The term “Woke” has become so often used in pop culture that it could even be a parody. But it remains functional, describing an awareness of the social issues that are important to the lives of the marginalized. Any TV series can work as a MAGA hat joke or a reference to President Donald J. Trump’s orange tan joke. But it takes a truly great show to present and analyze relevant topics while telling a compelling and entertaining story. But despite the title, Hulu’s new comedy-drama series “Woke” doesn’t exactly match either aspect.
Former “New Girl” star Lamorne Morris returns to television in the semi-animated series, which draws on the life and work of artist Keith Knight, known for his comedic and humorous gestures on political, social and racial issues. The budding series set in the San Francisco Bay Area tackles conventional definitions of darkness in comic, but not particularly fresh or insightful ways.
In “Woke,” Morris plays Keef, a self-identified black cartoonist on the brink of mainstream success.
He begins to deal with the racial inequality of animate inanimate objects shortly after encountering aggressive, armed police officers, who mistaken him for a suspect of theft. The accident changes everything. Keef begins to come to terms with all the harsh realities of being black in America pretending not to exist by navigating through the new voices in his head that challenge him with seemingly new ideas for him, without letting go. was able to awaken.
“We tried to greet you for a minute,” animated 40 ounces.
a bottle of malt liquor (voiced by Eddie Griffin) screams comically at Keef, as he scans the aisles of a grocery store, because nothing screams “Blackness” more than cheap, cheap liquor. A second bottle (Nicole Byer) intervenes with: “Now you can finally hear us! Buckle up, n–! This race is not for the weak!”
And that anthropomorphism continues throughout the series, with a vocal cast that also includes Cedric the Entertainer, Keith David, JB Smoove and others. Initially cute, it’s a gadget the series leans on more than it should, and it’s starting to get more boring than fun.
But everything is at Keef’s service to “keep the light” awake, with a new vision of the world around him. However, instead of raising his conscience at the end, he fights for what should be an insightful revelation at the end of the show’s eight-episode first season, making mundane comments about the onslaught blacks are having. compare yourself regularly. And what should really be a tale of a man’s sudden racial awakening instead leaves him in exploratory oblivion almost indefinitely.
For example, Keef considers what it means when her editors lighten her skin in her advertising photos; he and his friend Clovis are arguing on the street about the advisability of delivering the lost bag of a white woman as Clovis fears that their good deed will instead be punished and that they will be accused of stealing it; Keef is paid by a rich white woman to be invited to a fancy party, where (surprise!) He is the only black participant and must face awkward looks and answer nauseating questions about repairs and other “black” topics.
It’s not that these aren’t very real problems, but observations of the show are littered with uninspired theaters.
The conflicts are extremely simplified and the main characters are for the most part subtly sketched. And “Woke” draws much of its advantage from the way Morris plays against the stereotype of a man who freely and openly navigates the world as a “not black enough” black man whose interests are not. traditionally “black”, and reflects on questions like “Why do black people always have to stand up for something? I’m just a cartoonist.”
Neither Morris’s performance nor the writing of the series are completely incompetent,
but neither of them ever feels used correctly. To begin with, it’s simply not possible to imagine that a black man of about 30, educated like Keef, living in the United States today – specifically, home of the proverbial “West Coastal Liberal” – would lack self-awareness so much. , or suppose you are safe from racism and police brutality following the numerous deaths of black men and women at the hands of law enforcement over the past decade. Whatever its structure, even as an intentional subversion of a stereotype or a
Shot in its entirety just before the pandemic began, the series was shot on location, and the cliché with this kind of local-flavored show is to say “the city is the star.” To its credit, the Bay Area in “Woke” is more of a state of mind; of black American life, where street and middle-class, OG and hipster converge. Even in an increasingly diverse television environment, it’s extraordinary that a series on a core platform is so diverse in its obscurity (even behind the scenes).
“Woke” has a serious backbone, but the tone is light, if not embarrassing, like a comedy-drama so engrossed in what it thinks are teaching moments that it often can’t even make it.