“Madame Web” & Researching Spiders: A Meme Round-Up

Last week, Sony released the first trailer for Madame Web, the newest addition to its Spiderverse series of films that remain outside the MCU (joining Venom and Kraven the Hunter).

While the trailer has done decent numbers (over 18 million views on Sony Pictures’ official YouTube Channel and almost 3 million views on Marvel’s), the conversation around one particular line has been a comedy lover's dream.

Sometimes a line is so powerful, it stands the test of time. AFI has an entire list dedicated to the greatest film quotes in the history of cinema. From “Alright, Mr. DeMille. I’m ready for my close-up.” to “Fasten your seatbelts. It’s going to be a bumpy night.” to “Show me the money!” These lines have become part of the monoculture for all the right reasons.

And yet, there’s something about Dakota Johnson uttering the aforementioned phrase “he was in the Amazon with my mom when she was researching spiders right before she died” that transcends acclaim and turns into beautiful, palpable camp.

Susan Sontag famously defined camp as “A sensibility that revels in artifice, stylization, theatricalization, irony, playfulness, and exaggeration rather than content.” Something is committing to being “good,” when it all actuality, it’s not. What we have here is a textbook example, my friends.

Madame Web’s brilliance is the dedication to that line reading. You’re telling me you’re going to utter that phrase in context with no sense of irony? Who talks like that in person? Why does the line sound like an AI’s first draft?

My obsessions know no bounds. Writer Hunter Harris used to have a series of essays for Vulture where she would go in-depth about specific line readings, but the magic of this is the deadpan delivery. Johnson is just reading the line, not flourishes found. The braveness to not blink when placing this line in the film? Someone deserves a Nobel Prize.

Let me clarify that my love for this line is not ironic. I want it pumped into my veins via an I.V. It is the culture. It is my religion. It is the mother I never had, the sister everybody would want, and the friend everybody deserves.

Twitter has taken a hold of this line, creating a treasure trove of topical memes that have left me scrolling and crying from laughter this past week. Along with the above, here are some more of my favorites:

Marshal Knight
Marshal Knight is a pop culture writer based in Orlando, FL. For some inexplicable reason, his most recent birthday party was themed to daytime television. He’d like to thank Sandra Oh.