Although The Simpsons may have faded from the spotlight over the past few decades, nothing seems to be stopping the show from inspiring some viral memes. It’s mid-90s humour often seems apt for the contemporary visual language of modern internet humour. The latest Simpsons meme is as strange as it gets. It is centered around a couple of retro ideas: The Simpsons in its heyday and Limewire, the now-defunct peer-to-peer filesharing and piracy software service.
Like so many ‘dank’ memes, The Simpsons/Limewire combination is not only random but strangely specific. They tend to draw on the malware-inflected files that would often pose as MP3s on the service, especially those claiming to be the song “Numb” by Linkin Park.
Most of the memes are a variation of the following scenario: Limewire download results, and in particular Limewire download results found by edgy teens in search of the latest metal tracks were always herds of virus-packing Trojan horses. Blend this odd formula with scenes from the Simpsons, and the results are just to promising.
Losing it at limewire memes that, implausibly, I only found out about today pic.twitter.com/KvI0uKDRWV
— George Melhuish (@GTMelhuish) October 18, 2018
All of them follow a similar formula, knowing that messing with the original tech meme recipe might stifle the positive response. Many reference Limewire file names where MP3’s were clearly computer-busting program executables with the .exe extension left on by odious uploaders.
Why is Limewire this weeks meme? 😂 pic.twitter.com/SKZ631ZQrV
— Dodyy (@DodyTheAussie) October 19, 2018
Some take a more general approach, showing Limewire as an opt-in-virus portal, infuriating parents who want to go on their family computer to read the news, check stocks, or do whatever those mid- ‘00s oldies used the internet for.
Loving them and also any simpsons limewire memes flying around pic.twitter.com/UmzGEx8dlj
— SPACE ORK (@BobThorniley) October 18, 2018
It’s a nostalgic throwback for social media users of a certain age and a highly specific Venn diagram of the comedy, tech, and music that they found edgy or cool at the time-only to see them later become mundane or irrelevant as time went on. This intersection makes it all the more satisfying for those who recognize all the pieces of the 90s puzzle. These memes are somewhat of a market for users untied by a specific age and socio-cultural experience.
If you haven’t seen the 6th season episode where The Simpson’s go to Australia and haven’t frustrated yourself to death trying to download illegal music without infecting your computer in 2005, the meme will make no sense to you. If you are familiar with such retro-phenomena, kudos.
It’s a meme-version of the famous expression: only ___ generation kids will remember this!”. For those who of us who remember the era of the Simpsons and lackluster filesharing technology, these memes can bring us back to the youth we thought had flown away. In the 2018 era of memes and photoshopped images, sometimes this means throwing a massive Lime on Homer Simpson’s fat, balding head.