This year’s memes were particularly cursed.
As internet culture progresses, so do our collective brain worms. While 2019 may only be a year long, so much happened online. From nonsensical phrases to a music festival inspired by kidnapping aliens and the discourse that dominated Twitter, these are the most memorable memes. Meme-orable, if you will. (Sorry.)
Here are 15 memes that defined internet culture in 2019.
1. I’m baby
You know what, sometimes you just have to renounce the responsibilities of adulthood and just accept that you’re baby. Tired? I’m baby. Hungry? I’m baby. Drowning under crushing student debt? I’m. Baby.
Whether watching yet another sequel or picking up a bad habit after swearing it off forever, there’s one phrase that applies in any situation: Ah shit, here we go again.
What is flirting in 2019? Do any of us have enough brain juice to even think of flirting right now? This is it, folks.
4. And I oop—
Drag queen and RuPaul’s Drag Race contestant Jasmine Masters became a meme when a clip from a 2015 vlog went viral. It became the battle cry for VSCO girls worldwide.
Internet culture was built on cats, and it continues to expand on cats. Smudge the cat went viral on Tumblr last year for this despising vegetables, but became a meme once again when a Twitter user paired her with a still of The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills cast member Taylor Armstrong. The image was taken from scene in which Armstrong fought with another cast member who had gossiped about the abuse Armstrong suffered in her previous marriage. In October, Armstrong tweeted that despite the still’s context, it was OK to laugh at the meme.
6. VSCO girls
This summer’s cool girl liked saving the turtles, using Hydroflasks, and stocking up on scrunchies. The online subculture of an eco-conscious teenage girl became mocked and capitalized on, but the memes are still going strong.
Inspired by a Facebook event titled, “Storm Area 51, They Can’t Stop All Of US,” the meme took on a life of its own and eventually became a full-blown music festival. As far as we know, nobody successfully captured an alien.
Brittany Broski, now dubbed “Kombucha Girl,” had the perfect reaction to drinking kombucha. Is it good? Is it gross? Who knows! Her conflicting reaction was exactly how we all feel about existing in 2019.
9. Vibe check
You’re not battling demons bro, you just failed a vibe check
— 𝖈𝖚𝖒 𝖒𝖆𝖓 (@cake_hoarder) October 3, 2019
What’s a vibe check? Its exact meaning is debatable, but everyone agrees on one thing: If you don’t pass a vibe check, it’s all over.
10. Rise and shine
people: are u ok?
me: yeah i’m ok 🙂
rise and shine – kylie jenner
0: 06 ━━━━━━❍── 0: 08
↻ ⊲ Ⅱ ⊳ ↺
volume: ▁▂▃▄▅▆▇ 100%
— ً (@stupidboienergy) October 16, 2019
Kylie Jenner’s post-nap lullaby for her daughter Stormi deserves a Grammy. Though the beauty mogul and influencer hasn’t launched a music career yet, fans called for her to start one. Unfortunately, the meme died once Jenner tried to trademark the phrase.
11. OK boomer
The phrase “OK boomer” went from a dismissive way to wave off grouchy old people to being a generational rallying cry. Who has the energy to explain why we’re all exhausted from grinding? “OK boomer” does it for you.
Conspiracy theory memes are at an all time high, and this one appealed to nearly everyone online, regardless of political stance or generation. Believing that an elite class of billionaires has enough power to cover up a murder is easier than believing that someone with information on said class wouldn’t use it. The phrase “Epstein didn’t kill himself” has been circulating for months, well after Epstein’s death.
There’s little the internet loves more than nonsensical phrases. From “they did surgery on a grape” to “I’m baby” to “Cats can have little a salami,” it’s just too easy to repeat a string of words until it means nothing.
There’s been plenty of discourse online, but none this year have become meme material quite like a particularly cold text template for telling your friends to fuck off. The phrase “I’m actually at capacity” has become the go-to for dismissing any pressing issues, from deadlines to Scandinavian cult initiations.
15. Baby Yoda
It’s only fitting that the year begins and ends with a baby. The toddler-sized 50-year-old being in The Mandalorian has become the internet’s collective child. We may know nothing about him, but who wouldn’t die for him? Baby Yoda is the wholesome meme we didn’t deserve, but all needed.
Portions of this article appeared in Here are the best memes of 2019 (so far) published earlier this year.