The last couple years of Twitter would’ve looked a little different without a certain cookout-related costume.
The ubiquitous Hot Dog Guy meme became the go-to avatar of dodging accountability during a golden age of passing the buck. Not a day seemed to go by without a culpable soul publicly searching for “the guy who did this.” Incredibly, that meme derives from the same Netflix sketch series that also spawned the inescapable Focus Group Guy in 2019: Tim Robinson’s I Think You Should Leave. Now that the show is finally back for its ferociously anticipated, stellar second season, a new batch of memes is sure to follow, keeping social media spicy through at least the midterm election.
If memes were easy to predict, they’d be easy to reverse engineer. That is not exactly the case. In fact, it’s a little obvious when a creator seems to intentionally chum their project with meme bait, hoping to crowdsource awareness-spreading volunteers. But there is something about I Think You Should Leave sketches that lend themselves to more general forms of expression. Maybe it’s the makeup of their premises, or that Robinson’s characters are often deeply emphatic about something important to them. Either way, the show has proven to provide ideal punctuation for any number of news events and personal situations in the recent past.
Here’s what may be coming from it in the near future.
1. Prosthetic Makeup Guy
Only in the world of I Think You Should Leave could a hidden-camera prank show spiral out into a full-on existential crisis. Or maybe it happens all the time? In any case, the reason it happens on the fake prank show Everything Is Upside Down is because crappy prosthetic makeup leaves Robinson’s host character too bummed to continue filming. His disappointment in the show—and, presumably, his life altogether—leads the character into dark, suicidal territory. This juxtaposition of an objectively ridiculous-looking person expressing palpable despair seems tailor-made for social media, either as a response to depressing news of the day, or perhaps to mock public figures who act self-pitying for trivial reasons.
2. Sloppy Steaks at Truffoni’s
In a world where seemingly everyone is perched upon the precipice of cancellation, a lot of people are taking some hard looks in the mirror about their past. Not Robinson’s character in the sketch that closes out the second new episode of ITYSL, though. This guy is already fully aware of his monstrous past. Perhaps too aware of it. He spends much of the sketch telling anyone who will listen about how he used to be “a real piece of shit,” even though he says so while acting in a way that suggests he might still be one. A prime example of bad behavior he lists is all the nights he used to spend eating “sloppy steaks,” which is what a steak becomes when a glass of water is dumped over it, something viewers eventually see in a flashback. Don’t be surprised if this sloppy steak imagery becomes visual shorthand for someone’s resurfaced past indiscretions.
3. Cosmic Gumbo
Sometimes a situation defies easy description. There are too many elements involved, or too much backstory to explain. According to I Think You Should Leave, though, there’s only one way to describe a complicated melange of ingredients: a cosmic gumbo. It’s the favored term Santa Claus uses to succinctly summarize his new rip-roaring action movie, so much so that he utters it twice. Santa’s catchphrase can be used on social media to describe any inexplicable moment or hot mess, and as a bonus it can also be used to mock anyone’s pretentious, flowery way of describing something they’re proud of.
4. I Should’ve Lied
In some I Think You Should Leave sketches, a guest plays the Tim Robinson character, the person who gets into a supremely awkward situation and probably screams and/or cries in an effort to get out of it. In one of the new sketches, comedian John Early is the Robinson surrogate. His character refuses to pay for a group meal after losing a game of Credit Card Roulette, only to realize he didn’t even try to make up a bogus excuse for why he couldn’t pay. The character’s outburst about forgetting to lie seems well-suited for lampooning a public figure’s professed regrets in the age of the Notes App apology.
5. Tammy Craps
For all the talk of cancel culture recently, America still loves a comeback story—even when a person should probably have stayed away forever. In an ITYSL sketch celebrating the return of what sounds like a truly terrible children’s doll, there is an ideal framework for mocking a false rehabilitation: Tammy Craps still craps and still lies. It’s the kind of thing a person might quote tweet with the announcement of a disgraced public figure trying to turn over a new leaf. Perhaps people will one day be using it, ironically, to announce the return of ITYSL when it comes back for an equally anticipated third season.