Naomi Knight
13 min readJan 16, 2020


YouTube Wars: understanding the noodle drama of Nikocado Avocado, Stephanie Soo, Zach Choi and Trisha Paytas through the lens of the drama triangle and empowerment dynamic

Recently I watched a grown man flip from proclaiming “I am not sorry” to “I am sorry” whilst weeping over a pile of chips. Having never watched a psychotic break in slow motion, I have been fixated by the drama of his unravelling — a process he himself is choosing to broadcast to millions of viewers.

Disappearing down a YouTube shaped black hole, I have stumbled across two communities of aliens masquerading as humans … mukbangers and ASMR practitioners.

Adopting avatars as their branded selves, these practitioners eat for a living. Filming themselves eating as a sensory experience (ASMR practitioners) or for social eating (mukbangers) these individuals compete for their YouTube audiences by eating insane quantities of food (typically fast spicy food or cost prohibitive food such as lobster) and entertaining viewers by telling stories, debunking conspiracy theories or reviewing unsolved crime.

Adopting the saying, “there is no such thing as bad publicity” these food eating artists aggressively seek audiences through clickbait titles, manufactured drama and crazy eating challenges or collaborations.

Working with the YouTube algorithm, individuals need viewers to subscribe to their channel and then click on and stay in their videos for a certain period of time to attract advertising revenue. The more views they attract, the greater the financial reward.

Drama is a centralising force and the lifeblood of most interactions and situations. From the Iran-US conflict, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex stepping back or the personal family dynamics recently on display throughout the festive season, drama sits at the core of our existence.

Frank Busch for Unsplash

Perhaps the best explanation of how drama governs our lives and responses is the unfolding conflict that has held the attention of millions of YouTube viewers for nearly a month.

The following is a brief summation of the situation.




Naomi Knight

Constantly striving for mastery in the art of kintsugi, Naomi is an expert alchemist skilled in transforming life lessons and professional challenges into gold.