Dawson’s Documentary of Disappointment

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  After two months of anticipation inducing and utter radio silence on his YouTube channel, Shane Dawson returns with a slightly unimpactful bang. Amassing a subscriber count of over 22 million, Dawson posted the first and second episode of his new documentary series “The Beautiful World of Jeffree Star” within the past month.   

   The collection of videos are focused on fellow YouTube star and makeup artist Jeffree Star, who he has previously worked with to make the series “The Secret World of Jeffree Star” a year ago. This first five part succession of his videos with Star was a blockbuster hit on the YouTube universe. It exposed the past and real life of the highly controversial and popular Star, which was previously unparalleled. 

   His relatively new documentary style then was different and refreshing and saturated with Dawson’s passion for film. So why did his latest series fall short of spectacular?

  Having been a longtime fan of Dawson and his work for years, my bones rattled in excitement as I clicked on the first episode “The Beautiful World of Jeffree Star.” But disappointingly I could barely endure the first twenty minutes; the first five practically a built in trailer, and the next fifteen minutes were of Dawson packing for his trip and discussing his insecurities. I’m a big fan of him and understand his struggles, but fifteen minutes of his worries and anxieties is not necessarily entertaining. 

   Only when I decided to watch the surprisingly fascinating second episode “The Secrets of the Beauty World,” could I return to the first and finish the forty minutes left.

  The hour long premiere of the sequence should have sucked his viewers in with a hook. Yet all we received was consistent expressions of Dawson’s insecurities and fears, Dawson and Star on a private jet, and then Star’s large meetup at a makeup store with hundreds upon hundreds of people. 

  It did not entirely live up to its title. Sure, it convinces you Star lives a life of luxury, but what is so beautiful about it? The people supporting him, maybe? But, I’m not convinced.

    This episode declares much of the surface level charm of Star’s wealthy life, but not the deep rooted beauty he apparently experiences, as the title implies.

    Dawson should be expressing that Star’s fans and immense following he accumulated is the ‘beauty of it all’ — the community Star created out of nothing. The video should have been centered around this idea of the beauty of the community, not just the focus of the final third of it.   

   I felt catfished—or clickbaited as YouTube lingo would coin it.

 Three days after publishing the first, Dawson published the second episode “The Secrets of the Beauty World” to his channel. In contrast to the first, this 56 minute video was riveting, provoking my interest and excitement for what he has in store. 

   This is what we were promised by the trailer: the exposure of the beauty industry. He and Star videotape the business and work on the makeup products they are collaborating on. Dawson is making history by exposing the costs, revenue, secrets, and actions behind the creation of makeup products, all of which is previously unknown to the public. 

   To hear the amount of money spent to create makeup versus the amount of money companies make, is shocking and unprecedented. 

  Listing price estimations, Dawson and Star promise to reveal real numbers and statistics for specifically their products. 

  This second episode has racked a total of 16 million views, which is 8 million less than the views on the first episode. While still being an enormous and admirable count, it is clear that I am not the only one unimpressed by the premiere. 

   This is not the first documentary series of Dawson’s to fall flat in terms of expectation. But, it is indeed moving on an upward slope and personally I eagerly anticipate what will come of the series.