As this year winds down we’ve recapped its highlights to bring you the best of 2017 in fashion, sneakers, music, movies and more.
Smartphones and social media have made it easier than ever for us to be reminded that the world is an absolute shit-show right now. So what do you do when it all gets too much? It’s simple. Look at memes!
It’s been a long year, but stars like Salt Bae, Cuca the alligator and the “Right in front of my salad?” woman, as well notable pop culture beefs (we’re looking at you, Migos vs. Joe Budden) have all played their part in providing us with some much needed light relief.
With the help of legendary site/meme paradise Know Your Meme, we trawled through this year’s highlights to bring you a ~definitive~ (yes, we probably missed your favorite — tell us in the comments) list of this year’s most entertaining cuts. Here’s the year 2017 in memes.
This year in memes kicked off in spectacular fashion thanks to “salt bae,” otherwise known as Turkish chef Nusret Gökçe. It was on January 7 that he innocently uploaded an Instagram video of his culinary excellence; in the short clip, he masterfully carves up a steak and dusts with a (now iconic) sprinkle of salt. He quickly racked up thousands of views and reposts, accidentally birthing one of 2017’s most memorable memes.
SpongeBob has always been a memer’s (yes it’s a word, Urban Dictionary said so) wet dream. Last year gave us Mr. Krabs spinning, whereas this year produced new gems featuring Squidward and, of course, Mocking SpongeBob, which online users repurposed to take the piss out of everything from Republicans and kids to the ultimate enemies — love interests that leave you on “delivered.”
Cash Me Ousside, Howbow Dah?
When she went on Dr. Phil to talk about stealing cars and threatening literally everybody in sight, it’s likely that Danielle Bregoli—now known as Bhad Bhabie—had no idea of the viral fame she was about to gain. Still, the internet loved her and the meme blew up, laying the unexpected foundations for a career in music. Some have called it cultural appropriation, others have pointed out the irony of celebrating Bregoli, a white woman perpetuating a ghetto caricature; whatever you think, it’s unlikely the legacy of this meme will be forgotten.
Aaron Paul Confused by Fashion
As brilliant as fashion is, show season can often leave us wondering what the hell is going on. Actor Aaron Paul clearly experienced this sensation at a Burberry show way back in 2012; five years later, his look of bewilderment has resurfaced, spawning a series of referential memes featuring Todd Chavez, his character in BoJack Horseman, Hal, his ex-Malcolm in the Middle co-star and, of course, the living, breathing meme that is Donald Trump.
“Right in Front of My Salad?”
According to Arthur Shapiro, no good story ever started with a salad. Clearly Shapiro has never seen Private Lessons 3, the now-iconic gay porn film featuring two men fucking in front of Nikki V, a bewildered woman just trying to enjoy her lunch. Shocked, she responds: “Are you serious, right in front of my salad?” Just like that, a meme was born – the quote has been re-appropriated to call out misogyny, transphobia and, um, Rihanna haters. Better still, the actress revealed the line was ad-libbed. Genius!
Nothing but Respect for MY President
In June this year, a Twitter user stopped to clean Donald Trump’s Hollywood star after it was covered with stickers and graffiti. “Nothing but respect for my President,” she smugly tweeted, sparking a series of excellent reactions from users who responded by polishing the stars of Shrek, Danny DeVito and Pitbull. The meme quickly snowballed out of Hollywood, too; from dogs in sunglasses to—who else?—Rihanna, thousands of users joined in to collectively rip the pussy-grabbing POTUS.
White Guy Blinking
Back in 2013, Drew Scanlon—a video producer at gaming site GiantBomb—blinked with disbelief at his co-gamer “farming with his hoe.” His briefly raised eyebrow reappeared online in 2015, but it wasn’t until February this year that a tweet about biology sent him viral. He’s expressed his own bewilderment at his new-found fame, but he’s ultimately satisfied: “I’m pleased to see people are enjoying it,” he said earlier this year.
Meryl Streep, “Work It”
In 2015, Debbie Reynolds won Lifetime Achievement at the SAG Awards and Meryl Streep was very, very happy about it. Two years later, her reaction was tweeted alongside the reversed lyrics from Missy Elliott’s “Work It,” which this year had the internet shook. A meme was born, with Meryl representing a generation of drunk kids worldwide hollering out certified bangers by Britney, Avril Lavigne and even the Backstreet Boys.
Gordon Ramsay is the gift that keeps on giving. Whether he’s slating shit cookery on Twitter or calling chefs “dickface” and telling them to fuck off, he’s given the internet plenty of meme inspiration. This year saw the “idiot sandwich” go viral; spawned during parody segment Hell’s Cafeteria, he slaps two pieces of bread on either side of Julie Chen’s head while shouting, “What are you?” The joke endured online, even inspiring this incredible Halloween costume.
Beyoncé Ordering Food
Did you know that Beyoncé invented lemonade? Clearly this waitress didn’t, and Twitter had a field day imagining exactly what the megastar could have been saying when she went out for dinner back in April. From disputes over the gratuity to the twins’ lack of catfish, the results quickly went viral and proved, once again, that Beyoncé is Queen of the Internet.
Cuca The Alligator
In June this year, a user on Brazilian forum Pandlr made several GIFs of Cuca the Alligator, a witch probably haunting the nightmares of children across the country due to her lengthy stint on Sítio do Picapau Amarelo. One glimpse of her blonde wig, tight gowns and sassy mannerisms made it obvious she was born to be a gay icon, and social media didn’t disappoint, using Nicki Minaj lyrics and Kardashian jokes to reveal her true viral potential.
We’ve all made bad decisions. This year, actor Kayode Ewumi became the perfect visual accompaniment to said choices; a screenshot of him playing Roll Safe in Hood Documentary (released in 2016) blew up early this year, gaining thousands of retweets. The versatile meme had staying power, spawning some strangely sound advice — remember, you can’t be broke if you don’t check your bank account.
Ivanka Trump’s “Punk Phase”
Given the fact she was born into a family of conservative millionaires, it might seem odd that Ivanka Trump supposedly had a “punk phase.” The internet certainly thought so, deciding to troll the President’s daughter hard when she made the admission in the memoir Raising Trump. Cue her head being superimposed onto photos of spike-haired rockers, as well as photos of her Aspen vacations being captioned: “punk as fuck.”
With Instagram now offering filters, stories and basically everything else that made Snapchat relevant, the company this year started looking for solutions. You know what they came up with? A fucking dancing hot dog. It didn’t take long for the poor, animated sandwich to be Photoshopped into fake porn ads and other, um, explicit scenarios, relegating the innocent new mascot to the darkest corners of the internet.
Maybe the most famous meme of the year is the distracted boyfriend, lusting after a woman while his girlfriend looks on in shock. There’s actually a pretty complex, occasionally fucked-up story behind the meme, lifted from a series of photos by Antonio Guillem; there’s a dead daughter, an affair and a major plot twist. Obviously the internet created its own narratives, some of which even included other meme crossovers. Meta!
Donald Trump, “Covfefe”
When Donald Trump tweeted the word “covfefe” this year, millions of us were perplexed. What was this new word? What did it mean? How was it pronounced? It’s not the dumbest or most inane thing he’s ever tweeted, but the internet reacted accordingly to what we hope was a typo with Drake GIFs, a salt bae crossover and a hilarious plea to “Make America Covfefe Again.” More than anything, we all just wanted to ask– as always: U OK Hun?
Asahd Khaled is the hardest-working kid in the music industry. Although just 5 years old, he already has a Paper magazine cover and a credit as executive producer on his dad’s album. This year, his success and his blessed life have inspired countless memes, as well as a personal Instagram account which he (don’t question it, okay) uses to share photos of him with famous friends — including salt bae!
Kendall Jenner, Pepsi
Remember when Kendall Jenner ended police brutality with a soft drink? The car-crash Pepsi ad was a meme waiting to happen, and the internet didn’t disappoint. Some mocked the ad’s halfhearted attempt at diversity, whereas others showed images of actual protests with people crying out for a touch of Kendall’s magic.
This is the Future that Liberals Want
In May this year, a far-right Twitter account posted an image of a woman in a niqab sat next to a drag queen with the caption: “This is the future that liberals want.” Although meant to be negative (Muslims AND homosexuals?! The horror!), Twitter responded perfectly, applying the caption to photos of queer lizard women, the Power Rangers and, um, Shrek and his pregnant wife, SpongeBob.
The Floor Is…
Remember “the floor is lava,” that weird game kids played to really, really piss off their parents? Now it’s back in meme form, although social media has given us a few hilarious alternatives which parody fake news, sex scandals and “Fireflies,” the song which also spawned countless memes this year.
Mayweather v McGregor
When the long-awaited “Money Fight” between Conor McGregor and Floyd Mayweather Jr finally took place in August this year, the internet was primed and ready to react in the best way possible: memes. Cue iconic references to The Simpsons, Mr. Krabs’ Spinning (love a good meme crossover!), and even 50 Cent’s immortal Get Rich or Die Tryin’ album art.
Drake, ‘More Life’
The internet loves Drake. So much, in fact, that “Drakeposting” is an actual thing. So, this year, when the Canadian star dropped More Life, social media erupted with reactions; some came for his patois, others homed in on the random (“I don’t take naps!”) lyrics of “Gyalchester” and literally everybody else was left Googling grime heavyweights Giggs and Skepta.
Migos “Bad and Boujee”
When Joe Budden, DJ Akademiks and Nadeska sat down to interview Migos at this year’s BET Awards, they were likely unaware of the absolute shit-show that was about to unfold. Commenting that Takeoff’s usual adlibs were basically non-existent on breakout single “Bad and Boujee,” Akademiks sparked a spat—and a still-ongoing beef—which quickly went viral. After Takeoff repeated his response a few times, Budden—an acclaimed battle rapper and notable critic of various hip-hop newcomers—dropped his mic, causing the group to square up to him. As usual, the internet responded, and the results were golden.