Roshni Nair rounds up 15 of this year’s best.
From breadstick-jammed purses and a rapping pope to Photoshop Sarkar and Left Shark, the internet, as always, gave us sidesplitting memes that we’ll remember well into 2016.
1. Netflix and Chill
‘Netflix and Chill’ – code for hooking up on the pretext of a Netflix movie night– blew up the internet up in 2015, but its genesis was in November ’14, when Twitter user Start3rPack posted images of his pyjamas, socks, a white tee, and a Trojan condom packet, tweeting: ‘The Netflix and Chill Starter pack’.
The internet caught on in April this year when Urban Dictionary defined the phrase now synonymous with casual sex. The term has developed alongside the meme, with the standard template being ‘x minutes into Netflix and chill and he gives you this look’.
The result? Hell, they even made Netflix and Chill condoms.
2. Me, shoving breadsticks into my purse
Tumblr is hands down the treasure chest of all things memeworthy. It’s also where you’re likely to find more inane and text-centric, rather than image-centric memes. This one had thousands of women weaving their dating deal breakers into fictional situations, where the deal breaker was signified by the act: *Me, shoving breadsticks into my purse*. Sample the nugget below.
3. Left Shark
The Super Bowl XLIX halftime show may be the most-watched of its kind in the history of the NFL (118.5 million viewers), but it took a backup dancer to immortalise the event.
Headliner Katy Perry’s beach-themed performance of California Gurls andTeenage Dream was accompanied by a hilariously out-of-sync backup dancer (later revealed to be Bryan Gaw) in a shark costume. His moves not only spawned a meme family – pop culture blog Boing Boing created ‘leftist shark’ memes, juxtaposing Left Shark images with Noam Chomsky quotes – but also merchandise in the form of baby onesies, T-shirts and cookie cutters.
4. The Dress
Perhaps the most annoying, but inescapable meme of 2015. It all started when Tumblr (where else?) user swiked posted the now-unforgettable image with the equally-unforgettable question ‘What Color Is This Dress?’ As other social media platforms caught on, polls, debates, celebrities and experts raged back and forth as the world became divided into team #WhiteandGold and team #BlackandBlue, and people took ‘Are you Colourblind?’ tests by the dozen.
The godforsaken dress was black and blue.
Who would’ve thought Pope Francis’ visit to the Central African Republic would thrust him at the forefront of a rap battle? Twitter did, when it turned a Getty Images photo of his November 30 tour into #PopeBars, a hat-tip to rhyming lyrics in rap.
One of the most side-splitting memes ever, the creativity of those who contributed to #PopeBars has to be seen to be believed.
6. Pepe the Frog
Pepe has been around 10 years now, but this year, he truly overtook Kermit as the most famous anthropomorphic frog (no debate here). What started as a monster character in Matt Furie’s comic series Boy’s Club was a Reddit sensation in 2008 before people unearthed Pepe faces on 4chan – that other vault of all things great and ghastly on the internet.
From then on, Pepe the Frog variations like Sad Frog, Smug Frog, Angry Pepe and Well Meme’d have become a go-to for most of us.
7. Why You Always Lying
It all started on August 29, when Nicholas Fraser posted a Vine of his take on R&B song Too Close, the context being him listening to a person telling a lie. The internet went berserk as Fraser sang and danced in his backyard, using screengrabs of his expression as responses to fictional situations where people lie. People made their own Spanish, French, Japanese and other language versions too.
If that doesn’t sound like much, see the comedy gold below.
8. Crying Michael Jordan
Like most memes in this list, Crying Michael Jordan was born years earlier, but attained peak status in 2015. The gist: the basketball star’s tear-stained face (during his 2009 Hall of Fame speech) being copy-pasted on anyone and anything. Just when you think this meme is nearing its shelf life, someone somewhere splices Jordan’s head on something so out there, you can’t but be reined back in.
9. Hotline Bling
The video of Canadian rapper Drake’s July ’15 single, which features the 29-year-old dancing awkwardly in colour-shifting Technicolor cubes, topped all the music charts. But his moves really got a new lease of life in the form of Vines, Instagram videos, parodies, and mash-ups of merengue, salsa and yes – Hindi film songs.
10. Rihanna’s Met Gala dress
On May 4, 2015, Rihanna posted an image of herself at the Met Gala Event wearing a yellow fur-trimmed cape by Chinese couturier Guo Pei. What followed was one of the best memes of 2015.
11. Donald Trump
Face it, 2015 wouldn’t have been without the Trump. Everything from his hair and opinions to his excessively tanned, orange-tinted face has been a manna for meme central.
12. Steve Harvey/Miss Universe 2015
This entrant may be the newest in this list, but in the short time it’s been creating waves (still is), American comedian and daytime host Steve Garvey’s gaffe of announcing the wrong Miss Universe 2015 (Miss Colombia instead of Miss Phillippines), then having to return on stage and apologise, has become a meme elixir.
13. Modi in Dubai
Was there a Modi wave prior to the 2014 general elections? We aren’t sure, but the Modi wave undoubtedly holds strong on the internet. Everything our Prime Minister says, does, thinks and expresses is memeworthy. And that is why Narendra Damodardas Modi rounds up the last three spots in this list of 15, with this…
14. ….this (Modi in China)…
15. ….and this (Photoshop Sarkar)
Note: This is our favourite of all Modi memes. Thank you Press Information Bureau for the terrible Photoshop job that gave the fledgling world of Indian memes a boost.
When your boss is watching and you don’t know it.