I Got Lauds for Atlanta


When Donald Glover was offered an FX deal back in 2013 to create and star in his own show on their network though many were excited we weren’t quite sure what to expect. Since the initial news broke that he was making his own show whenever he was on talk shows or any kind of appearance he would describe it as “twin peaks for rappers”. Though he jokes about that now and says that what he was really trying to capture was what it was like for him growing up in Atlanta, this initial slogan sets the right mood for this first season of the critically acclaimed show. In early November, Atlanta had its season finale to a very strong first season. This episode perfectly wrapped up all of the different storylines be them magical or extremely real. Even if it was done so with a not so perfect bow. Over the course of this season Donald Glover along with his writing staff of exclusively writers from Atlanta was able to capture the essence of a side of Atlanta that most us don’t get to see and a culture that’s not normally shown on TV for that matter.

The show revolves around 4 main characters. Donald Glover plays Earn Marks, a princeton dropout who’s now back to living from dollar to dollar just trying to make ends meet. When Earn discovers that his cousin Alfred played by Bryan Tyree Howard has made a mark in the rap industry with his song “Paper Boi” which is also his emcee name, he reaches out to him. With Alfred comes his drug dealing partner and best friend, the delightful yet also surprisingly wise Darius. Darius who could in a normal sitcom just be the comic relief and the character who comes into break the tension is a layered character who often says truly profound statements off the cuff. All the while Earn is trying to raise enough money to help his child and former partner Vanessa (AKA Van) played by Zazie Beetz.

Though that might be show in the nutshell, it is impossible to encapsulate the pure atmosphere and world you are brought into when watching Atlanta. Within these 10 shows Donald Glover and his visionary director Hiro Murai have been able to bring viewers into a world they haven’t ever seen before and shed a beautiful light on it. Through magical realism, Donald Glover is able to make viewers wonder if what they’re watching really is real and even in moments where you’re in a sort of state of disbelief that sometimes just adds to the feeling of it all. Donald Glover set out to make “twin peaks for rappers” and though I can’t say whether he exactly nailed that initial premise, I can say that he truly made a work of art in its ability to navigate some of the biggest issues facing today’s world and portray deeply affecting stories in a refined way where you only realize the true emotion until the credits start rolling with the music of some amazing artists. (I had no doubt Childish Gambino wouldn’t falter in the soundtrack of his show).

If interested, you can stream the show on FX Now and it is probable that it will end up on Hulu soon as well. Though I can’t say everyone will get Atlanta and fully appreciate what it’s trying to do, you might be better off because you tried. atlantashow