Monday, September 16, 2019

The Dad Feels Mystery

So I'm a big fan of the YouTuber, Dad. He's a talented and mysterious figure. Dad wants to be the most popular YouTuber in the world, but for unknown reasons. He does stuff that other YouTubers do, like play video games, reviews food, and make music videos. Dad does all this in service of something he calls, The Server. Presumably some sort of computer server that controls him and the world he inhabits. At times it feels like Dad is trapped within a simulation. He has a wife, a daughter, a neighbor who is his rival, he has a crush on his wife's friend, and he is always being watched by men in black who all seem too invested in Dad's whereabouts. 

Dad's backstory also seems to have hints of reincarnation, time travel, artificial intelligence, space exploration, and mad science gone horribly wrong. Dad exists in multiples dimensions and time-streams simultaneously. His life isn't a linear process, at least not anymore. Whatever process brought Dad to YouTube and to The Server is still in flux. At times it seems like Dad is near escape, but he's always pulled back in. He's a slave to The Server.

The music Dad creates give hints to his thoughts. He says The Server writes the lyrics, but who knows if that's true. Perhaps The Server, or whoever controls it, is one of Dad's previous selves. In any case, whenever Dad is singing and dancing, it feels like a defragmentation process where Dad is being recalibrated. Like these thoughts are being pushed out or purged from his mind so that The Server can have better control over him.

Whatever the end goal is for The Server, or Dad, it has caught the imagination of many reviewers and theorists on YouTube. Personally, I feel like The Server wants to spread its simulation across the world and make more digitized slaves like Dad. Dad himself says he wants to build a powerful shed that will be "apocalypse proof".

"Masque", host of Connect the Dots, has maybe my favorite breakdown of Dad. This analysis of Dad is important because Masque reminds us that Dad is both really very friendly, but also somewhat scary. The Dad character sometimes interacts with (and stalks) Nathan Barnatt, who is the actor that plays Dad. It's really very odd, but makes some sense when you remember that Dad exists across multiple realities at a time. He is a nonlinear being or entity.

Whatever Dad is (time traveler, A.I., or alien) he is definitely not from Earth. Dad does his best to portray real human feelings or actions, but he is still very awkward. Dad is doing his best impression of a middle-aged father going through a mid-life crisis, which is one explanation to why he is on YouTube trying to get famous, but it's still not the whole picture. It's just one element that fuels the dynamism of what The Server is trying to accomplish. We can't forget that no matter what Dad is, he is still an extension of The Server. Mom, Dad's wife,  possibly helps maintain The Server, and Daughter and the rest help maintain the simulation within it, but Dad is the arm that reaches for our reality.


Inside A Mind is the YouTube channel where I first learned about Dad. In it, it is speculated that Dad is being controlled by aliens. I don't think that's entirely right, but it's definitely a step in the correct path to how we should consider Dad and his story. Whatever Dad and The Server are, they're definitely supposed to be alien to us. But are they alien because they're extraterrestrial, extradimenional, or extrachronological? We can't really say right now. 

There are links within Dad to the game Portal, which I've only seen played on Game Grumps (I've never played it myself). And there other comparisons to Dad to fiction, but I feel like there's a deeper almost spiritual connection to the film "The Quiet Earth" from 1985. It's a film based on a book, but it has a closer connection to an even older movie called "The World, the Flesh and the Devil" (1959). 


In any case, the film centers around a global experiment called Project Flashlight that was meant to power airplanes so they could remain perpetually fueled. The experiment was lead by an American organization, but that organization was working in conjunction with scientists all over the world. In a nutshell, Project Flashlight may have been a front for another experiment since not all the information was properly shared, and now it seems as though the world has gone through an apocalypse of sorts.

One of the few remaining people is a New Zealand scientist who had a small part to do in Project Flashlight. As it turns out, the experiment malfunctioned and now whenever he dies he is transferred to another world at random. It might very well be the same ending for all people in the world. Odds are, every person and every living creature who died during the initial surge of Project Flashlight was transferred to another point in the universe.

The ending of the film is quite eerie. In an effort to save the Earth from a pulsating sun and to hopefully shutdown Project Flashlight, which was still active, the scientist drives a truck into a power grid that was a pat of the experiment. The explosion causes him to die and be sent to a completely alien world. The credits roll as he stares at a Saturn-like world arise from the horizon. And, we have no idea if his attempt to save the Earth was successful or not.

The actor playing the scientist in the film has a very striking resemblance to Dad, and the plot feels textually similar. Failed experiments, alien worlds, conspiracies and a feeling of living in a desolate space. There are no aliens in "The Quiet Earth", but for a while you might wonder if there there was some sort of outside power controlling the events. The characters themselves even wonder if God Himself may have pulled the plug on the Earth, but it's nothing as dramatic as that. The world was ruined by human error.

I don't believe this film is being used as a framework for Dad's videos, but I do feel there are some key elements that they both share. Dad himself does seem to be trapped in some sort of virtual purgatory, much like how the scientist in "The Quiet Earth" seems to be trapped in his own existential purgatory.

Whatever happens to Dad down the line, or to Nathan Barnatt, or even Dad's past-life-self, astronaut Captain Adrian Rill, I hope it's a happier ending than what we see in "The Quiet Earth". 

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