Okay, let’s be clear: at this point, none of you should be doing the Harlem Shake. Al Roker killed it, remember?
But in case you’re just joining us, this nonsensical meme is shaping up to be the invisible horse dance of 2013. What started with some guys in superhero costumes and neon jumpsuits thrusting and flailing has inspired thousands of copycats — and now, for better or worse, has grabbed the attention of corporate America.
In the video above, watch Pepsi join in the fun with this 30-second clip of bottles of Pepsi Max and cans of regular and diet Pepsi bouncing up and down to the track “Harlem Shake” by Baauer. But here’s the thing: do you really want to open a can of soda after it’s done the Harlem Shake? Won’t it explode? If soda cans in your fridge start doing the Harlem Shake, we recommend you open them over the nearest sink — and keep them as far away from your face as possible.
The epidemiology of the Harlem Shake craze has been a matter of some scrutiny. It seems to have started on Feb. 2, when YouTube user “Filthy Frank” uploaded the 36-second video below, according to a Feb. 12 blog post by YouTube Trends Manager Kevin Allocca. It’s since had more than 5.6 million views:
However, Allocca argues that this version, uploaded the same day by TheSunnyCoastShake, “established the form” that inspired a wave of copycats, boasting more than 7.9 million views.
“As of the 11th, around 12,000 ‘Harlem Shake’ videos had been posted since the start of the month and they’d already been watched upwards of 44 million times,” Allocca wrote. “Over 4,000 of these videos are being uploaded per day and that number is still likely on the rise.”
Firefighters did it in a truck, alongside Spider-Man and a chicken. The men’s swim team at the University of Georgia did it underwater. BuzzFeed did it with a guy wearing a horse’s head. And Al Roker dressed up as Cupid as part of a walk-up to Valentine’s Day on the Today show, which no one should ever really have to see again. Even the former Comptroller General David Walker and former OMB Director Alice Rivlin did it to get millennials more interested in debt issues. So far indie-rock duo Matt and Kim’s rendition, in the field house of Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in Troy, N.Y., seems to be the clear winner:
Critics argue that the videos are perverting a hallowed Harlem dance form from the 1980s. The Root credits the moves to a man named Al B, who danced during breaks at Harlem basketball games, as well as dancer and choreographer Moetion for popularizing them. Still we’re betting neither of them did it with puppies: