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The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

Movie Review: Indigenous actors lead new comedy series

Photo Courtesy of FXBear, played by D’Pharaoh Woon-A-Tai, meets up with his friends Willie Jack and Elora after getting into a fight with a rival gang. The first season ended Sept. 20.

Jose Romero

There isn’t a show that embraces Native American culture quite like “Reservation Dogs.”

And before you ask, no, this show isn’t related to Quentin Tarantino’s “Reservoir Dogs.”

The show is a comedy that centers around a group of teenagers living on a reservation in rural Ohio. What surprised me about the show is that the majority of the cast is filled with Native Americans. Unfortunately, it’s difficult to point to some sort of media that does something similar, but I’m glad this show exists because it’s fantastic.

The show has made history for being the first-ever with an all indigenous crew of directors, writers and series regulars. Took until 2021, but at least it happened. It’s super important when writing a movie or show about a certain group of people to have that group of people work on it. Sounds obvious, but it’s surprising how often a writer’s room for a show about people of color is filled with the exact opposite.

There is a primary group of four teens that the show focuses on. Bear, Willie Jack, Elora and Cheese. For being young actors, each one manages to give a great performance. It genuinely feels as if they’re a group of friends that grew up together. The chemistry between all of the main characters is tangible, making it easy to feel like the viewer is a part of this rag-tag group.

Photo Courtesy of FX

The show is presented in 30-minute episodes that only sort of connect. Episodes are somewhat isolated experiences, focusing on different people around the reservation or the group of friends. Even episodes that don’t focus on the four main cast members are intriguing to watch. But, even though episodes loosely connect, there is one primary goal in mind: Save enough money to get to California.

No spoilers, but there’s an event that happens to the group, leaving them wanting to move away from the reservation and start a life in California.

The show is great at meshing together more emotional scenes with funny ones. That’s just good writing. Speaking of the writing, knowing the background of the production crew makes the show feel authentic. I know while watching the show that the cultural traditions on display are accurate, which is refreshing.

Something interesting about the show is how dreamlike it can feel at times. It is mostly tied to reality, but there are moments in which something ridiculous or otherworldly may happen, making you question if it happened or not. There’s a recurring joke with Bear’s character in which he sees a spirit of his ancestor now and then when he’s facing a moral dilemma. There are also some mystical elements like magic that sometimes come into play.
It’ll make sense when you watch the show because you absolutely should.

“Reservation Dogs” feels like a passion project for everybody involved. The one gripe I had with it is that near the end of the season, there was an episode or so that felt like filler and didn’t add much. But, other than that, it’s an enjoyably memorable experience.

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