Bob Ross: the eternal optimist

Since Oct. 29, the online streaming service Twitch TV has held a marathon broadcasting every episode of the classic TV series, “The Joy of Painting,” with Bob Ross.

The online streaming service kicked off a brand new series called “Twitch Creative,” where people can broadcast themselves doing various crafting activities.

This marathon is the service’s way to celebrate the launch.

Perhaps the most entertaining part of the marathon is the live chat room, full of viewers from all around the world watching along with you.

The stream has logged more than 3 million unique viewers and averaged around 50,000 viewers concurrently. I’ve seen it top out at over 80,000.

I have very little knowledge of art. I’ve never aspired to be a painter, and I’m sure I’m not the only one in the 50,000 who isn’t an art student. So why are we so hypnotized by Ross’ teaching?

Ross was known for his positivity. In each episode of his show, the same positive theme pops up, and he often repeats himself: “There are no mistakes, just happy accidents.”

Ross also insists on giving everything a “friend.” There’s never a tree or bush by itself, it always needs a friend.

According to a blog post by Twitch earlier this year, its primary demographic is within the 18-24 age range.

My generation missed out on seeing the show as it aired; I vaguely remember it as a child. I’ve always seen references and allusions to it, but not the show itself.

I think this says a lot to the success of the stream.

It speaks to how willing we are to latch onto something with a wholly positive message, which is few and far between in society today.

We are a generation surrounded by loud, violent action almost nonstop from television, film, video games, music and so on.

“The Joy of Painting” has allowed us to try something different, something peaceful, even if we never care to pick up a paint brush.

The marathon is set to end once the final episode is aired, but a social media movement has already begun in efforts to convince Twitch TV to keep streaming the series.

I don’t know if I’ll always remember Ross’ message, or if it has changed my life. But I do know that it has helped me get through this week stress free, which is all I can ask for.

In the words of Ross, “Happy painting, and God bless, my friends.”