Dead Dove: Do Not Eat is a popular meme used to warn readers and viewers of certain content or context in fanart and fanworks. It has become an internet phrase that is used mainly on creative platforms such as Archive of Our Own (AO3), DeviantART or Tumblr, where GIFs and fanart are shared.
Due to its popularity, this phrase has been adapted by online communities as a way of warning other readers that there may be uncomfortable themes present in the work before they read or watch it. It can be seen in tags on AO3, comments on fanart posts, or even in GIFs shared on Tumblr.
“Dead Dove: Do Not Eat” has become a popular meme in recent years, but the origin of this phrase actually dates back to 2003. It comes from a scene of Arrested Development’s Season 1, Episode 2, titled Top Banana, where Michael Bluth (portrayed by Jason Bateman) inspects a bag labeled with “Dead Dove: Do Not Eat” and after looking into it says “I don’t know what I expected.” This reaction has since been turned into a popular meme, especially on sites like DeviantArt and Archive of Our Own (Ao3).
“Dead Dove: Do Not Eat” was first mentioned on Urban Dictionary in 2012, which marked its debut as a popular internet meme.
The phrase is typically used to warn viewers of content that may be too graphic or disturbing for certain audiences. It can also be used as an expression of surprise when something unexpected happens. GIFs featuring Michael Bluth inspecting the bag and saying “I don’t know what I expected” have been popping up all over the internet since 2015, and have become an increasingly popular way to express shock or disbelief.
Both memes started appearing among fans of the series in 2015. However, they steadily gained ground in the subsequent years, becoming quite popular by 2022.
The phrase “Dead Dove: Do Not Eat” has been widely used since 2015, when it was first used in fanart sites, primarily Archive of Our Own (AO3). It quickly spread to many different fandoms, including Star Wars, Supernatural, Harry Potter and Marvel Cinematic Universe.
The most common tags associated with the phrase are “rape/non-con” and “major character death”, which are used as a warning to potential viewers that the content contains difficult subject matter.
Overall, the spread of the phrase “Dead Dove: Do Not Eat” has been largely attributed to fanart sites such as AO3, where users can tag their work accordingly. As its usage continues to grow, more people are becoming aware of what it means and how to use it appropriately.
- Fanlore.org – Dead Dove: Do Not Eat