Pizza Time: How Spider-Man 2 Introduced the Internet's Tastiest Meme

There is no way that director Sam Raimi could know that his Spider-Man trilogy would inspire a whole community of memes nearly a decade after he finished the project. At the time of the first film's 2002 release, the fledgling-concept of a "meme" was entirely different than it is today and were they to never exist in their modern form the throwaway lines and jokes from the film series would almost certainly fade away into obscurity. It is a different time we live in now, however. It's Pizza Time.

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At the center of the meme storm is the phrase "Pizza Time," possibly serving as the origin point to the entire Raimi meme community. While the subreddit r/raimimemes existed well before the phrase gained traction, its multiplication across YouTube culture and on the sub itself spread the meme like wildfire across the internet. To the uninitiated, and indeed those who haven't committed the Raimi Spider-Man series' every line of dialogue to eternal memory, it's entirely possible that the reference goes totally lost. After all, the moment it derives from isn't very big.

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At the start of Spider-Man 2, the film sets out to establish what the main character has been up to since the first film's ending. The down-on-his-luck Peter Parker works as a pizza delivery person, racing his moped around New York City in a constant attempt to make the strict deadline his employer promises. After repeatedly failing to meet the deadline in the past, at the start of the film, Peter has one more shot at making a delivery across town in under half-an-hour. After his duties as Spider-Man distract him during the delivery, Peter shows up as soon as he can, plops his delivery on the reception desk, and declares the immortal words "Pizza time!"

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The line feels a little silly when enhanced with the magnifying glass of meme culture, and indeed the entire meme likely has its origin in a YouTube video that loops the single line on repeat hundreds of times on end. After latching onto that, anything and everything related to the concept of "pizza time" became meme fodder, with meme-makers stretching even beyond the films themselves for material. The video game adaptation for Spider-Man 2, which involved multiple pizza-delivery missions, was ripe for the pickings.

Many of the memes splice the phrase into scenes from elsewhere in the film series, or into other films altogether. The focus on the scene became so great over time that the real-world pizza shop that served as the filming location for the pizza place Peter Parker works for became something of a Mecca to Raimi-memers, with the subreddit frequently featuring pictures of those who venture to the site to advertise their own personal partaking in the Time of Pizza.

By now, the phrase is something of a phenomenon showing no sign of slowing down. While most memes are largely discardable, going into and out of vogue with astonishing rapidity, Raimi memes soon ascended into the next-level status in which their material never quite dies out. Just like the "Prequel Memes" that draw from the much-ridiculed Star Wars prequels, each day sees a new batch of memes made from the Raimi Spider-Man movies rather than a diminishing fad. As Raimi-memers may say, quoting the villainous Doc Ock from later in the same film: "There's no stopping it now -- it's self-sustaining."

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