As per last year, I'm starting and ending with Olan. It's been established that I admire the guy, I know, so let's just talk about the video. Why did I decide to declare this my favorite video of the past year?
Well, there are many reasons. For one, Olan is consistently able to find fascinating ideas that haven't been attempted already. With originality being a dying art form online, it's telling how Olan is able to repeatedly outdo himself conceptually, and there's always life to what he does. He's not just going through the cycle, churning out the same thing over and over again, which is so important for videos in general. Sure, he might not get as many hits as the next guy, but I can assure you that there is no person out there who puts so much dedication in his craft. Olan never half-asses. He full-asses.
Secondly, with Thomas by his side, this is the most we could ever wish for of a return to Balloonshop. No, JP wasn't there, and Thomas is almost always by Olan's side nowadays- it's more the subject matter. Olan's ideas tend to follow a linear formula that are absurd but grounded whereas in his Balloonshop days, it was all about just throwing random ideas around. Some worked, some didn't, and that was fine! This is one of the most daring videos Olan's attempted since Crazy Horse. It's not formulaic in the slightest, it's unpredictable, and it never dwells, progressing at a breakneck pace, with one visual gag or wisecrack gone in a flash for the next one to emerge. There's no breathing room, but the pace is what motivates the sketch.
The sketch itself is so bafflingly brilliant that it's actually quite difficult to explain. Olan appears at Thomas' house as his "time friend" and transfers him through time for reasons unknown. The key here is Olan's excitably strange character countering Thomas' always delightfully deadpanned one. For whatever wacky antics Olan is up to, Thomas grounds it with confusion and shock, and even by the end of the sketch, his confusion is never resolved, only elevated.
In a sea of people on Youtube who never push themselves as to create something new and with heart, Olan stands out as somebody who's unafraid to go against the tides, even at the expense of massive online fame, and for that, I applaud him.