Patriot Act: “Student Loans” Episode Recap & Review


Debt Outta Here

Back for another week of hard-hitting facts and topical humour, Hasan Minhaj returns for a look at Student Debt. With over 40 million Americans suffering from crippling loan repayments and companies like Navient capitalizing on this exploitable industry, Student Loans dives into the heart of this incredibly shocking problem.

While the UK suffers something similar to this in terms of payday loans and rising student debt, America’s issue dwarfs that of our own. Broken down through a combination of facts, figures and archival footage, Hasan looks in-depth at the issue at hand. Given the very real and troubling way this affects millions of people, this was never going to be an easy topic to turn comedic, as Hasan himself confesses partway through the episode. The reality is, student debt is a very real and very troubling issue and, if left unchecked, could spiral into something a whole lot worse.

After a brief introduction, Hasan collates data findings from the group of young adults in the audience with the hard-hitting fact around $6 million in debt is sitting in that room alone. It’s a very clever and simple message that really hammers home the seriousness of the problem. Several interviews with key industry insiders follow, helping to pad the episode out too, with one final sketch imagining a realistic game show around student debt flirting with some real dark comedy.

Stylistically, I’ve said it a lot about the disparate camera angles which have always been a bit of an odd choice here. Thankfully, this is somewhat subdued this week with a much more simplistic perspective and, for the most part, cameras focusing solely on Hasan’s face and the screen behind him. 

I still think the episode on Amazon last season highlights the peak of this show but Student Loans is another very interesting and hard-hitting episode worth checking out. It’s something that’s certainly relatable and paints a very troubling portrait of the financial landscape in America. Whether this situation will improve is anyone’s guess but for now, Hasan shines a spotlight on this industry in a thought provoking and clever way.


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