Wyatt Cenac’s Problem Areas: What can we expect from new HBO series?


Wyatt Cenec has the reputation of being bold enough to speak truth to power and is taking it to the streets with Wyatt Cenac’s Problem Areas.

He even called out Jon Stewart, and apparently grew tired of men behind desks speaking to issues that never affected their lives. In Wyatt Cenac’s announced new HBO show Problem Areas, he leaves the desk and ventures into the streets to have honest conversations towards finding real solutions.

With his comedic bend to take the edge off some incisive long-form journalism, Problems Areas could hold true promise in leading sensible societal dialogue.  

With Wyatt Cenac’s Problem Areas premiering April 13 at 11:30 p.m. EST, HBO is again lending its platform to a comedic voice seriously diving into social issues in a greater depth. Most of America is finally deciding to address policing and gun policy. However, too much of the supposed conversation is just yelling at opponents, which converts no one.

On the other side, too many seem to be grandstanding to co-op a cause or message. Wyatt Cenac has decided to go into the field once again, not just seeking to highlight societal ills but to have honest conversations towards realistic solutions to some of America’s more terrible, well, problem areas.

America’s issues as big as the polar ice caps, or what is left of them, while others are more vanity related, whether we admit it or not. Either way, being truly honest, finding solutions is going to be complex and require compromise. With his new show on HBO, Problem Areas, Wyatt Cenac seeks solutions and narrative rather than just offering one.

Judging from reports there will be no studio audience for Wyatt Cenac’s Problem Areas, though there will be some animation. The first season is all about policing, and will hardly address other issues, even Trump’s weekly — well, it’s anyone’s guess really. So Cenac figures “why bother?” When Trump is gone, the people are still going to want effective policing in their neighborhoods.

Per HBO press release, Cenac said:

"“It felt like it would be very easy to just stay in New York and tell these stories. But the problems in New York aren’t necessarily the problems of Ferguson, the problems of Miami. So to really tell this story it was important to go to these places.”“This idea of policing is something we all have a stake in, in a bunch of different ways,” “There are 18,000 police agencies in this country. There’s no network requiring them to operate according to the same guidelines.”"

Cenac added that the more foundational issues are the concern — not going page by page through each police procedure binder in the country. Changing words on a page does nothing for victims and communities after the fact.

"“How does a community move forward?” “How do they create a safer community for everyone after something so horrible?”"

Cenac has been arrested before and has dealt with harassment from police.

"“Every time I see a story” about an instance of abusive behavior by police, he said, “It creates a touchstone to an aspect of my life.”“With this, my thought was, I kind of want to have conversations.”“I am not going in to be right. I’m going in to try to learn and understand.”"

Per the same HBO release:

"“We’re thrilled to give Wyatt this opportunity to showcase his bold take on today’s social issues,” “His ability to tackle tough topics with humor and insight makes this show a perfect addition to our late-night lineup.”"

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With Cenac teaming up with some serious producers including Daily Show alum John Oliver, the HBO late night line continues to strive for the exceptional. With their past success, fans have good reason to have high expectations for Wyatt Cenac’s Problem Areas.