The Brief: An image of the Arthur character D.W. looking through a fence has been turned into a popular meme format about missing things during COVID-19 quarantines and lockdowns.


D.W. fence memes illustrate deep longing with a picture from the children’s TV show Arthur. According to Know Your Meme, this meme format first became popular online in 2014. The picture in these image macros comes from the 2005 episode of Arthur called “Arthur Makes Waves” in a scene where D.W. and Arthur go to the community pool, only to find that it’s closed for repairs.

The image of D.W. holding the fence and looking at the pool has become a particularly popular way to showcase how people are missing their favorite activities, people, and places during COVID-19 quarantines and lockdown. While it remains unclear when people will be able to go back to their favorite chain restaurants, thrift stores, or music festivals, D.W. looking through a fence memes allow people to commiserate about their collective yearning.

This format is reminiscent of Eric Andre “Let me in” memes as they both include someone standing next to a fence, wishing they were on the other side.

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For those experiencing FOMO because all their friends are playing Animal Crossing without them:

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The version of the meme with Arthur looking in the background can add an extra layer, like in this meme that calls people out for exaggerating about what’d they be doing if they weren’t in quarantine.

Comparisons have been made between this meme and the distracted boyfriend format: