Left Shark, "the dress" and pizza rat were among 2015's top memes
As always, cute animals ruled the Internet much of the year
Someday, you may look back on 2015 and remember news stories like Caitlyn Jenner, Black Lives Matter or the U.S. presidential race.
But there were plenty of ridiculous viral stories, too.
It was the year “the dress” became the meme by which all others are judged, the year of an endearingly clueless backup dancer in a shark costume and the year of critters both adorable (quokkas!) and wacky (those runaway llamas).
And you can keep your Justin Bieber-Selena Gomez relationship drama; we’ll take the textile love triangle of Kermit, Piggy and Denise.
Reminisce with us, won’t you, about these 15 memes that swept the Internet and caught the magpie-like attention (ooh, shiny!) of the world … for at least 15 minutes.
You know what they say about imitation and flattery. Taylor Swift, Drake and the cast of “Frozen” should be very flattered indeed as their songs got remade over and over. Some remakes conveyed messages, but others just had fans of all ages (and species) rocking out.
The ‘American Sniper’ baby
The story goes that when the time came to film scenes about the Kyle family for this biopic, one infant actor was sick and another was a no-show. So star Bradley Cooper had to cradle a toy stand-in instead. It looked real enough if you didn’t look too closely … and if Twitter hadn’t already alerted you to the fake bundle of joy.
Katy Perry has given the world many things: crazy-catchy songs, retina-searing outfits, over-the-top concerts. But our favorite gift might be Left Shark, the backup dancer who awkwardly grooved his way into our hearts during Perry’s Super Bowl halftime show in February.
It speaks to the strength of this meme that we could leave it at those two words, and you’d know what we meant. “The dress” ended friendships and divided families in February as different folks saw different colors: black and blue or white and gold? It eventually vanished from the Internet, but we’ll always have the memes.
Wildlife gone wild
Cats are the Internet’s top seed, of course, but any animal is a safe bet to go viral. Quokkas were just adorable and photogenic enough to make a run at the championship.
A dark horse in the “adorable/fuzzy/Australian” sweepstakes: Imogen the baby koala, featured at the Symbio Wildlife Park in November.
In slightly darker news, humanity boggled at the sight of a weasel riding a woodpecker in March. It was no joyride; the weasel was trying to attack the bird. The weasel eventually lost its grip and fell off, and the woodpecker presumably carried on with its day.
Llamas on the lam
We described it as a combination of a trip to the zoo and your favorite car chase: Two llamas fled an Arizona assisted-living facility in February (a big month for memes!). As cameras hovered overhead and law enforcement closed in, #LlamaWatch briefly consumed the nation.
Social media users already at each other’s throats over “the dress” had another controversy to decide in April: Is the cat in this photo going up the stairs or down the stairs? We think it’s up. Probably. Maybe.
In April, some called this Singapore brain-teaser the math equivalent of “the dress” (there’s that meme again). Cheryl’s long-suffering friends have to figure out her birthdate with just a few clues. Even professional mathematicians were called in to find the solution, though some had simple advice.
The Kylie Jenner Challenge
The youngest of the Kardashian-Jenner clan – for whom “viral” is a way of life – admitted using temporary fillers to achieve her pillowy pout. She even told her fans in April not to try to replicate the effect, but it didn’t stop them from sucking on shot glasses to get plump lips.
Chris Pratt’s ‘Jurassic World’ pose
The No. 3 movie of all time by global box office, summer action hit “Jurassic World” gave us even more scaly critters and the sole-shattering sight of Bryce Dallas Howard running in heels for two hours. But it was Chris “Mr. 2015” Pratt as a charismatic raptor-tamer who took the Internet by storm.
Riley, the 3-year-old daughter of Golden State Warriors player Stephen Curry, stole attention from her MVP dad during this summer’s NBA playoffs with her impossibly cute antics at postgame news conferences. Steph Curry’s team started the new season by winning their first 24 games, so we’re anticipating more adorable Riley-isms next postseason.
Peas and guac
With avocado prices soaring in July, the New York Times suggested adding peas to your guacamole. It may have been cost-efficient and even tasty, but the Gray Lady’s recipe was met with a nearly universal “wuh?”
Tom Brady’s courtroom sketch
New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady went to court in August for a hearing about claims that the team used deflated game balls. Artist Jane Rosenberg captured the scene, but her sketch of the notoriously handsome sports star didn’t go over too well.
Rosenberg tried again later that month, and the results were better-received. “I apologize for not making him look pretty enough to the world,” she said. “Tom Brady is a very good-looking guy.”
The Muppets love triangle
This fall’s new “Muppets” TV series brought some changes to our favorite felt friends’ personal lives: Longtime on-again-off-again lovers Kermit the Frog and Miss Piggy had broken up, and Kermit had a new pig bae, Denise. It’s safe to say the Internet was #TeamPiggy.
The Internet loves animals. The Internet loves pizza. So when an industrious New York subway rat was spotted hauling off a slice, it was meme heaven. Somebody get that rat a book deal.