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In Meme-oriam 2015: A tribute to the memes we lost this year
Thank god the year’s finally over.
Memes may come and go, but our retweets and reblogs are forever.
These concepts crawl from obscure corners of the Web or come out of a big cultural event. But the biggest memes have a rise so meteoric that self-destruction is the only and ultimate fate. While they may still exist for years, the frenzy leaves them shells of once they once were. And the denizens of the Internet move on to the next viral topic.
2015 saw many of these memes rise to the highest peaks of relevance and plunge back into the Internet wasteland. This is their meme-oriam. Light your candles and cue Sarah McLachlan “I Will Remember You.”
Countless ears have heard Silento’s “Watch Me” thanks to the dance move. And a lot of people looked super fly executing the whip, raising their knee and pretending to turn a steering wheel. But with that being said, many people also looked completely ridiculous attempting the move and should have been stopped before posting their routines to the Internet. Alas, they were not, and they are the ones who dug the whip’s grave. With Hillary Clinton getting in on the action, there was no hope it could be resurrected.
The Dress had the shortest life cycle out of any major meme this year—even shorter than that of a housefly. People practically rioted as team black-and-blue dueled with team white-and-gold, and others totally flipped out once they could see the garment change colors in front of their eyes. The Dress phenomenon was gargantuan within 48 hours, amassing over 400,000 notes on Tumblr. BuzzFeed’s poll of what color the dress was had more than 1.8 million votes within 10 hours. The madness was intoxicating, with people screaming on Twitter and posting on Facebook, demanding explanations. Soon the exposés and thoughtpieces came, sealing the viral garment’s fate—now it is no more than a blip on our meme timeline.
Netflix and Chill
Those who have been invited to go over to somebody’s house to “Netflix and Chill” already knew what the phrase implied before it had to be explained to the general public as a euphemism for hooking up. The meme experienced an eruption of popularity at the end of the summer, with moms eventually freaking out over coded phrase’s true meaning. News of a “Netflix and Chill Festival” proved to be a mass-marketing stunt exploiting a college-aged demographic, which hammered the last nail into the meme’s coffin long before it was carried away to emblazon condom packages and serve as lazy people’s Halloween costumes.
There’s no arguing that “Hotline Bling” is an artistic masterpiece, but with all of the Drake mashups and everyone raving about Aubrey’s relatable-yet-sexy-yet-dorky dance moves, it was honestly just too much. Besides, the most important work Drake did all year was in his Degrassi reunions.
While Left Shark’s heyday outlasted Katy Perry’s Super Bowl performance, it didn’t take long for the dancing carnivore to swim out of our short attention spans. The best part about the meme is that Snoop Dogg tweeted (probably when he was extremely faded) that he was the shark that stole the show. A Twitter account with the handle @LeftShark has tried to stay relevant in the 10 months since this landmark viral moment, but it’s really just riding Perry’s coattails. Left Shark did make its glorious return in the DJ Khaled Christmas geofilter, but other than, that it’s a washed up meme.
Pizza Rat stole our garbage hearts because many of us see Pizza Rat within our own carb-craving hearts. The actual existence of a rat devouring pizza isn’t something that many would doubt, but seeing a rodent carry a slice the size of itself was a marvelous sight to gaze upon. But as it accomplished little beyond proving that New York City is indeed a literal dump, Pizza Rat faded away faster than a piece of pizza can biodegrade.
The Minion Craze was inescapable during the summer of 2015. A borderline epidemic. You couldn’t click anywhere on the Internet without a minion staring back at you. Whether it was Facebook moms sharing pictures of what they thought to be adorable little creatures or the illustrated sexcapades of the gibberish-speaking flunkies, minions were a plague. And, like any other disease, they needed to be eradicated.
Thankfully, the tides turned and we were finally able to cleanse ourselves of the yellow beings. And while this memeorium is mainly intended to mourn the loss of memes that we will miss, we will not grieve for minions. Because they’ll be back with a Minions 2 movie and all sanity will be lost again.
Maybe you found the animated dancing avatars created from selfies endearing or cute. But no. They were weird and they were creepy.
What Are Those
It was fun while it lasted. And the original video, with a youth asking a cop “WHAT ARE THOOOOSE!?!” really was a world-class piece of content. And as the meme began circling the drain, there were plenty of other Vines that put new spin on the question thrown at a person’s footwear choice. What Are Those is a meme that went out with dignity, simply arriving at its demise due to the natural course of most jokes on the Internet.
Poor, poor Poot. She really should have just stayed in the basement—she hardly had a chance in this brutal world. Demi Lovato found herself in the weird Internet spotlight several times this year (the mug situation, when she flicked a fan in the vajayjay), but none captivated people’s attention like a picture of her from an unflattering angle. Tumblr dubbed her Poot, Lovato’s twin sister—who had been hidden away her whole life. The Poot remixes came and they conquered, with everything from Harry Pooter to Vladamir Pootin. Lovato didn’t seem too thrilled about her “twin sister” also becoming famous, but it was not the singer’s disapproval that finally banished Poot back to the basement. Any roast is susceptible to overcooking, which happened with Poot. She was no longer our it girl.
Illustration via J. Longo
Gabe Bergado is a Daily Dot alumnus who covered dank memes, teens, and the weirdest corners of the Internet. One time, Ted Cruz supporters turned him into a meme—or at least tried to. In 2017, he started reporting for Teen Vogue's entertainment section.