There are no mistakes, just…dark secrets hiding beneath the smile? That’s the story behind Netflix’s upcoming documentary Bob Ross: Happy Accidents, Betrayal & Greed.

Directed by Joshua Rofé, the film promises to reveal the untold story of Bob Ross — the famously serene art instructor and host of PBS staple The Joy of Painting –and the “battle for his business empire [that] cast a shadow over his happy trees.”

“With a keen appreciation for nature, and a kind and gentle demeanor, Bob Ross encouraged everyone he met to embrace their creativity and believe in themselves, becoming a cultural phenomenon along the way,” a press release reads. “The man who famously said that there were no mistakes — just happy accidents — has brought sheer delight to the world for decades. Beyond the iconic hair, soothing voice and nostalgic paintings lies a mystery that many have yet to discover.”

While the streamer hasn’t dropped an official trailer for the doc, it’s set to premiere August 25th, with Melissa McCarthy and husband Ben Falcone among the film’s producers.

During its original run, The Joy of Painting won three Emmy Awards and aired for a remarkable 31 seasons from 1983 to 1994. Ross passed away the following year due to lymphoma. However, the show has found a second life in the age of streaming, with the curly-haired painter posthumously becoming a cultural icon among millennials and a cult figure in internet culture — from endless memes and ASMR to even being impersonated on Season 13 of RuPaul’s Drag Race by Utica Queen during the fan-favorite Snatch Game.


Back in March, Banksy claimed credit for a work of street art that appeared on the walls of Reading Prison by releasing a video using archival footage of Ross’ instructional program.