The big news for “Some Good News” was seen as bad news by many fans: John Krasinski sold his low-budget YouTube series to CBS.
So now the affable host is trying to smooth things over after many viewers have accused him of “selling out.”
I confess to being a bit bummed about this development. Like millions of others, I am a big fan of Krasinki’s quirky and sweet little quarantine show on YouTube, and I expected it would go away as he returned to acting work. The show was a generous gesture.
As an alternative to the show going away, isn’t it better that CBS picks it up and continues it? Well, I can understand that argument, but I’m not sure I embrace it. While Krasinski’s charm and leadership certainly made Some Good News the phenomenon it was, there’s something uncomfortable about “selling” a program that was made up of clips of good news sent in by viewers all around the world. What made SGN special was the feeling that it was something co-created by humanity, with no motive other than helping one another get through this difficult time.
Personally, I enjoyed the user-submitted content much more than the big flashy pieces with celebrities. Those small bits of “good news” being elevated were the heart and soul of the show.
And as for the notion that SGN is something that could be sold to a conglomerate for big money… well, I guess I find it sad? While there’s nothing wrong with creating a positive news show for television, one can’t escape the feeling that the genuineness and heart that went into SGN (by all contributors) has been exchanged for one man’s payday. Legally, that’s his right, as he made the show. But as a fan it feels kind of gross.
It’s the same feeling you get when a long-time friend invites you over for dinner, but then we realize that the purpose of that dinner is to sell you something. It’s the phenomenon of non-commercial relationships being swapped for commercial ones without warning. I can talk myself into the notion that Krasinski made something temporary and beautiful, and he wisely allowed someone else to continue it once he was done. There’s a certain logic there, and I don’t doubt his good intentions. But in a world where our friendships, reactions, family relationships, and emotions are constantly commodified by large corporations, this move feels like just another bait and switch.
Here is something human and personal… JUST KIDDING WE WERE PROFITING FROM YOUR LOVE
I’m not insensible to the notion that a for-profit corporation can make something heartfelt and worthwhile. In fact, I’d argue that they should. And along those lines, maybe the new show will be awesome. I hope so! But the next time a celebrity sweetly sidles up to us and says they’re doing something for the joy of it, for humanity, for free, for us, will we be as quick to believe? No.
It seems that in this world of ours, our hearts are always for sale. And once, just once, I’d like to not be sold at the end of the day. I’d like to be a human being participating in something that exists for its own sake instead of a saleable pair of eyeballs in the 35-44 demographic.
No one owes me this, I’m aware. And perhaps someday I’ll be wise enough to stop craving what I cannot have.