The Bernie Sanders Mittens Meme Has Found Its Way Into a Sad ‘Grey’s Anatomy’ Scene

On January 20, 2021, Joe Biden was sworn in as the 46th president of the United States. And while there were many notable aspects of Biden’s inauguration  — Kamala Harris became the first woman inaugurated as vice president, for example — it was the on-screen fashion moments that got many people talking. Although there were many well-dressed celebrities in attendance, the curious wardrobe choices of a certain senator from Vermont quickly stole the show. Bernie Sanders wore a pair of mittens to Biden’s inauguration that immediately went viral, sparking numerous memes that have now made their way into the Grey’s Anatomy TV fandom.

Senator Bernie Sanders sitting in a folding chair with arms crossed, wearing mittens, wearing a surgical mask
Senator Bernie Sanders | Brendan Smialowski/AFP via Getty Images

Bernie Sanders sparked an online meme revolution

RELATED: Bernie Sanders Is Making the Most Out of His Mittens Going Viral

Sanders has long been known for his hard-line progressive views, with media like Vox (and Bernie Sanders himself) calling his politics a “revolution.” Sanders got a revolution at the start of 2021, but likely not what most people envisioned: A meme revolution. 

It all started when Sanders walked to his seat at Biden’s 2021 inauguration. Unlike many of those around him, he appeared dressed for just an ordinary day. “Amid the dark suits and bright coats dotting the Capitol steps, Mr. Sanders was photographed sitting masked, cross-legged and bundled up in a bulky coat and mittens,” reports the New York Times. A photographer snapped a photo of Sanders, and it was instantly turned into a meme. 

“It began to circulate on social media inserted into a wide array of photographs and scenes from movies and artworks,” explains the Times.

According to CNET, the memes are “endless,” noting that fans have inserted the senator and his famous mittens into scenes from movies (i.e., Forrest Gump and Batman), TV shows like Star Trek and The Bachelor, and even into other memes (i.e., the infamous fly on former vice-president Mike Pence’s head).

And now, fans of Grey’s Anatomy have added Sanders to a very well-known scene in the medical TV drama.

‘Grey’s Anatomy’ fans are adding Sanders to a heartbreaking episode

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Years before Sanders went viral, Grey’s Anatomy aired its season eight finale episode entitled “Flight.” Originally broadcast on May 17, 2012, the plot involves the main cast of the show surviving a traumatic plane crash into the forest. 

“Do not expect to be comforted or happy at end of the … finale,” warned Shonda Rhimes, the show’s creator, in a post on Twitter. “I wrote it and even I found the ending to be very unsettling.”

While all of the characters initially survive the accident, Dr. Lexie Grey (played by Chyler Leigh) passes away from her injuries. In one poignant scene, Dr. Cristina Yang (Sandra Oh) and Dr. Meredith Grey (Ellen Pompeo) are sitting around a fire in the woods, processing their grief.

Viewers have now added the bundled-up Sanders to the lineup in a meme portraying him sitting alongside Dr. Grey and Dr. Yang at the fire.

‘Grey’s Anatomy’ fans think the Bernie meme is funny despite the episode’s overall theme

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A fan posted the meme to the Reddit social media network at the end of January. Within minutes, it had received numerous upvotes from fans.

“I keep coming back to laugh, this is so funny,” responded one Reddit user. “Man I thought I was over the Bernie memes and then you do this!,” exclaimed another fan. Other users mimicked Sanders’s trademark way of speaking to point out things in the 2012 episode that bothered them, such as Dr. Yang’s outbreak about missing her shoe after the plane crash.

When asked how he felt about being turned into a meme, Sanders told late-night comedian Seth Meyers that he thought it was amusing because he was just focused on staying comfortable at the cold, outdoor inauguration. “I was just sitting there trying to keep warm, trying to pay attention to what was going on,” explained Sanders.