All right, let’s be real: 2021 wasn’t the most amazing year. It was the second year in a row of living in unprecedented times. The sophomore year of COVID-19. Dare we say ... the spin-off of 2020.
But it was also a year of iconic pop culture moments.
Like, remember President Joe Biden's inauguration? Hilariously, a photo taken of very chilly Bernie Sanders donning oversized mittens (and looking as if he’d rather be anywhere else!) broke the internet.
For a few weeks, social media users could not get enough of the Bernie Sanders sitting memes. They kept us preoccupied. They distracted us. And they briefly made us forget that we were living in a time and place where the world was being completely ravaged by a handful of deadly variants.
Bottom line: Memes take the pain away. Silly images, sometimes accompanied by text, are the best way to forget that everything is trash.
But it wasn't just snaps of Bernie Sanders that had us cracking up this year. Keep scrolling to take a look at some of 2021's best memes.
The Weeknd Superbowl Meme
Remember when The Weeknd performed at the Superbowl? The Internet hilariously teased screenshots from his performance where he was seen dashing through a swirling vortex of warm-colored bulbs. The stills where his face were blurred made for some great jokes.
The Winking Woman Meme
This year, we became obsessed with a photo of Agnes Harkness (played by Kathryn Hahn) blinking during an episode of WandaVision. What started as an inside joke amongst the WandaVision fandom, quickly spread into the mainstream meme world as many folks found the photo relatable. The meme sheds a light on how we often say things/overpromise things to others that we know are absolutely not true/going to happen. Wink wink.
Squid Game Memes
One of the biggest shows on Netflix this year was the Korean Drama Squid Games. A handful of memes stemmed from this show, but this one, which shows a side-by-side comparison of Oh Il-Nam in two very different moods, quickly saturated social media following the title's release.
Happy vs. Sad Bus Passenger Meme
While most memes are inspired by current events, others blossom from old content. The Happy vs. Sad Bus Passenger meme grew out of a 2013 cartoon that was supposed to encourage others to “Choose the Happy Side of Life," per Know Your Meme.
Suez Canal Stuck Meme
As you may recall, the Ever Given, a 220,000-ton container ship, got stuck in Egypt’s Suez Canal, which is one of the busiest waterways in the world. Six days after being stuck, it was finally freed. But not before the Internet spun some memes from this chaos.
Oprah Winfrey No/Yes Meme
Oprah's tell-all interview with Prince Harry and Meghan Markle had the Internet buzzing for weeks. Not just about the tea they spilled, but also the memes that resulted after the special aired. This side-by-side photo comparison of Oprah's different reactions (the left side screams "no," but the right side screams "hmm") during the interview definitely gave the Internet a chuckle.
Fall Plans vs. Delta Variant Meme
Remember when the Delta Variant was the worst of our concerns? When the virus peaked during the summer, some funny folks took to Twitter to predict through photos how Delta would upend fall plans.
Kendall Jenner and Kim Kardashian Met Gala Meme
Jeff Bezos Rocket Meme
This past July, Amazon CEO and billionaire Jeff Bezos blasted off to space in a rocketship with a rather unique, somewhat phallic, shape. The Internet used this photo of his rocket New Shepard to crack some good 'ol d--k jokes.
But it wasn't just the rocket ship that became the butt of the joke. Twitter user @rjdralle also made this photo of a bathroom line go viral after teasing that Amazon employees were finally able to use the bathroom now that Jeff had left the planet.