The Quest For A New Pizza Rat Has Officially Gone Too Far

Way back in the summer of ’15, a phenomenon swept the internet for a whole entire day–a phenomenon called “Pizza Rat.”

Ever since then, there has been an ongoing quest for the next “Pizza Rat”–this week alone has brought us “Cannibal Rat” and “Doughnut Raccoon.”

Previously, we’ve seen such characters as “Selfie Rat” and “Bagel Pigeon,” yet somehow none of these knockoffs have been quite as compelling, or anywhere near as viral, despite the frequent declarations of “Pizza Rat” being tossed off his viral pizza throne. It is likely that we will continue to see even more competitors well into 2016, until some fresh new viral sensation takes over and is then copied, over and over and over again.

This is, of course, far from a new phenomenon. Capitalizing on the success of something that’s taken the world by storm is an American tradition. Since the 1950s, we’ve been subjected to an endless parade of  “The Next Marilyns.”  In the 1980s, ABC saw how well “Diff’rent Strokes” was doing for NBC, and immediately created “Webster” their own show about a diminutive black orphan adopted by some rich white folks. “I Dream of Jeannie” basically only happened because people were way into “Bewitched.” After Britney Spears we were hit with a deluge of pretty blonde teen pop stars. This is how we operate.

As a person who works on the internet for a living, I understand that sometimes it’s hard to find something to write about on a slow news day. Frankly, the entire reason I’m writing this is because nothing else appealed to me at the moment. But seriously–the magic is gone. This cannot be milked any longer, because it’s starting to get weird.

There is a reason we don’t really laud Mamie Van Doren or Sheree North or even Jayne Mansfield as much as Marilyn–and that’s because the copy is rarely as good as the original. “Cannibal Rat” is the Mamie Van Doren of viral internet sensations, basically.

This is a New Year! We must start afresh–and let these new viral sensations stand on their own merit rather than in some imagined competition with Pizza Rat, who probably doesn’t give a fuck, because he or she is a rat with no concept of internet stardom.