In the wake of the Logan Paul scandal, YouTube phenomenon Anna Akana, who plays high school queen bee Farrah Cutney in the channel’s new drama Truth & Consequences, has commented on the ill-advised motivations of some vloggers.
Given the recent furor surrounding YouTube star Paul after his post making fun of a suicide victim, Akana’s advice on how vloggers can avoid missteps is especially pertinent.
“I think it’s especially hard for younger kids nowadays, because they aspire for the fame of it all,” she said at TCA on Saturday. “Unfortunately that’s the wrong thing to aspire to. The art of the craft is lost on a lot of the teens because all they see is the perfectly polished life that everybody is supposed to be living. The separation of it, and how not genuine it actually is, is kind of lost on them.”
Youth & Consequences, created by Jason Ubaldi, is a completely different, nuanced and complex take on the traditional Mean Girls high school trope, according to Akana.
“I think the thing that drew me to the script the most was that her motivations to the audience are never really clear,” Akana said at TCA on Saturday. “Jason did a beautiful job of using the Mean Girls construct for you to kind of wonder, ‘Is she self-serving or is she actually serving an agenda that’s for other people?’ I think that’s the beauty of the complexity in a high school story — is that people’s motivations aren’t necessarily purely selfish or purely for someone else.”
The show follows Farrah through moral and ethical dilemmas, and the loss of her power, and with more than 211 million video views on her own YouTube channel, Akana was undeniably going to bring a following with her to the project.
As for how the creative team got into the youth mindset, EP Nick Pepper said they focused on the quality of storytelling and character first and foremost. “It’s the quality of the storytelling which we feel is remarkable, EP Nick Pepper said, while Ubaldi confessed to calling his niece and nephew with questions at times.
“We did a lot of research,” showrunner and EP Blair Singer added. “I was a high school teacher, and I have a daughter who’s moving into high school. We did a lot of reading and we really tried to represent the issues of the day with respect and honesty and humility, and at the end of the day we did our best.”