Netflix’s hilarious mockumentary follows “stokelords” Chad and JT as they spread awareness for social justice causes, one comedic bit at a time.
There’s been a recent boom in the television sphere of hybrid comedy/documentary series, ranging from altered talk shows (The Eric Andre Show) to pranks with the pals (Jackass) and cringe “reality” series (The Rehearsal). Looking to join the ranks is Netflix’s new show Chad and JT Go Deep, a comedic mockumentary series that flirts with cringe comedy, advocates for important causes, and aims to make us all members of “stokenation.”
Chad and JT Go Deep follows Chad Kroeger (Tom Allen) and JT Parr (played by JT Parr), two California activists who rose to fame with viral videos of their Bill and Ted-esque appearances on Fox News and local City Council meetings, and a popular podcast outlining their social justice interests. They have unorthodox methods of promoting causes and enacting change, like collecting and cleaning used sex toys in order to save plastic waste from landfills. They might seem outlandish and absurd, but even harsh critics have a hard time arguing against the two bros and their affable charm.
Chad and JT are excellent characters, played to perfection by Allen and Parr. Chad’s the “hot” one of the group, exuding Surfer Ken-like looks with his famous beach blonde locks. JT’s the “smart” one, a rugged brunette known for coming up with stoke-worthy ideas, like shaving off a strip of hair on his head to raise awareness for deforestation. They also commit pretty hard to the bit, never breaking characters when dealing with stone-faced members of city councils, or everyday folks when canvassing for causes close to their hearts.
The series opens with Chad and JT getting the chance of a lifetime – Zedd invites them to Las Vegas where they can give a speech at an epic party. Things go awry when Chad and JT’s “Save the Boarders” (as in “skateboarders”) event accidentally attracts the attention of “save the borders” anti-immigrant types. Chad and JT are off on an epic journey to redeem themselves by promoting other “dank” causes in order to fall back into the good graces of Zedd and amplify their activism and stoke at his party.
The strongest points of Chad and JT Go Deep are their unconventional methods to promote causes. To protect an Isla Vista beach from erosion, Chad and JT decide to create a record-breaking beer bong that scales down the eroding cliff, thus deeming the cliff a historical site worthy of protection. It’s laughable, but if it works, then why not lean into the stoke and rock on with activism?
The only main criticism is that the series feels structured less like episodic tv and more cinematic in scope. There are some forced plot points, like a whole episode about their friend Kevin (Kevin Fard) who’s the “shmole” (a/k/a the type of friend who’s a bit of a jerk and left off some group chats) who ends up leaving the group for Catalina. This episode feels like a bit of a distraction from the story as a whole, perhaps serving as a buffer to help fill out the 6-episode series. That being said, it does provide a fun comedic take on the ecosystem of friend groups – if you remove the shmole from the group, it’s only natural for other members to slowly evolve into the shmole.
Chad and JT Go Deep might appear on a surface level to just be another mockumentary series that’s full of pranks and bits that don’t elevate the form. But if one goes the way of Chad and JT and digs a little bit deeper, you can see it’s clever in the way that they disarm with their SoCal charm, then hit us with a dose of activism, and make you think we could all use a little more stoke in our lives.
Chad and JT Go Deep is now available on Netflix.