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The Internet Celebrates the 20th Anniversary of ‘Shrek’

Credit: Unsplash

I can’t remember if I first watched Shrek in a theater or on DVD, but as soon as I did, it became one of my all-time favorite childhood movies. With DreamWorks’ distinctive animation style and a mix of original and pop culture-inspired humor, it was a film I happily watched repeatedly. If you’ve spent time online in the past two decades, you’ll know that I wasn’t alone in this; Shrek, both as a character and a franchise, has become a cornerstone of meme culture, which explains the grand celebration of its anniversary.

Today, on May 18, we mark the 20th anniversary of the original release of Shrek in theaters, and fans of all ages from various social media platforms are joining in the festivities. Some have pondered why Shrek has remained in the public eye for so long, with one theory pointing to the franchise’s widespread presence.

“Shrek has produced enough sequels that there was a solid 15-year period where a new Shrek installment was never more than two years away,” notes Elamin Abdelmahmoud from BuzzFeed. “I’m not just referring to the main four Shrek movies or the Puss in Boots spinoff — there are also eight short films (including 2010’s Donkey’s Christmas Shrektacular) and the Puss in Boots TV series, which ran for three seasons. In simple terms, if you’re under 20, Shrek has likely been a consistent presence in your life.”

Beyond the movies, Shrek has evolved into a meme phenomenon, with the iconic phrase “Shrek is love, Shrek is life” persisting in the public consciousness alongside newer memes. While a comprehensive study would delve deeper into this, for now, let’s appreciate a film franchise that, for some inexplicable reason, has left an indelible mark on popular culture. And if they decide to bring back the limited edition Shrek snacks, I’d be first in line for that green popcorn.

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