Thanks to the numerous horrific events that took place during 2016, it was certainly a historic year. From the presidential election outcome to the terrible tragedies around the world to the heartbreaking news about beloved celebrities like David Bowie, Leonard Cohen, Carrie Fisher, and Debbie Reynolds... 2016 has been a whirlwind. And yet, to not recognize the top viral moments of 2016 that made us all happy as the year comes to an end would be, well, an oversight.
For me, looking back on these viral moments not only brings me joy, but also shows me how easy it is now to connect with the world around me. Even simple memes, videos, tweets, and trends can bond me with a world that I barely know — showing me that, yes, there are people out there just like me who appreciate my same wacky sense of humor. As I pressed through internet archives to see what were some of our best shared moments, I was laughing so hard that tears rolled down my face. Some of those tears turned into real tears, even.
As you go through these, I hope you land in the same place I am — one understanding that, despite what happens in our world throughout a single year, the internet is certainly a tool that helps us unite together in a special way. We are certainly all in this together.
1. The Hotdog Princess
This little girl was asked to dress up as a princess for Princess Week at her dance studio… and, of course, she arrived as the princess of her dreams. And my dreams. I bow to you, #HotDogPrincess.
2. Brother Convinces Sister Of Zombie Apocalypse
Sure, sure, you may have asked someone to take a video of you after that wisdom tooth surgery hoping that that you’d say something hilarious enough to go viral on the internet. But nothing, and I mean nothing, can compare to this ruse pulled off by these two brothers. Instead of just taking a funny video, they decided to scare the crap out of her with zombies... and her reaction was glorious.
3. The Mannequin Challenge
The first Mannequin Challenge video I saw on Facebook was from the premiere of Edge of Seventeen, and they have been going viral on my feed ever since. The trend appears to have been started by a group of high school students in Jacksonville, Fla. — and since then, so many different participants have taken part in the challenge. It's a sensation.
4. Carpool Karaoke
I’m pretty sure almost every single one of these Carpool Karaoke sessions with James Cordon on The Late Late Show ended up going viral… Adele’s karaoke took the crown on YouTube, though, with over 142 million views.
5. The "Phelps Face"
Right before facing his opponent in the Rio Olympics, Michael Phelps made this venomous face — which, of course, became the viral superstar of internet memes for weeks.
6. Evil Kermit Memes
Me: Wow I'm getting so much studying done— merry eri (@ericabaguma) November 15, 2016
Me to me: you deserve a 20 hour break pic.twitter.com/0nt7O8e4WD
It’s the perfect evil subconscious meme that we have all been dying for — and it's still popular on the internet.
People took Donald Trump’s offensive comment to Hillary Clinton during the last Presidential debate in Nov. 2016 as an opportunity to show off all of their nasty woman pride. From t-shirts to posters, the #NastyWoman phrase was a viral sensation, and with good reason — being a Nasty Woman is something to be proud of.
8. Joe Biden, Prankster
This is officially my new favorite Obama Biden meme! 😂 pic.twitter.com/UofhchWxDI— Randy Haas (@Randy_Haas) November 14, 2016
These set of Vice-President Joe Biden memes that emerged after Donald Trump became the president-elect in Nov. 2016 were the absolute perfect cushion for all of us, after such shocking and heartbreaking election results.
9. This Perfect Hillary Clinton GIF
Why listen to any hater's comments when you can just shimmy, shimmy, shimmy?
10. Ellen DeGeneres Shows First Lady Michelle Obama How To Shop At CVS
Since President Obama and his family are leaving the White House soon, DeGeneres decided to take some time to show Michelle Obama what it’s like to shop in the real world. Pretty sure it was Michelle’s reaction to boxed wine that took the cake for this monumental, viral clip. You can watch their full trip here.
11. Chewbacca Mom
You either love her or hate her, but her Facebook Live moment made her go viral. Candace Payne put on this Chewbacca mask and made one of the funniest videos of the year, which eventually landed her two web series on TLC.
12. Ken Bone
His question during the second presidential debate was, well, not exactly the reason why Ken Bone became a viral sensation. It seems that his name, as well as his red cardigan, entranced the internet — and created endless memes.
13. Gilmore Girls: A Year In The Life
Election aside, 2016 was certainly the year of Gilmore. Fans found out at the beginning of the year that Gilmore Girls was set return with a revival on Netflix later in the year, official set photos dropped in March, and the beautiful trailer was revealed a month before it's Nov. 2016 debut. The series continued to bring hope to the downtrodden during Dec. 2016, and everywhere in the world, people are still basking in the glow of Stars Hollow.
Want to have an awesome 2017? Then check out the "You IRL" stream in the Bustle App for tips on how to have the most empowering year yet.