From Here Comes Dat Boi to Arthur to Harambe, 2016’s memes may just be the best thing to come out of this ridiculous year. Well, maybe not Harambe. Take a look back at some of our favorites:
Defining meme: Bernie vs. Hillary
Origin: On Jan. 28, Jeff Wysaski posted the first series of comparison photos between the then-competitors for the Democratic nomination: Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders. The meme format is simple: the header asks a nonpolitical question, and Bernie answers in a hip and cool way while Hillary answers in a less hip and less cool way. The meme has been criticized for being sexist.
Defining meme: Pacha Edits
Origin: Pacha, the lovable peasant in The Emperor’s New Groove, made waves in meme-land 16 years after the Disney movie was released. The meme is accompanied by the adaptations of the original quote: “When the sun hits that ridge just right.” Pacha’s image was used most commonly to show approval of other posts.
Defining meme: Ted Cruz: Zodiac Killer
Origin: This meme’s origin can be traced to a tweet by @RedPillAmerica from 2013. Its rise in popularity was delayed for nearly three years, resurfacing as the Republican primary race heated up. The meme is a mock conspiracy theory, suggesting Cruz is the infamous “Zodiac” serial killer, even though his murders were committed several years before Cruz’s birth. The joke became so widespread that its influence was reported by The Washington Post, NPR and Rolling Stone.
whew! went on a great run today :) pic.twitter.com/jNuGxgdUQX— Kevin Tang (@Yolo_Tengo) February 26, 2016
Defining meme: Confused Mr. Krabs
Origin: The confused Mr. Krabs meme appears to be a warped shot from the Spongebob Squarepants season 2 episode “Patty Hype,” according to knowyourmeme.com. The meme is used to express confusion and general angst about practically any situation.
When your mom leave you in the line to get eggs and the cashier says "next" pic.twitter.com/7zxvw5bEUa— amanu (@lilcoochievert) March 10, 2016
Defining meme: Here comes dat boi (o shit waddup)
Origin: Featuring a frog on a unicycle, the dat boi meme appears to have originated on the Facebook page, “Fresh Memes About the Mojave Desert and Other Delectable Cuisines,” according to New York Magazine. One member of Animation Factory, the group responsible for the original GIF of the unicycling frog, called their work “bizarre off-the-wall garbage.”
Defining meme: Harambe
Origin: In late May, Harambe, a 17-year-old silverback gorilla, was shot and killed at the Cincinnati Zoo after a toddler fell into his enclosure. What started as genuine outrage over the incident morphed into a Twitter meme that put Harambe’s death on the same level as others we lost in 2016, such as Prince, David Bowie and Muhammad Ali.
Bartender: What do you want to drink?— BRANDO (@lightskinsavior) August 22, 2016
Harambe: I'll have a beer
Me: No he'll have just ice
Bartender: Just ice?
Me: Yes, justice for Harambe
Defining meme: You vs. the guy she told you not to worry about
Origin: While the earliest posts using this comparative format can be traced back to early 2015, the meme gained popularity over the summer when it was used to feature other popular memes, such as Harambe and Guy Fieri, according to knowyourmeme.com.
You vs the guy she tells you not to worry about pic.twitter.com/YHhoBFu5P8— Audrey (@alr0215) August 7, 2016
Defining meme: Arthur Fist
Origin: The screengrab of Arthur’s fist originates all the way back in 1999, in “Arthur’s Big Hit,” the first episode of season 4 for the children’s TV show. Arthur’s fist has spawned a slew of other Arthur memes, which often take innocent scenes from the PBS show and caption them with sexually questionable or explicit material. The network responded to the trend, saying they were “disappointed by the few that are outside of good taste.”
When you've got the AUX, the bass is about to drop, and it fades out to "In a quarter mile, make a left on…" pic.twitter.com/teskj8sdH7— Starboi (@djvogue) July 28, 2016
Defining meme: Persuadable Bouncer
Origin: This meme is essentially part two of the #upgradechallenge, which showed one less impressive thing being transformed into something more impressive. It features a series of four photos: something unimpressive, a bouncer barring a door, something more impressive and a bouncer opening the door. The meme comes from photos originally uploaded to Twitter by user @xMarnBBK in 2015, according to knowyourmeme.com.
Defining meme: None (The Great Meme Drought of 2016)
Origin: For much of October, no one new meme rose above the others to define the month. Bear in the Big Blue House had a brief running, as did Skeletor from the TV series He-Man. Overall, the month recycled older trends, such as “Don’t talk to me or my son ever again,” up-vote memes, “nut button” and other classics.
Defining meme: Dark Kermit
Origin: In the 2014 “Muppets Most Wanted,” Kermit must confront his evil lookalike, Constantine. Little does Kermit know that one day his rival will represent the inner selves of memers around the globe. The meming began Nov. 6 when the Twitter account @aaannnnyyyyaaaa posted the now iconic meme with the text: “me: sees a fluffy dog me to me: steal him.” The tweet went viral, but the original account now has protected tweets, possibly due to suffering too much greatness all at once.
*ice accidentally drops in kitchen*— Ricebagovich (@RiceBag94) November 11, 2016
Me to me: kick it under the fridge pic.twitter.com/etdCVssnnX
Defining meme: BODE
Origin: On Nov. 27, Tumblr user loghain posted about a dream they had that there was a new meme where pictures of overweight cats were captioned “BODE” — standing for “bodacious.” In the weeks since, fat cats have taken over Tumblr and are popping up on Twitter and Reddit as well. Loghain’s dream has come true. The Daily Dot calls BODE the “body-positive meme your cat needs.”