Started in February 2012, The Idea Channel was a series of weekly videos supported by PBS and hosted on YouTube by Mike Rugnetta. It examined the weird, wacky and fascinating connections between pop culture, technology and art. Basically, its philosophy is bite-sized form, facilitated by millions of references, gifs, funny pictures and an extreme motor mouth.
Every week introduces a new idea, ranging far and wide in topic and scope. For example, take the following video titles; "What Do Santa And Wrestling Have In Common?", "Is YouTube Making Us Smarter?" and "Is A DOS Attack A Weapon?" Each video used to have a short minute or so section where a selection of comments on the previous video were highlighted for further discussion, but now, those comments are shown in stand-alone videos.
Winner of two Webby awards in 2013, for Best Editing and Best Web Personality/Host. Can be found here.
On June 30, 2017, Rugnetta announced that he was ending Idea Channel. The final Idea Channel aired on August 28 and the final Comment Response on September 4. Since the channel's retirement, a similar channel, the open-sourced Idea Project, has taken up the mantle left in its absence with Rugnetta's approval.
- April Fools' Day: "Is Vine The Future of Cinema?" Well, that and a helping of "Sarcasm Mode: The Episode".
- Alternate Universe: The "100th-ish Episode Special"
- Arson, Murder, and Jaywalking: Mike's description of "horror proper" in "What Do Horror Movies And Cable News Networks Have In Common?", as illustrated by the 90 percent of the iceberg that's submerged:
- Blazing Inferno Hellfire Sauce: Mentioned as part of Mike's discussion on "What Do Hot Sauce Labels Say About America?"
- Blue-and-Orange Morality: Discussed about the Titan's supposed evilness.
- Breathless Non Sequitur: Mike has been known to diverge from the point mid-sentence.
- Brick Joke: In the first video responding to comments, Mike starts by describing Idea Channel as the guy at the party who starts a conversation but then leaves to get more guacamole. Then, at the end...Mike: ...And if you'll excuse me, I see that they have refilled the guacamole.
- Bullet Hell: Discussed on how it can be meditative in this video.
- Christmas Creep: Discussed in the episode "Holidays Be Creepin'".
- Clickbait Gag: The announcement video for the end of the channel has the description "(NOT CLICKBAIT), as the kids say." This is a parody of the trend to use all-caps and claims not to be clickbait as a tactic in clickbait, with the irony being that the video is not clickbait and Idea Channel really was ending.
- Color-Coded Characters: "The Experience of Being Trolled" has Red Shirted Mike, who talked about the topic of the video as it was originally written and Blue Shirted Mike, added in after the original filming, who realized that he didn't agree with what he wrote. Pointed out by Mike himself.
- Death of the Author: In-Universe Discussed in regards to Neon Genesis Evangelion in "Does It Matter What Evangelion's Creator Says?".
- Fandom Rivalry: They once drew the ire of the Anime fandom, so commented on it.
- Fascinating Eyebrow: Mike often raises an eyebrow as he reads and responds to comments.
- Grand Finale: The three-part "Ideas Trilogy," in which Rugnetta passes the torch, discussing the basic principles of the channel and talking about having ideas and discussing them.
- Insult Backfire: After the Unboxing Video someone called him a Vsauce wannabe. He took it as a compliment.
- Jump Cuts: A lot of these happen throughout the videos. Of course, without these, videos might go on for much longer than they need to for Mike to get his point across.
- Logical Fallacies: The ones discussed on this channel include:
- Milestone Celebration: Played With in the "100th-ish Episode Special"
- More Dakka: Referenced word-for-word in the Bullet Hell video.
- Motor Mouth: Mike.
- My God, What Have I Done?: Downplayed: Mike admits that when he found himself writing the line "Why am I taking this so seriously?" for the original version of "The Experience of Being Trolled", he had "a moment of crushing doubt" and then "crushing self-awareness". ..."[f]ollowed by crushing [his] own head in [his] own hands".
- Reference Overdosed: Attempting to list every single piece of work this show has made reference to would probably make the wiki explode.
- Shout-Out: To TV Tropes itself during the Bullet Hell video.Mike: Generally you control a flying ship or warrior dodging an impossible onslaught, hundreds if not thousands of electricity orbs, energy spheres, lasers, bullets, and a crazy colorful assortment of fast-moving whatnot that TV Tropes collectively refers to as "dakka", for the sound that a machine gun makes. You know like, dakka dakka dakka dakka dakka dakka dakka—
- So Bad, It's Good: Invoked, as it's an offered explanation for the appeal of Horse eBooks.
- Special Guest: Daniel Floyd of Extra Credits makes an Ink-Suit Actor appearance to talk about a related video on his channel.
- Take a Third Option: In the debate over how to pronounce ".GIF" ("hard G or soft G?") Mike proposed another pronunciation: /ʒɑɪf/. It has since become the standard Idea Channel pronunciation. Possibly satirical.
- Very Special Episode: The description of "The Experience of Being Trolled", which concerns... yeah, labels this as such. He was trying to argue that trolling has an upside. It helps that partway though writing out the episode, Mike realized he didn't agree with what he wrote, leading to the above Color-Coded Characters example.
- Wham Line: A minor one, but "The Experience of Being Trolled" has one in the intro that takes what originally seemed like a regular episode and made it a tad more complicated:
- What Do You Mean, It's Not Political?: Discussed their examination of Ender's Game.
- Word Salad Philosophy: The end result of letting a Recursive Neural Network write an episode and then reading that script with complete sincerity.
- You Say Tomato: For the debate over how to pronounce ".GIF" ("jiff" or "giff"?), Idea Channel prefers to use "ʒɑɪf".