Iconic Shrimp Moments in Pop Culture

Posted by Rose Moore

[Photo by Elle Hughes on Unsplash]

May 10th is National Shrimp Day, and for those wondering why the humble prawn gets its own national day, it’s simply because shrimp is America’s most popular seafood! (Although, for those looking for any excuse to chow down on a crustacean, there is also National Lobster Day in June, and National Crabmeat day in March.) Americans eat more shrimp than any other seafood—but we don’t just love our shrimp on a plate.

Shrimp also appear across pop-culture as characters in animated family movies, in webcomics, stand-up comedy, and even sitcoms and film. These are the shrimpy moments that stuck with us.



Jacques (Finding Nemo)

The creators of Finding Nemo didn’t just throw any old sea creatures at the screen. They put time and effort into finding specific species and including nods to their real-life counterparts, and that includes the Skunk Cleaner Shrimp, Jacques. Known as a cleaner because it eats parasites and dead tissue, this little creature became the French member of the Tank Gang and was responsible for doing all the cleaning. Jacques also runs the Ring of Fire and makes everyone smile with his curt comments…often just limited to “Oui!”



Bubba Gump Shrimp (Forrest Gump)

Possibly the most famous shrimp moment in pop culture is in the multi-Academy-Award-winning Forrest Gump, proving that shrimp can have a moment without being silly. In the iconic movie, shrimp is something of a running theme once Forrest meets Bubba and learns of his shrimp-boat dreams. Bubba, of course, broke everyone’s heart when he died in Vietnam, but Forrest kept his dreams alive and ended up making them bigger than Bubba would ever have dreamed. The movie even inspired a chain of restaurants (called the Bubba Gump Shrimp Co.) that features menu items like Dumb Luck Coconut Shrimp and Lt Dan’s Surf & Turf.



MBMBaM Shrimp, Heaven, Now!

The wildly popular My Brother, My Brother, and Me podcast had one of their big moments when a question came in from a vendor at a farmer’s market…and led to a segment where they just couldn’t stop laughing! The question tells the story of a toddler chanting "shrimp, heaven, now," and while it loses something in retelling, there’s an animated version of this segment (above) that will have watchers in tears with laughter too. Together, we wait the return of Shrimp Jesus.




The Good Place

One of the most thoughtful comedies in recent years, The Good Place is all about ethics and morality, questions of the afterlife, meaning, love, and second chances. However, it’s also a laugh riot, and running gags include Eleanor’s love of shrimp! Over the course of the show, fans see Eleanor stuffing shrimp into her bra at a party, Eleanor speaking with her hands full of shrimp, a shrimp dispenser, and giant shrimp falling from the sky. Not only has the show inspired fans to eat a whole lot of shrimp, but it’s also inspired a cookbook, Forking Good, that combines recipes inspired by the show with explanations of philosophical positions and quotes.



The Oatmeal – Mantis Shrimp

The Oatmeal is known for comics with a wild take on life, and one of the most popular may be “Why the Mantis Shrimp Is My New Favorite Animal.” This strip covers little known facts about the Mantis Shrimp in the Oatmeal’s signature style and includes descriptions like “Genghis Khan bathed in sherbet ice cream.” Chances are anyone outside the marine biology field who has heard of a mantis shrimp has heard of it from this.




Shrimp Rick (Rick & Morty)

Of course Rick and Morty were shrimp at one point. In the world of the cult adult animation literally anything is possible—including an alternate reality of fascist shrimp. Shrimp Rick appears in "Edge of Tomorty: Rick Die Rickpeat" when Rick is sent to a whole range of alternate realities, including one where everyone is shrimp. Why not, right? It’s barely even in the top five strangest things to happen in that single episode!

Which are your favorite pop culture shrimp? Tweet @quirkbooks and let us know!

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