How SGN Won the Quarantine Internet

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YouTube/ NBCUniversal

John Krasinski, best known for his role as Jim Halpert in “The Office,” hosts the most popular YouTube talk show: “Some Good News” (SGN).

Aaron Boorstein

John Krasinski might just be the most beloved celebrity in America right now. Why? Because he understands what we need during this pandemic: positivity, comfort, and humor.

You may know him as Jim Halpert, Jack Ryan, or that guy from “A Quiet Place,” but John Krasinski is now arguably the biggest winner of the stay-at-home internet. In a time where it feels as though we’re constantly inundated with negative information, “Some Good News” (SGN) provides a breath of fresh air.

In about two months, there have been eight full episodes of SGN, and the YouTube channel has amassed over 2.5 million subscribers and over 62 million views, making it one of the fastest-growing YouTube channels right now. Here’s how John Krasinski won the quarantine internet:

 

The Jim Halpert Impact

When I think of actors that could best pull off hosting SGN, a handful come to mind, including John Krasinski, Tom Hanks, and Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson. However, what Hanks and the Rock don’t have is the Jim Halpert impact. 

The Jim Halpert impact is the idea that John Krasinski can give someone a look, and it’s funny. In “The Office,” John Krasinski’s character, Jim Halpert, would often give looks to the camera to break the third wall, making us smile and laugh at how ridiculous, sweet, or funny the things happening in the show were.

He’s using this same face from “The Office” on SGN, essentially bringing back Jim Halpert and this good feeling that we have associated with him. Most people think of Jim as a caring, relatable character, and there’s a lot of comfort in that. Krasinski brought back Jim Halpert when everyone needed something to make them smile, feel comfortable, and laugh. 

 

It’s Brand New 

Almost immediately after social distancing rules took effect, late-night shows, such as “The Late Show” and “Saturday Night Live,” began to release new shows on YouTube. While there have been some great moments in these shows during quarantine, it often doesn’t feel right. We’re so used to viewing these types of shows in a standard television setting that it always seems like something is missing or something’s just a little off.

However, “Some Good News” never feels like it’s missing something, like the crowd and stage-band that make late-night shows more entertaining. Instead, SGN is brand new, so we only know it from what it is on YouTube. This means that there’s nothing to compare SGN to, so we see it as a great YouTube channel, not a semi-replacement for a formerly televised show.

 

It’s Native to Youtube

SGN is native to YouTube, making it a more fluid member of the YouTube community than other talk shows. The YouTube community is what makes YouTube so great; this community encourages the content creators and viewers to interact with one another through giveaways, meetings, and the comment section. 

The interactive aspect of YouTube has been utilized masterfully by SGN; Krasinksi and his team have collaborated with AT&T for a giveaway for COVID-19 first responders and held a digital prom for high school seniors featuring popular musicians, and had the cast of Hamilton sing for a 9-year old over Zoom. 

These impactful, touching interactions have also increased the shareability of the show. People don’t want to share a video of Jimmy Fallon talking to his family; they want to share a video of the cast of “The Office” reuniting to celebrate a wedding ceremony over Zoom.

 

Its Mission

SGN’s mission of “highlighting good news from around the world,” has deeply resonated with people during the coronavirus pandemic. While SGN is not the first to focus on sharing only positive, good news, something Krasinski has acknowledged during an episode, the timing, the fact that it’s John Krasinski, and its interactive structure has made it work better than others’ attempts. 

Now more than ever, people need content that’ll make them smile, laugh, and enjoy themselves. SGN has been able to fill this hole that so many people have had during quarantine. SGN’s mission is something that everyone can rally around; who doesn’t want to see people dancing, getting married, or being surprised over Zoom when we’re required to stay at home and social distance?

Unfortunately, it looks like the SGN we have come to love has come to an end. After a massive bidding war, Krasinski sold SGN to ViacomCBS, who will be streaming new episodes, with a new, unnamed host on their streaming service CBS All Access. By moving this series from YouTube to TV, the show will lose a lot of what makes it great: its utilization of YouTube, its non-corporate informality, and John Krasinski as the host (he will now be an executive producer). However, I, as well as many others, am looking forward to what the future of this show will hold. Hopefully, the creativity, positivity, humor, informality, and comfort that John Krasinski exhibited to win the quarantine internet with this show will maintain a strong presence as it moves away from YouTube.