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2015's Biggest Memes
In the span of just 24 hours, the Internet gifted us with both #TheDress and the chase of the escaped llamas. In a year ripe for fodder, Left Shark, Drake's "Hotline Bling" dance moves, and the famed Pizza Rat all soon inspired thousands of memes of their own. Ahead, the 15 biggest viral trends from the past 12 months.
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In February, one dress of questionable taste managed to divide friends and households across the country. The tiered, lace-trimmed number created unexpected controversy when some viewers saw it as blue and black, and others said the dress as white and gold. The debate sparked a variety of #TheDress memes, and even inspired celebrities from Taylor Swift to Kim Kardashian to weigh in.
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In a priceless moment of live television, two llamas went on the run in February after escaping in Sun City, Ariz. They darted across traffic and evaded authorities for far longer than expected, traveling together as a modern-day Bonnie and Clyde on the lam. The memes about the animals' adventure were swift and hilarious, spoofing on everything from American Gothic to Thelma and Louise.
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The Bradys got new life decades after The Brady Bunch thanks to a meme that took off in January. The moment in question took place between Jan and Marcia Brady, and involved Jan telling Marcia that she had a new boyfriend named George Glass, to which Marcia responds, "I've never heard of a George Glass at our school." The ensuing dismissive "Sure, Jan" meme, as well as Marcia's pronunciation of school as sküle had a moment in the sun.
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If You're Reading This It's Too Late
Drake warned fans about their punctuality with the February release of If You're Reading This It's Too Late. The collection's scrawled artwork inspired many memes — both about things that readers were too late for, as well as the unexpected results that can come of reading the artwork.
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Beyonce Always On Beat
Queen Bey's dance skills were already more than established when the #BeyonceAlwaysOnBeat trend went viral in May, but the extent to which she kept rhythm was taken to new heights. Members of the Beyhive took footage of Beyonce dancing to her own music and juxtaposed the clips with audio from a bevy of songs from various genres to prove that, no matter the song, Beyonce is truly always on the beat.
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Drizzy continued his meme-worthy year with the October debut of his "Hotline Bling" music video. In the simplistic visuals, the rapper busts out some questionable dance moves, emulating everyone's dad as he grooved on his own. Viewers put a spin on the video, adding everything from a tennis racket to a lightsaber to the visuals, or setting the clip against offbeat audio.
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Hello, It's Adele
The Grammy winner made her grand return in October with the release of her single "Hello" and its accompanying sepia-toned music video. Some memes focused on Lionel Richie's single by the same name decades earlier, while others riffed on Adele's insane level of success and more took on the lyrics of the track.
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Katy Perry took the stage at Super Bowl XLIX in February, and with her came one memorable backup dancer. As she performed a medley of hits, one of two sharks — the one on the left, of course — danced to the beat of its own pop hit, getting more and more awkward as the performance went on. The costumed performer inspired memes on everything from his pained expression to his moves.
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In September, a simple New York City subway rat catapulted to national fame. The rodent went viral after a fellow subway rider captured video of it carrying an entire slice of pizza, which was much bigger than its body. Then dubbed Pizza Rat, the animal inspired memes, a Twitter account, and even Halloween costumes.
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Netflix and Chill
The youths brought the term "Netflix and Chill" into the nation's vernacular in 2015. The celebration of using binging shows as a masquerade for casually hooking up inspired branding, memes on the activity, and even song lyrics.
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This year's heavyweight Chris Pratt wrangled some raptors in Jurassic World, capturing a memorable shot as he stood before the animals with his arms outstretched in an attempt to keep them in place. The strategy made it all the way to zookeepers and museum workers nationwide, as they imitated the actor in their own environments as shows of #Prattkeeping. Everything from goats to penguins became a part of the viral trend.
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Straight Outta The Internet
In partnership with Beats, Straight Outta Compton hyped its August debut by allowing fans to make their own movie-branded "Straight Outta..." memes based on the film's artwork. While stars from Snoop Dogg to Ava DuVernay shared the photos with their real hometown, memes soon sprung up, using the tool to spoof on everything from Shrek to Drake.
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Miley, What's Good?
A brewing feud between Nicki Minaj and Miley Cyrus came to a head at the MTV Video Music Awards in August, when Minaj called out the former child star, shouting into a microphone, "Miley, what's good?" The quip sparked memes and spoofs as various stars and inanimate objects were asked what was good and Nicki Minaj was transported to various offbeat scenes.
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Pope Francis Bars
Pope Francis — already the widely accepted Cool Pope — was addressing a crowd in the Central African Republic in November when a photographer snapped a photo of him mid-sentence, and the Internet noticed just how much it looked like the religious leader was in the middle of performing a rap song. Thus, #PopeBars was born. Twitter users provided the Pope with lyrics, attaching said bars to the image.
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A case of under-inflated footballs in an integral New England Patriots game led to the coined term "Deflategate," and the ensuing memes that came with it. Quarterback Tom Brady became the butt of most jokes, only going to the next level when he fought his suspension in court.