From the title alone, it was easy to guess that Hulu’s Woke would be a terrible, liberal mess. After slumming through all eight episodes, it’s safe to say it’s far worse than that. This series is a hateful, miserable piece of propaganda that barely rises to the level of “comedy.”
The series which, premiered September 9, follows black cartoonist Keef Knight (Lamorne Morris) as he works on his popular comic Toast & Butter. Although he tries to stay out of controversial issues, the fact that he’s based on real-life political cartoonist and series co-creator Keith Knight means that won’t last long.
Indeed, after he’s tackled by police searching for a mugging suspect, he begins to see things from a different perspective. In fact, he starts to see inanimate objects talking to him about the racism in everyday life.
If that sounds like a terrible premise, it only gets worse since the inanimate objects have a habit of using certain words that begin with F and N.
Malt Liquor 1: Psst, hey, hey, hey, yo Pointdexter! Over here, man. Fuck that water bitch. Come on over here and get this booze.
Malt Liquor 2: I can’t believe you called him a bitch.
Malt Liquor 1: Don’t fret muh nigga. You know you want this flavor.
Malt Liquor 2: That’s right. Come get this hottie.
Malt Liquor 1: I go great with Menthols and poverty-induced PTSDs. I don’t go well with gonorrhea. Ya feel me?
Malt Liquor 2: Hmm, hmm. Did you know malt liquor…
Malt Liquor 2: Makes black people impervious to bullets.
Keef: For real?
Malt Liquor 2: Haha, no, it don't, nigga, it don't.
Malt Liquor 1: Further, dawg, malt liquor been a black man's best friend since '48.
Malt Liquor 2: Shhh, shhh, shhhh, cracker alert.
Malt Liquor 1: Honky on deck.
Despite the horrifying animated objects, the series manages to be horribly “woke” all on its own. Keef goes through his own awakening to realize that, to quote his reporter friend Ayana (Sasheer Zamata), “the world’s a racist f***ed up place.” Of course, aside from his police encounter in the pilot, most of his grievances come from arbitrary microaggressions like a company lightening his profile photo or outright lies, like the claim that “thousands” of black people are shot or murdered by the police.
In fact, his reactions to these realizations seem to be far worse than anything he alleges. Over the course of the season, he disparages his own brand (“F*** Toast & Butter!”), embarrasses his white girlfriend, and finds himself yelling at a crowd of people mourning the death of a zoo-raised koala bear.
That last moment becomes particularly aggravating since his entire premise for insulting the crowd is claiming that people “don’t care” when black people get choked or shot. This was filmed before George Floyd’s death, but the resulting protests, riots, and broadcast funerals make this entire scene a tone-deaf, profane mess.
The worst moment of all comes in the season finale “Blue Lies Matter.” After two months of therapy, Keef finishes a session of therapy and decides to publish artwork regarding his experiences and disparaging the police. As a result, the police officer who originally tackled Keef sues him for defamation. However, the precinct is willing to instead take a cordial meeting between the two parties to avoid court.
Despite his friends’ warnings, Keef decides to meet with the officer to discuss police-community relations, but predictably, the police officer turns out to be a selfish, cruel bully looking to extort and attack him when they're alone. Even genuine police concerns are openly mocked by Keef.
Officer Wyatt: Look, my boss said come down here. I say sorry, you say sorry. And I don’t have to keep riding a desk. So just fucking apologize so I can get out of here.
Keef: Nice to meet you, Officer Wyatt. I’ve been wondering where you were hiding.
Officer Wyatt: I don’t hide from shit. You need to apologize. I was my kid’s fucking hero. Now he’s all confused ‘cause of that comic strip you drew.
Keef: I’m out, man.
Officer Wyatt: Hey, cartoon man! You don’t get it. We’re under siege out there. We’ve got seconds to assess whether a threat is genuine.
Keef: You’re under siege? I just-I’m so sorry. I didn’t-don’t think I heard you correctly. You’re the one under siege?
Officer Wyatt: Yep.
Keef: I was stapling fucking fliers to a wall.
Officer Wyatt: Yeah, a stapler could be a potential threat.
Keef: You know, just when I thought this day couldn’t get any more stupid and absurd, you went and said that shit.
Officer Wyatt: Go ahead, make jokes. You got off easy this time. Next time, we’re not gonna be so nice, so you better fuckin’ lighten up.
If Black Lives Matter were to make a Hulu series, it would look just like Woke. From the outright lies to the smug attitude to the downright vile behavior, it takes all the worst qualities of the BLM movement and puts them in streaming form.
The fact that the series promoted “The Killing of Breonna Taylor” documentary several times in commercials (along with AT&T, Google Phone, and Etsy) proves that they know what message the show sends. The notion that this could ever be “inspired by one experience shared by many” as it claims in the pilot shows how delusional this can get.
I fail to see how any of this will help black people or society, but then again, I’m not “woke.”