As a fan of Donald Glover and his rap persona, Childish Gambino, I was excited to hear of Atlanta. I can say for a certainty that Atlanta, written by and starring Gambino himself, exceeded expectations. This is a triumph, beautifully demonstrating how powerful television can be as an art form.
It is fitting that this is a TV show about rap…because it’s poetic. Visually it is stylised but in terms of content it is raw; relatable; real. Childish Gambino’s artistic fingerprint is all over this. Like all of Glover’s work, Atlanta has an autobiographical slant. You get the feeling that there is a lot of Donald Glover in the character of Earn. Mostly I believe it is his fight. We see Earn scratching and clawing to make it even when life slaps him down.
With that being said, this is not a bleak story by any stretch. It is absolutely hilarious, this is due to its strong writing and acting. The comedic timing of everyone involved is impeccable, particularly Donald Glover, Brian Tyree Henry and Keith Stanfield.
The writing is just really smart but it also has an awkwardness to it similar to The Office. The best kind of situation comedy makes you cringe when it hits on something uncomfortable that we have all experienced. The perfect example of this cringe comedy are the scenes in the jail when Earn is waiting to be processed.
Speaking of the scenes in the jail, this show has a lot of important things to say. Atlanta delves into issues surrounding gun culture, race and police brutality. The moment that the man with mental health issues was attacked by the prison guards was very upsetting to watch. However, it is important that someone tackles these topics because few others have the bravery to do it.
Donald Glover is a role model for a lot of young people and he continues to be a mentor here. As I mentioned earlier, all of his work is personal to him because it comes from his life and views. He is an auteur, speaking directly to the audience; perhaps an audience that is looking for guidance. It is the same mentality as the lyric from Sunrise: “So when you skating in your driveway you’re not alone.” Like I said, poetic.
I loved the first two episodes of Atlanta and I cannot wait for more. I will most likely review each episode so be sure to subscribe.