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Maybe stop with the uncomfortable Pedro Pascal thirst edits

Give the internet’s ‘daddy’ a little space

A close-up of Joel (Pedro Pascal) in The Last of Us season 1 finale Photo: Liane Hentscher/HBO
Nicole Clark (she/her) is a culture editor at Polygon, and a critic covering internet culture, video games, books, and TV, with work in the NY Times, Vice, and Catapult.

If you spent any time on the internet in the past two months, you likely encountered Pedro Pascal fancams or thirst edits — ranging from tweets calling The Last of Us star “daddy,” to TikToks using an audio clip from Shaggy’s “Hey Sexy Lady” to punctuate thirsty fan edits. Or maybe you saw the 47-year-old Chilean American actor appear in an ad for the oddball game Merge Mansion and wondered how he got there.

Whatever the case may be, here’s an accounting of why Pascal has been all over the internet lately — and how the fixation on his identity as “internet daddy” has gotten out of hand.

Why has Pedro Pascal become so suddenly popular?

Though Pedro Pascal has been an actor playing leading roles, for years now — with credits that span Game of Thrones, The Mandolarian, and Narcos — his role as Joel in HBO Max’s adaptation The Last of Us has ushered his meteoric rise, both in the public eye, and in the eyes of thirsty fans.

Thirst for Pascal had already cropped up by the beginning of 2023. In January, on the red carpet, an Entertainment Tonight reporter asked him “You know you’re the daddy of the internet, right?” before showing him a tweet that a fan had penned about him being a “cool, slutty father” to which he responded, “I am your cool, slutty daddy.”

But The Last of Us was a flashpoint in his prominence, and his status as “internet daddy.” In the show, Pascal plays a (hot) character who many also considered to be a legitimately good dad. A GQ article pointed out that Pascal’s positive rapport with co-star Bella Ramsey, who is 19 years old, was a great contrast to leading men like Leonardo DiCaprio, who have a reputation for dating women that young. Part of Pascal’s rise as a sex symbol, ironically, might be because he seems like a genuinely good guy — and a genuinely good “daddy.”

Sure, Pascal’s role as Din Djarin in the current season of The Mandolarian is also prominent — but in that show, he’s helmeted up. Disney is also known for its family-friendly, squeaky clean image, which is not exactly a match for the amount of thirst that fans have pushed Pascal’s way.

It was TikTok that would catapult thirst for Pascal into even greater heights.

Why has Pedro Pascal blown up on TikTok?

A fancam edit of Pedro Pascal went viral on January 20, earning its creator dvcree more than 3.6 million likes and more than 30 million streams, as of writing. The clip weaves together close-ups and scenes from Kingsman: The Golden Circle, in which Pascal plays agent Whiskey. In the clip Whiskey brashly approaches Ginger Ale, played by Halle Berry, and says: “How would you like to ride home on a real cowboy? I’ve got a six-pack of cold ones on ice, and my roomies are out all night, so you can scream my name as loud as you need to, sugar.” The video then transitions into a series of smash cuts of Pascal in a cowboy hat.


petitioning to be your fav pedro pascal editor #pedropascal #pedropascaledit #agentwhiskey #kingsman #dvcree

♬ save a horse ride a cowboy - ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀

The TikTok has since been referred to as the primary Pascal fancam edit — with one commenter saying outright, “I love how the entire fandom has just collectively agreed that this is the official Pedro Pascal edit.” The song “Hey Sexy Lady” by Shaggy, combined with those particular lines of dialogue from Kingsman: The Golden Circle, has become the audio file used for numerous other thirst edits of Pascal. More than 24,000 TikToks use that particular audio.

TikTokers also started to resurface an older video from Vanity Fair, in which Pedro Pascal takes a lie detector test. “Do you ever look at Instagram accounts devoted to you being a heartthrob,” the interviewer asks him. He admits that he does, with a large peal of laughter, before admitting the account Pedro Pascal Fan Account is his favorite. He ends the interview by saying, “Daddy is a state of mind, you know what I’m saying? I’m your daddy.”

But at some point, fans’ fervor started shifting from “sweet” to “creepy.” They glommed onto Pedro Pascal’s stint as Saturday Night Live host in February, which even included a sketch making fun of his reputation as internet daddy and hinted at his exhaustion with the entire gambit.

Other media outlets also kept playing into the narrative. Just two weeks ago, Pascal once again had to respond to being called “daddy” on The Graham Norton Show.


I am so lucky #trans #lgbt

♬ Make Your Own Kind Of Music - Mama Cass

And in early March, a meme from 2022 film The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent, in which Nicolas Cage looks back at a smiling Pedro Pascal, spread across TikTok — reigniting fan obsession with the actor.

When Pedro Pascal thirst gets out of hand

Parasocial relationships between fans and celebrities are nothing new, and it can be hard to suss out the line between fun and admiration, and fetishization. (Fanfiction sites like AO3, in particular, often reckon with this question, as writers will sometimes create stories not about fictional characters that actors portray but about the actors themselves.) The thirst towards Pascal became even more uncomfortable as media outlets continued to participate in the parasocial dynamic, thereby legitimizing the way the star was being sexualized.

In a red carpet interview for the current season of The Mandalorian, earlier this month, Access Hollywood asked Pascal to read thirst tweets about himself — not unlike the popular BuzzFeed YouTube series wherein celebrities read thirst tweets to the camera. Pascal paused to contemplate the question, then politely declined, saying “no.”

It’s worth noting that asking someone to do this on the red carpet is totally different from doing this sort of reading in a more scripted setting, as a number of Redditors pointed out. There’s a difference between signing on to read sexualized content about yourself, and having someone ask you, out of the blue, to engage with it during a formal event. Sure, fancams and edits are fun, but they do become fetishistic at a point where they take over someone’s public persona — and invade their space in public events.

Luckily, in a recent Hot Ones interview, Pascal had space to answer other questions about his career and his perspective on the characters he’s played over the years. There’s more to Pascal, or any skilled actor, than just thirsting after him — and hopefully he’ll have more chances to actually dig into his craft.