During the panel, Donald mentioned how he never wanted Atlanta to be “important”, but the sincerity found in making art purely for one’s expression is “important” in its own right.
The first episode of Glover’s Atlanta plays heavily to a few familiar rap stereotypes. We get acquainted with a baby mama, meet the rapper who’s breaking into the mainstream and fending off money-hungry family members, and follow the protagonist who fits the description of a nine-to-fiver hustling just to get by. They’re definitely characters we’ve seen before, but the gold is in how their stories are executed.
Earn, Donald’s character, slides away from the mold of a genuinely good person rather quickly, showing the audience that his need for love helps to bend other sections of his moral foundation. Desperate to pay rent and show Van (played by Zazie Beetz) his worth, Earn swallows his pride and goes to see his cousin Paperboy for money. This character is fantastically portrayed by Brian Tyree Henry, who really goes the extra mile to make you believe he’s an Atlanta bred thug. The family dynamic between Earn, Paperboy, and Earn’s father is really cool and genuine. It adds a nice layer to the show, without overtaking character development.
So far Atlanta seems to be well balanced, with heavy situations and goofy comedic relief in characters like Darius sitting across from each other on a see-saw. It’s baked with Donald’s classic wit, so if you enjoy his standup and acting, you’ll most likely love this.
art by Arthur Banach
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