For the last four years, I have been on the hunt for one particular video.

I wrote about Jon Bois last year, when I talked about my love for The Bob Emergency, but when the two-part series came out in 2019, I had already been watching Jon Bois for three years.

I first came across him in his third episode of a series he made called Pretty Good, which were short video documentaries about things that happened that were “pretty good.”

The first episode I watched involved a player who played for my favorite baseball team well before I was born. After that, I learned about the 1904 Olympic Marathon, the man who launched himself in a lawn chair 16,000 feet above the ground, and probably the craziest two-play sequence in NFL history.

These episodes, of course, revolved mostly under the definition of sports (if you count Lawn Chair Larry’s expedition under the category of “extreme sports”).

There were only two episodes Bois made that were not sports-related at all. Episode 7, “I WISH EVERYONE ELSE WAS DEAD,” about the tragedy of survival in the world of “24”, and Episode 4, “THE NIGHT A SOVIET OFFICER SAVED ALL OUR ASSES.”

The latter episode is my white whale. 

The episode was released on August 27, 2015. It was taken down for copyright reasons shortly after. I did not discover the series until 2016. 

I’m not the only one desperate to find the lost episode. There are numerous Reddit posts who have tried to hunt it down. Someone even found the intro.

Of course, the story itself has been covered many times in the last half decade. Emp Lemon made a video three years ago with over a million videos. ColdFusion made one a year ago with over 618,000 views.

Stanislav Petrov, if you don’t know, essentially prevented World War III by not taking action when the defense system in the USSR thought there was a nuclear attack. It turns out, the system was confused by the sun.

If the actions of Petrov is able to be summarized in one paragraph, why is there so much demand for Pretty Good Episode 4? 

The first reason is obviously the fandom of Jon Bois, which is so large he has his own Reddit page of almost 10,000 members.

The second might simply be the phenomena of “lost media.”

We’re in an era where we can watch commercials that aired decades before we were born and hear jingles that hooked our parents in as children. 

But some things have slipped through the cracks, in danger of being lost forever. There’s a plethora of people who spent countless hours hunting down lost media. Most recently, Defunctland hunted down the mystery of the Disney Channel theme song.

Why do we love lost media in the first place? Why did I use my first essay on the post calvin to talk about a music screen lost to time? And why have I spent hours looking for a lost episode of a YouTube series?

Sometimes, it’s nostalgia, searching for a glimpse of something we once took for granted. This is what it’s been like for me for years trying to find the old DirecTV music channel screens. But I’ve never seen Pretty Good Episode 4, nostalgia has nothing to do with this hunt.  

In this article by Nicolle Lamerichs, she cites another reason: the thrill of investigation. It’s a digital treasure hunt. That’s what made the search for Satoshi last 14 years, after all.

So, is this really all there is behind the driving force to find the lost episode of Pretty Good? Am I just a part of a digital treasure hunt?

Probably. But it’s the one I’ll probably keep searching for.

1 Comment

  1. Phil Rienstra

    that defunctland video was so good! and I was just thinking about that Petrov story the other day, trying to find something about it in Wikipedia… I’m probably just remembering the emplemon video though


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