Follow TV Tropes


Web Video / Vsauce

Go To

"Our world is amazing."
"People are amazing."
"Fictional worlds are amazing."

Vsauce is a group of three channels hosted by Michael Stevens, Kevin Lieber, and Jake Roper.

The channels are:

  • Vsauce, hosted by Michael, which talks about the wonders of science and explains the answers to scientific questions in an entertaining way
  • Vsauce2, hosted by Kevin, which talks about awesome creations and "the best of the Internet"
  • Vsauce3, hosted by Jake, which talks about fictional worlds and powers

In addition to scientific topics, they talk about various geeky and thought-provoking subjects. They collaborate with other YouTubers and celebrities like Adam Savage.

Not to be confused with Vinesauce, which is a collective of gaming channels.

The main Vsauce series are:

  • D!NG: Originally titled DONG, Short for Do Online Now, Guys, but changed to D!NG (Do It Now, Guys) to be more advertiser friendly. This series features awesome websites and online games, often recommended by viewers. Originally ran on Vsauce 1, but was first moved to Vsauce 3, and later moved to a separate channel.
  • DOT.: The main series on Vsauce 1note . Questions are answered with a plethora of extra facts thrown into the mix. They're scientifically themed on Vsauce, but more video game themed on Vsauce 3, where the series is called HeadShot.
  • FAK: Short for Facts and Knowledge on crazy inventions, mind blowing tech, and more. Only on Vsauce 2.
  • Mind Blow: The latest in science and tech and other similar fields. Only Vsauce 2.
  • BiDiPi: Build it. Draw it. Play it. The coolest creations from everyday humans. Only on Vsauce 2.
  • 54321: Cool facts and riddle challenges that can and will test your brainpower. Only on Vsauce 2.
  • GRUB: All about Foreign Queasine and only on Vsauce 2.
  • 9bit: A series consisting of nine random gaming facts per video. Only on Vsauce 3. (but has yet to return since June 2013.)
  • App All Knight: A series highlighting the best and coolest apps for smartphones and tablets, with each episode ending with the specially honored "App of the Week". Only on Vsauce 3.
  • Game LÜT: This series features loot based off of video games such as plushes, board games, and props. Running on Vsauce 3. Also on Vsauce 2, but simply called LÜT.
  • Video Game WTFs: A series making fun of video game glitches. Only on Vsauce 3, but hasn't been around since November 2012.
  • Mind Field is a series released in 2017, focusing entirely on cognitive science, psychology, and why brains do what they do.
  • Michael's Toys, a series on the DONG channel showcasing educational toys, as well as what they were meant to represent.

Vsauce contains the following tropes. Or does it?

  • Accent Upon The Wrong Syllable: One of the opening gags of App All Knight, where Michael and Jake converse and end up creating a Hurricane of Puns emphasizing the "app" sound in each word. They are subsequently crushed by a rAPPtor.
  • Arc Symbol: For all three channels, a brain.
  • Armor-Piercing Question: Michael is fond of asking these in video titles to confuse viewers and entice them to watch the video to get the answer. Examples include:
  • Ate His Gun: Near the end of "BLOW YOUR MIND!", Michael says he's "made of Vsauce", takes a Nerf gun, and shoots himself through the mouth, causing green "blood" to splatter onto the wall.
  • Attention Deficit... Ooh, Shiny!: Michael will often get sidetracked and start talking about something only tangentially related to the subject in the video's title. Michael justifies it in a TED talk: his goal is to discuss and teach any subjects that he can with the questions in the title only being "hooks" to get the viewer's attention.
  • Book Ends:
    • In some videos, Michael talks to the same person at the start as he does at the end. For example, in one video, Bill Nye asks him, "Why did the chicken cross the road?". At the end, Bill Nye returns.
      Michael: And as always...
      (Both): Thanks for watching!
    • In many videos, Michael will ask a question, move to new, tangentially-related topics every few minutes, and then return to the original question.
    • Jake's "3 paradoxes" video forms a loop with the end seguing into the start. While explaining the butterfly effect, Jake kills a fly, causing him to spontaneously grow a mustache. A knife also materializes in his pocket. He ends up throwing the knife behind him, killing another Jake in the distance. Jake uses this to segue into the grandfather paradox, the last of the three. He realizes that the entire video is a paradox and tries to do his Signing-Off Catchphrase, but disappears from existence before he can complete the sentence. The camera winds up on the ground, in the exact same state that it was at the start. The beginning of the video replays itself, and you already know where this is going... Heck, Jake even used this for his April Fools' Day 2015 video, titled "∞", which was merely the "3 paradoxes" episode looped repeatedly and perfectly for over two hours.
    • "What's the Brightest Thing in the Universe?" opens with a tangent about the taijitu, or the yin-yang symbol. At the end of the video, the topic of yin-yang is recalled, linking it to the fact that the brightest things in the universe come from the darkest, and that the brightest cities have the darkest skies.
  • Catchphrase:
    • Michael, Kevin, and Jake say, "And as always, thanks for watching!" at the end of their videos.
    • Each channel also has its own opening catchphrase:
      • Michael's is "Hey, Vsauce, Michael here!"
      • Kevin's is "Vsauce, Kevin here!"
      • Jake's is "Vsauce, I'm Jake!"
    • Another one for Michael: "...or is it?"
  • Chromatic Arrangement: Vsauce's primary color is green, Vsauce 2's is blue, and Vsauce 3's is purple.
  • Constellations as Locations: Vsauce talks about this misperception here, where he describes how constellations appear as cohesive shapes only due to our perception of the sky as a flat plane, whereas in truth this is only an illusion and their component stars are often very far away from one another.
  • Couch Gag: Rarely is Jake able to normally introduce an App All Knight episode without him being killed.
  • Crossover: Michael made a video with MinutePhysics titled "Guns in Space", which explains some facts about space, orbits, and guns. At the end, the video links to the MinutePhysics video "What If the Earth Were Hollow?", which links back to the Vsauce video, which links back to the MinutePhysics video, which links back to the Vsauce video, which links back to...
  • Cue Card Pause: Happens a lot on Vsauce 1. Michael especially likes making a statement or series of statements, usually about a common assumption. After a pause, he adds, "right?" to cast doubt on whatever he said beforehand. It's never been right.
    Of course, the Earth is not flat. The Earth is round. Otherwise, travelers would be falling off the edge all the time. Right? Wrong.

    Fixed points don't just frustrate your ability to fully mix things. They can also suck... you toward them. They can be attractive.
  • Dragons Up the Yin Yang: The taijitu, also known as the yin-yang symbol, is briefly explained at the beginning of "What's the Brightest Thing in the Universe?", and is brought up again at the end of the video. The video ends with a depiction of a black hole consuming a star and creating a quasar, before a border circle appears to form a proper taijitu.
  • Early-Installment Weirdness: The earliest videos of Michael's channel were VERY different compared to the later ones. The videos were more gaming-centric, featured multiple hosts and a sillier tone (similar to Barely Political's videos), as opposed to the more science-centric and serious videos of later.
  • Fascinating Eyebrow: Michael often raises an eyebrow during his videos, and his avatar shows him doing this as well.
  • Foreshadowing: "Could You Live Forever?" has Jake having bouts of coughing throughout, and near the end it escalates to where there's blood on his handkerchief. He gets so worn and weak by the end that he just collapses and dies after he says the Signing-Off Catchphrase.
  • Formula-Breaking Episode: "BLOW YOUR MIND!" (off of Michael's channel) is just a collection of factoids; it tackles nothing scientific.
  • Freudian Trio:
    • Michael Stevens: (Ego)
    • Kevin Lieber: (Superego)
    • Jake Roper: (Id)
  • Fun with Acronyms: Several examples - see the series list above.
  • Funny Background Event: In the Mind Field Halloween special, around 15 minutes from the start, when Michael is addressing the audience in the room full of candles, a doll of Michael on the shelf behind him can be seen turning its head.
  • Gainax Ending: "BLOW YOUR MIND!"
  • Humans Are Special: Essentially the theme of Vsauce2.
  • Hurricane of Puns:
    • From "What Color Is a Mirror?":
      (Phone): Green, green! Green, green! note 
      Michael: Gold on, let me just pink [my phone] up. Yellow?
      Hazel: Michael, orange you going to come to the concert this evening?
      Michael: I red about that! There are gonna be a lot of purple there.
      Hazel: I didn't teal you about this earlier?
      Michael: Well, look- I have to go brown town first, but I'll be white black.
    • Michael ends "Fixed Points" with a series of "four" puns, the last one punning on his own catchphrase ("Thanks four watching").
  • Incurable Cough of Death: Jake throughout "Could You Live Forever?" He ultimately dies at the end.
  • I'm a Humanitarian: Analyzed in these two videos.
  • Interface Spoiler: Of the Five-Second Foreshadowing variety. Sometimes whenever text appears on the screen, the viewer can predict if more text will soon appear to change the meaning by how it's placed. Examples:
    • In "What If You Were Born in Space?":
      Michael: Hey. Vsauce. Michael here. How many people are in space right now...
      (On-screen: howmanypeopleareinspacerightnow)
      Michael: com tells us the answer.
    • The beginning of "The Zipf Mystery" averts this.
      Michael: Hey. Vsauce. Michael here. About 6% of everything you say and read and write is the...
      (On-screen: is the)
      Michael: ...the is the most used word in the English language.
      (On-screen: is "the.")
    • "The Zipf Mystery" has Michael signing off as usual... while there is still over half the time left in the video player.
  • It Kind of Looks Like a Face: Discussed in "Spooky Coincidences?" where Michael calls it by the formal term pareidolia. Examples he list include hearing your name in the sound of running water, hearing English words in a song That's not English, and seeing faces that weren't intended to look like faces.
  • Lame Pun Reaction: Usually, Michael has no audience in-video to react to his puns, though in "Jurassic World Science", he thanks Jack Horner for laughing and admits he made an overused joke to Chris Pratt.
  • Mook Chivalry: Discussed briefly in "Is All Fair in Love and War?"; the trope is thought of as a way to ensure fun and entertainment in fiction. Michael suggests that in real life, humans are no different from the mooks when it comes to achieving certain goals.
  • Muppet Cameo: "What If Quicksilver Ran Past You?" is narrated by Gonzo and Rizzo.
  • Naked People Are Funny: Apparently, Michael started this video completely naked.
  • Nerd Glasses: Michael and Kevin.
  • Nightmare Face: "Why are things creepy?" gives us an unsettling distorted face at the very end of the video. You might not see it instantly because it slowly fades in, and even in the apex it's pretty dim.
  • Noir Episode: "What If Quicksilver Ran Past You?" switches between a regular Vsauce video and a narrative starring two detectives, Jake and Matthew Santoro, as they further investigate Quicksilver. There's also muppets.
  • "No. Just… No" Reaction: Jake has one when he starts to go into an "OVER 9000" joke when talking about a Dragon Ball t-shirt on a GAME LÜT episode.
  • Non-Indicative Name: Michael made a video explaining all about Non-Indicative Names, a.k.a. misnomers.
  • No Title: One of Micheal's videos. Fittingly, the video explores the concept of "nothing".
  • Occam's Razor: Explained in "Did the Past Really Happen?" as the most well-known philosophical razor.
  • Once per Episode:
    • For all three channels, the NES cartridge being squished, revealing a coloured goo that corresponds to whichever channel the video is uploaded to. That ended in 2015, when the animations were replaced by a rounded Vsauce logo over some footage.
    • Every episode of Mind Blow on Vsauce 2 ends with a couple of offbeat but interesting inventions or discoveries followed by a surreal animated gif.
    • Michael will often follow an uncontroversial statement with "Or does it?" or "Or is it?"
  • Pandaing to the Audience: They made a video called "Why Are Things Cute?" The thumbnail image is a baby panda.
  • Patrick Stewart Speech: Michael is fond of making these toward the end of many of his videos.
  • Poe's Law: Michael explains Poe's Law in a video asking if the Earth is actually flat.
  • Pun: Michael is very fond of puns. For example, in one of his his videos on cannibalism, he builds up to a joke about "getting the cold shoulder". In "Dord.", he explains a story where understanding the puns made from corn onomatopoeias is important (citing The Pun Also Rises), then ends by saying the oldest recorded pun was literally "corny".
  • Random Events Plot: In longer videos, Michael goes from topic to topic with the loosest of segues, using a word from the last subject to head into the next one. He manages to return to the original topic by the end of the video. For example, in The Odd Number Rule, they go: Why are we here?; Is a dog allowed to play basketball?; Archduke Franz Ferdinand's assassination leading to World War I; the odd number rule; basic calculus; Colorado is not actually rectangular due to surveying errors; Air Bud should not have been allowed to play basketball.
  • "Ray of Hope" Ending: In "What If The Sun Disappeared", Michael says that while almost everything would die (including humans) Extremophiles (creatures that live near thermal vents at the bottom of the sea) would be fine, as they don't need the sun in the first place, and could eventually evolve into sapient life, particularly if the Earth got close enough to another star to get pulled into orbit, and said star thawed the planet out.
  • Sci-Fi Writers Have No Sense of Scale: Averted; Michael is very good about giving viewers a sense of scale when talking about space and anything with large numbers, really.
  • Self-Deprecation: Giving an example of the (former) hapax legomenon "quizzaciously" (which means "in a mocking manner"), Michael parodies himself.
    Michael: The parodist rattled off quizzaciously, "Hey, Vsauce! Michael here! But who is Michael? And how much does here weigh?"
  • Signing Off Catchphrase: Shared by all three channels: "And as always, thanks for watching." It's become so ubiquitous with Michael in particular that he even uses it for his TED Talks. The catchphrase is familiar enough to viewers that Michael can subvert the trope to good effect.
  • Space Elevator: Discussed in the last few minutes of "How High Can We Build?".
  • Special Guest:
  • Spectacular Spinning: This video where Michael discusses the physics of spinning.
  • Tin Foil Hat: In "Is Earth Actually Flat?", Michael briefly dons one while talking about the "Big Globe" conspiracy. He removes the hat when he goes on to explain Poe's Law.
  • Uncanny Valley: Discussed in "Why are things creepy?". Michael explains the concept with the typical graph and shows a couple of examples, like robots with human faces, unsettling dolls or talking sheep-like humanoids.
  • Uranus Is Showing: In the short video "Solar System Scale Stickers", Michael advertises to-scale stickers of the planets by sticking them to his face, except for Uranus, which he sticks to his rear end.
  • Ur-Example: Discussed in "Who Took the First Selfie?".
  • The World Is Just Awesome: The main theme of all the channels, but especially the first channel.
  • Younger Than They Look:
    • Due to Michael's beard, intelligence, and receding hairline, you'd think he was around 40.
    • Analyzed in "Did People Used To Look Older?" [sic]. Decades ago people didn't take care of their body as much as today, which made them age faster... but there's also a strong psychological component that accounts for most of the effect.

And as always, thanks for watching.


Video Example(s):



Seems Michael is still a little sore about YouTube making him change his side channel D!NG's name? At any rate, to demonetization-proof this video, he has to censor out the naughty, naughty name of the tool he needs.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (5 votes)

Example of:

Main / ScunthorpeProblem

Media sources: