5 Most Viral Videos of 2008

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The presidential election dominated much of the Internet in 2008, and many of the most popular videos were professionally produced pleas to vote or jabs at one candidate or another. Arguably, videos involving celebrities and public figures don’t qualify for true “viral” status, as they would be popular by virtue of the appearance of a famous figure alone. Despite the election’s media saturation, the year brought plenty of amateur videos that had nothing to do with politics. Not surprisingly, many of 2008’s most popular videos had messages of hope and inspiration at their core.

5 ‘Why Every Guy Should Buy Their Girlfriend Wii Fit’

Giovanny Gutierrez knew what he was doing when he recorded his girlfriend playing the hula hoop portion of Wii Fit in her underwear. Overnight, the “Wii Fit Girl” became an Internet sensation, with hundreds of guys clamoring to buy the game for their girlfriends in the hopes of recreating a similar show in their own living rooms. Sure, there were some who thought the video was in bad taste and wrongfully exploited Lauren Bernat, the girlfriend in the video—but her website makes it clear she is overjoyed with her Internet fame. Are you surprised to learn she’s an advertising executive?

4 ‘Hey Jude’

While still in diapers, Ha Youngwoong became a musical sensation for his performance of the Beatles’ “Hey Jude,” recorded live from his living room. The child sang the classic while standing on the couch and idly strumming a guitar he was much too small to play. But it was his singing that got the world’s attention. In the words of one commenter: “He knows the words better than I do.” Turns out, despite the fact the child was not taught English, he could perform 40 different songs by the iconic band.

3 ‘Frozen Grand Central’

New York City flash mob performance group Improv Everywhere hit big with this stunt, which involved more than 200 people freezing on cue in Grand Central Station. It doesn’t sound all that shocking until you see it happen, and see the reactions of all who happened to be passing through the busy station at the time. Among the highlights that drew more than 30 million viewers: a confused station employee hurriedly speaking to another employee over two-way radio because he can’t move his machine due to frozen people blocking his way.

2 ‘Christian the Lion’

Although a video clip telling the story of Christian the Lion and his remarkable reunion with the two men who’d purchased him at a department store was uploaded to YouTube in 2008, it was 2009 before the story really took off. Ace Bourke and John Rendall, the two men in the story, scored appearances on “Oprah,” “The Today Show” and “The View”—entrancing the hosts and the viewing public alike with their account of love that beat the odds. It’s okay to admit that you cried when Christian embraced his prior owners, who’d been told he wouldn’t recognize them.

1 ‘Star Wars According to a 3-Year-Old’

File it under “kids say the darnedest things” if you like, but this little girl nailed the plot summary for “Star Wars, Episode IV.” Beginning with the “sand people” who tried to sell robots at a “garage sale,” she deftly explains the story, all the way to the Death Star—”We blowed it up together.” Her review also includes sage advice: “Don’t talk back to Darth Vader, he’ll get ya!” More than 20 million “Star Wars” fans were charmed by the precocious film critic.

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