Barshens was a collaborative YouTube channel between Barry Lewis and Stuart Ashen. Version 1.0 of the channel included producer Paul Gannon and Eli Silverman of the CheapShow podcast, Stuart's nephew Ryan (A.K.A. "Cousin Dan"), their omnipresent but usually silent tech crew, and the occasional guest as they engaged in quizzes, competitions, eating unpleasant foods, laughing at strange news articles, and finding any excuse to say and write "shart".
In January 2019, the show was retooled as an interview-centred video podcast ("Barshens 2.0"), with guests including fellow English Youtubers, previous cast and crew members, and various computer-tech personalities. Only a few months later, in September 2019, the Barshens Twitter account announced the channel would be ending, due to the difficulty in getting the cast to London (as well as difficulty in getting access to the London YouTube recording space).
The podcast form is available on iTunes and SoundCloud. Same shart applies.
This channel provides examples of:
- Affectionate Parody: The standard intro is one for cheesy 80s sitcom intros, complete with corny piano music and the guys turning to smile at the camera while Stuart slaps at a laptop and Barry yells at someone over the phone.
- Ascended Extra: The show was originally focused on just Barry and Stuart, with Eli appearing as the model for "Poor Man's Cosplay", Paul producing the show and co-hosting the podcasts, and Ryan filling in a seat when needed. They went on to be as much of the show as the main duo.
- Berserk Button: The King of Plasticine really hates raisins.King of Plasticine: I'd like to take this, put it in your silly face, and I RIP YOU! I TEAR YOU! I TEAR YOU! I HATE RAISINS! MUMMY DON'T GIVE ME RAISINS! PULL THE RAISINS OUT!
- "Blind Idiot" Translation: The Google Translate Quiz, where Ryan ran famous film quotes through Google Translate into Japanese and then back into English. Barry and Stuart try to guess the original quote and the film. The strangest results include "Yeah, my grandmother!" ("Yippee-ki-yay, motherfucker!" from Die Hard) and "Why are you leaving, half a bunch of frightening hawks, relying on half!" ("Why, you stuck-up, half-witted, scruffy-looking nerf herder!" from The Empire Strikes Back).
- Clickbait Gag: In the recurring segment called Sharticles, Stuart and another presenter, usually Barry, look at 'slow news' publications. When the articles aren't reporting on completely trivial matters (IE - a church stacking their chairs in a different manner), they branch into this. Specifically, one article suggested that Justin Bieber visited the small town the article was from, but the text of the article made it clear that Bieber's private jet had only flown over the town.
- Credits Gag: The credits often hide additional jokes, such as sarcastic or bizarre "roles" employed by the crew (Linton Davies - Courage), and the omnipresent Shout-Out to The Day Today where Bono is credited for providing the carpets.
- Crossover: The channel is this for Barry and Stuart, born out of their occasional food-related crossovers on their respective channels. Barshens also crosses over with the Cheapshow podcast via its hosts Paul and Eli.
- Deadpan Snarker: Everyone's preferred mode of speaking is dry British sarcasm, with Stuart as the reigning king.
- Early-Installment Weirdness: The first few months' worth of videos were far more dry than the show would eventually become, and stayed closer to the spirit of Stuart and Barry's previous collaborations, with only the two hosts appearing on-camera and participating in activities relevant to their individual channels.
- A Good Name for a Rock Band: Stuart seems to really like referencing this trope as he often does during Barshens videos and on his own Ashens videos.
- Gosh Dang It to Heck!: Barry's by far the least foul-mouthed out of the crew. In the early episodes he never swore at all and when reading Sharticles he frequently substitutes swears in the articles for tamer alternatives. More recently however he's loosened up and will occasionally swear, mainly during some of the more heated competitions.
- Inherently Funny Words:
- "Shart," which the guys will find any excuse to use.
- Eli enjoys saying the words "amplitude" and "modular".
- "Slepp the Idol" crops up frequently looking for bones on his sacrificial altar.
- Later-Installment Weirdness: As the original format of the show progressed, the set background quality deteriorated further and further, changing from multiple fully-furnished and professionally decorated environments to a flat poster backdrop. By the final year's videos, the show was filmed in front of a plain black curtain in the London Youtube space.
- Mascot Mook: Zig-zagged by Bearshens, a sock puppet (operated and voiced by Eli) who appears in the show's logo. The character would, in the very early days of the series, occasionally interrupt the show, begging for attention and being ignored by the hosts. While originally meant to recur frequently, the cast found him unfunny and usually forgot to include him during filming, resulting in the character being dropped after the first few filming sessions.
- Nausea Fuel: Invoked by the numerous food-tasting videos. The food is usually designed to be revolting, causing nausea in the hosts.
- No Ending: As the last proper Barshens episode "Sharticles Special" was not made to be a Series Finale, it is a rather abrupt ending to the channel.
- Odd Name Out: The names Eli gave to the race donkeys in "Donkey Derby" are; Pantry Raider, Derek Smitters Wondermitten, Piss Streak McDavy, Shoog Knight's Nurse, and Melanie.
- One-Steve Limit: There have been multiple Dans involved, some in the same video: Daniel Hardcastle, Dan Tomlinson, and Ryan being nicknamed Cousin Dan.
- Parallel Porn Titles: The "Good Mythical Porning" video was about Paul and Ryan guessing if various porn parody titles given by Barry were real porn films or made up by Barry. The episode title itself is one for Good Mythical Morning.
- Poor Man's Substitute: "Poor Man's Cosplay", where Barry and Stuart try to replicate a costume using the cheapest construction materials they can get.
- Pop-Cultural Osmosis Failure: Barry, to the point where its a running joke and the subject of several games.Stuart: How many films have you seen Barry?Ryan in a Paper-Thin Disguise: ...Two?Stuart: Barry's only seen one film: Back to the Future! *takes off Ryan's disguise* Cousin Dan! How could you?
- Portmantitle: "Bars" for Barry, "hens" for Ashens, scooted over from "Bar" and "shens" for evenness' sake. Their original collaborations were called "Bashens", but there was already a channel with that name.
- Running Gag:
- Any time Barry's mum comes up in conversation, he reminds everyone that she was an extra in Blackball: MILF 1.
- Eli's love of noodles and things modular.
- Barry often loses points or whole games through Stuart's or Paul's mistakes. Editor Linton adds "#BARRYWASROBBED" in post as a form of protest.
- The cast often jokes about their videos getting demonetized.
- Shout-Out: Bono is credited in every episode with "Carpets", a reference to the same Credits Gag employed by the 1994 satire news show The Day Today.
- Small Reference Pools: Several jokes and games are based around Barry's lack of knowledge about films, television and games. A running joke is that the only film he's ever seen is Back to the Future. Barry openly accepts his ignorance; when he hosted the Geek Quiz, he skipped questions when he knew the answers.
- Special Edition Title: A variation on the show's opening would play whenever Barry and Eli were the primary hosts, temporarily rebranding the show as "Barli".
- Spiritual Successor: The rebooted format is this to the podcast that supplemented the filmed version of the show.
- The Unintelligible:
- One of the recurring challenges is of Eli wearing a speculum to hold his mouth open, and Barry and Stuart must try to figure out what he's saying.
- The Cracker Quiz has Stuart and Paul becoming this by eating crackers and trying to describe a piece of media without saying its name, and each time Ryan and Barry respectively get the name right, they add another cracker. By the fourth cracker they can barely get sounds out of their mouths.
- Trademark Favorite Food: Averted by Eli in the "Amazing Robot Game". Despite his love for noodles, his favourite meal is actually steak and chips, which Barry and Stuart mention they are also fond of.
- Visual Pun: Some of the team's shirt logos are these for their names: Barry has bars, Stuart has hens, Paul's is a cannon ("Gannon"), and Eli's is an E lying down.
- Vitriolic Best Buds: Paul and Eli are always sniping and snarking at each other.Stuart: [My Barshens-themed park ride] would be the "Paul and Eli's Relationship Roller Coaster." You get on and it just goes up and down, you feel sick constantly, and occasionally an automated Paul cups you on the back of the head.
- Worst News Judgement Ever: "Sharticles", a series where Barry and Stuart read out ridiculous and often pointless news articles, usually from Barry's native Bristol or Stuart's native Norwich.
- Wrong Genre Savvy: Paul decides to "play the odds" in the EuroPop or EuroPlop? quiz. As he proceeds to lose considerably, Stuart points out that it doesn't work to play probability statistics when there are definite outcomes.
Well, that was fun.