Of Giphy’s 25 most viewed GIFs of the year, only one, surprisingly, is a dumpster fire. And it’s a cute one at that — a smiling, dancing cartoon dumpster that’s only mildly aflame. Judging from the site’s list of most viewed GIFs of 2020, people yearned for adorable and uplifting images in a year that could hardly be described as either.
Topping Giphy’s list is a tail-wagging cartoon dog in a nurse’s hat. “Grateful for all the selfless humans on the front lines helping keep everyone safe,” reads the text on the image titled Thank You from Red and Howling, which makes cartoons and videos featuring animals. As of this writing, it’s been viewed more than 1.5 billion times.
Right on the pup’s heels are more GIFs expressing gratitude, solidarity and love. The fifth most viewed GIF, by an illustrator who goes by the handle Rain to Me, shows two cartoon kids sharing a comforting virtual hug, surrounded by exploding hearts. It’s been viewed over a billion times.
“We truly did not know what to expect as we prepared to pull our most viewed GIFs of the year,” the popular online image database said in a blog post. “Amid all of the craziness … love and thoughtfulness dominated the top 25 most viewed GIFs of 2020.”
Other GIFs that made the year-end list are PSAs for staying safe and calm in a turbulent year. There’s a reminder to maintain social distance and another to wash hands. In one GIF viewed more than 370 million times, Aardman Animations star Shaun the Sheep levitates above his yoga mat. Ah, a much-needed moment of Zen.
But lest the list leave the false impression the year’s top GIFs tiptoed around 2020’s harsh realities, let’s turn to RuPaul’s Drag Race alum and social media star Jasmine Masters. Masters comes in at No. 20 with an image that sums up the year in two perfectly succinct words: “I’m done.”