Many moons ago, I used to do this recurring feature on Motherboard called "The Best YouTube Video" wherein I'd write as many words as I possibly could in one single go about a video that I came across that seemed bitchin' enough to be described The Best. The best comment I ever got about a best YouTube video post involved someone saying essentially "you made me read 3000 words of your idiotic hipster mindspray bullshit for this?" which is fair, but also silly, because the video was five seconds long, but also no one needed to actually read all that to embrace the video itself. I applaud the commitment.
My last venture into this medium came over a year and a half ago (HOLY SHIT time flies) and was my favorite video of the modern era. So, with that, and the addition of attempting to be a responsible grownup who didn't download his brain directly into his fingers after having gone to bed at 6AM—the crazy thing about blogging for ramen money during the $15 a post days is learning how to eliminate any gap between your thoughts and your computer, a skill I still hold dear—I put The Best YouTube Video to bed, partly because I felt guilty about it becoming some weird Facebook SEO hack where no matter what video I posted, people would click the shit out of The Best YouTube Video. Thankfully we never sank that far.
Today, however, we're running exclusively Comfort Content on Motherboard, so I figured it was time to shout out my ACTUAL favorite YouTube video of all time. Nearly cresting 10 million views, this video of a Haitian news crew is one of the true ancient memes of YouTube lore. And most EVERYONE has it wrong.
See, the funny thing about this video is supposed to be the weatherman having a REAL CHUCKLE over the nonsense comment from the lead newscaster about needing a jacket. This seems funny in the geocontextless void of YouTube, where every event could take place anywhere as long as it's insane enough, unless it's someone driving weird, whereupon it takes place in Russia, but it misses the mark entirely. A newscaster looking at a weather report that says 28º to 30º nationwide would KNOW that her viewers are aware that it's not necessary to wear a jacket outside. This jacket joke is not actually a joke!
Okay so now that your brain is picked up off the pavement, let me introduce you to the true staying power of this video. Its cosmic resonance runs deeper than a boring joke about the weather. Listen to the weatherman's laugh: within runs a tinge of anxiety, a streak of stress, that you may not recognize upon the first listen. Trust me, I've been listening to this thing for eight years, minimum. If you missed it, that's okay. So did at least another million people.
See, the tension here is not over WEARING a jacket, which is fine for any news team. The newscaster calls out how she DOESN'T NEED TO WEAR A JACKET because she's pissed off that the weatherman went for a YELLOW jacket. Sure, it blends in nicely with the little sun icons on the weather map, but have you seen how badly that yellow jacket clashes with the red couch? No SHIT she's pissed! With her mustard jacket and ketchup couch, she ended up the fashion nightmare Mr. T warned us about. No wonder this poor weatherman is getting dragged so hard on national television. I'd stress-laugh too!
And here we arrive at yet more evidence of the unfathomable continuity of memes. If you don't recall, the weatherman's name is Arthur. What's the only Arthur reference we've gotten in the years since this video was published? That's right. Say you don't need a jacket again, I dare you: