In this year where nothing has gone according to plan, there has been one reliable constant: memes.
If we were to crown one meme that has ruled 2020, the winner has to be the Sue Sylvester meme.
But what exactly is the Sue Sylvester meme?
The meme itself is a screenshot of Jane Lynch as Sue Sylvester in Glee as she says that she’s “going to create an environment that is so toxic”. The scene comes from the seventh episode of the show’s first season in which Sue vows to destroy the school glee club by sowing divisions in the team, hence the “toxic environment”.
It’s not a particularly memorable moment in a show that’s littered with some of the most outrageous plot lines to have graced television, but it probably speaks to the very toxic environment we’re living in now in a way that has surprisingly resonated with social media users stuck at home and stuck online.
How did it become popular?
According to Know Your Meme, the meme began circulating in its original form in July with one user’s very meta take on the quote.
sue sylvester when she's going to create an environment that is so toxic https://t.co/RWtsZFpRv6
— the thicc husband & father (@the thicc husband & father)
my anxiety: https://t.co/J85vORJhBm
— priya formerly from the DMs (@priya formerly from the DMs)
Strangely, the format has longevity no one could anticipate, inspiring memes still to this day. Considering that a life cycle of a meme tends to be pretty short, a meme remaining popular for almost half a year is unheard of.
would love to read an analysis of why the hell the sue sylvester meme has managed to be the defining meme of 2020??… https://t.co/0AVG8vNTVv
Memes are an unpredictable phenomena that can’t really be explained, but the fact that the meme can be edited to adapt to any joke and situation is probably why it has lasted for so long. Plus, people just think it’s funny. Isn’t that all you need from a meme anyway?
In the midst of the unpredictable, knowing I’m going to continue seeing that Sue Sylvester meme every five minutes… https://t.co/ZWGwPk2ToB