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, 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 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, 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."

1  |  2  |  3  |   next >
  Topics: Lifestyle Features , Internet, YouTube, reality tv,  More more >
| More

Most Popular
Share this entry with Delicious
  •   IS BOSTON RIGHT FOR WRITERS?  |  March 05, 2013
    Boston, the birthplace of American literature, boasts three MFA programs, an independent creative-writing center, and more than a dozen colleges offering creative-writing classes.
    George Saunders: satirist, humanist, and — after 20 years, four magisterial short story collections, a novella, and a book of essays — now a bestselling author.
  •   INTERVIEW: THE PASSION OF MIKE DAISEY  |  February 14, 2013
    Last January, storyteller Mike Daisey achieved a level of celebrity rarely attained among the off-Broadway set when the public radio program This American Life aired portions of his monologue The Agony and the Ecstasy of Steve Jobs .
  •   GETTING BOOKED: WINTER READS  |  December 21, 2012
    Who cares about the fiscal cliff when we'll have authors talking about Scientology, the space-time continuum, and Joy Division?
  •   BRILLIANT FRIENDS: GREAT READS OF 2012  |  December 17, 2012
    You already know Chis Ware's Building Stories is the achievement of the decade (thanks, New York Times!), but some other people wrote some pretty great books this year too.

 See all articles by: EUGENIA WILLIAMSON