Dear White People Returns May 4
Dear White People, the Netflix show based on the 2014 movie, drops all ten episodes of season two on May 4. I’ve had the pleasure of seeing review episodes, and I couldn’t stop watching this fascinating and addictive show, binging all the episodes today. Justin Simien wrote and directed the movie, and he is executive producer, director, writer and co-showrunner on this as well with Yvette Lee Bowser.
As in the first season, most of the episodes center on one of the main characters: Sam, the outspoken DJ (Logan Browning); her roommate and co-host Joelle (Ashley Blaine Featherson); Lionel, the journalist dealing with coming out (DeRon Horton); the fashion-conscious Coco (Antoinette Robertson); disgraced golden boy Troy (Brandon P. Bell); and computer student Reggie (Marque Richardson). (I didn’t realize that Sam was Tessa Thompson in the movie, while Lionel was Tyler James Williams. Troy, Joelle, and Reggie carried over.)
This season seemed to me a bit more character-driven, with fewer philosophical rants (which I missed), although the dialogue is as pointed, snappy, and challenging as ever. Also new are some historical flashbacks about the history of this residence hall at this fictional Ivy League University. That sets the stage for an ongoing plotline about secret societies, on top of following up the events of last season’s culminating rally that got out of hand. This season explores deeper the long history of bias and bigotry, beyond some clueless students thinking we’re all post-racial now.
Reggie is still dealing with the after-effects of having campus police point a gun at him (and the resulting exaggerated rumors), while Sam is being targeted by right-wing racist trolls (that she can’t resist engaging), and Troy is trying to figure out who he is if he isn’t student body president. I also appreciated getting more focus on Joelle (and I learned what a Hotep is). I like the way this show is so conversation-driven, yet diverse in perspective, although I was disappointed that so much of what happened to Sam revolved around men in her life. Regardless, it’s a must-watch for well-done social commentary comedy. (And I found it entertaining that the dorm’s must-watch show has changed from something Scandal-like to something rather like Empire.)