Ermahgerd Gersbermps original meme.


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Updated Nov 01, 2023 at 02:05PM EDT by Don.

Added Mar 17, 2012 at 03:00AM EDT by that1guy.

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Ermahgerd (also known as "Gersberms" and "Berks"), a rhotacized[26] pronunciation of "oh my god," is an image macro series featuring a photo of a young woman holding several books from the children’s horror fiction series Goosebumps. The phonetically written captions are meant to sound like a speech impediment caused by the use of an orthodontic retainer, often using the snowclone template "Ermahgerd X."


On March 14th, 2012, a post titled "Just a book owners smile…" was submitted to the /r/funny[9] subreddit with a photo of a young girl posing with three Goosebumps books and her mouth agape in excitement. A comment posted by Redditor plantlife[10] linked to a Quickmeme submission of the photo with the caption "Gersberms / Mah fravrit berks." The same day, the image macro was submitted in a post titled "BERKS!"[1] which reached the front page of Reddit accumulating over 17,000 up votes within two weeks.

Ermahgerd original image from which the meme was born Ermahgerd BERKS - first image macro that started the meme


The humorous trope of "retainer lisp" has been portrayed through various characters in popular TV shows and films, such as Beth from the animated series Total Drama Island (shown left) and Stan’s sister Shelly from the animated television series South Park (shown right).


On March 15th, 2012, the image macro was submitted to Funnyjunk[2] by user michellemc, receiving over 18,000 views in less than two weeks. The same day, it was posted to the Memebase site Derp[8] with the title "Thurrrrr So Scurrrrry." On March 16th, YouTuber Berks Gerl uploaded a video titled "Mah Fravorit Berks!", which featured the original image macro accompanied by a voice-over narration of the caption.

On March 19th, Body Building[7] forums member Wilsbrah posted a thread titled "Gersberms!" with the original macro embedded in the post. Other forum members responded to the thread using incorrect English mimicking the caption. On June 4th, Redditor TycoBrahe submitted a post titled "Ermahgerd! Cluhrnet!", which included an animated GIF of Malena Ernman performing a rendition of the orchestral interlude "Flight of the Bumblee." Within 16 days, the post received over 8,700 up votes and 270 comments.

GIF of Malena Ernman Ermahgerd flight of the bumblee funny face

On June 16th, Graphic Design Forum[23] member KitchWitch submitted a thread titled "Ermahgerd", which included several notable image macros from the series. The meme has continued to spread on Memebase[17] and Tumblr[18] under the tag "#ermahgerd." As of June 20th, 2012, the “Berks” Quickmeme[3] page has received over 4,200 submissions, the “Ermahgerd” Meme Generator[20]page has received more than 1,000 items and a Facebook[21] page for “Ermahgerd, Berks” has accumulated over 990 likes.

Various Examples

Ermahgerd meme choose your own adventure I don't always read books, but when I do, I read Goosebumps - Ermahgerd meme Ermahgerd meme: Having fun ain't hard when you have a library card.
this was my face when you read the scary part - Ermahgerd Meme Example Ermahgerd, best Christmas ever Ermahgerd, I got 99 problems but a book ain't one
ermahgerd, I liked your status on Facebook Ermahgerd cross over meme with bad luck Brian - Reads Goosebumps 1 time, dies Ermahgerd meme of her spitting out the retainer and speaking legibly and eloquently


On March 28th, 2012, a post titled “BERKS Revealed” was submitted to the /r/adviceanimals[11] subreddit by user superdude4agze, which included a picture of a young woman with the caption “Ermahgerd / I’m hot” (shown left). The following day, a post comparing the facial features in the two photos (shown middle) reached the front page of Reddit[12], which sparked a lengthy discussion over the authenticity of Superdude5agze's photo. On March 30th, Redditor ThazCrazy submitted a post to the /r/self[22] subreddit titled "Actual BERKS Girl", which included a photo of a woman named Maggie (shown right) whom ThazCrazy claimed was the real Berks woman.

The Actual Berks Girl, Maggie Goldenberger with the Ermahgerd I am hot meme that revealed her true identity post that compares facial features to determine if indeed the Berks girl had been found OMG, berks girl on the beach

On October 15th, 2015, Vanity Fair published an extensive investigation into the meme, including an interview with Maggie Goldenberger, the woman originally pointed out by ThazCrazy. Goldberger spoke about how it felt to encounter herself online.[27]

Ermahgerd Berks Girl Maggie Goldenberger in Vanity Fair article about her
Maggie Goldenberger, in a picture from Vanity Fair

Three years after first becoming an unwitting meme star, Goldenberger, who works as a nurse in Phoenix, still occasionally experiences the surreal, stupefying jolt of being ambushed by her own face online. “My eyes just get wide and I say, out loud, ‘This is so f--king weird.’ ”

The magazine also identified the reddit user plantlife as the originator of the phrase "Gersberms / Mah fravrit berks."

The article went on to tell the story of how Goldenberger and her friends took the original photograph.

When Maggie Goldenberger was in fourth or fifth grade, she and her friends seriously got into playing dress-up. They would rummage through a dress-up box full of accessories owned by Goldenberger’s friend Kaelyn and devise outrageous outfits, inventing eccentric characters and snapping Polaroids of each other. . .

“I remember having a lot of fun picking out the items,” she said, “and Kaelyn running downstairs to pick out books.” Kaelyn had suggested that Goldenberger should hold the American Girl doll tie-in books, with their saccharine pastel covers of smiling tween girls. Crucially, it was the Goosebumps books, with their instantly recognizable hyper-colored cover images by illustrator Tim Jacobus, that made the cut.

Deciding against the coonskin cap, Goldenberger put on the vest, hoisted her hair up into intentionally dorky pigtails--she never wore them like that otherwise--brandished the chosen books, and pulled an intentionally hideous face for the camera. Normally, she hardly ever wore her retainer like she was supposed to, but it felt right for the character: she put it on for the shoot.

According to the article, the embarrassing photo was then uploaded to Myspace and Facebook until it was discovered.[27]

Animal Variations

On June 8th, 2012, the website I Can Has Cheezburger[19] published a post titled "Animal Memes: Ermahgerd! Er'm a Perg!", which featured a photo of a pug staring at a box of Milk-Bone dog treats with the caption "Ermahgerd / merlkbehrns" (shown below, left). On June 16th, the pug image was submitted in a post titled “merlkbehrns” on the image remixing site Canvas[16], where it received several replies with other variations based on cute animal photos that were captioned with the snowclone template "Ermahgerd X" (shown below, middle, right). On June 18th, the Tumblr[15] blog Pleated Jeans published several images from the thread in a post which received over 67,300 notes within two days. The following day, the same images were published in a post titled "7 Super Excited 'Ermahgerd' Animals" on the viral content site BuzzFeed.[14]

ermahgerd merlkbehrns dog version of the berks meme cat version of the meme Ermahgerd with cat wanting the Fancy Feast cute puppy version of the Ermahgerd meme

Hurricane Irma

On August 30th, 2017, Hurricane Irma developed off a tropical wave that moved off the west African coast, which rapidly intensified into a Category 3 hurricane. On September 5th, 2017, Irma was classified as a Category 5 hurricane. On the morning of September 6th, it reached peak intensity, with winds up to 185 mph, tying it for the second most intense hurricanes in Atlantic history. On September 9th, Twitter user @ziyatong[28] tweeted a photograph of a boarded-up house with the words "Irma Gerd" spray-painted on the side (shown below). Within 48 hours, the tweet gained over 22,000 likes and 64,000 retweets. Meanwhile, Twitter user AtterburyTCPalm posted a similar photograph of a boarded-up home decorated with the same graffiti (shown below, right).

house boarded up for Hurricane Irma with Irma Gerd written on the plywood, in homage to Ermahgerd Berks meme another Irma Gerd spotted on a house boarded up in anticipation of hurricane Irma

Meanwhile, several news sites published articles about the Ermahgerd-themed Hurricane Irma memes, including Miami New Times,[29] Heavy[30] and Newsweek.[31]

Interview with Know Your Meme

On January 8th, 2021, Know Your Meme interviewed Maggie Goldenburger about the origins of the original photo, history with the meme and more nine years after it spread online.

Search Interest

In its beginning, the meme was primarily referred to as "Berks" after the original instance of the series, but as it continued to spawn derivatives based on other images, the more generic term "Ermahgerd" surpassed the former in terms of search interest by May 2012.

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