8 episodes

Jar Jar Binks became one of the most polarizing figures in cinematic history when he made his debut in Star Wars Episode 1: The Phantom Menace in 1999. He was even named "the most annoying movie character of all time" by Complex Magazine. After the release, Ahmed Best, the man who played Jar Jar, was hit with the full force of the backlash — and it nearly destroyed him. The Redemption of Jar Jar Binks is a six-part journey through the early internet to understand how one of the first-ever online hate campaigns began, and to right what we got so wrong about Jar Jar the first time around.

The Redemption of Jar Jar Binks TED Audio Collective

    • Society & Culture
    • 4.5 • 141 Ratings

Listen on Apple Podcasts
Requires subscription and macOS 11.4 or higher

Jar Jar Binks became one of the most polarizing figures in cinematic history when he made his debut in Star Wars Episode 1: The Phantom Menace in 1999. He was even named "the most annoying movie character of all time" by Complex Magazine. After the release, Ahmed Best, the man who played Jar Jar, was hit with the full force of the backlash — and it nearly destroyed him. The Redemption of Jar Jar Binks is a six-part journey through the early internet to understand how one of the first-ever online hate campaigns began, and to right what we got so wrong about Jar Jar the first time around.

Listen on Apple Podcasts
Requires subscription and macOS 11.4 or higher

    Episode 1: The Internet’s First Main Character?

    Episode 1: The Internet’s First Main Character?

    It’s 1999, and sixteen years after its original release, a new Star Wars is finally coming. Fans have been camping out in front of theaters across the country just to be the first to see it. The beloved intergalactic saga is set to debut a slew of brand new characters, one of whom is a revolutionary CGI creation named Jar Jar Binks. Whispers begin to spread about big changes coming to the galaxy far, far away – and not everyone’s happy about it. Transcripts for The Redemption of Jar Jar Binks are available at go.ted.com/jarjar

    • 31 min
    Episode 2: Becoming Jar Jar

    Episode 2: Becoming Jar Jar

    Meet the real man behind the iconic role. Before fan forums, prequels, and motion capture catsuits, Ahmed Best was just a young Star Wars superfan growing up in the South Bronx. But after traveling to his top-secret audition at the Skywalker Ranch, Ahmed's life changed forever. Transcripts for The Redemption of Jar Jar Binks are available at go.ted.com/jarjar

    • 35 min
    Episode 3: A Web of Hate

    Episode 3: A Web of Hate

    The reviews for The Phantom Menace are in. And they’re… not great. Unfortunately, that’s just the beginning. Taking on a life of its own, the anti-Jar Jar backlash bounces from the acid pen of film critics, to the pixelated grain of early websites, to the black-and-white pages of traditional media, and heads straight for Ahmed. Transcripts for The Redemption of Jar Jar Binks are available at go.ted.com/jarjar

    • 35 min
    Episode 4: The Hardest Part

    Episode 4: The Hardest Part

    While Ahmed faces Jar Jar hate websites and death threats, an even more thorny and challenging set of criticisms hits close to home, pushing Ahmed to a breaking point. Transcripts for The Redemption of Jar Jar Binks are available at go.ted.com/jarjar

    • 37 min
    Episode 5: The Most Loving Story

    Episode 5: The Most Loving Story

    In the wake of the anti-Jar Jar backlash, Ahmed begins to rebuild his life. In the meantime, we try to make sense of internet hate by talking to one of the original Jar Jar haters: the person who created The Jar Jar Hate Page. Transcripts for The Redemption of Jar Jar Binks are available at go.ted.com/jarjar

    • 33 min
    Episode 6: Redemption

    Episode 6: Redemption

    Two decades after The Phantom Menace premiered, the world is finally reconsidering how it treated Ahmed Best and the character he brought to life. But back in our galaxy, are we doomed to stay on the dark side of internet culture? Or is it not too late to redeem ourselves and stop making the same online mistakes over and over again? Transcripts for The Redemption of Jar Jar Binks are available at go.ted.com/jarjar

    • 35 min

Customer Reviews

4.5 out of 5
141 Ratings

141 Ratings

goodvsevil ,

Are you aware

Of the theory that Jar-Jar is actually the ultimate Sith Lord? And his antics are a way to disarm his marks? They think he's a harmless, clumsy idiot, and allow him close, which is when he uses his sith mind control.

kesatalo ,

Jar jar blinks

Thanks for doing this Dylan. I had fun listening to this cast.
I lost a family member last week. It’s been interesting for me to see how different people dealt with the loss of this wonderful man. I disagree, jar jar was a very real character as silly as he is. Real people are unbelievable at times. We had a driveway party for my cousin and it was light and fun and respectful. Yet there were personalities that criticized not having this remembrance in a church for this church going man. Jar Jar would have fit in perfectly because we all wanted to feel good. I digress too far. There are manny silly folks out there that are none the less believable. Take Cappy

melondonkey ,

Good but not great

Overly precious and contemplative and in need of some editing. Good interviews with Best and others. Could have been condensed to a This American Life segment

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