2008 was the year that viral videos went mainstream.
It was definitely the year that older viral videos hit the greater public consciousness. Rickrolling, Obama Girl, Matt Harding's goofy dances around the world, Dramatic Chipmunk, "Charlie bit me" — all were from earlier years, but finally got noticed by the public at large in 2008.
Still, there was plenty to keep us amused, entertained and possibly horrified during the year. Here are our top 5 viral videos of 2008.
— Angry New York Housewife: British expat Tricia Walsh-Smith got her revenge against an allegedly cheating hubby the new-fangled way — by putting a video up on YouTube detailing his transgressions.
In a series of increasingly bitter clips, which got nearly 5 million viewings, she toured her Park Avenue apartment, called her husband's secretary to inquire about condoms she found in his possession and broke down and cried.
Unfortunately, the judge didn't see it her way and upheld the prenuptial agreement, granted Philip Smith the divorce he had sought and evicted Walsh-Smith from the apartment.
— Wii Fit Hula Girl: Dirty thoughts are all in the mind of the beholder, as a Miami man proved by uploading a clip he'd secretly recorded of his girlfriend swiveling in a T-shirt and panties as she played the hula-hoop minigame in "Wii Fit."
A little kid might point out that it's just an attractive young woman gyrating in her underwear. But grown men, and 7.5 million viewers, know it's just so much more.
— Chimp on a Segway: Courtesy of a Japanese TV show, that's all it is — a chimp rides a Segway and has a fantastic time. 1.25 million viewers agreed. Splendid.
— I'm F***ing Matt Damon, Ben Affleck, etc.: Comedienne Sarah Silverman kicked the New Year off right with a hilarious clip addressed to then- (and possibly current) boyfriend Jimmy Kimmel on his show in late January.
Starring frequent Kimmel punching bag Matt Damon, it detailed her imaginary affair with the married A-lister in graphic detail, and with frequent costume changes.
Not to be outdone, Kimmel debuted a response immediately after the Oscar telecast in late February — a star-studded clip showing his torrid romance with Damon's best buddy, Ben Affleck.
— Sarah Palin, YouTube star: There were lots of great political viral video clips from 2008 — we still like Paris Hilton's take on the race and the aforementioned Sarah Silverman's attempt to swing Florida — but only "CBS Evening News" anchor Katie Couric's outtakes from her interview with GOP vice-presidential nominee Sarah Palin can be said to have affected the outcome.
Before the clips went online in late September, Palin's running mate John McCain was enjoying an extended post-convention bounce in the polls, largely thanks to her addition to the ticket.
But Palin's fuzzy grasp of basic policy issues during the Couric clips planted enduring seeds of doubt in voters' minds, and the Web made sure they only grew.
Tina Fey impersonated her mercilessly on "Saturday Night Live," at times using Palin's own words from the Couric interview and a less damaging one with ABC News' Charles Gibson. A dozen mash-ups comparing her to the geographically challenged Miss Teen South Carolina 2007 showed up on YouTube.
Together with the Wall Street collapse, the Palin video clips punctured McCain's poll bubble, and he was never able to regain the lead.