Atlanta Episode 4: “The Streisand Effect” Recap » VSB

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Atlanta Episode 4: “The Streisand Effect” Recap

FX screenshot

 

“Me and my mans make baby sneakers… for adults!”

Everybody has a hustle just like everybody has a price.  This is especially true in our digital age where everything is a commodity. Where genuine emotion and thought are distilled down to fifteen second YouTube clips and Harambe t shirts.  This week, Paperboi learns a lesson about the game from a very unusual source. Zan sidles up to him and Earn outside da cloob like a living, breathing Buzzfeed listicle and he instantly rubs them the wrong way. Zan is an unashamed self-promoter, always angling for a soundbite or a photo op. He also makes profuse use of the word “nigga”. No one is really sure if Zan is half black/half Chinese or Dominican or Indian. One thing’s for sure, though. This Chinese ninja really enjoys throwing out lowercase “n” bombs and it makes Paperboi really uncomfortable in the same way Justin Bieber makes me uncomfortable when he speaks with a blaccent.  I blame Usher. Because Zan iss a shameless self-promoter, he is really trying to make this chance (Or was it?) encounter go viral with the help of some cheesy product placement and a picture for the ‘gram.  For better or for worse, Zan is a marketing genius and realizes that hits, likes and page visits are a transferable currency in the online world.

Earn’s sleeping on his cousin’s couch. Did he make one too many “corny dude” jokes with his babymomtuation and get kicked out of the crib? I guess we’ll have to find out next episode because Vanessa is nowhere to be found.  The guys wake up to find out that Zan has been trashing Paperboi all over social media, saying that he is “not as talented as people think.” Earn urges his cousin not to take Zan’s bait but it falls on deaf ears. Earn and Darius decide to leave Paperboi to his own devices as they take a drive to a local pawn shop so Earn can make some quick cash.  Keith Stanfield deserves a Best Supporting Actor Emmy next year for this role, striking a perfect balance between your one friend from high school who’s always sharing misspelled, inaccurate Hotep memes on Facebook and the quite possible reincarnation of Immanuel Kant.  Darius assumes a guy like Earn would know who Steve McQueen is because he just seems like the kind of black guy that is used to having his black card triple-inspected like a fake i.d. at dollar shot night.  Earn is only slightly insulted. I mean, sure, Darius knows who Steve McQueen is but that’s because he’s Nigerian and we all know Nigerians know everything.

[Sorry Nigerians (I aint sorry) fight me if you will and of course by “fight me” I mean “make me some jollof rice”.]

Darius convinces Earn to trade his cell phone in for a sweet-ass sword, triggering a series of maneuvers that lead to the procurement of a Cane Corso stud from some Asian guy who is definitely not a Chinese n*gga. Meanwhile, Paperboi is on a citywide mission to track down Zan and confront him about all that ish he’s been talking, including a Vine that posits the streets have no love for our dude or his unoriginal- arsed rap moniker. Paperboi has thus far been able to navigate and veer away from the traps of the trap game but he can’t seem to get away from the urge to feed this internet troll.  He tracks Zan down to a local pizza shop where he works and is dumbfounded to learn that for Zan there is no line of demarcation where social media and the real world meet.

“I scare people at ATMs!”

After confronting Zan and meeting his pint-size, foul-mouthed business associate, Paperboi decides to try to appeal to Zan’s sense of reasonability. The only problem is Zan seems to have no reason to cease and desist with his bad behavior. Being a walking Perez Hilton article is actually working for him. He’s not ashamed of it and he sees no difference between exploiting rappers for monetary gain and the very rappers themselves who he claims exploit their own abject poverty and the many symptoms of systemic racism for a monetary come-up.  As Zan puts it, “everything is valuable to someone.” We learn that in addition to making pizza deliveries that the young kid in the back seat is equipped with a colorful series of clever catchphrases including, “F***” ,and a string of obscenities so long and so foul that they required FX to not only bleep them out but blur his mouth in post. It’s no, “Whatchu talkin’ ‘bout, Willis?” but it was funny.  I laughed until I thought about the stage mom egging her child actor on from behind the cameras. Then I laughed again because I’m terrible.

“Everything’s made up, nigga. Stay woke.”

Earn and Darius end up at a farm where they trade their newly acquired stud for the promise of two stacks come September. Quite the come up from the $90 Earn’s phone originally netted him at the Pawn Shop. Only problem is Earn is broke AF. Not T.V. Broke. Broke-broke. And if he don’t move his feet, his daughter Lottie don’t eat so we like neck to neck. Earn tries to explain to Darius that poor people have more pressing monetary concerns and investing in dog breeding schemes and savings bonds is not high on the priority list right now because poor people are too busy trying not to be poor. Darius has been in the game too long so he doesn’t quite understand how poverty creates immediacy out of every aspect of life. He doesn’t get that angst and anguish that comes with having to juggle one too many past due bills while figuring out how to convince your kids that they aren’t still hungry after they come home from school because you can’t afford snacks until next week.  Darius is our most empathetic Atlanta character, however, and he can see that his new friend is desperate. He decides to give him his burner phone to sell and Earn is too broke right now to protest or entertain any illusions of pridefulness.

And that’s where we leave off until next week.  FX renewed Atlanta for a second season, ordering another set of ten episodes. Here’s hoping Glover and his talented room of black ass writers can keep the momentum that we have seen so far. We aren’t even at the half-way point in the season yet but the show has outperformed expectations pulling in 1.3 million viewers last week alone so it makes sense that FX would attempt to further capitalize on all of the hype and maybe even take a piece of that (not) coveted “Black” market that people who can’t tell the difference between Empire and Blackish are always talking about. I’m excited to sit in for the ride and see where this show takes us.

What did you think about this week’s episode? Let me know in the comments so I can disagree with you with my contrarian ass.

Jordan Kauwling

Jordan Kauwling is an early thirties Philadelphian but she tells everyone she’s in her late thirties because she doesn’t understand how math works. When she’s not busy writing, singing, eating all the falafel or unsuccessfully finishing another craft project you can catch her talking junk on Twitter.

  • Its about time. Earn and all of his dilemmas are too familiar. I’ve had a chick order half a paycheck worth of food on a date. The whole “kids meal” thing, yeah too familiar.

    • Sigma_Since 93

      “You’re really killing me here” was classic. I’ve had to give a hostess the death stare once or twice.

      • Yo she acted so oblivious. As a former server, you know the broke cats. If she had kept the bill low, he might have blessed her on the back end. Freakin’ amateurs.

        • Brooklyn_Bruin

          She had me as a customer before.

          WHY YOU STEERING ME TO THE CHEAP STUFF?!!?, ME AND MINES WILL NOT BE EATING OFF THE 99¢ MENU

          • Kas

            I used to get offended when the wa7t staff insisted on saying the price after every special. I’ve gotten smarter.

            • L8Comer

              Some people will really be like “why didn’t you tell me it was so much?! This bill is so expensive!” I’m like, but the prices are right there. Read fool!

        • L8Comer

          That’s what I was thinking… so u ain’t want no tip bish?

    • Kas

      Half a paycheck on a date! Where did you take her?

      • It wasn’t the restaurant, it was my paychecks fault.

        • Kas

          Gotcha

    • LilMissSideEye

      The only thing that brought me out of the kids meal thing: He didn’t lie. He’s recently broke. The been-broke know, you always say “taking it to my kid/niece/sibling – my turn to pick ’em up from school.”

      • brothaskeeper

        And they give you the clear courtesy cup. Be watching you HARD at the drink dispenser.

    • The date was funny. Van was ordering all of the menu and knew d@## well Earn doesn’t have two pennies to rub together.

    • Mochasister

      Just like there are trifling men, there are trifling women.

  • Fact: 30 minutes ain’t long enough for that show.

    • Quirlygirly

      Facts!!

      • brothaskeeper

        I agree, but I also disagree. It’s just enough to make you want to tune in next week.

        • Brooklyn_Bruin

          It’s just enough cool and weird. Too much would stretch some of the scenes into absurdity

    • TeeChantel

      Facts. I said that last night 22-23 running minutes for this show? Definitely needs to be longer.

    • I straight need an hour.

      • Detroit Skater

        the comment section on your post is close, but I just wanted to say it was a great post. as an introverted loner who is easily stressed by too many people I treasure and appreciate my interactions with my internet family especially those here at VSB….

    • RewindingtonMaximus

      I prefer it the way it is. No stretched out jokes or themes, no filler, no pointless scenarios, just sweet & short. The more you get, the quicker the novelty wears off.

      • I see what you’re saying, but to each is own…

        • RewindingtonMaximus

          True indeed

    • MsSula

      I think it makes it highly digestible. It would be a lot more to take in if it was more than that.

  • catgee12

    Really surprised how many people actually don’t know who Steve McQueen was.

    http://showroom.schirmer-mosel.com/images/McQueen.jpg

    • miss t-lee

      I’m not surprised. Most of these youngins ain’t watching the old movies.
      We used to watch TCM with my grandmother during the summers, so I got to know all them old movie actors and actresses.

      • *whispers under bref…*
        “I looooove TCM”

        • miss t-lee

          Ha!
          I do also, even though it’s been forever since I’ve watched because no cable.
          I have a bootleg old movie station that broadcasts OTA so I get my fix that way.

          • Me too!
            When I ditch cable for a new hat, I’m about that digital box life.
            Lol

            • miss t-lee

              Hahah

        • MALynn

          Me tooooooooooo

      • Mochasister

        They don’t know what they’re missing.

    • Maranica

      I know Steve McQueen the black British director who did 12 years a slave…

    • MsSula

      Yeah, I was surprised as well. The comeback from the Pawn shop owner was excellent!

  • Negro Libre

    I mean, sure, Darius knows who Steve McQueen is but that’s because he’s Nigerian and we all know Nigerians know everything.

    http://33.media.tumblr.com/d1a4a0df2284f5b5dacae3ba56a03bc5/tumblr_nbdm3wp9Aa1sry60to1_500.gif

    As for Jollof…”Ah, Pe´le´”:

    http://www.awesomelyluvvie.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/05/jollofricefinished.jpg

    • Kas

      My Slandering Nigerian Card card was recorded with prejudice. Sadly, I will have to sit this one out.

      • Negro Libre

        Don’t worry about it, Nigerians are used to slandering and other forms of abuse – blame it on the parenting.

        http://24.media.tumblr.com/tumblr_m52igzqaEq1qfmwi0o1_500.gif
        http://25.media.tumblr.com/tumblr_m74xd8WNjK1qfmwi0o7_r5_500.gif
        https://media.giphy.com/media/qylJfm3fljZ6/giphy.gif

        It only gets nasty when you’re Ghanaian: 10x worse if it involves a soccer match where both countries are playing.

        • Kas

          The last one doe!

          • Negro Libre

            Kid thought he was Leonidas from 300.

            Mom gave him a reality check.

        • Mochasister

          I hate moderation. Apparently typing h e double hockey sticks is forbidden. My original comments to these gifs were that the first two were funny. The last one. Eh, homeboy asked for that. I know hardened 5th graders from the hood who wouldn’t try that ish. He II, I am in my forties and got a couple of inches on her and I STILL wouldn’t try that with my mama. Mommy may be in her sixties, but she still got mad skills!

  • cyanic

    Because of the episode’s title I was hoping for a Streisand reference. Instead the white person they chose was Steve McQueen which made me nervous they would bring up the black Brit auteur Steve McQueen. But there was a 12 Years a Slave reference in the last episode. Good on them for avoiding repetition.

    • Brooklyn_Bruin

      There’s a meta joke that “black” folks know Bullitt but not 12 Years a Slave

      • cyanic

        In the previous episode Earn didn’t know Solomon Northup despite making reference to the movie.

    • Brooklyn_Bruin

      The reference is to her beach house. Haters were saying this and that, she responded, and hate got worse.

      • cyanic

        I looked up the reference and I remember the 90’s hoopla behind Barbra willing all her power over the media and local residents.

  • King Beauregard

    Steve McQueen as a tough guy … ? I mostly know him from “Wanted: Dead or Alive” reruns, where he’s the mush-mouthedest of cowboys. Every now and again he does a perfect Homestar Runner voice.

    I know he’s got the rep, he just doesn’t persuade me much.

    • brothaskeeper

      Daniel Craig looks like Steve McQueen to me.

      • Kas
        • It’s probably the brow. ..

          • cyanic

            It’s the hairline.

          • cakes_and_pies

            The don’t look the same, they just have the same seething look.

            • Kas

              Agreed

        • brothaskeeper

          *squints*

        • L8Comer

          Damn they are both hot

          • Kas

            They both have a presence, but I wouldn’t call them classically good looking.

            • L8Comer

              Well I guess that makes sense for me. My friends always tease me cause while I def find classically good looking people to be good looking, I’m most attracted to people who look… different? intriguing?…. and are not classically good looking.

              My friends: “L8 will be like, ‘omg he has this alien-esque quality about him, he’s soooooo hawtttt'” lolol

              • Kas

                Women who find me attractive describe my look as offbeat (I.e., funny looking)

                • L8Comer

                  Well, I’ve been saying you’re hot too ever since your avi…so i bet lol.

          • miss t-lee

            You gotta watch Steve in movies. He most certainly was.

            • L8Comer

              Ohhh ill check him out

      • Brooklyn_Bruin

        All you people look alike..(c) Colin Powell

    • He used to train with Bruce Lee

      • Kas

        Didn’t Bruce Lee die after an allergic reaction to smoking weed? Not sure training with Bruce Lee conveys tough guy bonafides.

        • Bruce Lee died from cerebral edema. What are you talking about?

          • Kas

            I could have sworn I read that somewhere.

          • Kas

            Also you act like you have never seen me pull a made up fact out of my bum.

      • Kas
  • Did anybody else think the Steve McQueen theme was an homage to Bill Duke’s ‘Rage in Harlem’? Forrest Whitaker’s um..less than pretty mom’s picture next to Jesus’ picture was a killer running gag in that movie. “AHHHH who’s that? That’s Jesus! I know who Jesus is! Who is THAT?”

  • brothaskeeper

    The episode title must relate to one of her songs. People who need people are the luckiest people in the world.

  • BrotherDante

    The music selections in this (and every) episode are undefeated.

    • Brooklyn_Bruin

      Beach House threw me for a loop. I’m like, why do I know that song..

      • BrotherDante

        Atlanta might be the only show where a transition from Xavier Wulf into Beach House makes all the sense.

    • cyanic
      • BrotherDante

        Right? A Black weekend family reunion/bbq staple. Before a drug deal too? Man listen…

      • Mochasister

        Man, eighties videos were so cheesy!

        • cyanic

          They’re ripe with innuendo. None of her options were straight and neither was the location for this story line. The story line wasn’t straight.

    • MsSula

      I discovered Michael Kiwanuka. That alone was worth it.

  • Cherron

    Darius is quickly becoming my fave with his dumb a$$. He had me looking up climate change under Genghis Khan.

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