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Shrek TV is a novelty CRT television in the shape of Shrek's head. Sold in the mid-2000s, the set gained meme recognition in 2021 as "a proper way" to watch various media, with users editing various imagery on its screen. This format is often used in conjunction with the Watching the Way Nolan Intended meme.
The exact history of Shrek TV is currently unknown. According to unverified information available online, the Shrek television set was manufactured by the Japanese company Funai and sold in Canada in the mid-2000s (example images shown below).
On September 4th, 2014, Redditor cytokinestory made the earliest viral post of a Shrek TV with an image of Super Smash Bros. Brawl mod Project M being played on the set. The post (shown below, left) received over 2,500 upvotes in the /r/smashbros subreddit and over 645,000 views on Imgur in seven years. Later on the same day, another Imgur user posted an edited version of the image, replacing "Shrek" with "Shrekt." The edit (shown below, right) gained over 5,300 views on Imgur in seven years.
Starting in 2015, Shrek TV has frequently appeared as a topic of discussion in the /r/crtgaming and /r/Shrek subreddits, with users either sharing photographs of their Shrek TVs after acquiring one or inquiring about ways of purchasing one. For example, on April 18th, 2018, Redditor iToxBoy posted an inquiry about purchasing a Shrek TV in /r/crtgaming, with the post gaining 13 upvotes. On February 19th, 2019, Redditor Argonile posted a photograph of a Shrek TV, asking if they should buy it. The post gained over 1,200 upvotes in /r/Shrek.
On August 13th, 2017, Amino user Fritzyboi posted the earliest known meme in which an image was edited onto the Shrek TV's screen. The post, in which a still image from Japan Airlines Flight 123 documentary was edited in, gained 16 likes (shown below, left). On September 2nd, 2017, Redditor the_killingjoke posted a meme in which a still image from the 2015 film Mad Max: Fury Road was edited onto the screen, captioning it "Watching old kinos the way Nolan intended," a version of Watching the Way Nolan Intended meme. The post (shown below, right) received over 130 likes in the /r/moviecirclejerk subreddit in six months.
On June 8th, 2020, Redditor coolCriCri posted a photograph of their Shrek TV displaying a plain white image in the /r/TriftStoreHauls subreddit. The photograph later was used as a meme template.
The format did not see further use until March 3rd, 2021, when Redditor NegativePiglet8 posted an edit in which an image of The Lighthouse character Thomas Wake was edited onto the screen. The post (shown below) received over 1,300 upvotes in the /r/A24 subreddit in three months, with a Tumblr repost gaining over 12,900 likes and reblogs in the same period.
On March 5th, 2021, Twitter user @PalestDame posted a Watching the Way Nolan Intended version of the meme with a still image from The Irishman edited onto the screen. The post (shown below, right) gained over 19,200 retweets and 213,300 likes in three months.
In the following months, the format gained a notable presence on Twitter and Reddit, with users editing in still images from various media onto the Shrek TV screen. In many examples, the Watching the Way Nolan Intended format has been used.
On March 27th, 2021, YouTuber Ricky Berwick posted a video "I GOT A SHREK TV" that gained over 278,000 views in three months (shown below, left). In the following months, Berwick made multiple videos in which he played various video games on the TV (example shown below, right).
Watching the Way Nolan Intended
Watching the Way Nolan Intended refers to a series of photoshopped images depicting scenes from Christopher Nolan movies being played on unconventional media. Whereas a director of a movie typically wants the fans to get the best possible experience from watching movies, these images contend that downgrading the quality of the movies by playing them on vastly outdated technology is the proper use. These images have been used primarily as snowclones due to their repeated phrasing.