In this series of articles we’re calling "binge it or skip it" our guest writers talk about some television shows you might want to revisit or stream for the first time when you have some extra time on your hands.
What is "Atlanta" about?: After struggling to stay above the waters of wealth, Earnest Marks (Donald Glover) and his cousin Alfred, known as Paperboi (Bryan Tyree Henry) try to battle societal issues like race and poverty as they climb to the top of the Atlanta rap industry.
First Episode Plot: As Paperboi relaxes in his car outside a store at night, a pedestrian breaks his side view mirror and refuses to pay for it. They assume because he's a rapper with a hit song, he's full of money. Using that as a scapegoat to not pay for the mirror. When he eventually pulls a gun on the pedestrian, suddenly Earnest and Darius are in shock. The scene ends with a gunshot; a cliffhanger in the very first episode leaving the audience in wonder.
The Rest of the Season: Even though Earnest (Earn) has a reliant support system from his parents' wealth, he feels his need to take care of his child on his own. School wasn't for him. When he comes up with an idea to manage his cousin and his music it was a joke to others at first. No one believes in him throughout the whole season except for paperboi, his artist/cousin, and Darius, Paperboi’s right hand man. As they battle through false interpretations of personalities, they struggle to get their real identities established. The rap industry is no friend to anyone either. It's almost as if everyone has to climb over each other to get out of a hole, but Earn and Paperboi are doing it with righteousness.
Spoilers: Near the end of the season, no one believes in them. Their backs are completely against the wall. Just when they think they achieve a win, later on they are almost underpaid by a club owner that sees them as peasants. This was Earns first test of management as he is disrespected by the club owner. Paperboi was then forced to take matters into his own hands as he confronted the owner and obtained the money owed to them.
Opinion: Atlanta is full of indirect hip hop culture references. I love it because sometimes it has a bigger meaning than the dialogue of the episodes. Another big attribute is the humor. I LOVE THE HUMOR. It’s everywhere. Sometimes it's sudden and sometimes you know it's coming. It keeps you intrigued. The show does a great job of acknowledging social issues but with respect and comedy. If you aren't a fan of comedy, it's still informative and has room for serious scenes with display of good acting.
G/PG/R?: There are many scenes of sexual acknowledgement whether it's between strangers or Earnest and his baby’s mother/girlfriend. All pretty minor.
How Does it End?: After Earn impresses his girlfriend with money from the club owner to support their child, the season ends with him returning to his home (a packed storage unit with all his belongings) and him staring at a hundred dollar bill, foreshadowing that their are brighter days to come and that he is going to turn the hundred into a lot more through manifestation and action.
Who to Watch: Those who are fans of the show would agree with me when I say keep your eye on Darius (LaKeith Stanfield). Though he isn't the main character, in almost every episode he brings comedic relief; even at the most serious moments.
My Call: Binge it. Simply. If you are a person of color it’ll bring a sense of “home”. If you aren’t, you can learn a lot about social problems and easily get a big laugh doing so. Though I wouldn’t recommend it for all ages, I would recommend it to anyone who enjoys hip-hop and black pop culture.
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