Ermagherd, meme origins!
The young girl with a (potential) overbite and a boundless enthusiasm for classic Goosebumps novels has quickly become one of the hottest memes on the Internet, spawning a plethora of Quickmeme variations, a Tumblr page and a Facebook page with more than 3,300 "likes."
But who is this mysterious girl with the pigtails and '90s patterned vest? A search for the origins of the Ermahgerd meme, also known by its earlier tags, “Gersberms” and “Berks,” is a convoluted, fascinating journey through the online petri dish that cultivates a viral meme.
Here's what we know:
On March 14, Reddit user xWavy posted a picture of an unidentified girl with the caption, "Just a book owners smile..." to the /r/funny subreddit. A fellow Redditor going by the name of plantlife linked to a Quickmeme of the same photo with the caption:“Gersberms / Mah fravrit berks.” That very same day, the picture was submitted in a post, "BERKS," which was featured on Reddit's front page and garnered more than 17,000 upvotes.
After moving swiftly up the Reddit threads, the image-caption combination moved on to meme-proving ground Derp, a site that was instrumental in the promotion of FAIL blog and "I Can Has Cheezburger?"
Throughout June the meme continued to spread, spawning its Tumblr (#ermahgerd), a "Berks" Quickmeme, the "Ermahgerd" meme generator and, of course, the obligatory Facebook page. "I lerked yer stertus on fersberk," indeed.
As its popularity grew, so did questions of the mysterious star's real identity. Would she reveal her true identity?
Fittingly, the answers started coming in on Reddit, where it all began.
On March 28, subreddit user superdude4agze submitted a post titled “BERKS Revealed” to the /r/adviceanimals thread. Users compared the facial features of the young blonde in the post to the original happy-go-lucky book enthusiast. The results were inconclusive, but the post reached the Reddit front page.
In the following weeks, the meme grew to include animals speaking in weird, heavily accented phrases. "Ermahgerd / Ferncer Ferst" meows an apparently very hungry white cat. "Ermahgerd / Perngwens," announces a joyously photobombing seal.
The term "meme" was first coined in 1976 by British evolutionary biologist Richard Dawkins, who essentially pulled a Shakespeare and created a new word, derived from the original "mimeme," which means "something imitated."
Officialy established, the "Ermahgerd" meme has now earned its own place in web lore, alongside classics as lolcats, the O RLY Owl and Epic Fail.