YouTube has been through a lot since joining the Internet in 2005. It’s been the platform for the rise and fall of many YouTubers, most of whom have fallen out of popularity due to some sort of controversial scandal or publicity stunt that went horribly wrong. If it’s been a little quiet, never fear because boy, do I have a new one for you.
Shane Dawson is considered a YouTube founding father. Since he joined the video sharing site in 2008, Shane has not only maintained his Internet presence and relevance, but his channel has 123,714,000 YouTube subscribers and a video featured on the top 100 list of most viewed YouTube videos of all time. The man’s legit. Shane’s videos usually focus around interviewing another YouTuber and getting into the nitty-gritty of their lives, what it’s really like being them, and why they do what they do. Lots of tears are involved. In the last month though, he’s started a new series. Dawson has taken it upon himself to embark on a journey of [self] discovery doing research on a notion he asked himself: are YouTubers—specifically the successful ones—sociopaths? So, Shane came out with an eight-part series (future releases date TBD) where he studies one YouTuber in particular: Jake Paul.
“Whom??”, some of you may ask. For those a little more Internet savvy, you may argue, “Isn’t that the Suicide Forest guy?”. No, that was his brother, but still worth being informed about. Jake Paul is the ruckus-causing, Disney disgracing, Vine star washout with a net worth of 8 million dollars. Like a lot of up and coming Internet stars these days, that even I’m out of the loop of and I’m 20, Jake moved his channel to YouTube post-Vine (RIP). Since then, Jake Paul built himself an empire on YouTube essentially based on being a jerk to his neighbors and friends through a series of incredibly dangerous pranks and stunts. However, in the last year, his “friends” have come forward on their own YouTube channels to expose Paul–calling him a terrible friend and person and claiming that there’s something seriously wrong with him.
What does this have to do with Shane? He Tweeted in July that he would be interested in doing a documentary about Jake Paul’s life and getting a view from the inside. Unsurprisingly, Dawson got a lot of backlash from his fans arguing not to give Paul a platform or the attention he so desperately craves. But then, Jake reached out to Shane. In the midst of a brief text exchange between the two content creators, Paul sent Dawson a voice message saying he “trusts him to tell the truth”. Cue eerie music.
After a considerable amount of back and forth, and much moral deliberation, Shane agreed to collaborate with Paul. His YouTube documentary aired on September 25 and is being split into eight 40 minute videos. Part 1 is about The Mind of Jake Paul, which is essentially just an overview of who Jake is, what his brand represents, and the start of his demise. In Part 2, The Dark Side of Jake Paul, Dawson consults licensed therapist Kati Morton to define what a sociopath is and inadvertently highlight similarities and draw conclusions from the characteristics of a sociopath and that of Paul. Part 3 analyzes The Family of Jake Paul where Dawson focuses on Jake’s family dynamic where we also get to learn more about his dad and brother Logan and their influences on Jake. As for Part 4, The Enemies of Jake Paul, well, Shane snapped. In a hasty tweet, Shane announced that for the fourth episode of his research project, he’s holding nothing back. And he delivered. In the fourth installment, Dawson gives watchers an up-close and personal interview with Team 10’s former manager and Jake’s ex-best friend where we finally get a glimpse of what things were really like (with no hidden agenda) from the inside.
I’m anxious to see how Shane continues his series, and I certainly can’t wait to meet Jake in episode 5. As for the rest? We’ll just have to wait and see.