Fist Time is a frequent phrase, used to singify that someone is experiencing or trying something for the “First Time”.
However, the expression went viral online due to a popular reaction image macro, depicting actor James Franco standing on the gallows, with a rope in his neck and a smug look on his face, asking “First Time?”. The image macro was taken from the trailer of “The Ballad of Buster Scruggs”.
The meme became a popular trend online, due to its absurd and death defying sensation, and countless captioned variations were created, telling the story of two people in a highly stressful and perilous situation, where one breaks down, and the other reacts by asking “First Time?”.
Image macros, reaction GIFs and even YouTube parody videos were all created, exploiting the humor of the scene.
Example: Imagine being an electrician, fixing a Bog Standard system, that is On the Fritz. One of your colleagues makes a mistake, almost gets shocked to death and breaks down crying. You just look at him with a smile, and ask “First Time?”.
“First Time” memes could be found on the interned as early as the late 2000s, depicting large craters, caves and ravines, paired with captions “Her: It’s my First Time”.
However, the origins of the meme, that truly established the phrase as its own can be traced back to the trailer of “The Ballad of Buster Scruggs”, which was released on September 12th, 2018. The final scenes of the trailer include one, where a couple of people are lined up on the gallows of a desert town. When one of them breaks down and cries, the character, played by James Franco turns to him and asks with a smug smile, “First Time?”.
The first meme was created, using the image macro, was shared on Twitter by @Ayub_dz on November 25th.
The meme became an instant hit, being reposted on Imgur as well as Reddit, where it amassed a large amount of likes.
In the next couple of days, the “First Time” template was adopted and exploited by a large number of users, who all added bizarre and humorous captions to the meme, often alluding to popular meme topics, like the anti-vaccination movement, or the plot of Lion King.
Over the next few months, these memes spread across the web, conquering the most popular meme subreddits, as well as social media sites like Imgur, Tumblr, Facebook and Instagram, as well as meme sites, like FunnyJunk and 9GAG.
“First Time” is a perfect example of how a cleverly thought out gag can turn into a viral internet sensation, that may even be used to promote a movie.