2018 was Shane Dawson’s breakout year. Sure, he’s had success since the original YouTube days, but his comeback is even more impressive than his initial fame. For a few years, Dawson was creating content that his heart wasn’t into. He admitted to “following the masses” by posting silly challenge videos with neon thumbnails that made your eyes hurt. Although he would throw in a few conspiracy videos that he genuinely loved, the majority of his content was created to gain the most views.
Many people think that Dawson’s docuseries reign began with his buzzworthy videos on Tanacon. However, his genre transition actually took off a bit earlier. One year ago, Dawson posted a video called “Confronting My First Love” where he sat down and talked to a friend from his past that he had a crush on for many years. He interviewed her on camera, revealing the extent of his crush and asking why their friendship crumbled. Thus begun Dawson’s short-lived, but career-changing “Confronting” series.
After facing up to his first crush, Dawson got even more personal with his content. He conducted a two-part series where he interviewed his parents separately on their former marriage and dug into what caused it to fall apart. In the video featuring his dad, Dawson was reunited with him after many years without contact. The episode is incredibly emotional and reveals the genuine side of Dawson that we have all come to love.
Two months after that deep-dive, he did a three-part series on “confronting his hater,” fellow YouTuber Bobby Burns, who had released a hate video attacking him. Dawson flew his peer out to Los Angeles to interview him for the series and had such great results that he ended up buying him a car. Although Dawson and Burns have had a falling-out since then, the video remains a must-see for its enemy-to-friend resolution alone.
A couple months before the Tanacon series, Dawson orchestrated another three-part series, this time on YouTuber Grav3yardgirl. The videos discussed her decline in relevance and attempted to resurrect her channel in the process.
After these initial shifts in focus came Tanacon, the Jeffree Star series and finally the massively popular, and controversial, Jake Paul series. Even though it took some time to fully complete the career transition, it seems like Dawson has thrown away the style of his original content and adopted his new docuseries voice entirely.
Since the Jake Paul series has wrapped up, Dawson is taking a much-needed hiatus for a couple of months to recuperate from the backlash that surfaced along with the docuseries. Luckily, he remains very active on Twitter and Instagram, so fans are still able to follow along with the general goings-on of Dawson’s life.
So, now that Dawson is purely sticking to YouTube documentaries, what is next for him when the hiatus ends? Here are a few educated guesses.
Danielle Bregoli (Bad Bhabie)
This choice for a next subject has sparked a lot of contrasting opinions. Many people (including myself) are discouraging Dawson from conducting an interview on Bregoli after hearing him tell The Hollywood Fix that she would be his first choice for his next docuseries. When asked who he was interested in, he didn’t hesitate in saying, “I really wanna do something with Bad Bhabie.” Before the interview, Dawson also liked a tweet from a fan that suggested he contact her to see if she would be interested in being the next subject.
The reason fans (like myself) are discouraging Dawson is because Bregoli is a generally unlikable celebrity figure who gained an initial following from her viral interview on Dr. Phil. However, many people also discouraged Dawson from working with Paul because he too is overwhelmingly disliked by the masses. I still really enjoyed the series on Paul, so a series on Bregoli likely has the same potential for success.
No word from Bregoli’s end yet.
@justinbieber i’d really love to talk to you about a project i’d love to do with u that my heart is super invested in. i know you probably won’t see this but if u do and have a sec let me know ???
— Shane Dawson (@shanedawson) October 29, 2018
Dawson had his fans understandably shocked when he sent out the above tweet to Justin Bieber in October. Many fans called him out, saying he already did a series on a controversial, famous, young, white male and they wanted a change. Fans who spoke up felt as if a series focused on Bieber would be much too similar to Paul’s in terms of questions and content. I personally feel that this collaboration would be fascinating, but there is another issue that the YouTuber’s supporters brought up.
Is Bieber too famous for Dawson? Quite a few fans think so. Instead of finding tweets of encouragement under Dawson’s shout-out to Bieber, you’ll see a vast array of comments telling him good luck with getting a response or simply to stick to people of YouTube-level fame.
So far, no response from The Biebs.
@SmoshIan dms ??
— Shane Dawson (@shanedawson) November 7, 2018
On Nov. 7, Dawson tweeted Ian Hecox from the YouTube-famous duo Smosh to check his direct messages. From the fanbase perspective, this seems to be the most well received of Dawson’s subject proposals.
Smosh has been on YouTube as long as Dawson, so this offers him a great place to pick up his docuseries journey. Because of their connection as part of an elite group of YouTubers who are still thriving after a decade, Dawson already has a multitude of common avenues for discussion.
Although I personally do not watch Smosh and do not know much about them these days, I find the proposition compelling because viewers would get the chance to learn what it is like to be a YouTuber for such a long amount of time. I personally would love to learn the ups and downs and how these influencers were able to adapt and stay relevant while many others YouTubers were left behind in the clamor.
omg…. imagine if a youtuber started a cult. that’s horrifying. and probably very realistic. giving their fans a name, calling them “family”, making them wear their name on them (merch), having “MEET UPS”?! AHHH ITS ALREADY HAPPENING ???hahahaha https://t.co/ANPz4JXiQR
— Shane Dawson (@shanedawson) November 6, 2018
After Dawson tweeted that he “can’t stop falling down holes about cults,” fans began tweeting him to investigate the mysterious organizations in his next docuseries. The YouTuber is no stranger to creepy content, as proven in his fan-favorite conspiracy videos.
Though this concept would take much more time and effort than the other prospects, I think most would agree a feature on cults would be the most alluring.
Jake Paul (again?)
just when i started enjoying my break! Alright…. Andrew grab the camera. i’ll call the uber. ??? https://t.co/I6HaoiFwuX
— Shane Dawson (@shanedawson) November 8, 2018
On Sept. 7, Dawson responded to a fan’s tweet about Paul and his ex-girlfriend Erika Costell’s breakup. There has been speculation that Dawson’s docuseries caused them to split up; the primary theory is that Costell gained more fame from the series, and on a fame-high, decided she wanted to be independent from Paul.
However, there is heavy speculation that Paul cheated on Costell, including proof from an Instagram model. Although it would make an intriguing follow-up video, it is clear that Dawson was joking and does not plan on interviewing Paul again.
There is no clear indication to what project Dawson will take on once he concludes his hiatus. For now, it is all merely speculation and unanswered tweets, but that will not stop me from following those leads until the moment finally arrives. And whenever he decides to release his next series, I know I will be ready and waiting, most likely on my couch with a large bowl of popcorn, excited to see what ride Dawson will take us on next.