Wyatt Cenac’s Problem Areas recap: Automation Problems, Beauty Problems, Gun Problems


This week’s episode of Wyatt Cenac’s Problem Areas sees the HBO series take on the threat of robots, harmful beauty products and less-lethal weapons for police than guns.

Has the world started to feel a bit more robotic lately? Technology is streamlining processes to make our days more efficient. However, the click and go monotony made life more boring yet tedious at the same time. With no need to think about a job, the robots took it, how are people to fill their days? Looking good and trying to not get shot are reasonable goals.

This week’s Wyatt Cenac Problem Areas took a shot at finding solutions to the superficial and robotic undertones to some of America’s biggest worries.

Related Story: Wyatt Cenac's Problem Areas episode 5 recap

More from HBO

When serious situations happen, especially involving armed officers, communities and cops are speaking out in search of more tools and thoughts on how to approach a variety of problems.

If everyone could learn to control their B.O and not slowly suffocate the earth, the polar bears would appreciate it.

Not everyone wants to “robot” their way through life with ease. Some even need to make stand-out statements through beauty and fashion. Others lead their way through life with a mostly holstered gun. It is not hard to understand why.

Modern American society must deal with robots, bad smelling beauty queens and shootouts all at the same time. It should be apparent America cannot deal with its problems with some more lipstick on a pigpen worth of problems. Programming a bot to deal with all of life’s mundane details that can also conquer the massive logistical problems of unemployment lines is an undertaking far greater than anything free in the App Store.

Most people barely understand the technology they use. The guys that built it though are warning of an imminent future of robots running most of our daily lives. Names like Zuckerberg, Branson, and Musk are already utilizing robots to run their businesses or have invested in automation technologies, factories or software. Retail is becoming a sea of exclusive limited edition self-serve kiosks and other online shopping through Amazon.

The uber-rich are tired of dealing with people and switching their companies over to robots. Universal basic income is being touted to supplement our future lives. Not enough to survive, but just enough to buy their products. Oh, or maybe use that money to further an education or develop ideas and inventions into products.

A version of this UBI idea was touted by luminaries such as Isiah Whitlock Jr. acting as Martin Luther King Jr., Clay Davis, and even the actual Martin Luther King Jr. Even the advocated for Universal Basic Income constantly mention UBI is not meant to be only income. Easy for rich people to talk about crumbs for masses before the cookie in even fully baked. Any efforts put towards investigating reasons and motivations these rich people are leading us down this road are seemingly left to a robot on auto-pilot.

While getting replaced at the factory by an emissions neutral robot stinks, no one likes body odor or ugly people. They can ruin your day. The problem area with the makeup aisle is that most of the products are made in a process that destroys nature, and are used in a way that destroys nature. That really stinks.

The world’s population will soon face the big problem of using artificial fragrance to cover the stench of Fortnight marathons through artificial reality. If there were some way to wear plant-based fragrances that are bio-degradable and bio-friendly, whoever discovered the solution would come up smelling like daisies.

Until then, Earth Day rallies will continue to unite hippies with B.O. and liberal women wearing makeup. The most important part of saving the Earth is to look good doing it. The second is do not become captive to the robot tech.


Yup, even the word is lethal in this segway. With more word tools, a better segway could be used. However, with no room on my toolbelt, and a hatred for droopy pants, jumping to the Gun seems appropriate.

Does it though? Like a police officer on a bad television show, it was just shot out for effect. Police shows are full of guns. Wyatt Cenac said a stat about the show Chicago PD, but it went unheard. The over 100 shots fired in the show drowned out the relevant information.

98 percent of a police officer’s day is boredom apparently. Some claim that the monotony of the regular day of a cop would not work on television. As a counterpoint, let The Wire reference above stand as exhibit one.

According to the Wyatt Cenac Problem Areas graphic, 73 percent of officers have never fired a bullet in a non-training situation. With body cameras being unreliable, what else can we do to find out why the other 27 percent need to fire a weapon. Is that the percentage of officers that are trigger happy?

Wyatt Cenac decided to ask an officer who had shot his weapon in the line of duty. Apparently, not all cops are emotionless enforcers of the law. When a person is shot by an officer, it is life changing for both parties. It affects both families.

Most every cop can honestly say they do not wake up wanting to shoot anyone. However, if a man is holding a gun, pointing it at both officers and a hostage family, the situation may merit a sniper. A situation can only be resolved using the tools available.

Communities and Cops are getting tired of only having two tools. If shouting does not get a person to comply, there should be many other tools to use before a cop is shooting someone to make them comply.

Once you’re in the situation, there is no getting out. Running away, refusing to deal with the situation in an appropriate manner, or over reacting can all lead to being fired. Anyone that must act in such a stressful situation is going to replay it in their head. Most sane people will ask themselves how they could have done better. This traumatic event, taking a life, leads to PTSD.

Seattle has 17 documented officer shooting since 2010. DeEscalate Washington is a community group that formed in part to help lower those numbers and brings awareness to non-lethal weapons.

Communities are tired of having only one side of the story alive to tell their tale. Officers are the most powerful person most people encounter. With a badge and a gun, cops who kill and are reprimanded by even their own review boards but face no homicide investigation.

What if a person cannot hear someone yelling? Problem Areas shows the video footage of a cop shooting a deaf Native American. From the safety of his car, which has a walkie-talkie, the cop walks up to the deaf Native American. This soon-to-be victim of fatal police brutality has his head down, walking with his knife. In an instant, the cop is a mere ten feet away. The officer never said why he should drop the knife nor did the officer need to be so close to the man.

The police board fired the officer, finding the unjustified shooting had 17 violations of protocol and civil rights. With proof the victim had a knife, the office wielded the use of force continuum, that an officer must match or exceed the force of any adversary, to evade criminal charges.

Why go straight to a gun? One officer says he cannot carry a taser, rubber bullets, baton, whistle and a gun. He cannot keep his pants up is the claim. This is just another example of cops needing to approach the task from a different perspective. That or perhaps officers need to invest in suspenders, and not just belts.

Better tools and less lethal force will lead to lives being saved. It was encouraging to see offices training with immobilizing foam instead of instant death firearms. Never know if other tools would have worked in a situation. One can never know what would have happened unless that tool was available.

Guns are not working to keep people alive. There need to be better alternatives. However, it should be realized the standard is not perfection. The standard is the alternative. The standard has never existed. There are no star trek beams to shoot at people, and even those had ‘kill’ and ‘stun’ options.

America might love guns too much. No one this week could see a future with unarmed cops, even though unarmed officers were featured just last week. Cops need to make their gun one of the last, not the first thing, to come off the tool belt in a situation with a deaf Native American whittling while walking.

Next: Television renewal news and updates

It bears repeating that no one in this week’s episode of Wyatt Cenac’s Problem Areas could see a day when cops do not carry guns. We cannot change the outcomes, if we ignore the tools at our disposal. To realize a better future, we need to change our robotic programming to just grabbing a gun, or not being able to see a future without them.

For more solutions watch Wyatt Cenac’s Problem Areas Friday at 9 PM on HBO.