Apparently, thousands of Rutgers students are interested in saying 'eeh Squidward' at The Yard
Teamwork makes the meme work...
Memes involving Patrick Star, along with a slew of 90s and early 2000s pop culture icons, have taken to public spaces across campus as part of a relatively new trend involving event pages on Facebook.
Odds are, most Rutgers students saw something on social media related to the "Run Across the Yard Naruto Style" event earlier this summer. Thousands of students from the University marked that they were interested in attending the event and a select group of those students did. In many ways, this event signified the beginning of an era at Rutgers.
Student meme pages are a small part of an epidemic that is sweeping the nation.
Among these Facebook event pages, “leedle leedle leedle, lee at the Yard like Patrick” has received 5,700 interested people with nearly 700 confirmed attendees, according to Facebook.
Emelin Flores, a School of Engineering sophomore and event administrator, said she was encouraged to create the event after scrolling onto a friend’s page from Kent State University.
Her friend’s event invited students to dance the “pennywise dance” in front of the University, Flores said. The page received little interaction but inspired Flores to take advantage of the all-inclusive culture the University has to offer.
“Essentially, I was kind of competing with her,” she said.
Flores decided to channel her Halloween spirit and have students quote Patrick Star’s “leedle leedle leedle, lee” line from an episode of "SpongeBob SquarePants" where Patrick and SpongeBob find themselves captive on the Flying Dutchman’s Ship, she said.
“I've always grown up watching SpongeBob and I always say SpongeBob references,” she said. “I thought it was Halloween-y and definitely something people might do because it's a Halloween event.”
When asked about the meme pages Flores said that events such as this bring the community together and provide a space for everyone to let go of their troubles over a good laugh. She anticipates that one day, society will rely on memes as a form of communication to interpret and express feelings.
“I've gotten a couple of people who've asked me ‘Why would I go do that?’ and my response has been ‘Why wouldn't you?,'” she said. “There’s no harm, there's no judgment and everyone around you is on the same page.”
Flores said she has been practicing her “leedle leedle leedle, lee” and plans on bringing chairs to assemble a makeshift “Flying Dutchman ship”.
Prior to finding a space at the University, meme event pages began to manifest throughout the summer, said Michelle De Freitas, a School of Environmental and Biological Sciences senior and event administrator. Before to the growing popularity of SpongeBob-oriented events, many of them circled around relatable memes.
“I decided to start my own because I had not seen anyone make an event for one of the most iconic SpongeBob scenes,” she said. “This scene is also one of my favorites and I had seen this whole ‘meme event’ trend was still pretty relevant so I thought I’d chime in. I mostly did it as a joke with my roommates but then it took off.”
A growth in SpongeBob-themed events is indicative of the underappreciated references that eluded younger viewers growing up, De Freitas said. Only now that they are older has the show received praise for its special type of ridiculous comedy.
Her event, which focuses on the line “eeh Squidward” from the handsome Squidward episode, has received purely organic feedback, she said. There was no promotion, no daily share spamming and has relied solely on a domino effect.
The event’s page currently has 2,500 interested followers and 235 confirmed attendees, according to the page.
“I honestly am not even sure what to anticipate because a lot of interest was generated solely on contributing to the trend rather than having the full intentions of showing up,” she said. “If it is a large turnout that would be awesome. I made the event on my 22nd birthday so that be super memorable.”
Events like this offer the community a sense of interconnectivity over humor, De Freitas said. They allow people to come together over a common modicum and share a laugh.
“Don’t let your memes be dreams,” she said.
Phil Iglesias, a School of Arts and Sciences sophomore, said he first heard about the events through Facebook friends and thought of them as a fun novelty.
He diverged from the string of SpongeBob themed events and replied to Naruto ones, such as “Run Across the Yard Naruto style," Iglesias said. Events like these bring the community together in a strange way, everyone loves memes.
“Keep it up with the memes,” he said.