The test will gauge whether you're an informed, engaged, productive citizen of the world ... The test will last your entire life, and it will be comprised of the millions of decisions which when taken together, make your life Crash Course
yours. And everything— everything—will be on it.
is a YouTube
channel hosted by the VlogBrothers Hank
and John Green
, their attempt to bring Edutainment Show
content to web video. The two set off to give comprehensive 'courses' in subjects that they're knowledgeable about, with more staff and professional production than the video blogs that they're primarily known for.
by John Greenby Hank Greenby other hosts
- Big History: Hosted by both Green brothers with Emily Graslie of The Brain Scoop, this is the scientific history of the universe from the Big Bang to the present; think of it as the Crash Course version of Cosmos.
- Astronomy: Hosted by Phil Plait of Bad Astronomy fame, this introductory course will cover a variety of topics ranging from celestial bodies, astrophysics, and space exploration to the history of astronomy, stargazing, and constellations.
- Civics: To be hosted by Craig Benzine of Wheezy Waiter fame.
See also the Cartoon History of the Universe
, which covers more or less the same territory as the World History course, with a similar if different perspective.
- Acceptable Political Targets: John pretty much declares open season on any slavery apologetics in the comments section of the Slavery video.
- Always Male: Historical figures being called "The Great"note .
- Arch-Enemy: Aristotle to John, as he claims so himself in the "Slavery" episode of US History. He also complains about Aristotle, for much the same reasons, in the "Atlantic Slave Trade" episode of World History, though he doesn't identify him as his arch-enemy in that case.
- Armor-Piercing Question: Encountering this in Real Life in relation to the The American Civil War was apparently what caused Me-From-The-Past to be struck speechless for the first time
- Black and White Morality: Usually averted, but in the case of World War II John makes an exception, on the basis of who was the driving force behind the Axis. He even puts a disclaimer on his video on the resource-taking side of World War II that the traditional "Good Vs Evil" narrative is entirely accurate, even if it lacks nuance.
- Blatant Lies: The term "DFTBA" was apparently coined by Queen Elizabeth I.
- Egyptian men wear make-up inspired by 80's metal bands.
- Brick Joke: In the episode discussing the Dark Ages, John finds a pair of champagne poppers in the secret compartment, but is confused as to why they are there. Later in the episode, he mentions that the Chinese invented gunpowder, leading to the development of explosives. Then he realizes why the poppers were in there.
- Butt Monkey: John from the past suffers a lot of abuse from present John.
- Captain Obvious: A throw-away sight gag in World History #4: "DID YOU KNOW? Fish live in water."
- Also: "DID YOU KNOW? <name of historical figure> is dead."
- Catch Phrase: John has "Best wishes!" and "As they say in my hometown, don't forget to be awesome!"
- Unless you're, wait for it, the Mongols!
- And "Stupid truth, always resisting simplicity."
- Gah, stupid history, always disappointing me!
- Cheese-Eating Surrender Monkeys: Used here to make John feel a little better about the fact that Americans rarely deal with the problems the country faces.
- Cultural Cringe: The US History series goes out of the way to avoid the typical Type I Eagleland style of American History taught in elementary and middle school and points out a lot of atrocities committed throughout US History or how women and minorities rarely benefited from major US events:
"People are all like 'Why aren't you more celebratory of American History?' Well, why isn't there more to celebrate?"
- Don't Try This at Home
"...if you were to, like, blenderize a live sea sponge and then leave the sponge smoothie to settle overnight, you'd wake up the next morning to find the surviving cells had found each other and were reforming themselves into a sea sponge again. Try doing THAT with any other animal, actually NO DO NOT TRY DOING THAT WITH ANY OTHER ANIMAL"
- Dumbass Has a Point
past!John: "Why do you think people know so little about Islamic history?"
present!John: "Did you just ask an interesting, non-annoying question, me-from-the-past?"
- Edutainment Show: The whole point.
- Enforced Plug: When Hazel and Augustus appear in Romeo and Juliet Part 1.
- Extended Analogy: Invoked. When explaining about nutrients and essential biomolecules, Hank uses the analogy of a sandwich. Turns out, while it's theoretically sound and has everything you need, said sandwich (peanut butter and hard-boiled egg on wheat) tastes horrible.
- Fun with Subtitles: If you turn on the captions, you'll find some extra snark courtesy of Meredith the Intern. [Usually through brackets.]
- The Ghost: Stan, the camera man who is oft-referred to, but never seen. However, he is heard correcting John in one episode over the latter thinking they were talking about the Dark Arts from Harry Potter.
- ...until World History 2(07), Humans & Energy, in which Stan subs in for John.
- Gosh Dang It to Heck!: In Literature, John replaces obscenities with the names of his favourite authors. Unless he's quoting something from an actual novel. Then it's okay to swear.
- Hype Backlash: In-universe. John thinks the Crusades are highly overrated.
- I Hate Past Me: How John feels about his teenaged self.
- Measuring the Marigolds: Averted with Hank's science lectures, Crash Course Biology, Ecology, Chemistry, and Psychology taking a more targeted approach at various scientific disciplines. Part of what makes it work is Hank's obvious enthusiasm.
- My Future Self and Me: Teenage!John (aka Mefromthepast) is somehow one of Present!John's students. The latter is mostly irritated by the former's shortsightedness and stupid comments.
- Noodle Incident:
- Present!John's message to College!John:
present!John: "...and DO NOT GO TO ALASKA WITH A GIRL YOU'VE KNOWN FOR TEN DAYS!!!"
- Not Hyperbole: John offhandedly mentions a couple times that there are only three Shakers left today. This sounds like a joke, but it's actually not. There's only one remaining Shaker community in the world and it does indeed have three members. Seriously. Their names are Sister June Carpenter, Brother Arnold Hadd, and Sister Frances Carr. Their church banned marriage and reproduction, with this result.
- Oh, Crap: John's reaction in the "Capitalism and Socialism" episode when Mefromthepast changes into....Mefromcollege!
- Pun: Almost every episode contains one or two. Occasionally develops into a hurricane.
- Rubber Hose Limbs: The art style used by Thought Cafe, the studio that creates every animated segment throughout the Crash Course series.
- Running Gag / Once per Episode:
- From the history videos, we have John-from-the-Past, and "unless you are the Mongols."
- The Mongols gag was actively set up as such in the first video:
"By the way, over the next forty weeks you will frequently hear generalizations followed by 'Unless you are the Mongols'."
- There's also John mispronouncing words (occasionally consulting an online pronunciation program to determine the correct pronunciations), and him making cracks about how tyrannical Vladimir Putin is, only to immediately retract them out of fear of being imprisoned.
- The mispronunciation gag is why John claims he waited a significant amount of time before doing an episode on Russia, as he took Russian in college and therefore can't mispronounce Russian words.
- Since the episode about embryonic development, "unless you are a sea sponge" has begun to head in this direction, albeit a little less frequent than the Mongols.
- "It's not cursing if you're talking about donkeys".
- Whenever barbarians are involved: "BAR BAR BAR BAR BAR BAR BAR."
- Using his college girlfriend as a picture for various unflattering things.
- In US History, the so-called "Libertage" has essentially become this, either following any mock-patriotic comment on American history, or being used to open the episode in some way. This has also crossed over into John's mental_floss videos on occasion.
- John's hatred of the works of Nathaniel Hawthorne and the philosophy of Aristotle.
- The backstage writers switching the teleprompter script to make John 1)embarrass himself, 2) praise Canada (Thought Cafe, the company that provide the graphics, is based in Toronto.
- Self-Deprecation: In John's videos, there's a character called Me-From-The-Past. He's John from the past, and John puts him down and takes jabs at him every chance he gets.
- In one video, Hank mentions himself and his brother discussing who their favorite Doctor Who is (Tom Baker and David Tennant respectively) which immediately caused fans to point out the character's name is actually The Doctor.
- In one episode there was a Tardis shown, and the caption read: "You're welcome Whovians."
- In another video, John says that, just like Voldemort's soul, he's gonna break the video into eight parts.
- A sticker on John's laptop reads "This machine kills fascists".
- "Fighting over such things, like whether the proverbial cake is a lie rarely accomplishes anything."
- In the episode about Japanese History, the Thought Bubble had Amaterasu do a cameo.
- In another episode Thought Bubble had Solid Snake do a cameo, and in the US History episode they had Skrillex appear as a US delegate.
- Just about any mention of tortoise shells brings a Red Shell to attack John in World History, therefore overlapping with Running Gag.
- Any Thought Bubble sequence — especially when John's reading a quotation — tends to be littered with shoutouts and pop-culture references. There are also a couple of minor recurring characters that appear throughout the ages in World History.
- A particularly clear one in Psychology: "Measuring Personality" opens with a lineup of people who are fairly obviously Bennett, Morello, Crazy Eyes, Red, Norma, and Taystee.
- Stealth Pun: In the Christianity Episode, right after John talks about circumcision it shows Abraham's family and a man cutting what turns out to be a log.
- In the War & Expansion episode, Green introduces the show by saying they would be seeing how America got its two biggest states: "Texas and ... California." Me-From-The-Past says, "Isn't the state you're looking for... Alaska?", a pun on John Green's novel "Looking for Alaska".
- Synchro-Vox: Used when notable historical figures are being quoted, set over a statue, portrait or photograph.
- Take That: Kim Kardashian and The Situation get dissed on throughout the Alexander the Great episode. This seems to come out of John's scorn for shallow, self-centered people rather than any sense of rivalry or jealousy, however.
- "This video may be watched in some glorious future when Kim Kardashian and The Situation have mercifully disappeared from public life...Kim Kardashian is a professional famous person who initially rose to notoriety by scoodlypooping with someone named Ray Jay, and Mike "The Situation" I-Forgot-His-Last-Name is a professional stupid person with big muscles...The Situation is really good at picking up girls (of a certain type), and Kim Kardashian is good at...Stan, what is Kim Kardashian good at?"
- The whole "Battles of the Civil War" episode is pretty much a Take That at people who wanted more military history. John spends the whole episode listing major battles in chronological order and then declares at the end that we didn't learn anything. As some commenters have pointed out, we could have learned something if he had discussed the tactics and strategies of both sides rather than spewing a seven-minute bloc of contextless information.
- The Unintelligible: Points out that this is the real reason why barbarians get called that. BAR BAR BAR BAR BAR BAR BAR.
- Unusual Euphemism:
- "Scoodilypooping" has nothing to do with poop and everything to do with scoodling. The term comes from John and Hank's grandmother.
John Green: What? I call it scoodilypooping, I'm not going to apologize.
- A running gag on the US History course involves John invoking John C. Calhoun's name as a swear.
- Viewers Are Geniuses: Although they're obviously teaching the stuff (so the audience therefore doesn't know it), they still assume that you're all very smart and can handle university level information. The fact the YouTube videos can be paused and rewatched at will means they go pretty fast, with the knowledge that their students can review if they feel lost. Hank's videos especially invokes this, as they end with him reviewing what he had previously talked about and providing links to sections of the video if you do want to go back.
- Written by the Winners: A lot of history to some extent, actually, according to CCWH.