YouTube may have already picked the biggest videos to hit the web this year, but there’s a host of great videos that didn’t make the cut. From vigilante cyclists to deadpan taxidermists to obligatory cute kittens, the web was full of strange, funny, sad and infuriating events and characters.
We decided to cap off the year with a list of 10 viral videos we especially liked. While you’ve probably seen at least half of these, there’s a good chance you haven’t seen them all. In trying to define “viral,” we’ve decided not to count any stunningly made professional videos. No music videos starring the notorious Rebecca Black or mega-popular Katy Perry, no crazy views of Earth from space and no stunning visions of the future are in the mix here.
Here are the top 10 viral videos of the year:
Bike lanes in New York City
New York City has been cracking down hard on cyclists this year for not riding in designated bike lanes. Although there are some cyclists who blatantly ignore laws and streetlights (I live there and constantly worry about being biked down), there’s wide mix of violations from pedestrians, drivers and bikers alike. In a move of defiance, one cyclist who gets an unfair ticket decided to make a video of what happens when he only rides in the bike lane. The results are quite funny.
Cat mom hugs baby kitten
Even though it was included in YouTube’s year-end list, we couldn’t help but include this cat-and-kitten clip in our list as well. It’s one of the most watchable clips we’ve seen in a long while because it’s just so darn cute. As much as my grandmother and I have radically different tastes, we both really love this clip.
Chatroulette Love Song
The Chatroulette service — which lets people video chat with other random people — might have been a fad that died off in 2010, but the site and potential to use the service remains. One enterprising band decided to create the “Chatroulette Love Song,” which features a man and his band singing a love song to a girl he meets on the service. It might be the best thing to ever come from the service. Well, unless seeing random male genitals all the time is your thing.
Japan Earthquake: Helicopter aerial view of tsunami waves
The humongous earthquake and tsunami that hit Japan in March was one of the most-covered pieces of news of the year. The disaster caused more than 15,000 deaths and 5,000 injuries. Russia Today spliced some of the most harrowing early footage together while the event was still happening and posted it to the web. The result is a terrifying look at the power of a tsunami as it uproots homes and businesses like it’s nothing. It became viral because of the news, but it had staying power as a document to one of the year’s most important events.
Whether the flying rainbow “nyan cat” falls into the hilarious, surprising or infuriating camp depends on your personal preference, but there’s no denying the song and video was a meme that wouldn’t go away. The nyan cat video has more than 54 million views to date and has inspired countless parodies and related videos. There’s even someone who liked nyan cat enough to turn the repetitive ditty into a 10-hour-long version, which has more than 9 million views itself. That’s a lot of nyan.
Ojai Valley Taxidermy TV commercial
While the Ojai Valley Taxidermy commercial was made by YouTube video vets, it’s so low-budget and full of terrible acting, we felt it counts for the list. The ridiculous clip has attracted 9.2 million views this year. At first glance, it’s unclear if the video is for real, but Ojai Valley Taxidermy owner Chuck Testa came out later to insist that his company is legit and yes, that’s his phone number.
Reverse psychology on a child
This 26-second clip of a small child being manipulated with reverse psychology might be the epitome of a viral video. It’s short, funny and makes you think about the ridiculous aspects of human nature. With more than 11 million views to date, you have to wonder how many parents went out and tried this on their kids.
Talking twin babies
When twin babies have what appears to be an animated 2-minute conversation, you’ve got yourself a hit. With more than 56 million views, the twin babies clip is probably one you’ve seen in an e-mail or your Facebook page, but it’s still fascinating. Is it possible these two small children who share their physiology are having a real conversation in gibberish baby talk? Since only The Doctor speaks baby, we’ll never know.
Ultimate dog tease
This half-dumb, half-clever video that has a dog reacting like a person to a conversation about food attracted an astonishing 77 million views this year. It’s pretty simple to dub a person’s voice over an animal’s noises, but to make it work at the level that makes you want to share it with everyone else is pretty special in itself.
Zach Wahls Speaks About Family
This heartfelt testimonial by 19-year-old Zach Wahls in the Iowa House of Representatives attracted 16 million views in a flashpoint year for gay rights in the United States. Regardless of your position on the matter Wahls discusses, this shoddily shot testimony in a government building became an Internet phenom that continues to rack up the hits.