Damn, Daniel, 2016 Sure Had Some Great Viral Moments

Much has been made of the worst bits of 2016, and, we have to admit, the year had its dark moments. But 2016 was also the year that gave us hot dog princess, and the mannequin challenge. Sure, it's high time we gave this year the boot, but before we do, we're taking a look back at some of the moments we actually enjoyed, too.

From Chewbacca Mom to the guy who documented his first week at Target, people shared themselves with the internet, and, sometimes, it was enough to get everyone to pay attention. It's hard to say why something like "Damn Daniel" or a Twitter thread about McDonald's is the thing that gets millions to click, but, when it happens, we can't get enough. In a daily barrage of pictures of friends, family, strangers, and cats that live on the internet, what burbles up to the top can seem random in more than one sense of the word. For example, why is Daniel always wearing Vans? And why do we care?

Maybe it's the sheer randomness that makes it so fun. Who knows what unsuspecting person or event will be RT'd and shared for years to come? Or maybe it just feels good to laugh.

Either way, join us for a walk down meme-ory lane (ugh, sorry) as we revisit some of the best viral stories of 2016.
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Target Guy
When Tom Grennell shared on Tumblr the strange and hilarious things that happened to him his first week working at Target ("Sold a bra to the mom of a 16-year-old girl who was cringing the entire time"), he hoped to make people laugh, but he didn't expect to go viral. But, a few days later (while he was at work at Target), his followers let him know that his story was getting a ton of love in Imgur (and even sent him a link to Refinery29's story). When he spoke with us the next week, we learned that his post, in all its glory, had made it all the way up the chain to Target corporate.
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Photo: Via Twitter/@turnerbrandon
Hot Dog Princess
Maybe no one really feels like they fit in as a kid; maybe we just all really like hot dogs. Either way, a picture of a little girl dressed as a hot dog for her dance class' "Princess Day" was enough to capture the hearts of grown-up hot dog princesses the world over.

Her father later explained on Twitter that the hot dog is her favorite costume, and it appears she's taken the whole internet-fame thing in stride: For Halloween, she wore the hot dog costume again, this time with a crown.
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Screenshot via: Twitter/@joshbillinson.
Joe Biden, Prank Master
After the election this November, downtrodden Hillary voters needed a good laugh. And they got it — and then some — when Josh Billinson, a D.C.-area preschool teacher, started tweeting fake conversations between Vice President Biden and President Obama. In them, Biden is dreaming up ways to prank the incoming president, Home Alone-style.

The popularity of the meme — and Billinson's Twitter feed — soared. Soon, people were creating and sharing their own versions of imagined conversations between Biden and Obama, and Billinson's number of followers grew to 17,000. Today, he's still tweeting out plenty of political jokes and is hoping to parlay his internet fame into a paying writing gig, according to USA Today.
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Screenshot via: Twitter/@ScottieFinanger.
The Weirdly Simple (But Amazing) Bottle Trick
Accompanied by dramatic music, high school senior Mike Senatore did the impossible for a school talent show: He flipped a water bottle and had it land on a table standing upright. His fellow classmates erupted in applause (as did the internet) after his friend, Scottie Finanger, tweeted the video.

Since then, Senatore has applied to set a Guinness world record for the most water bottle flips in a minute. He also shared his talent with Stephen Colbert on The Late Show. According to his Twitter bio, he's currently in school at the University of South Carolina, where we can only assume his talent is getting him lots of attention at parties.
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Damn, Daniel
In the same year we lost Vine, we also got one of its most enduring contributions to internet culture. In two words: damn, Daniel. While the humor of the short video left many (including Zendaya) scratching their heads, it was enough to earn Daniel, as well as the film's creator Josh Holz, a lifetime supply of Vans (and may have actually boosted sales of the shoe).
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Screenshot: Via Facebook/Candace Payne.
Chewbacca Mom
When Candace Payne made a Facebook Live video of herself trying out a Chewbacca mask, she unwittingly set into motion a chain of events that would lead to over half a million in endorsements and gifts. Oh, and she's verified on Facebook now, of course.
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World's Worst Wedding RSVP Card
While at first glance, it just looks like your typical wedding RSVP card, a Reddit user noticed a problem with the choice of entrée: Guests could have beef, pork, or child under 12 for their meal.

While the intention was, of course, just to mark if a children's meal (like chicken fingers, not an actual kid) was required, the internet did what the internet does best and made plenty of dark jokes about it. “Excellent choice, sir. 2006 was a fabulous year for children," one commenter wrote when the picture was shared on Reddit.

Since the RSVPs were due on September 22, and news has yet to break of a cannibal-friendly wedding reception this past fall, we can only assume no children were actually consumed in the celebration of this union.
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Mannequin Challenge
The rules of the mannequin challenge are fairly simple: Get a group of people to freeze in a pose for as long as the video runs. Having a soundtrack of "Black Beatles" by Rae Sremmurd is encouraged, but not required. All you really need is a smartphone to record it with.

While the challenge started with high schoolers, within weeks everyone (and we basically mean EVERYONE) was doing it: Beyoncé, Cara Delevingne, Britney Spears...it even made it to the White House. (Refinery29 got in on the fun, too.) But perhaps the most impressive one was from Blac Chyna, who pulled it off while in the delivery room.
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The Phillips Brothers' Zombie Apocalypse Prank
Proving that older brothers will truly go to the ends of the earth to torture their little sisters, Cabot and Barrett Phillips staged an elaborate prank involving the zombie apocalypse after their younger sister, Millicent, got her wisdom teeth removed.

Since then, the trio has appeared on Ellen, where Millicent not only defended her decision to leave the dog behind (he really is the worst, apparently), but she also explained why she let her brothers share the video: She asked them if they thought there was any way Degeneres would see the video if it went up. And it worked!
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Photo: Via Facebook/Ariel Desiree McRae.
A Perfect Response To A "Too Small" Engagement Ring
Ariel Desiree McRae and her now-husband had been dating for two years when they decided to tie the knot. Unable to afford a traditional diamond ring, he bought her one at Pandora. After an employee mocked the idea of buying the ring for an engagement, McRae shared the story on Facebook, explaining "I would have gotten married to this man if it had been a 25 cent gum ball machine ring."

Since the post went live in early December, it's gotten over 57,000 shares. After the outpouring of support, McRae shared more of their love story: "My husband and I met online at the age of 20, talked on the phone (and I mean actually talked not text) for 6+ hours a day for two days. He then drove an hour out of his way to take me on a date. I wore a tacky Christmas sweater... If he had asked me to marry him the first time we met, I probably would have said yes... I've never been this happy in my life and I couldn't imagine spending it with anyone else ever."
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Photo: via @_shoping_world.
The Billion-Dollar Wedding
Speaking of weddings, another couple's nuptials took Instagram by storm for an entirely different reason: They were insanely lavish. While we still don't know for sure, at the time, the wedding of Khadija Uzhakhovs and Said Gutseriev was rumored to cost a whopping $1 billion.

How do you hit a price tag that big? With a giant cake, walls and walls of flowers, and performances by Sting and J.Lo, of course.
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Photo: Courtesy of McDonalds.
The 1 AM McDonald's Run That Was Too Good To Be True
Back in April, writer Josh Raby shared an epic story of a 1 a.m. trip to McDonalds with his 740 Twitter followers. It involved a nearly-40-minute wait time for food, a love story, and a very public makeout session.

It all seemed too good to be true...and it was. Two days later, Raby confirmed that much of the story was embellished, but that McDonald's was sending him back to the drive-through in a limo. "McDonald's has a better sense of humor than some of you," he tweeted.
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Screenshot: Via Twitter/@jessyjeanie.
Roommate Feud Blows Up Twitter
It's a tale as old as time (or, at least, as college dorms): Two roommates don't get along, and a war of passive aggression begins. This being 2016, however, one roommate, Nikki, chose to vent her frustrations on Twitter. The other roommate found the tweets, printed them out, and sent out her own tweets. Her thread about the ensuing events went viral in real time.

The real-life consequences were less fun, however. Jessy, the author of the viral tweets, was later kicked out of her sorority, according to Penn State's student paper, The Tab. In another follow-up, The Washington Post found that Nikki and her friend, Annalise, were subject to cyberbullying in the wake of the tweet storm.
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Grandmas Drinking Fireball
Some viral videos need a lot of explanation; some can simply charm you immediately. The latter was certainly the case back in January, when we got to meet four game grannies who agreed to try Fireball whiskey on camera.

We were unable to confirm if any of the grannies are still drinking Fireball, though we assume they are all still plenty fiery.
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