By Lanford Beard
Updated December 07, 2012 at 02:30 PM EST

While 2011 was all about Ryan Gosling and Tim Tebow, 2012 was a ladies’ game. From Olympic gold medalist McKayla Maroney to Secretary of State Hillary and, yes, even those Hot Problems hot messes, it was girls who run the world… wide web. Though a few fellows managed to sneak in — and cats of course (this is the Internet, after all). Below, the best and worst of 2012.


5. Grumpy cat

While he’s doesn’t have the gotcha journalism skillz of Chris Hansen cat, I mean really… look at that face! He is almost as unimpressed as our number 1 memer of 2012…

4. “S— ____ say”

After the genre-creating “S— Girls Say” (which was actually posted in 2011), the new year opened the floodgates for a viral phenomenon. Gay guys, Liz Lemon, New York 1 anchor Pat Kiernan, and even Wookiees were getting in on the action. At the last, our own Adam B. Vary cried uncle. That’s such an EW writer thing to say.

3. Presidential memes

For most people, the 2012 presidential debates were a time to brush up on their candidates’ positions and decide whom to elect. For Internet types, it was a breeding ground for memes aplenty. Witness: Big Bird, binders of women, bayonets and horses, Laughing Joe Biden, You Didn’t Build That… and the list goes on and on.

2. Texts from Hillary

Like a true HBIC, Madame Secretary spent the year sending terse missives to everyone from Meryl Streep to Mark Zuckerberg. Was there any possibility those other two governmental wannabes could best her effortless zings? In her own words, “Not a chance, Mittens.”

1. Olympic memes

Many LOL-inducing moments cropped out of the London Games — including Mo Farah Running Away from Things and the very important question “Diving competition or gay porn?” — but gymnast McKayla Maroney took gold in memery. Ironically, the Photoshop frenzy began when the 16-year-old (who shared a team gold) was not impressed with her silver medal performance in the individual vault competition. To her credit, Maroney embraced the trend, posing for faux underwhelmed photos on the red carpet and with President Obama (it was an election year — POTUS was everywhere). No word on whether Queen Elizabeth was as amused as Maroney about her own meme. (We’re guessing no.)

NEXT: The five worst memes of 2012!


5. Potato Jesus

Good intentions make for great memes — and terrible art. In the “you couldn’t make this stuff up” category, Spanish painter Elías García Martínez’s Ecce Homo fresco lovingly “restored” by Cecilia Jiménez made for a solid laugh at first (just asked SNL), but looking at that psychotic Devil’s Advocate blur face got old fast.

4. “What people think I do vs. What I Really Do”

Like “S— ____ Say,” this meme spawned imitators faster than was good for it. Deconstructing the “glamorous” liufe of a journalist or a director is certainly funny for insiders, but once you get to cat lady, a tragic line has been crossed. Meme over.

3. Jolie-ing

A sexy lady letting her gazelle-like leg peep out on the red carpet. What could possibly go wrong? Ummmm… THIS. AngieJo’s willowy gam wasn’t the only thing exposed this past March. Behold the Internet’s insatiable desperation to produce a meme from one of the most boring Oscars of the last decade! This one should have started and ended with Jim Rash’s hilariously impromptu on-stage mockery.

2. Hot Problems

Being popular and jailbait-y is hard, y’all! The self-absorbed single from two 17-year-old California girls was an instant car crash of a viral video. Such was its lack of self-awareness that the mighty forces of the Internet decided to rise up and… copy the heck out it. Scoring more than 16 million views and what felt like as many imit-haters, the song was proclaimed 2012’s worst song by some camps. But we won’t give it the credit as the year’s worst meme. Oh no, that goes to…

1. 50 Shades of memes

A meme based on fanfic based on Twilight? Too. Much. Meta.

Best of 2012: