The phrase, I see what you did there is a way of expressing our understanding and optionally our admiration for someone else’s wits and humour, though the expression may be used in a threatening way.
It is most often found in the comments of memes or posts, either in its full form, or in an abbreviated one, which could be ICWYDT or ISWYDT.
I see what you did there was made popular by the Tv series, Friends, in the 1996 episode “The One Where Dr. Ramoray Dies”.
Following this, the phrase has been used in forums and message boards to acknowledge jokes, puns and witty remarks either in a condescending or a praising tone.
It has been present on Usernet as early as 1998, and has been in use on ilXor, Newgrounds or the Killer Movies community.
The expression was added to Urban Dictionary in 2004, first by two of its acronym forms; ICWYDT and ISWYDT.
The whole sentence was also added to the dictionary in 2005.
In the years of 2007 and 2008, image macros with the phrase written on them have started circulating on the internet.
Several of these may be found on Buzzfeed, Tumblr and Reddit, just to name a few sites.
Since Febuary 2011, the reaction face was circulating on 4chan and soon it got paired with the expression, becoming one of the legendary rage comic faces, resulting in the peak of the phrase’s popularity.