"It's a much more positive meme than a lot of other ones that are more mocking," said Nick Douglas, senior editor of Urlesque.com, which also explores Internet phenomena. "The problem with Sad Keanu right now, of course, is that they're complying with the take-down from the photographer who took the original photo. But this was a parody -- if there was anything I'd love to see a celebrity do when they get memed, is somehow set a legal precedent that this kind of parody is fine."
Before Sad Keanu, there was Selleck Waterfall Sandwich, a meme that is exactly what its name suggests: a collection of photo mash-ups of "Magnum P.I.", cascades of water and bread-enveloped meat.