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Growing The Beard / Web Original

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  • Achievement Hunter's Let's Play Minecraft didn't hit its stride until episode 10, when they created the Wipeout course and introduced the Tower of Pimps, once just a one-off gag done by a drunk Gavin. Until that point, it was pretty much the guys at Rooster Teeth just messing around like a bunch of idiots in various parts of Minecraft doing random things. Another point would be its first multi-parter with episodes 15-17 in which Michael, Jack, Gavin and Ray attempt to steal away the Tower of Pimps from Geoff, who has made a tower in the sky filled with lava and hidden it up there.
    • Another Achievement Hunter series, Let's Play Grand Theft Auto, had this happen twice. When it began as Let's Play Grand Theft Auto IV, it was just them messing around in GTA IV, much like how it was with Minecraft. They then decided to play the "Cops 'n Crooks" game type with the now-traditional Team Lads versus Team Gents matchup, and that became the most played game type for the group. There was also a minor one when they played "Witness Protection". Of course though, they had to move on when Grand Theft Auto V was released and the Online counterpart opened. The series went on a bit of a lull again as Let's Play Grand Theft Auto V, but noticing that Rockstar had yet to offer heists in Online, they decided to start their own heists by making complicated plans to steal from convenience stores. Needless to say, the "Heists" were a huge success.
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  • Atop the Fourth Wall was pretty much just like any other review show for its first several months, though a very good one. And then Mechakara appeared, helping the show stand out from the pack with its genuinely suspenseful and compelling storylines, as well as some of the best production values seen in such a series. And all without losing focus on the reviews themselves. Though there is a growing number of people who wish that Linkara would dial down the number of Myth Arcs he's been putting in his reviews. His review of Superman: At Earth's End can be considered a Beard moment as well, ditching the early "Now we've got it" intro and having memorable skits that would become recurring gags, such as "I AM A MAN", "Because Poor Literacy Is Kewl" and "Of course! Don't you know anything about science?". To say nothing of the ending, which would give the show its tagline of "Where bad comics burn".
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  • The Autobiography of Jane Eyre: The (un)appearance of Mr Rochester significantly boosted viewers' interest. Episode 8 started as if Jane might meet him on her walk, but it ended up showing Jane speaking about her late friend Helen, which was welcomed by fans as well. Mr Rochester showed up in episode 10 and each subsequent episode was The Unreveal when his voice was heard and his arms and torso shown, but his face was revealed later in episode 13. It was an adaptation of "fire scene" from the book, re-imagined as glass crash and serious accident. The atmosphere of the video was very spooky and gloomy, and fans loved it — both Mr Rochester's reveal and the mood of the whole video.
  • The Cartoon Hero grew the beard when he upgraded to a better camera, making his show look much more professional then the fuzzy audio and video of his early work. His writing also became more focused, and he began including a Story Arc.
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  • Chuggaaconroy is a good example of how very surprising is to visit the early installments of popular Lets Plays and see how different the overall quality of them compared to their later ones.
  • These days it's hard to picture The Cinema Snob minus the beard. In the beginning he looked old, dorky and neurotic. Also, the video camera stock was as crappy as the films.
  • The first campaign of Critical Role really hits its stride with its first character-focused arc, often referred to as the Briarwood Arc, at episode 24, "The Feast." Some would point a few episodes back to the "Trial of the Take" quartet, where the party is temporarily split up and gains a few fan-favorite guest players.
  • The second episode of Demo Reel cut down on the the length of the movie parodies and instead focused on the characters growing to care about each other. It also treated the movie (Wreck-It Ralph) with affection other than looking at it from a film critic's point of view, and got a rocky theme tune.
  • MarzGurl had reviews of some rather unremarkable animes early on during her time on TGWTG ; one of her few claims to fame was having blue hair. In early 2011, she started reviewing the The Land Before Time series, including the short-lived TV show and some video games. As it went on, some of her fellow reviewers begged her to stop for her own sanity. Afterwards, she has started reviewing more mainstream animated films, such as documenting Don Bluth's career.
  • Matthew Santoro:
    • "10 Conspiracy Theories that turned out to be TRUE!", where Matthew started making every video of his educational.
    • "The WORST ALLERGIES!", where Matt stopped making skits with Rapid-Fire Comedy and started to make the humour less fast-paced.
  • The Music Video Show was a mixed bag with its first two seasons. The first season started off with problems, though it had a handful of good episodes, with the Kim Kardashian episode and the Video Games episode being standouts. Season two, by the creator's own admittance, was not good. Season three got into this trope, beginning with its Katy Perry episode and got better ever since.
    • Arguably, it found its own identity when it stopped being a Video On Trail clone, phasing out the white transitions after the first few episodes.
  • The New Adventures of Captain S grew the beard with episode 6, Nigel Strikes Back, when it became Darker and Edgier, focussed more on the characters' motivations and generally gave more reasons to the audience to care more about the events of the series.
  • Opinions differ on where exactly The Nostalgia Chick got consistently good (whether it was Nella coming in more often or it was where she started looking at tropes as well as doing reviews), but the first step was probably the Black Comedy-filled "Top 10 Disturbing Songs" list where she proved dark humour is what she's incredibly good at.
  • While not bad in the least, The Nostalgia Critic was a little less focused in subject matter at the start of his show. He found his footing and niche sometime after starting up Channel Awesome and uploading to A good bet would be his review of The Wizard or Batman & Robin. His yelling felt less like pathetic whining and more hammy and over-the-top, more visual gags were in place and the increased time limit of Blip meant he could focus on more aspects of the film. Both reviews had gags that still resonate two years later. Doug Walker feels somewhat embarrassed when commentating on his review for Cartoon All-Stars to the Rescue in 2010, spending most of the review explaining what he hadn't got right with the Nostalgia Critic character.
  • Pop Quiz Hotshot the pilot got a really bad reception, with even people who made it admitting to not caring. The second episode was deemed a lot better, with The Nostalgia Critic using his Friendless Background to kidnap people, General Anesthetic actually having lines, the guests getting points if they make Critic laugh, and the fact that Doug added more Homoerotic Subtext didn't hurt in the slightest.
  • Around 2015-2016, Mathew Buck's Projector reviews increased in length, which gave more opportunity to give more in-depth analysis on the films he covered. Compare the original Projector reviews from 2011, which typically ran no longer than five minutes, to his current ones, which tend to range from 15-20 minutes and have more insightful commentary than before.
  • raocow grew the beard when he moved from a deadpan, straightforward style to a wackier-voiced, Talkative Loon who just rambles stream-of-consciousness and doesn't stop unless the level's really tough. And that's just a totally dandelion dandylicious thing, isn't it, guy? Yes, it's the thingiest of things.
  • The first volume note  of RWBY was pretty okay. The characters hadn't really expanded beyond clichés yet, and there was a lot of exposition to get through. When Volume 2 came around, the groundwork had been laid for more interesting character interactions, Weiss had been Rescued from the Scrappy Heap, and Remnant had been expanded into a world viewers could truly get invested in.
  • RedLetterMedia's Mr.Plinkett Reviews were excellent deconstructions of the Star Trek film franchise, but there was little else to them other than the movie reviews. It wasn't until the Star Wars prequel reviews that Plinkett became a fully fleshed out character: kidnapping, rape, murder, and all. The reviews themselves were also a significant jump up in quality, to the point of being a must-see for any sci-fi fan.
  • The Spoony Experiment's beard-growing moment is (according to both by fans and Noah Antwiller himself) the review of the The Thing (2002) computer game, which marked the point where reviews were scripted instead of improvised and where Noah developed the sarcastic and snarky personality that would become a hallmark of the Spoony character.
  • Steam Train was very controversial upon launch because it started the very same day Jon left its parent show, leading some to cry foul of his replacement being in two separate shows on the same channel. Their first episode had a wide range of complaints against it, such as the recording equipment slowing the game to half-speed, their ineptitude at the tutorial level, and the fact that most all the jokes were just them doing an annoying silly voice for a man for the entirety of the video. Their second episode cooled down the flames a bit, and things have been looking up ever since.
  • Some viewers say Stuart Ashen's videos started getting better when he went from "Doctor Ashen" to "Ashens"
  • Tree Fog started out with simple song covers, but it really took off when it developed a plot with the band splitting up. This coincided with the shaving of Alex's beard, strangely enough.
  • Tribe Twelve started out as Marble Hornets lite, but has been steadily improving, culminating in the series developing a massive, convoluted time travel plot, introducing a particularly unusual case of Future Me Scares Me and obtaining absolutely spectacular special effects... and it's still somewhat easy to follow.
  • Twitch Plays Pokémon Crystal started out suffering from being the sequel to the famously insane original. The Mob spent a lot of time tearing itself apart over Lazergator, with many wanting to release him to make the game harder, but others wanting to keep him. When they accidentally released Togepi instead, the resultant shock and regret caused a new Rage Against the Heavens plot to form in contrast to the old one's aburdist theological journey.
  • While Lowtax's first three "Let's Play Cry of Fear" videos were surprisingly well received, it wasn't until Dave "Shmorky" Kelly took up the second microphone that Gaming Garbage became a possibility.
  • Monster Island Buddies started off as a funny skit-based show, but it starts getting better halfway through Season 1, where the show starts developing continuity and an actual Story Arc. In Season 2, the show starts firing on all gears; the comedy gets even better, gains actual dramatic stakes, starts giving the main cast Character Development, and develops the creative and intricate plots the series would be praised for.


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