Starting with a highly lucrative line of toys from Hasbro in the 1980s, the Transformers franchise has grown to include animated series, comic books, video games, numerous action figures, and feature films that have grossed billions at the box office. Kids who grew up with these robots are still hooked, always wanting to further explore the lore of the Autobots and Decepticons and their leaders, Optimus Prime and Megatron. The films have drawn performances from the likes of Orson Welles, Leonard Nimoy, and Sir Anthony Hopkins.
It’s no wonder, then, that details of the Transformers universe have entered the popular lexicon, or that characters and moments from the films have been used as shorthand in Internet discourse (the Internet’s always incredibly quick on the uptake there, as the WandaVision memes show). With millions of fans all over the world familiar with the characters, the franchise shows no sign of slowing down, with further installments already announced. To understand just how impactful the series has been, it’s a good idea to survey some of the popular references made on the web and the lessons viewers have gained from the characters.
10 Remember The Reason For The Season
It’s true that sometimes, in the rush to take advantage of great deals, consumers lose sight of why a holiday like Prime Day is celebrated in the first place. Forgetting about the heroic death of Optimus Prime, as Twitter’s Jeff Grubb suggests in the above meme, is made even worse when considering just how many times it has happened. Many children of the 1980s were first forced to reckon with the specter of mortality when they lost their hero, only to see him come back to life and then fall again, over and over.
While viewers must repeatedly suffer through the heartbreak of losing the leader of the Autobots, however, they can take comfort in knowing that Optimus is not the only one forced through a perpetual cycle of death and rebirth. Fans of the Decepticons know all too well that leaders must sometimes perish, as Megatron has died many times as well.
9 There Are No Friends In Video Games
The issue of friendly fire, or the ability to shoot one’s own teammates, can be a hot-button topic in gaming. Skilled players appreciate its inclusion because, without friendly fire, less accurate shooters can simply spray ammo all over the place and hope to hit the enemy. With friendly fire, accuracy becomes much more important, separating elite gamers from the masses in the hugely popular world of tactical shooters. However, in online play, it can lead to cruel players acting in bad faith, joining squads only to blast their own teammates at the worst possible times. Popular titles like Fortnite (which is very meme-worthy itself) have actually removed friendly fire from online game modes to prevent such gamers from absolutely ruining the experience.
When playing with friends, though, sometimes it’s necessary to teach someone a lesson, and sometimes the only way to figure out the rules is to break them. If a player wants to find out whether it’s possible to take down their own teammates, there is a tried and true method: take aim and fire away.
8 We All Need A Good Cry Sometimes
When the Internet was young and a user wanted to convey an emotion that transcended written language, it was necessary to use emoticons, which display facial expressions through the clever arrangement of punctuation.
In the 1990s, a new subset of the rock music genre emerged, covering heartfelt punk-inspired songs from bands such as Jimmy Eat World, The Get Up Kids and The Promise Ring. These sensitive young rockers may well have spent a lot of time on AIM communicating with unrequited loves through the use of emoticons.
7 Maintenance Is A Whole Other Department
The science behind the Transformers franchise can be a little tricky. According to the film franchise, they come from Cybertron, they knew King Arthur, the AllSpark is 10,000 years old, there’s a robot heaven, they can be brought back to life… but one of them is unable to speak except through the use of popular music.
Fans could be forgiven for wondering why they can’t use their advanced technology to fix him, but some things are not for humankind to know. Perhaps he likes it better that way. After all, some people enjoy it when things are incredibly difficult (fans of classic Nintendo titles will relate) and it’s nice to think that Bumblebee appreciates the challenge.
6 Some Questions Were Never Meant To Be Answered
Many deep philosophical queries have inspired rigorous debate throughout the history of humanity. These include everything from the meaning of life to more practical questions such as the Fermi Paradox, which seeks to understand why humanity has not made contact with an intelligent alien race.
However, according to Transformers, there is no need to wonder, as humanity has actually made contact with an alien race of robots (in disguise) quite a few times, rendering Fermi’s point moot. That doesn’t answer the vital question in this meme, though.
5 There’s No Disguising Great Music
Some younger readers may be unfamiliar with the song The Touch by Stan Bush, from the soundtrack to 1986 classic The Transformers: The Movie. It re-entered the popular lexicon thanks to Paul Thomas Anderson’s 1997 film Boogie Nights, in which Mark Wahlberg’s Dirk Diggler sings the tune. This set up a link between Wahlberg and the franchise that would be revisited with 2014’s Transformers: Age of Extinction.
The song will always be linked with the Transformers franchise. Bush nailed it and this meme shows that even robots can appreciate the craft of great songwriting.
4 Take Advantage Of Your Expertise
Ignoring the grammar problems of the text, this quotation comes from the 2011 film Transformers: Dark of the Moon. It is spoken by Sentinel Prime (voiced by Leonard Nimoy) to Optimus Prime, who is going through a moment of doubt in his abilities as a leader.
Sentinel Prime places his faith in Optimus, just as many people must in others (often younger family members) when it comes to technology. Anyone who knows how the movie ends for Sentinel Prime can get an idea of what the students must be thinking in that situation.
3 Everyone Loves A Compliment
If Bumblebee and Sam Witwicky taught us anything, it’s that people should always shoot their shot when they’ve got the chance. Those who don’t have a robot friend to help them snag the object of their affections will have to rely on their wits. Luckily, there’s no better way to wow a potential partner than a pun based on the name of the leader of the Autobots.
If they understand and appreciate the reference, they’re probably a keeper. If not, perhaps they’d prefer a reference that’s a little more current. If that’s the case, a selection of super popular Cyperpunk 2077 Keanu memes could do the trick.
2 It’s About The Journey, Not The Destination
Open-world games have infinite possibilities, which tends to mean a lot of optional side quests. Some players are all about getting to the end (there are speedrunners of Minecraft, for instance, who enjoy the game in a wildly different way than many players), while others are content to enjoy the scenery.
Whether it’s completing all the shrines in The Legend Of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, the horse races in The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt or rescuing every folded Toad in Paper Mario: The Origami King, it’s easy to become consumed with small tasks and enjoy living in the game world rather than advancing the story.
1 Sometimes They’re Laughing With You And Sometimes They’re Laughing At You
The 2007 movie Transformers launched Shia LeBeouf to stardom when it earned more than $700 million at the worldwide box office. He cashed in on that success with two more entries and even got to appear in an Indiana Jones film, so nobody could blame him for perhaps enjoying the fact that Bumblebee made much less domestically.
However, since Age of Extinction grossed over a billion dollars worldwide, perhaps he wouldn’t be so quick to giggle at this fact after all.