Memes are one continuous and novel source of comedy. They give us topics to talk about in awkward silences and allow us to connect with strangers online. Despite some terrible events that occurred this past year, I figured that it was time to look back on some of the most popular memes that made us laugh, cringe and groan throughout 2016.
Exploding Kid is one of the earliest memes of 2016. This picture of Michael McGee blew up one day on Twitter, originally captioned as, “Trying to hold a fart next to a cute girl in class.” Since then, this picture has been subject to a multitude of captions, with, “When you’re vegan and haven’t told anyone in 5 minutes” being my personal favorite.
Crying Jordan became very popular earlier this year. Michael Jordan’s crying face started popping up on every athlete’s face when they lost a game. Most recently, President Obama talked about it himself while presenting Jordan with the Presidential Medal of Freedom, saying Jordan was “more than an Internet meme.” We can all agree that Jordan was the best NBA player of all time, but there’s something about this meme we just can’t quit.
After the Crying Jordan craze, I believe we were introduced to Petty Skai Jackson. Jackson is a child star, known for her acting career on Disney Channel’s “Jessie” and her infamous Twitter beef with Azealia Banks. A picture Jackson tweeted of herself sitting backstage at “Fox 5″ became an instant hit and was used to describe extremely petty but relatable, situations.
Around this time, the Presidential Primaries were taking place. Politicians were debating and campaigning to represent their respective parties. Ted Cruz was constantly compared to Kevin Malone from “The Office” and the notorious Zodiac Killer because of their scarily similar appearance. Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton were the top two contenders for the Democratic nominee, and the emergence of “Bernie vs. Hillary” memes on issues was common and consequently hilarious.
Next came the controversial Harambe memes, with the death of Harambe the gorilla at the Cincinnati Zoo. People reacted in different ways, with some saying Harambe was more than a gorilla and others going to extremes with the hashtag #DicksOutForHarambe.
Spongebob memes became popular around this time as well. We got “Confused Mr. Krabs” earlier this year, but “Primitive Spongebob” rejuvenated the Spongebob theme. From what I understand, these memes are different but can be interchangeable in certain situations. For instance, you would use “Primitive Spongebob” in situations where you’re thrown off, and “Confused Mr. Krabs” when you’re unsure about what’s going on. Famous ones include a picture of Mr. Krabs with the caption, “When you ain’t been to class in a week and everyone’s got blue books” and a picture of “Primitive Spongebob” with the appropriate caption, “When you’re at a house party and someone yells “˜COPS.'”
Continuing the theme of old cartoons we watched growing up, “Arthur” memes became pretty popular over the summer. We got Arthur’s fist, D.W. standing outside a fence looking in and other characters’ memes with personal twists. Arthur’s fist is the most famous, and shows just a clenched fist, referring to a mood in which you’re ready to fight. My favorite is, “When you offer someone food and they say yeah.”
After the results of the Presidential Election were announced, Twitter exploded with President Obama and V.P. Biden memes. There were pictures of both talking and interacting with each other with hilarious captions referring to President-elect Trump.
The last meme that blew up in 2016 is “Evil Kermit.” This meme is relatable because it seems to be attacking you at your weakest points. It’s a picture of Kermit the Frog staring at his evil doppelganger who is encouraging him to bring out his darker, lazier and more terrible side. This is one of my favorites. Perhaps the most relatable would be “Me: I’ve done nothing productive today. Plus, I have two exams to study for. / Me to me: Get some rest, you deserve it.”
There’s a chance these memes won’t make it to 2017, but the beauty of memes is that we’ll always have something to look back at when we need it the most.