16 of the Best Memes From 2022 That You’ve Already Forgotten

16 of the Best Memes From 2022 That You’ve Already Forgotten

There’s an old saying that “the internet is forever,” but it’s a damn lie. Ideas, memes, and subcultures can proliferate online and seem to be everywhere, only to disappear forever when someone deletes their account or stops paying their web hosting for a day. The following trendlets caught on briefly in 2022 — sometimes for a week, sometimes for a few hours — and burned brightly, but are already on their way down the memory hole. Let’s remember them together.


Clowncore, as you’d probably guess, is a fashion-style defined by big, bright primary colours and exaggerated makeup. Gigantic shoes are optional, as is packing 156 of your friends into a tiny car to go to the mall.

Every generation ends up with a regrettable fashion trend that defines it, whether it’s ‘70s disco-cocaine chic or the tribal tats and flannel of the ‘90s. I hope that clowncore grows in popularity so the current generation of young people will have a truly ridiculous fashion trend of their own. It proves my point that they’re better than previous generations in all ways, up to and including how preposterous their style choices are. Check out the TikTok tag if you wanna see a bunch of clowns.

“The ick”

If you’ve noticed people on social meeds mentioning “The Ick,” here’s what’s going on: The ick refers to a sudden feeling of revulsion for a person you’re dating — that moment when you realise that the person you’ve idealised is actually kind of gross, awkward, or just human. The hashtag over on TikTok features a ton of videos of people explaining how they got the ick. Some people get the ick from noticing a guy has abnormally long fingernails. You might be giving people the ick by awkwardly mounting your bicycle, wearing denim shorts, skinny jeans, or a Spider-man costume. Users are even giving themselves the ick to get over failed relationships, imagining their exes doing horrifically human things so that the loss doesn’t hurt as badly. Maybe the ick is a what happens when the idealised personas we create online world meet our stupid, smelly meat-sack selves…or maybe it’s just an amusing little joke. You decide.

Putting your fours up

Photo: enterphoto, Shutterstock
Photo: enterphoto, Shutterstock

Some young people in 2022 apparently enjoyed posing for photographs holding up four fingers, a posing trend that is not as annoying as the duckface thing that caught on in the early 2000s, nor as disturbing as the white supremacy OK gesture popular more recently.

What “putting your fours up” actually means is open to debate. Rapper DaBaby mentioned the gesture in a 2019 interview but didn’t explain it. Users of Urban Dictionary and Reddit classify the gesture as a gang sign. A more wholesome explanation comes from football, where the gesture is used to indicate “It’s the fourth quarter. Let’s go!” No matter what “putting your fours up” means, if you’re over a certain age, you should not try to be cool by posing with your fours up. It’s only ok if you’re going for a “dorky, anti-cool” thing or trying to signal a waitress so you can pick up the check.

Coastal grandmother style

In mid 2022, the stylish corners of TikTok went nuts for the trend of dressing like a “coastal grandmother.” An offshoot of the “grand millennial” style, according to @Lexnicoleta, the originator of the term, coastal grandmothers “love Nancy Meyers’ movies, coastal vibes, recipes and cooking, Ina Garten, and cosy interiors.” You don’t have to actually have grandchildren of course. “It’s for anyone and everyone,” @Lexnicoleta explains.

The hashtag has over 14 million views of videos showing examples of the style, coastal grandmother movie recommendations, and variants like “coastal chic.” I don’t want to put anyone down, but back in my day, we called coastal grandmothers “rich old white ladies” or “squares.”

Dropping out of school to make money in NFTs

Illustration: ArtemisDiana, Shutterstock
Illustration: ArtemisDiana, Shutterstock

This trend is extremely unlikely to make a comeback any time soon, but in the first part of 2022, people were dropping out of university to make money in NFTs. No one over a certain age understands what NFTs are, but the promise that these virtual assets offered was enough to entice some young entrepreneurs to drop out of school — before the bottom fell out.

“You’re way fucking better spending 50 hours doing your homework on Twitter, YouTube, and Discord on NFTs than any fucking thing going on in college,” according to Gary Vee (aka: @nft_godfather) on TikTok. Vee, it should be noted, has a definite “how do you do, fellow kids?” vibe about him, but it wasn’t just middle-aged dudes with backwards baseball caps into NFTs.

The Daily Dot profiled Elo Mukoro and Matthew Owusu, a couple of 22 year-olds in Texas who were ditching college to chase NFT gold. “Me and my boy, Matt, we saw what was happening, originally we jumped in and didn’t know much, but sure, let’s explore it,” Mukoro told the Daily Dot. Wonder how that worked out…

Parents and police panic over ‘Poppy Playtime’

Poppy Playtime is an indie survival horror game set in an abandoned toy factory where players encounter terrifying animated toys. It joins Five Nights at Freddy’s and others in the subgenre of games that mine their horror from the seeming innocence of childhood things.

Poppy Playtime was so successful at freaking people out, the authorities got involved. Police in the U.K. and Wisconsin, presumably having stopped all actual crime, issued warnings to parents about a character in the game called “Huggy Wuggy,” and warned that it might scare children. Did you hear that? The cops said there’s something scary in a horror game! Really earning your salaries, officers. Poppy Playtime is available on PC, iOS, and Android. You can check out the trailer here.

Everyone getting into Kate Bush

In an encouraging sign for the future, an entire new generation of smart, artsy, weird, and awesome kids devoted a sizable chunk of their internal real estate to Kate Bush in 2022. The mysterious singer’s “Running up that Hill” blew up on TikTok and Spotify, earned the number one spot on iTunes, and entered the top ten in 34 countries. Not bad for a song from 1985!

The resurgence came thanks to the number’s use in the fourth season of Stranger Things on Netflix. Famously reclusive, Bush stopped playing live in 1979, then did a few shows in 2014, and doesn’t licence her music very often. Reportedly, Bush lent her song to show because she’s a fan — or so says Stranger Things’ music coordinator — it’s not like Kate Bush is going to talk to the press.

Graggle Simpson

I love the way anyone can use simple tools and their imagination to reimagine fictional universes, from the internet’s venerable “fan fiction” tradition, to the strange story of Graggle Simpson. If you’re not a huge Simpsons fan, Graggle was only recently added to the series. Most viewers hate him, but he is being inserted digitally into older Simpsons episodes, outraging fans. Or maybe his name is “Gumbly” and he was an unpopular early character who disappeared and is now being shoved into current episodes? Either way, Graggle/Gumbly Simpson isn’t actually in any Simpsons episodes. He was created by the internet, but his popularity is grew anyway, as fans create their own screenshots as proof and share memories of their favourite Graggle moments. Graggle even made it into The Simpsons Hit & Run video game! I can’t decide if the real Simpsons putting him in an episode would be awesome or terrible.

Cluttercore style

I spend my life trying to prevent clutter in my personal space, but certain people on TikTok were embracing it in 2022. They dubbed the decorating style “cluttercore.” The aesthetic combines elements of maximalism with elements of being a damn hoarder. If you’re doing it right, your home should feel like a “warm and cosy antique store,” where your possessions are displayed every which way without apology. There are over 52 million views on the hashtag, filled with videos of rooms that set off all my “get rid of that crap” alarms, like this one, this one, and this one.


Every generation gets the grotesque dancing baby it deserves. The early internet had, well, Dancing Baby. The TikTok generation has Horace. Created by animator Jackson Q. Grey, Horace began its life in 2020 on Instagram as a filter you could slap into a post. But back then he was nude. Instagram pulled the viral filter because they saw it as “content of an adult or sexual nature.”

You can’t keep a good baby-man-thing down though, and in 2022 Horace has rose from the dead on TikTok like Jesus. Unlike our Lord and Saviour, though, Horace wore a red onesie. He stars in videos like this one, this one, and this one. Horace became so popular that he was coopted by “How do you do, fellow kids” style corporate social media streams like this one from O’Reilly’s Auto Parts.

I’m too old to be even mildly amused by Horace, but maybe your blood isn’t made of ice water and you want to join 26 million other people on the Horace hashtag where you can look at videos of a stupid dancing baby all damn day.

Wearing suits to see ‘Minions: Rise of Gru’

In 2022, countless young people all over the world saw the premier of Minions: The Rise of Gru while wearing suits, gowns, and tuxedos. I can’t say exactly why, but it’s probably because school was out, there wasn’t not much happening, and it’s funny to pretend you’re taking the opening of a cookie-cutter kids movie very seriously.

I fully love this trend. Teenagers and ‘tweens can be annoying, but it’s worth tolerating it for the absurdity they inject into this grey and wicked world. A curse on people who sneered at these movie fans.


Screenshot: queencitytrends
Screenshot: queencitytrends

I have mixed feelings about the #fightprank trend that took over TikTok for a minute in 2022. It works like this: Parents walk up to their child (if they’re still young enough to fall for things) and say something like, “listen, I’m going to fight our neighbour, and they have a kid about your age that you’ll have to battle. So get your shoes on and let’s get scrappin.’” And then film the reaction.

Some kids are shook. Some kids, like Rocco, are immediately down to beat arse. Some kids are just too mature to fight. The challenge’s popularity led to videos where kids put their parents in the same situation, which are funny in a totally different way.

TikTok’s Frog Army

TikTok user @thinfrog had a dream: They wanted to create an overwhelming army of frogs. Rather than sit around, @thinfrog did something about it. Beginning in February, they gathered frog eggs from puddles all around, and dropped the spawning goo in the pond near their house. A few months later, there were more than a million tadpoles in the pond, then froglets, and finally a million and a half frogs! A true frog army!

Pink Sauce

The creation of TikTok chef Carly Pii, Pink Sauce is exactly what it says on the jar: a sauce the colour of Pepto Bismol. For some reason, everyone on the internet really wanted to try it, and this is where the Pink Scandal began. Folks who ordered the sauce quickly found that different bottles are different shades of pink, indicating non-standard ingredients. The nutrition label was riddled with misspellings and said that there are 444 servings in one jar. Worse, many reported that Pink Sauce arrived rancid, moldy, or in broken jars.

The sauce is supposedly made from honey, chilli, garlic, sunflower seed oil, and dragon fruit, although some consumers report it tastes like ranch. There are no preservatives listed, so if it’s a dairy-based sauce being sent in the mail when it’s 100 degrees, eating it is probably not the wisest decision. Pii has apologised on TikTok and promised to make things right. I’m sure she had the product approved by the FDA before she started selling it. She must have, right?

“Ring of Fire” videos

Sometimes you need to watch some videos that are entirely stupid, utterly meaningless, and without a shred of redeeming social value — videos like the ones posted under TikTok’s #ringoffire tag. Here’s how it works: You put Johnny Cash’s “Ring of Fire” on the soundtrack and you run down the street at night carrying the most ridiculous things you can think of — a fish, a table, 15 Big Gulps, a propane tank, a 40, a pizza, and some bongos, whatever. That’s all it is. I know it doesn’t sound good, but it’s hilarious. Or maybe I’m drunk. Anyway, check out the hashtag to dig up your own treasure.

That time the FDA inadvertently promoted “NyQuil Chicken”

This year, The Food and Drug Administration issued an urgent message to the parents of America warning of “a recent social media video challenge” that “encourages people to cook chicken in NyQuil.”

The FDA said you should talk to your children about how important it is to not cook with with over-the-counter medicines. But I advise parents to not worry about this at all. Make sure your child is keeping up with their homework instead.

Here’s why: There was no “social media challenge” involving NyQuil chicken. There were a few TikTok accounts that reacted to an old 4Chan video of someone boiling a chicken in NyQuil to be funny/weird. All the reactions were, basically, “gross!” and not “you should try this.” But even those videos are gone from TikTok now (you can look find them on Twitter, though.)

Even if there was a “challenge,” very few people would go to the trouble of cooking a chicken in NyQuil, and I can’t imagine anyone eating one. It would taste and smell absolutely foul.

In warning about a trend that wasn’t happening, the FDA created a trend. Hundreds, maybe thousands, of news organisations reported on it, most accepting the FDA’s bogus framing that it’s a “challenge” people are actively participating in, and countless people were searching the term. Check out Google Trends. That big spike on the right is when the FDA issued its warning. The big spike on the left is the last time this hoax trended.


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