“Bob Ross: Happy Accidents, Betrayal, and Greed” is a happy accident


Graphic by Maliah White

“Bob Ross: Happy Accidents, Betrayal, and Greed” is a Netflix original documentary about Bob Ross and the supposed scandals following his life.

Tegan Ruhl, Staff Writer

“Bob Ross: Happy Accidents, Betrayal, and Greed” tries to convince the audience that Bob Ross’s success was not a happy accident but the result of betrayal and greed.  

Netflix original documentary “Bob Ross: Happy Accidents, Betrayal, and Greed” is about the rise of Bob Ross’ popularity and commercial success. The documentary interviews Bob Ross’ son, Steve Ross, and lifelong friend, Dana Jester. 

The documentary focuses on Bob Ross’ rise to television, popularity and commercialization. While the film features members of his family and shows some aspects of Bob Ross’ personal life, the majority of the film focuses on how his name generated profit. 

The film tries too hard to make the capitalization of Bob Ross into a scandal. It was really unexpected, and the way the film was directed made the scandals seem forced and fake. 

The beginning of the film is nostalgic with clips of Bob Ross painting with his peaceful voice and calm music. It’s exactly what I expected the documentary to be like the whole time, but then out of nowhere, with no build up or drama, they start talking about the supposed scandals involving Bob Ross. 

Since there was no build up or drama, it seemed like the film was trying too hard to ruin the perfect view of Bob Ross. I felt the film was praising him before ultimately trying to tell the audience that he was a shady person involved with fame-seeking individuals. 

Even when they are verbally describing the scandals surrounding and involving Bob Ross, the clips they show of him seem to tell a different story about his life. They try to make his good qualities seem negative. 

For instance, they accuse Bob Ross of always flirting with his fans. They would then show clips of him smiling and talking to his fans. The clips tell the story that he is just being a nice person even though the narrators are unnecessarily trying to change the narrative.  

The negative narratives of Bob Ross’ life are almost like the trees he put in his paintings. After the beautiful landscapes looked finished, he would decide to put a black line down the side of his painting and turn it into a tree. 

The documentary threw black lines into the painting of Bob Ross’ life. The painting still looks pretty after the documentary, but the tree was completely unnecessary. 

Unnecessary parts of “Bob Ross: Happy Accidents, Betrayal, and Greed” include talking about Bob Ross’ rumored affair, presenting him helping his son in a negative light and the negative comments about the commercialization of Bob Ross. 

I felt the film’s main goal was to get you to not buy Bob Ross memorabilia.

In the end, Steve Ross, Bob Ross’ son, expressed that he didn’t care about the money anymore. He claimed that the only thing that mattered was that his dad made people happy, contradicting the whole message behind the film. 

Ironically, the film feels like a scam to gain more viewers instead of actually telling the audience who Bob Ross was. 

If you are expecting a film about the life of Bob Ross, this is not the documentary for you. If you are a Bob Ross mega-fan, this film is a disappointment. However, if you are a passive Bob Ross fan, you might enjoy the documentary. 

The movie is interesting, but it does not portray who we all know Bob Ross to be. I would rate this film a 2.5 out of 5. 

“Bob Ross: Happy Accidents, Betrayal, and Greed” is not necessarily a mistake, but it’s definitely a happy accident. The only thing keeping it happy is that the documentary is about Bob Ross.