2016 Viral Memes Span Spectrum From Delight To Dismay

By Kenny Choi

SAN FRANCISCO (KPIX) — 2016 was a year chock full of viral trends. Here are a few of the most memorable.

Ready, set Pokémon Go! That digital scavenger hunt became a phenomenon seemingly overnight, with players searching for invisible Pokémon on the streets, on the front lines, even in the State Department. And (because we can’t have nice things) it also led to the discovery of dead bodies, people being robbed and drivers playing when they shouldn’t.

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A Kansas college freshman became an overnight star after a thief broke into his vehicle and stole a Kit Kat bar, leaving behind a note that said, essentially, gimme a break, gimme a break, I was hungry. The note went viral and eventually caught the eye of Kit Kat-maker Hershey’s, who sent the victim over 6,000 of the chocolaty snacks — sweet justice!

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If 2016 ends up being known for the election and the election is remembered for the debates then the debates will surely be known for … The Bone! Ken Bone, the bespectacled, red-sweater-wearing debate contributor was a viral sensation no one saw coming. In a debate with no winners Ken came out on top, garnering a huge social media following and, eventually, his very own Izod commercial.

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After a 3-year-old child fell into a gorilla enclosure at the Cincinnati Zoo, authorities were forced to shoot and kill a primate named Harambe, a name that became synonymous with animal rights. The shooting sparked international coverage of the incident, social media debates, protests, snarky memes and hashtag cries for #JusticeforHarambe — a Twitter handle that’s still trending online.

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One woman’s self-induced case of the giggles led to international stardom after a video of a mom breaking up while wearing a Chewbacca mask became the laughter heard ’round the world. Chewbacca Mom enjoyed her 15 minutes of fame by making the talk show circuit, tattooing her claim to fame on her arm and even meeting the real Chewbacca, Peter Mayhew.

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2016 also saw some viral trends that nobody wanted: case in point, the creepy clowns. Sightings of weirdos wearing scary-clown masks reportedly began in South Carolina but soon began popping up all around the country with no explanation or motive. Most posed no real threat but the phenomenon gave everyone the willies, anyway.

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