Each year, the Internet gives us countless new ways to bring productivity to a grinding halt, most often in the form of WTFs, LOLs and FAILs. 2011 was no exception, producing some of the most awesome, annoying, catchy and otherwise adorable videos. Here are our 10 favorites:
10. Marcel the Shell With Shoes On, Two
The original Marcel the Shell with Shoes On video pitter-pattered his tiny way into our hearts last year with his droll, introspective examination of life on the tiny scale. The sequel taps into that same vein of comedy, the one that makes us love “Parks and Recreation” so much, this time as Marcel explains the hardships of life as a shell.
9. Official Ojai Valley Taxidermy TV Commercial
The Chuck Testa video burned through the life-cycle of a meme faster than ever before, starting at instant classic, hitting critical mass and finally settling in overused anguish all in the span of a few days. The video itself was an exercise in viral marketing, having been created by YouTube personalities Rhett and Link for their IFC show Commercial Kings.
8. Songify This: Can’t Hug Every Cat
Oh, Internet. What would you be without teary-eyed cat lovers? Thanks to the Gregory Brothers (you know, the kids behind Autotune the News and the Bed Intruder Song) this eHarmony online dating video transformed into a catchy, kitty-fueled tear-jerker. It’s a sad tale, she loves cats so much, but she can’t hug every cat.
7. Madeon – Pop Culture
17-year-old French pop-mashup prodigy Madeon took the Internet by storm with his live mashup “Pop Culture,” seamlessly blending samples from 39 different tracks into this three-minute pop-mash paradise.
6. 3-Way (The Golden Rule)
Andy Samberg’s Lonely Island musical-comedy SNL spinoff very much exemplifies the term “hit or miss.” The difference between a miss and a hit? Turns out, it’s Justin Timberlake. Samberg and Timberlake’s characters from the original “Dick in a Box” skit return, this time to indulge in a Summer-lovin’ fueled Lady Gaga sandwich. Remember, with a honey in the middle there’s some leeway.
5. Neil Patrick Harris’ 2011 Tony Awards Opening Number
Barney Stinson may be one of our favorite on-screen characters, but his real-life counterpart Neil Patrick Harris is just as awesome. NPH opened this year’s Tony Awards with this spectacular musical number entitled “Broadway: It’s not just for gays anymore.”
This video popped up on Reddit a few months ago with a simple headline: “My friend wanted to shave his amazing beard. I said ‘okay, but let us shave it in style.’” The result is this 43-second video of a man transforming before our eyes from a skinhead to a mountain man, pausing at pirate, punk, biker and more on the way.
3. Sexy Sax Man Careless Whisper Prank feat. Sergio Flores
“Hey play that George Michael song real quick!” “It’s okay, he’s with sexysaxmansaxograms.com” “Sorry guys, this is saxophone superstar Sergio Flores.” This video prank from YouTuber “Mike Diva” features self-proclaimed sexy sax man Sergio Flores skillfully serenading scores of shoppers and students alike with his sexy saxograms. George Michael would be proud.
2. The Crazy Nastyass Honey Badger
There was a moment earlier this month as I sat watching the 2011 SEC Championship football game, when I thought to myself, are the announcers really discussing a YouTube video about a badass honey badger right now? Their reason was to reference the nickname given to LSU cornerback Tyrann Mathieu, inspired by the video in question. It was in that moment I realized just how popular the Honey Badger had become. Watch the video and you too will understand just how badass the Honey Badger is.
1. Nyan Cat
Of all the memes and viral videos of 2011, none have seen the instant popularity and ubiquity of Nyan Cat. The formula: an animated cat, a pop-tart for a body, flying through space with a rainbow trail, all set to a repetitive, mind-meltingly catchy song. The result? Cuteness overload, and more than 52 million YouTube views of the original video alone, not to mention countless spin-offs and parodies. We welcome our adorable kitten overlords.
Dishonorable Mention: Rebecca Black’s “Friday”
This year’s dishonorable mention belongs to none other than Rebecca Black and her horrifically catchy video “Friday.” The lyrics are abysmal, the music cringe-inducing, the video poorly-produced, yet we know every damn word.