You've been trying to ignore these videos for weeks. You've been wondering what dumping a bucket of ice water on your head has to do with ALS research. You've probably groused to a friend about all these famous people participating in an online stunt that technically helps them avoid giving money to charity rather than just ponying up. But over the weekend this thing reached critical mass, and we can't ignore it any further. So here at The Wire we'll do what we do best: turn it into an opportunity for arbitrary ratings! I have devised an objective and unimpeachable system for judging each celebrity's ridiculous Ice Bucket Challenge video, taking into account form, production values, and quality of people they challenged.
Form: The Guardians of the Galaxy star/internet's latest heartthrob has a nicely eclectic pair of challengers—Disney CEO Bob Iger and Vincent D'Onofrio—and is maybe trying to mock the idea of upending the format by drinking vodka and Smirnoff Ice but then getting ice-dunked anyway. Also, he screams about his butt crack.
Production Values: Pratt sits behind a slightly tacky glass table and gets iced from an upstairs balcony. There's a cameo from Pratt's wife Anna Faris. Not bad.
Challenges: Gregory Smith of Everwood, Nick Offerman of Parks & Recreation and Dave Bautista of Guardians. Oh Chris, I love every peak and valley of your career.
Taylor Swift (and Jaime King)
Form: Taylor can't help but rope a bunch of people into this video because Taylor is always having fun all the time forever and has so many cool friends!
Production Values: This is very dynamically shot. The camera zooms in among the chaos to focus on Taylor and Jaime screaming in each other's faces. So many of these videos are static, but this has a real sense of verve. Also, Taylor Swift has a lot of hundred-dollar bills in her clenched fist. She looks like a drug lord.
Challenges: Selena Gomez, Emma Stone, Ed Sheeran. All members of the Swift cabal, but more interesting is who she left out. Right? Isn't that how Taylor Swift conspiracies work?
Form: Stefani sits in a bizarre half-pretzel-legged position in a remarkably uncomfortable looking chair and ices herself without twitching a muscle. In short, Gaga continues to take herself a little too seriously, even as people care less and less about her shtick. Did you expect anything less?
Production Values: Her sterling silver ice-bowl is up to snuff, but I'm not into the black lipstick.
Challenges: Gaga is silent, but she nominates Adele among others in her Instagram caption, a delightful notion in and of itself.
Production Values: Nice-looking back garden, Mark!
Challenges: A bunch of web CEOs: Bill Gates, Sheryl Sandberg, Reed Hastings. Real out-of-the-box thinking there, buddy!
Form: For such a physical specimen, James still takes the icing harder than most, letting out some very satisfying screams.
Production Values: It's on a boat! Much more exciting than everyone's boring backyards. And this is no regular recycling bin filled with a couple ice-cube trays. It takes two people to lift that bucket behind him.
Challenges: LeBron Jr. and Bryce (his two kids) and…Barack Obama. That's pretty much the ultimate friend-brag, LeBron. But it's pretty adorable to lump your kids in the same category as the President.
Form: "I am ready for the ice now," Oprah intones, before getting dunked by Gayle and letting out an unearthly scream. The lady has such presence, even in a nine-second Instagram video.
Production Values: I dunno, she's sitting on some ledge outside. Not quite as majestic as I hoped for.
Challenges: Steven Spielberg, Helen Mirren, and Manish Dayal. What is this, an ad for The Hundred-Foot Journey? [EDITOR'S NOTE: In theaters now! — JR]
Countess LuAnn de Lesseps
Form: The sobering mention that her mother-in-law died of the disease lends a bit of a punch to this one. I don't really know who this person is, but I assume she's on one of those Housewives shows? [EDITOR'S NOTE: O_O — JR] LuAnn's niece is on hand to dunk her, and she takes it like a total pro. So, this person's a Countess? I have so many questions. [EDITOR'S NOTE: O_O — JR]
Production Values: Whatever serene dock LuAnn is hanging out at, I want to be there.
Challenges: LuAnn calls out RuPaul. Does she know RuPaul, or is she being excessively cheeky? I really need to catch up on my reality TV. [EDITOR'S NOTE: O_O — JR]
Form: Andrew Rannells isn't doing this nonsense and instead tells us to all go donate money to the ALS website. I'm sure he's not the only person who did this, but he was the first celebrity I saw refusing the challenge and donating money. Are all these other rich people really not donating money to this thing? Surely they are, right? I always assume rich celebrities give lots of money to charity because their accountant tells them to.
Production Values: Andy shot this in a bathroom to make us think he was gonna get himself wet. Sneaky!
Challenges: I guess he doesn't have to challenge anyone? I've now written a thousand words on this phenomenon and I still barely understand it.