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Pepe the frog: the 4chan user's avatar

Watch a 10-minute Pepe the Frog documentary

The rise and fall of the innocent meme co-opted by the alt-right is explained in a short film

The people behind YouTube account Shots Fired “delve into the depths of the internet and explore” to create funny or bizarre videos, and they’ve delivered a 10-minute primer on the rise and fall of ubiquitous meme Pepe the Frog. Pepe: The Frog that Broke the Internet begins at Pepe’s genesis by Matt Furie, when the seemingly innocent frog pulled his pants down in a comic and said the unforgettable line, “It’s all good”.

“Around 2016, Pepe’s image began to shift, and in 2017, Matt Furie, the original creator of Pepe the Frog, killed his creation in the now infamous comic released on National Free Comic Day,” the film’s YouTube description reads. Pepe was killed off this past week when Furie’s campaign to rebrand the meme, “Save Pepe”, ultimately failed.

“The frog was just a chilled-out frog who likes to eat snacks and talk on the phone, smoke weed,” he said in a bid to save his creation. “All the characters are an extension of different parts of my personality, but particularly Pepe. He has these heavy eyelids and laid-back nature that I think I have.”

What happened in the intervening years – Pepe becoming a beloved meme, adopted by the right wing as a symbol of hate, then slapped on skirts at Zara  – is what the short doc explores. It’s a fun throwback for those who know the meme, and a nice intro to all things Pepe for those who were simply too cool to care about this odd internet enigma.

Watch the film below: