Does this ever happen to you? You’re on Netflix or Prime Video and you’re scrolling through each section trying to decide what to watch. You don’t want to watch a movie because that will take too long, all of the shows you’re currently watching don’t have great storylines, and you just aren’t in the mood to rewatch The Office or Brooklyn 99 today. This happens to me more than I’d like to admit. My solution? YouTube video essays!
A video essay is essentially a video presented in a way that provides you with information, regardless of if that information is important or not. The reason I like video essays so much is that many of them do not need to be intently watched. I can just put one on while I am working on something else. Additionally, a video essay can be about anything! A niche video game from 2005? One specific episode of a television show? You can bet that somebody has made a video on it for people to enjoy. Video essays can be 15 minutes long or multiple hours, so there is always something for your timeframe and attention span! If you aren’t sure where to start, here are some of my favourite video essays.
The Dark Truth of Diary of a Wimpy Kid
If I’m not mistaken, I believe this is one of the video essays I ever watched. I remember discussing this video with High School classmates that I normally didn’t talk to, it was just that relevant to us. This video essay is a classic model of what a video essay usually consists of. A particularly familiar piece of media is presented with an outlandish hypothesis followed by meticulous evidence that supports said hypothesis, all over images and clips of the relevant media. For example, this video is about Greg Heffley, the main character of the Diary of a Wimpy Kid series and how he perceives himself in his eyes and the eyes of others. What I enjoy in this video is how the creator flips the script so that our point of view is not biased from the main character and allows us to really reflect on what is being presented to us.
Game Show Cheats & Scandals
This video goes over three stories of contestants cheating on game shows, how they did it, examples of the cheating, and what happened as a result of the cheating. I think that this is such an interesting topic, especially to see how the cheating happened. Amglimpse does an excellent job at presenting the video’s contents, setting up each story and laying out all relevant information without dumbing it down or making the contents disinteresting. He also has an excellent radio voice that keeps you interested and listening. His channel has a multitude of other similar-themed video essays that are also very good.
I can’t believe PBS Kids aired this episode…
This video is an analysis of an Arthur episode titled Bleep! and a discussion of what the blurred-out word could be. Although I would not consider this a typical video essay, Scott Cramer still did an excellent job with making this video. I have always been such a huge fan of Arthur. It was such a huge defining television show and I vividly remember being so affected by the episode when I was younger, that at the pinnacle point of the episode, I was so afraid!
Any of Defunctland’s Videos
If you have ever heard of Defunctland, you may know him from Disney’s FastPass: A Complicated History. I believe that is the crown jewel of video essays. At almost two hours long, it meticulously goes through every aspect and detail of the Disney World FastPass history. If that isn’t your style, he’s created so many videos about different flopped Disney attractions and franchises, different theme park rides, and even the history of many beloved kid’s television shows such as Dragon Tales, Between the Lions, and Zoboomafoo. He puts a lot of effort and time into a single video, oftentimes creating opening and closing credits for each essay. Defunctland’s channel is one that you need to check out, there is something there for everyone.