This week in Weird & Wonderful Web, we take a last look back at 2013, specifically the memes and viral Internet trends that punctuated the 12 months we recently bid a fond farewell.
These memes, trends, and viral content weren’t exactly important in the big scheme of things, but they did entertain us throughout the year, offering some lighthearted moments in between the serious news and scary events.
Ryan Gosling Won’t Eat His Cereal
The Internet was already a big fan of Ryan Gosling when Vine user Ryan McHenry started trying to feed him cereal. Gosling refused each and every time, and the Ryan Gosling won’t eat his cereal meme was born. I’m surprised more celebrities haven’t been subjected to the same treatment, but there’s always 2014.
Beyonce did a fine job of providing the entertainment during halftime at Super Bowl XLVII, but in the process she pulled some rather unique faces that were “screenshotted” by Buzzfeed. All was well until one of Beyonce’s people asked for the unflattering photos to be removed, at which point the Internet pushed back as only the Internet could. Cue the Streisand Effect in 3, 2, 1…
Starbucks Drake Hands
In yet another example of how nothing online is actually private, a personal message sent by barista Brody Ryan to model Piper Kennedy ended up first going viral and then becoming a meme. Not bad for a clip that’s just 15 seconds long in total.
The name ‘Starbucks Drake Hands’ derives from Ryan’s job as a barista, the song playing in the background to his attempt at seduction, and the way he entices us in with his hands. Those sleek, sexy hands. Grrr.
Grumpy Cat first came to the attention of the Internet masses at the end of 2012, but it was 2013 that proved to be the year this miserablist kitty found true fame. There’s something so adorable and real about that face that Grumpy Cat’s image even made it into the mainstream media, gracing the covers of magazines and meeting a number of celebrity fans.
The original hadouken was a special move from the Street Fighter series of video games. But in 2013 it formed the basis for a photo meme whereby people would pretend to be flung back by the force of a hadouken attack. Shoot the photo at exactly the right moment and the effect of this hadoukening is rather compelling.
What Does The Fox Say?
It’s a simple enough question posed by Finnish comedy duo Ylvis, but one that has numerous answers. Plenty of suggestions are made in the music video, which ended as the top trending video of 2013 on YouTube, but others spent a little too long online trying to answer the question for themselves. Much to the annoyance of the rest of us.
It’s rare for one person to be a meme in her own right, but Miley Cyrus managed it in 2013. It was her transformation from being a sweet and innocent Disney starlet to a sultry and guilty-as-charged sex kitten that prompted Miley to be big news online.
Her biggest meme moment came with the music video to Wrecking Ball, which was spoofed by all and sundry across the Internet.
The doge meme consists of nothing more than captions — presented in Comic Sans, no less — suggesting the internal monologue of cute dogs, and in particular Shiba Inus (pictured above).
This was everywhere on Tumblr and beyond, and represents a victory of sorts for canines. The Internet has long held cats in high regard, but it appears that dogs are now catching up in terms of popularity.
Twerking has been around for many years, though it’s been known by different names. But 2013 was the year of the twerk, and the word itself was a runner-up to selfie in terms of importance.
This was another trend that Miley Cyrus had a hand in popularizing, but the dance craze then blew up out of all proportion. Even Jimmy Kimmel got in on the act, trolling the Internet with the fake viral video embedded above which cuts off prematurely for a reason.
The Harlem Shake
Probably the biggest meme of all during 2013 was the Harlem Shake. You may not see the appeal, and thankfully for all the sane people in the world, this craze died out as quickly as it arrived. But before it did we were
subjected treated to thousands of videos showing people having what amounted to fits to a crappy-but-catchy dance tune.
That tune, by Baauer, was actually released in 2012 but no one gave a damn about it until people in spandex started dancing along in 2013. Unbelievably it ended up topping the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 chart thanks to its online success.