Dear White People

Dear White People

TV-MA

netflix

A smart, self-reflexive, and creatively adventurous college comedy unfairly pre-judged by its title

7.7

TV Show

United States of America
English
Comedy, Drama
2017
JUSTIN SIMIEN
Antoinette Robertson, Ashley Blaine Featherson, Brandon P. Bell
30 min

TLDR

If you find the show's title annoying or offensive, just wait till you hear how the characters feel about it.

What it's about

At her Ivy League university, a radio jock runs a controversial program that discusses issues of race—which riles up the administration, her rivals, and her fellow Black students.

The take

Far more self-aware than one might think, Dear White People isn't just a progressive comedy that puts its politics front and center—it's also heavily critical of its own so-called "woke" characters and their hypocrisy, but never in a cruel way that betrays its own beliefs. It's a show all about the contradictions of existing as Black in America, especially within a prestigious institution that claims to take pride in its diversity while asking its students to compromise on parts of their identity. And all of this is done with impeccable style, a rapid pace that actually enhances the comedy, and a large cast of well-written characters who intersect in fascinating ways.

What stands out

Dear White People definitely still has its missteps, in particular its fourth and final season that's inexplicably told from the future and is also a jukebox musical. But for the most part (and especially in its stellar second season), the show does a masterful job juggling various viewpoints with equal weight. Episodes vary in tone and even genre depending on who's at the center, which also leads to the entire cast getting a chance to shine. Logan Browning, who plays radio jock Sam White, and Marque Richardson are excellent at their more dramatic moments; DeRon Horton is charmingly awkward in his own queer coming-of-age subplot; and Brandon P. Bell emerges as the series' unexpected comedy MVP—a bona fide comedian in a leading man's body.

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