Today we take a look at the latest documentary causing a stir on Netflix. Bob Ross : Happy Accidents, Betrayal & Greed looks at the man, his art and his life, as well as dealing with the influences around him which ultimately shaped his existing legacy. Join us for a spoiler-free review!
Robert Norman Ross (or Jesus as he is referred to by many online cultures) served in the US Airforce as a Medical Records Technician and attained the rank of Master Sergeant. The worlds most placid man spoke of his role in the military as “the guy who makes you scrub the latrine, the guy who makes you make your bed, the guy who screams at you for being late to work”. He vowed never to raise his voice once he left the military, a choice which contributed to him adopting his trademark, velvety, whispered tones.
It was during this time he discovered his joy of painting (pun intended), eventually leaving the service in 1981 and going on to begin his career as a TV artist with phenomenal and enduring worldwide success.
Ross was notably talented as an artist and seemingly perfect for the medium given the style he adopted. Alla Prima is the style that enabled Ross to complete such detailed paintings in such a small amount of time. This wet on wet technique enables the artist to apply paint with relative ease onto previous wet layers.
During his life Ross preferred to keep his personal life private, a theme which is prevalent even today with the company Bob Ross Inc who continues to protect his Intellectual Property and legacy – a subject which is the focus of the documentary below.
Ross died from Lymphoma at the age of 52 on July 4, 1995.
Bob Ross : Happy Accidents, Betrayal & Greed
I’ll not go into too much detail on the content of the documentary, as i highly recommend watching it, but it’s safe to say that this one gives Tiger King a run for its money! There’s something more sinister by comparison, given the wholesomeness of Bob Ross the viewer is compelled to feel anger and hatred when Ross is slighted.
It’s also worth noting that many of the people involved in the documentary actually pulled out of participation for fear of legal retaliation. This tells you exactly what you need to know going into the viewing.
Bob Ross’ show The Joy Of Painting has experienced something of a resurgence in recent years, particularly with the popularity of ASMR. TJOP seemingly a treasure chest of content for this genre given Ross’ calming, smooth tones is featured in the documentary and gives a great behind-the-scenes look at the motivation for the show.
The documentary paints (these puns are intended) a picture of Ross as something of a sex symbol during the shows run, with particular attention paid to his very deliberate choices of tone, fashion and even the branding of the show itself.
The documentary has a few twists and turns but isn’t as dramatized as some of Netflix previous outings in this genre, and is presented for the most part in a matter-of-fact style.
There’s a very famous clip from The Joy Of Painting where Ross relates a letter from a viewer who states he cannot paint because he is colourblind, Ross goes on to paint a masterpiece in black and white to show that “anyone can paint”. It really speaks volumes about the type of man he was. For Ross, sharing his knowledge and connecting with people was beyond second nature.
Those who knew him in life spoke of a fun, kind and good-natured man who enjoyed fast cars and spreading joy. This in itself is the reason The Joy Of Painting ran for 31 seasons from 1983 to 1994 and even saw Ross recording 3 episodes per day.
Bob Ross : Happy Accidents, Betrayal & Greed is currently available on Netflix and lasts 1 hour 33 mins. Go watch it.
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