If we’re friends, you know that SmartLess celebrates its third birthday this month. And I think it’s safe to say that Jason, Will and Sean’s Covid baby has grown up to be the most successful toddler in the podcast game.
As the self-appointed President of the Jason Bateman Fan Club, I’ve honestly been feeling a little like a fraud the past couple months…so much so that I’ve actually found myself avoiding posting or sharing much about the podcast or my favorite co-host since the long-awaited SmartLess: On the Road docu-series dropped on Max back in May.
I was all kinds of hyped leading up the release. I’d signed up for Max. I’d so kindly and unexpectedly received a goodie box of SmartLess merch based on being an active member of a Facebook fan page. I’d even happened to be on vacation in Vegas the week the docu-series came out, so there was absolutely nothing to stop me from immediately binging all six episodes.
That brings us to my confession, so here goes – I stopped watching the docu-series after the third episode and haven’t been able to bring myself to go back to it. I’m sure you’re wondering what would make me stop halfway through and then just let it ride? Let me tell you…I was so shocked to see and hear myself in the third episode asking about the now infamous Boston show guest during the Q&A the next night in Brooklyn that my heart about stopped in chest in that moment for more reasons than I could ever adequately put into words.
Let’s start by looking on the bright side, I was in the SmartLess docu-series. Like IN THE DOCU-SERIES. That’s unreal and kind of the accomplishment of a lifetime.
The big, big but in this equation hit me so much harder, though…I was in the docu-series asking about something that I had no idea in the moment would look like I was pouring salt in a very open wound. A very open wound to three people who I genuinely adore and admire with all of my being. I was gutted and had to turn it off to gather myself. And I’ve been gathering myself ever since.
Side note, I was truly touched by all of the people who saw me on screen and reached out, that was the silver lining of an emotionally mixed up cloud.
Why exactly did those fifteen seconds of fame send me so very deep into my feels? While I one trillion percent realize that this entire situation is probably the most first-world problem to ever exist, it definitely struck a serious chord in my little people-pleasing heart.
Here’s the thing, I don’t want anyone to dislike me. I don’t want to upset or disappoint anyone ever. For the record, whether I like the other person makes quite literally no difference, it’ll eat me up inside just the same. I once bought $100 worth of tea because the salesman spent so much of his time pouring me samples and telling me about the various varieties of tea leaves. My guilty (aka guilt tea) purchase collected dust in my pantry for years to come.
So can you imagine watching the docu-series unfold and my brain trying to compute that my ultimate celebrity idol – the person whose career I’ve followed and supported for years, the person who got me through rough times, the person who inspired me to pursue my own dreams, the list goes on and on – might not like me or something I did or said? And footage of the incident will live forever on the internet for the entire world (or anyone with a Max subscription) to see. Nope, brain exploded.
To be clear, I’m not delusional enough to think Jason, Will or Sean has given me or anything about me the level of mental attention I’ve now given this three-minute exchange from February 2022. I am, however, enough of a die-hard fan and overthinker that I still cringe every time it crosses my mind. And for someone like me, it’s been an epic internal struggle because it’s not like I can call my bestie Jason Bateman and talk it out.
I’ve started and stopped so many versions of this post since that fateful May day because I just haven’t known what to say or how to express my confusing feelings without sounding like an ungrateful fan. But at the end of the day, if the story of how I inadvertently added insult to injury to my idol on a streaming docu-series and lived to tell the tale helps any of you cope with, or feel a little less alone in, your people-pleasing and overthinking tendencies, then my job here is done.
One day, maybe I’ll even be able to look back and laugh about it…or at least finish the docu-series.