I’m cautious about using the word “recommend” when it comes to “Chasing Cameron,” the new docu-series hoovering up the remaining scraps of the offline life of Internet celebrity and entrepreneur Cameron Dallas — but I do think you should watch it. Or some of it. (All 10 episodes are up on Netflix.)
Not because it’s any good, mind you. It’s a reality show in the style of reality shows — television’s fruitcake. More because it seems to capture something precarious about the present moment. It feels like peak everything: peak YouTube, peak “reality,” peak celebrity, peak cheekbone, peak Bieber. But more than anything, it feels like peak nothing.
I’m still not sure what Dallas does, exactly — which I suspect is the contemporary equivalent of mystique. The 22-year-old started out being professionally cute on Instagram five years ago, and he’s since amassed over 5 million YouTube followers. There, he reacts to gross videos. He eats hot wings with his boyz. He streaks (almost). He gets stitches. He binges on pickles. He mistakes himself for Drake. And now, he executive produces.
Oh, and he tours, which is the main thrust of “Chasing Cameron.”
Joined by fellow sentient headshots Aaron Carpenter, Taylor Caniff, Willie Jones, Trey Schafer, and Blake Gray, Dallas (who won a Teen Choice Award in 2015 for “Best Viner” and “Choice Web Star”) embarks on the 2016 MAGCON tour. Shorthand for “meet and greet convention,” MAGCON is an annual opportunity to encounter various interchangeable cresting Vine and YouTube stars (like recent breakthroughs Shawn Mendes and Nash Grier) before they become white dwarves.
Along the way, he plays with koalas in Australia, takes mad selfies across Europe, gets bucked off a horse, gets into “a real fight with real people,” and otherwise points his face in different directions, causing screaming.
So yeah, that’s kind of it. And yet, here I am: Watching. There’s something about the abundant emptiness of “Chasing Cameron” that, right now, feels like a necessary refuge. After a year so fraught with change and its attendant grief, fear, uncertainty, disappointment, and anger, it’s actually quite comforting to sit in front of “Chasing Cameron” like a fireplace, basking in its inconsequential glow. Somehow, it feels like a fitting finish to a year that many of us would just as soon send back up the chimney.Michael Andor Brodeur can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @MBrodeur.