A picture of Kermit the Frog plummeting down a shadowy stairwell has perfectly captured the internet's feelings when it jumps into an alluring but dangerous situation, consequences be damned. Ate a whole bag of Pirate's Booty by yourself? You're Stairwell Kermit. Clicked a three-hour conspiracy theory video in the middle of the workday? You're Stairwell Kermit. Spent the day searching for new memes on the world wide web? I'm Stairwell Kermit, too.
Jim Henson's mild-mannered muppet is nearly as versatile a meme as Spongebob, whether he's sipping Liptons and calling you on your bullshit, or giving voice to the evil in your head. He's instantly recognizable to millions of people of all ages but remains relevant, even successfully transitioning to the brave new world of VR Chat memes. Making a whole new Kermit formula is as easy as buying a cheap stuffed frog, and that's exactly what Meme Insider, the volunteer-run online publication grown from Reddit's r/memeeconomy forum, did to birth Kermit's latest leap into memedom.
The site produced a two minute video that drops our amphibious hero into a purgatorial world of anxious dreams and French new wave vibes. The screencap in question was grabbed from a dream sequence at the beginning of the video where Kermit finds himself falling, falling, falling into an abyss, then waking up in his own bed with a sweet match cut. The whole thing acts as an overwrought prequel to the viral vine of Kermit jumping off the roof, which you can watch above.
It's incredibly simple to make Stairwell Kermit memes because you just have to dwell on whatever mistakes you've made recently—if you're like me, you're doing this constantly—and slap your self-flagellation at the bottom of the steps. Here are three I made from this week alone:
Kermit is a stand-up member of society and a role model to kids who grew up on Sesame Street and The Muppets. Compared to Fozzie Bear, Gonzo, and Elmo, he's the responsible adult in the room. Kermit jumping down a stairwell is a reminder that even the people who look like they've got their shit together make mistakes, and wind up stuck at the bottom of a stairwell of their own making. In short, it tells us that we're going to fuck up, but that's OK—even Kermit gets caught in an internet k-hole or watches all the special features on Lord of the Rings when he should be working sometimes.
As with most memes these days, Stairwell Kermit went meta immediately. The same thing happened with Who Killed Hannibal? and This Is America, both of which went strong long after some people declared them dead.
At the end of the day, everyone feels overwhelmed by the infinite bad decisions there are to make on any given day. This meme will live on.
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