20 Biggest Viral Moments of 2017

These moments shaped our year.

In 2017 we experienced both incredible highs and incredible lows. We saw longtime bachelor Prince Harry propose to Meghan Markle, we watched dueling political factions rally to support their causes, and we lost stars like Linkin Park frontman Chester Bennington and classic rocker Tom Petty. While our spirits rose and our hearts were broken in equal measure, these 20 viral stories caught our attention this year, and were well worth sharing. Fortunately, even if 2017 has left you feeling down, these 40 things we should all be thankful for might still brighten your day.

The Solar Eclipse

Eclipse viewing

When's the last time you could say that you experienced a once-in-a-lifetime event? Luckily, those who caught 2017's solar eclipse had a chance to; the last time a total eclipse was visible across the lower 48 states was in 1918.

Beyonce's Pregnancy Announcement

Beyonce Knowles

After all the dirt spilled on Lemonade, we could hardly believe that Beyoncé and Jay Z were still making it work. However, the couple rallied and announced that Queen Bey was pregnant with twins in February 2017, wowing fans with an over-the-top Earth Mother Instagram that nearly broke the internet. Beyon-Z's second pregnancy is far from the only surprising thing about this A-list pair; they're also one of the most notable celebrity couples with a huge age gap.

The Charlottesville Rally

NY Anti-Trump Rally

White supremacist Richard Spencer sent shockwaves around the globe in 2017 when his Unite the Right rally marched with tiki torches in Charlottesville, Virginia, in August. Heather Heyer, a Virginia-based paralegal, was hit and killed during the Charlottesville melee, and numerous others were injured. The rally sparked counter-protests in cities like New York, Philadelphia, Washington D.C., and Boston.

Anthony Scaramucci's Bad Week

White House Press Director Anthony Scaramucci

Anthony Scaramucci, a former Goldman Sachs investment banker, probably thought he hit it big when he was appointed White House Communications Director in July. Unfortunately, after some less-than-flattering comments about President Trump from Scaramucci surfaced, he lost the job he'd had for only ten days. To add insult to injury, his wife left him, too. And speaking of the Mooch: Can you pick out which quotes he said versus the quotes from Frank Miller's noir film "Sin City?"

La La Land's Almost Oscar

Emma Stone and Ryan Gosling
Summit Entertainment

Emma Stone and Ryan Gosling are one of America's most beloved on-screen pairs, but that wasn't enough to land them the Oscar for Best Picture. Unfortunately, during the 2017 Oscars, presenters Faye Dunaway and Warren Beatty announced that La La Land had won Best Picture, when, in fact, Barry Jenkins' Moonlight had nabbed the evening's top honor.

Michelle Obama and Melania Trump's Icy Gifting

Michelle Obama Speech
Michelle Obama

First Lady Melania Trump's gesture of goodwill to former First Lady Michelle Obama—the gifting of a large present from Tiffany—should have been a no-fuss affair. However, the perceived side-eye Michelle gave to Melania made waves around the world, becoming one of the year's more popular memes in the process.

Floyd Mayweather Beat Conor McGregor

After plenty of trash talk and tons of hype, Floyd Mayweather defeated Conor McGregor in the ring in 2017. The fight, for which Mayweather came out of retirement, was a major money-maker for both parties, however, with Mayweather earning an estimated $300 million and McGregor pocketing a reported $100 million.

Trump's Paper Towel Toss

President Trump at a Rally, when it was the beginning of the end

Cleaning up after a hurricane is a major endeavor, and a few paper towels just won't cut it. Unfortunately, President Trump didn't get that message—and offended millions in the process—when he tossed paper towels into a crowd of hurricane survivors in Puerto Rico. However, despite the outrage, Trump claimed people loved his antics. "They were screaming and they were loving everything," he said in an interview with Mike Huckabee. "I was having fun, they were having fun."

Harvey Weinstein's Hollywood Ousting

Weinstein Company exec Harvey Weinstein

The rumors of Harvey Weinstein's sexually inappropriate behavior came to a head in 2017, when numerous women, including a number of Weinstein's former employees and a handful of famous actresses, including Angelina Jolie, Ashley Judd, and Asia Argento, claimed he pressured, coerced, or raped them. Weinstein was subsequently fired from The Weinstein Company, which he'd co-founded with his brother Bob, and was kicked out of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. His wife, Marchesa designer Georgina Chapman, left him, too. If there's yet another upside to the Weinstein scandal and fallout, it's that we learned there are some true gentlemen in Hollywood, such as David Schwimmer. 

The Kardashian Pregnancy Boom

There will soon be enough Kardashians and Jenners to fill an endless number of KUWTK spinoffs. In 2017, Kim Kardashian and Kanye West announced they were expecting their third child via surrogate, and rumors have been swirling that both Khloe Kardashian and Kylie Jenner are expecting children with their boyfriends.

George W. Bush's Poncho

Former President George W Bush

The Melania-Michelle awkward gift exchange wasn't the only part of the inauguration that went viral. Former president George W. Bush also became a meme when he couldn't seem to figure out how to get his poncho on during the rainy event. However, Dubya seemed to take the whole thing in stride, joking to People that it wasn't as easy as it looks to "put that baby on."

The Women's March

DC Women's March

Around the world, women pushed for healthcare reform in 2017, with the Women's March hosting an estimated half-million protestors in D.C. on January 21, 2017. The event spawned numerous other protests for equal healthcare and reproductive freedom around the world, with many specifically citing concerns about regressive, anti-woman policies being enacted under President Trump.

Bella Hadid's Shoe Shopping

Supermodel Bella Hadid

Bella Hadid, the supermodel daughter of millionaires, decided to show off how down she was during a sneaker shopping trip with Complex in 2017. Her use of pseudo-urban slang, dropping phrases like "better be fresh," "homeboy's gonna get it," and ample peppering with the word "dope," earned her plenty of online derision. And for photos of Bella Hadid and Kendall Jenner's sexy Bahamian vacation, see here. 

Rick and Morty's Szechuan Sauce Debacle

McDonald's exterior

After an episode of Adult Swim hit Rick and Morty mentioned the short-lived Szechuan sauce once offered by McDonald's, the chain tried to do right by their customers. McDonald's brought back the sauce in ultra-limited quantities to certain locations, angering customers everywhere and launching online campaigns—and tons of exorbitantly priced packet sales on eBay.

Kendall Jenner's Pepsi Commercial

Kendall Jenner probably didn't think it would be her participation in a soda ad that would make her one of 2017's most talked-about celebrities. However, the supermodel's participation in a Black Lives Matter-inspired Pepsi ad—she solves police brutality by giving a riot cop a soda, for Pete's sake—became one of the biggest stories of 2017, and the ad was eventually pulled.

Winona Ryder's SAG Face

Winona Ryder red carpet
Andrea Raffin/Shutterstock

Winona Ryder's second act with Stranger Things has won the actress plenty of praise, but her face at the SAG Awards was nearly as perplexing to fans as the origin of the demogorgon. Ryder, who looked like she was having an intense internal conversation when accepting an award with the show's cast, was reportedly embarrassed by the attention that has since made her one of the year's most viral celebs.

Sean Spicer in the Bushes

White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer

Former White House Press Secretary wasn't ready for all the press coverage he was going to get in 2017, apparently. Spicer, who has since been ousted from his White House role, reportedly hid between bushes to avoid answering questions about the firing of FBI Director James Comey. While Spicer's White House career was short-lived, his hiding has become the stuff of legend. 2017 definitely wasn't Sean Spicer's year, but if you want 2018 to be yours, start with the 20 New Year's Resolutions Anyone Can Keep.

Ryan Gosling's Oscar Whisper

Ryan Gosling red carpet

An unsuspecting tour bus passenger who made her way into the 2017 Oscars found herself participating in one of the year's most viral moments, thanks to Ryan Gosling. The La La Land star whispered to the woman, perhaps spilling Game of Thrones spoilers, perhaps just telling her how much he liked her perfume, and the priceless face she made became one of the year's most charming stories.

Matt Lauer's Firing

NBC star Matt Lauer

Today Show host Matt Lauer's career at NBC came to an abrupt end in 2017 after numerous women came forward alleging the anchor had assaulted or harassed them. After being dismissed by NBC, Lauer admitted his role in some of the incidents while denying others.

Prince Harry's Proposal

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle

In one of the year's most heartwarming stories, royal bachelor Prince Harry popped the question to his girlfriend, Suits star Meghan Markle, in November 2017. The couple gave an adorable interview to BBC News following the announcement of their engagement, and fans of the pair were excited to see the royals welcome not only an American, but one of the first mixed-race British royals in centuries, to the family. Prince Harry and Meghan Markle aren't the only royal couple with intense weddings; these British royal wedding facts might just shock you.

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Sarah Crow
Sarah Crow is a senior editor at Eat This, Not That!, where she focuses on celebrity news and health coverage. Read more
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