SJW Gumball, refers to a viral scene from the episode of the animated series The Amazing World of Gumball in which Gumball adopts the role of a social justice warrior. The scene, also known as Have You Ever Tried Whole Grain Bread and Cafeteria Scene, has sparked a controversy on Tumblr and has since been popular source material for meme edits, especially as a setup for bait-and-switch memes.
On August 25th, 2017, episode 32 “The Best” of the fifth season of the animated series The Amazing World of Gumball premiered. In one part of the episode, the main protagonist Gumball, annoyed with fellow student Carmen calling out his mannerisms, gains “the martial arts of the social justice warrior” after being plugged into Ramblr (parody of Tumblr). In the following scene, Gumball uses his acquired power to rebuke Carmen’s arguments but is ultimately defeated when Carmen points out that Gumball using the social justice agenda to win a petty argument undermines the whole cause (scene shown below).
– Have you ever tried whole-grain bread? It’s far better for you.
– Not everyone can afford organic stores, Carmen. Maybe you should check your privilege!
– And what? Big people shouldn’t be proud of who they are?
– Uh, no! Of course not! I mean, ask your doctor and he will tell you–
– “He?” Why would you assume the doctor is a he? Is it because you assume a woman can’t be a doctor?!
– What is this?
– I have studied the martial ways of the social justice warrior. Fight me in an argument, if you dare. Perish under the sword of my self-righteousness.
– But Gumball, exploiting those powers to win some petty argument will just hurt the cause of the people who really need our help.
– Wait, no! My powers!
– Instead of fighting, why don’t we just hug it out?
– Wait! Stop! What are you doing?!
– I forgive you.
– NOO! The shame I’ve cast… it’s all coming back at me! AAAH!
On August 26th, Twitter user @VantaJay posted the school cafeteria scene, with Carmen’s last argument cropped out. The tweet received over 8.6 million views, 63,200 retweets and 123,900 likes in three years (shown below).
SPOILERS BRO DID GUMBALL JUST BECOME A………..? THIS SHOW’S THIRD EYE IS FULLY OPENED WTF pic.twitter.com/XVRrZdTosM
— Jay (@VantaJay) August 26, 2017
The clip sparked a large controversy on Twitter and Tumblr, with users debating whether the joke was appropriate and if it had a place in a series aimed for children. In the following days, several YouTubers posted their videos on the controversy, including analysis videos by YouTubers The Roundtable and Just a Robot that received over 290,000 views and 401,700 views in three years, respectively.
Meme Source Material
The controversy prompted the use of the cafeteria scene as source material for humorous edits. On August 27th, 2017, YouTuber Trudermark posted an anime edit of the scene which received over 2.1 million views in three years (shown below).
SPOILERS BRO DID GUMBALL JUST BECOME A………..? THIS SHOW’S THIRD EYE IS FULLY OPENED WTF pic.twitter.com/SftYucXLjz
— morgan 🌙 number one ghoul in new york (@Gay_Furby) May 1, 2020