Shane Dawson: Oprah of Youtube
For those who don’t know, Jake Paul is a 21-year-old YouTuber who is the leader and creator of a group called Team 10. To cut a long story short, it’s a mess and shrouded in controversy and he is hated by the majority of the internet over the age of 16. In his video, Shane profiles this young, rich boy who leaped to fame very quickly and fell into the LA lifestyle.
The 8-part docuseries followed on from the vastly popular one profiling Jeffree Star and the announcement was faced with immediate backlash. But it was actually a smart idea, taking the younger brother of Logan Paul – the much more famous and just as bad, if not worst of the two siblings – and focus on how Jake Paul essentially lives in his shadow, always trying to compete for fame and views. Shane Dawson dives into his past and family and see where his issues stem from.
Where Shane Dawson’s docuseries becomes problematic is that Jake doesn’t make an appearance until the fourth instalment, and while he wasn’t present, he was being labelled a ‘sociopath’ and had no way to defend himself. Another major flaw was having a therapist analyse Jake without meeting him in person, as well, she dehumanised mental illness and played on the stigma surrounding mental illness by not explaining what the term even means. It’s also worth mentioning that she is not a mental health specialist, instead she works on family issues, and her inability to properly talk about mental illness is very dangerous in perpetuating the misinformation surrounding mental illness.
When Jake did arrive into the picture, it became a lot more interesting, the Team 10 house was put on full display, and it became apparent why he worked so hard. As many as 100 people were living in there producing videos every single day, and if he stopped they would too. Jake Paul becomes a much more sympathetic figure, which is painful to admit. Shane Dawson presents a very different profile to the one that is seen in all the negative press.
One big reason he becomes more likeable is through his current girlfriend, Erika Costell. Shane Dawson explores her positive impact on Jake. Her interview clarified a lot about Jake, his mental state and emotional trauma that clearly didn’t add up to being a ‘sociopath’, but someone who struggled with his family and upbringing.
The response to the finale of the series is laughable. Cancel culture crept right back up on us with #ShaneDawsonIsCancelled, and that might be partly due to the fact that people were mad they had been made to feel empathetic towards Jake Paul – which they didn’t want to feel or admit. They were probably the people who had spouted hate when he announced the series in the first place and then become angered that Shane had showed them someone different to what they thought they knew. But that is the purpose of what Shane does, he shows the world the real person behind the camera, he removes the smoke and mirrors and shows them in all their vulnerability, and he does it well. It was a great series that really opened people’s eyes. There were a few boring sections and some unanswered questions, but they were most likely left out due to respect. Overall, the series was enjoyable and insightful. Shane’s next endeavour will definitely be one to look out for.