With the year's end upon us, it's time to look back at some of the videos that made us howl over the past twelve months. But we're not talking about something from an endless stream of Judd Apatow comedies, we're talking about a big bucket of FAIL to wash down a heaping helping of schadenfreude...it's the Top 10 viral videos of 2008.
By Doug Hammond
The following article does not represent the opinions of Spike TV or its affiliates.
10. Sarah Palin Plays the Flute
What can you say about Sarah Palin that hasn't been said (and said about a million times). Whether you love her or hate her, she was undeniably the year's most talked about sensation this side of Barack Obama. Of all her achievements (or lack thereof), what was perhaps most entertaining was this silly little video from her 1984 Miss Alaska pageant appearance. Sure, it may not carry the importance of her ill-fated interview with Katie Couric or even the banality of her brief tenure as a hottie sportscaster, but when else have you seen a politician perform a musical number with such furrowed brows of concentration that their eyes get crossed? It's undoubtedly the best pageant performance since the legendary Star Wars trumpet solo.
9. Christian Pop Locking
Whether it's an oddly upbeat musical number from a '70s ska band or a pastor riding his Harley, there's nothing quite as oddly hilarious as a devout religious person sampling the treats of the secular world. This is perhaps most evident in this bizarre clip from The Way International, a Christian organization preaching to its followers that "the renewed mind is the key to the power that we need." Yeah, I don't know what that means either.
But if you're a young Christian, I suspect it might be rather powerful to witness some of the whitest people on earth attempting some of the most misguidedly funky breakdancing moves ever witnessed. And that's all before you get to the weird rap-style breakdown two minutes into the video. Yikes.
8. Iraqi Journalist Throws Shoes at Bush
With an approval rating hovering somewhere in the mid-twenties, President George W. Bush is one of the most vilified public servants of our time whose last name isn't Blagojevich. And, considering it's been like that for more than a couple years now, there probably aren't too many of us who haven't at least once thought of what they'd like to do to the comically bumbling commander-in-chief given the chance. One Iraqi journalist, Muntadhar al-Zaidi, did one better, however, by actually doing something about it. In front of a room full of cameras, the 29-year-old reporter for Al-Baghdadia TV launched both of shoes toward Dubya in an airborne attack, perhaps the ultimate insult in a Muslim culture.
Now facing trial, al-Zaidi remains unrepentant, even though he stands to serve up to 15 years in prison for "aggression against a president." The surprising winner throughout the brouhaha is Turkish shoe manufacture Baydan Shoes, who have seen demand skyrocket for pairs of the modest footwear. With over 370,000 new pairs ordered (including nearly 20,000 from the United States alone), the Model 271 footwear is perhaps the year's most surprising fashion hit.
7. Bike Hero
Meticulously choreographed, this life-sized rendition of Guitar Hero as performed on a bicycle is perhaps the year's most impressive viral video. So impressive, in fact, that the natural skepticism of the internets bubbled up to the surface and pointed out that the clip was actually done as an advertisement for the beloved Activision franchise.
The culprits/geniuses behind the clip? New York-based ad agency Droga5, who undoubtedly spent countless hours perfecting the piece. So while it's possibly not quite as impressive as if some bored teenagers just made it for fun, I'd have to say "who cares?" It's still a damn cool video, regardless of where it came from. The irony with the minor "backlash" that Droga5 received at the hands of some snark-minded bloggers is that this just makes it more likely that these companies will be more, not less, stealthy in their future endeavors. Well done, internet, you've pwn3d yourself again.
6. Bert and Ernie Gangsta Rap
Ever since some clowns added some Tupac to a Barney video lo these many years ago, the esteemed tradition of hip hop mashups for toddlers (okay, adults) has been one of the internet's best-loved memes. So while there isn't anything remarkably novel about this video of everyone's favorite homoerotic puppets getting down to a jam by Brooklyn-based M.O.P., it doesn't matter. It's just real as s**t, you feel me?
5. The Bride Goes Down
As a day for your closest friends and family to gather 'round and celebrate the sacrament of marriage, a wedding is perhaps the penultimate event in many adults' lives. Which is why it's so awesome when something goes disastrously wrong during such a well-choreographed event. This video of a best man tripping and causing the bride to careen forward into a pool is perhaps the best example from a genre already filled with so many winners.
But is it real? Some point to the best man's clumsy stepping and ankle-grab of the bride to say that this one is a fake. Others are more suspicious of the cameraman's movements, particularly how quick he was to catch the footage of the unlucky bride and priest falling into the drink. But, on the other hand, what would motivate someone to stage something like this? Though I'm inclined to agree that it's probably a planned stunt, what's perhaps most fascinating about this video is that you just don't really know for sure.
4. Star Wars According to a 3-Year-Old
As the third-highest grossing franchise of all time, the Star Wars films have enthralled millions of moviegoers worldwide ever since Luke first gazed above the desolate rock of Tatooine. And perhaps most impressionable among its fans are the children who have come to know and love the characters and action, from the 1977 original all the way to the very modern Episodes I-III. So who better to provide a recap of the original Star Wars than one of its youngest fans? There's no need to mess around with the intricacies of plot or the inner machinations of the Jedi council when you could instead have such pearls of wisdom as "Don't talk back to Darth Vader, he'll getcha!" Enough said.
3. Why You Should Buy Your Girlfriend a Wii Fit
With millions sold worldwide, the Wii Fit is easily one of the year's most hyped and sought after video games. And why not? Not only does it turn exercise into a game, it also gives you ample opportunity to help the fairer sex enjoy video games, all under the guise of "working out."
When aspiring advertising professional Giovanny Gutierrez surreptitiously filmed his girlfriend Lauren rocking away on the Wii Balance Board, neither of them probably had any idea the astronomical heights this simple clip of girl twisting her very fine ass would reach. But with over 7.5 million views on YouTube and an astounding 12,000+ Diggs, the video's popularity quickly eclipsed the numbers of those simply interested in the game. Though his girlfriend was reportedly "furious" upon hearing about the YouTube video, she's since come around and seems to be enjoying her fifteen minutes of fame.
Lauren, I think you owe Giovanny an apology.
2. How To Use Your Refrigerator To Score
Did you know that something as simple as a well thought out beverage choice can give you an unmistakable edge when it comes to bagging females? It's true. Or, at least that's what Mr. Chi City would have you believe. And with the game he spits, who would doubt him? The (mostly) anonymous Chicago resident has struck up a sizable online following of viewers who wait upon his every word for pearly bits of wisdom. Whether it's how to score on the dollar menu at McDonald's or the best way to kill a giant bug in your apartment, this dude is there to help you navigate life's most difficult choices.
Thank you, Mr. Chi City.
1. Bill O'Reilly Flips Out
Though almost 20 years old, this vintage clip of a younger Bill O'Reilly flipping out on the set of Inside Edition is the hands down winner of the coveted prize for the top viral video of 2008. Sure, it's from the early '90s and, while it's true that he's had some pretty ridiculous on-air moments since then, nothing really comes close to the fire emanating from Papa Bear's belly during a heated off-air exchange about some verbiage on the teleprompter.
This is a meltdown so epic that the gruff FOX News anchor was even moved to comment on his show, where he brushed it off (unconvincingly) and tried to minimize it as some sort of joke. But the real prize for humor goes to none other than Stephen Colbert, who was inspired to do his own rendition of the meltdown on the Report.
This O'Reilly flip out pretty much symbolizes all that is great about the popularity of viral videos. If you're caught on tape doing something stupid or acting like a boorish nutcase, people will be falling all over themselves to be the first to upload it to the glory of the internets. This revolution will, in fact, be televised.