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Green Man is the nickname for people who dress themselves in green lycra body suits and perform strange dance moves in public, typically during major sporting events as an attempt to distract opposing teams. The suit initially became popular through its appearance on the American TV sitcom It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia in 2007.
It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia creator Rob McElhenney came up with the idea of the Green Man at the Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia after a football game between the Philadelphia Eagles and the Dallas Cowboys. In the parking lot after the game, one of McElhenney’s friends stripped off his clothes to reveal a full-body green lycra suit, which prompted those around him to begin chanting “Green Man! Green Man!”
The Green Man suit was first featured in Season 3, Episode 3 “The Gang Gets Invincible”, which first aired on September 13th, 2007. In the episode, the character Charlie Kelly dances in the suit while under the influence of the psychedelic drug Lysergic Acid Diethylamide (LSD) (shown below). The Green Man was later featured in the It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia episode titled “America’s Next Top Paddy’s Billboard Model Contest” on September 25th, 2008 and “The World Series Defense” on October 22nd, 2009.
On December 18th, 2007, YTMND user PolZom submitted a page titled “Greenman changes facial expressions”, which featured a transparent Green Man silhouette cycling through photographs of Chuck Norris, Super Mario and Fabio Lanzoni. On November 1st, 2008, YTMND user Sporticus submitted a page titled “Wild Card Bitches”, featuring an animated GIF of Charlie dancing in the Green Man suit from It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia (shown below). On March 2nd, 2009, YTMND user nedisahonkey submitted a page titled “Green Man”, which featured a similar animated GIF accompanied by a mashup of the song “Sandstorm” by Darude and an audio clip of Howard Dean’s scream.
On August 3rd, the sports news blog Deadspin published a post titled “The Legend of Green Man,” which cited It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia as the origin of the Green Man phenomenon at sporting events. On October 22nd, ESPN published an article titled “The Sporting World Has Gone Green Man,” reporting on various sightings of Green Man during major sporting events. On December 23rd, YouTuber CanucksHD uploaded a video titled “Green Spandex Men Mocking Opposition Players” (shown below, left), which featured two men dressed in green lycra suits taunting players at a hockey game. On April 16th, 2010, YouTuber VanCity12 uploaded another video of the same men in lycra suits taunting players at a Vancouver Canucks playoff game (shown below, right).
In July of 2010, a Green Man was spotted during a broadcast of the CBS Early show (shown below, left). On September 20th, a man dressed in a red lycra body suit ran onto the field during a Philadelphia Phillies game against the Atlanta Braves. Braves outfielder Matt Diaz eventually tripped the runner before security were able to apprehend him (shown below, right).
On December 31st, 2011, Redditor Temporarily_Alone submitted a post titled “Green Man vs. The Fanatic” to the /r/gifs subreddit, which included an animated GIF of Charlie antagonizing the mascot for the Philadelphia Phillies baseball team from an episode of It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia (shown below). As of September 26th, 2012, the “Green Man” Facebook page has accumulated over 3,000 likes.