On Oct. 9, 2009, an independent comedy producer in California named Dane Boedigheimer uploaded a video onto YouTube featuring a mischievous orange goading an irritated apple. "Hey Apple, you look fruity," says the orange. "Yeah, that was hilarious," says the apple. Ten months later, The Annoying Orange is the most popular scripted Web series so far in 2010, according to Visible Measures, an independent Web video measuring firm. Its 41 episodes have been viewed more than 200 million times.
The semi-animated series raggedly superimposes human mouths on fruits and vegetables. The eponymous star sits on a kitchen counter and badgers the foods around him. He calls them names, makes bad puns, blows a vuvuzela, watches gleefully as his peers are carved up to be eaten, and punctuates it all with a crazy, nasal cackle. The brief episodes are Gilbert Gottfried grating—and totally absorbing. While some observers are baffled by the series' success, The Annoying Orange employs the same age-old formula as many of the most popular children's cartoons of yesteryear. Annoying Orange, like Woody Woodpecker before him, is the ultimate children's antihero, blissed out on bad behavior, hammering away at everything around him, laughing in the face of the world, and flouting the rules of adult decorum with total impunity. —Felix Gillette
2. Key of Awesome (26.4 million views)
3. Happy Tree Friends (19.2 m)
4. Smosh (15.2 m)
5. Fred (14.8 m)