Why Everyone’s Watching Bob Ross on Twitch
Yes, that Bob Ross. He of the happy little trees, the pet pocket squirrel, the iconic perm . . . and the millions of online fans. Though Bob passed away twenty-five years ago, he’s become an internet celebrity whose popularity has only grown and people have found themselves staying at home and looking for fun content and art projects.
Wait, So Why Is Bob Ross an Internet Celebrity?
Twitch, if you haven’t ever tuned in, is a streaming video platform. It’s mainly known for streaming video games, as you’re sure to know if you have a seven-year-old who won’t stop talking about Ninja.
But in 2015, Twitch wanted to emphasize their new creative channels, featuring people who painted, made cosplay costumes, played music, and all kinds of other things. So the people at Twitch decided to stream all the episodes of that old Bob Ross episode, The Joy of Painting. That simple show (with a lot going on behind the scenes) proved a hit to the tune of millions of viewers, so Twitch decided that they’d be showing old episodes every week. For the record, the money gets split between the current rights holders, a charitable cause, and Twitch, who reinvests in other Twitch creative channels.
Speaking Bob Ross
One of the first things you’ll notice about the Bob Ross marathons on Twitch is that there’s a very active community chatting away while Bob paints. If you’ve never participated in a livestream chat it can look a little bit impenetrable, but this particular internet community is pretty accessible and wholesome. Also, they sort of speak their own little language.
Ruined/saved: When Bob does something like paint a big fat line down the centre of the canvas, everyone in the chat will immediately type RUINED along with crying emojis. It’ll look like a bit of a meltdown. But then Bob slowly adds branches, leaves, and bark textures. Before you know it, that fat line is a gorgeous looking tree, and the whole chat will start writing SAVED and begin celebrating with gifs and emojis. You’d think Team Canada scored a game-winning goal.
VAC: VAC is anti-cheating software on the gaming platform Valve. Whenever Bob does something seemingly impossible (like turning the aforementioned fat line into a tree), users will type VAC, implying that Bob is somehow cheating at painting because he’s too good.
RIP Devil: Every now and again, Bob will tell people at home to “beat the devil out of the brush”. It’s part of his cleaning process. You clean the brush with water and then smack it around. Whenever he does this, the chat likes to say RIP devil, because Bob beats the devil out of the brush so hard that the devil must have surely died.
GG GB WP: In video games, players type gg or wp in the chat at the end of the game. GG means good game and WP means well played. It’s usually the most civil thing gamers type in the chat. Thanks to that inherent wholesomeness, GG is typed in the chat when Bob finishes a painting. So is GB, because Bob likes to say “God bless”. WP is also typed, but in this case, it means well painted. And every painting is well painted.
. . . So When May I Watch?
If you head on over to the Bob Ross Twitch channel, you can watch old marathons anytime. If you head over there on Fridays at noon EST, you can catch the beginning of the Bob Ross weekend marathon. As you may expect, you can tune in at any time over the weekend and you too can partake in one of the Internet’s most wholesome communities. Whether you paint along, chat with fellow Ross fans, or just watch, you’ll get a taste of a classic and soothing PBS show brought back for a new generation.