By GRACE LIU
Buzzfeed Unsolved is a Youtube series in which “a conspiracy theory enthusiast and his friend probe infamous unsolved crimes.” It is currently hosted on the Buzzfeed Unsolved Network, as well as on Amazon Prime Video and Hulu.
The series is split into alternating seasons: supernatural, true crime and the newest addition, sports. The series presents a variety of cases, from well-known ones like the assassination of John F. Kennedy to treasure hunts like the mystery of Forrest Fenn. In addition, the hosts, Ryan Bergara and Shane Madej, often visit haunted sites such as the Winchester House or the demonic Goatman’s Bridge.
However, Buzzfeed Unsolved is not just any ordinary mystery show. The friendship and dynamics between the hosts Ryan and Shane are a major part of what makes Unsolved unique. The contrast between Ryan, the believer, who researches and presents the cases, and Shane, the skeptic, who comments on them and often mocks Ryan’s theories, creates hilarious content that people enjoy. There is a host of iconic moments from this show that have also quickly become viral on the Internet, some of which include Shane’s commentary, “Hey there demons, it’s me, ya boy,” during the show’s investigation into Bobby Mackey’s supposed portal to hell.
Ryan and Shane’s friendship also serves as a good model of a healthy relationship. With the prevalence of toxic masculinity in media today, their actions break many societal stereotypes on how men should act. For example, in haunted locations, Ryan is not afraid to express his fear or even scream whenever there are strange noises. When Shane teases him about this reactions, he does not call Ryan unmanly for expressing emotions, but rather pokes fun at his almost comical belief in the supernatural. Ryan and Shane are also unapologetically supportive of each other despite their contrasting opinions. Even if they jokingly insult each other, it is obvious they care about each other and the show deeply, which is a refreshing view of friendship in modern media.
The diversity in both the cases and hosts is only one of the many differences that distinguish Buzzfeed Unsolved from other content made by Buzzfeed and traditional mystery shows. Traditional true crime TV shows are often serious and dramatic, while Buzzfeed Unsolved covers interesting cases with a healthy dose of humor. Ghost hunting shows usually place a heavy emphasis on collecting evidence of ghostly activity, and unfortunately, have often been caught faking evidence for interesting content. Unsolved does not place such emphasis on collecting evidence, but rather focuses on creating an authentic show, even if the hosts do not end up finding any paranormal proof at all.
Ultimately, Buzzfeed Unsolved is special because it is able to intertwine interesting cases with humor and commentary in a way that is truly interesting and enjoyable. Moreover, it has established a community of pseudo-sleuths and mystery enthusiasts alike. People may watch it for the light-hearted, sometimes crazy banter and the unsolved mysteries, but they should definitely stay for the memorable friendships and journey.
Currently, Buzzfeed Unsolved has finished its fourth season of True Crime, and is gearing up to start its fifth Supernatural season.