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Laundry Room Viking is an advice animal image macro series based on a Facebook photo of a guy treading his way through a flooded laundry room after Hurricane Irene in August 2011. Echoing the original caption “do the laundry they said, it will be fun they said,” the series usually juxtaposes an overly optimistic statement quoted by someone else against the undesirable conditions in reality.
The original photograph was posted via Facebook as a profile picture on August 29th, 2011 and the first captioned instance was posted sometime in September 2011, according to Redditor ShivamJ, a close friend of the man depicted in the image.
The phrase “X they said, it would be Y they said” derives from the Franco-Belgian comic series Asterix, in which the phrase “join up they said, it’s a man’s life they said” (a very loose rendering of the French “Engagez-vous, rengagez-vous, qu’ils disaient,” which more literally translates as “enlist, re-enlist, they told us”) is, in the English comics, a running gag – being frequently spoken by disgruntled soldiers.
The vaguely Norse look of the man’s helmet in the picture, combined with his disgruntled expression and humorously uncomfortable situation, likely evoked the Asterix reference. It is, however, currently unclear as to where the connection was first made. That the catchphrase has been in use outside of Asterix for some time also muddles the origin.
The identity of the man depicted in the image remains little known, except that his first name is John. The image first came under spotlight on November 27th, 2011 after it was posted on 4chan’s /b/ (random) board. The same image was subsequently re-posted on Reddit in a thread titled “/b/ this morning,” receiving over 468,000 views with a net score of 6,565 up votes and 5,481 down votes.
In the following weeks of November and December 2011, the image quickly made its way around other internet humor sites including FunnyJunk, WeKnowMemes and Daily Picks and Flicks. The interest in the image macro series resurged in January 30th, 2012, when Redditor ShivamJ took Redditor Shaunre’s request and posted the original photo which never left facebook. ShivamJ also gave Shaunre a bonus picture of John saluting.
Following the Reddit thread in late Jaunary, a Quickmeme page titled “Do the Laundry They Said” was launched to accomodate the rising demand of more image macros. Most variations of the image are cropped down in landscape dimension and captioned with the phrasal template “X, they said. Y, they said.”