Several years ago, we boarded our horses at a somewhat public facility. It was a nice barn and most of the people there were easy enough to get along with. There was one woman in particular that I always enjoyed seeing. She was there all the time, often keeping to herself to avoid the inevitable “barn drama” that finds its way into most shared facilities, and took fantastic care of her horse. One day, she told me that she had seen the funniest thing in her life … Annoying Orange.
“You’ve got to Google it!” she said. “It’s the funniest thing that I’ve ever seen!”
Her sense of humor was generally in line with mine so I thought I’d check it out. What I found was a short video featuring a strange-looking orange badgering an innocent apple across a kitchen counter. The orange was realistic in size and shape but it had the mouth and eyes of a person and spoke with a whiny and childlike voice.
This original video has been viewed on YouTube more than 124 million times and its creator, Minnesota-born Dane Boedigheimer and his writing partner Spencer Grove have struck it rich by creating more videos and selling ad revenue to accompany them. In 2011, Cartoon Network took a chance and licensed Annoying Orange figuring that the character was reminiscent of classic cartoon characters like Bugs Bunny.
Not everyone loves Annoying Orange. Many parents hate it and critics call it “obnoxious”. But, really, isn’t that the point? It’s currently one of the top-rated shows for boys and an additional fifteen episodes have been ordered. The success of the television show has taken its toll online. The short “webisodes” used to get several million views on average and now, with the exception of a spoof of Gangnam Style, attract considerably less.
It’s unlikely that the Annoying Orange phenomenon can be repeated. Today, YouTube users are said to upload as many as 72 hours of videos every minute versus 10 hours per minute in 2008. Consequently, the flood of new content makes it harder for any one thing to hold people’s attention for any length of time.
The Annoying Orange was fortunate to go “mainstream” when he did. And I was fortunate to have a friend with a sense of humor warped enough to introduce him to me.
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