Summary of “What Do the Most GIF-able TV Shows Have In Common?”

According to the GIF-hosting site Giphy, this GIF of the character Patrick from SpongeBob SquarePants has been viewed over a billion times.
What is it about Patrick that makes him so eminently GIF-able? Giphy’s viewing data suggests that the most viewed of their TV channels in 2019 – the collections full of GIFs from individual TV shows – are from Saturday Night Live, SpongeBob, Fallon’s Tonight Show, Game of Thrones, Broad City, and The Bachelor.
The first part of the answer lies in how these GIFs get used, and the SpongeBob examples are prime illustrations of what makes a GIF effective.
If you’ve seen SpongeBob or if you haven’t, if you’re looking at the GIF while quickly scrolling through your feed, if you speak any language – those images will translate.
Looking up “Happy” on a GIF search engine is like looking up “Happy” in a thesaurus: You are presented with hundreds of variations, thousands of more specific ways of expressing the idea you’re trying to communicate.
Great GIF-worthy TV is especially accessible for being clipped and excerpted, so that its most dramatic reaction moments are set adrift from their original contexts and made to float freely among the vast GIF collections of various emotional states.
Once set loose, it’s incredibly easy for a GIF to be divorced from its original framing, forever severed from the ideas and characters and creators who made it.
After searching for half an hour, I still cannot tell you where precisely my beloved happy-faced-girl GIF comes from, although I suspect it’s Toddlers and Tiaras.

The orginal article.