Similar to the way political cartoons were used in the 19th and 20th centuries, internet memes have become an important medium for portraying our current society. With the advantage of being internet based, we see these memes being adapted on almost a daily basis. Along with these adaptions, are intermittent new memes which are being created around the world. To honor some more recent memes which have come on to the scene, this article will highlight the 8 Best (and 7 Worst) Memes of this year. With the end of the year quickly approaching, we have an almost complete understanding of what the years best memes will look like. Memes, of course, can be adapted in a million different ways. As such, this list will only examine the baselines meme (the meme template if you will), and the various ways that this meme can be used will only be a factor in determining the meme template’s greatness. While it is almost impossible to determine where and when these memes originated, I will try to contain this list to only those memes which have fairly recently become popular. If you can think of any great (or terrible) memes from this year which did not make our list, feel free to mention them in the comments.
15. Best – IT Memes
Some of the best memes of 2017 have come from the various movies that were released this year. Some of the best of these were the ones from the recent remake of IT, a horror film based on the novel by Stephen King. My favorite of these memes are the type featured above (even though this one actually shows a clip from the original miniseries), which shows people willing to join Pennywise in the sewers for a variety of reasons. Not only do these memes make light of one of the best films of 2017, they also show that the stereotype of reckless white people in horror movies isn’t entirely inaccurate. The recent IT film was obviously made with a sequel in mind, so don’t be surprised if the next film is accompanied by its own set of hilarious memes.
14. Worst – Expanding Brain
You know those memes that you see all the time, but never really get? That meme for me in 2017 has been the “expanding mind” meme. This meme features three pictures of the human brain, with each progressive image showing an increase in brain activity as a result of whatever comment is featured in the picture. Take for instance, the above meme focused on peoples browsing history. As you can see, as the theories become more and more ridiculous, the brain in the meme becomes more and more active. While I understand the premise for this meme, I always felt that it was kind of limited. One of the greatest things about memes is their adaptability, and I really feel like this meme lacks that vital attribute.
13. Best – Joe Biden memes
I think that Joe Biden was a popular politician before this year, but the recent influx of Biden memes on the internet may have made him the most beloved politician in the entire U.S. Biden’s grandfatherly nature, combined with his obvious bromance with former president Barack Obama, has made him the perfect target for not just a single meme, but a series of memes. I have included my favorite one of these above, but there are a plethora of Biden memes floating around, and all but a few of them are truly great. Perhaps the best thing about these memes is that they make little, if any, mention of politics. In a world where the tiniest little things can become politicized, the Biden memes are so great because of their appeal to people from various walks of life.
12. Worst – Living in 3017 Memes
Since this is an article about 2017 memes, I thought a perfect entry would be one that actually discusses the year 2017. Our next meme shows people who have become so advanced that the internet community thought that they would be much more comfortable living a thousand years in the future. Most of these memes show people utilizing some sort of wacky invention or technique, and is really just to make fun of peoples’ weird behavior. One of my favorite of these memes is the one featured above, which shows a man who has come up with an inventive way of staying awake on the subway. Anyone who has ever ridden public transportation knows how weird the people on their can get, so I doubt if this gentleman was the oddest thing that happened on the train that morning.
11. Best – Suprised Guy Meme
One attribute which is necessary for a memes success is its simplicity. Rather than relying on an elaborate set of pictures or references, the best memes are simple enough to have universal appeal. Our next meme is a perfect representation of this, as the “surprised guy” meme has become one of the most widely used gifs on the internet. As shown above, the meme template is someone who has been taken aback by some unexpected news. Some surprise memes are more over the top, but this particular gif works so well simply because the man’s surprise is so subtle. Only yesterday I saw a new reincarnation of this meme, so don’t be surprised if its influence carries over into the next year, and becomes one of the most popular memes of 2018 as well.
10. Worst – Cash Me Ousside
One aspect of memes which led me to believe in their importance was their ability to make celebrities out of people who probably shouldn’t be famous. The perfect example of this happened in 2017, with the cash me ousside girl. This girl first gained notoriety on the Dr. Phil Show, where she was brought on in an attempt to reconcile her with her mother. Her outrageous antics made her an internet sensation, and her trademark phase, “cash me ousside, howbad dat,” has made her one of the most prevailing memes of the year. She has since been granted several TV and interview deals, once again proving that all it takes to make a career in the United States is the tiniest whiff of notoriety.
9. Best – Kevin Spacey Behind Kevin Spacey Mask
In writing this entry, I wanted to stay away from the recent controversy surrounding Kevin Spacey and the plethora of sexual harassment allegations against him. Spacey’s troubling past aside, this meme, and the moment behind it, are pretty funny. For the past few years, these Kevin Spacey cardboard cutout masks have become a fixture of the Florida Panther hockey games. Its roots are unknown, but for the past few years the team has passed around a sweatshirt adorned with Spacey’s face during their victory celebrations. During a game, Spacey obtained one of the cutouts, only to surprise the home crowd by revealing himself behind the mask. It was a pretty funny moment, and has made for an even funnier meme.
8. Worst – Last Jedi Meme
As a major cinephile, I personally love memes which are based off of my favorite movies. What i’m not a fan of, however, is when a clip becomes a meme before that movie even makes his debut. This is exactly what happened in 2017 with the meme of Luke Skywalker from “The Last Jedi.” The meme, taken from a point in the film where Luke is witnessing an awesome display of power from another Jedi, is appropriate for any circumstance where you would be awestruck by something. With the movie coming in the next few weeks, don’t be surprised to see more memes emerge from this blockbuster movie. I don’t want to spoil the film for anyone who hasn’t seen it yet, but there are quite a few clips towards the films end which are deserving of their own meme.
7. Best – Guy Looking Backwards Meme
I am almost positive that this meme floated around the internet prior to the start of this year, but it was in 2017 that it really took the internet by storm. The original picture is of a guy (presumably with his girlfriend or wife) who is looking back at another woman as she passes by him. The eager look on the guys face is in direct contrast to fury shown on his girlfriends. This meme has since been adapted to any situation where a person might be looking to stray from something they currently have, to something that is much more appealing. This meme has been especially prevalent in the political memes, and I have included my favorite version of it above, for your viewing pleasure.
6. Worst – What The Heck Cat Meme
For a long time, I was not sure what this meme even was. I have been assured that the creature featured is a cat, though I am still unclear of why, or how, this picture was taken. Regardless, the cat “what the fuck” meme, has become one of the most popular on the internet. I think one of the reasons for its popularity is that it can be used in such a variety of situations. Really, any instance where you’re unsure of what is going on, or if you’re just fed up with the world, makes this meme appropriate. This meme has become popular fairly recently, so I am excited to see the new, exciting, ways it is adapted in the coming months. If anyone who is more familiar with this meme could tell me about its origins (and if this thing is really a cat), it would be greatly appreciated.
5. Best – Juju Smith Schuster Bicycle Memes
It seems like every NFL season that there are certain storylines that announcers and commentators really focus on. For the 2017 season, one of these prominent storylines has been the emergence of Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver, Juju Smith Schuster. Not only has Juju been highly productive this season, but his unique personality and outlandish antics have made for some great TV moments. One of the best moments in his short NFL career, was the monstrous game he had after having his bike stolen from the southside of Pittsburgh. This has led to some great memes of Juju, which make light of his transportation issues. My favorite one of these memes is the one featured above, which makes fun of Juju’s recent 1 game suspension from the NFL.
4. Worst – The Floor Is Lava Memes
Most of the memes have had some reference to pop culture. Whether it be movies, music, or celebrities, the best memes are, admittedly, those that a lot of people have a connection with. Our next meme, however, needs no pop culture reference to make it instantly relatable to millions of people around the world. These collection of memes are a parody of the game (played by most people as children, and has recently been resurrected by several Youtube channels) where the participants must act like the floor is lava. This means that the players must find some avenue of getting from point A to point B without touching the floor (or risk having your limbs burnt off). These memes utilize a dry humor, as shown by one my favorites featured above.
3. Best – Guy Touching Head Meme
Despite being one of the most simple memes to make this list, the “you can’t…..” meme is also one of the best. Based off of a webseries called Hood Documentary, this meme shows a man smiling into the camera while putting a finger to his temple. His body language implies that he’s telling the viewer to think about it. This picture has since been adapted for any situation where someone thinks what they’re saying is really smart. Of course, some of the best versions actually make fun of ideas which are rather stupid. While many of these memes are pretty great, my favorite may just be the one featured above. If anyone has a version of this meme that they think is particularly hilarious, feel free to attach it to the comments.
2. Worst – Cooking Meme
Given how popular this meme has become in 2017, I must be missing some particular aspect of its appeal. The meme (often used as a gif), shows a guy from a cooking show flamboyantly putting some spices on one of his dishes. The cooks‘ obvious flair and unique look made him a natural choice for an internet meme. Most of the memes which have used this template have looked something like the one featured above. This, I think, highlights the fatal flaw with this meme. There simply aren’t that many ways in which this meme can be adopted, thus limiting its universal appeal. Maybe if I was actually familiar with the cooking show that this came from, I would have a better understanding of why people think that this clip, and the memes that it has inspired, are so funny.
1. Best – Be A Lot Cooler if You Did Meme
If you’re going to make an original meme, the best way to make it universally beloved is to base it off of an older, beloved movie. That is exactly what the makers of our next meme did, and the end result is one of the best memes of 2017. The meme features a young Matthew McConaughey from his breakout role in the film Dazed and Confused. In the film, McConaughey plays the stereotypical 21-year-old, who for some reason, is still hanging around high school parties. This role required him to act like a major tool for most of the film, a request that he eagerly accepted. This not only made for a memorable movie and role, it has also made for some pretty awesome memes. One of my favorites of these is featured above, and it only gives you a taste of what the McConaughey memes are all about.
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