I was a little late to the party, but I finally wrapped up watching the end of the first season of Donald Glover’s Atlanta. The show has been showered with praise by viewers and critics alike, as it currently holds a score of 100% from critics and 90% from the audience on Rotten Tomatoes. Now that I am all caught up, I cannot help but jump aboard the train as well. Glover stated in an excellent profile by Rembert Browne that with Atlanta he, “wanted to show white people, you don’t know everything about black culture.” And surely enough, he has done just that, and much, much more.
One of the best things about Atlanta is how genuine the show feels. It truly feels as if you are in Atlanta, something a fair amount of shows “based” in cities forget to think about. Part of this is due to the fact that the show was actually shot in Atlanta, so not only do the more recognizable landmarks pop up, so do those that are authentic to Atlanta. On top of this, the dialogue between friends/family in the show sounds like the conversations we actually have everyday. Much of this has to do with nearly all the writers for the show being from Atlanta, and all being African-American. The only cliche, wholly unrealistic “you have to let me be me” speech by Earn is immediately shot down by Van because that’s just not how life works. Instead, the creative writers opt for the harsh reality of life, meaning Earn has to suck it up and provide for his child while still pursuing his dreams. Van cannot be left to should the entire weight in that scenario, as Earn comes to realize.
The little things though, the little things make Atlanta pop. Keith Stanfield absolutely kills it as Darius at every turn. There are so many memorable moments from his character (asking the bouncer about throwing out another bouncer, parlaying Earn’s phone into a sword into a dog into an eventual lump sum of cash, AIDS and Wilt Chamberlain) but I think my favorite is his conversation with Alfred about sunflower seeds. It’s in the background while Earn calls the Uber driver looking for his jacket and can be hard to make out but is entirely worth rewinding for. I won’t spoil it, but Stanfield nails Darius’ curiosity about how “the companies make money” and the talk about the sushi sunflower seeds between Alfred and Darius is hilarious at every turn.
Atlanta has already been renewed for a second season, but it will not be until 2018 as Glover will be busy filming for the new Spiderman and Star Wars movies. If you haven’t already, watch the show now and wait with the rest of us to see what happens next time.