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A crucial component of any viral video is an intense and singular point of interest—be it cute, violent or very, very strange. But take a closer look. No, even closer. Squint. Can you seen an entirely new world opening up in the background? A world that oftentimes has a lot more going on in it, if you take only a moment to reveal its secrets? Have a headache yet? Stop squinting. Start reading.
Published May 17, 2012 More Info »

A TROUBLED YOUTH IN A TROUBLING ROOM

So this kid has a meltdown after mom cancels his World of Warcraft subscription. Here’s something he should really be freaking out about: that lighthouse. Time to take control of your room décor, son! Do you ever expect to bring girls in there? For a person with so many problems expressing himself, he needs what the interior design world calls “discussion pieces.” The Family Guy calendar is not one of them. Neither is the poorly-framed great white shark poster, which continues the nautical theme but makes for a feeble assertion of virility. Looking at this guy’s emasculated room, it’s no wonder he’s majorly freaking out. 

BACKGROUND CHECK: FRIGHTENED MAMA’S BOY STUCK IN FREUD’S “PHALLIC” STAGE OF PSYCHOSEXUAL DEVELOPMENT.

CUTE? OR CRAWLING WITH SALMONELLA?

Is it us, or is it truly disturbing how young we’ve started forcing our children to sing pop songs? Whenever you hear mother loudly mouthing the words behind the camera, it reeks not of family entertainment, but of North Korean child labor. If you look past the forced cuteness in this video, the one object that jumps out and covers your face (most likely in bacteria) is the take-out bag. See? Next to the rotting bananas? Whenever a bag is tied up like that, it either contains dog poop or a half-eaten Chicken Slamwich from Houlihan’s. Here’s hoping mommy threw it away immediately after filming, all the while avoiding touching the poor girl’s high-chair tray. Got Salmonella?

BACKGROUND CHECK: FUTURE SHOW-BIZ PARENT DRIVING OWN DAUGHTER TO EMOTIONAL RUIN FROM HIGH EXPECTATIONS WHILE ENFORCING POOR DIET/HYGIENE.

MA’AM, THAT UGLY CHAIR IS SLOWLY KILLING YOUR DOG

In this video, a gigantic dog has trouble waking up from a nap. It’s not adorable. It’s another word that starts with an “a.” Did you guess “arthritis”? That’s what the overstuffed armrests are bringing on. They are so big, one can almost picture them as living entities, flailing about like Chairy in Pee-Wee’s Playhouse. But Chairy was smart. Any chair within five feet of Pee-Wee had to be. If Chairy were here, she’d grab that guitar leaning on the wall and sing the dane a special song called “I’ll Be Crampin’ Your Way to Hip Replacement.” Either that or she’d eat the pooch with her playing-card-sized teeth. Here’s what these pet owners need to do: use the magazines as kindling, then take the overstuffed Vera Bradley bag outside and light it on fire. The dog “Fern” and her ten-foot legs will thank them in the long run. 

BACKGROUND CHECK: HIPPY MARMADUKE FANS MUST REEVALUTATE THE NAPTIME CHOICES THEY ARE MAKING FOR THEIR BELOVED, INNOCENT PET.

ADORABLE RAPPER’S 2nd FLOOR SUBURBAN HIDEAWAY

The rap is lyrically conspicuous (or whatever adjective a rapper would misuse to denote “great”). Their facial expressions are so “boss” or something. But stop for a moment and take a glance at that pendant light in the background. Now imagine all it bestows! Though we only get a sliver of a background here, it says so much about the awesomeness of these two rap “brothers.” That’s not slang. They share the same last name! Their light-loving circular window and banister suggests an impressive foyer downstairs. Hmm, foyer. There’s a whole rap just in that word. It rhymes with so much. Croquet. Bouquet. Rocky Mountain Jay. Americanize it with an “er” and an additional set of rhymes opens up. The song is called “Ratchet Girl” and no wonder: vast amounts of impressive wrenching went into constructing their McMansion—er, crib.

BACKGROUND CHECK: NATURAL SUNLIGHT AND A SWEEPING ENTRANCE HALL “OPENS UP” RAPPERS TO RHYTHMIC MAJESTY.

TWO-AND-A-HALF WOMEN

Sometimes a video comes along that makes a person question why more people watched it than watched a $250 million dollar movie with space wars and explosions and babes in strappy leather things. This is not one of them. The popularity of this video has everything to do with the background. The couch. The weird light switches. And check out the distressed-looking wall. Muy authentico, no? Good luck finding that in a can of Martha Stewart “Crackle” paint. Also, behind the guitar player—is that a chalkboard or some kind of weird vent? We have no idea, and frankly we don’t care. They’re singing, they’re happy, and their couch is draped in red velvet. As that disturbing, perpetually smiling guy on T-shirts worn by Baby Boomers says, “Life is good!”

BACKGROUND CHECK: SIMPLE EARTHTONES HARNESS PATHWAYS TO JOY.

BACKGROUNDS DON’T WANT LOVE

Have you ever really, really ever loved an ottoman? In this classic video, objects in the mirror are closer than they appear to be humping the mirror. The background gets major action, whether it wants it or not. The air itself seems to be backing up, vomiting in its mouth, and saying, “Must you be doing that? I think my friends are leaving. Yeah, I really have to go.” The next time you think about “freecycling” any piece of furniture left on the street, think of this video.

BACKGROUND CHECK: ONE LARGE OTTOMAN PLUS FIVE SMALL MEN EQUALS RUN.

JUST BUILD IT ALREADY

Now that Charlie has made them famous, we really hope this British family has done whatever they needed to do with that plywood sheet in the background. Splinters hurt much worse than bites. What do you think they’ll make with it? A tea box? No wonder America seceded, when we get our hands on some valuable plywood, we don’t leave it hanging around the house as a child’s death trap. We tie it to a car and use it as a sled. USA! USA!

BACKGROUND CHECK: UNFILLED HOME PROJECTS LEAD TO INFANT ANGER, MOST POPULAR VIDEO OF ALL TIME.  

HOME IS WHERE THE HITS ARE (OR ELSE)

What is it about acoustic guitars and simple earthtones that go so well together? Here, the calming bedspread says, “Rest your weary soul,” while the two-toned drapery says, “We’re shutting out all sunlight. We’re locking the door. You’ve heard our covers. Now let us play you some original material.” You want to escape but can’t. You start to think about how you don’t love your family enough to sing in videos with them. Then something catches your eye. Through the miracle of technology, we’ve enhanced that black and white picture tacked on the wall. The one that’s visible way in the back. Be forewarned. What you see may unnerve you.

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ENHANCING…

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BACKGROUND CHECK: IS THIS THE RIGHT ENVIRONMENT TO RAISE A CHILD IN?

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