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“I Must Go, My People Need Me”, also known as “I Must Go, My Planet Needs Me”, is a catchphrase often used in image macros that typically features subjects posed in mid-air. This phrase is used as a comedic device to dramatize images, and make it appear as if they are returning to flying away to assist those in need.
An episode of The Simpsons aired on February 9th, 1997 titled “The Itchy & Scratchy & Poochie Show”, that features a dog character voiced by Homer that says a very similar line.
Homer learns that Poochie will be killed off and is resolved to keep Poochie alive. At his next recording session, rather than reading from the script, he implores the audience, through lines he himself wrote, to give Poochie a fair chance. The writing team is impressed with Homer’s statement, and he is led to believe that the comments will be in the next cartoon. Instead, Meyers dubs the correct line--"I have to go now. My planet needs me."--into the dialogue, and the animation cel containing Poochie is yanked out of view. A statement attesting to the dog’s demise (he died on the way back to his home planet) is hurriedly edited into the cartoon; the in-studio audience cheers wildly as Krusty promises that Poochie is gone for good. Homer feels betrayed but, after realizing he never got paid for his efforts, chalks things up to the nature of show business.
This scene is listed as part of the “but now I must go” trope listed on TV Tropes.
An easy way to add anywhere from a twinge of sentimentality to a whole extra Tear Jerker scene to the end of your movie: after helping out and saving the day, The Drifter character must leave forever.
A popular derivative comes from a photograph called “Flying out Sao Tome” taken by Anthony Asael. A demotivational version was posted to FunnyJunk on February 18th, 2010. The same image was posted to Memebase on May 6th, 2010.
A scene from a South Park episode titled “Fish Sticks”, where Kanye West dives into the ocean to be a gay fish, may have been inspired by these images: