Condescending Wonka

Condescending Wonka is a popular Internet meme based on the 1971 Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory film directed by Mel Stuart. The meme emerged in 2011 and few years later was described as one of the most popular Internet memes, usually used to convey sarcasm and a patronizing attitude.[1][2]: 74 [3][4][5] The meme is composed of a still screenshot from the movie, showing the character Willy Wonka (portrayed by the American actor Gene Wilder), accompanied by a short sentence that varies based on the context the meme is used in.[1][3][4][6][7]

An example of the Condescending Wonka meme

The meme has been used to convey sarcasm and a patronising attitude, sometimes through its combination with another meme such as "Welcome to the Internet" and "You must be new here".[3][4] Another common variation begins with the words "So, tell me about..." and then continues with a subordinate clause that is deemed impossible by the author. In this way, the target (reader) is invited to share the condescending sentiment of the meme's author towards the criticized recipient.[7] However, the scene in the movie the still is based on is actually neither patronizing nor sarcastic in tone.[3][4] Some initial versions of the meme, with sexual innuendoes, were called Creepy Wonka, but eventually diminished in popularity compared to the version dubbed Condescending Wonka (the name was coined in the online Reddit community).[3][5] Less common variants of the name include Patronizing Wonka or Sarcastic Wonka.[3]

It has been estimated that tens if not hundreds of thousands of variants of the meme, with different captions, have subsequently been created.[3] In 2017, a study of 2,000 British adults concluded that this was their all-time favorite meme.[2]: 74 [8] The still has also been described as a lasting part of Gene Wilder's legacy.[6]


  1. ^ a b Aguilar, Gabrielle K.; Campbell, Heidi A.; Stanley, Mariah; Taylor, Ellen (2017-10-03). "Communicating mixed messages about religion through internet memes". Information, Communication & Society. 20 (10): 1498–1520. doi:10.1080/1369118X.2016.1229004. ISSN 1369-118X. S2CID 151721706.
  2. ^ a b Dariusz Jemielniak; Aleksandra Przegalinska (18 February 2020). Collaborative Society. MIT Press. ISBN 978-0-262-35645-9.
  3. ^ a b c d e f g Chester, Tim. "How beloved actor Gene Wilder became an internet meme". Mashable. Retrieved 2020-11-21.
  4. ^ a b c d Ross, Andrew S.; Rivers, Damian J. (2019-10-03). "Internet Memes, Media Frames, and the Conflicting Logics of Climate Change Discourse". Environmental Communication. 13 (7): 975–994. doi:10.1080/17524032.2018.1560347. ISSN 1752-4032. S2CID 149837484.
  5. ^ a b Carter, Jonathan (2016-11-01). "ENCHANTING MEMES: MEMETIC POLITICS IN THE FACE OF TECHNOCRATIC CONTROL". Communication Studies Theses, Dissertations, and Student Research.
  6. ^ a b staff, Chicago Tribune. "'Condescending Wonka' meme a hilarious part of Gene Wilder's legacy". Retrieved 2020-11-21.
  7. ^ a b Helen Ringrow; Stephen Pihlaja (16 April 2020). Contemporary Media Stylistics. Bloomsbury Publishing. p. 93. ISBN 978-1-350-06409-6.
  8. ^ "These are the ten most popular memes of all time". The Independent. 2017-04-28. Retrieved 2020-11-21.