Even Barack Obama ultimately acknowledged "the fertile imagination of the internet," as his fan's cranked out homegrown music videos from a mysterious swamp of unseen creativity.
But as 2007 escapes into a haze of champagne, these videos offer a helpful warning to any future YouTube stars. When you make yourself look ridiculous — it's only the beginning.
1. Ottoman-Humping Gigolos
"Pipelayer" and his boyz — Relentless, X2C, Pressure, and Satisfaktion — show the ladies their technique. But it took internet joker Neuracnu to add Benny Hill's Yakkity Sax.
"Despite the video's description and my big-pasty-white-guy user icon," Neuracnu told us today, "I still get private messages like:
me @my sister and give it to us. we are 18
Eventually even Jon Stewart got involved, noting the Department of Defense had banned all YouTube videos and MySpace pages from being viewed by soldiers. "If there's one thing we don't want our fighting boys exposed to, it's guys their age with enough time on their hands to film themselves doing this.
"Ottoman-humping gigolos! You're ruining troop morale!
2. Two Girls, One Frog
Some videos become famous for being awful, like the notorious "Two Girls, One Cup." Its somber music and surprise scat-eating scene spawned its own viral video meme — footage of horrified reactions from people watching it.
Everyone got into the act, including Opie and Anthony, and even a web site called BestReactions.com. Over two dozen clips appeared on YouTube — someone's mom, four grandmothers, and even two people who appeared to be police officers.
Even after it found its way to Kermit the Frog, that wasn't the end. One follow-up video showed Kermit himself couldn't resist foisting its horrific surprises on his other muppet friends.
3. Snakes on a Chocolate Rain
Tay Zonday's deep voice and pretentious keyboards inspired imaginative re-mixes of his song "Chocolate Rain."
Tay was glad it received attention from John Mayer and Green Day's Tre Cool. But its hard message became hilarious when the singer was replaced by a ventriloquist dummy, Darth Vader, or McGruff the Crime Dog (who, like Tay, also "moves away from the mic to breathe in.")
In November Tay teamed with rapper Mista Johnson and Dr. Pepper for a new video, randomly titled Cherry Chocolate Rain. "This is the web, and it's gonna murder your TV," Tay warns, though he'd just stumbled inadvertently into the next "Snakes on a Plane" — another internet meme that proved impossible to commercialize.
4. Fox News 11 Meet Anonymous
Fox News 11 imagined a "gang" of computer "hackers" who attack "like an internet hate machine" in a sensationalistic story that echoed through countless video parodies. A local L.A. newscaster borrowed half-understood words (like "Epic Lulz") and after one victim used the word "terrorist" in a sentence, even helpfully spliced in a picture of an exploding van.
It took YouTube user "Fluffbrain" to create an appropriately irreverent video celebrating the clip's safety-conscious housewife, who not only bought a security system, but also...a dog. (Then the video segues to cameo appearances by LOL Cats.)
The crimes of "Anonymous" were, at worst, hoax threats, along with minor annoyances like guessing MySpace passwords, crank phone calls, disrupting the children's game Habbo Hotel, and shouting out the end of the new Harry Potter book. (Ironically, when Fox 11 ran a poll on their web site asking visitors if they'd ever been a victim of computer crime, a whopping 97% said "no.")
Eventually Encyclopedia Dramatica unveiled their own equally unsubstantiated act of journalism, arguing that Anonymous "is in fact, a single twelve year-old boy named Tom who has over 9000 fake AIM accounts and single-handedly makes every single post on the 4chan website. No one knows why..." And the parody videos kept coming.
Fox finally received an authoritative rebuttal from "Lord Quadros," another YouTube user who abandoned Fox's melodramatic music altogether, and simply replaced it with footage from the video game Arsenal Gear.
5. "Don't Tase Me, AOL"
The year ended with marketers hungrily eying the success of viral videos, while Hollywood's writers went on strike for a slice of future web revenues. And then AOL News decided to exploit it all.
They rolled parody versions of famous video stars into their own viral web commercial. The world's unluckiest shopkeeper confronts Florida's tased university student, Miss South Carolina, and that emo vlogger who cried "LEAVE BRITNEY ALONE!!!"
If you actually visit AOL News, you'll find the real end-of-the-year headlines are a lot less entertaining. (For example, "Pakistan's Bhutto Assassinated at Rally.")
But maybe that's why people turned to the web.
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