Edit: The original title of this article was “McJuggernuggets ends his YouTube Channel. Obviously he has continued his channel, which I may cover more of in the future. However, I am leaving the article here as is for archival sake. At the time, that’s what everyone thought had happened – that the channel was over.
I know what you’re thinking; “Chris, why the hell are you writing about that stupid kid and his fake videos?” Because for the past few months, I’ve actually been following them. The drama was an enjoyable stress relief, oddly, and what started as laughing at videos where someone got their game console destroyed by an angry parent became me actually following, since February, the daily videos, wondering what could happen to him next.
Of course I know the videos were all staged. The man behind the channel, Jesse Ridgway, has a film degree, and for years had been doing skits of varying types, including long, drawn out works of fiction rivaling the production length of some TV series, and producing something like this, a vlog series where he documents how insane his family could be, certainly would be something he could pull off, and clearly, for several years, he did just that.
LIke I said, I knew after watching more of them that the videos were staged. I say staged instead of fake because the videos are no different than any movie or TV show you might watch. You wouldn’t call “The Avengers” fake, to insult it, would you? Granted, Jesse always said the videos were “real” but that was to maintain suspension of disbelief, the very point of watching such fictional entertainment, and while there are some obvious signs the videos are staged, if you just take them at face value, they are some quite enjoyable bits of craziness, at least for me.
That’s the thing, maybe; I like most of what he has produced the past few years, and clearly, nearly 3 million other people have. Over the past 2 years, mainly, Jesse’s channel, McJuggerNuggets, went from a few hundred subscribes to thousands, then skyrocketing into the millions range, moving in the past year alone from just under 1 million to just shy of 3 million. That makes the McJuggerNuggets channel one of the top 500 most subscribed on YouTube. That’s pretty impressive for a 23 year old, isn’t it?
Of course, that brings the hate. Tons of people hate him, not just for claiming the videos are real, but in how, they feel, he asked fans to “help him” all while he was bringing in (presumably) decent money from YouTube. Now, I wasn’t following him during these times people say he was begging fans for assistance, but I personally found no videos during this time that really made this a point – if someone wanted to send him something of their own volition, that was their own business.
It doesn’t help that a presumed majority of his subscriber base is 12 year olds. Indeed, in many of his videos where he was out and about, he ran into younger kids who recognized him. Of course, he might also run into older people who follow him, but just have not included it in his videos. I have my misgivings over YouTubers who’s main subscriber base is children (Really, I find it quite creepy) but content creators can’t control that, now can they?
Basically, the drama surrounding him online has been quite extensive – whole channels devoted to “proving” how “fake” his content is. Anyone who just thinks about it would realize it is fiction, but considering how many people insist it’s real, it makes sense for people to go right against the fanbase, and Jesse himself. That’s just how things are, some people love you, some people hate you.
Yesterday though, after a month long buildup headed by a week of rather insane content, Jesse ended not only the “Psycho Series” as he called it, but most production on his channel. After 50 core videos in the series, and 2 videos almost every single day for the past year and a half, and it all ended, quite abruptly, honestly.
As fans noticed him ending varying side projects the past month, it was found that he was hired onto a new film project in Los Angeles, Red Sun Entertainment, and, combined with other rumors that such YouTubers were soon going to be forced to admit when such videos are staged, helps explain the quite sudden end of the entire series.
The whole thing went for as long as it did because Jesse, as someone I would consider a skilled writer, created constant plot paths for his story to flow down, as situations presented themselves. I would find myself actually watching old videos and seeing things mentioned that would become critical in videos months down the line, and being impressed. Even to the last few videos, he was adding in things that would, in theory, become important later. Those videos never happened though, and instead Jesse went out with a bang.
In the final pair of videos, Jesse ends up killing his father and hopping a plane to Switzerland. If you aren’t familiar with him, this sounds insane, as people seriously did think these videos were real. At the end though, he did the ultimate heartwarming event to finish off the videos – the camera falls after he gets up and walks off screen, showing his whole family waiting in another room, including his father, all celebrating the end of his years long efforts to make it somewhere on YouTube, an even filled with hugs and “I love you” statements among the family.
This though was the ultimate event everyone following him was waiting for – final confirmation that the entire series was a work of fiction. It was presented though in such a way, after the dramatic conclusion to years of videos, that left me feeling happy for him, as a content creator that he has gotten to do what he wants to do.
I was very late coming to the series, but I enjoy the videos. They were entertaining, and allowed me a chance to reflect, interestingly enough, on my own stressful family life as a teenager, and young adult. Life is funny like that sometimes….
Of course, people will continue to hate on him. Hell, people will probably hate on me for writing this. I just wanted to share my thoughts on this, since it’s all said and done. Jesse did what he wanted to do – he wanted to make videos, and tell stories, and he has produced more content, with more complexity to it, than some TV series have had, all just with his family, friends, and his home in New Jersey.
I call that success. Not just success, but the best kind of success, doing what he wanted to do, and doing it his own way. I’ll be looking forward to what he does in the future.