Do you have about 20 minutes of free time? Good, go watch this video. Trust me, it’s worth it. I’ll wait.
Okay, are you done? “History of the Entire World, I Guess” is the latest production from Bill Wurtz, a YouTube artist known for random, quirky videos that all share a simplistic aesthetic, with text, clip art, and Microsoft Paint drawings. They’re torn right out of the old-school heyday of YouTube and internet videos, somehow miraculously transported to 2017.
But while Wurtz’s channel is largely filled with random 10-second ditties, his most popular piece was “History of Japan,” which originated the high-velocity, jingle-filled, history documentary format that returns in a far grander scale in “History of the Entire World, I Guess.” It’s hard for me to pin down what exactly about Wurtz’s videos make them so good, but the combination of the rapid fire, witty delivery, and clever graphics all link together perfectly, into a mesmerizing sort of sensory overload. And those sing-songy jingles he scatters heavily throughout the piece keep me humming hours later.
Aside from being incredibly entertaining (and somehow, really informative), “History of the Entire World, I Guess” is a refreshing throwback to classic viral YouTube videos like “The Ultimate Showdown” or “The End of the World.” The low-fi style stands out more starkly in a world where most popular videos tend toward screaming jump-scare reactions or vlogs about people’s days.
Cultural meaning aside, it’s still an amazing video. Just don’t blame me when it gets stuck in your head for the rest of the day.