2020 hasn't been smooth sailing for most of us, for several reasons — from deadly wildfires to all the stars we’ve lost, and of course, the on-going pandemic. Thankfully, amid the madness, one Internet asset kept many of us sane: Stellar Memes.
Here are some of the best memes, tweets and TikTok videos that had us laughing through the tears, stress, and anxiety:
1. ‘Parasite’ Director Bong Joon-ho Oscar Moments
At the beginning of the year, Korean film ‘Parasite’ swept the awards circuit, and director Bong Joon-ho became the best part of awards season.
He had the most wholesome reactions, and the Internet adored his proud daddy energy.
please no one ever tell bong joon-ho these awards are televised and recorded, i want this dad energy forever pic.twitter.com/008yg3iC0h
— matt (@RealMattGannon) January 20, 2020
me when my cats do the same things they do everyday: pic.twitter.com/FudLkCqEug
— bradley babendir (@therealbradbabs) January 20, 2020
Another endearing, meme-able moment was when he made two Oscar statuettes kiss.
bong joon ho said gay rights !! pic.twitter.com/WX6sCyqy5B
— E. Alex Jung (@e_alexjung) February 10, 2020
@e_alexjung’s tweet garnered over 235,900 likes and
39,300 retweets in a day.
2. Tiger King Broke the Internet
Netflix released the strange, spiralling docuseries just when the world needed it; the perfect cure for quarantine boredom. The show was a breakthrough hit and with its popularity, of course, came some quality memes that provided some much-needed moments of levity amidst our daily assault of reality.
Me: I can’t stop thinking about, talking about, or reading about the coronavirus
— Mary (@maryyyyrosee) March 23, 2020
— ALEXI HATCH (@alexihatch) March 26, 2020
3. Nature is Healing, We Are the Virus.
With humans around the world trapped behind closed doors to halt the spread of the virus, we finally got to see reports of nature bouncing back, flourishing in a humanless world. Sadly, that wasn’t true, and in the face of such a devastating letdown, a new meme was born:
with everyone on lockdown, the lime scooters are finally returning to the river. nature is healing, we are the virus. pic.twitter.com/I0IbCfiMnj
— ron ronson (@taladorei) March 26, 2020
Internet users got creative, showing increasingly ridiculous shots of the "natural world" returning to cities.
Wildlife finally returning to Thames. Nature is healing🌷 pic.twitter.com/d6uBxSaIAx
— ruby 🐊 (@roobeekeane) March 29, 2020
With everyone on lockdown nature is getting a chance to recover. The wildlife is finally returning to its natural habitat. Just look at Inverness, Scotland. The Earth is healing. We are the virus. pic.twitter.com/Wpulmo7DTw
— Conor (@lilpiri) March 31, 2020
4. Ready for Zoom?
There's nothing quite as 2020 as Zoom-related memes. It became an essential tool in the world overnight as everyone got used to new meeting routines.
From “Sorry, I was on mute” to getting ready for zoom meetings, the Internet had fun with their new realities.
— Microsoft Teams (@MicrosoftTeams) March 31, 2020
Here’s your new Zoom background. You’re welcome. pic.twitter.com/yR5UsbAuSH
— Kitze (@thekitze) March 30, 2020
Even Netflix started meme-ing and got its favourite characters onboard.
5. The Realities of Social Distancing
With new routines, came new rules. Memes were used to address social distancing measures while sneaking in a chuckle.
— Hollywood Exposed (@AndstuffL) March 19, 2020
Local bloggers put their comedic spin on a local tune, calling on everyone to practise social distancing.
Even Singapore’s beloved chicken rice followed the 1M social distancing guidelines.
6. Hannah Montana Leaves
Uncertain times made it difficult to plan ahead, so the Internet reverted to nostalgia. A Twitter account, for example, dug deep into our childhoods, sharing a major throwback video from Hannah Montana. The video got the meme treatment it so rightfully deserved and hung around for quite some time.
It just worked on so many levels.
— out of context hannah montana (@OCHannahMontana) April 16, 2020
saying goodnight to the dishes sitting in the sink for the 4th night in a row
— Michael Tannenbaum (@iamTannenbaum) April 17, 2020
It hit home when Singapore reopened after six weeks of lockdown.
me finally leaving the house in phase 2pic.twitter.com/MFjqVfTcpz
— YEOLO™ (@tzehern_) June 16, 2020
7. Everything Is Cake
As the world baked their way through the pandemic, something sweet caught everyone by surprise. It all started when Buzzfeed Tasty shared a video of seemingly ordinary items like a Croc shoe, a roll of toilet paper, or a bar of soap that all turned out to be various cake creations.
These Are All Cakes pic.twitter.com/ejArkJHaid
— Tasty (@tasty) July 8, 2020
Viewers found these carefully designed desserts equally delightful and unsettling. A social media dialogue on what should, and should not, be made of cake quickly ensured.
guys i’m genuinely distressed i can’t take this shit anymore pic.twitter.com/vUl54Ro444
— iz 🪴 (@evillanelles) July 11, 2020
As if the world isn’t already uncertain enough, now I don’t know whether to trust inanimate objects to be real or cake
— K. (@kieraforstell) July 17, 2020
There’s a reason why this viral trend tickled our brains. As Rolf Nelsen, a professor at Wheaton College, explained, “We're fascinated by the quality of the illusion — and there's the strange dissonance brought on by perceiving things in two ways.”
8. How It Started / How It’s Going
By the third quarter of 2020, memes started taking on a life of their own. Even though the “how it started vs how it’s going” originated as a template for celebrating one relationship, how it has changed over time, the Internet soon found several other uses for it. The format had great versatility for users to make political and social commentary across a broad range of topics, becoming the all-purpose meme for 2020.
how it started how it ended pic.twitter.com/dm0YYg9Z9D
— mel (@vjllanelles) September 23, 2020
The meme started in late September in a cutesy relationship-goals type post from a Twitterer who goes by @vjllanelles
How it started How it’s going pic.twitter.com/gANZuAI0At
— Adz (@adnannhussainn) October 29, 2020
Like many memes we’ve seen earlier in the year, this meme effortlessly encapsulates the challenging year we had. That said, the meme isn’t all bad. Some users created this meme to tell a story of success instead of despair.
.@KingJames made his NBA debut 17 years ago today:
How it started How it's going pic.twitter.com/upkWu42iEK
— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) October 29, 2020
How it started how it's going pic.twitter.com/wX0kPOprt2
— Xbox FR (@XboxFR) October 7, 2020
9. I Ain't Never Seen Two Pretty Best Friends
Like many other memes that became iconic on the platform, the ‘two pretty best friends’ soundbite has since become a staple on TikTok. TikTok creator Jordan Scott, AKA @jayrscottyy coined the phrase in a controversial video, earning 48 million views to date.
why y’all never choose another equal to be y’all best friend?? I hate when the ugly one call the pretty 1 “twin” if ur best friend bad as u tag her rn
People were initially confused and offended, with some calling it out as misogynistic. However, the video quickly rose in popularity with people squeezing the line into any and every possible context.
A quick cruise through the #iaintneverseentwoprettybestfriends hashtag also unearths another manifestation of the meme: Rickrolling — a bait-and-switch that shows up when the viewer least expects it. Creators either add the phrase right at the end of the video or use it as a punchline for elaborate scenarios.
10. Spotify Wrapped 🤦🏻♀️
And so it goes: Another year, another Spotify Wrapped here to expose us all, leaving some listeners feeling slightly embarrassed about what they’ve been blasting while stuck in this hellscape year.
my spotify wrapped to me: pic.twitter.com/mP8CW7Mbgi
— jianna justice (@jiannajustice) December 2, 2020
— johnten (@sanissuchateez) December 2, 2020
Would love to blame this on my job, but... pic.twitter.com/Jy4zleMrup
— Netflix UK & Ireland (@NetflixUK) December 2, 2020
2020 saw the meme reach new heights. Internet users created memes for all sorts of reasons; some made memes to lift spirits; some made memes to spread important information; some made memes to communicate.
Today’s memes are more than just jokes we share online; they now document real-life, the good, the bad & ugly, the funny, and not-so-funny.
Memes offer mutual commiseration, moral support and a little ray of sunshine, especially during a year like no other. So, long live the memes and may they forever reign.