Do you have what it takes to watch the 38-hour-long YouTube video about The Beverly Hillbillies?

Do you have what it takes to watch the 38-hour-long YouTube video about The Beverly Hillbillies?

There’s an art to making an ultra-long YouTube video. For one, you have to make sure it’s broken up into digestible, complete chunks so that people can take natural-feeling breaks. Second, you have to use the length to your advantage. These are all things that Quinton Hoover thinks of when he publishes a video for Quinton Reviews, a pop culture video essay channel that’s recently been devoted to recapping a series episode by episode or breaking down years of history for a show.

Hoover has been a content creator for a decade, with around 881,000 subscribers at the time of publication. For the first several years, he would make skits or 30-minute breakdowns about popular TV shows and Garfield, but he’s become known lately for a slate of videos about 2000s-era Nickelodeon shows — specifically because these videos take longer than a standard eight-hour workday to sit through. For example, his three-part series on Sam & Cat (part of an even longer saga about the iCarly/Victorious universe) will take over 21 hours to watch. So the fact that he has uploaded another long video about a TV show isn’t novel. This time, though, was different.

On April Fools’ Day 2024, Hoover began uploading his longest video yet, which chronicles the history of The Beverly Hillbillies and Petticoat Junction, two long-running sitcoms from the 1960s, written and narrated by his dad, Russ Hoover, who would be familiar to fans of the channel. But then viewers looked at the length: 38 hours, 27 minutes, 48 seconds. To put that into perspective, many segments of the video are longer than two-hour movies; the full video will take over a day and a half to watch. It’s not the longest YouTube video ever — that honor belongs to “The Longest Video on YouTube: 596.5 Hours” — but it’s pretty close, especially when you consider it doesn’t contain any loops or many hours of a blank screen.

“So I think that the thing people are going to be most surprised to learn is that this video wasn’t necessarily something that I had planned, it was something that happened to me,” Hoover told Polygon. Hoover’s father had started rewatching those two shows chronologically and decided he wanted to try his hand at a video about them. “[My dad] just walks up to me one day, and he says, ‘Hey, I had an idea. […] What if, for April Fools’ one day, I talked about the shows that I’m watching?’ And I didn’t think about it. I said, ‘We’re doing that.’”

Hoover worked to help his dad with the project, but he ran into a problem quickly: Russ had a lot to say.

“He sends me the script. And then — I was in shock when I saw it. Because I said, ‘Dad, this Google Doc is like, 400 pages,’” he recounted. “And I was like, ‘Dad, it takes me two and a half minutes to read every page I write. […] You know how this is gonna be like 40 hours of stuff?’ And I was really, really upset. He thought it was funny.”

Another reason why the video took years to make was because Russ first had to learn how to make one. Hoover helped his father edit and condense his scripts, and also taught him what to explain to the audience. For example, Russ wanted to talk about The Beverly Hillbillies star Buddy Ebsen and, according to Hoover, he initially did not actually explain to the viewers who that was.

“I remember the first month he was recording. I’d sit in the living room while he recorded in his bedroom. I just listened to him record, and then I’d come and knock on the door, and I would go, ‘I don’t know what you’re talking about,’” he said. “‘You need to explain what this thing is. Because you don’t explain these things, you know?’ So it was just a funny process.”

Russ Hoover sitting in a room full of nerd memorabilia, including a Garfield. He has a very serious expression. Image: Quinton Reviews via YouTube

Russ Hoover standing in front of a frame that also has an image of Russ Hoover, who’s also standing in front of a frame with Russ Hoover. Image: Quinton Reviews via YouTube

Unfortunately, in 2022, Russ got into a bad car accident, which Hoover described as a “near-death experience,” that required his father to get multiple leg surgeries. The long recovery process meant that Russ suddenly had a lot of downtime. “That was the reason that we got so much of the video done at the end of the day. […] He just had these awful months and months and months where he just couldn’t get out of bed.

“It was very therapeutic for us to work on this together, to kind of make this art project and have something to do while he got better,” Hoover went on. “And so it was very much about me trying to just share kind of the love I have for my father with some of my viewers.”

Russ and Quinton Hoover standing next to each other with a framed drawing of Garfield.
Russ Hoover (left) with Quinton
Photo: Quinton Hoover

There were many other complications in the process, though. There were a lot of technological constraints, which makes sense for a 38-hour video. For one, Adobe Premiere Pro doesn’t allow users to make a video longer than 24 hours, so the video had to be edited in chunks. Then there’s the matter of YouTube video limits. Being verified or in the partner program means you can upload longer videos, but it’s still unclear what the upper limit actually is. As someone who’s repeatedly tested the bounds of what YouTube will allow in terms of video size and length, Hoover says he’s had inconsistent success. For the Beverly Hillbillies video, he uploaded four videos: Two failed, one was stuck in processing, and one eventually succeeded.

The video also just took a lot of effort. According to Hoover, the full video featured the work of around 22 people, took multiple years to make, was written almost entirely by Russ (with transitions by Hoover), and was around 133 GB (and that’s after a ton of compression to make it as small as possible). And, unfortunately for the team, it took over a day to upload and process; it finally went live on April 3, a little too late for a true April Fools’ joke.

Still, the video essay is doing well, all things considered. At the time of writing, it has around 660,000 views (Hoover is aiming for over 1 million). Many of the comments on the video talk about how informative it is, or how it makes sense that Russ would publish longer videos than even his son does (like father, like son). Then there are the jokes about how it’s long enough to basically be a college course.

Hoover generally gets a lot of angry messages and comments when he uploads one of his longer videos, but he says this project has still been a positive experience, at least for his father. Russ isn’t as much of a public figure online and therefore “doesn’t have to experience [the negative comments], which I’m grateful for,” says Hoover.

“There’s a lot of hostility to the stuff that I do that really burns me out,” Hoover said. “I always knew there’d be a certain amount of anger, because that always happens to me now. I can’t release anything anymore. So I’ve definitely gotten that specifically on, like, Twitter, from people that don’t watch my stuff.”

Hoover in general is burned out on his particular video essay format, and told Polygon that he might take a break after this to spend more time with his parents (his dad is doing well, he adds), build some models, go on walks, and decompress. “Doing stuff like that is one of the only ways you can really disconnect from that kind of hyper-consistent negativity. And I think if I just give myself a few months of that, I’ll come back healthier in mind and body.”