On July 21 2021, an Imgur account shared the following meme ( “Doc and Marty made it to 2021” ), which references two main characters in the Back to the Future films and showing Christopher Lloyd (Doc Brown) on the left, with Michael J. Fox (Marty McFly) to the right:
As was often the case with iterations of the meme, no context for the image was provided:
On Google Trends, the seven-day period ending on July 22 2021 demonstrated interest in the image. Searches for “Doc and Marty made it to 2021” were popular along with searches for “Michael J. Fox,” the actor who portrayed Marty McFly in Back to the Future films.
However, the above-linked iterations of Reddit and Imgur were shared throughout 2021, and top-level comments claimed that the photograph was “old.” On the Reddit post, u/BenderDeLorean accused to original poster of karma-farming:
Fuck you for posting old pictures and lying for karma. And when I say fuck you, then I mean fuck you.
Another user responded:
Your shameless repost deserves a downvote. …but I feel bad downvoting my homies Doc & Marty
Several commenters linked to a March 6 2020 Unilad post, “Doc And Marty Just Had A Back To The Future Reunion,” through which context for the image was finallly provided:
Back to the Future’s Marty McFly and Emmett ‘Doc’ Brown … came back together at a poker tournament in aid of the Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research, proving true friendship stands the test of time – even if it does fly faster than a speeding DeLorean.
Fox was diagnosed with Parkinson’s in 1991 and founded the charity in 2000, hosting annual poker evenings to raise money for his organisation.
Unilad linked to an apparent source image on Instagram, via Lloyd:
View this post on Instagram
A repeatedly-shared “Doc and Marty made it to 2021” meme appeared frequently on social media, appealing to both nostalgia and widespread exhaustion due to the events of 2020. Although both actors did “make it to 2021,” the image was in fact taken in early March 2020 — just a few weeks before gatherings and fundraisers were put on hold. Although the text was accurate and the image was real, the meme was out of context.