Only in Ohio: Explaining the TikTok & Twitter Memes (2024)

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Your complete guide to memes like Ohio vs. the World

Co-authored byLuke Smith, MFA

Last Updated: June 13, 2024Fact Checked

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  • “Only in Ohio” Meaning
  • |
  • “Ohio vs. the World” Meaning
  • |
  • “Can’t Even X in Ohio” Meaning
  • |
  • Origin of Ohio Memes
  • |
  • But Why Ohio?
  • |
  • Using “Only in Ohio”
  • |
  • Related Memes

It seems like every time you open TikTok some new horror-movie monster is attacking Ohio, or people are complaining about how bad Ohio’s vibes are. What’s the deal? In short, it’s the latest absurd internet meme, this time poking fun at Ohio (just because it’s funny, not because Ohio is uniquely uninhabitable). We’ll explain more about the memes, tell you where they started, and how to craft your own to get in on the fun.

“Only in Ohio” Meme Explained

“Only in Ohio” is a TikTok and Twitter/X meme that makes fun of the US state of Ohio. The memes imagine Ohio as a place where bizarre, apocalyptic, or just unfortunate things happen, which contrasts with its mundane, Midwestern reputation. The meme also takes the form of “Ohio vs. the World” or “Can’t have X in Ohio.”

Section 1 of 7:

“Only in Ohio” Meaning

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  1. “Only in Ohio” is a joke on social media that pokes fun at Ohio. The meme is often used to caption over-the-top, absurd, or unfortunate images or videos (commonly featuring apocalyptic situations) to imply that these situations could only happen in a place as bizarre or strange as Ohio. Not that Ohio is especially strange in reality, but it’s fun to single out the state for a laugh—likely because nothing much happens there in the first place.

    • Example: On November 21, 2022, TikTok user @ryzwtf posted a video featuring a carnival ride comically slingshotting its riders into the air with the caption, “Only in Ohio💀”
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Section 2 of 7:

“Ohio vs. the World” Meaning

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  1. “Ohio vs. the World” is a meme that imagines Ohio taking over the planet. This version of the Ohio memes sets up Ohio as some sort of malevolent force trying for world domination, usually with fake news headlines saying things like “Ohio took over America,” or, “Ohio is invading Canada,” as well as other goofy scenarios.

    • Example: One popular Ohio vs. the World meme features an MS-paint drawing of 2 astronauts looking at an Earth that only features one big Ohio. “Wait, it’s all Ohio?” one astronaut says. The other, pointing a gun at the first, says, “Always has been.”[1]

Section 3 of 7:

“Can’t Even X in Ohio” Meaning

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  1. “Can’t even X in Ohio” is used to caption inconvenient situations. This is a twist on the older “Can’t have sh*t in Detroit” meme. It’s a tongue-in-cheek way to complain about common frustrations, or even absurd, surreal, or fictional conundrums, usually accompanied by the song “Swag Like Ohio” by rapper Lil B. The meme is meant to imply that Ohio has supernaturally bad vibes, or that it’s a place where bad things just tend to happen—though of course the joke has little real-life basis.

    • Example: TikToker @fwkairu posted a video on August 18, 2022, featuring an enormous animated spider crawling across the moon, captioned, “can’t even look at the moon in ohio💀”
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Section 4 of 7:

Origin of Ohio Memes

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  1. 1

    The Ohio memes started with an image posted to Tumblr in 2016. On August 6 that year, popular Tumblr account screenshotsofdespair posted an image of a digital bus stop sign that, for some reason, read, “Ohio will be eliminated.”[2] The post quickly took off, with over 100,000 notes, and people started riffing with their own jokes about the exaggerated dangers and shortcomings of Ohio.

    • Some time later, a Reddit user by the name of chutotkaa posted a map of the United States labeled “DANGER PRESENTED BY OHIO” featuring color-coded “Ohio advisories” in surrounding states.
  2. 2

    The memes found their way to TikTok in August 2022. The meme popped up on TikTok when user @redie999 uploaded a video featuring a CG creature prowling by his window with the caption “I’m just trying to sleep in Ohio💀,” with “Swag Like Ohio” by Lil B playing over it. After, users began uploading similar videos with the sound, and the rest is history.[3]

    • Since then, people like to make up apocalyptic, horrific, or absurd situations and claim they happen “only in Ohio.”
    • In 2023, YouTuber CG5 uploaded a song inspired by the meme, which people like to poke fun at, because Ohio memes in general are fun to poke fun at.[4]
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Section 5 of 7:

Why is Ohio the subject of so many memes?

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  1. Ohio’s just a random, mundane target, which makes the memes funnier. There’s a lot of answers to this question, but maybe the best answer is just that Ohio is a little boring. It’s a midwestern state where nothing much happens, and so pretending that it’s the epicenter of the apocalypse, a rogue state bent on world domination, or just someplace with terrible vibes is that much funnier.

    • Some say it’s also because Ohio is emblematic of American capitalist, suburban culture, so the memes are actually a sort of parody or social commentary, romanticizing or dramatizing the “midwest wasteland.”

Section 6 of 7:

Using “Only in Ohio”

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  1. Use “Only in Ohio” to caption surreal or unfortunate images and videos. One of the best parts about the memes is how versatile they are! If you see something even mildly strange, be it a video of a dog walking menacingly on its hind legs, or a clip from the latest Godzilla movie, caption or comment something like, “Only in Ohio” or, “Can’t even take a walk outside in Ohio” to get in a good-humored jab at everyone’s favorite midwestern punching bag.

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Section 7 of 7:

Related Memes

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  1. 1

    Can’t have sh*t in Detroit This is the origin of the “Can’t have X in Ohio” memes, and it used to caption unfortunate circ*mstances—a joke about Detroit’s notoriously low standard of living. It started when a Facebook user posted an image of a house missing its front steps, captioned “Someone stole my f--king porch . I opened my door an fell 🤦‍♂️ u can't have sh*t in Detroit"”[5]

    • Fun fact: The original post was actually made about Cincinnati, Ohio, but was edited to say Detroit. It all comes full circle.
  2. 2

    Ohio Final Boss This refers to Japanese TikTok user Saoyu0704, or just “Satoyu.” Satoyu is known for parodying anime protagonists, but became associated with the Ohio memes because he always says “Ohayo” during his streams (which is just Japanese for “Good Morning”). Now, people joke that he’s the “Final Boss of Ohio,” given his tendency to imitate popular, intimidating anime characters.

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      About This Article

      Only in Ohio: Explaining the TikTok & Twitter Memes (19)

      Co-authored by:

      Luke Smith, MFA

      wikiHow Staff Writer

      This article was co-authored by wikiHow staff writer, Luke Smith, MFA. Luke Smith is a wikiHow Staff Writer. He's worked for literary agents, publishing houses, and with many authors, and his writing has been featured in a number of literary magazines. Now, Luke writes for the content team at wikiHow and hopes to help readers expand both their skillsets and the bounds of their curiosity. Luke earned his MFA from the University of Montana.

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      Co-authors: 3

      Updated: June 13, 2024


      Categories: Internet Memes

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      Only in Ohio: Explaining the TikTok & Twitter Memes (2024)


      Why do people say only in Ohio? ›

      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.

      Why is Ohio associated with memes? ›

      The meme seems to have sprouted from an old joke made in 2016, after a social media account shared a bus announcement board displaying "Ohio will be eliminated". The joke soon became a trend, with people sharing odd photos and videos captioned "only in Ohio" or "can't even [something] in Ohio".

      What is Ohio famous for in Tiktok? ›

      It all stemmed from a meme called "Ohio vs The World," which gained traction in August 2016 on Tumblr and was centred around the fictitious unknown danger in the state and the state's quest for world dominance.

      What is Ohio slang for? ›

      It's a rather recent use in slang. Ohio is a state in the US, nothing really special about it. As a joke, people started saying "only in Ohio" or "X in Ohio" usually accompanied with videos or pictures of weird things going on. Along with this, Ohio could be used as a synonym for weird or creepy.

      What is the Ohio accent called? ›

      North of the line, you'll hear the so-called “Midwestern” accent, which linguists call the Northern Cities Shift. South of the line, you'll hear a different accent, characterized by what linguists call “back vowel fronting” and the “Low Back Merger Shift.”

      What is the controversy at Ohio State? ›

      In June 2020, Ohio State University agreed to pay $40.9 million to settle the lawsuits of 162 men who alleged sexual abuse during Strauss's tenure. In September 2021, a judge dismissed several cases brought against the university on grounds that the statute of limitations had passed.

      What is Ohio famously known for? ›

      More things Ohio is known for

      The Wright Brothers were born in Ohio, marking the state's pivotal role in the history of aviation. The Buckeye State: Ohio's nickname, the Buckeye State, honors its state tree, the Ohio buckeye, known for its distinctive nut resembling a buck's eye.

      Is Ohio a good place to live? ›

      A microcosm of the U.S. in a single state, Ohio represents the best of what our country has to offer: an amazing mix of affordability, quality of life, diverse industry, diverse communities, natural beauty, and a dynamic hub for innovation, culture, sports, education, and economic growth.

      What does only in Ohio explain? ›

      “Only in Ohio” Meme Explained

      “Only in Ohio” is a TikTok and Twitter/X meme that makes fun of the US state of Ohio. The memes imagine Ohio as a place where bizarre, apocalyptic, or just unfortunate things happen, which contrasts with its mundane, Midwestern reputation.

      Why do some people say the Ohio State? ›

      In reality, though, Ohio State's specific name can be traced to the institution's early days. While the school was founded as Ohio Agricultural and Mechanical College, things quickly changed to a more general approach. When the name was officially changed to reflect that new scope, the now-famous "The" was present.

      Why does every movie mention Ohio? ›

      Ohio has played a significant role in films from the beginning of movies to the present. In 1891 Thomas Edison of Milan, Ohio invented the Kinetoscope which was the forerunner to the motion picture projector.

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