The Brief: 2020 has been a year like no other and the evidence is in the memes which capture some of the chaos, struggle, and incomprehensibility of the past year.

Bluesquiggle
DEEP DIVE

The breadth of memes from 2020 show how people have been coping in uncertain times via absurdist humor, political commentary, silly pop culture references, and more. Here are some of the defining memes of the dumpster fire year known as 2020.

Always Has Been

This nonsensical meme started with a joke about the whole world being part of Ohio. More broadly, it’s used to highlight major realizations and conspiracy theories.

Are Ya Winning Son

Memes about stick-figure parents trying to relate to their kids are surprisingly wholesome.

You So Icy, Baby I’m a Glacier Boy

Quavo’s pickup line to Saweetie took the internet by storm as people boldly started using it on their crushes, including celebrity crushes.

https://twitter.com/zackfox/status/1314263052796276744

“They don’t know”

Wojak knows exactly how it feels to be standing in a corner, being anti-social at a crowded party.

I Am Going To Create…

As people rewatched Glee in quarantine, this Sue Sylvester meme took over the internet.

Gossip Girl/Go Piss Girl  

The same thing happened with Gossip Girl and this Blair/Serena wordplay meme.

Femboy Hooters

Although there are IRL combination Pizza Huts and Taco Bells, we’re still waiting on Femboy Hooters, Goth IHOP, and Tomboy Outback to get their business licenses.

https://twitter.com/ShitpostOnEarth/status/1270585017870278657?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw%7Ctwcamp%5Etweetembed%7Ctwterm%5E1270585017870278657%7Ctwgr%5E%7Ctwcon%5Es1_&ref_url=https%3A%2F%2Fstayhipp.com%2Finternet%2Fmemes%2Fwhat-is-femboy-hooters%2F

Buff Doge & Crying Cheems

Shiba Inus were the face of multiple memes this year, most notably the buff Doge versus crying Cheems comparison format.

Texting From Bed

In the era of social distancing, conversations typically look like this. Boy And Girl Texting Memes

Year Of Wojak & Chad Memes

In 2020, Wojak cartoons that originated on 4chan gained widespread traction, inspiring several prominent meme formats and new characters including:

Everything Is Cake

Only in 2020 would a food trend cause people to question their grip on reality.

https://twitter.com/fueiho_boogie_/status/1282287264752689152?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw%7Ctwcamp%5Etweetembed%7Ctwterm%5E1282287264752689152%7Ctwgr%5E%7Ctwcon%5Es1_&ref_url=https%3A%2F%2Fstayhipp.com%2Finternet%2Feverything-is-cake-twitter-memes%2F

Leonardo Dicaprio

Leo starred in several meme formats from 2020 including ones from Django Unchained, an interview, and Once Upon A Time In Hollywood

Draw 25 Uno

The straightforward “draw 25” Uno meme format shows the lengths people will go to avoid certain things.

Never gonna let you down
byu/JonathanMU inmemes

I Am Once Again Asking

This Bernie Sanders format had traction far beyond just political memes.

Money Printer Go Brrr

You can’t always get what you want.

Haha printer go brrr
byu/Memetaro_Kujo inMedievalHistoryMemes

Among Us

The massive popularity of Among Us was largely fueled by memes about the game including “dead body reported,” “emergency meeting,” “is sus,” and fanart memes.

Head Banging Cat

He’s literally just vibing.

They do be headbanging
byu/RunnyRose indankmemes

Honorable Mentions: