Despite the online screaming that’s accompanied every twitch of Baby Yoda’s ear since he first peeked his little baby head out of that floating cradle, no characters in The Mandalorian have followed suit. Sure, the children in the village on Sorgan were enamored, but no adults have been reduced to whatever counts as the Star Wars version of key-smashing.
Then came Amy Sedaris. Her grumpy mechanic character, Peli Motto, harried and playing cards with her pit droids, comes across Baby Yoda when the little tyke frees himself of his mom’s — er, the Mandalorian's attempts to hide his perfection from the world. But this baby will not be kept in the corner (or in a bunk away from Amy Sedaris).
Everything about the moment was instantaneously meme-able. The way the puppet toddles down the ramp, the way he opens his mouth and shows off his teeny tiny baby teeth, the way he somehow looks so deeply self-satisfied when he gets exactly what he wanted (attention).
I screamed, you likely screamed … everyone screamed. And you know what? That’s okay.
I can’t really think of anything that is Baby Yoda’s equal when it comes to instant meme-ability. Never before have screenshots been taken so instantaneously, so often. Sure, certain images inspire certain reactions from the internet, and anyone who spends a modicum of time online has a sense of what makes something meme-worthy, but it’s an inexact science.
Now, to be fair: When I say "memes," there aren't that many true memes about Baby Yoda. Meaning, there are a few images and videos going around with different people making slightly altered versions of the same joke. There are the soup slurp, the one where he turns on different songs and audio by pressing the buttons aboard Mando’s ship, the Gremlins one, and maybe something about eating frogs — but as far as real memes, that's all that immediately come to mind.
No, Baby Yoda's meme-ability is perhaps better described as his being "viral-worthy." One tilt of his little baby head and we all melt into puddles. I, too, melt into a puddle. It's okay to melt into a puddle.
Other people will tell you differently. We could get into the debate about whether people are allowing themselves to be manipulated by what is clearly a marketing ploy. (Look how excited folks are about Baby Yoda plushes, for instance.) Some compare Baby Yoda to Star Wars: The Last Jedi's porgs and even the Ewoks from Star Wars: Return of the Jedi; there for reasons, certainly, but intentionally made ultra-cute for the sake of marketing.
Cute things make cute toys — that’s just how it works. We’re all floundering around after every new episode of The Mandalorian trying to put the latest images and gifs of Baby Yoda on Twitter and make the best new jokes, and Disney, folks say, is profiting from how easily it manipulates the masses.
And, for what it's worth, Disney — purveyor of all things both pure and marketable — has seemingly figured out the science of memes in the form of a tiny green puppet with big doe eyes and floppy corgi ears. Because you can't not share photos of this thing.
Disney obviously knew that going into The Mandalorian. There's no doubt in my mind that they did.
Here's the thing, though: I don't care. And neither do the masses.
Yes, Disney owns an incredibly large percentage of the world’s entertainment industry and has a monopoly over some of the biggest, most popular franchises known to man. Yes, Disney, despite all the nostalgia associated with the brand, is just that: a brand. Yes, Disney is the most profitable media company in the country and one of the largest conglomerates in the world. Yes, buying Baby Yoda merch only adds to its profits and sharing photos of Baby Yoda only increases its reach.
But also, Baby Yoda is really freaking cute. The world sucks and sometimes I just wanna stare at that face and pretend that everything is okay.
So do it. Share those images, make those gifs, and keep memeing Baby Yoda. You gotta find happiness somewhere, and if Baby Yoda makes you happy, I'm not going to stop you.