The North Pole, a comedy web series centred around gentrification in Oakland and climate crisis, returns with a second season next month.
Set in North Oakland, California, from which the series takes its name, The North Pole follows three friends as they endeavour to stay afloat amidst a rapidly changing neighbourhood and changes to the environment due to climate change.
The North Pole first debuted in 2017, introducing viewers to Nina, Marcus, Finn, and Benny, four Bay Area friends who are watching in real-time as gentrification rips communities of colour from their homes and scatters them beyond the city limits where they experience the effects of the climate crisis. Their neighbours, friends, and family members are becoming “endangered species” in North Oakland, and it pushes the friends to political action.
The seven-episode second season, which premieres online on September 10, features a guest appearance from actress Rosario Dawson, who is also an executive producer of the series. The Daredevil and Luke Cage actress plays an immigration lawyer in the web comedy.
Rosario Dawson said: “I’m excited to be part of this show that’s both outrageously funny and deadly serious — and could not be more timely. At a moment when children are being thrown in cages at the border, and so many of our communities and environments are under attack, The North Pole flips the script with radical black and brown characters speaking their unfiltered truth and reclaiming their power. Oh, and it’s freaking hilarious.”
Season 2 picks up following the police confrontation that rocked North Oakland in the Season 1 finale, with fun-loving immigrant Benny Ramirez (Santiago Rosas) locked up and threatened with deportation. When his immigration lawyer (Rosario Dawson) convinces him that the best defense is a good offense, Benny decides to run for office against the shady local sheriff who is trying to deport him. Meanwhile, wildfires rage around Northern California, and Nina (Reyna Amaya), Marcus (Donte Clark), and Finn (Eli Marienthal) face their own struggles with major health crises, racist family members, and escalating Twitter wars.
Joining Rosario Dawson in executive producer role is the Movement Generation team. Movement Generation is a justice and ecology project based in Oakland. The North Pole web series is part of the organisation’s Culture Shift programme which brings together cutting-edge artists and activists to “creatively build a loud, proud, and beautiful cultural front for climate justice”.
The North Pole is essentially a local story about local and resilient people, and how they adapt to change. Written by comedian and creative activist Josh Healey, he said: “On a global level, climate change has been extra busy lately…Every day brings record high temperatures…And at the top of it all, a small class of CEOs and politicians, profiting off all that displacement and destruction.
“The pain and the outrage is real, but in my years of writing and organising with everyday people who don’t read Trotsky for breakfast, I’ve learned that most folks don’t need to be lectured about how shitty things are. We need joy and humour and the very humanity that we’re fighting for in the first place.
“So rather than opt for another sad Al Gore power-point presentation, my filmmaking friends and I decided to explore the local and global forms of climate change by talking about weed, Drake, and the weird-but-true thing that happens when polar bears start kicking it with grizzly bears. The result is The North Pole.”