YouTube is probably the greatest anthropological project ever launched. It has managed to expose the multitudes of the human condition more than any other medium ever created, and allowed people to express themselves in more diverse ways than at any point in history. This weekly column is an outlet for me to share with you some undiscovered gems, as well some very well-trodden gems, and discuss just what it is that makes the chosen accounts so intriguing.
WHO: EricSurf6 & The Crude Brothers
WHAT: Father-son bonding through food.
HOW MANY SUBSCRIBERS AT TIME OF WRITING: 311,127 and 451,612 respectively.
WHY SHOULD I CARE: The bond between father and son is a special one. Depending on the person, it can be good, bad, coarse, loving, tragic or any of the other things, and you learn to deal with the emotions involved over the course of a lifetime. If I'm to speak traditionally and heteronormatively, which is frankly the only way I know how to experience things, the role of the father generally tends to be one of stern fun. He'll throw you in the air and play football with you, but if he has to get up from the sofa to get you to go to bed, you know you're in for some shit. In this tenth edition of YouTube Channel of the Week, we look at two slightly different father-son relationships which kind of play out online.
The Crude Brothers are not brothers at all. Nick and his dad 'J' came to prominence a couple of years ago after Nick's ability to resist reaction to extremely hot substances gained them a following. The young man would taste extract sauces of half a million Scoville units and barely break a sweat, giving the sort of 'meh' review of it that only a child could. His dad, on the other hand, sweats and cries profusely, gasping for air, looking to the heavens for a release that just doesn't come.
The pair have expanded into other things, like eating bits of snake or sweets that taste like sick, but their true draw is eating spicy foods. Perhaps even more than that, though, is their comfort of their relationship. People are drawn to their on-screen patter, chatty with no showmanship present. Watch the way they interact with each other. Pure trust, no sly digs, no vying for attention - just some guy and his kid sitting in their kitchen eating chilli peppers. What's not to love?
On the other hand we have EricSurf6. EricSurf6, as far as I can deduce, is an American ex-pat magician who has lived in Japan for over 20 years. He claims to have been on YouTube in the very early days, the frontier days, back when it looked like the sort of website you'd now view a beheading on.
I have a strange relationship with Eric's videos. As a self confessed weeaboo and lover of all things Nippon, I take great pleasure in watching his series 'Eric Meal Time', in which he samples various food stuffs from around the country, including convenience stores and shopping mall restaurants. What I don't like, however, is the extremely brutish way he eats these things, slamming delicate little Japanese noodles and tempuras into his mouth and crunching down on them with the jaw force of a leopard. But I can't stop watching it. I love the food, but I hate the chewing. To be fair, this is what I experience going to a restaurant with absolutely anyone I know. People seem incapable of chewing with their lips shut, or holding their cutlery properly. I can only blame the shitty parents.
Anyway, say what you like about EricSurf6's incomprehensibly irritating eating style, but you cannot say he is a shitty parent. He involves his two sons, who have featured in his videos for years now, whose monikers are Thedudesgotit and Megabrain6100. They frequently appear in his food videos, where he takes time to visit restaurants with them, or on train journeys or in parks, even just at home. While it may not have the immediate cutesiness of The Crude Brothers, it's still a nice thing to see. Important time spent with important people.
Usually my feeling on flagrant documentation of the minutiae of lives online is one of virulent hatred. But with these it's different. These videos are showcasing something good and pure, relationships that aren't bogged down with oneupmanship or the forced banter so prevalent in hokum YouTube comedy duos, or the weird when's-the-divorce-coming edginess of prank couples.
You'd need a soul of steel and dogshit not to be warmed by these guys. Don't be mad that the nicest thing your dad does for you is warn you that he's farted in front of your teen girlfriend. It's not these guys' fault that your family sucks.
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