Scare PewDiePie captures the essence of his channel—wherein a loudmouth gamer captivates while at the controls—with the added twist of bring his Let’s Plays to life. And as one of the initial offerings from YouTube Red’s slate of original programming, it’s a captivating success. (ScarePewDiePie debuted this week alongside Dance Camp, Unicorn, and Lazer Team.)
At the beginning of episode one, “Level 1 | Let’s Play Doctor,” Kjellberg announces, “This show takes what I already do—getting scared of horror games—but taking it to the next level. A really fucked up level.”
“Let’s Play Doctor” sets up the rest of the series by making Kjellberg vulnerable and putting him on display. For level one, the crew takes Kjellberg to an “American hospital” for a physical check up—to make sure he’s healthy enough to be scared out of his mind—and one wing happens to house psychiatric patients. Through a series of unfortunate events, an escaped patient crashes Kjellberg’s appointment, pretending to be a doctor and later asking Kjellberg to help him after the YouTuber undergoes a psychological evaluation.
Episode seven brings Kjellberg back to the hospital to “discuss the results” of the tests he completed in episode one. And by “discuss results,” they mean make Kjellberg navigate through a creepy ward of crazies while escaping demented doctors trying to experiment on him.
Although exclusive to the first episode, the crew rigs Kjellberg’s clip-on mic with a heart monitor, setting a ceiling rate of 145 beats per minute to maintain for safety reasons. Kjellberg consistently reaches critical heart rates in the high 130s and even gets to 145 once during the day.
Unlike the rest of the episodes, “Let’s Play Doctor” doesn’t mirror any game in particular. As far as Kjellberg knew, it was only supposed to be a normal day. He spends a majority of the episode confused, but between episodes one and seven, we spend some time confused too. While the premise of the show is fairly clear, there seems to be a theatrical aspect of the show as well—separate from the live Let’s Plays.
There are still many puzzle pieces to gather before the picture becomes clear, but two are dropped in during episodes one and seven through the characters “Nikki” and “Jeff.” Nikki is introduced in episode one as a production assistant and declares herself a big fan of the YouTuber. Throughout the first 10 minutes, she is overly flirty with Kjellberg and has a heated altercation with the producer because of it, getting her fired right off the bat. She appears again in a flashback during episode seven, apparently as a stalker—hence the introduction of Jeff the security guard. Jeff has a quirky personality, and is not good at his job. Kjellberg also doesn’t appear to know the story of what happens outside of the show, being forced to move along as it unravels.
To further immerse the viewer and characterize Kjellberg as the main character in a horror game, the show implements informational pop-ups about mission objectives and new characters.
Even for a viewer who doesn’t follow PewDiePie, Scare PewDiePie dishes out the comedy and makes you fall for Kjellberg. It’s funny to follow the YouTuber live his fears, and one can appreciate the new twist Kjellberg brings to his Let’s Plays. However, he still maintains his usual personality and plays his IRL game just the same as the virtual ones—screaming, cursing, and all.
The rest of his episodes are set to release on a weekly schedule, with episode two launching Feb. 17.
Screengrab via PewDiePie/YouTube