Over the course of a year that seemed intent on proving that its slogan was “2016: It Does Get Worse,” memes proved to be a rare bright spot amongst all the turmoil. 2016 was the year that brought us the rare example of memes that center upon positivity rather than severe, debilitating depression–Wholesome Memes, Honey Bun Baby, memes that pay an (appropriate) homage to TV shows you used to watch as a kid–Arthur memes and Kermit memes, as well as what is really the only good political meme–you know, the one that made the hard-to-argue-with claim that Ted Cruz is secretly the Zodiac Killer.
Still, critical thinking is vital in all aspects of life. And, as memes prove themselves to be more and more of a legitimate cultural force, it is important to think of memes critically too. After all, for every objectively good Dat Boi and Joanne the Scammer meme, so too come some objectively bad memes like Harambe and hyper-sexualized cartoon characters that threaten to sap all memes as a whole of their potential restorative powers. Or something. So, check out the worst memes of 2016 right here and see if you agree:
— Mike Walton (@mjwalton01) August 12, 2016
I mean. You knew we had to talk about this one, right? Harambe, the silverback gorilla that was killed at the Cincinnati Zoo at the end of May 2016 that both inevitably and inexplicably became a meme that lasted for months on end, was objectively the very worst meme of 2016. It was funny at first, but was so rooted in bad taste that it was unable to be picked up by a major corporation and eventually die out, as is the rightful meme lifespan, and eventually got co-opted by the alt-right for strict trolling purposes. So, uh, not good.
2. Ken Bone:
— Nick Gallinger (@NickGallinger3) October 10, 2016
Again–funny at first! He’s cute! The red sweater is iconic! But Kenneth Bone, I think we can all agree, is a ludicrously unsustainable meme, particularly in this political climate. Plus, once he started a personal YouTube channel called “The Bone Zone,” it was all over.
3. Hillary vs. Bernie Sanders:
important issues for me pic.twitter.com/LYbEwIXovk
— ❄️NOG?DOG❄️ (@Spurksploodge) January 28, 2016
A little funny, but mostly sexist.
4. Donald Trump:
It’s not that the memes are bad, per se. It’s just that this meme is now our president-elect.
5. Music dial:
I don’t know. I just don’t like it.
6. “Wow Queen, you’re so beautiful:”
Good morning everyone except the one who drew this picture pic.twitter.com/JmeqO18sOf
— PROD. BY @VERYRVRE (@TVSH_P) October 19, 2016
This meme ruined my life, and for that, it must pay.
7. Dirty cartoon characters:
— Bad Minion Memes (@worstminions) May 1, 2016
Actually, you know what? Let’s the kibosh on all anthropomorphized, over-sexualized cartoon characters. Okay?
8. Clown memes:
— Scary Clown Sighting (@SpookyClowns) October 19, 2016
The genre became “too real,” as they say, as soon as one of the memes was elected president:
9. Memes masquerading as “challenges:”
— Fayebreezy (@Fayebreezy3) November 3, 2016
You know, like, the Mannequin Challenge. Andy’s Coming Challenge. Backpack Challenge. Why must one move–and, in the case of the Backpack Challege, undergo severe physical pain–to enjoy a meme? I suppose it is curmudgeonly of me to gripe about them because things, as we all know full well, could technically be much worse. But I do think they break the fundamental rule of the way memes were intended, by G-d himself, to be enjoyed–expressionless, sedentary,and gazing listlessly into a computer or small, glowing box.
10. 2016 itself:
2016 is a year so bad that even teh jokes about it have started to become redundant. It’s not its fault! But, still, it’s not great.
What do you think of these memes? Are there any other bad ones that I forgot? Let us know in the comments!