‘#YouTubeAsksObama’ ‘sets’ look like bad parody

YouTube hosted a special live stream featuring YouTube creators Bethany Mota, GloZell Green and Hank Green interviewing President Obama from “sets” that resembled something between a really bad preschool play and adult movie set.

You’ll notice the word “sets” appears in quotation marks (read: air quotes) throughout this article, because they barely qualify for that distinction.


Each interviewer had a unique “set” — with Mota’s originating from a pink walled area with stars, GloZell Green’s from a garish orange and green one with her own portrait hanging on the wall and Hank Green’s from a blue backdrop.

Thanks to White House photographer Pete Souza, we were able to get a wide view of the “sets” as they appeared in the East Room, which was used as the setting for the interviews.


From these images, one can see the “sets” are simply simple, short backgrounds that were basically propped up in the East Room, which is typically the home of formal presidential events such as state dinners.

So the question is: Why, when you’re in arguable one of the most historic and beautifully maintained buildings in America, would you throw up some tacky backgrounds and cheap furniture for an interview for the President of the United States?


OK, so maybe the idea was to convey the homegrown nature of YouTube creators — which makes sense. But — the interviews were originating from the White House and that fact was well publicized. And, certainly YouTube and Google could have done a much better job of creating a better look and feel that still go the point across without coming across as so awful.


The choice is also perplexing because, in numerous shots during all of the interviews, elements of the East Room’s architecture are plainly visible because the backgrounds aren’t wide enough. In addition, the lighting was extremely flat and almost no backlight was used on the interviewers or president.

Overall, the entire scenic “effort” came across as someone trying to push the idea of the grassroots and barebones nature of YouTube video production too far — to the point of being a parody.