“Little Miss [Blank]’: How a children’s book meme became a viral comedy



An earlier version of this article incorrectly attributed the final series of quotes to Jamie Cohen. They are actually from Instagram user Juulpuppy.

What started out as innocent tickling half a century ago now offers an infectiously dark art of laughter.

The feisty children’s characters from the popular Mr. Men and Little Miss franchises saw a new wave of virality this summer thanks to their leaping across platforms, brands, and politics and being embraced by sassy, ​​dark memes.official series location Someone like ‘Little Miss Jealous’, the meme delivers someone like ‘Little Miss At My’ [Expletive] limit point. “

Some social media creators and observers call it modern comedy.

Filmmaker Giorgio Angelini, who followed Pepe the Frog’s comic meme arc in the documentary Feels Good Man, sees similar initials. Dynamically playing with Little Miss memes. She is reeling from anxiety and depression as the world is warming, democracy is crumbling, and those in power seem greedy rather than actively concerned. ”

British author and illustrator Roger Hargreaves launched his “Mr. Men” series in 1971 after his eight-year-old son Adam asked, “What does tickling feel like?”, according to the series’ website. raised. The resulting work, “Mr. Tickle,” was the first of his character’s cast of simple brightly colored Mr. Men, which he sold a million copies within three years, according to the site. .

A book with a heart — readers understand how the main character’s personality traits affect their lives — produced comics, songs and BBC adaptations throughout the decade. Hargreaves then began publishing spin-off Little Miss books, building a steady growth of characters who “identified with multi-generational audiences through self-expression, color, simplicity, and humor.”Adam Hargreaves has directed the series more recently after his father’s death in 1988. Add characters such as “Mr.” Calm” as well as celebrity inspirations such as “Little Miss Spice Girls”.

This month, “Little Miss Lexapro,” “Mr. Vape Cloud,” and “Little Miss Aggressive Drunk” with just one Instagram account, “LittleMissNotesApp.” This account credits user “Juulpuppy” who started posting art updates like “Little Miss Weed Psychosis” last spring.

“A lot of the memes I was making were pretty dark. out of respect for her privacy. Her books for young readers inspired some of her earlier “remix” posts, such as “If I Give a Mouse a Cookie” and “A Wimpy Diary”.

“Visual comedy makes use of unexpected combinations, and I love leaning into that with every meme I make,” continues Juulpuppy, a 21-year-old Brooklyn woman. “Pairings are so silly and relevant to so many people that the trend is so contagious. You don’t have to feel out of trend.”

“We can see cute, imaginary versions of ourselves and laugh together at the nasty nature of flawed personalities. I think it’s very pure and sweet.”

Nicole Gagliardi, a 22-year-old San Francisco-based student linked to her “LittleMissNotesApp” account, said in an email: They like to see things they can relate to and there is something for everyone. Gagliardi also credits some of the content on her TikTok user @starbucksslayqueen account.

The “Little Miss” hashtag has over 140 million views on TikTok, with some creators setting up posts on Pharrell Williams’ song “Cash In Cash Out.”

Max Knoblauch’s wife told him when the meme recently spiked again reminded her of what he had done.

Sure enough, Knoblauch — a Queens-based writer, illustrator and comedian — paired the Hargreaves character with modern-toned captions for an article on Mashable with editor Annie Colbert in 2014 .

“The word from the top at the time was that the gallery was doing really well,” recalls Knoblauch. “Mr. Student Loan Debt” and “Little Miss Underemployment”.

Knoblauch said his article was inspired by the comedic spirit of the time.I think comedy now reflects [the view]: ‘perhaps We have a solution, but we won’t do it. ”

Millennial Knoblauch says he enjoys the current memes. “What I made was like, ‘Wow, this is his 2014 peak.’ It just happened to be bad, but it could be fun. Okay, They’re bad and they’re not getting better.”

Still, he perpetually considers the Hargreaves character to be meme-friendly.

“Hargreaves’ original book was created to illustrate very specific characteristics for many children to refer to,” says CUNY Queen’s College Assistant Professor of Media Studies and Digital Culture. says Jamie Cohen. “Like memes, Hargreaves’ books are reductionist and shareable.”

According to him, the appeal of memes is that they allow people online to share very specific personal descriptions. “I think it’s great that people are using it to introduce really specific traits, such as neuroticism, trauma, and diverse traits. I think it’s a good thing because it helps you listen both in a way and a serious way.”

Cohen likens the Little Miss parody to recent viral trends like the American Doll meme. Nostalgia associated with childhood is paired with current comic sensibilities in the American Doll Meme.

It’s unclear what caused the recent rise of the Hargreaves meme, but the Twitter account “dream girl tathelped spread the trend on April 17 when she shared a character with the caption, “Little Miss Smokes Too Much Weed.” The tweet received over 36,000 likes.

The image previously appeared on a Tumblr account for “NotYourGayBestie” linked to New Jersey food service worker Mike Di Carlo. ‘” he told The Post. Nothing short of absolute love and admiration for the characters in Hargreaves/Little Miss. ”

Unsurprisingly, companies are on trend.Organizations such as LinkedIn, M&M’s and the Philadelphia 76ers Not only did you grab the meme, PBS,”kelly clarkson show” and production accounts“Les Miserables

“I think the corporate trajectory of this meme has strayed from its initial purity,” says Juulpuppy. “I have seen so many ads using this format and many companies and organizations that have done so much damage to humanity are jumping on the trend. dampened the enthusiasm of

Juulpuppy said, “This is a double-edged sword, creating something that can be shaped to suit any identity.”

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