One of my many fond memories from childhood is sitting and watching Mr. Bob Ross paint on his show The Joy of Painting. I can’t tell you how many times I dozed off to his comforting voice, but I have no doubt the number would be astronomical. His impact on me has been a lasting one—right this very moment, I have 46 episodes of The Best of the Joy of Painting stored on my DVR for whenever I feel like throwing one on to fall asleep to (they air them on the TV channel Create). He wasn’t the greatest painter of all time, but he shared a technique that made it accessible to anyone, and did it in the most appealing way possible.
So you can imagine my joy at the news that Twitch is currently streaming all 403 episodes of Ross’s painting series as part of their new spinoff Twitch Creative where, instead of streaming themselves playing video games, which is what Twitch is best known for, users will stream themselves drawing, painting, and creating other forms of arts and crafts.
While it’s always great to watch some Joy of Painting, the real fun in this live stream comes from watching the stream with the chat bar next to it, which is guaranteed to bring a smile to your face. There’s over 60,000 people watching right now, believe it or not, and it has hit around 70,000 at times.
All of these people are chatting like mad, showing just how many are passionate about what Bob Ross did. It’s like a screening of Rocky Horror Picture Show or The Room, where viewers react a certain way depending on what’s happening. If Ross does one of his famous giant happy trees right over everything he had painted, making it appear at first as if he had messed up the artwork, everyone will type “RUINED,” and when he inevitably brings it all together and makes it work, they type “SAVED” and all is right in the world again. When the painting is finished, everyone makes sure to send their appreciation Ross’s way with a “good game” (GG).
If you were to travel back in time and tell Bob Ross, who would have turned 73 years old yesterday (he passed away 20 years ago this past July) that in the year 2015, 70,000 people would be watching his show together, reacting and exclaiming their love for his work on a computer, their phones, or even these crazy things called tablets, he’d likely chuckle but no doubt appreciate the thought of it, no matter how absurd it sounded.