Youth Impact Report 2011: Web Wizards

Impact: The siblings’ “Kids React” Web series regularly attracts between 500,000 and 5 million viewers a week on YouTube, depending on the topic.
Next: The duo is planning a “Teens React” series to bow in late October or early November.

At first click, YouTube’s popular “Kids React” series may sound like an update of Art Linkletter’s classic “Kids Say the Darndest Things” segment for the viral-video generation. The popular web shorts, which routinely attract 1 million to 2 million views, feature a panel of photogenic children who watch YouTube clips and then share endearingly candid — and surprisingly insightful — reactions to what they’ve just seen. (Sample interpretation from their Lady Gaga episode: “Only God knows, and I don’t even think God knows.”)

“Believe it or not, we actually didn’t even have other shows in mind when we were creating this,” says Rafi Fine, a film school grad and practicing improv comedian. Rather, he and brother Benny were inspired by reaction videos, a YouTube trend in which Web pundits dissect the latest fads.

TheFineBros — as the duo is known to the YouTube channel’s million-plus subscribers — thought it might be amusing to hear from kids, the first generation to grow up entirely online, about everything new in pop culture and politics.

The brothers were raised in an Orthodox Jewish household, to which they attribute their desire to express their individuality and bring that out in others.

They say shows like “Darndest Things” use a star host to prompt the kids to make them look funny, or just talk about how silly children are. “When you look at our ‘Kids React’ show, you see very specifically that we’re not in it. It stars the kid,” they say

Some of those kids hope to be stars themselves, like 14-year-old UTA client Lia Marie Johnson. While not all the “Kids React” panelists are aspiring actors, a few have been called in to audition specifically on account of their work on the web series.

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