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A Foreigner Trying To Understand Brazilian Memes

A few weeks ago I wrote a post about Brazil’s viral celebrity, Inês Brasil, in which I attempted to explain this intriguing sub celebrity to other non-Brazilians. I noted that in the last few years she has become an internet powerhouse in Brazil, yet I wasn’t 100% sure why. So I posted, hoping that someone could help me out.

I certainly wasn’t expecting what happened next!

Within hours of hitting the ‘publish’ button, Inês had seen the post herself and reposted it on her official Facebook page. In the space of 24 hours this blog had had more than 20,000 hits and a hell of a lot of comments. A few times over the course of that day the traffic that Inês had generated to my site was so high, What About São Paulo even went down several times!

The post proved to be a crash course in the power of the Brazilian sub celebrity. Note to self: NEVER underestimate the Queen of Brazilian memes!

I also received an email from a reader who advised me to check out other memes that had made waves in 2015. I was kindly sent a selection of these to take a look at.

Some of these are great, others less so.

So without further ado, I’m going to try to get my head around some of the memes that went viral in Brazil in 2015!

Senhora!

This video was HUGE!

So a government worker named Edinair went into work one morning (at the Legislative Assembly of Goiás ) and clocked in. She then did what a lot of people who have just punched in for the day dream of doing, she decided she’d had enough and left. Unbeknownst to her at the time, there was a TV crew from Rede Globo waiting outside for her.

She also had no idea that on the previous two days this crew had been following her. On the first day they’d filmed her clocking in, going to a bakery, buying bread and then going home. On the second they’d filmed her clocking in, going for a coffee and then chilling in the park for almost two hours.

So when confronted by the journalist about her working hours, Ediniar did what any self-respecting skiver would do; she pleaded her innocence and ran. Like Forrest Gump, she ran and ran. In fact, despite the fact she had a reporter and her camera man chasing her for a pretty long distance she didn’t stop running !

Naturally this video went viral. Many voiced their disdain that a woman in a government position would be able to get away with this, whilst others were captivated by her ability to evade questioning by using her athletic prowess. The clip even spawned a game for mobile phones called “Senhora, voltar aqui” (Lady, come here!), in which the player has to guide Edinair past the many obstacles with a reporter chasing in hot pursuit.

Verdict

I LOVE this meme for a few reasons. Firstly, the look of sheer panic on Edinair’s face when confronted with what she had been doing.  I mean, I guess we can all relate to this feeling in some way, when we’ve being caught out for doing something we shouldn’t have. We just tend not to have it happen on one of the biggest TV networks in the country!

Secondly, the way that this has gone on to inspire games and further memes illustrates just how creative Brazilians can be. “Andrew” joked my friend when I told him I was writing this post, “Brazil might be criticized a lot, but when it comes to creativity I’m pretty sure that no other country can match our memes!”

MC Melody

This one is bizarre. In the clip a rather confident eight-year-old child called Melody is filmed alongside her ‘friend,’ a grown woman called Deborah. First Deborah performs a ‘falsetto,’ or rather she shrieks down the camera and looks pretty pleased with herself afterwards. Then she encourages Melody to do the same. They are both awful. Nowadays on Youtube you can find Melody and Debora’s attempts at falsettos spliced with videos of kettles boiling, screeching cars and animals crying.

To be honest, watching this is painful this and I’m really surprised this video went viral. ”But why did this video become so popular?” I asked my friend last week. “Well it’s so awful that we love it!” was his sincere response.

MC Melody has also gone on to release music of her own and has been on a number of TV shows since finding fame, screeching at anyone who is willing to point a camera in her face.

Verdict

At the risk of sounding like a killjoy, the aftermath of this viral makes me feel a bit uncomfortable. Melody has done a lot of interviews since finding fame but she doesn’t seem to be ‘in’ on the joke that her performances are being mocked…but then, of course she wouldn’t be, she is only 8! Maybe I’m missing something here (and if I am, please let me know in the comments below) but having Melody thrust into the spotlight after this video seems almost cruel.

Brazilians, stop interviewing her and let her get back to being a kid and playing with friends (her own age)!

 Meu Nome É Júlia

Just over a year ago, 10-year-old Júlia decided to film herself in her bedroom singing to Katy Perry’s hit, Black Horse. Júlia turned on the fan in her bedroom to make this look like more like a pop video, set up a microphone in front of her camera and then mumbled her way through the first part of the song. Then in the middle, the part in which the rapper Juicy J says “there’s no going back,” Júlia decided to sing over this with one of her own lyrics, “meu nome é Júlia” (my name is Julia).

She posted this video to social media, perhaps expecting that some of her friends would enjoy it…instead she became an internet sensation. To date ‘Meu Nome É Júlia’ has racked up over 4 million hits. I’m not sure something like this would have been so big in the UK, but she definitely captured the imagination of Katy Perry fans over here.

Then comes the part I think is amazing.

Months later when Katy came to Brazil, she performed Black Horse during her three concerts. In the middle of singing the song in Curitiba, São Paulo and Rock in Rio, when that line “there’s no going back” was pumped out over the speakers, thousands of people in the audience instead sang “meu nome é Júlia!”

Verdict

This video is cute, it’s innocent and it is fun. Since discovering this clip, I’m not sure I’ll be able to stop myself from singing “meu nome é Júlia” over that line too!

Já acabou Jéssica?

Late last year, two school girls, Lara (aged 14) and Jéssica (aged 13) got into an argument at school. Apparently Lara had been flirting with Jéssica’s boyfriend and Jéssica was NOT happy about it. Things got so heated that later that afternoon the two girls decided to fight it out.

The video (filmed on a class mate’s phone) shows the two girls exchanging slaps, punches and kicks until eventually Jessica walks away, leaving Lara on the floor. But this fight is far from over!

jessica

Like a phoenix rising from the ashes, Lara stands up, adjusts her hair, cocks her head to the side and defiantly says the now-infamous line “Já acabou Jéssica?” (Already over Jessica?).

Footage of the fight was shared on a few Whatsapp messages before making its way onto Youtube where it soon viral. ‘Thug life’ inspired memes were created as the video blew up on social media in Brazil.There is even a game for mobile phones based on the incident.

Apparently the two girls have since made peace, but the line ‘Já acabou Jéssica?’ has already become ingrained into popular Brazilian culture.

Verdict

Online, a number of people condemned the fighting whilst others have commented that this sort of playground fighting is part and parcel of being a kid. Yet I don’t think it’s the fight that made the video such a hit, but rather Lara’s spirit. With one line and a whole load of attitude Lara managed to turn what should have been a humiliating moment into one of triumph!

It would be no exaggeration to say that I hear this expression on a near daily basis here too. “Já acabou Jéssica” has become another way of mocking your friends, it’s like asking ‘giving up so soon?’ Just this week I was on the receiving end of this line myself, when I told my friend I had to leave the bar before 11pm because I was giving class early the next day. “Really? Já acabou Jéssica?”

What do you think of these memes? Are there any memes in 2015 I should have included in this list? 

 

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