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August 9, 2010 9:10 AM   Subscribe

"Fred is not a real kid, thank God: Fred Figglehorn is a character, a six year-old kid with an alcoholic stepmother and a father in jail."* Created in 2008 and portrayed by Nebraska teenager Lucas Cruikshank, Fred's YouTube videos "have racked up nearly 530 million views in aggregate." On September 17th. 'Fred: the Movie' hits Nickelodeon.
Fred Goes to the Movies!

Fred Goes Swimming.

Fred Goes to the Dentist.
posted by ericb (35 comments total) 6 users marked this as a favorite

 
"If you're past a certain age, Fred's appeal is essentially inscrutable. His antics are Kryptonite for grown-ups, repelling any but the most vigorous attempts to watch an entire episode and keeping us in the dark about why kids seem to love him so much."*
posted by ericb at 9:10 AM on August 9, 2010


*Created in 2006..."
posted by ericb at 9:13 AM on August 9, 2010


There are moments of pure genius in his videos and it's great he's cashing in some. Just wanted to get that in before the haters.
posted by mediareport at 9:14 AM on August 9, 2010 [3 favorites]


My reaction a year or so ago when my roommate came to me and said, "OMG THIS THE GREATEST, MOST HILARIOUS THING EVAR," and excitedly showed me the Fred videos:

"Uh, that's nice...get it away from me, please."


My reaction now:

"Uh, that's nice...good thing I don't have cable."
posted by phunniemee at 9:14 AM on August 9, 2010


From the Wikepedia link:

Cruikshank believes that viewers either "automatically love Fred or automatically hate Fred, there is no in between".

Well, he got that right.
posted by yhbc at 9:20 AM on August 9, 2010 [1 favorite]


I had noticed the "FЯED" t-shirts. Never knew it referred to this.
posted by 2bucksplus at 9:21 AM on August 9, 2010


It's not a masterpiece of American comedy, but I can see the appeal. He's a pretty chaotic character, and there's no attempt to soft-pedal it. I have a grudging admiration for anybody willing to be so obnoxious.
posted by Astro Zombie at 9:22 AM on August 9, 2010 [2 favorites]


ok, that was hilarious
posted by bitteroldman at 9:22 AM on August 9, 2010


Fred is the first TV show I discovered via Tivo's Youtube app. Just browsing along the "Most Popular" one day on the Tivo and there it was, Fred. Never heard of it anywhere else; not the Internet, not Nicklelodean, not anything. This kind of discovery is the way post-Internet television should work.
posted by Nelson at 9:23 AM on August 9, 2010 [1 favorite]


WOW that's obnoxious. It might be less obnoxious as an animated cartoon, but I doubt it. There have been characters resembling Fred in previous children's television shows, but they were always the annoying neighbor or colleague that the main character had to put up with.
posted by LoudMusic at 9:25 AM on August 9, 2010


I've seen some of the YouTube videos. They weren't masterpieces but they had their funny moments. That "movie trailer," on the other hand, looks entirely awful.
posted by The Winsome Parker Lewis at 9:26 AM on August 9, 2010


I mean, sure, I don't get it, but my mom absolutely loathed Pee-Wee Herman when I was a kid, and he was just about my favorite thing. Different generations, and all. When they have kids, those kids will be into something whose appeal seems unfathomable, too. They're welcome to it, and God bless them.
posted by FAMOUS MONSTER at 9:29 AM on August 9, 2010 [2 favorites]


FЯED 2: The Descent of the Teste
posted by Burhanistan at 9:30 AM on August 9, 2010 [3 favorites]


Mark me down under "doesn't get it." Watching it actually frustrated me a bit.
posted by defenestration at 9:34 AM on August 9, 2010


So it's a squeakier, more grating version of the Kevin Shapiro stories.

Okay.

Cruikshank's definitely got talent-- but it's a talent that makes me want to stick shrimp forks in my eyes.
posted by palmcorder_yajna at 9:41 AM on August 9, 2010 [1 favorite]


I have yet to make it through an entire episode. And Lucas is getting a little long in the tooth to be portraying a 6-year-old, isn't he? On the other hand, being 10 years older than the character you play has never stopped the people who made Friends, Beverly Hills 90210, How I Met Your Mother, High School Musical, The Hills, or just about every other television show, past, present and future.
posted by crunchland at 9:43 AM on August 9, 2010


crunchland: And Lucas is getting a little long in the tooth to be portraying a 6-year-old, isn't he?

When reading young Master Cruikshank's wikipedia page, I came to the realization that he was BORN during the summer after I graduated high school. So I find it perfectly acceptable for him to be playing a 6 year old for many, many years.

I've seen this and like others have said, it's not for me but I can see his talent and even the appeal. It's not something that makes me mourn for the future of American culture, so at least he's a step up from Bieber-mania.
posted by MCMikeNamara at 9:53 AM on August 9, 2010 [1 favorite]


Great. Now I have to spend the rest of the afternoon with the horrible knowledge that Howie Mandel was 20 years ahead of his time.
posted by Shepherd at 10:04 AM on August 9, 2010


My kids discovered him recently, and love the hell out of him. We started making them use headphones while on the computer.

I can totally imagine cracking up at him when I was, like ten years old. Even now I laugh at a few funny moments. But it's mostly kryptonite for grown-ups, yes.

Fred was originally a character in iCarly, a competing web video show host, who got into a feud with the iCarly cast. At least one of the iCarly characters in the show -- Freddie (not Fred) -- was baffled that people found Fred funny.

He's kind of an early-teen love child of Martin Short and Pee-Wee Herman.

For the record, iCarly is a pretty great show -- most live action kids' shows on Nick and Disney network are horrible, but iCarly doesn't insult its viewers' intelligence. A rare thing.
posted by edheil at 10:11 AM on August 9, 2010


He's supposed to be six? I never knew that. That's silly.
posted by edheil at 10:16 AM on August 9, 2010


Wikipedia corrects me -- he was already out there in the world independently when iCarly had him as a guest star. Never mind. :)
posted by edheil at 10:17 AM on August 9, 2010


As much as I love my child, I simply cannot wait for her to be old enough to go to the movies alone so that I do not have to sit through another one of these appalling films. I will simply never forgive DreamWorks for "Robots" and "The Bee Movie".
posted by briank at 10:29 AM on August 9, 2010


I'm sorry, but I feel like trying to like this would take more fortitude than I have.
posted by mccarty.tim at 10:32 AM on August 9, 2010


My 12-year old son is a huge Fred fan, and unfortunately, can imitate his voice perfectly. I am hoping he will grow out of it soon...
posted by sundrop at 10:34 AM on August 9, 2010


I made it through a minute of the movie one, and I was counting down the last few seconds. I'm sure that he'll fit in quite well at Nickelodeon, a network that made its bones by dumping artificial snot by the gallon on kids' heads.
posted by Halloween Jack at 11:03 AM on August 9, 2010


He's one of many on Youtube that my daughter (12 & 14) watch.

The opening quote is absolutely correct, I cannot comprehend why my daughters like this so much. But they are huge fans and it encourages them to make their own videos, which is a positive creative endeavor.

We have Fred and Livelavalive t-shirts and other stuff from their favorites.

We don't think it's anything harmful, almost like watching the class clown goof off at the mall was back in the 80s...
posted by Argyle at 11:42 AM on August 9, 2010


I'm sorry, but I feel like trying to like this would take more fortitude than I have.

That's okay! You don't have to like it!

I can easily see Fred's appeal to kids. He's manic, he has a funny voice they can try to imitate, he runs around doing Things He Shouldn't and annoys people without fearing the consequences. Kids eat that stuff up. If I'd seen this when I was 9 or 10, I probably would have loved it, too.

Wasn't expecting the subversive undertones, though, and that's what I admire most about the phenomenon. I got through "Fred Goes to the Movies" and only after everything was quiet again, I thought "Wait. Did he just pimp out his own mom for a ticket to an R-rated movie?" Went back and watched and yep, he did.

And there weren't any network censors or nervous executives around to raise a finger and say "This certainly not the kind of behavior our friends at Big Multiplex Cinemas would want to be associated with."

Granted, it's not a joke I particularly like, but more power to Lucas and the other YouTubers who, whether they know it or not, are enjoying just about as much creative control over their own projects as they could ever get. For better or for worse.
posted by Spatch at 12:04 PM on August 9, 2010


He's like an unfunny version of this guy.
posted by dobbs at 12:17 PM on August 9, 2010


A while back I remember watching one of his earlier videos offhand and thought it was somewhat funny and pretty good for such a young kid to have put together. Maybe this is just me but I watched a couple of his later videos and noticed a certain undertone of homophobia in there. He went from making fun of wacky zany kid to overly effeminate 'oooh everything is gross' kid.
posted by P.o.B. at 12:34 PM on August 9, 2010


...And I worded that terribly.
posted by P.o.B. at 12:49 PM on August 9, 2010


I don't get a homophobic vibe from Fred (or Lucas). In fact, exactly the opposite.
posted by crunchland at 1:08 PM on August 9, 2010


It get's worse. Here's the Annoying Orange vs Fred.
posted by IndigoJones at 5:59 PM on August 9, 2010


fatwas are called on talented guys like Salman Rushdie but not this human chipmunk. i am one of those people who just plain hates him.
posted by liza at 7:55 PM on August 9, 2010


Wow. FRED got the movie, after all. It's this generation's Hot Topic troll version of "Invader Zim".

SUCCESS!
posted by Alex930 at 10:04 PM on August 9, 2010


Meet The YouTube Stars Making $100,000 Plus Per Year.

Conservative estimate as to how much Lucas Cruikshank made from his YouTube 'Fred' channel last year -- $146,000.
posted by ericb at 1:15 PM on August 24, 2010


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