Returning to the Internet after unplugging for a week of vacation can make one feel like an astronaut that fell to Earth after four years in orbit. It’s that moment you realize that the "Harlem Shake" is a thing that happened, and you have no idea what the [expletive] it is.
So it took a few hours of consuming the YouTube tributes to the meme before its infectious, jarringly bizarre charms became apparent. Charms that lasted roughly 14 minutes, before we wistfully yearned for the halcyon days of Rebecca Black “Friday” parodies and realized that we’re a scant 11 months away from seeing a “Harlem Shake” commercial for pistachios during Super Bowl XLVIII.
For the uninitiated: The “Harlem Shake” was a song by a DJ named Baauer, with a building beat and a sample of someone yelling “Con los terroristas!”, i.e. “with the terrorists.” A comedian named Filthy Frank used it for a weird clip in which people in costume freaked out to it. From there it went viral, including an amazing one with the Norwegian Army, before “The Today Show” adopted it and all but killed the meme, like it did Ann Curry’s career as a morning host.
Ah, but the “Harlem Shake” endures, and like every other meme it has infected hockey as well.
But there are some right ways and wrong ways to approach this trend from a puck perspective. Here, let us help …
DON’T: Make Your Video Incredibly Sexual Explicit, Or You’ll Be Banned From The Playoffs
From Yahoo! Sports’ Prep Rally blog, the story of the Nyack-Tappan Zee High hockey team:
As reported by the Journal-News’ high school hockey blog, the Nyack (N.Y.)-Tappan Zee (N.Y.) High boys hockey co-op team forfeited its first round Section I state playoff game against Lakeland (N.Y.)-Panas (N.Y.). While there was no official reason given for the forfeit, there’s little question about what caused the forfeit: A rather racy version of the Harlem Shake, performed by the Nyack-Tappan Zee squad and posted to YouTube during the second week of February.
It was probably the sock. Nah, it was the stick. Definitely the stick.
DO: Make Your Video Somewhat Sexually Explicit, But Include Gumby And Human Banana
Did you notice anything these players were doing?
Of course not. You were watching Gumby, dammit. And a human banana.
DON’T: Make Your Video Fully-Clothed And Somewhat Tame Just Because You’re At Soldier Field
Yes, we’re sure it was super chilly for the Miami Hockey team before their outdoor game at Soldier Field. But it’s a dressing room, and everyone’s totally geared up after the song goes all raunchy. This is the Katherine Heigl sex scene of “Harlem Shake” videos.
DO: Contain Your Fully Clothed And Somewhat Tame Video To A Dressing Room The Size Of A Broom Closet
See, Miami University? This team filmed their tame video in steerage on the Titanic, and it’s a much better “Harlem Shake" clip. Also because of the climbing.
DON’T: Completely Misunderstand The Appeal Of The Meme
In theory, the New Jersey Devils and New York Rangers opening faceoff line brawl is PERFECT for this meme: Calm one minute, crazy the next.
But this clip lacks that quick cut to chaos that is, alas, the entire joke. Oh well.
DO: Make It Rain While Dressed Like An NHL Team
Squint hard enough and it’s like Scott Hartnell and Max Talbot are popping bottles and tossing around beer in various states of undress. Because, you know, that’s such a stretch of the imagination.
DON’T: Mess Up Your Depth Of Field
Memo to the Tar Heels men’s hockey team: The giant Giguere-esque pads in the front throw the entire depth of field off balance, which robs us of that WWE title belt dance in the back. Hire Paul Thomas Anderson next time. He gets it.
DO: Everything That The University Of Richmond Hockey Team Did Here
So, summary: Panda hat, tropical boxers, juggling bowling pins, a plush bear, a guy in a pink hat with skates on his hands, playful thrusting and a shirtless goalie in the penalty box.
Oh, and male nudity. That too.
DON’T: Ever Let James Duthie Down Again, TSN Hockey Panel
This is worse than that time Milbury hit Liam McHugh in the face with a shoe for trying to teach him how to Dougie.
DO: Give Hockey Fans The Greatest Cameo Of All-Time
This is the “Harlem Shake” from the Columbus Blue Jackets. It’s pretty amusing, what with the ice girls and the props and all. But wait a second …
… isn’t that …
… no, it couldn’t be …
It’s Boomer. The penis mascot.
The Columbus Blue Jackets just won “Harlem Shake.”