Cats! Babies! Honey Badger! And that day of the week you can't get out of your head VIDEO
Another year gone by. And with it, all those precious hours that might otherwise have been spent writing novels and training for marathons, sacrificed at the altar of talking dogs and people ripping up paper. Thanks, YouTube! So with heavy hearts and glassy eyes, we bid adieu to the videos that this year made us laugh, sparked our outrage, touched our hearts and made us feel like partyin’ partyin’.
Cats, now and forever
As if to answer the question, “Is there anything more hypnotically odd than Rebecca Black’s ‘Friday’?” along came the glorious, three-and-a-half-minute endurance test known as Nyan cat. With its inspiring “Nyanyanyanyanyanyanya!” lyrics and its gif of a smiling half-kitty, half-Pop Tart with a rainbow soaring out its butt, Nyan cat made absolutely zero sense. It has been viewed nearly 55 million times. Peanut Butter Jelly Time and Ooga Chaka Baby, make room on the dance floor.
Cat mom hugs baby kitten
Exactly what it says it says. It’s pretty simple. And if this doesn’t make you squee at the 33-second mark, you’re dead inside. I’m sorry your mother didn’t love you.
eHarmony video bio
OK, so “Debbie” wasn’t real. The fact that she openly posts on YouTube and Twitter as Cara Hartmann was kind of a tipoff. The fact eHarmony itself got into the act after she went viral, noting that they don’t even do video personals, was another. But there was something about the crazy cat lady’s two-and-a-half-minute monologue – the way it went from shy and flirty to a tearful, “I know I can’t hug every cat!” confession that rang familiar alarm bells with every person who’s ever had the spooky realization, “I am trapped on a date with a lunatic.” Which is every person. Oh, Debbie, we want to be on a rainbow with you, too.
Men in uniform
U.C. Davis protesters pepper-sprayed
When Lt. John Pike cavalierly aimed his can of pepper spray at a peaceful chain of protesters at the University of California, Davis, back in November, his image became an instantly appropriated meme. But though there’s plenty of room for parody to be found in a still photograph, it was the video of Pike and his cohorts, dousing students over the howls of the crowd, that became a turning point in the Occupy movement — and a stunning reminder of what abuse of power looks like.
Telling my dad that I am gay – LIVE
In the year’s most riveting coming-out story, 21-year-old Randy Phillips placed a late-night call to his father from his Air Force base in Germany. “I’m as nervous as I can ever remember being,” Phillips said. “He has no clue.” And then, after insisting his father confirm his love for him, Phillips told him he’s gay. And when his father, half a world away, replied, “I still love you, son … It doesn’t change our relationship, you hear me?” it was a tear-jerking testament to the bonds of family, and the beauty of acceptance.
In an impossibly cute clip, a cheerful pair of brothers show off their mismatched socks, trade flailing hand gestures, and, amazingly, babble back and forth in what looks more like a more meaningful conversation than any episode of “Fox and Friends” that has ever aired. In addition to being shamelessly delightful, the video lent itself easily to colorful translations of their conversation and reimaginings of the boys in their later years. Anything that can get Michael Chiklis is a diaper wins.
There were many cute babies this year. But only one channeled the Jessie Spano “I’m so excited, I’m so scared” gamut of emotions like little scene-stealer Emerson. Watch as he goes from terror to hilarity, again and again, as mom blows her nose. One minute of compelling evidence for why people keep having babies – because they’re so goddamn funny.
“This,” our narrator explains flamboyantly, “is the honey badger.” And in a clip from the kind of nature special that might get people to actually watch PBS, the “pretty bad-ass” creature goes on to demonstrate his aptitude for not “giving a shit.” Sure, it’s all as ridiculous as turning down the volume and providing your own commentary for any National Geographic opus, but Honey Badger and his sassy narrator Randall nevertheless became heroes of our time. Charlie Sheen only wishes he was such a “nasty crazy-ass.”
Marcel the shell with shoes on
What’s cuter than Zooey Deschanel, but without the side effect of making you want to punch a wall? Marcel, we missed you so. Voiced again by the pitch-perfect Jenny Slate, the world-weary yet hopeful Marcel expounded on the merits of a piece of bread as a bed, the hazards of traveling by bug (“You’re only going to go where the bug wants to go”) — and somehow managed to be winsome without being all Brooklyn about it. Why do we love Marcel? Uh, ’cause it’s worth it.
And the rest
He was a panhandler on an Ohio freeway, brandishing a sign that read, “I have a God given gift of voice.” And when the Columbus Dispatch’s Doral Chenoweth III pulled over one day to ask for his story, an unlikely, golden-throated viral star emerged. Instantly, the former voice-over artist – who’d fallen in recent years into “alcohol and drugs and other things” – was fielding lucrative job offers. It was an apparent feel-good redemption story, sullied only by the reality that Williams was not quite prepared for sudden fame and success. He went in and out of different rehab clinics. The Cavaliers withdrew their offer to be their announcer. But today, Williams is the voice of New England Cable News and says he’s been sober since May. It’s not quite as spectacular as the morning he opened the “Today” show, but it’s still a long way from the streets he roamed just a year ago.
Appalling. Amateurish. And God help us, inescapable. When 13-year-old Rebecca Black’s parents granted her wish to make a music video, little could they have imagined it would become the most watched clip in YouTube history. (Trololo man is still getting over the defeat.) It launched a gazillion parodies, secured Black the patronage of Katy Perry, cleared up any confusion over where Thursday and Saturday fit in the scheme of things, and most of all, became the end of the week anthem that will never die. When someday your grandchildren are singing of “fun, fun,” tell them where you were the moment you followed a fateful link from a friend that said, “WTF is this?”
Honorable mentions to Jorge & Alexa Narvaez’s Magnetic Zeroes cover, the Greatest Marriage Proposal Ever, Jack Sparrow, the HMS sailors’ “All I Want for Christmas,” Shit Girls Say, Volkswagen’s “The Force” and Rick Perry’s inadvertently hilarious Strong.
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Lisa Montgomery embraces her nephew Thursday after a tornado tore apart her home in Cleburne, Texas. The twister killed six people and destroyed entire swaths of the North Texas town.
Credit: AP/LM Otero
Jack McMahon, the defense attorney for abortion doctor Kermit Gosnell, speaks outside the Criminal Justice Center in Philadelphia Tuesday. His client was convicted of killing three babies in his clinic, and will serve multiple life sentences.
Credit: AP/Matt Rourke
A photo taken Monday captures Vice President Joe Biden's response to a Milwaukee second-grader's innovative proposal to end America's epidemic of gun violence. This guy!
Credit: AP/Jenny Aicher
Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., flanked by a grouper-eyed Michele Bachmann, addresses the IRS' admission that it targeted Tea Party groups in advance of the 2012 election. In an op-ed for CNN Thursday, the Kentucky senator slammed the president for his faux outrage.
Credit: AP/Molly Riley
Ousted IRS chief Steven Miller is sworn in on Capitol Hill Friday. Miller testified before the House Ways and Means Committee on the extra scrutiny the agency gave conservative groups applying for tax-exempt status.
Credit: AP/J. Scott Applewhite
Attorney General Eric Holder pauses as he testifies on Capitol Hill before the House Judiciary Committee Wednesday. Holder is under fire, among other things, for the Justice Department's gathering of phone records at the Associated Press.
Credit: AP/Carolyn Kaster
O.J. Simpson sits during an evidentiary hearing at Clark County District Court in Las Vegas, Nev., Thursday. Simpson, who is currently serving a nine-to-33-year sentence in state prison for armed robbery and kidnapping, is using a writ of habeas corpus to seek a new trial.
Credit: AP/Las Vegas Review-Journal/Jeff Scheid
Major Tom to ground control: On Sunday astronaut Chris Hadfield recorded the first music video from space, a cover of David Bowie's "Space Oddity."
Credit: AP/NASA/Chris Hadfield
When it rains it pours. President Barack Obama speaks during a news conference Thursday with Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, inexplicably inspiring an #umbrellagate Twitter meme.
Credit: AP/Jacquelyn Martin
A smoke plume rises high above a road block at the intersection of County A and Ross Road east of Solon Springs, Wis., Tuesday. No injuries were reported, but the the wildfire caused evacuations across northwestern Wisconsin.
Credit: AP/The Duluth News-Tribune/Clint Austin
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