What is the Bob Ross documentary everyone is talking about?

The 'Joy of Painting' presenter is known for his 'happy accidents' on canvas, but left behind a complicated legacy

It's highly likely that you'll be familiar with big-haired television artist Bob Ross. He was the host of The Joy of Painting, who managed to make painting a tree-filled landscape look effortless.

He's the man you've seen in memes, sat in front of easels and landscape paintings, who had the famous catchphrase, "We don't make mistakes, we just have happy accidents."

It's also probable that in the past 24 hours, you've noticed a sudden surge in social media chatter about him and, specifically, a documentary about his life.

Bob Ross: Happy Accidents, Betrayal and Greed landed on Netflix on Wednesday, a matter of days after a mysterious teaser trailer debuted on August 17.

"We want to show you the trailer for Bob Ross: Happy Accidents, Betrayal and Greed," text on the vague trailer reads over almost-cliched mystery music, "but we can't."

"I've been wanting to get this story out for all these years," an unidentified man is then heard saying, before the on-screen text reads, "Find out why on August 25."

The whole time, a black and white image of Ross sat, paintbrush in hand, in front of an easel, remains.

The documentary is not, as you might have hoped, going to help improve your brushstrokes.

It is a deep dive into the painter's complex life and the even more complicated battle for his estate following his death on July 4, 1995, aged 52. The hour-and-a-half-long film is directed by Joshua Rofe and was produced by husband-and-wife stars Melissa McCarthy and Ben Falcone.

Bridesmaids star McCarthy and her filmmaker husband Falcone set out to make the film as fans, but found roadblocks as few were willing to speak about him.

"That was when we sort of figured out, oh, boy, this might be a little different than what we thought it was going to be," Falcone told NPR.

"When someone is an artist, no matter what their medium is ... there's a business behind it," McCarthy said. "And I would venture to guess that business is always much more complicated than the personality that they lead with."

For many, Ross and The Joy of Painting will be a fond childhood memory. The beginning of the documentary will have a warm familiarity as it charts the TV personality's rise, from a stint in the Air Force to a softly spoken art teacher and presenter.

Couple Annette and Walt Kowalski play key roles in the artist's Bob Ross Inc company, which they helped to build. However, with his 1995 death, the documentary changes in tone, becoming an estate battle.

The Kowalskis inherited his art empire, including TV rights and art supplies, despite the fact that Ross tried to sign them over to his half-brother Jimmie and his son, Steve Ross, at the end of his life. To this day, Bob Ross Inc is owned and run by the Kowalski family.

"Bob Ross Inc takes strong issue with the inaccurate and heavily slanted portrayal of our company in the Netflix film, Bob Ross: Happy Accidents, Betrayal and Greed,'" a representative of Bob Ross Inc told CNN.

"While the producers of the Netflix film did contact Bob Ross Inc twice, in late August and October 2020, each request arrived replete with a confounding lack of transparency. At no time did they pose specific questions to Bob Ross Inc or ask for any form of rebuttal to specific assertions they had decided to include in the film."

Speaking of Ross's legacy and reputation, which many worry will be damaged by the film, Falcone says they "never intended to set out and create a hit piece."

"We like Bob Ross and we still do. We were surprised to uncover some of the things we uncovered," the Tammy director says of the film.

"I think the filmmakers, Josh and Steven [Berger, producer], really did a nice job of making kind of a complicated, balanced movie out of a character that is complicated. We found out things about him that we didn't expect. Nobody's perfect."

'Bob Ross: Happy Accidents, Betrayal and Greed' is available to stream in the UAE now

Updated: August 26th 2021, 11:32 AM

Personalities on the Plate: The Lives and Minds of Animals We Eat

Barbara J King, University of Chicago Press 

Personalities on the Plate: The Lives and Minds of Animals We Eat

Barbara J King, University of Chicago Press 

Personalities on the Plate: The Lives and Minds of Animals We Eat

Barbara J King, University of Chicago Press 

Personalities on the Plate: The Lives and Minds of Animals We Eat

Barbara J King, University of Chicago Press 

Personalities on the Plate: The Lives and Minds of Animals We Eat

Barbara J King, University of Chicago Press 

Personalities on the Plate: The Lives and Minds of Animals We Eat

Barbara J King, University of Chicago Press 

Personalities on the Plate: The Lives and Minds of Animals We Eat

Barbara J King, University of Chicago Press 

Personalities on the Plate: The Lives and Minds of Animals We Eat

Barbara J King, University of Chicago Press 

Personalities on the Plate: The Lives and Minds of Animals We Eat

Barbara J King, University of Chicago Press 

Personalities on the Plate: The Lives and Minds of Animals We Eat

Barbara J King, University of Chicago Press 

Personalities on the Plate: The Lives and Minds of Animals We Eat

Barbara J King, University of Chicago Press 

Personalities on the Plate: The Lives and Minds of Animals We Eat

Barbara J King, University of Chicago Press 

Personalities on the Plate: The Lives and Minds of Animals We Eat

Barbara J King, University of Chicago Press 

Personalities on the Plate: The Lives and Minds of Animals We Eat

Barbara J King, University of Chicago Press 

Personalities on the Plate: The Lives and Minds of Animals We Eat

Barbara J King, University of Chicago Press 

Personalities on the Plate: The Lives and Minds of Animals We Eat

Barbara J King, University of Chicago Press 

The National Archives, Abu Dhabi

Founded over 50 years ago, the National Archives collects valuable historical material relating to the UAE, and is the oldest and richest archive relating to the Arabian Gulf.

Much of the material can be viewed on line at the Arabian Gulf Digital Archive - https://www.agda.ae/en

The National Archives, Abu Dhabi

Founded over 50 years ago, the National Archives collects valuable historical material relating to the UAE, and is the oldest and richest archive relating to the Arabian Gulf.

Much of the material can be viewed on line at the Arabian Gulf Digital Archive - https://www.agda.ae/en

The National Archives, Abu Dhabi

Founded over 50 years ago, the National Archives collects valuable historical material relating to the UAE, and is the oldest and richest archive relating to the Arabian Gulf.

Much of the material can be viewed on line at the Arabian Gulf Digital Archive - https://www.agda.ae/en

The National Archives, Abu Dhabi

Founded over 50 years ago, the National Archives collects valuable historical material relating to the UAE, and is the oldest and richest archive relating to the Arabian Gulf.

Much of the material can be viewed on line at the Arabian Gulf Digital Archive - https://www.agda.ae/en

The National Archives, Abu Dhabi

Founded over 50 years ago, the National Archives collects valuable historical material relating to the UAE, and is the oldest and richest archive relating to the Arabian Gulf.

Much of the material can be viewed on line at the Arabian Gulf Digital Archive - https://www.agda.ae/en

The National Archives, Abu Dhabi

Founded over 50 years ago, the National Archives collects valuable historical material relating to the UAE, and is the oldest and richest archive relating to the Arabian Gulf.

Much of the material can be viewed on line at the Arabian Gulf Digital Archive - https://www.agda.ae/en

The National Archives, Abu Dhabi

Founded over 50 years ago, the National Archives collects valuable historical material relating to the UAE, and is the oldest and richest archive relating to the Arabian Gulf.

Much of the material can be viewed on line at the Arabian Gulf Digital Archive - https://www.agda.ae/en

The National Archives, Abu Dhabi

Founded over 50 years ago, the National Archives collects valuable historical material relating to the UAE, and is the oldest and richest archive relating to the Arabian Gulf.

Much of the material can be viewed on line at the Arabian Gulf Digital Archive - https://www.agda.ae/en

The National Archives, Abu Dhabi

Founded over 50 years ago, the National Archives collects valuable historical material relating to the UAE, and is the oldest and richest archive relating to the Arabian Gulf.

Much of the material can be viewed on line at the Arabian Gulf Digital Archive - https://www.agda.ae/en

The National Archives, Abu Dhabi

Founded over 50 years ago, the National Archives collects valuable historical material relating to the UAE, and is the oldest and richest archive relating to the Arabian Gulf.

Much of the material can be viewed on line at the Arabian Gulf Digital Archive - https://www.agda.ae/en

The National Archives, Abu Dhabi

Founded over 50 years ago, the National Archives collects valuable historical material relating to the UAE, and is the oldest and richest archive relating to the Arabian Gulf.

Much of the material can be viewed on line at the Arabian Gulf Digital Archive - https://www.agda.ae/en

The National Archives, Abu Dhabi

Founded over 50 years ago, the National Archives collects valuable historical material relating to the UAE, and is the oldest and richest archive relating to the Arabian Gulf.

Much of the material can be viewed on line at the Arabian Gulf Digital Archive - https://www.agda.ae/en

The National Archives, Abu Dhabi

Founded over 50 years ago, the National Archives collects valuable historical material relating to the UAE, and is the oldest and richest archive relating to the Arabian Gulf.

Much of the material can be viewed on line at the Arabian Gulf Digital Archive - https://www.agda.ae/en

The National Archives, Abu Dhabi

Founded over 50 years ago, the National Archives collects valuable historical material relating to the UAE, and is the oldest and richest archive relating to the Arabian Gulf.

Much of the material can be viewed on line at the Arabian Gulf Digital Archive - https://www.agda.ae/en

The National Archives, Abu Dhabi

Founded over 50 years ago, the National Archives collects valuable historical material relating to the UAE, and is the oldest and richest archive relating to the Arabian Gulf.

Much of the material can be viewed on line at the Arabian Gulf Digital Archive - https://www.agda.ae/en

The National Archives, Abu Dhabi

Founded over 50 years ago, the National Archives collects valuable historical material relating to the UAE, and is the oldest and richest archive relating to the Arabian Gulf.

Much of the material can be viewed on line at the Arabian Gulf Digital Archive - https://www.agda.ae/en

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