Dear White People Review: Can You Laugh, Or Is That Racist?
If you are like me, then you laughed at the fact that Netflix was going to release a comedy series based on the satirical indie film, Dear White People, by writer and director Justin Simien. Now, the reason for my laughter wasn’t out of disdain or because I thought it was ridiculous, but because I legitimately thought the film was funny. The movie, set in an Ivy League College, follows several students as they traverse racial affairs that according to the school’s higher-ups don’t exist. The film does tackle serious issues that I wasn’t blind to. However, that didn’t stop me from noticing the humor it was being delivered in. Keeping the satire as daring as it was in the movie, the ten episode series didn’t disappoint me in any way.
While the conflict in the feature film came to a head at the racist black-face party held by Pastiche, this series takes place after the party where they instead use it as the catalyst for the rest of the series. Similarly and yet different from the movie, the show goes on to follow the students during the aftermath of the event as each thirty-minute episode pursues and focuses on a single character. Surprisingly, I enjoyed this format, as it allowed the viewers to get more in-depth with the characters as more of their background and personalities were revealed.
For example, a couple of episodes focus on Lionel Higgins, the writer/nerd who is also dealing with his sexuality. Through these episodes, we see more of what drives his character as well as how he deals with the fact that he’s not only facing racial matters, but ones with his sexual orientation as well. The latter sets up a rather funny, and yet provocative scene, where he is talked into a three-way with a random guy he meets at another party and his female roommate. This, in turn, leads to another facet that separates the series from the movie; the amount of, “Adult” content it contains, such as full frontal nudity.
While it doesn’t copy its film counterpart step by step, the series definitely holds its own when it comes to addressing racial issues. As stated before however, I am not oblivious to these facts but it also doesn’t distract me from how it’s cleverly written into its satirical style. I for one, choose to see the lighter side of this series and enjoyed it as much if not more than I did the film.
All episodes of Dear White People will be available for streaming on Netflix on April 28th, 2017.
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