I'm not here to make friends.
This pithy phrase tidily encapsulates all the bluster, the stiltedness, the underwhelming drama and overinflated breasts of reality TV. In 2008, Rich Juzwiak — then a writer for VH1 — noticed its ubiquity while writing recaps of the erstwhile slop-fest Rock of Love.
Around that time, Juzwiak saw "But First," a 20-second video on tvgasm.com, consisting of dozens of rapid-fire clips in which Big Brother host Julie Chen uttered her unfortunate transitional phrase, "But first." This was among the earliest efforts in the budding genre known as the supercut, defined by online clearinghouse Supercut.org as "a fast-paced montage of short video clips that obsessively isolates a single element from its source, usually a word, phrase, or cliche from film and TV."
"It opened the door on how hilarious that kind of repetition could be," Juzwiak recalled last week. Thus inspired, he decided to make a video, and his star was born.
Know Your Meme cites Juzwiak's video, "I'm Not Here to Make Friends" — a hypnotic, astonishing documentation of nearly every utterance of that phrase from the reality television of the time — as the first supercut to address cliché.
Juzwiak doesn't know if that's true. "I love clichés," he said. "I think they're unfairly maligned, because that's just the way people talk. But I don't know if it was the first."
What he does know is that he found a worthy format through which he could express his love of trash. He made more supercuts, which he then posted to his blog, fourfour.typepad.com. Juzwiak's videos spread so widely that, by 2010, he was ripped off by three major media outlets: NPR reporter Beth Accomando filched material from a supercut Juzwiak made of horror-movie cellphone usage, The Insider appropriated and slightly edited "Everything You Need to Know About Mariah Carey on HSN," and Jay Leno just played "Taylor Swift Is Surprised" in its entirety.
"NPR was the most egregious by far," Juzwiak said. "[Accomando] didn't acknowledge that she ripped me off."