What was once the Internet’s obsession with tracking the “white boys of the month”—as in, bestowing the title to conventionally attractive white males like Timothee Chalamet or Logan Lerman—has morphed into something else: “favorite sitcom dads.” Last month, a meme of Kevin James took over social media as users flooded X (formerly Twitter) with promotional photos of James from his run on the show King of Queens. In the same way, the actor Eric Stonestreet, known for playing Cam on Modern Family, has gone viral on TikTok thanks to a collection of promotional photos that provide a never-ending well of memes.
On TikTok, users take an array of photos of Stonestreet as Cam—characterized by his colorful shirts and posing through every range of expression—and make a carousel to the tune of “Mia & Sebastian’s Theme” from La La Land, adding their own captions to the videos. Stonestreet as Cam posing every which way through the promotional photo shoot has provided a way for people to express everything, from how they react to the prospect of “sweet treats” or ways that people annoy their roommates.
The exact origins of the trend are difficult to place. The Internet’s archivist, KnowYourMeme, points to TikTok user @harrier.dubois as the earliest adopter of the trend.
“Each day is worse than the last,” the caption reads on the June 13th post. The post has since amassed over 590,000 views and over 2,000 comments and seems to have laid the groundwork for the Stonestreet meme to flourish. Earlier this month, the meme found its way over to X by way of a few viral tweets. One, featuring Stonestreet in a 2011 photo smiling at the camera, holding his hands together, with one foot angled slightly outwards, reads: “Me waiting for the bartender to look at me so I can order my drink.” The post went viral and racked up over 300,000 likes in three days, KnowYourMeme writes.
The meme eventually made its way to Stonestreet himself, who got in on the joke, too, with an Instagram post of one of the promotional photos and a caption reading, “Me really just making every face I can think of to make this 2011 photoshoot end.” He acknowledged the popularity of the meme and wrote in the caption, “Since people are ‘meming’ this old pic of me, I figured I’d make one too.