Okay, the YouTube Hall of Fame exists only in concept at the moment. But it will one day be a real place where you can visit and receive little guided tours from people who used to be sort of famous.
But it has to start somewhere, and that somewhere is here. So NMR: Weekend Edition is kicking off the YouTube Hall of Fame induction campaign. Every time we decide someone is a worthy inductee into the Hall of Fame, we build a case for why they deserve to be there. This does not mean they are in any actual HoF yet, we’re just telling you who we think ought to be in there and why they ought to be in there. Right now, we’re just saying, “Hey! This person, place or thing (yes, places and objects can be inducted — we’re like the Smithsonian that way) is/was an important part of making YouTube into the entity it is and is becoming.
This week’s entry: Weezer’s “Pork & Beans” Music Video
This video by the sometimes trio/sometimes quartet fronted by Rivers Cuomo decided that the best thing it could do was to namecheck this thing called YouTube, back before it mattered. Back when it was just a hub for weirdos to do their weird things, YouTube took an important step forward with this music video by an established and mainstream band. And, impressively, they managed to recruit MANY of the major early YouTubers to show up in their music video ode to people being themselves. In fact, many of these characters have been and will be covered additionally on our sister series, “What the Hell Happened To __________.” In gathering these motley fools in one place, the “Pork & Beans” video not only became a sort of statement of self, it also served as a de facto advertisement for the site back before the site thought about advertising.
Really, the most fun thing YouTube could do for publicity nowadays is to remake this video with newer stars like Grumpy Cat and co. The sad reality is that it would probably be prohibitively expensive to try to get the new stars on board. This video speaks of a simpler time — it is the dividing line between the YouTube of now and the YouTube of then. Very few of the people featured here are still performing on YouTube, much less commanding an audience for their schtick. That makes this video an advertisement and a time capsule. A photo of a simpler time. And that makes it important to the YouTube Hall of Fame.
-Over 10 million views on YouTube.
-Spent 11 weeks at #1 on Billboard’s Modern Rock chart (only one of 17 songs to ever last at #1 for more than 10 weeks)
-Won Grammy for Best Short Form Music Video
-Weezer’s 9th Top Ten on Billboard’s Pop Charts
-Toronto Radio voted it Best Song of 2008
-According to Wikipedia: Mark Allen Hicks (the “Afro Ninja”), Gary Brolsma, Tay Zonday, Chris Crocker, Caitlin Upton, Liam Kyle “Kelly” Sullivan, Kicesie, Ryan Wieber, Michael “Dorkman” Scott, Judson Laipply, and Fritz Grobe and Stephen Voltz performing Diet Coke and Mentos eruptions. In addition, the video references other YouTube personalities such as Kevin Federline and Lim Jeong-hyun. Other internet memes mimicked in the video include the Dramatic Chipmunk and Mini Moni, parodies of G.I. Joe public service announcements, catching Raybans with one’s face, “All Your Base Are Belong to Us”, the Dancing Banana, “Will It Blend?”, the Soulja Boy dance, “Daft Hands” and “Daft Bodies”, the Sneezing Panda, Charlie the Unicorn, the Dancing Baby along with poorly done CGI versions of Donald Duck and King Kong, and the hoax UFO sighting in Haiti. Dan Dzoan, former world record holder for solving a Rubik’s Cube with one hand in 17.90 seconds, was present for the shooting but does not appear in the video, though there are Rubik’s Cubes in the video, and Dan is present in another video posted by Weezer to YouTube. Neil Cicierega’s Potter Puppet Pals were slated to be in the video, but were left out due to problems with shipments of props. A mock-up of the Dumbledore puppet can be seen in the video nonetheless.
So that’s pretty impressive.
There is a lot of culture in the zeitgeist that is YouTube, some things will take longer than you want to “get in” and some things that you think are totally deserving will NEVER get in. There is no chronology at play here, only items as we come across them and weigh their merit. That being said: