Casually delving into a maze of mirrors is a dangerous pastime. In attempting to cover Markiplier, the LP community’s baritone idiot-sage, I first staggered into his Join me on an Adventure! | Dream.exe Markiplier Fan Game Part 1. A video in which he LPs a game designed for him, specifically. Dream.exe (created by DecreeB of Recalibrate Games) features Markiplier, himself, as the main character, living in a Final-Fantasy-esque parody of his own reclusive existence as a YouTuber celebrity.
This LP is chocked full of references for the Markiplier faithful from his inanimate sidekick Tiny Box Tim, to the horror game antagonist, Crazed Butt-Stabber. For those following for years, I’m sure this video represents a treasure trove of revived memories packaged up in a flash-game love-letter to Mark. For newcomeers or casual followers, however, it was reminiscent of watching the last episode of Lost as an introduction to the series — an exercise in futility.
One thing that struck me, other than its baffling self-referentiality, was the vocal gymnastics that Markiplier puts himself through in a desperate bid to keep his audience entertained. Markiplier’s baseline persona is that of morning shock-jock parody — or a poor man’s Harry Shearer (as Handsome Dan):
He arbitrarily vacillates between shock jock baseline stereotype, a poche-British stereotype, an elderly stereotype, and a hysterical high-pitched stereotype. All equally without feeling, without anima, without a shred of humanity. Perhaps Markiplier has just taken a Groundlings 101 class, the bastion of the loud and hopelessly unfunny. Perhaps Markiplier’s brain is an emergency radio switched permanently into scan mode, desperately modulating in that hopes that someone, anyone, will hear his cries for help on one of a thousand signals. Who can say?
Harsh words, Dr., you might be saying. After all, Markiplier is a comedian, and comedians are well known for being facade-laden voids, upon which loud and charismatic personas are attached in an attempt to distract surrounding humans from the tangled mess that lurks inside. Too true, dear reader, too true. After all, I suppose the LP generation needs its own Dave Coulier, a harmless funny-voiced uncle with no wisdom to lend and no story to ultimately tell that isn’t an echo-chamber of recycled nonsense.
Out of a sense of morbid curiosity, I delved deeper into the Markiplier archive — attempting to find evidence of the human behind the VO. It turns out that Markiplier had emergency surgery a couple short months ago, and YouTubed from the gurney:
Perhaps the emptiness and existential ennui that Mark projects in his newer videos is a reaction to a very real health scare. Perhaps, as any artist must, he is struggling with his own material, his own point of view, trying to find purpose. Perhaps, Markiplier’s intestinal blockage was a metaphor for not being able to process emotions properly, for burying any real feelings and projecting a saccharine radio personality devoid of anything real. Perhaps these were a string of random occurrences, much like the maddening plotlines of Lost.
Who is to say? I’m a Doctor, not a psychic. I know not what lies in the twisted souls of sultry-voiced digital narcissists. I know only what I see. And what I see from Markiplier is devoid, empty, and humorless. Meaningless yawping; A cacophony of nonsense; a faceless man — The Jaqen H’ghar of the Youtube mirror maze.