While it’s not the first in-depth story about the capsaicin-fueled mayhem of YouTube talk show Hot Ones (see: this 2019 Verge story), Jaya Saxena’s piece goes beyond profile to something more like exegesis. We know that Scoville units introduce a candid new wrinkle to the tired celebrity interview; now, the question becomes what to do with that leverage.

Because celebrities are people and many people do bad things, a celebrity-focused talk show must learn how to navigate such controversies as they surface. And talk shows have served as spaces where celebrities go to specifically address their scandals or, more rarely, be confronted by them. But Hot Ones can avoid such questions because, as an internet-based show still considered less culturally relevant than something on network television, it doesn’t have to play by those rules, and so the vibes can always stay weird and positive.