If you happen to frequent some of the more popular internet hang-out spots used by the youths these days—Tumblr, Twitter, Facebook, etc.—you’ve probably noticed the new meme that’s taking the nation by storm. His name is George Tropicana Glass, he is beloved by Jan Brady, and he may or may not go to Jan and Marcia’s “sküle.”
It’s always a mystery (a memestery) why a certain meme rises above niche obscurity and into the mainstream internet knowledge. These lucky outliers are generally non-sequitur, and usually hilarious (mmm whatcha say, for example). But the “Sure, Jan” meme is particularly odd, as it doesn’t have an origin in any current pop culture phenomenon. In fact, it’s based on a ‘90s movie based on a ‘70s TV show.
That’s right, folks, these aren’t the original Jan and Marcia fighting it out in the clip. This scene comes from the 1996 film A Very Brady Sequel, which parodies the wholesome hilarity of the original series The Brady Bunch. To get technical, this particular scene is parodying a particular moment in the show when Jan tells her mom she has a crush on a boy named George Glass. You could even say it’s parodyception, but you would probably get made fun of a lot if you did.
But back to my original point: why did “Sure, Jan” affect us so much? Why now? Maybe we love it so much because of its cinematography. The lingering shots of Marcia’s scornful sneer, of Jan’s furious glare. This is filmmaking at its purest: the focus is on the actors, the uninhibited emotions of their perfect pale faces.
Or are we so obsessed because the meme reminds us of another era, another America? Is it due to the disintegrating family values of modern times, the crumbling American dream that The Brady Bunch once represented? Between the recession, two wars, systemic oppression and this dumb blizzard, Americans are having a pretty rough time of it right now. The “Sure, Jan” meme harkens to a different time, when all we had to worry about was convincing our families that we had a boyfriend and the commies raining nuclear oblivion on our head. Nothing screams traditional Americana like The Brady Bunch. Are we subconsciously longing for a different time, and that is why we laugh so hard at the meme? We laugh to hide the tears, the emotion that wells up when we look nostalgically upon our past (even though the 1970s sucked just as much as now does). Marcia says “sure,” but in this day and age, what is there really to be sure of?
No matter the reason, the “Sure, Jan” meme has had its day in the sun. Who knows if it will fade into meme oblivion, or if it will persist like the most insidious and enduring of memes, rickrolling. Only time may tell.
(Also look at how absolutely terrifying this “George Glass” mix of memes YouTube made is.)