Morticia and Gomez

Image result for morticia and gomez memes

Description 

  • So, with this week’s meme collection I’m taking a look at a screenshot of another favorite scene from the Addam’s Family movie. As a matter of fact, I’m pretty sure all meme samples I collect for this project will be based on my favorite scenes. I mean, no-brainer–amirite? Anywho, for the sake of all pages being able to stand alone: The Addam’s Family movie came out in 1991 and was directed by Barry Sonnenfeld. It was written by Charles Addams (characters), Caroline Thompson and Larry Wilson; Anjelica Houston is Morticia Addams and Raul Julia is Gomez Addams. The Addamses are attending a school play in which students are performing different bits for their families. The facial expressions of Morticia and Gomez, for which the memes derive,  The Addams Family school play scene.

Notes on content

  • The example memes chosen are not lines Morticia and/or Gomez say in the movie, nor are they based on scenes from the movie.
  • The example memes derive from Morticia and Gomez’s facial expressions in this particular image are clearly disinterest and boredom.
  • Because of Morticia and Gomez’s mirrored expressions of suffering in silence, sometimes the image macros will be inspired by their look of boredom and disinterest at witnessing something stupid/obnoxious.
  • The Addam’s Family theme song describes Morticia and Gomez (along with the other family members) as being “creepy and kooky . . . altogether ooky”, because of this, the image macros will not only infer boredom and disinterest but occasionally a “suffering in silence” inference as well.

Notes on form

  • Screenshot from a movie clip.
  • Can be found in non-animated form or gif form, but for the purpose of this assignment, I chose examples of non-animated form.
  • Since the characters of Morticia and Gomez Addams originated in cartoon form, the macro image and derivatives are considered a live-action form, as brought to life by the actors Anjelica Houston and Raul Julia.
  • Not only are Morticia and Gomez Addams iconic characters on their own (Morticia more so than Gomez), they are also iconic as a couple. Thus identifiable to many, and relatable to some and on various levels.
  • Genres: Gothic, Black comedy, fantasy, horror

Notes on stance

  • Participation structure
    • Morticia and Gomez’s mirrored expressions of boredom and disinterest at witnessing something they see as obnoxious and stupid.
  • Keying
    • Tormented: Morticia and Gomez’s mirrored expressions in the screenshot is one of suffering in silence. They look on with a bored disinterest while some upbeat students sing some obnoxiously peppy tune.
    • Tone: mocking, sarcastic, dark humor
    • Style: descriptive, comparative
    • Register: adult, amateur
  • Communication function:
    • Emotive: The derivatives exist because of the shared look on Morticia and Gomez’s faces in the macro image.

Memeticness

This is the original image; there are no variations–yet.

Specify the kind of variation

  • none

Memetic features 

Make an extended consideration of the features that make the meme memetic: those features that spur the creation of variation and spread. Draw on Shifman’s list of features, but also supplement her observations with your own.

  • original image
  • isolated screenshot taken from the movie The Addams Family 
  • The creative potential for this macro image originates from Morticia and Gomez’s shared expression of torment as they look on in bored disinterest while some upbeat students sing some obnoxiously peppy tune.
  • Isolated screenshot is simple. “Simplicity is an important attribute contributing to the creation of user-generated versions of the meme” (Shifman, 2014, p. 81).

Genre 

  • Gothic fiction
  • Black comedy
  • Fantasy
  • Reaction photoshop (I’ll defend this later.)

Morticia, Gomez, and Regular People

Image result for morticia and gomez normal people meme

Description 

  • Single use of image.
  • Text is added using a simple white font.
  • Unsure as to whether this is the original image macro, however it is the most generated.
  • Does not necessarily connect or relate to other derivations other than text style and font color.

Notes on content 

  • Original image now includes text: “When you’re forced to hang with regular people.” I believe Morticia and Gomez are not the speakers, but rather a simple observation. For people who believe that spending time with regular people is tedious, this meme is identifiable/relatable.

Notes on form

  • This meme was made at an online meme generator (memecrunch.com), as shown in the lower, right corner of the meme. I feel this meme-generating site should come with a disclaimer: I’m not going to link to it and if you insist on checking it out, proceed at your own risk; the site is full of eye-poppers. I did not actually locate this particular macro image for 2 reasons: 1. There’s no search window, 2. I was unwilling to click through over eleven million pages (consisting of 80% eye-poppers per page). Just sayin’.
  • This site works much like any other meme-generating site: an original (or duplicated) image is uploaded, text is added (there are no limitations), and then one can send & share. I
  • Much like a Wiki page, a meme can be changed countless times by anyone who has access to the image and a meme generator.
  • Text is placed on image so as to not obscure Morticia and Gomez’s facial expressions (the inspiration for the captions added). Genre: comic fantasy, communication.

Notes on stance

  • Participation structure
    • The participants of the creation and distribution of this meme are more than likely fans of Morticia and Gomez Addams and are once again participating in the great regular vs weird debate. As always we’ve seen with past macro images–click here, scroll down and click here–if you side with the Addamses, you’re a weirdo (and proud of it).
  • Keying
    • Tone: disparaging, mocking
    • Style: descriptive
    • Register: Teen to adult, amateur, relatable and inclusive to anyone who isn’t afraid to thumb their noses at society’s definition of normal and let their freak flag fly.
  • Communication function
    • metalingual: used to establish mutual agreement–regular people are mundane, emotive: oriented toward the addresser and his or her reactions–disinterested, barely tolerated.

Memeticness

In this derivative, Morticia and Gomez’s expressions can be interpreted as suffering in silence and directed toward the person/s their attention is being subjected to. This inference is successful because of the added text.

Specify the kind of variation

This is a remake of the original macro image. By including text at the top of the macro image the creator of the meme sets up the inferred tone of Morticia and Gomez’s expressions. The action is actually a reaction to their hanging out with regular people. The subjects are regular people. And the end result is the shared satisfaction by the creator, distributor, and viewer of having a mutual reaction to regular people.

Memetic features 

  • Whimsical: These 1991 versions of Morticia and Gomez Addams are definitely a part of our pop culture. They are iconic. Therefore, the majority are familiar with their dark humor and participation in black comedy.
  • Superiority: I defend this by pointing out that the creator/viewer/sharer is not displaying a superiority over Morticia and Gomez, for they are not the subject. The subject is regular people and the barely tolerable reaction creator/viewer/sharer experience, as a result, can be described as the subject being beneath one’s dignity thus superior.
  • Simplicity: this derivative is a remake of the original image by simply adding text. Both the characters and the normal vs weird concept are widely known, thus this meme is relatable and shareable.

Does this meme show other features that spur memetic development, or features that seem to put an end to development? Yes. This derivative can be remade extensively. By simply replacing regular people with some other entity or experience, the inference of Morticia and Gomez’s expressions continue to be relatable and shareable. Parody? Satire? Nastiness? Yes, to all.

Genre 

  • Once again, I have a difficult time fitting the macro images I’m working with into Shifman’s 9 genre categories. I thought maybe “stock character macros”, however, I feel like this is specifically describing photo stock images. But the original image being used for this derivative is a screenshot of a character in a movie. The only way I would be willing to put this macro image in the stock character category is if I’m referring to the original image as a stock macro on a meme-generating website.
  • Other potential genres: humor, satire (Poking fun at human shortcomings, which in this case, being “regular” is looked at as a flaw.)

 

Morticia, Gomez, and Us 

Image result for morticia and gomez memes

Description 

  • This artifact merges the original image of Morticia and Gomez (now in black & white) with an image of a couple that I can only assume are mimicking Morticia and Gomez.
  • Text is added using a simple black font within a plain, white header.
  • Unsure of origination.
  • Does not connect or relate to other derivations; it is the only one of its kind that I came across.

Notes on content 

  • The header includes black text on a white background. Caption reads, People: “Are you a Satanist? Why do you always wear black? When are you getting married?” Us:
  • The first image macro is a black and white version of the original. It has also been cropped for a closeup of just their expressions.
  • The bottom macro image is of a man and woman, we assume to be a couple. Morticia and Gomez, along with the image of the couple, are responding to the captioned questions through expression only. People: Are you a Satanist? Why do you always wear black? When are you getting married? Me: (derivative and merged image of couple.)  In this merged derivative, not only are Morticia and Gomez the “speaker”, but the unknown couple are as well. The combination of looks being cast and captions presented, lead the audience to conclude that both couples (macro images) are responding to the inane questions. For anyone who has felt like an outcast, and/or suffered through foolish questions set on repeat, this meme is identifiable/relatable.

Notes on form

  • Construction of artifact and software used is undetermined. Editing software was used to merge the 2 images into 1. Photo collage app (such as Pic Collage or one of the gazillion others out there) or computer editing software (possibly, Photoshop) are 2 possibilities, or maybe even a combination of the 2.
  • A header is included for the text so as to not obscure the 2 images nor their facial expressions. Genre: melodrama, parody, goth

Notes on stance

  • Participation structure
    • Participants: Morticia and Gomez, other couple (most likely also the creators of artifact).
    • The original macro image is a visual representation of the creators’ reaction to the inane questions they hear repeatedly. Now, here’s where it gets tricky. The second image is that of a man and woman–obviously a couple and most likely the creators of this derivative. Unlike the expressions of Morticia and Gomez, (which the added text infers) they find the questioning barely tolerable or suffering in silence, theirs’ shows a slightly different expression. We know from the caption that the couple’s expression is a response to the inane questioning. The slight smirk of the woman, the chin tilt of the man, these may infer defiance–a wouldn’t you like to know the answers or so what. Since Morticia and Gomez represent those that are “unusual”, “outcasts”, and “interesting”, we understand that the couple/creators feel there is a mutual connection.
    • The distributors of this artifact are those that may not only feel a mutual connection with Morticia and Gomez and what they represent but may also feel connected to the other couple having to suffer through vapid questioning.
    • A possible manner in which this derivative is distributed would be to show self-acceptance in one’s individuality. Another is what I like to call the “drop mike” distribution e.g., “stop asking us ridiculous questions that you feel showcase our shortcomings in an attempt to make us feel inferior.”
  • Keying
    • Tone: witty, defiant
    • Style: persuasive
    • Register: teen to adult, amateur
  • Communication function
    • emotive: oriented toward the addresser and their emotions–the creators of the image macro are expressing their feelings after having the exampled questions directed at them one too many times.

Memeticness

In this derivative, we have 2 expressions to interpret. First, we have Morticia and Gomez’s expression–interpreted as disparaging. Their look infers that the speakers find themselves suffering through the tedium of questioning in silence; it’s barely tolerable. Second, we have the unknown couple’s expressions–interpreted as defiant. Their looks infer that the speakers have no intention of dignifying the incessant questions with an answer. Only with the combination of images and captions, can the audience be guided to this conclusion.

Specify the kind of variation

  • This is a remix of the original image. Here, we have a split image. The top image is of our original macro image (now a black & white) with disparaging expressions–representing those that are defined as unusual or outcasts. Then we have the macro image of an unknown couple mimicking Morticia and Gomez in appearance Morticia–the red rose between clenched teeth–dead give away.  They are also representing the unusual and outcast. Text for this derivative is presented in a plain, white header. In this derivative, the speaker is present in both images, but with slightly different expressions. Both images and infered expressions are in response to the text. The fact that this derivative is shunning those that are asking the annoying questions (and what they represent–normal conventions) is both relatable and shareable to any viewer/sharer who may have felt the sting of society’s scorn or its rigidity, is so satisfying.

Memetic features 

  • Positive high arousal: Although this macro image may not elicit an “aww” or a “wow”, it does encourage an interjection of “boom” (an exclamation used for emphasis) thus having the potential to arouse the viewer/sharer emotionally and spur them into sharing the content.
  • Superiority: Shifman (2014) talks about people taking pleasure in scornfully imitating others to publicly display their own superiority, however, I don’t think that’s exactly what’s happening in this derivative. Here, the superior (the ones asking the questions) become the inferior by those they perceive as being inferior (Morticia and Gomez/unknown couple/unconventional).
  • Humor: I would consider this to be situational humor. This derivative is not using situational humor to address a political issue, but perhaps instead, a social issue (societal stereotypes, exclusion).

Does this meme show other features that spur memetic development, or features that seem to put an end to development? I believe this derivative does have the potential for memetic development. One simply has to personalize (or generalize) by switching out the bottom macro image (unknown couple) and alter the text accordingly. Parody? Satire? Nastiness? … Always.

Genre 

  • Reaction photoshop: In this derivative, the original image (Morticia and Gomez) is now in black & white and has been photoshopped in with another macro image (unknown couple) Both images are reacting to the questions directed at them. I understand that I may be oversimplifying here, and possibly missing the mark altogether as per Shifman’s (2014) description of reaction photoshop, but I stand by it.
  • Other genres: melodrama, parody.

 

Morticia and Gomez Unimpressed

Description 

Now it’s time to have a little fun. This derivative makes my heart happy because the 50 Shades of Grey novel hurts my head–pure drivel.

  • This artifact merges the original image of Morticia and Gomez with a cropped promotional poster of the movie 50 Shades of Grey.
  • Text to draw inference is title of the movie, opening date, and some production company info that’s too small to read (so of no import to success of meme). No additional text is added, nor needed.
  • Unsure of origination but I’d like to high 5 the creator.
  • Does not necessarily connect or relate to other derivations.

Notes on content 

  • The top image is of the movie promotional poster and the title of the movie, along with its premiere date, is the only text provided. This is not a variation of any other derivatives that I’ve seen. Macro image text reads: “50 Shades of Grey–Valentine’s Day 2015.” In this first derivative, I’m going to go out on a limb here and say there is no speaker.
  • The bottom macro image is Morticia and Gomez (our origin image). There is no text; none is needed. Their looks say it all, gloriously. In this second derivative, Morticia and Gomez are clearly the speakers. However, because the original image is neither cropped for a closeup nor altered with text, I believe there to be a secondary speaker, as well, that of the audience members behind Morticia and Gomez. The audience members (unlike Morticia and Gomez, exchange looks that infer they are pleased/impressed with what they’re viewing. The combination of looks being cast, along with the movie title, lead us to conclude that Morticia and Gomez think the movie sucks and find it barely tolerable. For anyone who also thinks 50 Shades of Grey sucks, this meme is identifiable/relatable.

Notes on form

  • Construction of artifact and software used is undetermined, but as mentioned before, some sort of editing software was definitely used to merge the 2 images into 1. Although the original macro image is unaltered, a quick Google search leads me to believe the promotional image has been altered. A photo collage app or computer editing software (possibly, Photoshop) are 2 possibilities; I’m thinking Photoshop.
  • Genre: soooo much parody

Notes on stance

  • Participation structure
    • Participants: Morticia and Gomez, those responsible for the creation of 50 Shades of Grey (book and film) and creator of artifact.
    • The macro image is a visual representation of the creator’s reaction to crappy fiction. Morticia and Gomez represent those that did not find this movie to be a dramatic thriller as promotionally described and wish to God they could get that 2 hrs and 9 min (really?) of their lives back. In this instance, their expressions can be interpreted as underwhelmed and supercilious (more on this later). The audience members behind Morticia and Gomez are representative of those that watch anything, no matter how poorly written, as long as it has lots smut and “romance” (I use the term fast and loosely) in it. Their expressions show enjoyment and re-enforce the premise that all you need is love (and BDSM) on Valentine’s Day.
    • The distributors of this artifact are those who find Morticia and Gomez’s reaction relatable and sympathize.
    • A possible manner in which this derivative is distributed would be to show abhorrence for the fiction and poke fun at its creator and those who dig it.
  • Keying
    • Tone: apathetic, disapproving, disparaging
    • Style: persuasive
    • Register: teen to adult, maybe even pro
  • Communication function
    • emotive: oriented toward the addresser and his or her emotions (Shifman 2014 p. 40)–the creator of the image macro is expressing his or her feelings of disapproval and apathy at watching such badly done fiction.

Memeticness

In this derivative, Morticia and Gomez’s expressions can be interpreted as apathetic and disapproving. Only with the combination of images, can the audience be guided to this conclusion.

Specify the kind of variation

  • This is a remix of the original image because of the split image. The top image is of a promotional poster for the movie 50 Shades of Grey. Then we have the original image of Morticia and Gomez directly below. Only the top frame has text (title of movie and premiere date). This guides the audience to conclude that Morticia and Gomez are in a movie theatre watching 50 Shades of Grey on Valentine’s Day. The bottom frame is Morticia and Gomez’s expressions awhile “watching” the movie and clearly aren’t enjoying it. text that infers Morticia is deflecting the shade with some of her own. The fact that this derivative is making fun of fanfic turned movie phenom is both relatable and shareable (and enjoyable) to any viewer/sharer who can’t abide bad writing.

Memetic features 

  • Simplicity: ” . . . employing a simple construction of their topics or ideas” (Shifman, 2014, p. 81). The creator of this derivative cropped a promotional movie poster and merged it with the original macro image (Morticia and Gomez looking less than pleased). No other text was provided to create further dialogue, and as I’ve said before, no other text was needed to get the rhetor’s inference across.
  • Superiority: ” . . . superiority theory interprets laughter as an expression of the pleasant experience of one-upmanship” (Shifman, 2014, p. 80). Shifman (2014) talks about people taking pleasure in scornfully imitating others to publicly display their own superiority, however, I don’t think that’s exactly what’s happening in this derivative. Here, the rhetor infers a superiority over the poorly created 50 Shades of Grey and those who deem this drivel as “good stuff”.
  • Humor: I would consider this to be situational humor, perhaps in its most base form. I recognize that this derivative is not using situational humor to address a political issue as Shifman (2014) illustrates. However, the rhetor is, in fact, using situational humor to address people’s allure to what can clearly be described as shite.

Does this meme show other features that spur memetic development, or features that seem to put an end to development? Parody? Satire? Nastiness? Yes, to all.

  • This derivative has high potential for further memetic development. You could remix this derivative to parody any crappy film out there–as long as it is relatable to Morticia and Gomez. This derivative works for a number of reasons: Morticia and Gomez are a couple in love and seeing a movie on Valentine’s Day (as implied in the promotional poster), and the movie is about two people falling in love and their courtship. But the most important inference (and quite possibly the key factor that makes this derivative so successful) is that 50 Shades of Grey is most popularly known for its BDSM, and as any fan of the Addams Family worth his/her salt can tell you, Morticia and Gomez are no slouches when it comes to boudoir kink (leather straps, red-hot pokers, etc.)–and they are unimpressed.

Genre 

  • Parody: “A story mocking the pretensions or weaknesses of a particular author,
    style, or genre.” I feel no further elaboration is needed to defend this choice.
  • Other genres: fantasy fiction (because that’s what the Addams family are) and tragedy (the fact that these novels and films are so popular is a tragedy).

 

Morticia and Gomez’s Favorite Month 

Related image

Description 

Here we go again with the September 30th and October 1st comparison. Maybe there really is something to this; I must dig deeper.

  • This artifact merges the original image of Morticia and Gomez with another image of them all decked out in their finery, hanging out in the family cemetery with blissed-out expressions.
  • Text is added using a simple white font above each image.
  • Does not connect or relate to other derivations.

Notes on content 

  • With the Wednesday Addam’s derivative, I stated that the images included text that does not mimic other meme captions–clearly I was mistaken. More on this later. Caption with top image reads: “September 30th.” Caption on bottom image reads: “October 1st.” In this derivative, there appears to be no identifiable speaker. Previously, I had also concluded that the Wednesday Addams derivative misses the mark for being identifiable/relatable. Upon further digging, it would see I was once again mistaken. I know–I’m as shocked as you are.

Notes on form

  • Construction of artifact and software used is undetermined. Editing software was used to make a collage of 2 images, including a black border in which to place text within, allowing images to remain unaltered. As per the usual, photo collage app (such as Pic Collage) or computer editing software (possibly, Photoshop) are 2 possibilities.
  • Genre: I don’t know!! Everything I’ve thought thus far with this derivative has been wrong! Is it fantasy fiction? Gothic fiction? Romance? You. tell. me.

Notes on stance

  • Participation structure
    • The creators and distributors of this meme are presumably not only fans of Morticia and Gomez but also the month of October–Halloween month. A statement that I originally thought had missed the mark. I no longer believe this to be true. Stay tuned for further explanation.
  • Keying
    • Tone: amusing, persuasive–dare I say celebratory?
    • Style: narrative, descriptive
    • Register: adult, adolescent, amateur
  • Communication function
    • Metalingual: “used to establish mutual agreement on the code” (Shifman, 2014, p. 40). The addressor is establishing a mutual agreement with the addressee: for those who love Halloween, shit gets real starting October 1st.
    • Emotive: “orientated toward the addressor and his or her emotions” (Shifman, 2014, p.40). The addressor is expressing his or her excitement in a creative way through a simple comparison that effectively conveys their love for Halloween month.

Memeticness

Where the Wednesday Addams derivative falls short, the Morticia and Gomez one makes up for it. And I believe one of the reasons the Morticia and Gomez derivative is more successful than the Wednesday one is because of packaging. Shifman (2014) defines the packaging of messages as a pivotal aspect of viral diffusion (p. 68). Clear and simple messages tend to spread better than complex ones or in the case of the Wednesday Addams derivative, imprecision. By using 2 different images of Morticia and Gomez, wearing equally different expressions, the addressee has a clearer understanding of the inferred message.

Specify the kind of variation

  • Going off of Shifman’s (2014) descriptions, this would be identified as a remix (original image is duplicated and text is added). However, once I dug a little deeper and found a plethora of September 30th and October 1st memes, click here for examples, I now feel inclined to also include Shifman’s (2014) description of imitation.

Memetic features

  • Humor: According to Shifman (2014): ” . . . humorous content may be particularly shareable as it tends to be surprising.” I previously stated, with the Wednesday Addams derivative, that it would be funnier if the captions read: October 31st and November 1st. I still stand by that statement. Its humor would be more effective, as I explained in that rhetorical analysis. However, in this particular derivative, the creator has comparatively used the original macro image of Morticia and Gomez with inferred expressions of boredom and disinterest, with a second image of Morticia and Gomez with inferred expressions of happiness and pleasure. Bored and disinterested on September 1st–dressed up and sitting happily in a graveyard on October 1st (Halloween month).
  • Simple Packaging: Shifman (2014) says, ” . . . when people understand something quickly and intuitively they are happy to forward it to others.” Visually, this derivative fits the description perfectly.
  • Repetitiveness: I defend this, not based on Shifman’s (2014, p. 83) description of repetitiveness within the meme, but with the actual repeat variations of this derivative. Dudes, there is an impressive (and knee-slapping) amount.

Does this meme show other features that spur memetic development, or features that seem to put an end to development? Yes. This derivative is successful as proven with the countless imitations out there in meme-land.

Genre 

  • whimsical/quirky
  • humorous