Why I'm Obsessed with British YouTube

By Kathryn Wingfield on November 8, 2012

I’m a full-time fangirl: Every day, every hour, every minute, I’m illogically excited about something. One minute it’s limited-edition t-shirts on DFTBA.com, the next it’s a GIF of President Obama dancing on Ellen, the next it’s a preview for The Great Gatsby, and the next it’s a vague tweet from Ryan Murphy promising some Klaine reconciliation on this week’s Glee. My heart is a manic mess day after day and my ovaries are constantly exploding, but nothing has given me such heartache in recent weeks as the latest British Invasion: There’s a revolution happening on YouTube, and let me tell you- the vloggers are coming.

It all started long ago in the very early days of YouTube, before Charlieissocoollike had 1.7 million subscribers and was just a 17-year-old from Bath, England making videos about how to be English (hint: it involves much tea). Six years later, he’s one of the most recognizable names on the Internet, and his fellow English lads are very much catching my attention. They’ve been there all along, but we’ve finally found them here across the pond, and I think I speak for fangirls (and the elusive non-obsessive viewers) everywhere when I say that I could not be more excited for British loveliness to be in my life.

There are so many names to mention in this movement, from MarcusButlerTV to PointlessBlog to OfficialSamPepper to JacksGap and many more, all hilarious channels full of cheeky collaborations that make me laugh until I cry (or pee) on the floor, every time. It’s partially because I have no idea what they’re saying 90 percent of the time. All I see are unreasonably handsome faces saying something indistinguishable with insane enthusiasm and then laughing at themselves, which sounds like a night at a very bad and strange comedy club, but is actually about as entertaining as it gets. Add to that a thick layer of British charm and some slick filmmaking prowess, and you’ve got a population of YouTubers I don’t see myself- or the rest of the Internet- growing tired of any time soon. Who’s to say why it happened so suddenly- vlogger DanIsNotOnFire claims to have gained ¾ of his 500,000+ subscribers within the past few months- but I know I’m on this bandwagon wholeheartedly, along with thousands of other wonderfully creepy fans.

The fandoms in themselves are things to behold. I never knew how much talent in how many different forms was hiding in the Internet until I began my terrifying descent into the DanIsNotOnFire Tumblr fandom. (It was, as some would say, a sweet devouring.) There were so many drawings, graphic designs, songs, poems, and even fanfictions that took my breath away because they were just so brilliant. They stood out as genuine art against a backdrop of strangers supporting and loving each other on profound levels simply because they had one thing in common: love for a British man named Dan. There have been friendships commenced and sustained, suicides prevented, “likes” from Dan rejoiced and cried over, all among an enormous group of largely anonymous people who have, for the most part, never met. Is this what our parents were afraid of when they warned us of stranger danger online? These people don’t seem very scary, Mom. They seem kind of amazing. They understand me when I cry because of someone’s face. That’s like, the true meaning of friendship.

The mix of the reasons to obsess, the obsession, and the people surrounding that obsession should really be considered the eighth wonder of the world. It’s a place that doesn’t exist, that doesn’t have a physical home, yet serves as home to people everywhere, at all times. And for this fandom in particular, it’s all because there are beautiful British men talking to their cameras about things that matter and that make us smile, always only a click away.

Thank you YouTube, thank you vloggers, and thank you fellow Internet addicts for giving me a place to be a ridiculous fangirl, because there’s nothing else I’d rather be.

I'm a junior journalism major at the University of Oklahoma who spends too much time on the Internet.

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