page with more than 1 million followers.
Eventually, someone saw the two memes and thought:
That someone is Twitter user Chey @MISSINGEGIRL, according to a report by TheTab.com. The meme was posted to Twitter on May 1, 2019, and it soon gained more than 77,000 retweets and 274,000 likes. Thus, the "Woman Yelling at Cat" meme was born.
Phase Two: Breaking the Internet.
To "break the internet" simply means a single image or meme is shared, viewed, liked and talked about countless times across the internet.
In this case, the image of Armstrong seemingly yelling at an unimpressed Smudge is everywhere as social media users caption the photo to give a variety of reasons for a grown woman to yell at a harmless animal.
In a Jacksonville-centered version of the meme, Armstrong is yelling to Smudge that she lives in Jacksonville, while the cat argues back that she actually lives in Orange Park.
So with the meme being practically inescapable, you're probably thinking we're in Phase Two, right? Wrong.
We are in the final phase -- Phase Three: The meme transcends the internet.
The "Woman Yelling at Cat" meme is no longer just a funny image on the internet. Now people want it on their T-shirts and shoes. This is especially true for Minnesota Vikings wide receiver Stefon Diggs. On Sunday, Stefon Diggs retweeted a picture of his cleats with the meme painted on them by artist Mache, complete with Smudge wearing a Vikings' ballcap.
It's even a mug on Society6.
We're at the point where the meme is becoming overused and, worse, commodified. Now, the meme is like a star in space -- it's exhausting its fuel to the point that it collapses and explodes into a supernova before it inevitably dies.
It's only a matter of time before it fades into obscurity, making way for the next meme, which will likely be a screenshot from an early-2000s episode of Spongebob Squarepants.
If that doesn't happen, then the only piece of media left for it to take over would be television. If "Woman Yelling at Cat" becomes a television show, then honestly I have no idea what to tell you other than we're in uncharted territory.
Erica Santiago is a digital reporter for First Coast News who spends way too much time on the internet. She's also the woman behind the web series First Coast YOU, where she talks to strangers on the First Coast and they share their unique stories. You can follow her on Twitter @erica_news or email her at email@example.com.