The Brief: "You're finally awake" memes suggest that the hardships of 2020 were all a dream and that we're actually in a more nostalgic and peaceful time of the past.
“You’re finally awake” memes originated from a scene in the video game The Elder Scrolls 5: Skryim when the character Ralof says to players: “Hey, you! You’re finally awake. You were trying to cross the border, right? You walked right into that Imperial ambush. Same as us, and that thief over there.”
Initial versions of these memes that were popular in 2019 used the image of Ralof to present situations in which someone wakes up somewhere unexpected and they’re greeted with a summary of what they’ve missed.
In August 2020, the general concept along with the phrase “you’re finally awake” was applied to memes about someone waking up and realizing that the unfortunate events of the past year were all a dream. Many of these memes use images of subcultures from the 2000s to suggest that the viewer is waking up in a different, simpler decade.
A particularly popular meme by @ididitallforthelimpbizkitmemes on Instagram includes a picture of three young Limp Bizkit fans and reads “hey bro finally you’re awake, you hit your head pretty hard there…2020? Global pandemic? Economic devastation? idk what you’re talking about, look hurry up, Limp Bizkit are on stage next. then we’re going back to Cody’s to play PS2 after the concert.” This meme was reposted by the popular accounts @trashcanpaul and @sonny5ideup.
Other variations of these memes include photos from the early to mid-aughts of things including tanning salons, scene kids, and folk-punk music fans.
“you’re finally awake! thank god. that fall looked really bad! 2020?? pandemic? donald trump as president? what the hell are you talking about? let’s go listen to the new circa survive album and go to the mall” pic.twitter.com/3DvcFh3oV3
— cat carroll (@catscarlett) August 28, 2020
A nod to the original Skyrim meme:
Hey you. You're finally awake. That fall looked real bad. Industrialized society? Zyzz and Harambe's death? Onlyfans? COVID19? Season 10? What on earth are you talking about?
Must've hit your head real bad. The execution awaits us bröthür. No fear. To Sovngarde. pic.twitter.com/1fV3hHFppy
— DeltV9 (@DeltV9) August 27, 2020