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Classes Taught

MA in Media and Performance Studies Thesis



Not Acting, Reacting: An Analysis of Reaction Videos,

Reactors, Viewers and Authenticity


Cameron Cox

Department of Theatre and Media Arts, BYU

Master of Arts


            The digital age has brought about a new type of YouTuber content creator, the Reactor. Reactors film their supposed first-time reaction to various online videos including trailers, film, television etc. Reactors represent a new performance mode at the intersection of audience member and performer attempting to recreate a lost sense of community in an increasingly digitally mediated world. The act of filming one’s reaction calls into question the authenticity of a reaction however, it is this very authenticity that drives Viewers to watch the content made by Reactors. Using reaction videos to the first year of Marvel Studios Disney+ shows as case studies (WandaVision, The Falcon and the Winter Soldier, Loki, & Hawkeye) this essay explores how reaction videos expose authenticity as a quality that is performed and received rather than inherent in a given performance. This performance is found and discussed in three ways, through involuntary physiological responses, being claimed through fandom and through viewing Reactor as Celebrity.

Reaction Video.jpeg
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