Dead Dove: Do Not Eat is an internet reference to the sitcom Arrested Development.
It is usually used as a warning on fanart and fanworks to point out that the themes put into tags and hints will appear in the content and should be expected.
The phrase comes from a scene in Arrested Development, in which Michael Bluth inspects a bag, labeled with “Dead Dove: Do Not Eat” and after looking into it says “I don’t know what I expected.”
A meme coming from this 2003 episode of the series is called “I don’t know what I expected”.
It started to see widespread use around 2015 on sites like DeviantArt and especially on Archive of Our Own (Ao3), to warn users of the content they are about to view.
Since 2015 the phrase has been increasingly prevalent on fanart sites, related to various fandoms, including Star Wars, Supernatural, Harry Potter and Marvel Cinematic Universe.
The most common tags, that warn of the “dead doves” are rape/non-con and major character death.
“Dead Dove: Do Not Eat” was fist mentioned on Urban Dictionary in 2012.
- Fanlore.org – Dead Dove: Do Not Eat