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Monday, Feb 26, 2024
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Review: Shane Dawson’s docu-series is revolutionizing YouTube

It’s no secret that within the past year, the infamous YouTube sensation Shane Dawson went from his classic vlog-style videos with friends to more hard-hitting, documentary-style videos.

His most recent documentary-esque series focused primarily on conspiracy theories. In two episodes that were released a week apart from each other, Dawson discusses theories surrounding deep fakes, subliminal messaging in children’s television and the Woolsey fire, among others.

The latest release followed three distinctive stories. Dawson investigated a Chuck E. Cheese conspiracy theory about the lack of uniformity in their pizza slices suggesting that the pizza slices were recycled, unused slices from other customers; he also explored a theory uncovering new voice-mimicking technology and shared a friend’s heart-wrenching story of a Tinder love story gone wrong through alleged attempts of human trafficking.

Throughout the hour and 45-minute-long video, Dawson frequently shifted between each story, strategically weaving them together as he transitioned within topics. While hard to follow, some have noted that this was the artistic style Dawson and his filming partner, Andrew Siwicki, chose in order to lighten the major topic at hand — the domestic abuse of fellow YouTuber Brittani Louise Taylor.

The upload hit 17 million views within the first two days of publication. Since its release, there have been a number of YouTubers who are ordering pizzas from Chuck E. Cheese in attempts to debunk this theory.

Conspiracy or not, it’s no question that Dawson’s series gave Chuck E. Cheese more attention than it has gotten in decades. Twitter users speculate that their sales have increased temporarily out of public interest as people attempt to test out the theory for themselves. I suppose all publicity is good publicity.

Dawson’s passion for creating documentary-like content has changed the framework for what YouTube could be. Many said this about Casey Neistat, a New York City native filmmaker, years ago. Neistat transformed the platform when he decided he wanted his videos to double as mini-movies, adding cinematography and plotlines to an average, everyday vlog.

Following Dawson’s eight-part series on Jake Paul, “The Mind of Jake Paul,” Paul himself attempted to hop on the documentary bandwagon by releasing his own series, dubbed “Jake Paul: Uncut.” The series was canceled after its second episode.

While there is no way to know for sure whether or not these conspiracies are true, it’s evident that Shane Dawson is setting a new bar for creators on the platform. His mere ability to bring unspoken topics back into relevancy and grasp an audience’s attention to tell stories that he’s passionate about are what’s blurring the line between YouTube content and mainstream media.

Here’s to waiting another two months for yet another Shane series.

Rating: 7.5/10


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