Woke is a fine, comedic way of discussing the pitfalls in society and how discourse can be seen from a satirical angle, occasionally highlighting the various culture wars and the discrimination against black people.
This review of Hulu’s Woke season 1 contains no spoilers. The comedy series will be released on September 9, 2020.
We recapped every episode — check out the archive.
The closest comparison to what Woke is trying to achieve is Netflix’s Dear White People, a comedy series that puts culture, identity, race and politics under a magnifying glass and satirically poses as a case study. Filled with irony, Woke achieves the same level of satire, embarking on a world where a career-driven black man who is destined for mainstream coverage is finding himself conflicted by his whole new perspective of the world — it’s an awakening of a black person who suddenly has his eyes wide open and is crippled about what to do with it.
And that is pretty much the premise of Hulu’s Woke. The lead character, Keef, is inspired by the life and work of artist Keith Knight, a cartoonist that offers humorous and universally appealing comic strips but also centers himself amongst political, social, and racial issues. The opening episode shows the lead character about to embark on a lucrative publishing deal for his comic strips “Toast and Butter”. He naively believes at the start of the series that people do not see him differently because he is black, and positions himself like any other white American citizen — that’s until he is part of an incident that reeks of racial profiling.
Woke establishes itself by staying on the fence for the most part; Keef’s experiences, coupled with the comedy props up a story where it leaves the viewers the chance to debate the character’s position. The story keeps Keef at arm’s length, allowing him to figure out his newfound perspective and understand whether he is being “woke” or otherwise making a strong progressive point. The Hulu series is glazed with messages by the minute, with Woke attempting to slide in as many jokes as possible — some land, while others hit like a dud.
Woke season 1 is a fine, comedic way of discussing the pitfalls in society and how discourse can be seen from a satirical angle, occasionally highlighting the various culture wars and the discrimination of black people. While the longevity of a story like this may not be long-lived, the Hulu series is worth delving into.
Daniel Hart is the Co-Founder of Ready Steady Cut and has operated as Editor-in-Chief since 2017.