Reply All: #125 All My Pets
July 28, 2018 11:47 AM - Subscribe

Taylor Nicole Dean was a self-described shut-in, a teenager who lived in her parent's home, surrounded by exotic pets. And then she started making videos on YouTube. Taylor's Youtube Channel
posted by eotvos (8 comments total)
I thought this was a really good episode. I feel this is not a corner of the internet that Reply All has spent a ton of time on so far, but it is a very large part of the internet. It was sad, and I left feeling scared for Taylor Nicole Dean, and pretty down on her seemingly dysfunctional family and life, but I also appreciated just showing this subculture, even if it was in a pretty negative light (I'm sure there are lots of positive aspects along with the obviously negative ones).
posted by latkes at 12:00 PM on July 28, 2018 [1 favorite]

I spent the whole episode whispering, “C’mon, Sruthi, you’re better than this.” It seemed like she didn’t want to be adding to the exploitation, but she really was, and she knew it and felt terrible about it, but didn’t feel like she could kill the story. It just felt creepy.
posted by rikschell at 12:40 PM on July 28, 2018 [8 favorites]

Yeah, the story ended up being "I wanted to document this person's rise but realized at the end I was just another one of the spotlights ruining her life, so we just hung out instead."

I hope Taylor comes out of this okay.
posted by Mr.Encyclopedia at 2:27 PM on July 28, 2018 [1 favorite]

Yeah, the way it ended made me feel gross, inasmuch as I felt sort of like I had become the problem.

It was a great episode, though. I just wish it had had more of a conventionally satisfying narrative conclusion, so I could feel better about it.
posted by DoctorFedora at 5:51 PM on July 28, 2018

I thought this was the first unambiguously cheerful ReplyAll in a while. It's been a long time since we've had a show without any assholes. Aside from some of the pet-welfare folks - who's anger with respect to animal suffering seems weirdly specific, given the hundreds of millions of animals raised in brutal factory farms every year - nobody's trying to make anyone else feel bad. It's hard to tell an interesting story without a villain. I think they did a fine job.

I also didn't realize this subculture existed. Watching a few pettube clips from the included links in the show notes, I find it astonishing that anyone ever finishes a single video, much less subscribes to a channel. They're unbelievably dull. Even if my past romantic partners made videos like this when we were first dating, I don't think I'd have bothered to finish them. (And I've paid money to watch hour long silent art films that consist entirely of grass waving in the wind.) The distinction between the star's channel and the kid whose parent calls out a specific video is entirely lost on me, yet one has 1.5 million subscribers and the other 110 views and a poor rating. I suppose this is what getting old feels like. But, it doesn't hurt me any that these people have fans and events, so cheers!
posted by eotvos at 1:41 PM on July 29, 2018

I thought this felt pretty exploitive-I felt icky for listening. Her story was so sad, and being vicariously one of the people waiting to prey upon her, to jump on her-it didn’t feel clean.
posted by purenitrous at 8:46 PM on August 2, 2018 [4 favorites]

Yeah, I definitely didn't take away "unambiguously cheerful" from this story.
posted by ChuraChura at 4:23 AM on August 3, 2018 [3 favorites]

Yeah, I definitely didn't take away "unambiguously cheerful" from this story.
Fair enough. I suppose what I mean is more like "unambiguously without a villain." I feel like it's been a long time since we've heard a reply-all which doesn't involve someone actively screwing other people over or trying to hurt others. A shy kid who works hard to achieve fame and then finds the experience challenging may not be cheerful, exactly, but it's a story in which everyone seems to be genuinely doing their best.

Even the scary rock-star boyfriend and the parental conflict seemed to wind up with people who appear to care about each other. I was really expecting this to end in domestic violence or a parental screaming match and disowning. Which, perhaps, says more about what I expect from the world than how nice the story was.

The reporting didn't feel exploitative to me, but I can see how others would disagree.
posted by eotvos at 9:13 AM on August 4, 2018 [1 favorite]

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