Who Is Dinkleberg? Here's Why the Mysterious Character Is Taking Over TikTok

Leila Kozma - Author

Feb. 11 2021, Published 12:42 p.m. ET

The first memes mocking Sheldon Dinkleberg, one of the more divisive characters in The Fairly OddParents emerged years ago, but they started to gain traction on TikTok only recently. 

Many social media users have taken to use the term Dinkleberg (sometimes spelled Dinkleburg) to express a sense of frustration or disagreement. So, what exactly is the trend about? What does Dinkleberg mean? 

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Dinkleberg started out as a meme — and it's rapidly taking over TikTok.

Despite its origins as a meme, the term Dinkleberg continues to baffle TikTok users and beyond. Some describe it as an in-joke, an abstract concept only a select few will understand. 

In all likelihood, the Dinkleberg meme started out as a reference to a running gag in The Fairly OddParents, Butch Hartman's animated series that aired on Nickelodeon between 2001 and 2017. 

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In the show, Dad tends to blame his seemingly mild-mannered, albeit somewhat annoying next-door neighbor for his own failures. In an iconic scene, Dad enters into a state of unmediated fury upon discovering that the Dinklebergs are eating brunch, a meal far superior to the lunch his wife made. He produces similar responses upon spotting their flashy barbeque and when he learns that they are about to win a contest.

Each time Dinkleberg and his wife are about to nail something, Dad flares up with a potent mix of rage and jealousy. The meme-ified version faults Dinkleberg for small incidents like running out of milk and far bigger issues like terrorist attacks. 

One entry detailing the meaning of the Dinkleberg meme was posted on Know Your Meme in 2010, which indicates that it has been around for a good few years. 

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Source: TikTok

TikTok users have taken to blaming Dinkleberg for the coronavirus pandemic, for instance.

According to one, yet-to-be-corroborated theory, the Dinkleberg meme might have socioeconomic connotations. Some claim the word is a spin on "DINK" or "Dual Income No Kids," a phrase that reportedly dates back to the 1980s. New TikTok videos take the meme further. 

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Source: TikTok

Other TikTokers tend to deploy the catchphrase without any intended allusions to the TV show. 

Some users describe online schooling or unfunny remarks made by someone else as "Dinkleberg." While its meaning might be in flux, a relatively large number of TikTokers appear to treat the term as though it has negative connotations. 

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Other TikTokers fault Dinkleberg for bad life events.

A TikTok user named @travisgodbey combined the Dinkleberg meme with the "My Therapist" meme. A short clip uploaded on Aug. 1, 2020, kicks off with the TikToker imitating a therapist. 

"Now, who do we blame when something goes wrong in our lives?" he asks himself. 

"Dinkleberg," goes the response. 

Source: TikTok
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Another TikToker, @lizwhorton1, uploaded a video capturing a spot-on drawing of the controversial cartoon character. 

"Who do we blame 2020 on?" reads the caption. 

Source: TikTok

Several TikTokers uploaded videos questioning the meaning behind the viral phrase. Others took to the social media platform to question why it started to gain traction.

"So I have a lot of questions. My first question is, should it be considered an inside joke if you can figure out what it is within like, a one-minute search? And is it an inside joke if thousands of people are doing it at the same time?" asks a TikToker named @malena.lf in a video uploaded in February 2021.  

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