Hasan Minhaj took to Twitter to announce that his show ‘Patriot Act with Hasan Minhaj’ won’t be coming back on Netflix for a season 7. The news left the internet mourning with shock and grief. A change.org petition already has more than 14,000 signatures.
What was Patriot Act about?
‘Patriot Act with Hasan Minhaj’ was a show which talked about issues in our modern world and its political landscape. The show was hosted by comedian Hasan Minhaj, who brought a lot of charisma, enthusiasm and fun to the show. What differentiated Patriot Act with other of its kind is the way issues were covered. Every episode had a lot of context so that the viewer doesn’t feel out of the loop. The language of the show included a lot of meme and pop culture references which made it relevant and exciting to millennial and Gen-Z audiences. Due to these factors, a lot of people credit the show for their interest in political issues.
The show was also different in terms of representation. Host, Hasan Minhaj is Muslim with Indian origins and had brought a lot of light to India and the rest of South Asia on a global level. The show also covered a lot of issues concerning South Asian and Middle-Eastern countries.
Why did Netflix cancel the show?
It is rather unclear why Netflix would take this decision, but the platform has struggled with this format in the past. Other talk shows produced by Netflix starring comedians Michelle Wolf, Chelsea Handler and Joel McHale were all cancelled within two seasons. Netflix renews shows based on a views versus cost ratio. Forbes reported that Netflix has struggled to succeed in the talk show category. “Patriot Act” aired for 39 episodes across six seasons on Netflix.
The internet has been mourning the loss of the show since the announcement. A lot of people have said this is a considerable loss of representation for the brown people. Minhaj gave a voice to a lot of Indian kids residing in India or States who have been consuming and contributing to pop culture for a long time. In one of Hasan’s skit with Indian-American kids, he talks about restrictions in Indian households, Indian films and what is it like to grow up as an Indian American in the USA. The video and many others by Hasan resonated with Indian kids who found themselves and their experiences represented on a global platform.
A lot of Indians have wondered why shows like Indian Matchmaking, which was accused of encouraging archaic and misogynist Indian practices and stereotypes were receiving a renewal while Patriot Act was chucked off. Critics also say that this is a loss for Netflix in terms of representation as well.
Apart from being a loss for representation, we are also losing an incredible show which was the need of the hour. Patriot Act educated people who are citizens of democratic countries. Aware citizens are an asset for the health of good democracy and also essential for its well being. Right now we live in a world with populist governments and expensive elections pushing out huge amounts of propaganda and fake news, which makes shows like the Patriot Act even more essential.
In one of the episodes of the show, Hasan talks about the state of journalism in the states. He reports on how the local newspapers are dying due to private equity funds and the internet. He highlighted the importance of local newspapers in generating original news and keeping local authorities in check. Local newspapers have also been monumental to outing sex offenders and pedophiles and played a huge role in unearthing Jeffrey Epstein. This episode is also a reminder of why we need shows like the Patriot Act.
One of the other important episodes was on how American democracy works and the systematic flaws. The episode helps you understand the political system better and also understand the reasoning behind why things happen in a certain way. The viewer not only understands the issues with the winner-takes-all and two-party system, but they also emerge with a better understanding of how their country operates. The show could have proved as an asset for the coming elections which is going to be held under extraordinary situations.
Netflix cancelling the show is indeed sad but viewers and fans of the show now need to take forward the work done by Hasan and the entire crew of Patriot Act. They have to make an extra effort to find the correct information and share it. American voters have to go an extra mile to fill the void left by the show and make sure they are talking about the right issues and people and stand against injustice.