year in culture 2015

The 10 Best Viral Videos of 2015

Nicholas Fraser, asking the important question of our times.

This month Vulture will be publishing our critics’ year-end lists. Last week’s lists included albumsart, and video games. This week we’ve covered comedy — sketchesspecials, and podcasts — plus a mix that includes music videos, memes, late-night clips, and graphic novels. Today we have movie action scenes and viral videos.

1.”Dog Left in SUV Blares Horn Because Seriously, People, WTF?”
I’m not usually a fan of avant-garde cinema but I love “Dog Left in SUV Blares Horn Because Seriously, People, WTF?” It is a film that eschews traditional narrative, with no beginning and no end. From the very first second of the video, we are treated to the horrible strains of a car horn, which proceeds uninterrupted for the next 20 seconds. It is all we hear. What could possibly be causing this awful din? It is a small dog, standing proud and resolute against the car horn. The horn of his or her oppressor. The camera moves fluidly through the filmic space. We begin far from the SUV. Who is honking the horn? we ask. The camera moves closer so that we can peer through the window. Ah, yes, the dog is honking the horn. Does the dog not realize what it is doing? Then the camera swings around the front of the car. Our canine friend’s head swivels left and right, but the small paws remain pressing on the steering wheel. End of scene. It is the funniest thing I watched this year.

2. Why You Lyin’
“Lyin’” has a lot going for it. A charismatic lead, the sultry R&B beats of Next’s “Too Close,” the toilet in the backyard, “mmmmmmmohymgod.” It’s iconic. Any other year it would have ranked No. 1. But it didn’t. Sorry!

3. Pizza Rat
Pizza Rat is ranked a lowly third on this list because we all stink. There was a wonderful two, maybe two-and-a-half, hours when Pizza Rat was the best thing I had ever seen. It’s a very relatable video! I am disgusting and unclean (like a rat), and I love pizza (like a human with a functioning mouth). I’m Pizza Rat. The problem is, we all thought we were Pizza Rat, and so we memed it to death. RIP. (Rest in pizza.)

4. Duck Army
This clip is the metaphor for soulless industrialized production of consumer goods that we deserved in 2015. One squeaky duck? Charming. One thousand squeaky ducks? Terrifying; every night, from now until the end of time, the Duck Army screams their pains and laments into the endless void. They cry out for help. Their souls scream to be released from their rubber-flesh prisons. Hell is Eternal, and the Duck Army lives there.

5. ”A bear family takes a dip in our pool - Part II”
There are bears in the pool. Six bears, to be precise. Six bears, one pool, infinite possibilities. There are a lot of different things you can do with this video. You can watch just the video, which, again, features bears in the pool. That’s very Zen. But you can also listen to the audio, in which a young child charmingly complains that the bears “took my floatie.” It’s 11 minutes of low-stakes drama in which small bears learn to swim and small children learn to share toys.

6. “Jon Hendren Defends Edward S. on HLN”
What I love about this clip is that both parties come across as having done their job well. The guest, Jon Hendren, manages to eat up nearly three minutes of precious airtime discussing Edward Scissorhands instead of Edward Snowden. The host, Yasmin Vossoughian, doesn’t miss a beat, refusing to get tripped up and disrupt the interview’s flow. If you were watching HLN in a doctor’s waiting room, which is where most people watch HLN, then you probably wouldn’t have noticed anything amiss. That’s professionalism.

“UConn Drunk Kid” is a bit of a slow burn, but it’s worth enduring the horrible, uncomfortable journey into darkness because the payoff is very satisfying. No less an authority than Barstool Sports called it “a tale of a young college student and his quest for drunken jalapeño macaroni and cheese, full of heroes and villains, conflict and resolution, rising actions and a conclusion you never saw coming.”

8. I Wish That I …
Not much to say about this one. Just three furries getting ready for their day. It’s important to live your truth and be yourself, and these guys are doing exactly that. Keep being you, cool kids!

9. One of those moments!
This one was super popular on Tumblr. “Dick Cheney made money off the Iraq War” basically became the third in a triptych of irony-laden war-conspiracy mantras, the first two being that “Jet fuel can’t melt steel beams” and “Bush did 9/11.” But for a brief moment in early 2015, the Tumblr teens were sure of one thing: Dick Cheney made money off the Iraq War.

10. If your eyes were open to all the beauty in the world, you too would be overwhelmed with joy
This Vine is incredibly dense with stuff. There are, like, at least three jokes going on here, and for a Vine, that’s like a joke every two seconds. Pretty good! Obviously, Guy Fieri is a very funny person to joke about, and 69 is a funny number because it’s the sex number, and “Fix You” is a very corny song. Open your eyes. There are miracles all around.

The 10 Best Viral Videos of 2015