If you come across someone expressing anger about old hat, here’s the meme for you: the “first time” meme. You know, the coolest picture ever, straight out of an old Western movie, with a rugged cowboy standing on a gallows with a noose around his neck, quipping in the caption, “First time?” .
Here’s how the “first” meme started.
The origin story of the “First Time” meme
It all started with a movie called The Ballad of Buster Scruggsa 2018 product from the Coen Brothers. Description by IMDb “Six tales of life and violence in the Wild West, following a singing gunslinger, a bank robber, a traveling showman, an aging prospector, a wagon train, and a pair of twisted bounty hunters.”
The “first” meme comes from the official trailer at around 1:40, which shows four men walking to the gallows with a group of gathered townspeople. Some people seem confused by what they believe about their final moments. James Franco’s cowboy character looks at him slyly and says, “First time?”
The video was released on September 12, 2018, and five years later, it has nearly 6 million views.
According to KnowYourMeme, about two months after the trailer was released, a Twitter user created the “first” meme to address school shootings with the caption “When you’re hiding from a school shooter and a foreign student.” It is said that it was used implicitly in combination with I start crying. ”
From there, damp Reddit subreddits got in on the action, creating anti-vaccine memes and dark Lion King-themed memes with captions like: The Lion King While watching the movie, a six-year-old child starts crying when Mufasa dies. ”
KnowYourMeme points out that the meme spread from there and is still in circulation five years after it first appeared.
Early 2019 Slate’s movie articles The editors of Film Club declared Franco’s section to be the best part of the film, declaring, “First time?” It will be “the best joke of the year.”
So what about James Franco?
The actor has been at a crossroads since allegations of sexually exploitative behavior surfaced in early 2018. Los Angeles Times article. The article contained disturbing accusations made by four of Franco’s students and another person who called Franco his “master.”
“I think there was an abuse of power. There was a culture of exploitation of women who weren’t famous, a culture of women being fungible,” one of the accusers said in the article, adding that Franco was the central figure. He mentioned the film school he founded. of the story.
In 2021, Franco addressed the allegations on his podcast Interview conducted by variety. The article quotes Franco as saying: “In 2018, there were some complaints about me and articles were published about me. At that moment, I just thought, ‘Let’s be quiet.’ Pause. ” [It] It didn’t seem like the right time to say anything. Some people were angry with me and I had to listen. ”
In response to a 2019 lawsuit brought by two accusers, the Variety article said, “In June 2021, Franco paid $2.235 million in settlements, $894,000 of which went to the named plaintiffs. “$1.341 million was donated to the common fund of the remaining members of the organization.” Lawsuit. ”
“One of the stupidest things I did in school, or the stupidest thing, was to call one of my classes, a master class, a ‘sex scene,'” Franco said in the article. “It wasn’t about sex scenes. I wasn’t telling people how to do sex scenes or intimate scenes or anything of that nature… It should have been called contemporary romance or something like that. It was a class where they acted out scenes about whatever their love life was, what they go through as young people: meeting someone on a dating app, breaking up with someone, going on a bad date, etc. That’s what happened in that class. It wasn’t a sex scene.”
However, the accusers responded through their lawyers as follows: variety In response to the article, Franco issued a statement that read in part: “In addition to being blind to power relations, Franco remains completely indifferent to and seemingly unconcerned with the immense pain and suffering he has inflicted on the victims of this false policy.” Acting School . That even after agreeing to the settlement, he continues to downplay the experiences of survivors and ignore their pain, even though he acknowledged there was no need to establish such schools in the first place. can’t believe it. This was not a misunderstanding regarding the course name, nor was it a result of his overwork. This was and is a despicable act. ”
But this probably won’t be the last ‘First Time’ meme
Franco endures in a way through the First Time meme, but a quick look at him shows us IMDb page It shows that he has not been very active in the industry since the allegations.His June 2023 article in this is solved “It can be clearly said that Franco’s career has suffered since 2018,” the magazine said, but also argued that “in some ways, Franco’s career has not been affected by the cancellation at all.” He continues to write and direct independent films and even gets supporting roles in acclaimed dramas. ” The Ballad of Buster Scruggs As a concrete example.
both image flip and Imgur Both have “first time” meme templates for those who want to share a sentiment that matches their energy. So while Franco may be a little off-putting to some people right now, there is a small part of his accomplishment that brings joy to people who might not even realize it was him.
Phil West is a veteran professional writer and editor and the author of two books about soccer, The United States of Soccer and I Believe That We Will Win, both published by The Overlook Press. His work has recently appeared in The Striker (where he was editor-in-chief), MLSSoccer.com, Next City, and Texas Highways. He is based in Austin and is also an instructor in the writing program at the University of Texas at San Antonio.