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They Always Understood the Assignment is a catchphrase that, when paired with images of an actor or an actress in their various roles, is used as a way of complimenting their acting skill and range. Originating from a viral tweet, the meme and phrasal template gained popularity in March and April 2021, mainly on Twitter.
On March 12th, 2021, Twitter user @thering26 posted four images of actress Uma Thurman in her roles from Kill Bill, Pulp Fiction, The Adventures of Baron Munchausen and Batman & Robin, writing "Uma Thurman will always understand the assignment" to compliment on her acting skill and range. The post (shown below) received over 24,800 retweets and 145,500 likes in one month.
Starting March 13th, 2021, Twitter users started using variations of the phrase "she always understands the assignment" to compliment various actors and actresses on their range. On that day, Twitter user @BluRayAngel posted the earliest found derivative that utilized the format (shown below, left). Their post about actress Zoe Saldana received over 370 retweets and 3,000 likes in one month. On March 15th, Twitter user @PleaseBeGneiss made a post about character actor Tim Curry that gained over 14,500 retweets and 129,000 likes in the same period (shown below, right).
In mid-to-late March, multiple tweets using the format were posted on Twitter, including viral tweets about Bratz dolls (23,800 likes), actor Nicholas Hoult (30,000 likes) and actress Viola Davis (46,500 likes) (shown below, left to right).
On April 3rd, 2021, Twitter user @balladofsongs made a post about character actor Stanley Tucci that gained over 76,000 retweets and 619,000 likes (shown below).
Twitter user @balladofsongs' tweet prompted a surge in the popularity of the format, with multiple viral versions being posted in early April 2021, including tweets parodying the trend.
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