The problem with narrowing down gifs to a top 4 is that you start from infinity. Gifs have officially been around for 30 years as of last week, and what started as 8 bit banners about a Geocities website being under construction, has turned in to what amounts to a new language spoken in images.
First, I had to define gif, even if the internet can’t decide how to pronounce it. (I’m a soft g person, and will die on that hill with half of my brethren.) There are basically three types of gifs – reaction gifs, which are captures from media, art gifs, which are independently created, and combo, which combines the creativity of the art gifs with some sort of recorded media.
I decided to find my top 8 favorites with examples from all three categories, and battle them to get to our Mt. Rushmore of Best Gifs on the Internet.
Jeremy the Lion
The dancing baby is a classic that found fame on Ally McBeal, a show from the long ago that held up so badly, nobody who came of age after 2003 or so even knows who she is. It’s better that way, but, it did give us the first great meme in gif form. This thing showed up on the Today Show. It was a marvel of technology for it to be on broadcast TV in the first place. Thanks, Dancing Baby.
The good friend gif is one of my personal favorites. It’s a good reminder for all of us that we all need that friend in our corner that is a lion – and loves us fiercely like Jeremy loves that guy.
Winner: Dancing Baby
Mortified Michigan Punter
In 2011, Michigan Punter Will Hagerup muffled a snap and gave us the granddaddy of all CFB reaction gifs. We are all Will, especially when we mess up perfectly easy things.
The surprised dog is so happy for his cupcakes that he was stunned. This gif always makes me feel warm inside – the anticipation of it all! Animal gifs are always a winner, except this time.
Winner – Mortified Michigan Punter
Vince and the Bodybuilder
Stop is an amazing gif. It’s from a short lived show called The Class that aired in the 2005 TV season. I didn’t watch the show, but probably should’ve since that damn gif makes me do one of those barking laughs that come when something is truly hilarious.
But Vince…oh man. This gif is a classic. It’s a work of art. Vince going nuts as a reaction to this body builder really embodies the essence of… Vince, through the lens of the rest of the world.
Winner: Vince and the Body Builder
Oh Snap Obama Feat. Hillary and Uncle Joe
Freedom Strikes Back
Oh Snap Obama is a takeoff of another very famous gif that popped up several years ago, but remains relevant as long as the haters still hatin’. The artistry of adding Joe and Hillary just added to the hilarity and usefulness of this gif.
The gif of the eagle and then candidate Trump seemed to embody so much of the country’s reaction to the man that it rocketed to one of the all time greats very quickly, and may live on forever.
Winner: Freedom Strikes Back
There you have it! The Mt. Rushmore of Gifs is complete! Let’s look at them in all their glory, once more.