Pewdiepie’s Premium YouTube Show Is Trashy, But Entertaining

Pewdiepie’s Premium YouTube Show Is Trashy, But Entertaining

The first thing you’ll hear in the premiere of YouTube Red’s new show Scare Pewdiepie is its host, Felix Kjellberg, screaming. Of course it is. “This show takes what I already do, getting scared of horror games, but taking it to the next level,” Kjellberg, AKA YouTube superstar Pewdiepie, explains. Think of it as an elaborate prank show, except all of the japes are based on the horror games Kjellberg has grown famous for playing.

Scare Pewdiepie‘s schtick will be familiar to anyone who already watches or likes his channel. Every week there’ll be a new 20 minute episode based loosely on a popular video game. The seventh episode, which has been made available for free, is based on 2013’s Outlast.

The show actually has a slight reality TV bent, thanks to the constant juggling of Kjellberg’s unfiltered responses and the show’s ploys to drum up fake drama behind the scenes. In the first episode, for example, Kjellberg meets the crew taping the show, including a production assistant called Nicki. Nicki is a big fan. A really big fan.

From the onset, she constantly tries to flirt with him, and it’s awkward as hell to watch. At one point, Kjellberg is trying to fill out medical paperwork, and Nicki starts touching him and even trying to read over his shoulder. It’s an invasion of privacy that turns out to be the last straw, and she gets fired. She ends up coming back later, turning into a Pewdiepie stalker who won’t take no for an answer. They have to get him a security detail, a restraining order, and everything.

Pewdiepie’s Premium YouTube Show Is Trashy, But Entertaining

It’s all pretty clearly staged, of course. Scare Pewdiepie isn’t very subtle about its layers of artifice, nor does it attempt to be. Kjellberg acts his way through it all anyway, sometimes even joking about the ridiculous situations the showrunners put him through.

YouTube may be the internet’s television, but YouTube programming is often very different from the kind of fare we generally think of as “TV”. Scare Pewdiepie brings the two worlds together, and the result feels a little awkward.

Pewdiepie made his name on low-budget DIY productions. The videos that made him famous were personal, even intimate; just a guy in a room with a camera. Scare Pewdiepie certainly boasts higher production values than the average Pewdiepie video, and the show does know how to make the man scream. But it doesn’t feel like a Pewdiepie production; it has the glossy sheen of Hollywood.

Pewdiepie’s Premium YouTube Show Is Trashy, But Entertaining

Scare Pewdiepie is a production of YouTube Red, a premium service that costs $US9.99 ($14) a month (and currently unavailable in Australia). That sheen may well be what YouTube Red wants people to pay for in the first place.

These days, Pewdiepie’s main YouTube channel has actually been moving away from the sorts of outsized horror screams that made him famous. It almost seems like the new show is trying to bank off the Pewdiepie of 2014, not the Pewdiepie of today.

It’s an open question whether his fans will care, whether they will recoil at his new, polished look and opt instead for the lower-budget Let’s Plays on his main channel. In the meantime, Scare Pewdiepie remains a pretty fun, pretty silly show. It’s clichéd and sometimes cheesy, and not particularly surprising or novel in its use of tired horror tropes. But, as it turns out, watching a Swedish man yell at the top of his lungs as shit hits the fan is still pretty funny.


  • Is Youtube region locking now?

    I mean I know there’s that ‘this content is unavailable to your location’ fuzzy static screen but that’s almost always content that’s already tied up by corporate distribution rights (ie traditional stuff made for broadcast TV first in one place and licensed out elsewhere).

    I’m talking about something more akin to what Nintendo does.

    Also, something I remember from Jim Sterling’s explainers on Youtube Red when it was unveiled too:

    Could an American subscriber pay for (let’s say Jim’s own) Youtube Red review of a newly released game, and then the publisher/developer will arrange with Jim/his network/Youtube itself that because only _Americans_ can pay for the exclusive content ABOUT that game, that review will only be available to Americans?

    I can’t quite remember how Youtube Red is supposedly going to work for videogame related content.

  • I think Pewdiepie should just be happy with what he’s done instead of trying to branch out and do all these other “artistic creative projects”. Mofo got lucky by being one of the first to do something on youtube and he needs to realise that instead of thinking he’s some creative genius. All this spin of crap… Video games, premium youtube shows etc… It’s just the beginning of the end.

    • The guy was/is making tens of millions, for better or worse he can afford to screw around with this kind of stuff for a decade and still walk away with a nice slab of cash to retire early on ten times over :-/

      • Yeah but the dude obviously cares about what people think about him. Otherwise he wouldn’t be so passionate with his reponses to fans etc. The backlash from his failed projects will break him.. BREAK HIM I SAY!!

    • Give him credit, he knows he’s a flavour of the month so he’s branching out before the bubble pops.

    • 40 million or so people, last I saw, seem to disagree. To be clear I’m not one of them. Nothing against him, but I’m not a fan of his work either.

      I’ve actually been more entertained by him during times I’ve seen him on other channels taking part in whatever it is that said channel generally does.

  • I’d probably do the same and most of you here would too, heres why:
    you do one thing long enough, it gets boring and you need a change.
    same with playing an instrument, painting, and so many other things.
    i havent watched it but its probably cheesy 😛

  • Does Patricia die a little inside every time they make her cover this moron? “Hey Patricia, sorry, we need another article on this guy … yeah I know, sorry. It’s just, y’know – we have to cover this stuff”.
    Honestly, they can’t be paying her enough

  • If you want to watch youtube reds trash like this if ya really desperate one word for ya. Torrent

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