Alright Take Too Takers let’s just start this review here. I’m white. A white, middle-class male. So reviewing and discussing a show called “Dear White People” does have its hurdles. So first I will get into just a discussion of the series as a show, then we can discuss some of the issues the series raises.
The newest Netflix series “Dear White People” is based on a movie of the same name. It follows a group of black students in a predominately white Ivy League college dealing with racial and discrimination issues. The series is broken into 10 episodes, with each one focusing mostly on a particular character in the show. The show is much better than the movie, by far in my opinion. The movie just didn’t have the time that the show did to properly develop all of different characters. Our main character Samantha White, played by Logan Browning, was a great lead to steer the show. Browning did an amazing job showing us the struggle that Sam feels with supporting the movement to stop racial inequality on campus and being happy with her white boyfriend. While all of the actors I feel did a good job, I think the two standouts are Antoinette Robertson and DeRon Horton, playing Coco Conners and Lionel Higgins respectively. Robertson’s portrayal of Coco I think was a vast improvement over the movie and one of the parts of the series I liked best. You really understood what her character’s motivations behind assimilating to white, upper-class society were and how she struggled with that herself. The movie did not allow enough time to really go in-depth with Coco so I’m glad the series did. Horton’s role as campus reporter Lionel Higgins was also one of my favorite parts of the entire series. Seeing him tackle with writing about the truth of what he sees but also what the paper wants to publish is excellent writing. Throw in Lionel’s own discover of his own sexuality, and you have some great television.
The show, however, did have its downfalls. The production of the show I feel should have been better. It was decent but I got more of a made-for-tv vibe from it then a professional Netflix series. I also think there were a lot of other viewpoints and other characters that the series should have delved into. For instance, Lionel’s gay Hispanic editor or even the Dean of Students. I feel both were missed opportunities that the series had to show as many perspectives as possible. The show did well with the 10 episodes but I think expanding to 12 or 13 would have made for a better series overall. Towards the final episodes I also felt that the show got away from showing a variety of opinions and perspectives to just one. I wouldn’t say “preachy” is the right term but it just became obvious towards the end how the directors and writers felt and they pushed for only that viewpoint. Obviously, shows can go in whatever direction the creators want it to but you could almost see the change from beginning of the series to the end.
Now on to some of the controversy this series has raised. As I am writing this on Rotten Tomatoes the critics currently have the show rated at 100%, while the audience rates it at 55%. Here is where I think agenda is having a big role in peoples’ opinions. “Dear White People” is a good series, like I said much better than the movie, but it is by no means 100% worthy. Even “Breaking Bad” and “The Wire” which might be my two favorite series ever, are not worth a 100% rating. I don’t know if the critics are scared to criticize the show or even they just want to prove that they are progressive and “woke” but they need to calm down some. Of course the audience has the flip side of that coin. While the show has its flaws, I would put it nowhere near a rating of 55% either. When you look through the audience reviews you see a whole lot of 5 stars and then a bunch of 1/2 stars, and those 1/2 star rating have little written if anything. Those that do point out that they feel the show is racist and we could never have a Dead Black People show and etc, etc. I actually wonder how many of those reviews even watched the entire series, because I have a feeling it’s not a lot. These audience reviewers are pushing their own agenda too, against one of the main aspects of the show which is just opening up a dialogue about race especially on college campuses. I think people need to watch the entire series, not just read a synopsis of it, and make up their own decision about it. Then maybe, just maybe, actually talk to an individual from a different race and try to have an adult conversation about your thoughts.
7 inappropriate college parties out of 10