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Don't worry, the new Netflix Bob Ross documentary doesn't ruin Bob Ross for us

Few people in the public eye have been as universally beloved as Bob Ross, especially across multiple generations. The first time my husband and I shared "The Joy of Painting" with our kids, they were almost instantly mesmerized. Just as I had remembered from my own childhood, Ross's calm voice and "happy little trees" commentary as he painted felt almost like a form of therapy.

So naturally, when Netflix announced the release of a new documentary titled "Bob Ross: Happy Accidents, Betrayal and Greed," people (me, I am people) freaked out a bit.

With a title like that, how could you not? Bob Ross is up there with Fred Rogers and Steve Irwin in the "pure, wholesome, and untouchable" category, and even just seeing the words "betrayal" and "greed" so close to his name is enough to make a fan plug their ears and yell, "Na na na na, I can't hear youuuuu!"


But fans needn't worry. The betrayal and greed referred to in the title aren't about Bob Ross himself, but rather the key players in the management of his business after his death.

If you're looking for a purely feel-good film about Bob Ross, this isn't really it. Thankfully, you won't walk away with a tarnished view of the man himself—the most "scandalous" thing you might learn is that he permed his hair to get that famous 'fro. But many people are walking away feeling angry and frustrated over the way his art and name have been handled by the Kowalski family who manages them. You'll still love Bob Ross as much as ever, but you might feel some not-so-happy little feelings about Bob Ross, Inc.

The documentary was produced by actress Melissa McCarthy and her filmmaker husband Ben Falcone, and the couple spoke with NPR about some of the making the film and some of the legal perils they faced.

Bob Ross: Happy Accidents, Betrayal & Greed | Official Trailer | Netflixwww.youtube.com

"Bob certainly wanted it to go to — most of the business — to his son," McCarthy said. "He left it to his son and his brother. And very quickly, that was kind of taken through litigation. And because at the time [Bob's son] Steve was so young, Bob thought, you know, let's have an adult still guiding him with where he's going to take this company. ... But he didn't get to take hold of it at all."

The crux of the film is how Ross's business partners, the Kowalskis, have held a tight grip on Bob Ross, Inc. and how Ross's son, Steve, has allegedly been shut out of his father's business. Getting to the bottom of it all posed a challenge, however, as apparently few of the people involved wanted to speak to the filmmakers.

"Everyone's afraid of getting sued," Falcone said. So that's neat.

Now the Kowalskis have responded to the accusations in the film with a statement defending their role in the business they started in partnership with Bob Ross. They wrote, in part:

Bob Ross Inc. never pursued or threatened legal action against Steve Ross, and, in fact, no one at Bob Ross Inc. heard from Steve Ross for almost twenty years, until 2017 when Steve filed suit against the company without any prior communication.
Bob Ross may not have shared the inherent structural features of his company with family and friends – which are very common in small private companies – resulting in many of the unsubstantiated accusations made in the film.

They also claim that the merchandise they sell with Bob Ross's image on it is meant as a way to share the late painter's message of positivity. "Bob Ross Inc.'s hope is that items bearing Bob's likeness and messages prompt smiles as they remind people of the love of painting Bob shared with all," they wrote.

At the very least, we can all still agree that Bob Ross himself was a national treasure whose love of painting and positive outlook were genuine. Nobody mess with the legacy of the man himself, please. None of us could handle that. Let us keep our happy little memories of him pure and untarnished.


Pop Culture

She bought the perfect wedding dress that went viral on TikTok. It was only $3.75

Lynch is part of a growing line of newlyweds going against the regular wedding tradition of spending loads of money.

Making a priceless memory

Upon first glance, one might think that Jillian Lynch wore a traditional (read: expensive) dress to her wedding. After all, it did look glamorous on her. But this 32-year-old bride has a secret superpower: thrifting.

Lynch posted her bargain hunt on TikTok, sharing that she had been perusing thrift shops in Ohio for four days in a row, with the actual ceremony being only a month away. Lynch then displays an elegant ivory-colored Camila Coelho dress. Fitting perfectly, still brand new and with the tags on it, no less.

You can find that exact same dress on Revolve for $220. Lynch bought it for only $3.75.
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This article originally appeared on 08.21.18


Addie Rodriguez was supposed to take the field with her dad during a high school football game, where he, along with other dads, would lift her onto his shoulders for a routine. But Addie's dad was halfway across the country, unable to make the event.

Her father is Abel Rodriguez, a veteran airman who, after tours in Iraq and Afghanistan, was training at Travis Air Force Base in California, 1,700 miles from his family in San Antonio at the time.

"Mom missed the memo it was parent day, and the reason her mom missed the memo was her dad left Wednesday," said Alexis Perry-Rodriguez, Addie's mom. She continued, "It was really heartbreaking to see your daughter standing out there being the only one without their father, knowing why he's away. It's not just an absentee parent. He's serving our country."

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Joy

1991 blooper clip of Robin Williams and Elmo is a wholesome nugget of comedic genius

Robin Williams is still bringing smiles to faces after all these years.

Robin Williams and Elmo (Kevin Clash) bloopers.

The late Robin Williams could make picking out socks funny, so pairing him with the fuzzy red monster Elmo was bound to be pure wholesome gold. Honestly, how the puppeteer, Kevin Clash, didn’t completely break character and bust out laughing is a miracle. In this short outtake clip, you get to see Williams crack a few jokes in his signature style while Elmo tries desperately to keep it together.

Williams has been a household name since what seems like the beginning of time, and before his death in 2014, he would make frequent appearances on "Sesame Street." The late actor played so many roles that if you were ask 10 different people what their favorite was, you’d likely get 10 different answers. But for the kids who spent their childhoods watching PBS, they got to see him being silly with his favorite monsters and a giant yellow canary. At least I think Big Bird is a canary.

When he stopped by "Sesame Street" for the special “Big Bird's Birthday or Let Me Eat Cake” in 1991, he was there to show Elmo all of the wonderful things you could do with a stick. Williams turns the stick into a hockey stick and a baton before losing his composure and walking off camera. The entire time, Elmo looks enthralled … if puppets can look enthralled. He’s definitely paying attention before slumping over at the realization that Williams goofed a line. But the actor comes back to continue the scene before Elmo slinks down inside his box after getting Williams’ name wrong, which causes his human co-star to take his stick and leave.

The little blooper reel is so cute and pure that it makes you feel good for a few minutes. For an additional boost of serotonin, check out this other (perfectly executed) clip about conflict that Williams did with the two-headed monster. He certainly had a way of engaging his audience, so it makes sense that even after all of these years, he's still greatly missed.