Viral

The 22 best memes of 2022

Usher shares his thoughts on the 'watch this' meme
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How will 2022 be remembered?

Honestly, it’s been pretty bleak, guys. Most people will remember it for the invasion of Ukraine, the death of Queen Elizabeth II, the controversial World Cup in Qatar and the year of the Partygate scandal and political chaos.

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The real world got a little too real at times over the last 12 months, and people turned to social media in their millions for comfort.

Thankfully, there was a conveyor belt of incredible viral moments to keep us occupied – these are our picks of the 22 best ones from 2022.

"Normal men, just innocent men"

It’s strange to think that one of the biggest viral trends in the UK this year actually dates back to a puppet dog from a 2016 episode of CBBC kids show, but the internet moves in mysterious ways.

We're not sure how, but people became obsessed with this clip of kids’ favourite Hacker T Dog ominously saying “we’re just normal men, innocent men” earlier in the year but we're glad they did– and even Harry Maguire got the meme treatment.



Binley Mega Chippy

Binley Mega Chippy Song (Official Music Video) www.youtube.com

For a brief time, social media reminded us what a wholesome place it can be, when a small town on the outskirts of Coventry and its fish and chip shop went viral.

TikTok users suddenly got completely infatuated with the bog-standard looking fish and chip shop in Binley back in March and soon there were all kinds of videos, songs and parody accounts springing up on our feeds.


Morbius

It's Morbin Time! People love a good old flop at the box office, and Jared Leto’s earnest and desperately dull vampire movie Morbius was definitely that.

While Sony was busy trying to make a franchise out of Spider-Man villains, people took to social media in their thousands to take the mickey out of the movie and helped the film go viral for all the reasons - which disastrously convinced the movie studio to re-release the film.


Will Smith’s slap

Twitter

It was the biggest showbiz story of the year by far, and the picture of Will Smith slapping Chris Rock at the Oscars also just happened to be the perfect meme format too .

Chuck in Liam Payne’s nonsensical interview afterward and you’ve got all the ingredients for the meme of the year.



Liz Truss’s entire tenure as PM

Where to start with this one…

Liz Truss kept us all up to our eyes in memes during her laughably short time in Downing Street. After crashing the economy with unfunded tax cuts, kneeling to Prince Charles like she was trying to nod a football back to the keeper and being outlived by a lettuce there was so much ammunition for meme creators they barely knew where to begin. There may have only been 45 days of Truss as PM, but that was more than enough.


Adam Levine's sexts

Arguably the most cringe worthy celebrity moment came courtesy of Maroon 5 singer Adam Levine, who was forced to deny allegations he cheated on wife Behati Prinsloo with model Sumner Stroh after his private messages were leaked.

Since Stroh posted the video all about it, social media users have been taking screenshots of Levine’s messages which read: “It is truly unreal how f*cking hot you are; Like it blows my mind”.

The internet didn’t need telling twice, and it became an instant viral moment .


'Screw you woke moralists!'

Jordan Peterson accidentally turned himself into a meme with a tirade against his perceived online enemies back in the summer, just shortly after being suspended from Twitter after making derogatory remarks about actor Elliot Page.

Peterson then posted a passionate 15-minute-long video on his Instagram and YouTube channel in which he noted that he'd "rather die" than remove the tweet to get himself back on the platform.

"Up yours, woke moralists. We'll see who cancels who," Peterson said in the clip. It was a matter of minutes before he’d become a meme and people were comparing him to Kermit the frog.



Elon Musk ‘ruining’ twitter

Elon Musk’s few months in charge of Twitter have been interesting to say the least – and the internet has had an awful lot to say about it.

He bought the social network for $44bn this year and his first move was to unveil controversial plans to allow anyone on Twitter to become “verified” by paying $8 per month. It was then postponed just days into its launch due to a plague of $8 pranksters impersonating celebrities.

The Tesla CEO also reportedly told Twitter staff to work "long hours at high intensity" or leave the company, with a load of celebrities leaving the site over recent weeks.

Things got so chaotic at one point that even Musk himself was sharing memes about Twitter closing down.


The Conte and Tuchel handshake

One regular week of Barclays, that's all we ask…

Antonio Conte and Thomas Tuchel upstaged a 2-2 draw between Spurs and Chelsea back in August after engaging in some entertaining handbags at full-time.

Spurs came back late on to rescue a point at Stamford Bridge in the match and the pair came to blows twice. The first moment came in the 68th minute when Conte celebrated Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg’s goal and the second when the pair enjoyed the feistiest hand shake of all time .


Usher saying 'watch this'

A clip of Usher from his Tiny Desk performance proved to be one of the handiest meme formats ever seen this year. The footage of the R&B maestro saying “Watch this” became the new “hold my beer” and it’s been everywhere in 2022. Expect to see this one for years to come.



"I believed it was a work event"

The chaos of Liz Truss might have moved the news cycle forward, but the country hasn’t forgotten former PM Boris Johnson and the events of partygate – and more specifically, his comments about a ‘work event’.

Johnson’s ‘work event’ quote, in which he claimed he believed the parties inside Downing Street were in fact allowed because they related to work, has been a regular fixture in the partygate scandal over the past year – with the first case coming back in January when he apologised to MPs and the country for allowing parties to go ahead. It's also one of the biggest memes of the past 12 months and made a surprise appearance at Glastonbury .


Girlsplainer

We’re all familiar with the mansplaining guy in a club, blaring away in the ear of a clearly unimpressed woman. It’s a classic of the genre, and in 2022 we got the ying to its yang in the form of “girlsplainer” .

The image of the woman appearing to be enthusiastically talking into the ear of a man who looks completely bemused by what she has to say to him blew up in 2022, and many of the memes imagine she’s deep in conversion about everything from the Napoleonic wars to Dune .

It’s simple, and it’s one of the most effective meme formats we’ve seen in a long time.




'What’s going on in there?'

Seinfeld made a return to the meme-sphere, if there is such a thing, in 2022 when the episode that sees a chicken restaurant with an incredibly strong red light open up across the road from Jerry’s apartment resurfaced.

The moment Kramer first takes a look and says "What's going on in there?" was immortalised all over again 26 years after the episode first aired after it became a format earlier this year.



Julia Fox in general

It’s Julia Fox’s world and we’re just living in it – that’s the impression many people got after she became one of the most talked-about people after having a short-lived fling with Kanye West this year.

She gave us many meme-worthy moments in 2022, from calling her own book a ‘masterpiece’ despite not even finishing it to her now iconic pronunciation of her film Uncut Gems .



"Enough champagne to fill the Nile"

Death on the Nile wasn’t a big hit when it arrived earlier this year for a number of reasons - not least controversy surrounding one of its stars Armie Hammer - but it did bring us this great moment from Gal Gadot.

A line from Gadot which was featured in the trailer about there being "enough Champagne to fill the Nile" has become an instant hit mostly because of the actor's gloriously camp delivery. Forget about the rest of the film, we’re glad it exists for this line alone.



The same 24 hours in a day

Love Island alumni Molly-Mae Hague caused quite the stir when she went on the Diary of a CEO podcast and said: "You're given one life and it's down to you what you do with it. When I've spoken about that in the past, I have been slammed a little bit, with people saying, 'It's easy for you to say that, you've not grown up in poverty, you've not grown up with major money struggles, so for you to sit there and say that we all have the same 24 hours in a day, it's not correct.' And I'm like, ‘but technically what I'm saying is correct.’”

She’s right – why don’t all poor people just work harder? Why don’t all homeless people just buy a house?




“Get your f***ing ass up and work”

On a similar note, Kim Kardashian found herself at the centre of a social media storm after slamming women in business for ‘not wanting to work anymore’ and telling them to “get your f***ing ass up and work”.

Kim later said the comments had been taken out of context in a half-baked apology, and felt the wrath of meme makers across the world.




Big Jet TV

Remember Big Jet TV? What a day that was.

Storm Eunice hit the UK hard in February with winds of up to 100mph battering the country, and while most took shelter indoors, the incredibly addictive YouTube stream Big Jet TV quickly became one of the most popular things on the internet.

People tuned in to watch planes land at Heathrow in the most testing circumstances imaginable, with the channel, which is run by presenter, producer and editor Jerry Dyer, giving a blow-by-blow account of aircraft making their descent into London's Heathrow Airport. It was wholesome content, which reminded us of an airborne version of Francis Bourgeois’s train videos.



"My money don't jiggle jiggle"

@dukeandjones

My money don’t jiggle jiggle, it folds 💯💰 #louistheroux #ameliadimoldenberg #chickenshopdate #autotune #remix #fyp

Louis Theroux is never far away from the public’s attention, but it took a Chicken Shop Date with Amelia Dimoldenberg to make him the most shared viral rapper of the year.

The much-loved journalist and filmmaker was recalling the rapping he did in an old episode his Weird Weekends show when he dropped the lines “My money don't jiggle, jiggle, it folds. I like to see you wiggle, wiggle, for sure…”

From there, the internet was hooked, and pretty much every TikTok video for the next months had the same soundtrack.


Wordle


It’s hard to believe, but Wordle blowing up and becoming a massive thing actually happened this year. It feels like it’s been around for years, but it became a phenomenon in January, and back then it was basically the only thing people talked about online. Innocent times indeed.


“She’s a 10, but...”

Another trend we can’t believe only happened a few months ago. “She’s a 10” began on TikTok and involved users proposing scenarios where their partner is perfect in every way apart from one specific personality trait that can significantly decrease their attractiveness.

Hilarity ensued, for a short while.


Doors vs. wheels

It was the question that dominated discourse for a good week or two, and it’s one that still divides opinion even now.

But just what is there more of in the world? Doors or wheels?

Just like Laurel vs Yanny and blue and black vs white and gold dress debate before it, it split opinion and gave us some classic viral content back in March.



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