A year ago last week, The Queen's Gambit was released on Netflix. It's essentially a show about chess, which none of us really care about, but for some reason we were all unreasonably addicted to the miniseries. Millions of us were surprised by how interesting the show actually was, and that's saying something, since I can't imagine anything more boring then watching two people play chess.
Starring Anna Taylor-Joy as Beth Harmon, an orphan with a drug addiction and surprising aptitude for chess, this show is something your friends recommend but you're not interested in at all until you finally give it a shot. But The Queen's Gambit became famous as a surprise hit, and led to thousands of viral jokes. A lot of the memes are about the fact that we're even watching the show and enjoying it, while plenty of others delve into the subject matter a little more deeply. So if you, like many of us, are looking forward to your anniversary rewatch of the series, these are some of the best episodes to look out for things that became memes.
Most Popular Memes: Episode 5: "Fork"
Episode five became the most famous episode out there for a very weird reason. Here, Beth gets into a relationship with a fellow chess player named Harry (Harry Melling), and people have some opinions on their chemistry as a couple. This has nothing to do with their personalities, backgrounds, the fact that they represent a very toxic relationship, or anything else of importance, but rather on the fact that the two characters eyes are spaced apart very differently. Anna Taylor-Joy has eyes that are spaced far apart, and her co-star has eyes that are spaced very close together; together, these two might create a child with normally spaced eyes.
There's something comedic about watching the two characters interact while their eyes contrast each other so much. On their own they would look completely normal, but together, Harry gives off the physical characteristics of a predatory animal with front facing eyes, while Beth has the characteristically wide set eyes of a prey animal such as a deer. After this is pointed out to you, it will make this episode really difficult to watch without constantly staring at their eyes and laughing at how strange they look side-by-side. For some reason, this is the only thing any of us took out of this episode, but it became a huge joke online.
Most Meme Potential: Episode 6: "Adjournment"
In episode 6, we watch Beth have a complete relapse after being talked into a single drink at a bar by her friend Cleo, played by Millie Brady. This takes place right before the biggest chess match of her life, and the internet has all sorts of crazy theories about her friend being a recruited spy meant to sabotage Beth's match, because apparently people just care that much about chess. This debate has happened mostly in the form of Twitter threads that went a little too far and made the rest of us wonder why people are putting so much thought into a seven episode miniseries about chess. But honestly, it's a valid question, since this episode started out with Beth trying to remain sober.
There's another part of this episode that's often forgotten about, which is Beth’s emo streak. She shows up at a chess competition wearing dark eyeliner that's not even in the place where eyeliner is supposed to be, and it's both pretty sad and really weird, especially since this show takes place in the 1960s. Though it was bound to happen at some point, the sheer resemblance she has to an early 2000s My Chemical Romance fan is kind of amusing, and it's a mystery to me why so few people have commented on this online.
Meme Insider is a Know Your Meme publication and the world's leading internet culture magazine. Find out how to get your first print copy for free, and check out the Meme Insider website for more info.