Pop Vulture

The 10 Silliest Videos We Wasted Time Watching This Year

Sunday, December 7, 2008

YouTube can be a great place to see the latest music videos, catch a buzzed-about news item or get a demonstration on how to fold a fitted sheet. But it is also a time-waster extraordinaire, flooded with clips that have little or no redeeming value. And yet we watch.

Think back to time-sucks of previous years, such as the Star Wars Kid or the sneezing panda (for links, go to http://www.washingtonpost.com/popvulture): What exactly did we get from all those repeated viewings? Well, a few seconds of guilty entertainment. And with the depressing state of the world today, should we really deny ourselves? Keeping that in mind, here are 10 of the most entertainingly pointless videos that we fed our precious minutes to this year. Some are lucky footage of random weirdness; others seemingly took a lot of effort to produce, to no real purpose. Enjoy.

10. "Serious Baby." Not too long ago, an angelic laughing baby was the toast of YouTube. This year, it was the evil-eye baby, who snaps between innocent giggling and "I will mess you up" glares in a split second.

9. "Lady Spins on an Escalator." A woman lies across the handrails of two escalators moving in opposite directions and becomes a human turntable. You say to yourself, "That can't be safe" and "Why didn't I think of that?" The stunt has inspired dozens of copycats (and those are only the people who videotaped themselves doing it).

8. "Dog Malfunction." The canine in question is a scrawny lap dog with the strangest bark you'll ever hear. As the little bug-eyed animal freaks out, it sounds less like a dog and more like a gremlin being strangled.

7. "Dramatic Lemur." One of the follow-ups to last year's mega-hit "Dramatic Chipmunk" (truly, the best five-second clip on the Internet, even if the animal is actually a prairie dog), this is another masterpiece of, well, animal facial expressions.

6."Go Shorty." It might not be that funny to see a lizard walk across a street, but to see a lizard walk across a street in perfect rhythm with a 50 Cent song? That's comedy gold.

5. "Dog vs. Balloons." A Jack Russell terrier viciously attacks a bouquet of 74 party balloons, popping each and every one of them in less than a minute. His tenacity is inspirational, especially when he goes after the two orange ones that try to escape.

4. "Roomba Driver." Although the title isn't exactly accurate (the robot vacuum steers itself), there's something indefinably cool about a cat hitching a ride atop a Roomba.

3. "Balloon Fail." Before you watch, know that the man in the video does not die. That way you won't feel as bad laughing at his horribly misguided attempt to squeeze his entire body inside a big latex balloon.

2. "Star Wars According to a 3-Year-Old." The young lady in question puts an absolutely adorable spin on George Lucas's sci-fi epic. Best line: "The shiny guy always worries."

1. "Hamster on a Piano (Eating Popcorn)." Not only do you get to see a hamster on a piano eating popcorn, but you get to hear the accompanying theme song that somebody wrote and performed, the lyrics of which describe exactly what you're seeing on screen: a hamster on a piano eating popcorn. This is the kind of stuff YouTube was made for.

-- Christopher Healy

© 2008 The Washington Post Company