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YouTube Rewind is an annual YouTube video series that summarizes each year in internet culture. The first rewind came out in December 2010, and a new rewind normally comes out every December. No rewind was made for 2020. Each rewind features songs, celebrities, and cultural references that define that year for the internet.

Watch it here.

YouTube Rewind provides examples of:

  • Almost Kiss: Anthony and Ian... until Epic Rap Battles of History pulls the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge on them.
  • Annual Title: Every video includes the year it was released in the title.
  • Arc Symbol: A special "rewind" version of the YouTube play button, starting with the 2013 rewind.
  • Artifact Title: The Easter Eggs that accompany most of the Rewinds. Initially, they were actual Easter Eggs (i.e. hidden videos) that you could click on at key points in the Rewinds, but YouTube disabled annotations, meaning the only way viewers can watch them now is via non-hidden playlists (in fact, Rewinds 2017 and 2018 never had annotations at all, and jumped straight to this method.) Despite this, they are still called Easter Eggs.
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  • Ascended Extra: The animators who appear at the end of the 2017 video have a much bigger role in the 2018 video.
  • Blooper Reel: The "Let It Go" segment of 2014 includes a montage of bloopers where various appearing creators burst out laughing.
    • One of the Easter Eggs from the same Rewind involves John Oliver and Kid President messing up their scene as the Rewind flag falls off its pole.
    • An Easter Egg in the 2016 Rewind shows us that the Bottle Flip segment took far more attempts than what was shown in the video.
  • The Cameo: Mostly cameos of popular YouTubers, but also some cameos of Web Animation characters.
  • Childish Pillow Fight: All the characters break out into a pillow fight in the 2016 video.
  • Clap Your Hands If You Believe: Rewind 2018 features several moments where someone thinks of (and mentions) what he or she wants to be in the Rewind, causing it to become real.
  • Clip Show: The first rewind is mostly a compilation of clips of popular YouTube videos. It's supposed to show what people watched in 2010.
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  • Corpsing: The "Let It Go" segment of 2014 includes a montage of outtakes where various appearing creators burst out laughing.
  • Creative Closing Credits:
    • The 2017 video has several characters from animation channels appearing next to the credits doing the same dances and challenges from the main part of the video.
    • The 2018 video has the channel Primitive Technology creating a rewind button out of clay.
  • Dance Off:
    • In 2012's Rewind DeStorm Power has a dance off against MysteryGuitarMan, Dave Days and PyroBooby (an Easter Egg also makes it look like they're all dancing off against each other.) The dance off ends with them sharing a Group Hug, and then driving away.
    • 2015's Rewind places groups of YouTubers into two teams - White and Gold vs. Blue and Black note . Said teams are shown having both a dance battle and a lip-sync battle.
  • Early Installment Weirdness: The first rewind is a Clip Show. The second is a Top Ten List hosted by Rebecca Black.
  • Easter Egg: Jaiden Animations put a few on a shelf in Rewind 2018, referencing popular YouTube memes and events such as "Sub 2 PewDiePie", the Logan Paul v. KSI fight, and Ugandan Knuckles.
  • Freeze-Frame Bonus: In Rewind 2017 train scene, a newspaper can be briefly seen with the headline "April the Giraffe Gives Birth", referencing a viral livestream.
  • Gratuitous Spanish: The 2017 video opens with the Spanish song "Despacito" by Luis Fonsi.
    • Rewind 2016 includes a segment where the main song is "Hasta el Amanecer" by Nicky Jam, who has a cameo in the same scene. Appropriately, the majority of YouTubers that feature in this segment are Spanish speaking.
  • Holding Hands: The main characters in the 2017 video pull through tough times by holding each other's hands.
  • Loads and Loads of Characters: Each installment has lots of famous YouTubers and celebrities.
  • Questioning Title?: Used in the 2013 rewind, "What Does 2013 Say?"
  • Recap Episode: The videos are supposed to be a recap of the viral events and trends of each year.
  • Reference Overdosed: Each video references tons of memes and celebrities.
  • Revisiting the Roots: In response to the overwhelming negative response to the 2018 rewind, the 2019 rewind goes back to the Top Ten List format of the first two rewinds.
  • Roger Rabbit Effect: The 2018 rewind features the animated Bongo Cat drumming next to live-action humans. There are also animated characters dancing with humans.
  • Self-Deprecation: One of YouTube's tweets about YouTube Rewind 2018 involved it breaking a new record. Said new record was the most disliked video. The 2019 rewind even acknowledges this new record, while going on to highlight other more positive records set by YouTube channels and videos that year.
  • Sequel Escalation: What started out as a Clip Show became a series of high-budget videos adding more celebrities and becoming longer each year. Eventually subverted with the 2018 edition, which had less YouTubers.
  • Shout-Out: The videos feature tons of references to popular songs and memes in each scene.
  • The Stinger:
    • The 2013 video has a stinger where PewDiePie finds the rewind button on a beach and buries it in the rocks.
    • The 2014 video tells How It Should Have Ended, with PewDiePie doing a faceplant on the roof instead of breaking through.
  • Top Ten List:
    • The first two rewinds are lists of the top 10 videos from their respective years.
    • YouTube Rewind 2019 tells the year's top ten most liked music videos, breakout creators, and most viewed creators, as well as the top five most like dance videos, most viewed games, and most like beauty videos.
  • Total Eclipse of the Plot: The eclipse in the 2017 video is in the form of the Rewind logo. It represents all the bad stuff that happened that year (one of the audio clips even references the bombing of an Ariana Grande concert).
  • Very Special Episode:
    • Rewind 2017 has a sequence in which all the characters have to deal with all the terrible things that happened that year. They come together to pull through these tough times by Holding Hands.
    • Rewind 2018 has the campfire scene, where the characters give shout-outs to those who helped out important causes, talked about mental health, supported each other, etc.

Video Example(s):


YouTube Rewind 2017

All the fun and dancing stops during the total eclipse, as everybody stops to remember that, while not everything was great in 2017, they pulled through it together.

How well does it match the trope?

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Example of:

Main / VerySpecialEpisode

Media sources:

Main / VerySpecialEpisode