"Atlanta" (Pilot) Review
Donald Glover is in the news for his new TV show which airs tonight, September 6th. This is not Donald Glover’s first time in the limelight; many people know him from his time as a writer on NBC’s 30 Rock or his acting role as Troy Barnes on NBC’s Community, but most of you may know him for his other persona as rapper Childish Gambino. Glover left television for a while but is back and this time he is the Showrunner.
The super talented Glover plays Ernest (Earn), a down on his luck Princeton dropout who lives with his baby’s mother Vanessa. The crutch though, is that they aren’t technically together. Earn is a bright guy who has the potential to do anything, yet he hasn’t amounted to anything which is very relatable to today’s millennial age, the audience Glover will be targeting. I love how in this show, the main character and the mother of his child aren’t together. This is not a cupcake show. In the real world, things like this happen and it’s great to see this on TV. Earn is stuck at a dead end job selling travel deals when he finds out that one of the hottest up-and-coming rappers in Atlanta, PaperBoi, happens to be his cousin Alfred. Earn sees this as an opportunity to make it out, so he heads to his cousin's house to try to become his manager. He is met at the door by Paperboi with a gun in his hand. Upon his entrance to the house, he is greeted by Paperboi’s right hand man, Darius, who is holding a knife and cookies. Paperboi is skeptical of Earn, assuming he wants a hand out. In this first interaction with the three of the main characters, we see they have immediate chemistry. Glover, who is known for his comedic side, is not the funny character. The main comedic lines are delivered by Darius. PaperBoi tells Earn that, to be a manager you need to be a MAN and Earn is not ready for the task.
Earn leaves the two in order to prove that he is the man for the job, heading to a local radio station in hopes of getting his cousins song on the radio. In doing so, he runs into an old friend who just so happens to be white and works at the station. His friend tells him a story of how he went to a DJ who was playing bad music at a party and pulled him to the side and told the DJ “really nigga”. Earn looks at him as he's in a confused state, but keeps the conversation going because he needs the favor. Later on, after his friend didn't help him, Earn asked him to re tell his story this time in front of PaperBoi and Darius. In the midst of the story, his white friend left the N word out. This is a situation that is brought up in so many urban debates. When or when shouldn't a white person should use the N word. The answer is never, and I know Glover feels the same way. Yes, the hip hop culture is engrained in the American culture so you can’t help but feel “down”. That being said, certain things should remain left to the originators and not the imitator. Earn uses his Princeton knowledge on how to finally get his cousin's song on the radio.
Atlanta has the potential to be something we have never seen. A millennial TV show with an urban culture twist. A show that is about us and written by us. Glover has gone out of his way to make sure that all the writers for the show are black. Glover stated "I wanted to show white people, you don't know everything about black culture”. This is not your typical coming of age show with White post grad hipsters trying to make it living in Brooklyn. Glover is trying to create a show about real issues in our community from racial issues, gun violence, relationship issues and even complacency in today’s 20 somethings all with a comedic undertone. With one episode in I am intrigued and excited to see where this show takes us. Where else can you get a TV show that in the opening scene after an altercation a bystander across the street screams “Worldstar!”? Sign me up.