Whether you loved it, hated it, or, like us, thought it was mostly fine, Joaquin Phoenix’s Joker has infiltrated culture like Jared Leto’s never could. First, the character’s ubiquity related to the panic of whether his toxic rage would inspire the “incel” sect to emerge from their damp, screen-lit basements; now, however, he’s mostly just thriving through a series of hilarious memes. The latest evokes a bit of trolling that sprung up during the Game Of Thrones finale aftermath, when a shot of one of Daenerys’ dragons unfurling its wings caused one user to declare it “ should be shown in any film class.” The dunking on said tweet quickly took on a life its own.
Well, to borrow a phrase, it is happening again. Last week, a Twitter user hailed the scene in which Phoenix dances down a now-famous Bronx staircase to a song written by a convicted pedophile as “one of the most magnificent, sublime, monumental, extraordinary scenes in cinema history.” Better yet, they graced the character’s transformation with a near-cosmic weight that its flimsy script most certainly doesn’t earn, prefacing the declaration: “the dance of freedom. the death bells. the rising of the joker.” The pearls, they have rarely been clutched so hard.
As with Drogon’s unfurling, the scene works. It’s striking. But “monumental”? “Sublime”? At least ride for the bathroom scene. If you want to see makeup-caked dudes dancing on stairs to “Rock and Roll Part 2,” just go to a sporting event.
Sensing this, the internet quickly copy-and-pasted this hyperbolic ode over some of pop culture’s most memorable dancers. You know, people like Pee-wee and David Brent and Crispin Glover, all of whom enjoy bucking the system in much the same fashion as the Clown Prince of Crime.
Or how about a heel turn even more dangerous than Joker’s? That’s right, we’re talking about Tobey Maguire’s Peter Parker, who, in Spider-Man 3, proved that Marvel will forever trump DC in the “evil dancing” department.
The meme swiftly surpassed cinema, however, with just about every dancing meme in existence being touted as more magnificent, sublime, monumental, and extraordinary than Joker’s jig.
This, of course, isn’t the first time Joker’s dance captured the attention of the internet. While some joker’s been photoshopping Joker’s lithe frame into even stranger locations, others have swapped out Gary Glitter’s jam for other, perhaps less problematic songs.
There’s only one that matters, though:
Now that is magnificent, sublime, monumental, and extraordinary.
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