Internet Media Recap of 2016

In light of a new year, here are some notable Internet trends of 2016.

January 20, 2017


Jordan Devorak

Arthur’s fist

The television show Arthur aired “Arthur’s Big Hit,” its first episode of its 4th season, on Sept. 6, 1999. During this episode, Arthur clinches his fist before punching his little sister D.W. for breaking his model airplane. In July, this screencapture of Arthur’s fist spread across Twitter and Reddit, with social media users modifying the picture to fit their meme needs.


(0:16 for the meme moment)

Bee Movie

“According to all known laws of aviation, there is no way that a bee should be able to fly. Its wings are too small to get its fat little body off the ground. The bee, of course, flies anyways. Because bees don’t care what humans think is impossible.”

DreamWorks Animation released computer animated comedy film Bee Movie on Nov. 2, 2007. The plotline of Bee Movie consists of a love story between a bee, Barry, and a florist, Vanessa, in addition to conflict between bees and the human race over honey collection. In 2016, after several BuzzFeed articles compiling ironic Tumblr posts about Bee Movie and a Tweet by Jerry Seinfeld, the original voice actor of Barry, suggesting a sequel to the movie, many memes of the Bee Movie script became popular amongst Internet users and YouTube videos like “The entire bee movie but every time they say bee it gets faster” garnered over 15 million views.
(for “The entire bee movie but every time they say bee it gets faster” video)



Jordan Devorak

Confused Math Lady

The Confused Math Lady is actually Brazilian actress Renata Sorrah, who plays Nazare Tedesco in Senhora do Destino, a telenovela. This meme grew in popularity when Internet users modified the gif into a reaction image, overlaying math equations over Sorrah’s face and posting on social media with captions to express confusing situations.

Evil Kermit

This meme encompasses a screenshot of Muppet character Kermit the Frog talking to his nemesis Constantine dressed as a Sith Lord from Star Wars in the 2014 film “Muppets Most Wanted.” In the created meme, Constantine induces Kermit to perform a variety of indulgent, lazy, selfish and in general, unethical acts. This meme surfaced in Nov. 2016 as a way for Twitter users to express their own ids and superegos, or their “own” Kermit and Constantine. From there, the concept saw a surge in popularity, with users adapting it to fit their own experiences.

(5:41 for the meme moment)




A three-year-old boy fell into the Gorilla World enclosure at the Cincinnati Zoo, where zoo officials shot male western-lowland gorilla Harambe after he grabbed the toddler on May 28, one day after Harambe’s 17th birthday. Soon after news of the incident spread, animal activists and social media users debated the ethics of the killing of the critically endangered animal, and later, a plethora of memes relating to Harambe arose.


Ken Bone

“What steps will your energy policy take to meet our energy needs while at the same time remaining environmentally friendly and minimizing job loss for fossil power plant workers?” This was the question that then-uncommitted voter Ken Bone asked at the second presidential debate between Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton on Oct. 9. A YouTube video of Bone asking this question now has over 2 million views.

Obsessed with his red sweater and moustache – in what they deemed a ‘power outfit’ – in addition to his usage of a disposable camera following the debate, Internet users made a star out of Bone, constructing memes and praising him on social media platforms, including the hashtag “#BoneZone.”

Running man challenge

Jordan Devorak
Started by New Jersey teens Kevin Vincent and Jerry Hall, the Running Man Challenge gained popularity when University of Maryland basketball players Jaylen Brantley and Jared Nickens posted of video of them completing the challenge – dancing a variation of the running man dance to the 1996 hit song “My Boo” by Ghost Town DJ’s. This dance trend soon spread and became especially popular with college athletics and NFL and NBA teams.


Mannequin challenge

With duo Rae Sremmurd’s song “Black Beatles” playing in the background, many social media users completed the challenge of filming a scene of frozen action. People stand motionless, as if stuck in a particular pose, while the videographer walks through the scene. The trend picked up popularity when many notable figures such as the United States Women’s National Soccer Team completed the challenge.

Dat boi

Jordan Devorak


Dat Boi, a colloquialism originating from “that boy,” is the name of a three-dimensional green frog riding a unicycle. This meme became popular early in 2016, and is commonly accompanied by the phrase, “Here come Dat Boi.”

Water bottle flip challenge

Bottle flipping describes the act of flipping a partially full plastic water bottle so that it lands upright on a surface. While this has been an ongoing occurrence, the water bottle flipping trend surged in popularity in May 2016 when a YouTube video of high school student Michael Senatore flipping a bottle onto a small table, causing the audience to cheer loudly, surfaced; this video now has over seven million views. Videos of people flipping water bottles soon spanned all forms of social media, with even YouTube trickshot channel Dude Perfect participating in the challenge.


Honorable Mentions:

Angry Michael Phelps

Bone App the Teeth

Blurry Mr. Krabs

Caveman Spongebob

Obama and Biden


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