'Quarantine house' is the 'Marry, F*ck, Kill' of the pandemic age
Everyone on coronavirus lockdown is looking for welcome distractions, and many of us are spending quite a bit of time online. Chain mail has suddenly made a comeback, and memes have flourished. Just like the flowers blooming outside your closed windows. Memes are impervious to COVID-19.
The “quarantine house” meme is the latest trend to sweep social media, and the concept is simple: which hypothetical roommates would you choose to live with under lockdown orders? Justin Bieber, Kylie Jenner and Dr. Phil? Or David Blaine, Kanye West and Oprah? The iterations are endless, tweaked for lit nerds and beauty enthusiasts, political junkies and dog lovers alike.
According to online encyclopedia Know Your Meme, “quarantine house” originated less than a week ago, last Friday, April 3, to be exact, with a Facebook post. By Sunday, it’d spread to Twitter. Reality TV fans were the first to iterate on the meme, of course, with people sharing “quarantine houses” populated by the cast of Big Brother and Vanderpump Rules.
I know the meme is as straightforward as it appears: we’re talking about a literal house in which to be quarantined with famous strangers. But imagine if everyone were talking about ballroom “houses” or Hogwarts houses. The “quarantine house” meme would be far more interesting, am I right?
My favorite variation on the meme, and one that’s sparked plenty of debate online, is the astrological “quarantine house” pairings. As a Virgo whose friends are mostly other Virgos, Cancers and Leos, I’m overjoyed at the prospect of sharing an abode with them. Plus, it’d be comfy A.F.
But the allure and paradox of the “quarantine house” meme is, of course, that it’s all imaginary. We’re all still stuck by ourselves in our respective lame households for the foreseeable future. Screens are all we’ve got in the way of socializing, for a while. Alas.
As a postscript, “quarantine house” is an evolution of a meme from last year: the “where y’all sitting / lunch table” game. Remember it? Last summer, people started posting pictures of labeled school cafeteria tables and asking, “Where’d you sit?” It started with Justin Bieber songs. I most clearly remember seeing the one with Hollywood actresses and wanting to sit with Helena Bonham Carter, Sandra Oh and Laura Dern.
All of these games are derivatives of “marry, f*ck, kill.” Meaning nothing is ever new; what goes around comes back around online. Moreover, people are gonna regress and act like high schoolers — though yes, in this case, it’s harmless fun — even when they’re stuck at home in the midst of a global crisis.
That said, I think I’m a House #6 person. Beyoncé, Britney Spears, Emma Watson, Chris Hemsworth and, yes, Ellen DeGeneres. Can you imagine how entertaining it’d be watching Britney lampoon Ellen for calling her mansion a “jail?” (Presuming Britney is the socialist queen everyone’s lauding her as.) Bey and Britney could perform duets… Chris and Emma could knit chunky sweaters or something… It sounds nice.
Now tell me, which do you choose?