WARNING: The following contains major spoilers for Season 1 of Woke, now available on Hulu.
Hulu’s Woke mainly focuses on systemic racism and oppression as a cartoonist, Keef (Lamorne Morris), finally wakes up to social atrocities around him after his run-in with police brutality. Admittedly, it takes a while for him to become acclimated to objects around him becoming animated and guiding him down a social justice warrior path, but Keef eventually gets the hang of it.
The first season doesn’t just stick to racial discrimination, however, as it also dives into dating drama and the toxic traits many people have while trying to find significant others and flings. Unfortunately, after setting up Keef’s bestie and roommate, Clovis, (T. Murph) as a stalker that needs course-correcting, Woke fails to resolve its most problematic character.
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Clovis and the stoner, Gunther (Blake Anderson), constantly throw Keef off his game, distracting him from making art and making light of his “wokeness.” Clovis, in particular, isn’t a good friend because he’s always trying to profit off it by selling merchandise and doing other small hustles. But it’s his way with women that has Keef taken aback as Clovis is a creep, something that’s highlighted when he keeps lying to women about being a Black athlete and artist, duping them into sex. This behavior even leads to Keef poking fun of Clovis on stage as he presents art at a show, which should have sent a message to his buddy.
However, Clovis believes in his game as it’s worked for so long but the machismo is thrown off when he meets Ayana, an editor and reporter at the Bay Arean, one of San Francisco’s more progressive publications. The media outlet focuses on minorities and people of color, so Ayana is an ally, even if she gives Keef a hard time for not starting a bigger movement. It does get awkward, though, when his boys fall for her. Gunther doesn’t take it to a next level, but it’s Clovis who keeps making unwarranted approaches, something that comes to a head when he stalks her Instagram and follows her to a bar.
There, he presents some sneakers he knows she’s been hunting, as he has the hook-up on the underground market for such items that sell out quickly. Ayana’s appalled when he insists this is the key to winning her over, especially after he makes it clear what he expects in return: physical gratitude. It’s disgusting and sparks the conversation of men and gifts, which leads to her storming off. But, by the end of the season, there’s no resolution or education that Clovis can take to heart.
Instead, the show actually has Ayana befriending Clovis later on when he discovers she’s been promiscuous with her various girlfriends and is in fact a compulsive cheater. Having them bond over such a toxic trait is puzzling, especially since Ayana’s initially positioned as someone with ethics and morals. Their dynamic is changed to that of frat bros, and instead of addressing Clovis’ ways, they bask in their toxicity together and poke fun at it. The gaze totally shifts, so Clovis never realizes he’s been objectifying women his whole life. In the end, it’s a total U-turn that breaks all the character development for the “woke” and seemingly compassionate Ayana.
Starring Lamorne Morris, T. Murph, Blake Anderson, Sasheer Zamata and the voice of J.B. Smoove, the eight-episode first season of Woke is currently available on Hulu.
KEEP READING: How Woke Sets Up Season 2
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