Napoleon "There Is Nothing We Can Do" meme

Napoleon "There Is Nothing We Can Do"

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Updated Oct 03, 2023 at 09:27PM EDT by Owen.

Added Sep 21, 2023 at 09:59AM EDT by Owen.

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Related Explainer: Why Is Napoleon Bonaparte A Meme On TikTok? The Phrase 'There Is Nothing We Can Do' Explained

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Napoleon "There Is Nothing We Can Do", also written "There's Nothing We Can Do," refers to a history meme featuring former French Emperor Napoleon Bonaparte somberly saying "There is nothing we can do" in response to different prompts. The phrase embodies hopelessness, based on Napoleon's exile to the island of St. Helena where he died, with most of the images in the memes being painting depictions of his time there. The meme started as a TikTok photo slideshow trend in late 2023, in which creators used the song "Amour plastique" by Videoclub as the TikTok sound, more specifically, a slowed remix of "Amour plastique." The photos transitioned from the original prompt, to Napoleon saying the catchphrase, to Napoleon looking sad and contemplative on St. Helena.


The trend started on August 15th, 2023, when TikToker[1] @history.awakes.around posted a photo slideshow that started with two rage comic characters made to resemble Napoleon and one of his men after both being exiled to St. Helena. Napoleon's man says, "Napoleon, what will we do?" and Napoleon replies, "There's nothing we can do" (shown below).

Napolèon, what will we do? m ள There's nothing we can do.

After the two images, TikToker[1] @history.awakes.around's slideshow consisted of multiple paintings of Napoleon on St. Helena either sitting or staring at the ocean, portraying him as somber. The slideshow was set to a slowed remix of the song "Amour plastique" by Videoclub,[2] which was originally added as a TikTok sound[3] by TikToker[4] @akos5000_ (formerly @german__dude) in a video uploaded on July 17th, 2023. TikToker[1] @history.awakes.around's slideshow received roughly 1.2 million plays and 139,600 likes in one month (recording shown below).


On August 17th, 2023, the slideshow was replicated by TikToker[5] @historylover67, gaining roughly 219,500 plays and 27,700 likes in one month.

Despite an August origin, variations of the format didn't become commonplace until late September 2023, which started with a slideshow posted on September 16th by TikToker[6] @theyhatexog which referenced Literally Me Syndrome by showing Batman and Homelander compared to Napoleon, gaining roughly 776,600 plays and 159,700 likes in five days (recording shown below, left). More iterations followed, such as a slideshow posted on September 18th by TikToker[7] @walter00blanco, using the format to convery hopelessness about an upcoming math test, gaining roughly 2.6 million plays and 460,500 likes in three days (recording shown below, right).

Other than slideshows, video iterations also surfaced in late September 2023. For instance, on September 18th, 2023, TikToker[8] @svenccy posted a "What I Learned / What I Remembered" meme which used the TikTok sound[3] and showed paintings of Napoleon at St. Helena, gaining roughly 1.2 million plays and 288,000 likes in three days (shown below).

@svenccy "There's nothing, we can do". #napoleon #napoleonbonaparte #french #emperor #fy #fyp #literallyme ♬ original sound – GermanDude🇩🇪✝️

By September 21st, 2023, the trend's primary TikTok sound[3] had amassed over 22,600 posts.

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Napoleon auf St. Helena

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