If you didn’t binge the second season of Dear White People this past weekend, then you need to catch up now. There are only ten episodes and they’re roughly 20-30 minutes each. You can do it!
If you have never heard of this show, then well, it’s first season of also ten episodes premiered last spring on Netflix. It’s not as popular as Netflix hits Stranger Things or Black Mirror but deserves to be.
Both seasons of the show have zero rotten (negative) reviews on Rotten Tomatoes. The first season has an average rating of 8.6 out of 10 based on critic reviews and the second season currently has an average rating of 9.6 out of 10.
The second season premiered on May 4 and it is very clear how timely and timeless the show is. It delves into topics that many people don’t mind talking about to their friends who might agree with them but find difficulty in discussing with people who disagree with their beliefs. This show makes you want to talk to people who don’t see as you see or hear as you hear.
“More than anything, Dear White People marks itself as a show that more people (and more critics) should be talking about,” said Dan Fienberg, Hollywood Reporter critic, “because few shows on TV feel as eager to instigate as many meaningful conversations.”
Another important aspect of the show is its episode structure. All episodes, except for season finales tend to follow the perspective of a single character. This allows viewers to truly enter the mind of characters and how they deal with the racial and social tensions that come with their identities. It’s very exciting to see these people with different backgrounds and goals interact and sometimes collide with each other.
“Cloistered in the ivory tower-and suffocated by it-the show’s leads are exceptional, isolated, and bursting with passion,” said Sonia Saraiya, Vanity Fair critic. “But Dear White People‘s characters are so charming, so endearing, that it’s a joy to sit back and watch them dazzle each other.”
Dear White People is a satire that masterfully blends comedic and dramatic elements into a complex narrative. It has characters that enjoy watching shows like Scandal, Grey’s Anatomy, Empire, The Real Housewives of Atlanta and Love and Hip Hop but also has these same characters criticize these shows for their soap opera nature and how they can misrepresent or romanticize Black culture. This show has many more references that remind reviewers not just that it’s 2018 but that this story is set in our current reality.
“Despite its surreal comic digressions and continual fourth-wall breaking,” said Ned Lannamann, a The Stranger critic. “Dear White People is the show that comes closest to capturing how it actually feels to live in the year 2018.”
No spoilers ahead, but the show deals with many social issues. It covers how it feels to be a minority but also a member of the LGBTQ+ community. There’s a character who has a biracial identity (half Black, half White) and faces the prejudice that comes with being Black but none of the privilege that comes with being White. Rich Black characters and even Black characters not from America are given screen time. This show is not just “Black” though; there are White characters (some who have interracial relationships) and other minorities who also have issues to deal with.
Season one also has an episode directed by Academy Award-winning director of Moonlight, Barry Jenkins. That episode is a standout from season one. Season two has many phenomenal singular episodes but the standout has to be its eighth episode. It focuses upon two opposing views coming head to head. Both right; both wrong. It’s fascinating to watch as it can be easy to switch from one side to the next. Even the Batman dilemma is given attention, did crime in Gotham create the masked “hero,” or did he cause the evolution of crime into villains like The Joker, Penguin, and Scarecrow?
Dear anyone who isn’t watching this show,
Dear White People will not give you a simple answer to explain the reality of 2018 but will give you the courage to talk to someone who disagrees with you.