Gru memes

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The rise of Gru memes

The Gru meme showcases how a well-thought-out plan can go very wrong.


Natasha Dubash


Posted on Nov 22, 2023   Updated on Nov 22, 2023, 1:39 pm CST

Since the first “Despicable Me” movie premiered in 2010, fans have not been able to get enough of Gru and his minions. One of the ways fans have shown their love is through memes.

How the Gru meme (aka Gru’s plan meme) began

The Gru meme, also referred to as the Gru’s plan meme, is an exploitable four-panel comic series based on a scene in the movie where Gru presents a plan to steal the moon to the Bank of Evil, which lends money to villains to do their evil deeds. Gru uses panels to explain his plan, which includes stealing a shrinking ray, shrinking the moon, and stealing it.

But midway through his presentation, Gru finds that one of his panels has been altered with childish drawings by his three adopted daughters, causing him to stare at a drawing of himself of the toilet in confusion. 

In March 2018, Reddit user FieldMarshalSixDans uploaded a version of the meme using screen grabs from the scene in a post to the subreddit r/deepfriedmemes. The easily manipulatable panel gained widespread popularity with others posting their own versions of what Gru appears to be presenting and using the meme to showcase how a well-thought-out plan can go very wrong.

Fellow Redditor charizard77 uploaded an edit of the meme about daylight savings time to r/memes, which gained 4,600 upvotes in 24 hours. Another Redditor, 4k60fpsHDR, used the meme template to post about the education system and received 6,000 in the same amount of time. 

Another Redditor, Pawaaar, later posted a GIF version of the meme, in which Gru presented panels that read, “Make a GIF version of this meme,” “Spend two hours making it,” and “Get 2 upvotes.” The post received more than 32,000 upvotes in just six hours. 

The meme gained further popularity that year when YouTuber Pewdiepie included the Gru’s plan meme in an episode of his series called “Meme Review.” The video received millions of views in the first 24 hours it was uploaded to the platform.

The meme’s depiction of how someone can start out confident but have their plans fall apart allowed for it to be translated into various contexts. 

Offshoots of the Gru meme

When the creators of “Despicable Me” came up with the concept for characters known as the “minions,” they had no idea how big a hold these little yellow guys would have on fans. Audiences latched on to the silly creatures for their comedic relief and made them the subject of thousands of memes.

In 2022, the spin-off movie “Minions: The Rise of Gru” was released in theaters and resulted in a popular TikTok meme where fans, especially teenage boys, started to attend screenings of the movie wearing suits. 

The meme appears to have started with TikToker @bill.hirst, who shared one of the earliest known Gentleminions videos when the movie premiered in Australia, where the TiKToker and his friends live.

@bill.hirst 🍌#fyp #minions #banana ♬ original sound – billh

Soon, others followed and the meme spread worldwide with large groups of boys dressed in formalwear watching the movie and cheering during the film. However, some fans went too far with the trend. Many theater workers began to upload complaints to TikTok about the mess that these groups left in theaters, and cinemas soon began to ban audience members who appeared to be taking part in the trend.

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*First Published: Nov 22, 2023, 1:38 pm CST