The low-budget web series genre has spawned enduring and memorable TV comedies like Portlandia, Broad City, and Insecure, but the next great web series may be sprouting up locally in Oaktown. A new web comedy called The North Pole drops on Tuesday, and it's a seven-episode series that, according to its Facebook page, “hits on our generation's most urgent social issues: Gentrification. Global warming. And gluten-free donuts.”
Prior to the online release, there's a theatrical premiere happening tomorrow night at Oakland's Grand Lake Theater. Both screenings are already sold out for that, but you can just wait the entire seven-part web series will be available on the show’s YouTube channel on September 12. The stars of the show are Donté Clark (Romeo Is Bleeding), Reyna Amaya, and Santiago Rosas, but the series also features cameos from W. Kamau Bell, Boots Riley, Mistah Fab, and former Black Panther Party leader Ericka Huggins.
“The North Pole is a metaphor for the parallels between urban displacement and ecological disruption,” writer and executive producer Josh Healey told KQED. “Here in North Oakland and up in the Arctic, the climate is changing — and the native species (Oakland natives here, polar bears there) [are] going extinct. But for us making this show, it’s not just a metaphor. This is our home. This is our environment. One of the things we want to challenge with the show is this idea that ‘climate activism’ is just about stopping greenhouse gases or saving the whales. It’s really about changing the fundamental nature of this hyper-capitalist economy that is destroying environments across the globe. And that includes for poor people and people of color who are being pushed out of Oakland.”
But how can a slapstick web comedy really make an impact on the lives of at-risk youth and displaced Oakland natives? It’s a question that came up on social media when The North Pole trailer was released.
“The show is produced by Movement Generation, a small social movement nonprofit based here in Oakland,” the show’s producers said. “We're partnering with other groups here in the Bay and beyond who are fighting for affordable housing and climate justice.”
“The North Pole is going to be a Youtube web series,” they said. “No one's making any money off it. Unless someone wants to holler at Jay-Z and Beyonce for us? Oprah? Shiiit...what about Draymond?”
The North Pole debuts Tuesday, September 12 on YouTube and at TheNorthPoleShow.com.