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Did Netflix Think We Weren’t Going To Notice This Blatant ‘Ziwe’ Rip-Off?

This doesn't sit right in my spirit.

Ziwe looks at the camera while the banner underneath her says, "Ziwe to Netflix India: You Don't Have to Do This"

They say that imitation is the sincerest form of flattery but, in the case of one creator completely ripping off the idea of another, down to the same kind of TV set—especially after that original creator’s work was just canceled—it seems more malicious than flattering.

Ziwe, a hilarious, no-holds-barred talk show hosted by comedian Ziwe Fumudoh, ran on Showtime for two seasons until it was unfortunately canceled at the beginning of April. Ziwe was best known for showcasing Fumudoh’s hilarious and unique style of interviewing as she would ask her guests increasingly outrageous things—like the time she asked author and model Emily Ratajkowski how many Black friends she had, or … every single word she got out of Chet Hanks’ mouth. Ziwe was definitely a one-of-a-kind show and that’s due to the genius of Fumudoh, who created, starred, and executive-produced the series.

But as we all know, if something is successful, powerful companies will stop at nothing to replicate it. So, it wasn’t surprising to see another Ziwe-like show pop up from Netflix India, but it was surprising to see how much the company blatantly copied from Fumudoh.

The Not An Awkward Interview, hosted by comedian Aishwarya Mohanraj, sees some of Bollywood’s biggest stars being interviewed in an increasingly awkward manner as these celebrities are trying to have a real conversation while Mohanraj is just messing around. The tone of the show perfectly matches that of Ziwe as Fumudoh would also start the interview with typical questions before taking her guest on a journey towards madness. But, if it was just the tone of the show was copied, we wouldn’t be here, would we?

Netflix India copies the Ziwe set

Abbot Elementary writer/producer Brittani Nichols shared screenshots on Twitter where one could see the undeniably similar setup of the Not An Awkward Interview is to that of Ziwe. “This is NUTS,” Nichols tweeted, “I’m enraged on Ziwe’s behalf. Netflix should be ashamed.”

In the screenshots, you can see that both sets are hot pink with signs and flowers in the background. Both the interviewer and interviewee are sitting across from one another, in hot pink chairs, with a hot pink table and cups between them. It’s impossible to deny that this setup is meant to mimic Ziwe’s, as the set was as unique as her show. Fumudoh sidestepped the traditional talk show set up with muted gray/blue colors and a city landscape in the foreground. It’s no wonder why people were upset when they saw this tweet.

The interview from this screenshot was taken from has now become private—probably from the backlash this tweet received. However, a Not So Awkward Interview that came out just a few weeks ago sees Mohanraj in a new set up. While the hot pink color is still used for the wall colors, there’s more muted pinks, purples, and blacks scattered across the room which makes the show feel more original.

Ziwe’s short but sweet response

The only response Fumudoh seemed to have towards this incident was a meme she shared after the clips—the meme is of her looking stunned while wearing a multicolored brimless cap known as a “kufi,” which is worn by men throughout Africa, Asia, and America and is sometimes used in meme culture to represent a performative progressiveness. Fumudoh sharing this meme could be pointing out that though Netflix India is shining a light on Bollywood stars in a seemingly progressive manner, they did so by stealking some ideas from a Black woman, which counteracts that progressiveness.

A screenshot of Ziwe Fumudoh in a cap

I’d say do better, Netflix, we all know that’s not gonna happen. Much like kids cheating off one another in school, just make sure you edit your plagiarism so it’s not that obvious next time.

(featured image: screenshot)

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Kayla Harrington (she/her) is a freelance writer who has been working in digital media since 2017, starting at Mashable before moving to BuzzFeed and now here at The Mary Sue. She specializes in Marvel (Wanda Maximoff did nothing wrong!), pop culture, and politics. When she's not writing or lurking on TikTok, you can find Kayla reading the many unread books on her shelves or forcing her friends to watch some random video she found. She's also a world class chef (according to her wife) and loves to try any recipe she can find.