Let’s talk about The Fine Bros.

The Fine Bros. have come under criticism recently for trying to copyright the term “react.” They do reaction videos on youtube, as you may have gathered, and their main series are “elders react to…” and “teens react to…” along with their popular “kids react to…” and I think they are the most pathetically undeserving content creators on YouTube.

First I’ll talk about them trying to copyright “react.” It won’t go through. There’s no possible way that they will actually get this copyrighted, but it worries me that they’re trying. Their ideas aren’t unique and they weren’t the first to do reaction videos either, they are simply going to be the first to think of TradeMarking and Copyrighting it and, as a result, it seems that they are trying to have their cake and eat it. They’re trying to get paid for other people using an idea they didn’t have. It’s worrying that this is even a question to be honest, but this case will be important for defining later cases like this. For example, recently Sony has tried to copyright the term “Let’s Play.” At least that is an actual, definable thing unlike “react,” but, again, Sony didn’t have the idea first and nor is it ubiquitous with Sony so any copyright they get can be put down to corporate power more than any actual logical basis.

But I digress, because I want to harp on the Fine Bros. React videos, in my opinion, are in the same vein as “Top 10 lists” in terms of lazy production and ideas except without any of the original thought. They stick a person in front of something new/scary/controversial/stupid and film their reaction. Dull, right? Apparently not since they have 13 million subscribers and 3 billion views overall. I want to say at this point that I’m not being mean for being mean’s sake, I just want them to do something original.

I realise the videos aren’t aimed at me but, to be honest, I can’t work out who they are aimed at. I can’t get through the first few minutes of any of their videos without cringing. The last one I tried to watch was “Teens react to Nirvana,” which I thought might be interesting because I was shown Nirvana by my dad at about aged 13 and I liked them a lot. So much so that they’re now my favourite band. However, all I saw were teens trying to be funny and making asinine comments on things that are so benign that the only reason you would comment on them is if you’re being forced to.

To me it seems that you either know what they’re reacting to and can predict everything that people will say (or cringe at their misunderstanding of it) or you don’t know and you go and research it yourself because you think it might be interesting. It’s not someone giving you a detailed, well informed opinion which they have researched and nor is it some expert reacting to something revolutionary or, at the very least, new.

In many ways it reminds me of game shows. Regular families and regular people having their five minutes of fame, the only consistent thing being the hosts. It has the same elements that I loathe about them and I imagine the same people watch them for the same reasons. They have time to fill and so they will watch the Fine Bros because they are reliably mediocre and predictable.

I actually realise that, now that I’m older and not in high schools any more, I’m growing disillusioned with YouTube. Their famous algorithm that promotes regular, lengthy content has made Let’s Plays the go-to format for people who make content, and I’m just not interested in watching someone else play a game when I could be playing the same game and having a lot more fun.  However, I can at least see why people would enjoy that because it feels like you’re with a bunch of friends just hanging out, listening to them talk. Top 10s and reaction videos are unoriginal gutter television by comparison.

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