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20th Dec 2018

Every viral meme from 2018, ranked from worst to best

Telling lies? Ha ha ha

Ciara Knight

Mamma Meme-a, here we go again!

As we face into the frankly fake sounding year of 2019, we must pause and reflect on the special times we’ve shared together this year, especially involving memes.

If I had pulled you aside this time last year and said “Telling lies, ha ha ha” or “They did surgery on a grape”, you would’ve nodded and smiled, then taken out your phone and made arrangements for me to be taken away on the grounds of insanity.

But now that we’ve lived through the shitshow that was 2018 and come out the other side, credit must be paid to the things that made us laugh, albeit briefly.

I’ve ranked every viral meme from 2018, from best to worst. All decisions are final. Please, I beg you, do not @ me.

30. U Want This?

In the year of our Lord 2018, surely we can do a lot better than figuring out the equivalent of how to write ‘boobs’ on a calculator. Why are we reverting back to manual emojis as if they’re vinyl or cassettes that provide “a different vibe, man”?. Although ‘U want this?’ perfectly encapsulates the stupidity that us internet users are privy to, it’s important to acknowledge that we, as a society, no matter how dim some of us are, can do better. It’s cute, but it’s very dumb and we are leaving it behind once the clock strikes midnight on 31st December 2018, got it? Good.


29. To All The Boys

Netflix released a movie called ‘To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before‘ this year and precisely one person did a funny tweet, then things spiralled out of control. Now to be fair, the movie was a delicious dose of tweenage rom-com trash, but that’s all it ever should’ve been. The two lead actors now have a combined Instagram following of 22 million people. It is insanity, as was the meme format which was luckily quite short-lived. Again, I firmly believe that we can do better. Sometimes it’s okay to see a funny tweet and then move on rather than joining in and burning the concept into the ground.


28. Don’t Say It

Approximately five of these tweets was funny, then it became an exhausted meme that required extra scrolling during the daily trudge through the internet because of its offensive length. The format was obliterated within days, whereby people completely missed the mark and failed to understand the very simple concept, which was that you say something you’re not supposed to say, rather than a quirky statement. We must bury this meme and never speak of it again, quite literally agreeing that we don’t say ‘don’t say it’ for the rest of our natural lives. Thank you.


27. Change My Mind

Honestly the world is just sick of looking at the smug little face on Steven Crowder as he prepares to sip on what I am absolutely certain is room temperature tap water out of a dusty mug. Every time it pops up on the timeline, the content is completely glossed over because of the shitty sideways image and his punchable expression. The original sign said ‘Male privilege is a myth. Change my mind’. That in itself is very funny. There was no need to parody the preexisting parody. I hope he goes away and we never see this dumb meme again in 2019 and beyond.


26. Weird Flex But Ok

This is a pretty funny statement, but it should never have been granted meme status. It’s like the Budweiser ‘Whassssssssup’ movement of 1999. Can you imagine how insufferable the internet would’ve been if Twitter existed back then? Or WhatsApp voice notes? Jesus Christ. ‘Weird flex but ok’ is definitely something that’s acceptable to use in everyday discourse, but did it deserve to gain meme level in 2018? Honestly, no. The memes it inspired were weak and that’s as a direct result of the concept being mediocre to begin with. Goodbye.


25. He’s Not Your Man

In what is basically an agony aunt column turned into sponsored content specifically geared at going viral among teenage girls, this meme is weak. It’s the Rudolph of memes, constantly getting picked on by the others but still getting Christmas songs written about it because the world is populated entirely by morons. As time went on in this meme’s shelf life, the setups became more elaborate and we were reading well over our tolerance levels for literature. This meme pleads a strong case for Twitter reverting back to the 140 character limit, tbh.


24. Savage Patrick

The image does all the heavy lifting here, with the caption rarely living up to its brilliance. The hook is that Patrick Star is generally a very loveable idiot who plays sidekick to his best friend, so it’s unexpected to see him occupying the mindset of a villain, albeit very briefly. The initial point stands. Very few viral memes had the right captions to suit his harrowing facial expression and uncomfortably voluptuous lower eyelids. The heavily sexualised ones were kinda funny though, credit where it’s due.


23. Sexuality Survey

The layout was aesthetically pleasing, that deserves to be noted. As was the intention, which was for people to share their unconventional interests like how 50 Shades of Grey should’ve been, but then the meme just turned into people using the opportunity to write song lyrics and movie quotes in all caps with a view to getting retweets. It was a classic case of a meme starting out well, but then descending into base level humour. It deserved more, we all did. But we can learn from our mistakes. For example, the layout can be reduced, reused and recycled in 2019.


22. Not A Cellphone In Sight

This meme turned out to be a classic case of the first iteration being very funny, then everything else that followed going to shite. The intent is definitely there, wanting to make fun of gammons who think that olden times were the pinnacle of existence where you couldn’t instantly contact your favourite celebrity using a small device in your pocket, telling them that you’d like them to spit in your mouth. The gammon has been bodied again and again so it was nice to add to the discourse, but sadly this meme got very stale very quickly.


21. In This Essay…

Much like the previous meme, this one again fell victim to having a very short shelf-life. It’s nobody’s fault, no one can predict how long a meme is going to last. The nerds chime in with their own versions and try to get things to a level where they’re constantly evolving, finding new territory and hitting that 100k retweet threshold. But sometimes, we fail. This meme format has a few hits, but unfortunately the rest are misses. It won’t be remembered for a long time to come, but for a little while , it slapped reasonably hard. We must now lay it to rest.


20. One Taught Me Love

In a very clever marketing ploy for Ariana Grande’s upcoming world tour, this meme went far and wide above all expectations. Whoever first devised the format is owed a great deal of commendation as it’s smart and original. However, the entire population of earth bandwagoned on the concept and drove it fast and furiously into the ground before long. Experts suggest that 1 in 3 people tried to make a ‘One taught me…’ meme in the fiscal year of 2018, none of which were funny. Sometimes it’s okay to step back and allow the funny people to take the reins.


19. Most Ambitious Crossover

Marvel was well and truly bodied by this meme after claiming that Avengers: Infinity War was the most ambitious crossover in history. The internet at large banded together to make fun of the franchise in a gentle way, and for a time, it was good, wholesome fun. Then it got old very quickly, especially once the folks over on Facebook caught wind of it approximately six months after it was popular. Still, it was a lot of fun while it lasted and everyone learned a valuable lesson: We, as a society, are far more powerful when we body together instead of alone.


18. If You Don’t Love Me

This was a solid meme, but the formatting was chaos. People were using desktop, others on their phones and some lunatics even used iPads to create the structure which rarely worked out. The year is 2018, we can make a baked potato in five minutes using the microwave, it really shouldn’t be that hard to align text in a tweet. Yet here we are, giving a good meme a low placement on an important list because the formatting so often let it down. Plus, it got pretty stale once the celebrities started trying to shoehorn their career highlights into it.


17. I Don’t Feel So Good

Avengers: Infinity War continued to be bodied throughout 2018 with this visually pleasing meme, which involves disintegrating images in a nod to the ending of the film. What’s great about this meme is that it was only adapted by the more technologically advanced internet users, meaning it escaped hitting the usual base level standard of output every meme eventually reaches towards the end of its life cycle. It was an original meme and one that stuck around for just the right amount of time, mainly due to its difficulty in producing. Well done to all involved.


16. Bibble

This meme was slightly limited in its reach in the sense that it mostly revolved around singing, but there was still a lot of ground to cover as internet users surpassed themselves with their output. Bibble is an adorable little creature from the Barbie movies, which you can see a snippet from here. Regardless of which internet user was sinfully watching the Barbie movie and spotted this golden piece of content, the world is now a far better place with Bibble in it. Who among us hasn’t pulled the above expression at karaoke or from the comfort of a private shower concert? We are one.


15. Life With Mak

Frankly I am sick of the sight of this young girl’s face, but am willing to set that aside and pay homage to a very decent meme. Life With MaK does ASMR videos which some internet genius discovered makes for incredible meme content. Once these clips reached the mainstream, things fell into place and the world finally started to make sense again. The longevity is endless, as MaK continues to make videos and the relatable captions keep coming. This one could go all the way to 2019 and even beyond. Excellent work to all involved. Keep up the good work.


14. American Chopper

As a concept, American Chopper is already very funny. A father and son make motorbikes together while arguing the entire time because they are two people that should never have gone into business with each other under any circumstances. Taking one of their typically explosive encounters and adding text is funny before it has even taken place, so naturally the meme is a total triumph (little motorcycle reference there, thank you). The possibilities are endless, especially when you flip the format and make it seem like they’re showering each other with praise despite their aggressive body language.


13. Tired SpongeBob

How such a simple image and caption format took off we can never understand, nor do we need to. SpongeBob featured in a lot of meme formats this year, as he does every year to be fair, but this one was by far the most fruitful of the bunch. As humans, we are tired all the time. Life is a relentless demand on our time and energy, slowly chipping away until the day we die. SpongeBob gets that. All it takes is an absolutely banging caption to revive this meme time and time again. Sure, there were a few doozies, but the ones that slapped really bloody slapped.


12. Mike Wazowski

It’s basically the Bibble meme but coming from a more recognisable character, with added production value. There’s something about a meme with an image overlay that always slaps, see the many cat owners posing with their pets for reference. Add to that the breakout star of Monsters, Inc. and you’re onto a winner. The meme wasn’t even confined to music, it reached all breadth of content and relatability. As a visual presence, Mike Wazowski is hysterical, so gaining meme status was an easy journey. With that said, is it time to retire the format now that every possible avenue has been explored? Probably, yes.


11. FBI Agents

Rather than succumbing to the paralysing reality that FBI agents are spying on our every move both in real life and on the internet, we have all chosen to ignore this information and turn it into a relatable meme instead. Will this ultimately lead to the demise of humanity at large? Absolutely, but it’s nice to have fun. This meme is both hysterical and deeply unnerving. Our private lives are no longer private. Total secrecy does not exist, but at least we’ve got some sweet GDPR guidelines to distract us from all that. Sleep well 🙂


10. Is This A Pigeon?

This exquisite piece of content originates from a 90s Japanese anime TV series where the character queries whether a very blatant butterfly is a pigeon and things just went from there, basically. This meme was everywhere throughout 2018 and will likely continue in the same way that the distracted boyfriend has done a year after its initial unleashing onto the internet. Its subject can take any form, the possibilities are endless and when the caption is nailed, internet users have been known to be transported to another realm with relatable laughter. Seriously.


9. Tide Pods

At the beginning of the fiscal year 2018, the world descended into turmoil with the revelation that everyone agrees on one thing: Tide Pods look very tasty. With that, the memes began and continued for just about the right amount of time. The corporate world tried to get involved and a bunch of absolute squares had to remind people not to eat them, which frankly only added to the hilarity. The meme took many forms and set the bar quite high for the rest of 2018 to live up to. Search #TidePodChallenge on Twitter and relive the memories while sipping on a delicious Tide Pod.


8. Young Cardi B

An image of 5-year-old Cardi B surfaced on the internet earlier this year and it was an absolute goldmine. She’s adopting the stance of a disapproving Mum who’s just found her kids colouring in the wallpaper again, except she is a literal child herself. The meme took on the tone of a sassy child, which it’s very easy to believe that Cardi B actually was. Regardless of the fact that it’s literal Cardi B in the photograph, it probably would’ve gone viral anyway. We’re taking this meme in 2019 because it’s got longevity. No further questions at this time.


7. Gritty

The precedent for all mascots was set by the National Hockey League Philadelphia Flyers mascot’s performance in 2018. Gritty was debuted as their new mascot in September and his chillingly dead eyes have been ingrained into the minds of society ever since. With the greatest respect, the dude looks haggard beyond belief and like he’s seen a wealth of harrowing things. Naturally, the internet responded with a series of memes so fire, they’ve had to be isolated for fear of igniting the atmosphere and decimating the entirety of earth. Nice one, Gritty.


6. Squinting Lady

At the end of the day, and I’m not afraid to say it, we all squint. This meme originated when someone shared an outtake image from their latest Instagram, where she was squatting to achieve the perfect picture for the #gram. It proves that life is exhausting and all is not as it seems at times. But it’s also a deeply hilarious stance that can be captioned with literally anything and still be funny. The internet surpassed itself with variations of the meme which is set to continue being rehashed long into 2019.


5. Is Your Child Texting About…?

Parents, am I right? They just don’t get it because they’re so heckin’ old and stupid and boring, right? Ugh. Smash that like and subscribe button if you agree, champ. This meme builds on the fearmongering that the media loves to unleash upon clueless parents who don’t understand how the internet works. As is only right, the online community decided to mock this blatant expression of stupidity with a funnier expression of stupidity. The memes are still coming to this very day and show no signs of stopping. Thank you, internet, for being a safe space for sarcastic little brats.


4. Johny Johny Yes Papa

In what I’m deeming The Weirdest Meme Of 2018, Johny Johny tells the heartwarming tale of a family obsessed with food shaming each other and denying the consumption of sugar at any cost. The YouTube videos were unearthed this year despite being online since 2009 and boy oh boy did we go to town on the illogical premise in every single one of them. In an exciting turn of events, we went so hard on these seemingly innocent videos, they had to be removed from the internet because the copyright violations quite literally exploded. Finally, we broke the internet for something good.


3. They Did Surgery On A Grape

Not sure if you’ve heard, but they did surgery on a grape. That’s it. That’s the joke. Not particularly funny, but also not not particularly funny when you really think about it. This meme had no business going viral in the year of our Lord 2018, but it did because the world is chaos at the moment. In these uncertain times, it’s comforting to know that a concept as simple as operating on a piece of fruit is all it takes for something to unite the internet with its stupidity. I’m glad they did surgery on that grape. I hope it’s recovering well and back to full health soon.


2. Days Without Sex

Not a lot to explain here, just a load of memes based on the turmoil surrounding involuntary celibacy. Internet users surpassed themselves in terms of creativity and self-deprecating humour with this one, uniting us all with relatable stupidity. This one, much like the celibacy, has longevity. It’s not time specific, meaning this meme can continue right into 2019 and beyond. Whoever invented the format, we thank you for your honesty and contribution to the meme hall of fame. Yours is a road less traveled by, but hopefully one day you’ll get the sweet, sweet loving you deserve.


1. Moths

2018 was bearable thanks to moth memes. They came into our lives unannounced and we flocked to them, like a… moth to a… flame. Moths had no business slapping that hard in the public discourse of 2018, but they did that. They did that for all of us. Every single moth meme was funny. Even the shit ones were funny. Everything about a moth is funny. They love lamps so goddamn much, they deserved to have a light quite literally shone on them this year. Truly, the 2018 meme scene was mediocre until moths came along. It’s going to be a difficult year to beat and that’s fully down to the moth content. Congratulations, moths. The title of Best Meme of 2018 is deservedly yours.