The great thing about the internet is that the weirdest thing can suddenly find an audience. Take for example, the Hydraulic Press Channel on YouTube. Back before the publishing of videos was completely left to the whim of anyone with a camera and a dream, this could not exist. No television network would air this, it appears to be such a hilariously specific niche that people would assume nobody would care.
Without a platform like YouTube we wouldn’t have this delightful channel, which has an incredibly simple premise - a Finnish factory owner sticks things in a hydraulic press, which he then uses to squish them. It’s reductive to say that’s all it is, because the videos feature much more than just the squishing, but that’s what we’re here for. It’s a channel dedicated to the squishing of objects, a weirdly addictive experience that is hard to explain.
It is slightly educational, you do get information on the strength of materials, for example, or what designs can take the most pressure. It really is a physics lesson, as squishing various objects tells you about their properties. You can learn something here, possibly accidentally, but it’s still good to know the tolerances of car jacks, for example, even if it’s fun to see exactly how they collapse under the weight of a hydraulic press.
The idiosyncrasies of the show itself enhance the appeal. Would it be as good if the host didn’t have a thick Finnish accent? Probably not. Would it be as good if he didn’t end every episode by squishing a plasticine model of some kind of monster? Definitely not. Host Lauri Vuohensilta comes across as a fun uncle, connecting with our inner child through the medium of destroying stuff.
And really, that’s the appeal of this channel, because it makes you feel like a kid again. It’s the kind of weird rebellion that kids are drawn to. We aren’t supposed to put almost everything in a hydraulic press, it’s serious equipment to be used by serious people. But you see one and you know you want to, it’s a red button that says do not push, it’s a sign that says do not cross. By flouting that rule, the channel effectively brings back the pointless rebellion of being a kid. Plus you get to see what happens when you try to crush almost anything.