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“Neat” is an English idiomatic expression used to highlight something that is deemed interesting or noteworthy by the speaker. Since rising to online popularity as a catchphrase associated with Bender from the animated TV series Futurama, the expression has grown into a reaction image macro series in which various cartoon characters and animals are shown with a camera over their faces. In contrast to its idiomatic usage, such reaction images are oftentimes used to neutralize someone else’s post that is obviously shocking or disturbing in nature.
In the television series Futurama, the robot Bender Bending Rodriguez is often shown pulling out a camera and saying “Neat” while photographing a catastrophic or disturbing event (shown below). The first example of this was broadcast during Season 3 Episode 8, originally aired on February 25th, 2001, in which Bender photographs a plane crash (shown below).
On April 23rd, 2010, the same image macro was posted to a thread in the /a/ (anime) board on 4chan] On October 27th, FunnyJunk user UnicornsLOLcats posted a compilation of screen captures taken from multiple episodes of Futurama in which Bender utters “neat” while taking photographs (shown below).
On August 24th, 2011, Body Building Forums member Assembly_Required posted a ’60’s Spiderman image macro of the Marvel superhero using a camera with the caption “neat” (shown below, left). The popularity of ’60’s Spiderman images around this time led to numerous iterations of “Neat” reaction images featuring the screen captures of the character holding a camera (shown below, middle, right).
On June 19th, 2012, Redditor flairstar8 submitted the Bender image macro in an /r/pokemon post titled “How I feel when I play Pokemon Snap,” alluding to the in-game photography feature found in the 1999 Nintendo 64 first-person adventure game Pokémon Snap. On March 28th, 2013, Redditor Dethrin submitted an /r/futurama post titled “Neat!”, which featured various still shot images from the TV show that have been framed in the style of Polaroid prints and captioned with personal notes written in the character of Bender.
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