2017, man. We laughed, we cried, we cry-laughed and, when words failed us, we relied on the sage power of GIFs and memes to communicate the deep unease coursing just under the surface of our daily existence.
Which is to say, it’s no surprise that the most popular GIF of 2017 is an expression of confused, slightly offended disbelief.
The people behind Tenor, the top GIF-sharing app, searched billions of GIFs used on the app and across social media this year to find the ones people turned to the most. Ultimate honors went to…
[just imagine a drumroll, because GIFs don’t have sound]
1. “white guy blinking”
He has a name, you know. The omnipresent, omnivident WGB is Drew Scanlon, a videogame podcaster who first blinked white guy-edly all the way back in 2013. Since the internet makes no sense, his half-second reaction just caught on this year.
We all know this beloved GIF because, aside from doing the legwork of a solid reaction GIF, it also enjoyed a robust second life as a meme. (This is what happens when you spend too much time on the internet. You start describing little moving pictures as if they are a fine wine.) It also, for the record, captured the general what-the-eff-ness of the year quite elegantly.
What other little slices of internet art joined “white guy blinking” as the most-used GIFs on Tenor? Prepare for a roller coaster of emotions:
2. Crying baby, but probably in a mocking way
What’s a good internet argument without calling your opponent a snowflake or a crybaby? This GIF probably figured into countless awkward tiffs between Twitter strangers.
3. Excited Jonah Hill
True GIF and/or film pedants will be quick to point out that Jonah Hill isn’t actually excited here, he’s just screaming along to The Mars Volta in the 2010 movie, “Get Him to the Greek.”
4. Sad Dre from “Black-ish”
Unlike ironic crying baby up there, this one could actually be used in times of sorrow.
5. Shirley Temple being like “lol,” but in a way that seems a bit contemptuous
The fonted “lol” is what makes it seem like Shirley isn’t laughing with you, she’s laughing at you.
6. Millhouse from “The Simpsons,” and his flirty eyebrows
The GIF equivalent of belly-flopping into the DMs.
7. Shaq laughing on SB Nation
Shaq is a GIF favorite, who most notably gave us this coy shimmy. But in 2017, his full-out laughter reigned.
8. Boy crying a single tear in a moment of stoic remorse
This one is usually used when you know you’ve lost something, and you either kind of deserve it or you know there’s just no going back.
9. Michael Scott from “The Office” laughing, but also in a way that seems a bit contemptuous
Feeling a bit victimized by these “laughing” GIFs.
10. Barack Obama looking smug and saying “Oh yeah.”