Trying to condense the year’s Web videos into a mere top 10 has been a challenge, not to mention a fabulous exercise the concept of distraction. But without further ado, here are the 10 best non-animal viral videos of 2009. (Yes, that does mean there will be an animal-only countdown tomorrow. Suspense!)
Most viral hits are short and sweet, which might explain why these brilliant — but extremely long — entries into the pop canon didn’t become as popular as they deserved to be: Both the the fan-made “Dr. Horrible” prequel and the student-created Harry Potter musical should have been huge hits. Instead, neither quite took off, except here at PopWatch Dork Headquarters, where they are treated with the respect they deserve.
“Autotune the News” took our insatiable desire to ridicule cable news and made it into catchy jams, covering everything from tobacco legislation to Michael Jackson. Silly, but not stupid, the series was enough to entice Auto-Tune impresario T-Pain into an a guest appearance:
Proving that the ubiquitous vocal editing software’s power could be harnessed for good, John Boswell‘s Symphony of Science made Richard Feynman and Bill Nye pop singers. The already-lyrical musings of Carl Sagan make for the dreamiest, most intellectually stimulating jams, like “A Glorious Dawn,” and “We Are All Connected.”
The trailer for Where the Wild Things Are reduced even the strongest among us to tears. The dead-on spoof of it, for the not-quite-as-classic Everybody Poops also had us crying. From laughing so hard. Suck it, hipster sentimentalism!
College Humor has long been a reliable source of hilarious, well-produced viral hits. (And bare breasts. We all have our gifts, I guess.) “Web Site Story” nailed its premise perfectly, combining impressive orchestration with surprisingly original jokes about the Internet.
Mad Men‘s ultraspecific sensibilities make it ripe for parody and imitation. “Mad Men in 60 Seconds” zinged, “We all have secrets, Don; let’s smoke indoors,” “Milk Men” had a baby trying to smoke, but it was Sesame Street‘s oddly evocative emotions-based bit that had the best line of all: “Good work, sycophants!”
And the top three…
3. Pumpkin Dance
Is there enough WTF in the world to go along with this amazingly terrible yet hypnotic dance? Viral videos have done more for local news than anything since high school sports.
2. Kittens Inspired by Kittens
It was technically uploaded in 2008, but “Kittens” didn’t start making the rounds until early this year. I can’t be the only person who squealed “I want beef jerky!” when asked what she feels like for dinner, right? It’s like a nerd shibboleth.
1. David After Dentist
“David After Dentist” is the greatest stoner comedy I’ve ever seen. Sure, it’s a little obvious for this list, but nothing can top the plaintive, glassy-eyed “Is this gonna be foreeeverrrr?”