If you’re a preteen and are unfamiliar with YouTube sensation Fred Figglehorn, chances are you’ve been living under a rock for the past six months. Figglehorn, played by 15 year old Nebraskan Lucas Cruikshank, posts under the YouTube channel www.youtube.com/Fred. Each episode posted on the site runs approximately three minutes, and follows the exploits of 6-year-old Fred Figglehorn. Figglehorn employs an “Alvin and the Chipmunks”-style high-pitched, high speed voice as he spastically runs down his thoughts and commentary on a seemingly random number of topics.
Common themes across Figglehorn’s episodes include his deep-voiced, recently-rehabbed mother; two neighborhood dogs which Fred insists to be squirrels; Fred’s insistence on wearing a t-shirt while swimming due to his poor body image; and Fred’s love for a fellow classmate named Judy. Other characters do not appear on camera with Fred, but are often heard off-camera responding to his various rants.
Fred’s appeal to the preteen set is probably baffling to their parents, although there is something rather hypnotic in his staccato-style, rapid-paced episodes. He’s relatively easy to mimic, as well, which can only increase his appeal to younger kids who then entertain their friends through Fred imitations. And Cruishank does have a certain compelling kind of charisma, and comes across very well on camera.
Until recently, Figglehorn’s exposure was confined to the already-booming world of YouTube (he boasts over 800,000 subscribers and 29 million page views). That changed with his appearance on the popular Nickelodeon kids’ show “iCarly”. iCarly is a show which revolves around a young Washingtonian named Carly and her best friend Sam, and the web show they perform on — called, natch, iCarly.
In the episode, Carly’s “technical advisor”, Freddie, professes on-air to not find Fred Figglehorn very funny. This unleashes a major backlash from Fred’s vast multitude of fans (i.e., 800,000 YouTube subscribers) which very negatively affects iCarly. Carly, Sam, Freddie and Carly’s older brother/guardian Spencer then head over to Idaho to meet with Figglehorn and make amends. The episode culminates in a combined iCarly/Fred Figglehorn-style episode centered around Fred’s cabbage phobia, which is sure to tickle both iCarly and Fred Figglehorn fans pink.
Whatever the future may hold for Fred Figglehorn — or Lucas Cruikshank, for that matter — is perhaps as ephemeral as Andy Warhol’s famed fifteen minutes (or a YouTube second), but it’s safe to say that he’s made an enduring splash in the big pond known as the Internet.