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21-min read

50 Iconic Memes of the Decade that Changed the Way We Used the Internet

Just a bunch of memes to take you all the way back to 2010 when John Wick aka Keanu Reeves was 'sadly' hogging on a sandwich all by himself.

Anurag Verma | News18.com

Updated:December 30, 2019, 11:25 AM IST
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50 Iconic Memes of the Decade that Changed the Way We Used the Internet
Decade in memes.

RIP Decade (2010-2019)

Hi, 2020.

Over the last decade, memes replaced the traditional way of airing your thoughts out to the online world. Ditching the labour that were physical qwerty keypads, we used memes to express our political views, to show dissent, laugh, cry, cringe, agree, disagree or simply chuckle at something the web decided to randomly toss at our timelines on a daily basis. All this while not actually losing any substance in the message we tried to convey.

With 2020 only a few inches away and equally apart from 1990 and 2050 (let's not even get into this!), we have built a time machine through a list of desi and videshi memes in order of 2019 all the way back to year 2010 -- for you to sit back and go on a nostalgia ride with us.

From Chai Pi Lo Aunty offering us garam chais, to Li'l Master urging us to wear helmets "at the back also" to expressing our disappointment with everything in life using the image of a Pakistani cricket fan -- we did it all.

(PS: This, by no means, is an exhaustive meme list of the decade, so if we happen to miss your favourite meme, please let us know wherever you read this!)

Grab your tub of popcorn and switch to your WiFi network. We insist on the latter.

#1 Abba Harmonium

Abbey saale. Maaf karna main gusse mein idhar udhar nikal jaata hoon.

"Abba Harmonium" is a brainchild of Pakistan's massively popular satirical show Loose Talk. The funnyman Moeen Akhtar had appeared as a different character in each episode in the entirety of the show written and hosted by Anwer Maqsood.

#2 Bhai Land Karade

100-200 zyada lele lekin land karade.

The Internet took flight5 with Vipin Sahu after his hilarious conversation with his paragliding guide had everyone's attention.

(Strong language ahead. You've been warned!)

#3 Pooja, what is this behaviour?

You don't tell me what to do!

Model Pooja had appeared in Bigg Boss season 5 back in 2011. She was fierce, angry, and animated through the season. Somehow, desis came across her video snippet and rest is history. Also, SPARE ME!

Art.

#4 Peeche Toh Dekho

The viral Pathani kid from Pakistan made the world turn back with his adorable video. Ahmad Shah is not camera-shy, in fact, he has a YouTube channel called Cute Pathan Ahmad Shah and has almost a million subscribers watching him.

Raj, who?

#5 Mature Bag

The Internet unpacked its meme bag and made Vaibhav Vora aka "Mature Bag Guy" an overnight star after he uploaded a TikTok video explaining how to look attractive in college. According to him, one shouldn't carry the same bag they carried to school while in college. They need to opt for a "mature bag" in order to look more attractive.

#6 Disappointed Fan

A Pakistani fan's reaction to his team's sloppy fielding against Australia in 2019's 50 over Cricket World Cup became Internet's spirit animal.

The cricket fans used his expression to perfection.

#7 JCB ki Khudayi

Chodd di khudayi maine tere liye.

Perhaps the weirdest or the most random meme to come out of 2019 was "JCB ki Khudayi" when Indians got invested in watching JCB videos -- an excavating vehicle used for digging up the dirt. The videos of JCB doing its thing raked millions of views from India on YouTube.

Intrigued by the strange phenomenon, desis got to work too.

#8 Hera Pheri

Zor zor se bolke sabko scheme bata de.

Priyadarshan's Hera Pheri (2000) and its sequel Phir Hera Pheri 2 (2006) by Neeraj Vora are timeless pieces of art. 'Nuff said.

#9 Area 51

Millions of conspiracy theorists showed "interest" in a Facebook event to storm Area 51 this year. A quick Google search will tell you that this is the Internet's own conspiracy hot-spot, and it involves not just aliens but all kind of 'undercover secret-government cover-ups.' One of the searches even includes lizard people.

Area 51 is, in reality, a United States Air Force facility located in Lincoln County, Nevada, the US which is a highly classified remote detachment of Edwards Air Force Base, within the Nevada Test and Training Range.

#10 Woman Yelling at Cat

A simple meme put together by Twitter user @MISSINGEGIRL back in May 2019 became a tool for others to imagine themselves in similar situations. The girl, in the viral meme, is Taylor Armstrong from the show The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills while the cat is Smudge, an Instagram star. Together, they work magic. Btw, a quick look at Taylor's Twitter page will tell you she absolutely loves 'em memes. So keep them coming!

#11 PewDiePie vs T-Series

Printers were hacked, billboards were bought, some played 'Bitch Lasagna' on bass guitar for 10 hours, while others didn't shut up about PewDiePie until people subscribed to the Swedish YouTuber. Hell, it even united enemies on YouTube. In the end, T-Series won the race and claimed the top spot.

#12 Kiki Challenge

An Internet challenge that requires you to jump out of a moving car and dance along it? Sounds dangerous and completely avoidable, right? People took it up nonetheless. Including Indians.

#13 Chai Pi Lo

Garam hai!

Somvati Mahawar, a passionate vlogger on Vigo Video -- an app that lets you create and share short videos across social networking sites, became India's unofficial brand ambassador of chai when her 15-second video urging people to drink tea spread like wildfire on the Internet. Not just chai, Mahawar also offered watermelons, mangoes, and even paneer in her videos.

#14 Dancing Uncle

A video of a middle-aged man dancing to a Bollywood number at a wedding function is not a rare sight. But when Madhya Pradesh's Sanjeev Shrivastava aka Dancing Uncle shook a leg to "Aap Ke Aa Jane Se" from the 1987 movie Khudgarz, Indians took notice, including Govinda.

#15 Winking Girl

Priya Prakash Varrier became an overnight Internet star after a clip of her video from Malayalam film Oru Adaar Love's song 'Manikya Malaraya Poovi' was passed around like drugs on social media.

#16 Sacred Games

Directed by Anurag Kashyap and Vikramaditya Motwane, Sacred Games, India's first Netflix original was a meme treasure. Loyal cop Katekar (Jitendra Joshi), foul-mouthed Bunty (Jatin Sarna), and of course Nawazuddin Siddiqui were favourite among the fans and meme makers.

#17 Taimur

Taimur's perfect airport look, Taimur getting a gym membership, Taimur posing for the paparazzi, cute baby Taimur enjoying Christmas, chubby-cheeked Taimur spending quality time with parents, Taimur going to school, Taimur meeting Elon Musk -- in short, Taimur can do anything and photographers are obsessed with him. Not that we are complaining. Kareena Kapoor Khan and Saif Ali Khan's kid Taimur Ali Khan became India's favourite kid in 2018 and his fame hasn't gone to his head.

#18 Mark Zuckerberg

Appearing in front of the Congress in the US this year, Facebook chief Zucc became a meme for the ages with his robot-like mannerisms. When he sat down and testified before the senators and a House panel amid a firestorm over the alleged hijacking of data of millions of Facebook users by British firm Cambridge Analytica, Zuckerberg was a meme asking to happen.

#19 Tide Pod challenge

There's no mild way of putting it out there but people around the world thought it would be an interesting to gulp down detergent capsules to complete a challenge. It wasn't.

Even Tide, a detergent company, had to intervene and "remind" the community that the pods were for doing the laundry and nothing else.

#20 Trivago

Kya aapne kabhi online hotel search kiya hai?

This but 200 times a day. The "Trivago guy" was the talk of the town in 2017 thanks to his "un-model-like" appearance and annoyingly-addictive ad that people couldn't stop watching. Abhinav Kumar, Trivago’s country development head (India), is a chill man in real life (@singhabhinav) and he loves all the memes made on him.

#21 Thinking Guy

Internet collectively donned their thinking hats when Kayode Ewumi, actor, and writer, who plays Reece Simpson on a show called #HoodDocumentary became an overnight meme. Don't remember?

Now you do.

#22 Salt Bae

Foodies around the globe couldn't resist the powers of Nusret Gökçe, the Turkish butcher and restaurateur, who rose to fame after a footage of him slicing and salting meat went viral.

View this post on Instagram

Ottoman steak

A post shared by Nusr_et#Saltbae (@nusr_et) on

#23 Man's Not Hot

The ting goes skrrrahh, pap, pap, ka-ka-ka skidiki-pap-pap, and a pu-pu-pudrrrr-boom skya, du-du-ku-ku-dun-dun poom, poom, you dun know

When British comedian Michael Dapaah a.k.a. "Roadman Shaq" walked into the studio of BBC 1Xtra's "Fire in the booth" to perform his freestyle rap, he had probably not imagined that he'd turn into the biggest meme of the year.

The meme, referred to online as “man’s not hot” and “the ting goes skrrrraaaaaa, pap pap ka ka ka” with its gibberish yet addictive lyrics became the anthem of 2017.

#24 Blinking Guy

Drew Scanlon - video producer and podcaster of video game website Giant Bomb - was seen reacting to his colleague's mention of "farming with my hoe" while playing a game back in 2015. His reaction gif is one of the most widely gifs used online.

#25 KBC

"Aap chahe toh quit kar sakte hai", "Aaiye me aapko is khel ke rules samjha du", "Bahut hu umda kheli aap. Taaliyaan bajti rehni chahiye" are a few lines from Amitabh Bachchan's massively popular quiz show that launched a thousand memes ever since Kaun Banega Crorepati returned to television with its 9th installment in 2017.

#26 MDH Chacha

Asli masale sach sach... MDH MDH!

If Mahashay Dharam Pal Gulati aka 'Chachaji' from those MDH ads weren't immortal enough, a Facebook page dedicated to photoshopping Chachaji in unusual places is probably one of the best things that happened to the Indian webs.

#27 Disloyal Boyfriend

Originally captioned, “Disloyal man walking with his girlfriend and looking amazed at another seductive girl,” a simple yet intrguing Shutterstock image had janta across the globe came up with innovative captions.

#28 Nagarpalika

Iss desh mein ho rahe bhattachar ko mitaane ke liye hum aapko aage aana padega.

These epic lines by Kanpur based comedian Shahid Alvi who played a news reporter at Ch*tiya News in the video was the only talking point in the Indian community for days and weeks.

Again, if you are repulsed by strong language, we advise you to NOT watch the following video.

#29 Yeh Bik Gayi Hay Gormint

A video of a Pakistani woman (popularly known as Bh**wi Aunty) going on an abusive rant against the government went insanely viral on the Internet.

Starting her answer by saying, "yeh bik gayi hai gormint (this Government has sold out)," the woman goes on to say, "saare milke humko pagal bana rahe hain (these people are driving us crazy)," and the expletives follow.

Her video inspired memes, parodies, and even merchandise in India.

#30 Wear Helmet at the Back Also

When cricket legend Sachin Tendulkar, seated in the backseat of his car, urged pillion riders to wear a helmet, the nation responded... with memes.

#31 Exasperating Farrago

Congress MP Shashi Tharoor, in a tweet dated 2017, slammed a TV channel and a journalist who had accused him of hiding information about the death of his wife, Sunanda Pushkar.

While the post was shared in all seriousness by Tharoor, the tweet soon became a benchmark for Twitterati, who now eagerly wait for the eloquent minister to toss Daedalian English words at them.

#32 Sonam Gupta Bewafa Hai

The nostalgia is strong with this one. 10 Rupee note scribbled with 'Sonam Gupta Bewafa Hai (Sonam Gupta is unfaithful)' by an apparent jilted lover had the country in tizzy.

#33 Dhinchak Pooja

A young girl by the name 'Dhinchak Pooja' took cringe-pop a few notches up with her first single Swag wali topi that was released on YouTube in June 2016. The rest, as they say, is history. Since then, Pooja has blessed us with many gems and enjoyed immense fame including participating in a Bigg Boss season. Close second are Taher Shah and Vennu Mallesh but Pooja slays.

swag

#34 Damn Daniel

Not a conventional meme per say, but Damnnnnn Daniel became a popular catchphrase on the Internet and outside. So much so that Daniel Lara and his friend Josh Holtz (who filmed him) sat down with Ellen DeGeneres to talk about Vans shoes.

#35 Harambe

Harambe, a 17-year-old gorilla, was shot and killed by Cincinnati Zoo keepers in 2016 after a 4-year-old boy fell into its enclosure. The people of Internet came in Harambe and posthumously declared him a hero we did not deserve.

#36 Arthur Fist

Angry? Frustrated? Pissed? And all the other synonyms? Use Arthur's clenched fist meme.

#37 Blue Black Dress / White Gold Dress

Not Yanny or Laurel, Stormy Sky or Beach, but a simple dress divided the Internet like nothing else had ever before. Shared by a Tumblr user 'Swiked', the Blue and black dress Vs white and gold dress catapulted into a global debate and ended relationships.

blue black white gold

#38 Ice Bucket Challenge

Ice Bucket Challenge or ALS challenge became an online movement when celebrities and citizens united to raise awareness for Lou Gehrig’s disease or amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). From Oprah to Conan to Steven Spielberg to Bill Gates and Mark Zuckerberg, the netizens poured a bucket of icy-cold water on themselves to complete the challenge and challenged others to take it up - causing a chain reaction.

#39 Oscar Selfie

'Oscar selfie' snapped at 86th Academy Awards by Bradley Cooper and tweeted by Ellen DeGeneres in 2014 changed everything. In the frame were Meryl Streep, Angelina Jolie, Jennifer Lawrence, Ellen, Bradley Cooper, Brad Pitt sandwiched together, who unwittingly managed to break the world record for the most-retweeted tweet (3.2 million) on the microblogging website.

It took 3 years to surpass Ellen's tweet when a nugget-loving Carter put out a rather difficult request (3.5 million retweets) on Twitter.

#40 Bae Come Over

'Bae come over', an expression that went viral in 2014, was used widely by men and women alike to invite their "baes" over to their place when parents weren't home. Notably, these romantic "invites" are being used till date.

#41 New Phone Who Dis

Want to slide out of an awkward conversation? Trying to be salty to the person you don't need anymore in life? Try this fantastic meme, relevant even today.

#42 Harlem Shake

When Joji aka Filthy Frank aka Pink Guy, a YouTube personality, broke into a bizarre jig, the world stood still, closely watched it and emulated the dance which was later called as the Harlem Shake.

#43 This is Fine

A dog sitting in a room engulfed in fire and saying, "This is fine" is as relatable as it gets to human life. Doesn't it? Conceptualised and illustrated by KC Green in webcomic series "Gunshow", "This is fine" meme has been used in the past seven years or so to exhibit everything is fine but nothing is. A timeless meme.

#44 Confused Math Lady

The iconic expression of Brazilian actress Renata Sorrah on Senhora do Destino show has become unanimous with confusion as people have used the meme as a response to complicated data they come across in their day to day lives.

#45 Grumpy Cat

Internet lets you vent out all your feelings including the state of being grumpy. "Grumpy Cat" reaction image liberated us like none other. Tardar Sauce aka Grumpy Cat was born in 2012 and her annoyed facial expressions posted on Reddit by her owner were an instant hit.

Unfortunately, we lost our Grumpy Cat in 2019 to a disease at the age of 7.

#46 Doge

Very funny, such doge, much meme, wow.

Broken english, Shiba Inu dog, and comic sans -- all came together to give us a perfect recipe to channel our internal monologue. The "Doge" or dog's story is an interesting one. According to Know Your Meme, a Japanese kindergarten teacher posted photos of a rescue dog Shiba on her personal blog. Shiba's expressions spoke to the Internet on a differnt level and voila, Doge was born.

#47 Bad Luck Brian

In the January of 2012, Ian Davies decided to post his long-time friend Kyle Craven's "intentionally ridiculous" photo from their school's yearback on Reddit. The photo later turned into massively popular "Bad Luck Brian" meme. It was everywhere. People used the photo to describe embarassing situations or simply bad luck.

#48 Nyan Cat

nyan nyan nyan nyan nyan nyan nyan nyan nyan nyan nyan nyan nyan nyan nyan nyan nyan

If you have made it this far, you know we have already given up. Anyway, here's 10-hour compilation of Nyan cat.

#49 Forever Alone

One of the first rage comic spin-off characters to be created, Forever Alone was used across by single folks to express their loneliness.

#50 Sad Keanu

Although, we did not intend to end this list on a gloomy note, let us honour one of the earliest and most heartbreaking memes of this decade -- related to our dearest Keanu Reeves.

According to Know Your Meme, Keanu was photographed by paparazzi in 2010. In the photo, a "sad" Keanu can be seeing "enjoying" a sandwich all by his own.

The first instance of photo surfacing on the Internet happened to be on a 4-Chan like portal called Green-ovale.net. As Sad Keanu photoshops sent saddness all across, Internet took it upon themselves to "cheer up" Keanu by declaring June 15 as Cheer Up Keanu Day.

What? You've seen better memes? *Surprised Pikachu face*

Honourable mention: Baby Yoda, Donald Trump's Twitter typos, Despacito, Gangnam Style, Pepe the Frog, Black Hole, Himesh Reshmmaiya (Jai mata di let's rock!), Ok Boomer!, Overly Attached Girlfriend

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