This article is part of 2005 Week on Noisey, where we revist all the best and worst pop culture relics from a decade ago.At the start of 2005, there was no Twitter, no Tumblr, and YouTube was still six weeks away from launching. Funny images and videos didn’t have the power to reach the far corners of the internet and rack up thousands of re-posts within seconds like they do now. [extremely old guy voice] Back then, you had to earn your memes. They were out there to be found, and needed to be hunted down. If you wanted to pwn somebody, you had to plunge the far reaches of the World Wide Web. You had to delve into message boards and forums. Maybe a friend would stuff a fresh meme into an envelope and mail one to your home every month. Maybe your older brother would call you from college and give you a crude map to a spot in the woods where he and his friends buried some juicy memes. Maybe, and this is absurd to even imagine, you had to make your own memes.
Let us now take a journey down the meme-hole of 2005, and remember where we were at as a viral society according to the website KnowYourMeme.com.
While this early SNL digital short was kinda funny at the time (LOL Red Vines, good stuff), it also fucked the future of television. After its viral success, SNL started doing more of them, and more, and more. Then other TV shows got wind and started basing comedy around the questions “But will this go viral the next day? Will it get the clicks??? Will the kids share it Face Books?!?!” And now we’re stuck with TV shows like Jimmy Fallon’s Buzzfeed Late Show Listicle Extravaganza. Thanks a lot, Amby Sambler.
Mosh Girl is a very funny, very Photoshoppable photo of a woman caught mid-mosh. It’s an embarrassing shot, because she’s all derp-facing and has the white belt and the bros in the back all looking on in horror, but please, we beg of you: Do not let this disparage you from moshing to your heart’s content. You’ve got to mosh like no one is watching. You’ve got to live without fear of the meme.It says a lot about World of Warcraft that the most famous thing that ever happened in it was a guy shouting his own name.
Chuck Norris Facts had a shelf-life of about six hours. Then the type of people who watched shows like Mind of Mencia tried to pile on with their own and gave it comedy lupus. “Chuck Norris once looked at a penguin and, uh… it died! LOL” And once we remembered that ol’ Chuck is not a mythological superman, but just some Fox News conservative dipshit who probably makes Thanksgiving dinner conversations very awkward for his family when he starts talking about the country being on “a slippery slope,” this joke was deader than Chuck’s action career.
In 2015, we’ve seen a million videos of people doing goofy lip syncs or dances on YouTube, but all of them come back to this video, the mother lode, the zero patient, the first viral video of people turning lip syncing into high art. Our stars did large swaths of the Backstreet Boys catalog, but this is the one that started it all. The original has been taken off YouTube based on copyright infringement, but by the views count standards of 2005, it was basically Justin Bieber-level successful. The dudes even have a Wikipedia page. And while there have been many lip sync videos since, this one still holds up due to the sheer commitment from our singers, their incredible facial expressions, and the presence of the third roommate in the background, who, in more or less every video the dudes made, is just busy playing computer games, oblivious to the fact that viral history was happening just over his shoulder.
In 2005, when the web was a sheer force that no one truly knew how to harness the infinite power of, one college kid came along and pulled the sword from the great internet stone. He sold an entire website off by the pixel. Amazingly, people paid to advertise on it and we’re left with this diarrhea collage of websites for businesses that don’t exist anymore because they were stupid enough to give this kid money.Trapped in the Closet was R. Kelly’s three-million-part movie about being in the closet, and he’s like, “God, please don’t let this meme look in the closet, and the meme looks at the closet, and he pulls out his Beretta, and he walks up to the closet, and he comes up to the closet, now he's at the closet, damn he's opening the closeeeeeet."
If you could bottle up the sheer terror in the faces of Mike Myers and Chris Tucker’s faces when Kanye dropped this unscripted truthbomb on national television, you could make a glue out of it so strong, we would never have to worry about levees breaking again.KnowYourMeme lists 2005 as the first instance of saying “I can’t” to refer to something that someone was speechless about. Hard to believe it’s been ten years since the first use of the progenitor of phrases like “I can’t even,” “I literally can’t,” “I can’t right now,” and the elusive but effective “I literally can’t even right now.”
In 2005, some dipshit with a USB microphone and access to blurry stock photos made what is basically a thinkpiece set to ominous music and passed it off as a “documentary” about 9/11. One of his claims was that jet fuel can’t melt steel beams. Jet fuel, according to Popular Mechanic, can in fact melt steel beams. So it’s therefore funny to mock the whole premise. Never forget where you were when you first used this meme.To get a sense of where things really stood in 2005, consider this: A YouTube video of Christmas lights changing in time with a Trans Siberian Orchestra song was the pinnacle of technology. Understandably, 2005’s version of Facebook—which wasn’t actual 2005 Facebook but rather moms forwarding emails to each other—went bananas. If you didn’t get sent this video nested in an email with a hundred lines of just the “>” symbol, you were not tech savvy and plugged into the world around you in 2005.
On May 23, 2005, noted Scientology mindslave Tom Cruise snorted a garbage bag full of crystal meth and then went on Oprah and tried to convince the world that he was a regular human person with regular human emotions about a human woman.A full decade before a Vine of a child unwrapping the gift of “a avocado” became famous, a video was uploaded of two kids receiving a Nintendo 64 for Christmas in 1998 and ful-on shitting in their PJs with excitement. The one kid probably took it to college with him a decade later and played Goldeneye in his dorm until someone offered to trade him a blunt for it.
This is one of those pictures that, for ten years running, you can look at on a bad day and laugh because it is so simple. Ha ha a dog on a phone, good stuff.
These days, anyone who wants to make a meme that combines music and video can fire up the ol’ Vine app or even go full movie director and use Instagram. Want to grab a funny GIF from your favorite YouTube video? You can do that, too. Meme technology is in the hands of the people. But back in 2005, it wasn’t so easy. Memes weren’t a dime a dozen. There was no Twitter to instantly spread your meme to thousands of people. Instead, there was a weird site called YTMND (which stood for You’re the Man Now Dog) that was a hive of meme activity. You could post short animations with audio, and people’s imaginations went crazy. Without the bandwidth to watch something actually cool on the internet, we settled for things like this clip of Batman synced to the Chacarron Macarron song (a meme in its own right). Batman nods his head and goes “ualuealuealeuale.” That’s it. It was a wild success, and new interpretations spread across YTMND. There’s a Star Wars version. There’s a Super Mario version. In the ensuing years, someone obviously made an Auto-Tune version. God, the internet was dumb back then.And those were the viral sensations of 2015. What will your mark on internet history be? Make it a good one.