Internet Personalities and Alter Egos

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It’s become something of a cliche or trope lately for some internet personalities to make videos or storylines based around alter egos. Granted, in the world of TV and movies, this isn’t a new idea. But for the world of internet videos, I can’t recall when I first came across this concept. My fiance and I utilized this idea when we made our first internet review show, but we were inspired to do so by others like Doug Walker, aka The Nostalgia Critic, and Lewis Lovhaug, aka Linkara. Both of them use exaggerations of themselves for their review shows, as well as dress up to bring in other characters. In Doug’s case, it’s for comedy or to branch out into other shows. In Lewis’s, it’s mainly for an ongoing story in his show. I even like it when creators apply a personality to something that doesn’t normally have one, such as watching TeamFourStar make up stories for their Pokemon in their various Nuzlocke series.

One thing that fascinates me is when a fandom either creates or gives backstory to alter egos. Most of the time, this is just something done within the community and without the input of the person or work surrounding it. I’ve always been a fan of lore, so I appreciate interpretations of alter egos and/or characters that aren’t given a backstory or have a vague one at best. For example, until recently, the fandom-created evil alter ego of Jacksepticeye, dubbed Antisepticeye, existed through stories and artwork that people built a backstory around. But I especially love it when the original creators get into these alter egos and make something of them. Markiplier has a plethora of them created mostly for skits that he recently brought back, and Jacksepticeye took the aforementioned idea of Antisepticeye and made it a video-based reality starting last October.

I can understand why alter egos wouldn’t be for everyone, but I personally love it when internet personalities use them. I’ve always been interested in the concept of alternate universes and by extension characters. I think it might have started with “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” or “Animorphs”, though I’m positive there were other influences between those. In the case of Doug or Lewis, I enjoy both usages of their various characters for the little bits of backstory we get as well as the storytelling aspects. As for producers like Mark and Jack, I adore how they’ve made a compromise between fleshing out their alter egos on their own and also incorporating ideas from their fans. There’s a bit of audience interaction there that I can get behind. At the end of the day, I’m a sucker for both some good lore and entertaining videos. Put them together and, for me at least, you have a winning combination.

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