The 10 Most Infamous Video Memes of the ’00s


?Though Youtube only came about in 2005, there’s not been an invention since the creation of penicillin that has had such an impact on people’s everyday lives. Movies, TV shows, videogame clips, people being morons, and really, really bizarre shit — YouTube hosts videos of them all, which can be watched at any time, anywhere, at home, at work, on your phone, whatever.

We live in a time where virtually anyone can make a video and certainly anyone can watch that video, and thus there are a lot of videos to watch. Admittedly, about 99% of them are terrible; however, some fall into a weird vortex where they are somehow terrible and yet fascinating. These become insanely popular in a very short time. Because we’re too enamored of WHOSE RESPONSIBLE THIS to discuss all memes of the ’00s impartially, we figured we could manage to look back at the video memes of this almost finished decade. Here now is this writer’s humble opinion of the 10 most infamous of them.

10) Badger Badger Badger

Jonti Picking decided to make an animation that is perhaps the most quintessential of internet memes — take something random, put it with something else random, put it to music, and repeat endlessly. In this case, it’s badgers. Endlessly appearing badgers, a shot of a mushroom, and occasionally a snake. Set to music. There ya go.

9) This! Is! Sparta!

The movie 300 was a beautifully ridiculous film, which will only become more hilarious as time goes on. In the trailer, the most notable scene is where as Gerard Butler as King Leonidas shouts “This! Is! Sparta!!!” with such overacting flair it rivals Kirk shouting “KHANNNN!” in Star Trek II. So, of course, people stole this already hilarious moment and applied it to every movie, meme and internet video available.

8) Diet Coke and Mentos

The Diet Coke-Mento’s combination has been known since at least the ’80s. But Steve Spangler was apparently the one to combine the Diet Coke-Mento’s reaction (specifically, that if you take Mento’s [preferably four, and preferably mint]and put them in a two-liter bottle of Diet Coke, you get a giant Diet Coke foam eruption) and internet net videos to create its own unique explosion. Later, Fritz Grobe and Stephen Voltz went and created a Diet Coke and Mentos version of the fountain display at the Bellagio Hotel in Las Vegas. Pretty soon everyone was doing this, because it’s so simple and the only thing you have to risk is getting diet soda everywhere and/or your stomach exploding.

7) Charlie The Unicorn

It’s a really strange animation about a unicorn and his psychotic unicorn friends. How this got so insanely popular is beyond us, but we’re ever so glad it did.

6) Fensler Films’ G.I. Joe PSAs

Virtually everyone remembers the classic ’80s G.I. Joe cartoon public service announcements; quick clips which came at the end of every episode to teach a safety lesson and to pretend the show had value beyond selling toys. Eric Fensler didn’t just rescript these PSAs; he turned them into surreal nightmares with new, terrifying voices and incomprehensible dialogue, the most famous being “Porkchop sandwiches!” Nothing was safe, and no safety was learned.


5) The Dramatic Chipmunk

When the Japanese decided to film a groundhog for the show Hello! Morning, CollegeHumor added dramatic music to it from Young Frankenstein, and created a 5-second masterpiece. It was short enough that just about anyone could add their own animation to the clip, resulting in. countless chipmunks with massive drama. Truly, this chipmunk (although he’s actuaslly a groundhog) is the finest actor of this generation.

4) Hitler’s Downfall

Downfall is a German film (in German, Der Untergang) that for the first time since perhaps the Third Reich stars a German as Hitler. The film shows the Nazi dictator at the very end, holding out in a bunker made of delusion that somehow they won’t receive their very deserved comeuppance for being some of the most horrible people in human history. In one scene, Hitler, played by Bruno Ganz, rants crazily about his decimated forces — and someone edited the subtitles to indicate Hitler got banned from Xbox live for a modified console. From that point, the Nazi shithead ranted about anything and everything, from Sarah Palin’s vice-presidential nomination to the Avatar trailer. [Ed’s note: Even if I am biased, I still think Hitler’s WHOSE RESPONSIBLE THIS video is one of the most brilliant versions of the meme.]

3) All Your Base Are Belong to Us

Around the beginning of the decade, the Something Awful message forums took a terrible translation from Japanese to English in the Sega Genesis version of Zero Wing and turned it into a phenomenon. Pretty soon “All your base are belong to us” was being recited, everywhere, put on roadsigns, and pretty much placed every possible place it could to the bewilderment of normal human beings. Now you can buy “All your base are belong to us” shirts at Hot Topic. That’s fucked up.

2) The Rick Roll

Present a title of something on Youtube people may watch, like “Tom Cruise Getting Hit In The Face With A Shovel” When people click on the link, they get sent to a music video of Rick Astley singing “Never Gonna Give You Up.” Brilliant! Hilarious! Well, actually, it’s kinda annoying. This went on for so long that the Thanksgiving Day Parade actually got Rick Roll’d by Cartoon Network and Astley himself. One has to wonder if Astley wished on a monkey’s paw to get his career back.

1) Leeroy Jenkins

Take World of Warcraft. Now, have Ben Shultz and the guild PALS FOR LIFE come up with the idea (possibly while drunk) for a sketch presented as a video capture of an ordinary game where people are planning for a raid. Suddenly, and with unique vigor, one of the people in the raid decides to forgo the methodical and somewhat lunatic planning of the standard raid, shouts a battlecry of his own name, and gets everyone killed. The gaming world became very endeared by this act of silliness, so much so that it’s on all sorts of merchandising.