I don’t remember exactly how old I was when YouTube became a regular thing. I was born in 1999, so by the time I hit fifth grade, the funniest videos on the market were The Trololo Guy, ASDF, Cactuar and Tonberry, and, of course, “Nyan Cat.” (Speaking of the latter, it’s been so long since I’ve seen that video, I originally spelled it as “Naan Cat.” Apparently, he is now a beautiful entity of Southeast Asian bread, soaring through the sky.) As much as I and many others loved these channels and cherished them at the time, they didn’t exactly age well. And that’s not to say they weren’t funny- they were. At the time.
As my generation matured and adapted to the changing climate of our culture, our senses of humor started to seemingly become less slapstick and more sociological. As young people who were struggling to find our own identities, we turned our attention away from animated comedy and more towards a realistic perspective. This is where Jenna Marbles comes onto the scene. She’s funny not because she’s fabricating content, she’s funny because she’s making humor of very real and relatable situations. She was one of the first (if not the first) who taught me that “real life” can be funny. Adulting is funny. Growing up and going through the motions, even in the most ordinary events, could be beautiful and entertaining. And, of course, also extremely funny.
The fascinating thing about Jenna Marbles is her relevance and durability through the shift from the 2000s to the 2010s. With over eighteen million subscribers, Jenna has proven herself to be relevant and entertaining for both young and old generations. In fact, I have friends in my thirties who still tune into Jenna’s videos every week. It’s an unfortunate reality that many early YouTubers were not able to survive a growing and changing demographic, but somehow, Jenna was able to grow with us. She wasn’t the same spray-tanned, sassy, beach blonde we remembered from our childhoods- she became something better: a craft-loving, thirty-something year-old dog mom who enjoyed incorporating silliness into every possible scenario. And what could be better than that?
My personal favorite aspect of Jenna’s channel is the unpredictable nature of her content. She puts enthusiasm and love into every video she makes. She doesn’t care about her views and likes; her biggest priority is delivering content that is unique, simple, and true to her actual life. Jenna doesn’t need to win our affections by clickbaiting us and dramatizing every aspect of her life; her content is interesting because it’s authentic and pure.
Jenna has also proven herself to be extremely humble and down-to-earth. When she talks to the camera one-on-one, it almost doesn’t even feel like a YouTube video anymore. It feels more like sitting down with an old friend and catching up, laughing, relating to each other, and appreciating each other. Jenna is not a woman who capitalizes on her large fan base; she treats us all as if we were her friends, and supports us as much as we continue to support her. It’s truly a beautiful relationship to watch every week. Her roverall content makes her viewers feel like they are part of the family themselves. We share inside jokes with Jenna like we would with any other friend, and the jokes never get old (especially the jokes pertaining to Kermit being a whiny middle child, and Marble acting like a dead dog.)
In case you’re unfamiliar with the term, zeitgeist refers to “the spirit of the times.” In my opinion, Jenna Marbles is the spirit of our time. She doesn’t spend her money on lamborghinis and lavish luxuries (though there’s nothing wrong with that, either.) She hasn’t let her fame turn her into an ignorant, obnoxious money-hungry influencer. Through all of her success and wealth, Jenna’s morals and overall content haven’t broken down or changed. She’s still the same light-hearted, happy young woman we loved and grew up with as kids, and continues to teach us through her content that it’s okay to laugh, relax, and enjoy the simple things in life.
Jenna’s channel: https://www.youtube.com/user/JennaMarbles
Picture source: LiveKindly
Coming up next: My Real Vintage Collection