The 10 most notable viral videos of 2014

Everybody loves a viral video, so join us in counting down those that defined the year

In today’s digital age, homemade videos are becoming not only a prominent source of entertainment, but also a useful platform to bring attention to emerging issues. Whether it’s painfully adorable footage of a cat or a powerful attempt to ignite social change, these videos have the potential to reach the masses. Over the course of the year, we’ve seen a ton of memorable videos being circulated on blogs and our social media timelines from an enlightening kissing experiment to a mutant giant spider dog. To revisit these awesome moments, we’ve collected our picks for the most notable viral videos of 2014.

10 Hours of Walking in NYC as a Woman

When an anti-street harassment organization filmed an actress walking around New York City, only to be approached, followed, and hollered at by passing men, it stirred a lot of controversy. It painted an unpleasant picture of life for New York’s female population, and directly called attention to the eye-opening existence of street harassment in everyday situations. The video received some negativity for a perceived over-representation of men of color, but most importantly, it got people talking about a relevant issue. The organization is using the money that was raised to develop a video series that will further the fight against street harassment.

11-Year-Old Dances to “Anaconda”

When the music video to “Anaconda” surfaced, Nicki Minaj’s excessive amounts of booty poppin’ had the internet flooding with thirsty comments. Taking a slightly different approach, this irrefutably talented 11-year-old took the world by storm with a jaw-dropping choreographed routine to the infectious single. Her name is Taylor Hatala, and the video was taken at the KORE dance studio in Edmonton, Alberta. The prodigy even performed the dance alongside her instructor, Laurence Kaiwai, on Ellen.

Father-Daughter “Fancy” Lip Sync

San Diego’s Star 94.1 radio personality “Boy Toy Jesse” is officially the coolest dad in town. He and his daughter filmed this perfectly lip-synced rendition of Iggy Azalea’s “Fancy” during a car ride, which captured the attention of outlets like Huffington Post, Time, and BuzzFeed for its endearing hilariousness. This one was an instant classic.

Grandmothers Smoke Weed for the First Time

What ended up being potentially the greatest video to hit the web in 2014 was a six-minute documentation of three little old ladies smoking marijuana for the first time. The results were, as you can imagine, hilarious, and the video showed the women making jokes, playing Jenga, and eating Doritos. The video was filmed in Washington, where the substance is legal, and has thus far accumulated over 17 million views.

“First Kiss”

What happens when 20 strangers are coupled together and asked to make out on camera? This experimental video, directed by Tavia Pilieva, turned out to be the third most watched YouTube video of 2014. The first minute or so is painfully awkward, as the newly introduced individuals struggle to remember each other’s names and warm up to physical contact. Eventually, though, the couples engage in passionate kissing. The video as a whole speaks on some broader topics about psychology and intimacy, which ignited a lot of discussion.

TV Reporter Quits Job on Camera

We had to give it up for KTVA Anchorage reporter Charlo Greene for going where few have balls to go by quitting her job in the middle of an on-air newscast. While reporting a story on the marijuana business, Greene stated, "Now everything you've heard is why I, the actual owner of the Alaska Cannabis Club, will be dedicating all of my energy toward fighting for freedom and fairness, which begins with legalizing marijuana here in Alaska. And as for this job, well, not that I have a choice, but fuck it, I quit." She then walked off the set, head held high, forcing another reporter to awkwardly continue the newscast.

Mutant Giant Spider Dog

Winning the number one spot on Google’s annual list of top videos was the beloved Mutant Giant Spider Dog. In the clip, a dog owner dresses his Dachshund in a tarantula costume, then gallivants around public parks and parking garages to play tricks on innocent passersby. Backed by an overly dramatic soundtrack and filled with screaming prank victims, this one is sure to ignite a good laugh.

Solange Attacks Jay Z in an Elevator

We’re sure you’ve seen the infamous footage of Beyonce’s sister, Solange Knowles, kicking and clawing at Jay Z in an elevator since it was circulated by practically every blog in existence. The incident went down in The Standard Hotel after the New York City Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Costume Institute Gala back in May, and the security camera-captured clip had everybody taking sides. Beyonce then spoke on the event in her “Flawless” remix with Nicki Minaj, spitting, “We escalate, up in this bitch like elevators. Of course, sometimes shit goes down when there's a billion dollars on an elevator.” True.

Broadway Cast of The Lion King Performs on an Airplane

And now for our feel good video of the year, the Broadway cast of The Lion King singing one of the production’s original tunes on a public airplane. The professional singers gave their lucky fellow passengers an impromptu performance of “The Circle of Life,” giving everyone on board a heartwarming surprise. The video has racked up over 20 million views since its posting in April.

The Ice Bucket Challenge

If you’ve been living under a rock this whole year, the Ice Bucket Challenge was a viral movement on social media that encouraged nominated participants to film themselves pouring a bucket of ice water over their heads, and then nominating friends or family to do the same. If nominees failed to participate, they were asked to forfeit by way of charitable donation to the ALS Association. We’ve counted it as a viral video due to its ability to single-handedly take over our Facebook and Twitter feeds for the entire summer. The challenge also caught the attention of celebrities and public figures, many of whom donated great sums to support the cause. Since its birth in July, the Ice Bucket Challenge has raised over $115 million for the ALS Association.