Internet Popular Culture

Ross Chris Newman – O RLY?

O RLY is another way of saying the phrase, “oh really.” It was first seen used on the Something Awful Forums in 2003 ( The original picture is of a snowy owl with a caption at the bottom that reads, “O RLY?” (See above) This act of putting captions on pictures has become common internet culture over the past 5 or 6 years. O RLY is similar to the LOLCats phenomenon in the sense that it takes pictures of awkward animals, people, or events and then places a caption on it that pokes fun at it. Sometimes they can be quite crude, at other times they can be hilariously funny, and sometimes they can make no sense whatsoever. For example, the picture of the person in a taekwondo gi with a photo shopped owl head on top is just plain retarded. This is a prime example of the limitless content that can be transformed into something with O RLY in it.

After the O RLY franchise took off in the latter half of the decade, companies started taking advantage of its marketability and famous name. It started being used away from the internet quite frequently, mainly in video games. Young people are dominantly the ones who are playing video games. So publishers and developers insert small O RLY goose eggs into their games to give them an extra laugh. For example, in a Game Boy Advance game, Mega Man Network Battle 6, there is a scene where Mega Man is talking to another character in the game. And he responds with the phrase “O RLY.” While some might not understand its importance to popular internet culture, others would get a real kick out of seeing something so blatant in one of their video games.

Whenever Ross Chris would see things like this, he told me it would immediately put a smile on his face for two reasons. The first is that it is just funny. And the second is that when he sees O RLY in a game he realizes that he is part of a special internet community who appreciate humor such as this. Not everyone understands or gives internet humor a chance. They think it is too nerdy. I have many friends such as this who believe it to be “uncool.” However, as time goes by, and more and more people begin to laugh these non-believers will eventually laugh and enjoy the digital revolution that is concurrently taking place and join the ride with us.