|“||Hello, internet, and welcome to Behind the Meme!||”|
Kyle Bryce, better known online as Behind The Meme, is a YouTuber that explains the history of memes. The premise of Behind The Meme’s channel is to explain the origins of popular memes and trends. BTM, however, has faced much criticism, from YouTubers such as Anthony Fantano, EmpLemon, Pyrocynical, and Meme - tastic, and has been loathed in certain meme communities for having poor, bland content, and the conception that he kills memes.
Behind The Meme started uploading content the same day it was created and in less than a month, the channel already had about 50,000 subscribers. Even to this day, he still uses the same formula for each video.
The reason of his surprisingly and almost impossibly fast subscriber growth during the first year of his channel is because the videos were created at the right place and at the right time, as memes in 2016 were more popular than ever and the topic was too interesting to not show. Eventually in less than a year he gained about 700,000 subscribers.
Criticism and Downfall
Behind the Meme is often criticized for killing off memes, and is usually called things like "normie" and "cancer", due to his limited knowledge on the memes he explains and the jokes he puts into his videos. Other people, such as EmpLemon, have even made videos criticizing his content. Many of his critics claim that the way he consistently puts "misinformation" in his videos and "explains memes wrong" results in Behind the Meme's viewers being "poorly informed" about memes. This, his critics say, results in his viewers "overusing these memes" and "using them wrong" due to being "misinformed" by Behind the Meme. They claim that this constant "misuse and overuse" of memes by his "normie" fans tends to result in the meme "dying" faster than it would normally, if Behind the Meme had never made the video in the first place.
He is also criticized for the way he makes his videos. His steadily-increasing use of sources such as Know Your Meme and Wikipedia has caused people to say that "his channel is for lazy people who can't be bothered looking things up themselves" and similar things. He is criticized for a perceived lack of effort that he seems puts into each video, and keeping the exact same formula for every single video. As a result, to many, his content seems very forced and manufactured. He is also criticized for poor usage of GIFs in every video.
There has been a general trend over 2017, towards a general increase in hate comments and dislikes relative to suggestions for topics and likes over the past year for the majority, but not all, of his videos.
On May 25th, 2017, a video was uploaded titled “MEME Theory: Why Behind The Meme is Ruining the Memescape as we Know It” by veteran YouTube pooper EmperorLemon (long for EmpLemon). In the video EmpLemon criticizes Behind The Meme for having boring, bland or stale content, and for acting childish towards criticism in ways such as having his mom help him react to a critic. The video was greeted with a very positive reception and as of April 7th, 2018 has amassed nearly 1.5 million views and 70k likes, compared to 17k dislikes
On August 19th, 2017, a video was uploaded titled “BEHIND THE MEME MUST BE STOPPED” by Pyrocynical, a prominent YouTube commentator. Pyro states many of the same criticisms that EmpLemon has stated and criticizes BTM for using filler to stretch his videos to the 10-minute mark. The video was also greeted with a positive reception and as of April 7th, 2018, garnered 2.9 million views and 94k likes, compared to 9.2k dislikes.
Meme - tastic!, a YouTuber known for “Portrayed by Spongebob” videos, and memes known as “shitposts” has also been seen to openly mock Behind The Meme in some of his videos, and in BTM’s comment section. Although this has not been the case due to recent events, it's still implied that Meme - Tastic does not like BTM.
As a result of this criticism, Behind The Meme’s channel growth has been virtually nullified, with many channel views falling from 800,000 to under 100,000, and subscriber rate to just under 100 per day, with many people also unsubscribing as of April 2018. Many people largely credit videos by EmpLemon and Pyrocynical, although people also site the Fantano controversy. In a video titled “My Take on CowbellyTV”, EmpLemon states that he thinks BTM’s channel collapsed because “People finally realized him for what he really was, a fraud.”, and “BTM lost something that would be hard to get back, which is credibility.”
Return and Concerns
After that, he began to upload rather concerning videos. In these videos, he explains his suffering (mainly because of the haters). Some people showed sympathty, showing support. Other people were skeptical and claiming the videos to be manipulative.
The first video was uploaded on September 20th, 2018, titled "1. The Return". In this video, BTM is seen walking to a supermarket, picking up a bottle of Smirnoff vodka. The video features no dialouge, while the discription reads "Behind The Meme picks up an old friend that will help him get through his feelings...or so he thinks." The video is meant to imply that he has fallen into alchoholism.
The 2nd video, titled "2. The Future" was uploaded on September 22nd, 2018. Here, BTM is seen revealing to the audience that he has fallen into a severe depresssion. In the end, BTM takes his car keys out of his dresser. Multiple things are seen, including a snub nose revolver.
The 3rd video, titled "3. The Middle" was uploaded on September 24th, 2018. BTM is seen possibly drunk driving while musing about the factors of life. Although many users seemed concerned for Bryce's health, some also therorized that this was a skit, due to the videos being automatically uploaded at exactly the same time every two days.
The fourth video, titled "4. The Past", was uploaded on September 26th, 2018. BTM reveals that he is indebted to an unamed landlord and is depressed. He is later seen consuming more vodka while musing and sobbing about how the channel has brought him joy and sadness. He later states "Hey, lets play a game! Everyone likes games!"
In the 5th video, uploaded a day later, he is seen grabing the revolver from the 2nd video before shooting himself. It later cuts to an image of a faded skull, with text reading "Behind The Meme is dead, kinda.", with the Crab theme playing in the backround (The Crab Meme involves footage of CGI crabs dancing in celebration, while unsettling or unrelated news appears over the screen.). The video was removed due to violating YouTubes terms on violence. The following day, Mr. Bryce uploaded a video eplaining the series, stating that the series was meant to raise awareness about suicide and internet hate, as well as announce his departure from the channel, and seperate himself from Behind The Meme. Reaction was mixed about this, with some condeming Mr. Bryce for misusing the topic of suicide, and some seemingly random (for example, one comment suggests that BTM should listen to ASTROWORLD, a studio album by American rapper Travis Scott.).