Now That’s What I Call A Meme: The Stories Behind The Top Internet Trends Of 2015

The meme: conclusive proof that humanity isn’t as funny as it thinks it is. But when the internet gets hold of a glimmer of an amusing idea, it will run with it until every last drop of time-wasting semi-wit is wrung out of it. Hence tumblr’s recently revealed Top Memes Of 2015, a parade of perma-trending pointlessness that owned the internet this year. In case the rock on Mars you’ve been living under all year has particularly slow dial-up, here are the stories behind the top five…

1) Pepe the Frog

Me just chillinz at thez beach #SupportPepe2k14 #BEACHBOYZ

A photo posted by Pepe The Frog (@pepethefrog) on

Could Pepe The Frog be the first ever case of a meme comeback gig? Originally swiped from comic series Boy’s Club by Matt Furie back in 2008, a urinating frog saying “feels good man” was the icon of numerous posts on 4chan. As sad, smug, angry and obese versions of Pepe were created by users, Pepe gradually died away through over-use and the in-joke being adopted by the mainstream, but he’s had a fresh surge in popularity over the past year as he came to epitomize and encompass the concept of memes as a whole. Vast arrays of new designs had him mimicking Bane from Batman or Javert from Les Miserables, while an artful meme might be replied with a drawing of a smartly dressed Pepe raising a glass opf champagne to the poster declaring “well meme’d my friend”. As any new meme now inevitably provokes a Biblical swarm of Pepes, he is the ebola of internet in-gags.

2) The Signs As…

Launched in 2011 with a frankly juvenile Tumblr post that linked each star sign to a particular sexual activity or talent, the idea of The Signs As… wasn’t picked up until December 2015 when Tumblr user dggif adapted it to describe each sign in the form of a tweet from nonsensical Tweeter Dril. Before long the web had created star signs corresponding to Harry Potter characters, Greek gods, teaching techniques and, oh yes, Pepe The Frog expressions. Warning: it’s mostly just random lists of bollocks.

3) Inappropriate Audition Songs

“I’m auditioning for Annie and I’ll be singing The Beatles’ ‘Yesterday’,” posted gabeebert in February, and we laughed. How inappropriate! That, unfortunately, was where this long-running meme stopped being funny and immediately turned into one of those 4am cocaine ‘conversations’ (read: trending hashtags) when everybody’s desperately trying to make fish puns and nobody knows how to stop it. Hats off, though, to the cad who came up with ‘I’m auditioning for the role of Taylor Swift and I’ll be singi-‘ only to interrupt themselves with ‘imma let you finish but I’m auditioning for the role of Kanye West and I’m singing ‘Oops I Did It Again’’.

4) Breadsticks

The new ‘I’ll get my coat’, the breadsticks meme is unique in that it wasn’t even funny to start off with. Last November chrisprattsgf posted a mock date conversation in which they discovered their date was a ‘cat person’ and immediately left, pausing only to stuff their purse with breadsticks as a replacement dinner. Six months later, another user twisted the joke, replacing ‘cat person’ with ‘gemini’. It was only when this crude formula for exposing the poster’s own dating prejudices started getting twisted to allow for breadstick replacement and users started posting pictures of handbags full of breadsticks captioned ‘you would not believe the date I just had’ that it got interesting…

5) The Dress

Someone took a picture of a dress with the light source in the background. Really, that’s it. After being posted to the web in February alongside the question ‘what colour is this dress?’, the post was republished by Buzzfeed and sparked an intense web-wide argument over whether the dress was black and blue or white and gold, as though the world had suddenly forgotten all about photographic filters and their own computer’s contrast controls. For ten minutes, the debate raged, until scientists chipped in with the concept of ‘colour constancy’ – it was all down to what colour you assumed the illuminant to be, apparently. Y’know, eye stuff.