John Travolta’s working-class hitman Vincent Vega had all sorts of difficulties in Quentin Tarantino’s Pulp Fiction back in 1994. He had his pristine 1964 Malibu keyed, probably by Bruce Willis. He had to take his boss’ flirtatious wife on a date, only to have her nearly die from an overdose from snorting pure heroin as if it were mere cocaine. He accidentally shot a young coworker in the face, thereby necessitating a quick, unscheduled clean-up. And, perhaps most memorably, he had one devil of a time finding an intercom. It is that last embarrassing moment that has inspired Reddit’s surprisingly robust “Confused Travolta” meme, in which poor, befuddled Vincent Vega finds himself transported from his familiar Los Angeles environment into other unlikely pop culture locales, like the haunted hotel from The Shining or the dinosaur-plagued theme park from Jurassic Park. No matter where he goes, though, he’s always confused, in keeping with the Reddit community’s rules: “Your GIF must contain John Travolta looking confused,” declares a sidebar. “GIFs that do not contain or no way relate to John Travolta will be removed.”
The merry GIF-makers of Reddit have thus cut-and-pasted the disoriented John Travolta into any number of famous fictional places and put him in close contact with various notable figures from film and television. How does he react to BB-8, for instance? Like this. His response to the TARDIS? Similar. Part of the joke may be that Vincent Vega is forever doomed to be a man out of time. He doesn’t understand all of these newfangled fads, like celebrity selfies. The possibilities of the “Confused Travolta” meme are limited only by the imagination of its participants and their collective desire to see John Travolta look foolish.