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“It’s a fake” is an exploitable catchphrase stemming from the strange delivery of the line by Romulan Senator Vreenak in an episode of Star Trek: DS9. While typically used in forums in response to anything that is believed to be forged, the memorable quote has also spawned a lasting series of photoshopped images, animated GIFs and video mash-ups.
The phrase originates from a scene in the Star Trek: Deep Space 9 episode titled “In the Pale Moonlight”, which first aired on April 15, 1998. In the scene, Vreenak (played by Stephen McHattie) summons and confronts Captain Sisko (played by Avery Brooks) for handing him a forged optolythic data rod, before uttering the iconic line in a strange, hissy voice:
Shortly after its broadcast in 1998, the memorable quote soon became adopted as a common text response to Trek-related posts on Usenet. The phrase continued to live on as a form of copypasta on Usenet as well as Star Trek forums and chatrooms for years, as documented in a Usenet thread archived in October 2000.
The phrase didn’t evolve into its present form in videos and animated GIFs until July 2005, when the first YTMND instance of Vreenak with the accompanying sound clip was uploaded by user IzzyDS. The GIF-sharing community quickly became a breeding ground for Star Trek-related media, as seen through other YTMND memes inspired by the Star Trek series such as Khan! and Jean-Luc Picard among others.
In 2006, the same scene became the subject of a photoshop contest on SomethingAwful, producing over 6 pages of variations. Since then, It’s a fake has spread at a modest pace, but has branched out into a limited number of video mashups and image macros.
SomethingAwful Forum – Let’s give Vreenak something new to whine about [56k blown up by Garak] – Something Awful thread / 11-5-2006