As 2018 ticks over into 2019, reviews of the year are plentiful, but not all of them will make you laugh or, occasionally, frown with bewilderment quite like the meme review.
These pieces of footage, images and text that are rapidly shared and creatively reworked are the comedic lifeblood of social media, and 2018 was filled with hits – here are 13 of the very best.
1. Is This a Pigeon?
This meme is a screenshot from the Japanese anime series The Brave Fighter Of Sun Fighbird (1991-1992), the original of which shows a character pointing to a butterfly and asking: “Is this a pigeon?”
It had actually been circulating for years, but re-surfaced and exploded to new levels of popularity this year, with social media users posting their own versions to express themselves.
2. Change My Mind
In February, conservative speaker Steven Crowder set up a talking booth at the Texas Christian University, sporting a sign which read: “Male privilege is a myth, change my mind.”
The only problem with the photo was the big white sign, which was ripe for parody and has since become regularly used online.
3. Bongo Cat
This one started off as a GIF of a little cat tapping a table. But when Twitter user @DitzyFlama added bongos to the original, a meme was born.
The meme exploded, and soon people were editing the video to have Bongo Cat playing everything from keyboards and electric guitar to rubber chickens.
4. American Chopper
The meme is based on images from American Chopper, a reality television show featuring a family business that manufactures custom motorcycles.
The scene shows Paul Teutul Sr. and his adult son having an extremely sweary argument about Paul Jr.’s timekeeping. The intense argument has led to some outstanding screenshots.
Versions of this meme have been around on the internet since 2011, however the show American Chopper has been revived for 2018, which may account for its boom in popularity.
5. It’s Coming Home
For anyone living in England, it was impossible to escape the Three Lions over the summer.
As confidence in Gareth Southgate’s team grew – and especially after the penalty shootout victory over Colombia – fans have taken on the “it’s coming home” chorus from Baddiel, Skinner and the Lightning Seeds’ 1996 anthem and used it at every available opportunity.
Nowhere was this more evident than on Twitter, where the song has been the inspiration for what is surely the meme of the tournament.
6. Krusty Krab v Chum Bucket
A long-running theme in the kids’ TV show is that the Krusty Krab, the burger joint where SpongeBob works, is better than calamitous villain Sheldon J. Plankton’s rival outlet the Chum Bucket.
Drawing on this theme, the latest SpongeBob meme has seen Twitter users replacing the restaurants’ signs with other examples of stuff being better than other stuff – here’s some of the most popular opinions that have been shared.
7. Spongebob Tired
SpongeBob SquarePants has become so ingrained in online culture that you’d now be forgiven for describing him as “that sponge from those memes” rather than “that children’s TV character”.
Now though, after Savage Patrick, Mocking SpongeBob and Krusty Krab vs Chum Bucket, there’s a new one featuring the sponge himself looking rather exhausted/relieved.
8. Captain America
The meme is inspired by a scene in Marvel’s Spiderman: Homecoming in which Captain America speaks to Peter Parker’s class through a video – saying “so, you got detention” as he takes a seat backwards-style on a stool.
9. They Did Surgery On A Grape
It stems from a YouTube video from 2010 in which surgeons at Edward Hospital in Naperville, Illinois practiced using surgical equipment on one of the small fruits.
The clip was shared by Instagram user SimpleDorito with the caption “they did surgery on a grape” written multiple times across it.
The image was reposted widely, spreading from Instagram to Reddit and then on to Twitter, where it suddenly became one of the most talked about memes and something even more bizarre.
10. Key And Peele
A wonderful new example of this is taking the footballing Twittersphere by storm, which gives a sketch by classic comedian double-act Key & Peele entertaining new meaning.
The original sketch saw US president Barack Obama meeting and greeting attendees of a speech, but subtitles re-imagine the scenario with faces from football – and it’s very watchable.
The hashtag #HimToo was spawned by supporters of Brett Kavanaugh amid the US politician’s Supreme Court hearing regarding allegations of sexual assault – a reaction to the #MeToo movement.
Twitter user @MarlaReynoldsC3 posted a picture of her son in a naval uniform, writing: “This is MY son. He graduated #1 in boot camp. He was awarded the USO award. He was #1 in A school. He is a gentleman who respects women. He won’t go on solo dates due to the current climate of false sexual accusations by radical feminists with an axe to grind. I VOTE. #HimToo.”
Twitter users have been using #HimToo to create their own versions of the mum’s proud post – and they’re rather tongue-in-cheek.
12. Moth memes
The relationship between moth and lamp is one of the great romances of Earth’s history.
It’s only right then that Twitter users have decided to rewrite the love story for the modern age – by making it into a meme.
13. The Milk Couple
One minute you’re innocently talking to your mate in a club, the next your face is plastered all over the internet.
That’s what happened to this pair, who were snapped during an awkward-looking interaction at Milk, a club night at Edinburgh’s Bourbon venue.
The image was posted to Facebook, and from there migrated across the internet as people spotted its undoubted meme potential of a picture dubbed “the most relatable nightclub photo in the history of the art”.
If 2019 is any bit as crazy as 2018, we’re in for some brand new memes to keep us all entertained in the new year.