Meme of the Week: Unsettled Tom

(Image via KYM-CDN)

(Image via KYM-CDN)

Kailey Buttram, Writer

Unsettled Tom, often referred to as Traumatized Tom or Concerned Tom, is a meme created from 1940 childhood cartoon Tom and Jerry where the tomcat has an expression of concern or confusion. Though it is not an original screenshot from the show, instead of being a recreation done on Microsoft Paint, it still sparks nostalgia in teens and young adults, which is most likely the reason why it has become so popular.

The image originates from DeviantArt, where user lazerbot uploaded unsettled tom as a part of their comic series “Tails Gets Trolled”. It was posted on May 10th of 2012 but didn’t gain much attention until January of 2013, where it was shared to Reddit. On March 3rd, 2019, @inactive_meme on Reddit posted the image of Tom to the subreddit /r/dankmemes. It got just 70 upvotes in nine days. That same day, the user made another post using a meme format, which gained well over 20,300 upvotes in only nine more days. March 7th of 2019, the Unsettled Tom meme format became widely popular over Reddit, in just 48 hours. Soon, the meme began to take over more social media sites than just Reddit. It spread to Instagram, Tumblr, Twitter, and even Facebook. Meme makers of all social media sites started making their own versions of scenarios that Tom would be unsettled by. Over the next few months, Tom has been the meme that is taking over the internet.

There are hundreds upon hundreds of examples of the Unsettled Tom meme. Most of them are too inappropriate to share, but there are a few clean ones. As an example, me: *leaving my seat* everyone on the rollercoaster: *insert concerned tom*. Another example is, me: *opening the windows to let fresh air in* everyone in the international space station: *unsettled tom*. It has become especially popular among dark humor memers, letting their sense of humor show through this meme. Though almost all of these memes have a dark context, not every one of them does. That being said, this meme is probably not for children or the faint of heart.

Unsettled Tom has most likely become as popular as he has because it strikes nostalgia in many social media goers. Teens, young adults, and maybe even older adults consider this cartoon a part of their childhood and probably watched it when they were young. It has become increasingly more popular to bring that childhood nostalgia back, such as certain shows you may have forgotten about, childhood foods, and toys, and Unsettled Tom has become a part of this. So, he has grown a large popular following due to the new trend of bringing back childhood and nostalgic things.

As a conclusion, Unsettled Tom and his popularity don’t seem to be going anywhere any time soon. So, I’d suggest buckling down and preparing yourself for the ride that is going to be riding out this meme until it is dead.