The show, which is executive produced by Rosario (who is also a guest star) and Movement Generation, is set in North Oakland, California. The title comes from the fact that Oakland natives are being gentrified out of their homes — and that the amount of black and brown people is decreasing, just like the amount of polar bears are in the North Pole. The first season tackled subjects like gentrification, climate change, corporate transparency, and the state of political activism in 2019, all through a satirical lens. The second season picks up right where season one leaves off — after a heated standoff, Oakland police arrest the character Benny Ramirez (played by Santiago Rosas) after it’s revealed he’s an undocumented immigrant.
“For me [the show is] about recognizing that telling your story is critically important and that having community is critically important,” Rosario Dawson told Teen Vogue. “The show is about four friends who are living together and dealing with really different things. It’s a representation of what allyship and friendship really mean, and how provocative that can be in making positive change for yourself and your community.”
In season 2, Rosario plays the role of Benny’s lawyer for his case. In order to win the public’s favor before his trial, Benny decides to put himself in the race for county sheriff (with the support of his best friends) — running against the officer that initially had him arrested.
“Right now when we’re facing so much anti-immigrant hatred and environmental racism in this country, we wanted to make a show about four best friends who were fighting back in brilliant, creative, and yes sometimes ridiculous, ways,” said lead writer of The North Pole Josh Healey. “They say not all heroes wear capes, right? Well, our heroes wear chanclas and hoodies, and start a creative DIY movement for justice led by their undocumented leader Benny — while still checking their Tinder profiles and talking hella sh*t. That’s what The North Pole is all about. Laughter and liberation.”
The Yvan Iturriaga-directed show has been praised for its unapologetic depiction of the rapidly changing culture of Oakland, California — that also mirrors other gentrification-affected cities in the United States. If the trailer for the second season shows anything, it’s that the series will continue to focus on today’s political and cultural climate, but not without sacrificing any laughs or humor, which at times, seems like the only way to get through living day to day in a Trump-led America.
“It's critical to look at these issues with humor and love and light, so that we’re not so overwhelmed, and so that we can actually make the changes we want to see,” Rosario added. “So much of how people are struggling with these issues is under the stress of hatred and fear, and that is immobilizing. We have to start with asking questions, being willing to learn, and coming at it with love.”
Below, Teen Vogue has an exclusive clip from The North Pole’s second season opener, and you can catch the remainder of the episode alongside the rest of season 2 when it premieres Sept. 10 on YouTube and thenorthpoleshow.com.
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Originally Appeared on Teen Vogue