We’ve all spent a lot of time online over the past 12 months, and though lockdowns had a lot to do with that, it’s also largely down to the fact that a lot of great things happen on the internet.
There’s no denying that the internet also has its downsides, but with so many negative things already having happened this year, it’s best to focus on the positives for once.
With that in mind, here are 10 of the best things to happen on the internet this year.
1. ‘You have no authority here Jackie Weaver’
We all became familiar with Zoom calls during the pandemic, but one became more famous than others thanks to the iconic actions of Jackie Weaver.
The no-nonsense woman became an internet star after footage of a Handforth Parish Council meeting went viral towards the start of the year, showing Weaver ruthlessly ignoring the arguments that she had ‘no authority’ and removing three councillors from the call.
Such chaos was pretty much the last thing you might expect from a council meeting, which is probably exactly why it took the world by storm.
2. Matt LeBlanc as an ‘Irish uncle’
Meme-makers of the internet wasted absolutely no time with the trend that emerged from footage of the highly-anticipated Friends reunion in May, when the cast got together to reflect on their time on the show more than 15 years after it ended.
During the special, LeBlanc was spotted leaning back on a chair, with his arms crossed on his chest and a smile on his face.
It would have been easy to miss were it not for some eagle-eyed internet users who took a still of the scene and used it to liken the actor to an ‘Irish uncle’ or a ‘dad’, with a multitude of memes joking about paying good money for ripped jeans or mocking certain university degrees.
3. Bernie Sanders’ mittens
Perhaps one of the purest moments to emerge from this year came from Sanders’ fashion choices at President Joe Biden’s inauguration, which took place on what I can only assume was a chilly day in January 2021.
The event officially marked the end of Donald Trump’s reign, making it a very notable moment for millions, but one of the longest-lasting viral takeaways was the sight of Sanders huddled in his seat with knitted mittens to keep his hands warm.
The wholesome scene inspired heartfelt tweets, adorable memes and even Halloween costumes, and managed to make a member of the United States Senate much more relatable.
4. The Sea Shanty meme
The night started off fairly normally: just four lads in tight trousers posing for a photo as they headed out for some drinks. Little did they know that they would go on to break the internet by having that same image turned into a video of them singing a sea shanty.
Why a sea shanty? Who knows, really, other than the fact that the songs had gone viral with the help of former postman Nathan Evans, who posted TikTok videos of himself singing a series of famous sea shanties, including the now-infamous song The Wellerman.
The image of the four lads – Kevin, Jamie, Connor and Alex – was edited to appear as if they were singing The Wellerman, and the scene was simultaneously so bizarre and yet somehow accurate that was quickly shared far and wide across the internet.
5. The Suez Canal blockage
The blockage of the Suez Canal offered a stark realisation for many people as it proved that items you order online don’t just magically appear, and that they actually often have to go through a long shipping process in order to get there.
Many people experienced delays to their shipments as a result of the Ever Given ship getting stuck in the canal for days on end, but a silver lining of the events came in the form of witty jokes and brilliantly edited pictures shared online.
Each new piece of information about the situation only served to spur more content, and internet users could barely believe their luck when an Evergreen truck caused blockages on a motorway just days after the ship caused such chaos.
Though authorities were no doubt relieved when the ship was finally freed, internet users didn’t want the fun to end and started a – unfortunately unsuccessful – petition to put the ship back in the canal.
6. The Fast And Furious family
You might not necessarily be a fan of Fast and Furious, but even those who have never seen the films would likely be able to guess its two themes: cars and family.
The latter was shoved down every Twitter user’s throat following the release of Fast and Furious 9 in June, when Vin Diesel returned to his role as Dom Toretto and reminded us all that you can do anything with family by your side.
Given the extreme nature of some of the stunts in Fast and Furious, Twitter users took this stance quite literally and decided to share all sorts of images emphasising Toretto’s belief in family, from taking on Marvel’s Loki to tackling the great white shark in Jaws, and even ensuring Leonardo DiCaprio’s character in Titanic that ‘there’s always enough room for family’.
There are a lot of off-brand products out there that look startlingly similar to their more expensive counterparts, and though many companies manage to get away with the not-so-subtle similarities, Marks and Spencers was not having it when it came to its beloved Colin the Caterpillar.
In April, it was reported that the company had filed a legal complaint against Aldi over its Cuthbert the Caterpillar cake, who bears great resemblance to his chocolate-filled rival.
While legal teams for the companies probably took the case a bit more seriously, Aldi’s social media page decided to use the opportunity to win the hearts of customers by presenting Cuthbert as a sentient being who just wanted the best for cake fans, thus creating a rivalry that fans were more than happy to get involved with.
8. Tom Daley’s knitting
We should probably introduce Olympian Tom Daley to Sanders, because if his actions at Tokyo 2020 are anything to go by then the diver would probably be more than happy to whip up a new pair of mittens for the politician.
Viewers were initially divided when they spotted Daley knitting during the events this year, with some arguing that the Olympian should have been watching and supporting his fellow team mates, but it seems the sheer wholesomeness of Daley’s actions eventually managed to win people over.
By the end of the events, people were almost as interested in Daley’s finished products as they were with winning gold medals, and his epic Olympics-themed cardigan earned him praise from fans far and wide.
9. Red flags
Does he have two monitors at his desk? *red flag*. Still friends with their ex? *red flag* Thinks Shrek ‘isn’t that good’? *RED FLAG*, *RED FLAG*, *RED FLAG*.
‘Red flag’ tweets are perhaps one of the most simple trends to come out of this year, but still one of the most entertaining as it sees people share what they consider to be worrying or ‘toxic’ traits about other people and accompany them with a wealth of red flag emojis.
The trend caught the attention of the Netflix show You, fashion house Gucci and even Twitter itself, and not only encouraged people to think twice about the kind of people they formed friendship and relationships with, but also helped highlight any ‘red flags’ of their own.
10. The trial of Jake Gyllenhaal
The track claims that Gyllenhaal still has possession of Swift’s scarf ‘even now’, and despite it being more than a decade since the pair were in a relationship, Twitter users rallied around Swift to demand that the actor give her scarf back.
Gyllenhaal might have anticipated some sort of backlash when the new version of the song that’s apparently about him was released, but I’m sure he wasn’t prepared for the sheer force that comes from dedicated Swifties.
Gyllenhaal will probably be hoping that particular internet trend will quickly be forgotten, and as we move into 2022 I’ve no doubt there are all sorts of new trends and memes just waiting to take over our lives.
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