Videos: Some of them are good. Some of them are viral. Not really any correlation. One thing that can be said about 2016 is: It had some viral videos in it. These videos were by and large okay. There are some bad things about them and some nice things about them. This is a quality they share with almost everything ever. I personally remember watching twelve buzzy videos this year, total. Here are the eleven best of those.
11. Chewbacca Mom
The good: this was an old-fashioned organically viral video! It didn’t come from Ellen or Kimmel, it came from a woman in a seat belt. Considering that in previous years the Woman In A Seatbelt category has only given us cloying Frozen singalongs, Chewbacca Mom’s candid dopeyness was a significant pivot. Turns out it’s nice and makes you grind your teeth less to watch someone who isn’t trying to end up on morning talk shows.
The bad: She ended up on morning talk shows anyway. Still a nice video.
10. Jimmy Kimmel Halloween Video
The good: It’s interesting and sometimes nice to watch half-finished humans in various states of ethical development learning how to communicate and mediate their feelings. Entitlement and spite are there, yes, but also grace and forgiveness.
The bad: This video comes out every year and it will come out every year until you and I are long gone from this earth. It’s an unremarkable premise that borders on cruelty in the same way that New York City borders on New York State. It’s internet and television mediocrity married and it’s only on this “10 Best” list because it’s not the worst out of 11.
9. John Oliver’s Last Week Tonight on Donald Trump
The good: It’s a funny, well-researched piece of informative entertainment.
The bad: how into the whole “Drumpf” thing a certain type of person got.
8. Pen Pineapple Apple Pen
The good: It’s a catchy song that requires you to use spatial reasoning.
The bad: Nothing glaringly bad about this one. It’s an enjoyable watch. Look at that object work!
7. Brothers Convince Little Sister of Apocalypse
The good: This was a funny, sort of creative prank by some earnest boys who say things like “what the heck” on their sister named Millicent who says things like “you’re driving like a slug.”
The bad: Maybe I’m just cynical but the way they look at the camera at the end screams “morning talk shows here we come.”
6. The $21,000 First Class Airplane Seat
The good: It’s kind of cool to see rich people shit, even though it makes you mad.
The bad: Most of the video. Human Ray-Ban Casey Neistat is just the person to make you feel like your cynicism about the performed sincerity of people looking into cameras is justified. Plus he looks like if Bono got hit in the face with a GoPro.
5. Dude Perfect: Water Bottle Flip Edition
The good: This video is fine. You know it took a hundred takes to get each shot, but it would be disingenuous to pretend it’s not satisfying to watch this edit of pure successes.
The bad: Look, I’m not going to stretch to find bad if there isn’t any. It’s not like it’s such a good video that it needs some huge negative to cancel out its value. The video is fine.
4. Mannequin Challenge
Not really a single video but it still belongs in here.
The good: It’s cool! When people do it well it’s really neat to watch. Especially teens.
The bad: Not everybody did it well. Plus, this is one those memes boomers found out about and freaking loved. If your local news channel didn’t do the mannequin challenge they probably got sacked.
3. Damn Daniel
The good: It’s just some nice boys goofing off! Not to say “pure” but it’s pretty pure.
The bad: Like most truly good viral things, this one was essentially spoiled by the riffs it inspired.
2. You On Kazoo
The good: I don’t know, man, this video is a trip. I think I like it. Low budget kids’ media is every bit as entertaining as low budget adult media, except instead of catering to adults’ lust for fake blood and gratuitous breasts, it has to cater to kids’ lust for—just kind of wiggling around and yelling stuff. Goin nuts.
The bad: Everything that’s good about this video is also bad about this video. This one helps us distinguish the sensation of ambivalence from the sensation of apathy.
1. Vic Berger’s Republican Primary Debate Videos
The good: They’re really funny. Vic Berger is good at what he does and it’s kind of a new thing.
The bad: Nothing really. These were some good, funny videos that got popular. Nice.
Runner up: Lip Sync Battle: Channing Tatum Does Beyonce’s “Run The World”
This video is bad.