At the end of each year, YouTube releases a “YouTube Rewind” video that recaps the trends, events, and stand-out creators of the year. But viewers’ disapproval with the videos’ decline over the last several years in quality, along with the current pandemic, meant there was no Rewind for 2020. Taking things into his own hands, the YouTuber “MrBeast” released his own Rewind video to celebrate the end of 2020, remember the good and bad times of the past year, and ring in the new year with some favorite creators.
YouTube Rewind 2018: “Everyone Controls Rewind” became, ironically, the most disliked video on YouTube with 18.8 million dislikes. Some major complaints from viewers were that the video was “cringy,” that they barely recognized any of the creators in the video, and that YouTube did not understand their audience. It spawned many memes such as Will Smith’s “That’s hot” quote from the beginning of the video. YouTube Rewind 2019: “For The Record” was not much better, earning 9.3 million dislikes with viewers calling it a boring Top 10 list rather than an actual reflection of the year.
On Nov. 12, YouTube tweeted that they were “taking a break from Rewind this year” because “2020 has been different.” Many of the replies regarded this as a good thing and poked fun at YouTube with references to the disastrous Rewinds of the previous years. On Nov. 17, MrBeast tweeted saying, “Since YouTube isn’t making a rewind this year, I’m going to :)” with a reply asking for any creators who wanted to volunteer their help. Other YouTubers began making tweets about how they were preparing for the video. On Jan. 1, 2021, MrBeast released his YouTube Rewind 2020: "Thank God It’s Over," a title that everyone can agree on.
When the video starts, it shows MrBeast explaining why he created the video. Immediately after, there are clips of various YouTubers putting on masks before the main segment of the video starts, referencing some memorable moments from 2020. These include the videogame Among Us “killing” the game Fall Guys, people opening Pokemon cards, the Dream SMP, Unus Annus, and other clips before the title pops up. A quick flash of these popular creators and the things they did was an exciting start to the rest of the video and set up what was to be expected in it.
Right off the bat, MrBeast admits that he had always thought youtubers should get more say in Rewind and reveals that he asked hundreds of them to tell him what they wanted. One of the major complaints against YouTube’s Rewinds was a disconnect between what people wanted and what YouTube created, so in MrBeast’s video, he gave creators a chance to put in their thoughts. Going through all the games, events, movements, fundraisers, and rising creators of the year that these youtubers brought up was inspiring to see.
The video includes a mix of many lighthearted moments along with some serious ones. In the middle of the video, there was a segment honoring people including Kobe Bryant, Alex Trebek, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Chadwick Boseman, and “everyone else we lost along the way” which was a respectful nod to those who passed away in 2020.
Creators mentioned the many great charity efforts of the year such as Jacksepticeye raising $4.7 million to combat child poverty, Matpat raising $3 million for St. Jude’s Children’s Hospital, and MrBeast himself giving away a million dollars worth of food to food banks. At the end of the video, a list of 245 channels that hit 10 million subscribers in 2020 scrolled down the screen and then a list of 6,600 channels that hit 1 million subs was shown as well. Finally, MrBeast gave shout outs to three random small YouTubers. Mentioning these kind acts of charity as well as taking the time to acknowledge all of these other channels after a video filled with such popular creators helped build up the sense of community that viewers missed.
The icing on top was the final scene where MrBeast references Will Smith’s part of the 2018 video, an action one comment called “legendary.”
Overall, as shown by the current 3.9 million likes on the video and the positive comments, people were happy with the way this Rewind went. Viewers commented saying that they were happy to know so many of the people in the video and some even asked MrBeast to make the Rewind every year. All in all, this was a great step in the right direction towards creating Rewinds that capture the sense of community, value what creators and viewers want, and create a fun experience for everyone as we celebrate the good and bad of the ending year and ring in the new one.