what do you think about the development of the ap channel over time? actually i don't think i know this do you prefer his older videos or his more recent ones? but my actual question is about your feelings and opinions on phils behavior and way of story telling (i'd really appreciate it if you gave your 2 cents thank you!!!)
haha believe it or not, i genuinely don’t have a preference when it comes to the content itself. what i love watching is phil being comfortable, secure, and at ease with what he makes. i love seeing his subtle confidence and stubbornness, the fact that at face value, and based on the content he’s been making the last few years, he doesnt take youtube as a creative enterprise (emphasis on the creative) too seriously. i like that what feels right to him is content that makes his audience happy or that makes their days easier and gives them a little bit of a reprieve from whatever theyre facing in their own lives. to be honest, and i’ve said this a lot, i’m not the biggest fan of either of their solo content for what it actually is. but i’m a fan of them as people, which means it brings me actual happiness (?? which is a bit sad, i realize) to know that phil is almost certainly making exactly what he wants to be making.
there’s a lot of depth you can get into with this topic overall, namely the ‘development of the ap channel over time’ as you put it. ive written before about how i believe phil decided around 2012ish to tighten up his content, and start putting out consistent videos in the same general umbrella or ‘genre’ so to speak, of fluffy, light, and more juvenile or PG-rated entertainment. he drew firmer lines around his ‘persona’ which obviously gets discussed to death, but just to repeat it another time, is an exaggerated version of certain elements of his personality that he felt comfortable bringing forward and underscoring in his videos. i think that overall, it just felt safer for him to put a great deal of distance between what he makes for youtube and his actual creative proclivities (which include body horror, surrealist editing, warped and grotesque special effects, abstract narratives about such weighty topics as the end of the world, heavy sexual undertones, etc.) as his audience grew, along with scrutiny into who he is as a person, his relationships, his sexuality, his fears, etc. i believe he responded by placing these tighter controls on his content and how much of himself he shares with the internet overall. and that makes me happy, bc it means that AP as a channel is something that is comfortable for him and overall easy for him to create things for. AP is not an endeavor that requires him to lay bare all of his deeper vulnerabilities and expose himself to psychoanalysis and speculation.
this also means there’s such a strong element of reliability in phil’s content. i know what i’m going to get when i watch an AP vid, i know that it won’t be phil searching for a means of artistic expression, but it’ll be something warm and uplifting and fun. maybe i’ll even learn a fun fact or two about phil along the way. i’ll definitely laugh at his wittiness and his unbridled love for completely bizarre animal metaphors. and i also know i can turn to phil to actually ‘give the people what they want,’ and that too without a shred of self-consciousness, insecurity, or resentment, so long as it fits into these boundaries he’s drawn for himself. that could be anything from a video of dan curling his hair to dnp dressing up in pastel/punk outfits, multiple baking vids and ditl’s, or the entirety of the pinof series. i do love that no matter how phil has developed his view of his own channel over the years, the one thing he continues to keep consistent is dan as a repeated feature on that channel. dan is as much a part of AP’s foundational content at this point as anything else, and this too, imo, speaks to phil’s confidence and security in what he makes. he’s got an uncanny awareness of what is popular with youtube audiences, or if it doesn’t exist yet, what could be popular, and he’s not afraid to play into these trends if it’ll get him a well-received video, whether that’s a slime tutorial or a punk edit or even a photobooth challenge over on dan’s channel (which, for those who don’t know, is dan’s most viewed video of all time and was all phil’s idea and the result of phil pushing dan to make it. so was this year’s ‘taking quizzes about myself’ video, incidentally, which is his most viewed video of the year behind the top 2016 memes one, by a long shot.)
phil doesn’t shy away from making the stuff he thinks people will want to watch, and to that end he’s equally unafraid to continue to bring on dan to feature in his videos with him, knowing that it will make his audience happy. meanwhile, there’s no competitiveness, nothing to show that phil feels in any way insecure or threatened that people like watching his collaborations with dan as much as, or more than, his solo content. instead, he capitalizes on that, and seems genuinely keen on pleasing people, while also putting out what he himself has fun making. it’s so apparent that to him, collaborating with dan is genuinely fun and enjoyable, maybe more so in some ways than making videos alone. making slime actually makes him happy. and he’s happy to turn all of it into main channel content. all of this is a result of his outlook on youtube as a job, a source of income far more than a creative outlet, and a way to quite easily make people happy. if phil wanted to go down the route of using youtube as a platform to share his arty short films or whatever else, i’m sure we’d get some interesting content, some deeper looks into the mind of phil lester the thirty-year old man, but we might also get a phil that would be playing into his exact anxieties and fears, a phil who would upload much less frequently, who would feel insecure and defensive and maybe experience a strained relationship with his own audience, a phil who would struggle a lot more with youtube overall. and it’s for that reason i’m more than happy to watch phil make what he wants to make, the stuff that keeps him feeling safe and stable and happy, and enjoy all the warmth of it without any real wistfulness or longing for the vintage content of the past.