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This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at UCLA chapter.

The evolution of Smosh, one of the most popular YouTube channels during the early years of YouTube, has been a wild one. In case you haven’t heard of the lovable duo turned multiple million dollar empire, let’s start at the beginning. Smosh.com was created in 2002 by Anthony Padilla, half of Smosh along with Ian Hecox. In 2005, as YouTube started to become a popular platform, they transitioned to posting their videos there. They received an immensely positive response, amassing over 25 million subscribers as of today, creating a brand of associated YouTube channels, making a movie, going on tour, you name it. They were even officially the number one most subscribed to channel on YouTube three separate times. So what happened? Where has Smosh been all these years?

The dark ages of Smosh began in 2017, after the original creator of Smosh, Anthony Padilla, left the duo to pursue his own YouTube venture. He attributes this departure to the decrease in creative freedom allowed by Defy Media after they purchased Smosh in 2012. Almost as if in response to this, Defy Media closed in 2018. But this didn’t stop Ian Hecox, who was still a major part of Smosh and its videos. Even as interaction started to plummet, Ian and his team did not give up. By adapting to trends and staying relevant while still trying to stay true to their original vision, they stayed afloat. 

Finally, and surprisingly, as of this year, Anthony Padilla has returned to Smosh; so, one can only wonder, what’s next? All I can say is that I hope this pushes Smosh back into the greatness of its past, and I don’t doubt that it will. By buying back their company for themselves, Anthony and Ian can hopefully flourish, reclaiming the creative freedom they once lost.

Ariana, or Aria, is a third year philosophy major at UCLA. She enjoys fashion, 19th and 20th century feminism novels, cartoons, shoegaze music, rock climbing, baking, and spending time with friends.