Abandon Hope All Ye Who Enter the GO House

Photo by Andrew Ridley on Unsplash

On the 2nd of September 2020, a group of young Irish influencers moved into a Dublin mansion, full of hope and excitement, since then they have lost two members and undergone two rebrands. The infamous G.O.A.T house is now The GO House because they are “going places” and is definitely not connected to that pesky legal action Jake Browne mentioned in his ANOTHER THE GOAT HOUSE MEMBER LEAVES! YouTube video. Their time in the house has so far been controversial and contentious. In the aforementioned Jake Browne video, he ponders the question ‘how did I get here?’, let’s answer that question.

THE CREATORS

The GO House is the brainchild of Thomas Arnold and Jake Browne and they are promoting it as Ireland’s first and only creator house. They claim that they are revolutionising the Irish entertainment industry which they note is 4 or 5 years behind the rest of the world, however, so are they as creator houses have been a thing since the Paul brothers and other vine stars moved into apartments on Vine Street. The unoriginality of their ideas will creep up later in the content section but for now, let’s look at the people who made the GO house. (They constantly state that they made the GO House as if they built it, which is a minor detail but it still annoys me).

Thomas Arnold is your typical wannabe vlogger. He has been making videos for years, his earliest ones documenting his time in Belvedere College, a private secondary school for boys. His content has grown since then into your typical blend of clickbait such as iPhone Call on Roof?! to vlogs such as I Spent €26 on DOUGHNUTS. As his channel has grown his videos have become devoid of any character, opting instead for typical YouTuber shtick, even going as far as to recreate Logan Paul’s most controversial video by going to Japan and placing a Cheerio in a Golden Japanese Temple. The rest of the video consists of him running around world heritage sites in stereotypical Japanese clothing screaming nonsense about how Cheerios have lost their place on top the cereal food chain and how he is going to bring them back to their rightful place by desecrating these beautiful landmarks, and oh yeah, all this takes place to the sweet, sweet sound of Kung Fu Fighting.

Thomas and Jake state that the GO House is an altruistic endeavour, it is not that they wanted to live in a mansion with their friends, it was created to lift the spirits of the Irish nation during the coronavirus pandemic. I for one hope that any income they earn from their content is tax-exempt as they have purely charitable motivations. Charity runs throughout Thomas’ old YouTube videos such as his I Spent a Day as a Disabled Person video in which he spends most of the day in a wheelchair before asking for 500 likes to spread awareness whereas surely asking people to share the video would do a better job at spreading awareness. In other videos such as One Year Renting in Dublin (The Ugly Truth) he notes in the description that Ireland is in the midst of a housing crisis but mostly just speaks about the delights of living away from home such as walking in the park at 2 A.M. and being able to watch Netflix, which he wasn’t allowed to do when living with his parents for some reason.

Jake Browne’s website states that he is a filmmaker at the intersection of technology and liberal arts, understanding both what is functional and beautiful. Under the Films section of his website are multiple commercials he has done, which is functional sure as he’s getting paid but isn’t beautiful, unless you consider drone shots beautiful. His YouTube page consists of standard private schoolboy turned YouTuber drivel such as what do you really get in emirates first class? and other vlogs in which he does his best Casey Neistat impression. His Instagram is his most followed social media with over 10,000 followers and is almost entirely made up of pictures of himself posing in front of beaches and palm trees.

The rest of the house is filled up with fellow YouTubers and TikTok ‘stars’ who we will look at next.

THE CONTENT

These sorts of content enclaves can lead to great entertainment, the Vine Street apartments gave birth to the greatest vlogger of all time, Jason Sunday, whose channel is unfortunately no longer with us. Whenever Logan Paul would leave his apartment he would be swamped by fans, including Jason himself, however, Jason saw himself as Logan’s peer and friend. He would make videos of himself walking around Hollywood asking people if they were Jason Sundays (the name he gave his fans), however, none of them were because he had barely over a thousand subscribers. The GO House has not been able to provide any content as entertaining as the least known member of the Vine Street apartments yet. They have a 3-pronged content directive, featuring YouTube, Instagram, and TikTok.

The influencers push themselves as living in a TikTok house, so we’ll examine their TikTok content first. To put it plainly, it fucking sucks. Their primary page only has 12 videos at the time of writing and there is nothing spectacular about any of them. The only video that surprised me was seeing the housemates dancing poorly to Sada Baby. The rest of the videos on their main page feature them mouthing to other people’s words with no interesting angles or acting or anything you would expect from professional TikTokers who have videographers and editors. Their other content consists of water-based pranks which are a recurring motif across all their channels.

However, their primary page is not the sole reason they moved in together, now they can appear in each other’s videos on their personal pages. And uh they aren’t doing this at all. They make a lot of content about what it’s like to live in a house with other TikTok creators but rarely feature them in their videos such as Nia Gall’s TikTok about waking her housemate Shauna The Sheep up in the morning in which she plays both herself and Shauna, which begs the question why live together if you’re not going to be in each other’s videos. A lot of their videos fall under the relatable content umbrella which appeals to children such as being annoyed when your teacher doesn’t let you go to the bathroom but they also have a lot of sexualised content about wanting to have sex and their bodies which there is a place for, but that place isn’t directly following a video lip-syncing to SpongeBob.

Their three most popular TikTok channels are AndreaAndLewis, a couple who make fake couple pranks which somehow still manage to rile people up such as when Lewis tells Andrea to put on makeup while she *GASP* is already wearing makeup which prompts her to respond in a very real way by assaulting him or the video in which she steals his phone and types the letter P in the search bar which leads to him reacting in a very realistic way by assaulting her. This latter video does have a great punchline though. In the TikTok, Lewis acts sheepishly while Andrea notes that ‘all boys are the same’ leading the audience to believe he watches porn. Alas, in true Buster Keaton fashion they subvert all expectations as he has been searching Peppa Pig. After all, their content is both sexual and for children. My favourite of their videos though is I asked my bf to put my tampon in to see how he’d react which is their only video filmed smartly because Andrea is sitting on the toilet with her bottom half covered by the sink so the untrained eye may think this video is real but unfortunately it is not, just like those I put paint in the shower pranks in which people paint their arms and legs but under their towel, they are paint-free. The second biggest TikToker in the GO House is Leila Ecker who mostly makes dance videos but their her interesting video is one in which her toxic boyfriend informs her that if she sets off the mouse traps he has set on the coffee table he’ll break up with her, leading her to dive onto the mouse traps. Shauna the Sheep has the third-largest TikTok following in the GO House, but she deserves far more as she uses her TikTok page not to entertain but to *clap emoji* start discussions *clap emoji*. These conversations range from imploring people to stop equating being fat with being ugly, to the oppression she faces for having very few nose and ear piercings, and even starting the yearly debate around the lyrics of The Fairytale of New in September.

TikTok is their primary content source with their Instagram page mainly being used to post pictures and link to each other’s Instagram pages. Their YouTube page is their final and worst-performing prong.

The GO House currently has 5 YouTube videos, one of which is a Q&A, one is addressing the controversy around the house and the other 3 being vlogs. Their Q&A is their first and most popular video so far with just under 3,500 views and features Thomas and Jake in a bathroom answering possibly made-up questions about the house, including a comment which just says, ‘fair play’. This video has very little editing between the questions which results in some awkward silences, but it shows off the great rapport between the founding fathers of the GO House which is evident in the following exchange:

Jake: I’ve never been more tired

Thomas: I actually had a good sleep last night

Jake: I did too I’m just *flails arm at camera*

However, the video got off to a rough start as they almost forgot that Ryan Mar was a member of the house which may be why he left. This is just an introduction video and isn’t representative of what the channel will be going forward, so let’s look at their vlogs.

These videos have the worst goddamn intro music of all time, it sounds like a kid throwing a tantrum which is apt because their content is for children. You might be sick of daily vlogs by now, the formula has become stale, there’s a clickbait title and thumbnail, and then 20 minutes of nothing with 4 midrolls. Alas, The GO House has broken the mould for daily vlogs, firstly by not uploading daily and secondly by making them 4 minutes of nothing instead of 20.

Their first “daily” vlog titled Our First Water Fight starts with the house’s four skinny blonde white women introducing themselves on camera which is smart and helpful because it’s a new project and these people look alike and make similar content so you want viewers to be able to distinguish between them. Unfortunately, 2 of the women are off-screen when they introduce themselves because as we will see in future videos, despite what these people think, being able to spend €4,000 on drones does not make you a good videographer. The video then cuts to the women struggling to understand the rules of Twister before being sprayed by a water gun, truly thrilling stuff.

4 days later The GO House uploads their second daily vlog titled Drama in the Bedroom which starts with the dearly departed Ryan Mar arguing with some of the women in the house before one states that she couldn’t care less about the conversation and leaves, and it’s always a good sign when even the people in your videos don’t care about what’s happening in them. The video then transitions to the team being interviewed over Zoom which was incredibly hard to watch, the cameraman places the camera on the table beside the laptop before deciding that the shot isn’t interesting enough to fill 2 minutes of video so he picks it back up and attempts to get another angle, but I have seen car crash videos less shaky than this. The sound quality in these vlogs is awful too, constantly changing between being unable to hear it one second and deafeningly loud the next. I didn’t expect the content of these videos to be anything special because while they claim to be filmmakers all they want, they’re marketers, they can film a burger being flipped in slow motion and get some drone shots but the actual quality is so much worse than I was expecting. This vlog doesn’t get much better as they receive a shipment of toys such as Nerf guns and mini cars which can only be interesting to kids. But they don’t unbox them as a kid’s channel would and the title is sexualised clickbait, so I don’t know who their target audience is at all.

Their latest vlog at the time of writing is titled Whisper Challenge & Going on TV! This video truly lays bare the emptiness of their content. They noted earlier that Ireland is behind the time when it comes to online entertainment, but instead of making unique content they simply try to replicate Paul Brothers or Casey Neistat videos in a far less interesting setting. Living in Los Angeles and New York, these other YouTubers get to explore a world most of us won’t. Lucas and Marcus of the Dobre brothers YouTube collective recently uploaded a video titled Our New House?! which is essentially an advertisement for a Los Angeles realtor in which they tour a mansion which is disgustingly huge and garish. The mansion is beyond what any human needs to live but there is attractiveness to that type of video. Capitalism is evil but being rich is an incredibly attractive idea which is why we live in it. The same goes for Jonathan Cheban’s videos in which he eats at restaurants most people will never get to visit, which serves overpriced food that no one needs, like golden chicken wings, but it’s a glimpse into a world we don’t usually see. These videos don’t appeal to me, but there’s a vast swath of people who believe in the American dream and want to own one of those homes and multiple supercars and eat until their stomachs explode. This doesn’t work in Dublin, as noted by Ryan Mar in the video about his female housemates ‘they’re walking like they’re in New York. It’s fucking Henry Street’. The video then proceeds to show them eating in Nando’s and shopping in Penney’s, which are things almost anyone can do. This content isn’t interesting at all. I’m sure people are interested in seeing inside their mansion, but why would I want to watch someone shop in Penney’s when I can go to one myself?

A huge selling point of this collective that they put forth is that they have over 8 million followers combined across platforms and aside from the fact that they are definitely counting some people multiple times, over 5 million of these followers come from Andrea and Lewis’ TikTok page. In an interview, Lewis himself notes that following someone on TikTok is easy and non-committal while subscribing to someone on YouTube requires the content creator to form a connection with their viewers. This is harming The GO House as they currently have less than 550 subscribers on YouTube.

The second most popular video on the YouTube channel so far is titled Addressing the Age Range in the GO House which takes us to all the controversies surrounding the GO House so far.

THE CONTROVERSY

One of the earliest controversies surrounding the GO House was the inclusion of DJ Marty Guilfoyle, who is about ten years older than the youngest members of the house. In the Addressing the Age Range video, Thomas and Jake begin the video by doing a stereotypical Dublin “boyo” voice and throw in some gun ad-libs for good measure before being moved to the verge of tears that people called Marty a ‘paedophile’. They make some good points in the video by stating that everyone in the house is an adult and they can all make their own decisions, but they also claim that they are part of a “movement” which weakens most of their other points. Age-gap Twitter can be idiots at times, why would Leo DiCaprio date anyone other than supermodels and why would a supermodel date anyone other than the most attractive movie star in the world. While Marty may be the furthest thing from Leo, he can skateboard and spin a basketball on his finger at the same time but even these talents don’t explain why he was included in the house, what does he have in common with people who just finished their leaving cert exams. They claim that the house isn’t about love and that it isn’t Love Island, but in other interviewers when asked about relationships blossoming in the house they state ‘that’s for us to know and you (the viewer) to find out’. I would bet that if the GO House stays around long enough there will, of course, be a relationship storyline including the eventual “Living with my Ex Storytime”. In this video Thomas and Jake jump between being defensive and being angry because it’s clear from all their content that they have no sense of self. Marty has claimed that he ‘can take a slagging as well as the next guy’ but he clearly can’t. If you want to be a celebrity and live in a mansion with nineteen-year-olds, being called a creep is a price you have to pay (at least for a day until everyone moves on). Thomas and Jake go on to say that it’s only ‘older people’ complaining and that they don’t want them watching their videos anyway, and if by older they mean people in their early 20s it is abundantly clear that their content isn’t for them. In a video on Thomas’ channel titled Addressing the G.O. House Drama… he continues their streak of unoriginal videos by reading mean tweets directed at the house members. He notes that there are hundreds of tweets directed at them with a gleam of sadness in his eyes as that 8 million figure seems further and further away each day. But just when you think that this is a classic mean tweets video, Thomas inverts it by actually only reading the few tweets complimenting them.

What little actual content they have has also generated some controversy, primarily a Lauren Whelan clip in which she jokes that they can use their balcony to spit on poor people and a Ryan Mar TikTok poking fun at the claims that they are racist for having no black people in the house by telling a black man to get out. These were by far the more interesting controversies as it seemed they had found their online personas. They understand the climate of the world, going back to Thomas Arnold’s moving out videos from 2019 when he notes in the description that Ireland is in a housing crisis. The internet is filled with clueless people who will share right-wing propaganda about Eastern and Latin states without doing any research and Irish Twitter is no different, for example, I saw a so-called “communist” with ACAB in their username tweeting about providing information to the Gardaí over an incident they witnessed. These were the only clips from GO House content that went in anyway viral, so it seemed for a moment that they understood the carny business and that a group of rich kids living in a mansion are natural heels so they would swerve into the controversy to generate rage clicks from marks and once the anger over one incident subsided they would generate a new one. This tactic isn’t new at all as prank channels would usual racial stereotypes to get views and while their comments would be flooded with hate, they would only change their content once everyone got wise or bored and ignored them. This tactic appears to be having a resurgence with UFC Fighter Colby Covington spouting racist remarks and donning MAGA hats in press conferences so people will buy his PPVs in the hopes of seeing him get knocked out, while the money they paid for it is going into his pockets and the pockets of Dana White. Ben Shapiro is a terrible person who has had an incredibly negative impact on the world, but now he knows that rage clicks are his only path to the trending page so he commented on WAP understanding that it would go viral and according to Google Trends, August 2020, was his most popular month ever on Google Search. Unlike Ben Shapiro, who has had an insidious influence over people in the past, these grifters don’t, most of their YouTube comments either mock them or are complaining about them and the comments are the same on the only platform where they get engagement because their videos are about 30 seconds long. Ireland has had racist housing and health policies since forever and there should be mass strikes and protests to combat this, Irish streets and social media are flooded with racists too who should be dealt with, and while the Gardaí are protecting capital by arresting protesting workers, people are getting played by wannabe influencers. The GO House people have also claimed, in response to COVID concerns, that 10 people living in a house together is no different from your typical family home and that they were lucky to get the house as there are very few available in Ireland, knowing full well that Ireland’s insidious housing policy is what causes people to live together in such large numbers.

As with their content, their personas are confused too. They are natural heels who want to sell t-shirts. They recently ran a college fees giveaway on Instagram and for a second, I thought (and a little bit of me hoped) that they would award it to one of themselves. They know that twenty-year-olds moving into a mansion during a pandemic aren’t going to be liked while people die on the streets of Dublin, but they state that they are doing it altruistically to entertain the Irish public. They claim that they are just people moving into a house, but they turn their everyday lives into content. The Addressing the Age Gap video is the most glaring example of their confusion. They want to shed crocodile tears by claiming trolls are threatening how they keep a roof over their heads knowing well how the public would react to that comment being made by two private school educated boys.

In the end, whether they choose to appeal to the public by pretending to be charitable or accept their heel nature by trying to get rage clicks it doesn’t matter. They are entertainers who aren’t entertaining, creators who aren’t original, influencers without influence. At the end of their Addressing the Age Gap video, they say, “don’t feed the trolls” and in a way they are right. Trolls, carnies, grifters, whatever you want to call them, they see you as marks, don’t feed them and the only place they are going is home.

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