Polish Jerry is the name of the meme template that features “Jerry” from the cartoon Tom & Jerry in a perplexed, standing position with his eyes half open.
His facial expression makes it seem like he is looking at something bizarre and grotesque, and could be the facial reaction equivalent to the phrase “What the fuck?!”
Thanks to this, the image is often paired with a caption that describes something atrocious, unfortunate or just embarrassing.
Because of the meme’s lasting fame, it has earned it’s label as a dank meme, the best type of meme.
The beloved children’s cartoon Tom & Jerry first aired in 1940. It consists of 161 theatrical short films, of which the one where the meme originates from is named “The Milky Waif”.
In this particular episode, “Jerry”, the mouse, is trying to steal “Tom”, the cat’s milk to feed a baby. Somewhere in the middle of all this, someone cut the video and ended up with the image that is now the meme template.
It is called “Polish Jerry”, because the first known meme shared with this particular template was shared with the Polish caption “Khé Berga?”, meaning something along the lines of “Wtf?”
Compared to many other memes, the “Polish Jerry” is very multilingual.
The first, Polish version was shared in 2015 on the community network app Amino Apps.
In November 2015, new versions of it with Spanish captions appeared on the Spanish meme site Taringa!.
The first English version was shared in 2016, and had the caption “When you’re watching a holocaust documentary in school and the teacher asks why you’re masturbating.”
The latter started circulating on Instagram before spreading to 4chan and further meme sites.