By Lance Jordan, Staff Writer
“Paper boy, paper boy, all about that paper boy”
Comedy and drama seem to be the perfect recipe for FX’s new show “Atlanta,” which debuted September 5. Though certain themes and language maybe too touchy for some, my hope is that people will see past it and appreciate the art presented on the small screen.
Many people may know Donald Glover as Troy from “Community” or as the rapper Childish Gambino. Whichever [you] prefer, [you] do not want to miss out on this show created by and starring the multi-talented Glover.
Glover stars as Earnest “Earn” Marks, a young Princeton drop out looking for a way to support his daughter that he has with a young women named Vanessa “Van” (Zazie Beetz). Earn quickly learns that his cousin, Alfred “Paper Boi” Miles (Brain Tyree Henry), is an upcoming rapper in the Atlanta hip-hop scene. Believing he can take his career to the next level, Earn tries to manage his cousin in order to make a better living for himself and Paper Boi’s kids.
Atlanta takes place in Atlanta, hence the name, and shows two different sides of the city. Predominantly we see the urban, lower class side of the city, where Earn and Paper Boi live. “Atlanta” attempts to capture this feeling of the urban lower class by having men on the street drinking and smoking, hanging at liquor stores or relaxing on couches in a vacant field. “Atlanta” executes this well, as you seem to be pulled into the environment and attempt to feel what the characters are going through living in this environment.
Briefly we see the other side of the city, where Earn attempts to get his cousin’s song played on the radio. Here we are introduced to an associate of Earn’s named Dave. He is a well-groomed suburban kid whose attitude contrasts those of the characters’, like Paper Boi, who lives in Atlanta’s urban area. In this part of the city we see more people in suits, no graffiti, and no usage of drugs.
Every character breathes life into Atlanta’s world, from Earn’s parents, refusing to let him in the house, to Paper Boi’s right-hand man, Darrius (Keith Stanfield), and his stoner-like tendencies. Atlanta has a strong cast of actors who are funny yet serious when the time calls for it.
If you are looking for an over-the-top comedy like “Community,” you will be disappointed. Glover takes subtle approaches to humor that could be compared to another FX show, “Louie.” Seeing the first episode, “The Big Bang,” makes “Atlanta” feel like an underdog story in where the guys at the bottom are looking to make it to the top and achieve their dream.
The hip-hop references are also very noticeable in “Atlanta.” While Paper Boi may be a fictional character for the TV show, the show takes jabs at real life hip-hop artists, Flo Rida in particular.
Dave recalls an event where he had to pull a DJ off stage for playing back-to-back Flo Rida songs. Later on, Darius states, “I like Flo Rida. Moms need rap too,” a simple quip Darius fires back at Dave. Other hip-hop references include someone yelling “Worldstar,” and showing the lengths Earn has to go to get his cousin’s song played on the radio, something rappers and musicians in real life have alluded to as being a difficult process.
With a 26-minute run time of each episode, and 9 episodes total this season, “Atlanta” is definitely worth putting on your DVR and checking out every Tuesday night on FX. Worth mentioning, however, is the show’s use of language, drugs, and sexual themes. Those may not appeal to everyone.