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“I Don’t Know What I Expected” is a memorable quote said by Michael Bluth (played by Jason Bateman) in the second episode of the comedic TV series Arrested Development, which originally aired in 2003. Online, it is often used in reaction GIFs to express disappointment in a topic or themselves for pursuing a topic they know will not result in a satisfactory event.
The phrase was first uttered in “Top Banana,” the second episode of Arrested Development that premiered on November 9th, 2003. In the episode, Michael Bluth opens his refrigerator to find a brown paper bag labeled “Dead Dove, Do Not Eat.” Upon opening the bag, which contained a dove that had been accidentally killed by his brother Gob Bluth (played by Will Arnett), Michael looks up with a perplexed expression and utters “Well, I don’t know what I expected.”
Through the latter half of the 2000s, Michael Bluth’s quote was referenced by fans while discussing the show on Chud.com and Cricketweb, and as early as October 30th, 2010, a three-pane screenshot of the scene began circulating on Tumblr. In 2011, the image appeared in a thread about the show on FanForum. By February 2012, the image had made its way to Reddit’s /r/Funny in a post titled “How I feel browsing r/Poop,” accruing 7,127 upvotes and 197 comments prior to being archived.
Also in February 2012, the image appeared on gossip blog Oh No They Didn’t! and humor site FunnyJunk to describe people’s reactions to seeing pictures from Whitney Houston’s open-casket funeral and browsing 4chan, respectively. In April, the image began appearing on 4chan’s /tg/ board (Traditional Games). In December, a GIF version (shown below) of the scene was added to internet humor site PandaWhale.
In January 2013, a still image of the scene was submitted to the /r/ReactionJPEGs subreddit and that May, the animated version was added to the reaction GIF database Gifatron as well as We Know Memes. As of October 2013, the single-frame still shot of Bluth’s reaction has been submitted to Reddit ten times while the phrase “I Don’t Know What I Expected” has been used in more than 18,000 posts. The phrase can be also seen as a Tumblr tag, though many of these posts do not utilize the Arrested Development image or GIF.
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