You see a meme, it hits weirdly close to home, and something within you begs you to spread the meme to relevant parties. The dopamine and serotonin literally skyrocket as you hit ‘send,’ hoping for them to respond with enthusiasm. The rush is immediate and undeniable.
Memes give us a sense of community, the feeling of “I have never had an original experience,” but in the most comforting way. No matter how niche a meme, the Internet has a home for it. I cannot imagine a life without memes (awkward girlies, iykyk.) They’ve been our conversation-starters, ice-breakers, and void-fillers, bringing people together in unimaginable ways. Some memes are like family at this point. Meme culture has taken on many different looks over time, and through various events we face as a people, has evolved rapidly. As the world changes, our humor and what we find funny naturally shifts with it. And recently, we’ve seen a growing appetite for memes more deranged, more unhinged, than ever before.
Self-deprecation is not new—every generation goes through awkward, uncomfortable, nuanced, and traumatic experiences and has turned to humor as a way to console themselves and feel in community with each other. Gen Z's contribution to this cultural archive is the unhinged meme. With our attention spans now shorter than ever, TikTok has become an engine for transparently weird, silly, sarcastic, and downright deranged humor.
So, without further ado, here’s what we’ve been all waiting for: a lil’ curated selection of some unhinged favorites, organized in the universal Alignment Chart format for intergenerational understanding:
From the rise of unhinged meme culture, it’s clear that Gen Z accepts that we are all demented in our own way—and no matter how “weird” or “random” we think we are in contrast to others, the truth is most of us enjoy our humor most when it veers a little off the deep end. Ironically, the more unhinged the memes get, the more we feel close to others who laugh at the same stuff we do. In chaos, there is community—and that’s beautiful.
Vivian Zhou is a Junior Creative Strategist at Fohr. You can find her on TikTok, her platform of choice, scouring the internet regularly for the most unhinged memes. You can also find her via email at firstname.lastname@example.org