It seems 2012 was the year memes went mainstream. Helped largely by the rise of social media and the fact most of us now have an online presence, you’d be hard pushed to find someone who didn’t come across at least one of this year’s memes, mash-ups, viral hits or image macros. We’ve rounded up the best memes of 2012 for you to look back on and laugh at what a long, strange trip it’s been. So, go on, pop the kettle on and let’s have a giggle.
Texts From Hillary
If the 2012 US election is anything to go by, politics and memes go hand in hand. But before unemployed Big Bird, binders full of women and sassy Obama, there was Texts From Hillary, a short-lived single-topic blog ruminating on what kind of texts Hillary Rodham Clinton would send.
The blog lasted just one week and after 32 posts, 83,000 Facebook shares, 8,400 Twitter followers, more than 45,000 Tumblr followers, and a meeting with Clinton herself, creators Adam Smith and Stacy Lambe called it a day – but not before publishing a submission from their inspiration.
Call Me Maybe
But while Smith and Lambe knew when to quit while they were ahead, some memes continued way beyond their peak. Cue, Call Me Maybe. This catchy pop song was parodied to the point of exhaustion. It’s when a meme starts showing up on business cards that you know it has peaked.
Some tributes, however, were better than others.
As you can tell, some of us got pretty tired of this one doing the rounds.
Shit Girls Say
Speaking of memes getting out of control, rumour has it that Shit Girls Say (which in itself is derivative of the successful Shit My Dad Says) has 700 imitators.
The original web series generated a never-ending string of Shit People Say videos, some just as funny and some borderline racist. While Shit Girls Say has been critiqued for walking a fine line between humour and sexism, we like to think the series and some of its better copycats are just poking fun.
Texts from Dog
Texts from Dog started out as a single-topic blog documenting text conversations between UK-based blogger October Jones and his pet bulldog. No, really.
The popular text series resulted in a newly released book and a cartoon series.
Having a dog is wonderful, but sometimes these wonderful creatures will break your heart, and for that, there’s Dogshaming.
Angelina Jolie’s leg
Actress Angeline Jolie walked the Oscars red carpet this year in a thigh-high split gown, posed ridiculously, and thus, legbombing was born.
The Descendants co-writer Jim Rash (you may recognise him as Dean Pelton from Community) obviously knew on the night that a meme star was born and re-enacted the pose on accepting his Oscar – handed to him by Jolie herself. What a legend!
McKayla Is Not Impressed
While we covered the memes of the London 2012 Olympic Games quite extensively, somehow we forgot to included McKayla Is Not Impressed. Olympic gymnast McKayla Maroney (Team USA) took silver in the women’s vault and was pictured looking less than pleased with second place when on the podium.
As it turns out, McKayla is not impressed by a lot of things.
And when she met her president, neither were too impressed.
From following Lee Unkrich on Twitter, visual artist Kyle Lambert learned of the Toy Story 3 director’s love for Stanley Kubrick and The Shining. This inspired him to create a 25-panel storyboard mash-up on an iPad using the Brushes app. And we are all grateful that he did.
Ridiculously Photogenic Guy
Seriously, who looks this good running a marathon? Zeddie Little, that’s who.
This meme also inspired the lesser-spotted ridiculously photogenic Syrian rebel…
… and a ridiculously photogenic horse.
‘Ermahgerd!’ is a phonetic exaggeration of how you might say ‘Oh my god!’ if you were wearing a retainer and/or making a silly face. It was inspired by this young lady, who really, really likes Goosebumps books.
Then lots of people joined in on the act.
And there was a music video.
Even animals couldn’t resist getting overly excited.
I can honestly say nothing has made me sound so ridiculous and laugh so hard since Allie Brosh’s Spaghatta Nadle.
Bad Joke Eel
Did you ever notice eels always look like they’re waiting for you to react to a terrible joke?
I Should Buy a Boat Cat
This sophisticated cat, from Bjork’s Triumph of the Heart music video, has just realised something important.
Frankly, the best use of this meme was to explain the existence of Ikea Monkey.
Tard the Grumpy Cat
Tard (short for Tardar Sauce) can’t help how his face looks, but he can entertain millions with it.
Also, have you noticed that he kind of looks like Jeremy Renner?
The Irish contingent
Of course, I couldn’t end this list without a shout-out to some quintessentially Irish videos, GIFs and images that circulated the web in 2012. First there were the chat-show audience members who really made an effort to stand out when the camera was on them.
This guy was in the audience of The Saturday Night Show.
While this guy from the audience of The Late Late Show reacts with less flair and more death stare.
And then there’s the ‘Down with this sort of thing/Careful now’ protest, which has been an Irish tradition ever since Father Ted hit our screens and this year travelled to Poznan for Euro 2012.
Image viaDuncan Hull on Flickr
The Evil Toddler image macro also got an Irish twist.
And we’ll end with an optical illusion courtesy of the diaspora.