Late last year, a Dr. Phil episode went viral after the show featured a rebellious 13-year-old. The teen had an accent that a lot of folks — Dr. Phil included — couldn't easily decipher. The episode debuted in mid-September and the YouTube clip amassed over 10 million views.
People who watched the clip laughed about her unique "from the streets" accent, but it was really one sound bite that caught on. The 13-year-old responded to the studio audience by saying, "Catch me outside, how about that?"
And somehow — randomly, and gloriously — in 2017, it's become a meme. The infamous line has been transcribed as "cash me outside, how about dat?"
But it's quickly evolved (or devolved) into "cash me ousside, howbow dah."
The "howbow dah" part has hit a special poetic nerve with people. The jokes quickly started rolling in.
"Howbow dah" was soon co-opted into everyday language.
But then, in a subtle shift, the meme became much more pure. People used it to express sincere thoughts — especially in relationships and loyalty.
"Save the bees howbow dah." 💀
Basically, "howbow dah" can be extremely versatile and malleable.
And it proves, as far as interneting, that we're off to a strong 2017 start. Well howbow dah.
Tanya Chen is a social news reporter for BuzzFeed and is based in Chicago.