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Come Closer I Need, also known as SpongeBob I Need, is an exploitable image macro series depicting animated character SpongeBob being held in the arms of a fish from the Nickelodeon TV show SpongeBob Squarepants. The format is typically used to set up an unexpected request stemming from SpongeBob to the fish (from the perspective of the meme’s creator), but can also be used as an object labeling macro with the fish and/or SpongeBob being labeled as someone or something.
The original clip that the meme is pulled from is seen during season one, episode two (“Ripped Pants”), released on July 16th, 1999, specifically the montage where SpongeBob continues ripping his pants in a multitude of situations to make people laugh. During the scene (featured below), SpongeBob participates in a surfing competition where he rips his pants again, but ultimately wipes out and washes ashore face down. Suddenly, the lifeguard rushes to his aid, flipping him over and clutching SpongeBob in his arms. As a crowd gathers around, thinking he’s injured, SpongeBob tells the lifeguard to “come closer” while clutching his chest. He then says, “I need … I need … a tailor,” due to his pants being ripped.
The first time the scene of SpongeBob is used in a meme appears online in an Imgur image from an unknown user on May 21st, 2016. Although not the format that’s widely spread, this variant uses the same style (seen below) and general format of the joke.
On August 21st, 2019, Redditor washington4skins posted one of the earliest examples using the more commonly seen template to the r/memes sub. The meme (shown below) received over 64,000 upvotes and 512 comments.
Redditor boltonizing posted another version on September 10th, 2019, to the r/BikiniBottomTwitter sub referencing the Ight Imma Head Out meme. This post (seen below) received nearly 45,000 upvotes, 140 comments and a couple of Reddit awards.
On Twitter, the meme also appears several times throughout 2019 and 2020 in various tweets and replies. One such example was tweeted by Twitter user Cloud9 on September 17th, 2019. The tweet (shown below), which makes a reference to Rocket League, was liked 846 times and retweeted 63 times.
The format can also be seen on Facebook numerous times, with one version posted to the newsfeed of the page Hey Admin, Sauce Please on April 17th, 2020. This post (seen below) received over 4,700 likes, 1,400 shares and 48 comments.