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The kid behind A Brief History of Pretty Much Everything

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Screenshot from YouTube

(Read caption) It took Jamie Bell, 17, about three weeks to make A Brief History of Pretty Much Everything.

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In the beginning, there was lined paper. Then, the big bang rippled through the ream and started A Brief History of Pretty Much Everything.

This new viral video may not have the professional polish of T-Shirt War or the genial charisma of the wedding dance video, but it distills the lovable, quirky charm of a creative kid with too much free time on his hands. It's a three-minute-and-12-second reminder of why YouTube is one of the most important galleries of modern culture – even without silly Super Bowl ads.

As the title suggests, this video carries the viewer from the creation of the universe to man leaving Earth to explore that universe. Along the way, the flipbook-style animation retells evolution, the rise of civilizations, and the theory of relativity.

Who made the charmingly amateur cartoon? Seventeen-year-old Jamie Bell of the UK.

According to his YouTube channel – called Displeased Eskimo Productions – Jamie drew and filmed the project for art class. "It's something like 2100 pages long, and about 50 jotter books," he writes. "I'd say I worked on and off it for roughly 3 weeks." He set the history lesson to Jacques Offenbach’s opera "Orpheus in the Underworld," music now thought of as the Can-Can.

In about the same time it took Jamie the make the video, the YouTube clip has attracted more than 1 million viewers – not bad for a class project. In case you've missed the video, here you go:

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