The first step to understanding what happened to Lucas Cruikshank is to acknowledge just how obnoxious anyone over the age of 18 found Fred Figglehorn to be. On top of having a voice that The Sydney Morning Herald described as falling “somewhere between the sound of fingernails scratching a chalkboard and Pee-wee Herman on steroids,” the character’s situational comedy also revolved around obnoxious and sometimes gross pursuits, which only heightened his unappealing qualities.
In their review of “Fred: The Movie,” Variety suggested that “prolonged exposure to such a deliberately irritating character could just as easily prove too much to handle,” which made the character’s “unfathomable appeal” something that may not have cultural endurance. At the time, Cruikshank argued that he understood how people “can’t get past Fred’s voice” for its “annoying” qualities during an interview with Forbes, but suggested people weren’t giving the character a fair chance beyond that. “It’s an acquired taste,” he reasoned.
Indeed it was. And at some point, the kids who grew up loving Fred got to an age where they, too, lost interest in him. Apparently, so did Cruikshank. In 2020, the star explained in a video on his “Lucas” channel how, “towards the end” of the character, he was getting “a little annoyed” with playing Fred, and even “had to see a throat doctor … from screaming so much” as the character.