Eight years ago, a filmmaker by the name of Charles Stone III was approached by Anheuser-Busch to turn his short film into a series of adverts for Budweiser, and the Whassup? meme was born. (There is extensive history and information on the awards this ad campaign won on Wikipedia.)
Soon, “True, true”, “Yo dookie”, and of course, “Whassup?” became part of the vernacular, at least in North America. The popularity of the series led to a torrent of parodies and homages. My favourite is the painstakingly crafted mashup wherein the Superfriends play the roles of the Whassup boys.
In 2008, this meme is pretty old, and basically out of circulation. And so it goes with these things: they come and go, enjoy their moment in the pop culture sunshine, and then are replaced with something else. But this time is different: with the American election imminent, the Whassup boys are back, imbuing their initial schtick with substance and effectively playing on the power of the meme created by the initial advert and subsequent parodies. Enough time has passed that people have forgotten about Whassup, but not enough time has gone by for it to be a totally irrelevant reference.
It’s marvellous to see such a clever re-use of a much-loved meme. …and it gives me an excuse to say: get out there and vote, my American friends!