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Jonathan Frakes Couldn’t Stop Saying Patrick Stewart’s Most Meme-Worthy Star Trek Line

Presumably, Jonathan Frakes’ obsession with Patrick Stewart’s delivery of “the line must be drawn here” originated on the set of “Star Trek: First Contact” at some point before its premiere in 1996. The way Stewart’s memoir recounts how Frakes found new ways to incorporate the line into everyday situations makes it sound like, for Frakes, it functioned like a meme at a time before anyone really knew to use that word for such a phenomenon.

In fact, “the line must be drawn here” made a splash on the internet in the days just before “meme” entered into the popular lexicon. A looping recording of the line, notably, underscored a post on You’re the Man Now Dog — a website that contributed significantly to what would become the internet meme phenomenon. One of that site’s most popular posts, in fact, consists of a photo of Picard underscored by a brief clip of a song using his name and station as lyrics in a catchy tune. Meanwhile, the “line must be drawn” line accompanies a popular post in which Picard is depicted teaching an art class, re-contextualizing its meaning.

Frakes catching onto the quote’s memetic potential was prescient, then, since it would indeed become a key part of an early internet meme.

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