Trending This Week: The Dress Shared 'Round the World; Goodbye, Mr. Nimoy _\\//

Here is our rundown of some of the top trending videos this week. Enjoy!

(For more, head on over to our Spotlight Channel!)

Sesame Street: House of Bricks (House of Cards Parody)

Sesame Street joined in on the House of Cards hype this week with "House of Bricks" - an ingenious mini-parody that racked up more than 1.4m views in 4 days. In this kid-friendly version of the fraught political drama, three little piggies are pitted against a shady powermonger named Mr. Underwolf determined to take down the town, one huff at a time. Since its posting on Feb 23, the video was quickly picked up by media outlets and blogs, including The Washington Post, Daily Dot and The Verge, the sum of which drove 40% of the video's views.

Larry Sanders - Why I Walked Away From the NBA: Players' POV

In this moving video, Larry Sanders, former power forward for the Milwaukee Bucks, explains why he left a burgeoning career in the NBA, offering an intimate glimpse into his life, struggles, and  ongoing recovery from depression. The video was the fifth posted by The Players' Tribune, a new media platform founded by baseball giant Derek Jeter, aimed at 'presenting the voices of professional athletes, bringing fans closer to the game they love than ever before." Since its debut just a week ago, the channel has received 600k+ views and 2k+ subscribers.

ASAP Science: What Colour is This Dress? (SOLVED with SCIENCE)

The 'net was ablaze with just one question yesterday: what gosh darn color is this dress? ASAP Science was quick to step in and help bring some science-based clarity to the debate, confirming that, indeed - the dress appears as different colors to different viewers - and that it's just one of many tricks our minds play on us when using contextual cues to differentiate shades and hues. The video has received an estimated 1.2m+ views over the last 24 hrs.

Spock Dies SCENE - Star Trek: The Wrath of Khan MOVIE (1982) - HD

Though more than three years old, this clip from Star Trek: Wrath of Khan (a classic more than 30 years old) started trending again today, following the news of the passing of Leonard Nimoy this morning. Nimoy - a poet, singer, photographer, director and actor - was most famously known for his portrayal of Mr. Spock, a character that grew to become as celebrated and beloved (if not more so) as the show franchise itself. Following his passing, this goodbye scene from the second installment of the movie series struck many fans as particularly poignant, as reflected in the 800+ goodbyes, tributes, and thank yous left in the comments section today alone. (Check out our celebration of Leonard Nimoy's life here.)

- Christine Huang

Trending This Week: Thundersnow and Taekwondo

Cantore Thundersnow Montage! - #ItsAmazingOutThere

The weather outside is frightful, but Jim Cantore! Jim Cantore is so delightful! In this montage, the Weather Channel's most venerable first-on-scene meteorologist shares his exuberance for one of mother nature's many wonders, thundersnow: "an unusual kind of thunderstorm with snow falling as the primary precipitation instead of rain" (via Wikipedia). With 3.5m views and counting, this tribute to one man's indefatigable excitement for all things wintry has already inspired several mash-ups and parodies, including a songified version from the Gregory Bros. which has racked up more than 150k views in less than a day.

 SNL Celebrity Jeopardy - SNL 40th Anniversary Special

Saturday Night Live celebrated its 40th birthday on Sunday with a three-hour, truly star-studded special (just ask Jimmy Fallon), taking a look back at the show's greatest hits and recreating some of its most unforgettable (and interminable) skits. Their anniversary edition of "Celebrity Jeopardy" became the most popular clip from the night on YouTube (3.5m+ views)   - seeing the return of a handful of classic impersonations/ impersonators, including Alex Trebek (Will Ferrell), Sean Connery (Darrell Hammond), Justin Bieber (Kate McKinnon), Tony Bennett (Alec Baldwin), Burt Reynolds (Norm Macdonald), and Matthew McConaughey (Jim Carrey).

Series to Watch: Adult Wednesday Addams

This week also saw the return of everyone's favorite goth grrrl, Wednesday Addams - this time, as the modern-day heroine of comedian Melissa Hunter's web series "Adult Wednesday Addams." In last week's episode "Wednesday vs. Catcallers," the unlikely protagonist (played by Hunter) takes justice into her own hands after being harassed by a pair of catcalling buddies on the street. The episode put the series on the map after gaining the attention of bloggers and mainstream press alike this week, resulting in more than 3.8m views to her channel in the last seven days (1.9m+ of which went to "Wednesday vs. Catcallers").  This week's episode, "The Haircut," marks the 10th episode in the series, which now has a total of 161k+ subscribers and 6.1m+ views since its debut in September 2013.

 3 Year Old White Belt Reciting the Student Creed

Yesterday, Leeds Taekwondo & Premier Martial Arts Centre posted this homemade video of their youngest student, 3 year old Sophie Wong, dutifully reciting the student creed. Within 24 hours, the outrageously adorable video made the rounds on Reddit, Huffington Post, and Buzzfeed, became a meme, amassed nearly 1m views, and earned young Sophie a spot in the Cute Toddlers on YouTube Hall of Fame. (Just kidding, there's no Hall of Fame, but if there were...!) Keep up the good work, Sophie - you really put the tyke in taekwondo! (Sorry.)

...For more trending videos, check out our weekly playlist here.

-- Christine Huang

YouTube Trends Explainer: Coming Out on YouTube

A month ago, Aaron and Austin Rhodes released one of the top trending videos of the year so far: “Twins Come Out to Dad,” a video in which the two brothers come out to their dad on the phone.  It's since become the most viewed coming out video on YouTube with over 4 million views in the first 24 hours, and 17 million views in total, spurring Ellen Degeneres to invite the Rhodes family onto her show shortly after.

While "Twins Come Out to Dad" isn’t the first coming out video to gain widespread attention, it is an important milestone in the growing role of YouTube as a platform for advocacy and connection for the LGBT community.

Coming out videos are a large and important part of YouTube culture: there are more than 36,000 videos related to the subject on the platform today, the sum of which have received more than 300m views. Last year alone, we saw ~9,600 coming out stories shared on YouTube - a 20% increase from the year before.

Creators like Davey Wavey (221m channel views), Gigi Gorgeous (142m+ channel views) and Princess Joules (23m+ channel views) have made videos using their coming out stories to provide advice for others as well as educate those unfamiliar with their experiences and perspectives. Transgender creator Skylar Keleven (6m channel views) used his channel to help teach parents how best to support their transgender children during their journey.

Major YouTube creators such as Hannah Hart, Tyler Oakley, Jelly and DayLucas Cruikshank, Olivia Has 2 Mums, Hart Beat Troye Sivan, UpperCaseChase1, and ASAP Science have shared their own coming out stories on their channels in the hopes of creating honest, open relationships with their fans and to help further a message of unconditional love, acceptance and support. Olympic diver Tom Daley chose to come out on YouTube over any other news medium because the platform gave him complete control of his story (so far, the video has received 11.4m+ views).

These candid, often emotional expressions of coming out place LGBT issues in the public eye while creating a personal connection between creators, their audience, and the wider LGBT community. For those sharing their stories, YouTube offers a space where they can be themselves and connect with others, to both seek and provide support, regardless of where they are.  As Connor Franta puts it in his own coming out video, “The reason I accepted this information [being gay] was because of the internet. I’ve watched every coming out video four times. [...] I’m making this video for anyone who needs it, it’s okay. You are who you are and you should love that person.”

--Carly Lanning & Christine Huang
Special thanks to Raymond Braun for his contribution to this post.

Trending This Week: Robot Dogs and Life on Mars

Here's a look at some of the most buzzed about videos of the week.

For more on what's trending on YouTube, check out our playlist (this week, Valentine's Day themed!) and follow us on Twitter.

Introducing Spot

This week, Boston Dynamics introduced us to Spot, a 160 lbs robot that walks, runs and reacts distinctly like a canine, but with the look and feel of a Terminator. Boston Dynamics (a robotics company acquired by Google in 2013) has been sharing its progress towards perfecting the technology behind artificially intelligent - and highly menacing! - creatures for years (their channel has amassed ~83.9m+ views since 2008), but this latest preview was met with particular fervor (4.8m+ views and counting) due to its controversial depiction of what some are calling robotic animal "cruelty." You are highly encouraged to watch the video and decide for yourself. (FYI - PETA's statement: "PETA deals with actual animal abuse every day, so we won't lose sleep over this incident.. But while it's far better to kick a four-legged robot than a real dog, most reasonable people find even the idea of such violence inappropriate, as the comments show." - via CNN)

If I Die on Mars

In this video, The Guardian offers an intimate look at three individuals from around the world - a young UK student, a doctor from Mozambique, and an Iraqi-American athlete - who are all vying to be among the first four people to travel to and inhabit Mars, with no promise of return. The video, The Guardian's most popular of the year so far, is the latest installment in their line of short docs, a format the channel has been experimenting with for several months, supplemental to their snippet-sized (2-3 minute) news videos. (For more, check out Drone Wars and Guantanamo Diary.)

Guys Read Each Other's Texts to Their Girlfriends

Have you ever wondered what your bros are texting their girlfriends everyday? Neither had we, until we saw this simple, yet clever video from the Millennial paper of record, Elite Daily. The video, which has already risen to become the channel's third most watched video (~1.2m views), takes a page from the "First Kiss" handbook and pairs bros off the street with their best buddies, asking them to swap phones (rather than spit) and read aloud each other's most personal, lovey-dovey missives to the ones they love. What results is awkward, cute, and perfectly timed for Valentine's Day <3 :)

Sergei Polunin, "Take Me to Church" by Hozier, Directed by David LaChapelle

A little more than a year ago, Hozier's breakout debut "Take Me to Church" hit YouTube and became one of the most buzzed about songs and music videos of the year (107m+ views and counting). On Monday, "bad boy" ballet dancer Sergei Polunin and famously daring photographer David LaChapelle offered a mesmerizing interpretation of the song that quickly rose the charts (3.65m+ views), a variation performed by Polunin flitting beautifully through an empty barn alone. In this video, LaChapelle, perhaps best known for his subversive and stylish celebrity portraits, foregoes his usual flashiness and instead focuses tightly in on an emotionally (and physically) bare Polunin, who tells the story of his personal struggles and pressures as one of the world's premier dancers through every leap, spin, and fall.

--Christine Huang