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 yours. And everything— everything—will be on it.
Crash Course is a YouTube channel hosted by the Vlog Brothers 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. Filled with tons of information, constant jokes, funny animations, and drawings, it's a great way to pass the time, but hopefully learn a little, too.Subjects covered:by John Green
World History, from the agricultural revolution to present day, cowritten with John's actual high school history teacher
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.
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!"
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?"
"...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"
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.
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.
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.
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".
"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.
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 (the opposite of nerdfighters, who value intelligence and work to make the world better) 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.
"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.
Write What You Know: Hank Green has a graduate degree in biochemistry and environmental science, John Green majored in religious studies (which includes a solid grounding in history and literature).