The Brief:

In classic meme-fashion, an image of a statue of Barney the Dinosaur saying "cha cha real smooth" has is becoming a popular image macro meme format. 

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DEEP DIVE

These funky Barney statue “cha cha real smooth” memes illustrate scenarios in which someone feels awkward, regretful, and/or proud of themselves.

The words “cha cha real smooth” come from the song “The Cha-Cha Slide” by Mr C The Slide Man. A staple at many middle school dances, weddings, and other events, The Cha-Cha Slide is the name of both the song and the dance associated with it. In the song, Mr C The Slide Man instructs dancers on step-by-step moves, including one direction to “cha cha real smooth.”

The photo of the Barney The Dinosaur statue was taken in Scotland at a children’s park named Storybook Glen (also known as The Den and Glen). The image was published in a 2015 Vice article by Euan L. Davidson wherein he reflected on the dreariness of Storybook Glen and on how these statues can be read as symbols of existential dread.

The image of the off-kilter Barney statue combined with the phrase “cha cha real smooth” can be used along with a description of any scenario. It often implies a sarcastic “smooth move” or “congratulations, you just played yourself” to make fun of someone for doing something foolish. It can also be used as a celebration of an accomplishment or life-hack. Some renditions of this meme have tones that are simultaneously mocking and serious. Context clues can help determine the meaning of the meme, but some remain ambiguous.

Other versions of this image macro block-out and replace some of the letters in “cha cha real smooth,” so that the message at the bottom reads something different.

This somewhat bizarre and random meme is particularly popular on Reddit and on the Dank Memes subreddit.

#TBT to moth + lamp memes.

A Doctor Eggman meme: