Earlier this year, I wrote a post on my favorite Internet memes of 2012, which featured the adorable Tardar Sauce, aka “Grumpy Cat”. Her appeal continues to climb since my January post, inspiring more cat-themed memes, appearing on shows including Good Morning American and The Today Show, starring in a series of Friskies’ game show style commercials and landing a photo spread in Time magazine. Grumpy Cat now has over 856,000 Facebook fans, over 81k Twitter followers, nearly 54K followers on Instagram and her YouTube videos have been watched more than 18 million times!
Not listed as one of my favorite memes, but equally cute is Lil’ Bub, a two year old female cat from Indiana that gained celebrity status on the Internet last year when a photo of this adorable four pound “perma-kitten” went viral. Lil Bub was rescued by a friend of current owner, Michal Bridavsky and although plagued with health issues, is an all around happy cat!
Last week, a new documentary Lil Bub & Friendz debuted at the Tribeca Film Festival in NYC. The film explores the world of Internet cat memes; as described by the documentary’s synopsis:
“Lil Bub & Friendz is a fun and hip peek behind the curtain of the memes we know and love. A first-of-its-kind exploration of the undeniable phenomenon of memes and viral videos, it is anchored in a timeless boy-and-his-dog—er, cat—story.”
The film features several cat celebrities, including Nyan Cat, Grumpy Cat and 1980′s Keyboard Cat. The health problems that distort Lil Bub’s appearance are highlighted in the film, which according to her official Facebook page include: dwarfism, which means her limbs are disproportionately small relative to the rest of her body. She has very short, stubby legs and a weird, long, serpent-like body. Her lower jaw is very short compared to her upper jaw, and her teeth never grew in (yes, that’s right, she’s toothless!), which is why her tongue is usually hanging out.
The overall response to the film has been overwhelmingly positive. The documentary’s co-director Andy Capper tells Rolling Stone Magazine that he feels these types of videos are a way to escape the reality of our world.
“We were just at NBC and we were in the green room and they were just looping those guys that blew up Boston and everybody is scared sh*tless at the moment, and this is why this is popular,” Capper said. “You put on and you just feel happy instantly. You feel confident that the world isn’t this big horrible scary place. Plus with the internet, your cat doesn’t have to stink up your house. You can be a crazy cat person without the police coming to your house to take all of your cats away.”
On September 3rd, Lil Bub is releasing her first book, entitled Lil Bub’s Lil Book: The Extraordinary Life of the Most Amazing Cat on the Planet. Follow Lil Bub on her journey through her Twitter profile and YouTube channel!
There are by far definitely more productive ways to spend your time online than watching cat videos, but I agree with Capper that sometimes we just need a distraction from our (often crazy) reality.