Ohio is once again the subject of countless memes on TikTok, proving that people still find jokes about the midwestern state hilarious.
According to Know Your Meme, treating Ohio as a joke started in 2016 after the meme "Ohio vs the world" went viral on Tumblr. User @screenshotsofdespair posted a photo of a digital marquee in an unknown city that read, "Ohio will be eliminated."
At the time, the joke was Ohio was secretly plotting to take over the world, hence the photo calling for its silencing. By the time 2020 rolled around, jokes about the state had evolved.
From this sprung other memes and micro-trends, including "Wait, It's All Ohio? Always Has Been," which includes a commonly shared image of two astronauts in space looking back at Earth.
Now, most memes about the state are saying "so Ohio" or "only in Ohio" about something bizarre or random. It's usually tied to images, GIFs or videos that highlight something ridiculous. The memes imply that Ohio is a place where strange things happen. Ironically, it's actually been named one of the "most normal" states in the U.S.
Describing the internet trend, Know Your Meme explains how the memes have essentially re-branded Ohio. Now it is "an American middle place, existing as a capitalist wasteland of chaos and mayhem, akin to creepypastas, lore and randomness, becoming an imagined epitome of American signifiers such as Breezewood, Pennsylvania."
The Ohio memes have become so near-constant that they've taken on a life of their own. To date, the hashtag #Ohio has 33 billion views on TikTok, while #OnlyInOhio has about three billion. In some cases, people have made memes about the memes.
As a result, "Ohio" seems to have firmly implanted itself into Gen Alpha slang. There it sits along other confusing terms like "fanum tax," "grimace," and "rizz" — none of which risk fading from the lexicon any time soon.