By Allison O’Reilly
Like most people with a sense of humor and concept of talent, I have never been a fan of MAGCON, the group of internet-famous boys who come together to dance around on a stage and occasionally sing poorly written yet catchy songs. The group, apart from bringing Shawn Mendes into fame, has had its fair share of controversy (like this and this) and brings little to the pop-culture table.
That being said, I have indulged in poking fun at the young men for their sappy tweets, ridiculous vines, outlandish snapchats and awkward live performances. So, when I heard the ring-leader of the group, Cameron Dallas, 22, was getting a reality show on Netflix titled Chasing Cameron, I decided it would be my winter break entertainment.
The show primarily features the older remaining stars of MAGCON: Dallas, Taylor Caniff, Aaron Carpenter, Blake Gray, Willie Jones and Trey Schafer, as well as MAGCON CEO Bart Bordelon. Viewers follow this tight-knit family of rising stars through months of antics, and, honestly, it’s hard not to grow a soft spot for these boys and their goofiness after watching their lives for five hours.
Many of the young men, especially Canniff and Carpenter, had tough childhoods and their backstories are tear-jerking. The show itself is riddled with emotional moments, like the death of a family dog, stressful breakdowns and fan stories of how the boys helped their fans overcome issues of self-harm.
Those sad scenes serve as a buffer, it seems, for the somewhat awkward business mishaps the series focuses on. In between every delayed performance, missed payment, dramatic departure of a staff member or indignant outburst from Dallas, is a sob story that humanizes the otherwise obscure cast members.
This series definitely gave me a light-entertainment fix, but it could have been better if it focused on Dallas’ growth from simple social media star to successful model, honing in on his trial runs in music and film with the single “She Bad” and movie Expelled, as the rising star molded his own adult image. Instead, there was too much focus on the MAGCON brand and Dallas and Bordelon’s constant power struggles in running the company, exposing too many mistakes that often made them look unprofessional.
Despite all of its problems, the show itself is often hilarious, even if only by accident. Canniff is definitely the funniest, throwing a few fits over not receiving his ‘per diem’ in time – a daily payment for food and entertainment while on tour — leading him to create a new merchandise line based on those iconic scenes. There’s also an instance where many of the boys get into a bloody fight at a club, yet they continue to take selfies and snapchat videos from the hospital.
Taking it for what it is — a documentary series about boys under the age of 30 attempting to be business moguls and superstars in an social media-based entertainment industry that they essentially created — Chasing Cameron is not that bad. If nothing else, the show gave me a few belly laughs and provided insight on what may be the future of Hollywood: social media stardom.
Allison O’Reilly is a freshman journalism major and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.