VOTE: Once and for all, which was 2020’s best meme?
I am once again asking you to choose the best meme of the year
In 2020, memes were our collective coping mechanism. Without going into unnecessary detail, a lot of bad stuff happened and we’ll all be glad to see the back of it. But throughout the year, whatever number the lockdown of the month had after it, the memes were there.
Sometimes they took the grim outside world and allowed us to mock it until the existential dread subsided (see: Stop the Count, nature is healing), others were so beautifully deranged that they allowed you to stop using the part of your brain which thinks about bad things (see: Da Vinky, everything is cake), but they were always good.
That’s probably the main thing here: this dumpster fire of a year was a sensational one for memes. Given everybody had a screen time of 20 hours for months at a time, that’s hardly surprising, but it is at least reassuring. However, despite them all being really quite good, the rules of the jungle dictate one must be crowned winner.
And so I’m asking you: please vote for the best meme of 2020. If a meme isn’t on this list, it’s because I don’t think it’s worthy. Sorry.
Always has been
Two astronauts looking at the earth from space. One, in amazement, realises a trick has been played on him from the start. “Wait, it’s all cake” he says. Behind him, the other astronaut, holding a gun to his head, decides he knows too much. Before he ties up the loose end, he gives him a parting shot: “Always has been.”
Simple, really. Always has been.
An environment so toxic
A 2020 meme so good they made it go viral twice, the classic Jane Lynch meme worked two ways. Either you could simply caption it with a reference to someone who had created a toxic environment, or just scribble out letters until the caption said something funny.
When you’re about to ruin the whole of 2020 pic.twitter.com/PbivmatGr6
— Greg Barradale (@GregBarradale) July 2, 2020
By the point in the year when this meme surfaced, we were all pretty much ready to lose our shit at two guys pronouncing Da Vinci like “Da Vinky”. Haha man say funny word now please let me see my friends.
How it started vs how it’s going
Look, 2020 started okay and it’s going…well, it’s nearly gone so that’s something. And there’s a meme for that. This one became a bit of a brand-magnet, so maybe mark it down for that.
How it started vs. How it’s going… pic.twitter.com/mbMklwGdRS
— Paddington (@paddingtonbear) October 12, 2020
Nature is healing, we are the virus
Sure, cities got a bit cleaner during the first lockdown. But it was the hoax post claiming dolphins had returned to Venice which really hit go on the 2020 lockdown meme everyone could participate in.
Venice hasn't seen clear canal water in a very long time. Dolphins showing up too. Nature just hit the reset button on us pic.twitter.com/RzqOq8ftCj
— Luca (@_deadmauz) March 17, 2020
As ever, this meme actually had serious origins – actress Rose McGowan coined the phrase in reference to the #MeToo movement. And yet, there we were, posting our Mamma Mia clips.
it was a cultural reset pic.twitter.com/8PmmfeIWnP
— lils (@snlfiilm) February 15, 2020
Gossip Girl memes
Go piss girl. It does not get better than that.
this was the best part of 2020 pic.twitter.com/DoETNzVQh0
— trish (@ULTRAGLOSS) December 15, 2020
STOP THE COUNT
On one hand, genuinely quite alarming that the President of the United States wanted them to just…stop counting votes. On the other, the fact he actually tweeted this is deeply hilarious.
STOP THE COUNT!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) November 5, 2020
Robert Pattinson in the kitchen
He looks so startled. He’s dressed so badly. 2020 was a good year for Pattinson – so good that this weird pic of him lingering in a kitchen only enhanced his profile.
I am once again asking for your financial support
Whereas most runs for president are financed by a few wealthy donors, Bernie managed to harness people power in his – ultimately doomed – bid for the Democratic nomination. Most of his donations were small, individual contributions. Why do you care? Because that’s how we get to the point where Bernie films a video and utters the immortal line: “I am once again asking for your financial support”.
Kim K’s private island
Honestly just one of the deeply tone-deaf things of the year. Eat the rich, but only after we’ve had our fun making memes about Kim’s private island.
After 2 weeks of multiple health screens and asking everyone to quarantine, I surprised my closest inner circle with a trip to a private island where we could pretend things were normal just for a brief moment in time. pic.twitter.com/cIFP7Nv5bV
— Kim Kardashian West (@KimKardashian) October 27, 2020
Mentally I’m here
Simple. Escapist, but can also be used as a micro-cry for help. A yelp for help.
physically i’m here but mentally i’m pic.twitter.com/cOz5SQ2ynY
— ✰ samflower ✰ (@milkygoddess) June 27, 2020
Everything is cake
All Tasty had to say was “These Are All Cakes” and we were all spun out. Any everyday item could be, in fact, a cake.
These Are All Cakes pic.twitter.com/ejArkJHaid
— Tasty (@tasty) July 8, 2020
We interviewed Tuba Geckil, the artist behind the cakes in the original video, who told us she’s been training for 12 years to create realistic cakes, and even competes in international competitions. “No one did work like this before”, she said, humbly.
I know a spot
Everyone thinks they know that utterly unique place nobody else knows. But usually, we’re all thinking of the same spot. This meme let us unleash our niche local knowledge to mock people who got notions of being in the know. And that’s great.
men be like “i know a spot” & then take you to rock bottom
— ratatouille (@nussyrox) June 26, 2020
“If we abolish the police who will solve the crimes?”
2020 saw longstanding calls to defund and abolish the police became mainstream slogans. And you know what happens to mainstream slogans.
While people were debating whether abolish the police literally meant abolish the police, those of us with smooth meme brains were out here celebrating our favourite fictional crime fighters.
if there’s no police, who will solve all the crime? pic.twitter.com/bnIWeTm6vK
— Andrew Moore (@agmxxre) June 9, 2020
My plans vs 2020
2020 really did go and fuck everything up, didn’t it.
my plans: 2020: pic.twitter.com/zjUKxoFeGo
— Abby Tomlinson (@twcuddleston) May 18, 2020
And I took that personally
Netflix’s The Last Dance was a heralded look at Michael Jordan’s career and his attempt to retire on a high by winning a second “three-peat”. It was also a glimpse into the psychology of staying at the top, revealing just how badly Jordan reacted to the smallest slight. Things got so weird that he admitted to making up an insult from a rival player just so he could get fired up for a game.
All embodied by the perfect sequel to crying Jordan: “And I took that personally”.
I am never going to financially recover from this
Perhaps Joe Exotic inspired all the rugby shmullets. We may never know the exact chain of cultural influence. What we do know is that during lockdown number one, when we were all hooked on Tiger King, Mr Exotic’s ridiculous reaction to tragedy inspired a million 2020 memes.
Tom Nook memes
If you could get your hands on a Switch this year, it was all about Animal Crossing. Although not actually that fun (sorry), the game is at least very soothing, and subjects you to the tyrannical rule of one Tom Nook. Capitalist overlord or friendly animal? You decide.
Weird meta meme crossovers
Lock people inside for long enough, and eventually the 2020 memes start blending into one.
crossover between the wojak in a corner of a party and the are ya winning son format but it’s the dad from are ya winning son walking into the party to let them know they don’t know my son is winning pic.twitter.com/9H9h8ih0Tv
— reactions (@reactjpg) December 12, 2020
In a way, aren’t we all just trying to dance a little while being transported to the grave?
The now TikTok famous dancing pallbearers from Ghana ⚰️ pic.twitter.com/cKDCxDig7s
— BBC News Africa (@BBCAfrica) April 16, 2020
Vote now for the best meme of 2020:
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