Dear White People mastermind Justin Simien lives to torment us all.
As he admitted to Bustle, his mission in life is to “surprise the viewer.”
“From the movie, the spirit of, ‘It’s not what you think it is,’ has always been pervasive in the world of Dear White People,” Simien said.
When last he left us, the 36-year-old put jaws on the floor with a game-changing plot twist in the Season Two finale that upended everything we thought we knew about the world of Winchester University.
“Having a narrator in the TV show is one of those conventions that a lot of people do, but I just wanted to take it to another level,” he continued. “I wanted it to have a narrative purpose and sophistication that was above and beyond someone just telling us things that we need to know.”
To that end, the series’ narrator, voiced by Giancarlo Esposito, turned out to be much more than just a storyteller.
That’s right. The narrator revealed himself to be the leader of The Order, Winchester’s black secret society.
That makes him a living, breathing character in the show, y’all.
“I was salivating at the thought of [putting] the narrator in the narrative,” Simien told Entertainment Weekly. “It probably comes from seeing Into the Woods at such a young age. I just love playing with the form. From the moment you hear the narrator, he’s telling you he’s a narrator that was hired by the writer to explain things. There was something cheeky about that that gets me excited.”
Again, this man lives to torment us all. And with the arrival of Season 3’s trailer, it looks like the emotional rollercoaster is just beginning.
Set against the backdrop of a predominantly white Ivy League university where racial tensions bubble just below the surface, Dear White People is a send-up of the now post “post-racial” America that weaves together a universal story of finding one’s own identity and forging a wholly unique path. The satirical series — which picked up where the acclaimed 2014 film by the same name left off – follows a group of Winchester University’s students of color as they navigate a diverse landscape of social injustice, cultural bias, political correctness (or lack thereof) and activism in the millennial age. Through an absurdist lens, Dear White People utilizes biting irony, self-deprecation and sometimes brutal honesty to hold up a mirror to the issues plaguing society today, all the while leading with laughter.
Dear White People returns to Netlfix on Aug. 2.