these were the memes that defined 2018
The year is nearly over, so we’re chronicling the events of the past 12 months through the only prism that matters -- memes, hun.
What a year it has been! It’s hard to believe that we’ve seen so much happen in such a short space of time. Canada legalised weed! Gareth Southgate got as close as England fans will ever hope to get to winning the World Cup! Harry married Meghan! Trump is still POTUS but you know what, you win some you lose some. Anyway, the point is that in just twelve months so much happens that it’s easy to let an entire year pass you by in a blur of Twitter moments and constant Cardi B feuds. In a world that moves at breakneck speed then, what can we rely upon to modulate our time? What can we rely on to always be there, even when politicians and football teams let us down? What will we never tire of?
So here are the best ones for every month of 2018!
In history there are always omens of bad times to come. Locusts, fires, predictions about the impending end of time. When future scholars look back at 2018 in the history books, they will demarcate the first sign of the coming nuclear apocalypse through the dark period where
Rick and Morty loving teenagers brought in the New Year by eating literal fucking Tide Pods, risking poisoning for RTs.
Once we’d swallowed the bitter pill of Tide memes, things improved. January brought us the absolute unit, a meme that was ahead of its time in providing us with the cultural lexicon that, just 10 months later we would use to describe this huge fucking cow.
January also gave us the smug cheerleader, and -- my personal favorite -- the karma’s a bitch challenge, which saw people recording videos of themselves in ‘before and after’ makeover style, while reciting a speech Veronica Lodge made famous on 2018’s indisputably best show, Riverdale. Don’t @ me.
Big month for the Kardashians, February. After months of uncharacteristic silence, Kylie Jenner celebrated the first of the month by releasing a video which confirmed her long-rumored pregnancy, and promptly broke the internet. One particular moment in her touching behind-the-scenes/highly produced film, where she cradles her belly and says “next thing I knew I was pregnant” was immediately seized by Twitter.
Presumably pissed off that her little sister was now getting all the attention, the original publicity queen Kim Kardashian harnessed the dark arts of the internet, presumably by some sort of Ouija board ceremony in conjunction with Jonathan Cheban, and suddenly she had her own meme. This one is more straightforward, it’s just a picture of Kim photoshopped to give her really big arms. Meet Gym Kardashian. It’s funny because she is small.
Anyway, yeah, every month of the Gregorian calendar is now Kardashian month, but February was really their time to shine. The devil works hard but Kris Jenner works harder and all that.
In March the world was rocked by the biggest abdication scandal since Pope Benedict quit because everyone hated him, or that plot line in The Crown where Not Colin Firth’s brother wants to move to France and live with a bunch of pugs rather than being king -- Ben DeLa Creme eliminated herself from RuPaul’s Drag Race All Stars 3, a first in the history of the show. She achieved two great things for the world via this selfless act. Firstly, she cleared the way for Trixie Mattel to snatch the deserved crown. Secondly, she inspired some top quality memes.
Of course there has to be a down period in the year. We can’t constantly create memes, we all need time to recharge, otherwise we’d get meme burnout. But April wasn’t totally bereft of content -- we at least had the ‘who shot Hannibal Buress’ meme, taken from a climate change themed episode of The Eric Andre Show, to tide us over. Phew.
May was the year that love’s young dream got married. No, not Ari and Pete, unfortunately that was never to be and I’m still upset about it. So we had to settle for Prince Harry getting married instead. It cost us a lot of money and reinforced a problematic culture of imperialism, and also the concept of monarchy is laughably archaic but guys! Oh the memes we had!
This year had one of the hottest summers in recent memory, finally sparking the global warming panic we all needed to save the world. More importantly though, this was the summer we were introduced to the most tragic love story of our modern times. Move over Romeo and Juliet, make way for Ariana Grande and Pete Davidson. You might not have liked them as a couple, with their Harry Potter selfies and their constant, constant allusions to the size of Pete Davidson’s dick, but you have to admit that in the short time they existed they contributed a lot to the collective culture. They gave us thank u, next, the greatest break up anthem of our times, and they also gave us BDE.
So thanks for that.
Perhaps inspired by the lovey dovey energy Ari and Pete were exuding (whether we liked it or not) the memes of midsummer began to get surprisingly nice. There was a dog dancing while getting a haircut. There was a polite cat. Even Elon Musk became more palatable with an Italian meme version of himself.
This would peak in August with the cutest meme of all time (see below).
Let’s be honest, the internet is a dark and strange place, so often the memes it produces are a product of that, and reflective of our collective increasingly surreal and dark humor. It’s what gave us memes about being hurt during sex and transformed the Johny Johny Yes Papa song, initially an incredibly irritating, incredibly addictive YouTube jingle meant to transfix and calm down young children into terrifying hellscape media reminiscent of Black Mirror.
But in amongst all the destruction and horror there are moments of goodness. Enter Bibble. The cutest meme of 2018, Bibble is an adorable little blue creature, originally created for a Barbie: Mermaidia movie where he appears as a fairy-like helper. In meme world though, Bibble was a way to illustrate the odd phenomenon of singing along to incredibly adult lyrics when you were too young to really understand what they meant.
Mainly though, he is so precious. Look at Bibble. I would die for him.
September 2018 will forever be known as the month Lady Gaga changed pop culture history by appearing in A Star Is Born, creating some serious Oscar buzz, but more importantly, a deluge of memes in the process. These were mostly focused on the “let me take another look at you” part of the film, but Bibble also popped up again! I love him!
There were also some jokes about moths that, not gonna lie, I didn’t really get.
Usually, IMHFO, October is the lowest point of our current Gregorian meme calendar. By this point in the year, the meme makers that lurk inside all of us are worn out by summer and staring down the barrel of six months of long nights, grey afternoons and near-constant shivering. As a result the memes are the lowest common denominator -- spooky memes. They’re usually all ghouls and skeletons and ghosts and while it’s fine to carve “commitment” into a pumpkin and expect people to laugh, it’s like, aim higher?
Anyway, this year was an exception. Maybe because our summer lasted about 8 months (holla, global warming!) October 2018 delivered some quality memes, from Miley Cyrus with intense blue eyes, Cardi B yelling about convenience on Live, or — tied for the title of “greatest meme of 2018” — ‘weird flex but ok’ vs ‘sometimes it be like that’.
We might be nearly at the end of the year but the creativity of the memeosphere knows no bounds and slows down for no person. This is the month they reached new heights of creativity and talent. Ariana Grande taught us about love, about patience and pain...
But more importantly, my friends, this is the month they did surgery on a grape. It didn’t survive very long -- either as grape or as a meme -- but it was testament to the new heights we have reached this year, both on the internet and in the world of medicine.
Who knows, but here’s hoping it’s festive!
It’s been a helluva year for memes. But look, if we missed out on any please just tell us straight up.
We see you, you know.
This article originally appeared on i-D UK.