FX’s Atlanta Is Fucking Awesome. Signed, An ATLien. » VSB

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FX’s Atlanta Is Fucking Awesome. Signed, An ATLien.

FX screenshot

 

I couldn’t wait for FX’s new series, Atlanta, to hit the screen. Ninety percent of my excitement is that it’s named after a city I like to call home. ZONE 4 ADAMSVILLE. WHAT! The other ten percent is because of all the press and promotion done on behalf of the show. If you watch television networks that feature shows including Black people, you have probably been beaten over the head with promos for Atlanta. I must say, the promo run has been impressive. The trailer looked dope, the backstory seemed interesting, and the articles I’ve read (specifically those about Donald Glover choosing to employ an entirely Black writer’s room full of novices) tilted me in the support at all costs direction. FX clearly spent dough to make sure that we were going to tune in.

Plus, again, Atlanta: the home of the Bankhead Bounce, Campbellton Road, and other city streets.

I did tune in.

And I couldn’t have been happier. Bruh. This show is fucking awesome. If it remains as good as the pilot episode then we’re in for one hell of a ride, and one that I would have HAPPILY binge watched all of last night into the wee hours of this morning. Let’s break down what’s happening here.

It’s a show about Earnest “Earn” Marks (played by Donald Glover), a fellow whose name might as well be “Can’t Do Right”. He’s that guy you know (we all know him, my best friend is this guy, RIP) that really tries, but he just can’t get over the hump. He has a line in the pilot about being a loser; it hurts. He’s one of those folks for which shit just seems to happen that is funny in the saddest way possible. In fact, if I had to sum him up in a lyric, he would be the living embodiment of Mos Def’s line on “The Questions” from Common’s Like Water for Chocolate album “why do I need ID to get ID/if I had ID I wouldn’t need ID…” He’s a father and a guy just trying to get money to take care of his daughter.

He is the cousin and eventual music manager of Alfred “Paper Boi” Miles (played by Brian Tyree), a potentially past his prime rapper who sees a resurgence after he Earn gets him played on the radio AND after he gets accused of shooting somebody. His roommate aka weed carrier aka the comic relief (though comedy is a strong term here, more on that later) is Darius (played by Keith Stanfield) who would be a magical negro if those existed in the ghetto. In the hood, we call magical negroes drug dealers, and the only magic is Blue Magic.

Together they’re three East ATLiens on the come up. Earn lives with his baby momma who he REALLY wants to help out and be there for but he’s “not an old woman” so he can’t make money on his job which is being one of those people you avoid at the airport who attempt to sign you up for shit like UNICEF, PETA, or credit cards you don’t need by giving you keychains, pens, or compliments. He finds out his cousin, who he hasn’t seen his auntie’s funeral, is getting some burn on the music scene, so he attempts the hard sell to become his manager and utilizes his connections to get him on the radio. Be clear, Paper Boi doesn’t really trust Earn; they’re a bit estranged, but they’re family. And family ain’t shit.

Well, to put it simply: they end up shooting somebody. Allegedly. But in rap terms that might as well be the best promotion ever. It leads to one of the most HILARIOUS scenes at JR Crickets (an ATL staple) where an employee who grew up on that 90s hip-hop shit is glad to see a rapper who is still ready to blow a niggas head off, because that’s that real shit. Paper Boi is self-aware enough to realize that the people who find some type of glory in his actions is scary but it also comes with the come up like the lemon pepper wings…with the sauce, so I mean, you take the good with the bad. LEMON PEPPER WINGS WET? Bruh.

Or like the scene, reminiscent of The Wire, where kids are pretending to be Omar by shooting each other in the street. Paper Boi comes across some kids pretending to be him and attempts to go after-school special and explain that shooting people isn’t cool only for that message to go out the window once the kids mother/auntie realizes he’s a rapper. Who cares that he shot somebody, he’s a rapper; break out the phone for the pics for the ‘gram. He gets her number.

Listen. I won’t go into detail about what happens at the jail, but the jail scenes are so insanely funny in the saddest way possible, I almost felt bad laughing. Almost.

And that’s what really makes this show so interesting (so far). It’s funny despite how fucking SAD it is. It’s almost depressing. It’s dark comedy at its purest. Earn’s life pretty much sucks. Just in this first episode, his baby momma who he almost gets to morning smash tells him she’s going on a date that night and he needs to watch their daughter…and pay rent. He attempts to visit his parents (presumably for rent money) and they won’t even let him in the house. We find out he was put out of Princeton, which means he probably came home and went into a funk and tried to stay out sight. He ends up in jail. He gets called the n-word by a white dude who won’t call any other Black person the n-word. He’s on the bus at night with his daughter just trying to get somewhere to make things better. Earn is that guy trying so hard. He just can’t get over the hump. He wants very badly to do so. And you want him to as well.

Paper Boi is Earn’s shot (which I guess is a pun), and knows it, and his life kind of sucks too, especially in the aftermath of the shooting. He’s “famous” now but still in the hood and answers the door with a gun. And presumably folks are coming for him.

Atlanta is a show about a bunch of folks trying to make it. They just so happen to have the best one-liners of all time. I found myself laughing out loud during several scenes and then thinking to myself, “man, that really sucks.” Donald Glover and the rest of the writer’s room really put their foot all up in the nuance and found the humor in often humorless situations. They found a way to tap into lower middle class aspirational Blackness in comedy that isn’t typical hood fare but cuts right to the depression many of us feel just trying to get somewhere hoping that it’s better than where we came from without really knowing what “better” means. For the writing alone I can’t wait to see where they take the show.

Atlanta is a character that plays out in locations (shouts to the strip clubs mentioned), the accents, and the mentality. Plus currently, everybody in Atlanta is a rapper so the storyline, while not directly about the industry, really is probably not far off from what life in Atlanta in the hood for a dude trying to come up on music looks like. It’s funny. It’s dark. It’s life. And it’s got a ghetto magical negro who bakes cookies and bails people out of jail.

So for now, every Tuesday night at 10pm? If you want me you can find me in the A…A…A…A. You should join me.

Panama Jackson

Panama Jackson is pretty fly (and gorgeous) for a light guy. He used to ship his frito to Tito in the District, but shipping prices increased so he moved there to save money. He refuses to eat cocaine chicken. When he's not saving humanity with his words or making music with his mouth, you can find him at your mama's mama's house drinking her fine liquors. Most importantly, he believes the children are our future. You can hit him on his hitter at panamadjackson@gmail.com.

  • HoobaStankyLeg

    What blew my mind was how they touched on so many social issues in just a half hour block. When I tell you I was on my pockets at the jokes. I cackled several times. And the soundtrack?! What?! Listen. I am here for this show.

    • I was like, “Atlanta is a mixture of every VSB post for the past month”, lol

    • MsSula

      I laughed LOUD at the Don Lemon shade. That was really good. I am pretty proud.

      • HoobaStankyLeg

        Yes, Gawd.

  • PinkRose

    Bisexual/DL brothas and high HIV among Black folks…..so glad my kid passed on GaTech!

    • Those rates are still high on individual college campuses in every city just about.

      • BrownKitty289

        STOPPPPP! lol!

        • I wasn’t trying to be funny. That’s a fact. Kids at college spread STD’s at an alarmingly high rate.

          • PinkRose

            Other STDs yes. HIV? Believe it not, not so much.

            • I can believe HIV not running rampant at colleges. You’re right.

              • Mike

                Yikes

          • Kas

            Yes, they do

          • BrownKitty289

            Sorry! I typed my reaction to the shade that I thought was happening….
            Either way I understood the truth behind ur words.

            • MsSula

              Oh, the shade was happening and appreciated. Loll.

  • Malaika Jabali

    lemon pepper wings is some *real* Atlanta $ h i t. memphis and texas may have BBQ, NOLA has gumbo. But wangs are the ATL through and through. American Deli for the win.

    Also, I’ve legit been looking at recaps of this show all day. terribly excited about this entering pop consciousness

    • lemon pepper wings are GOAT.

      • Kas

        I love goat.

      • Malaika Jabali

        I was more a honey bbq wings and whiting girl…but i can appreciate a good lemon pepper (dry). and add a side of fries with the lawry’s sprinkled on top..boy!!

        eta: topping any flavor tho are the braised wings at the ghettonese spots. chinese restaurants up here in nyc simply do not understand the idea of braised wings. those things are like crack.

        • B-Dot Willz

          Braised wings are the bees knees fa sho. Why are you eating your wings dry though? When in Atlanta wings should only be eaten hot w/ lemon peppa sprankles.

          • Malaika Jabali

            Dry as in the crispy lemon pepper wings and not the saucy ones. I need to crunch in one of them mugs.

            Every other flavor I like saucy tho.

            • B-Dot Willz

              Gotta go saucy on the lemon pepper. You must be one of those folks that likes your wings to sound like chips when you bite into them.

              • Malaika Jabali

                only the lemon pepper ones brah! and yes that thang needs to be CRISP

          • SAR

            Lemon pepper dry with a side of the hot wing sauce for dipping.

            • Malaika Jabali

              THANK YOU

  • The seen with ol’ boy getting mad about being in jail over his friend he hadn’t seen in 11 years had me dyinggggg

    • Africameleon

      thats the one! Lawd, dyINGGG.

    • Chaud_et_Froid

      “I said I was sorry!”

      • LMAOOOOOOO

      • Malaika Jabali

        I aint seen you in like twel years tho!

        • Miriamanordstrom1

          Google is paying 97$ per hour! Work for few hours and have longer with friends & family! !re57f:
          On tuesday I got a great new Land Rover Range Rover from having earned $8752 this last four weeks.. Its the most-financialy rewarding I’ve had.. It sounds unbelievable but you wont forgive yourself if you don’t check it
          !re57f:
          ??
          ??;?? http://GoogleFinancialJobsCash347NetworkFoxGetPay$97Hour ?????????????????????????????????????????????????????::::::!re57f:….,…….

    • lkeke35

      I know! I loved that scene!

      • Mary Burrell

        I have to watch it.

        • Nik White

          Me too. I was on team Queen Sugar.

          • Chinasa

            I watched both shows yesterday. Black Excellence
            Prime time black tv is back?

            • Kelly Kell

              I think so. TV in general, especially how we consume it has changed drastically since the last black tv era. Now, there’s an overload of content with the internet, phones, social media, and a lot more networks competing with original content. Being black and excellent, we already carved out unique taste making spaces on the new media front and apart from that continuous flow of content generated by black artists and writers, there are also a deal black tv shows with complex characters, compelling story lines, banging writing, production, and marketing. And they are all widely different.

              Has anyone watched Greenleaf?

              • Miles

                Greenleaf also well done. Explored some important themes and topics often ignored in the black community.

              • SouthwestDekalb

                I watched the 1st episode and it looked pretty good. I haven’t gotten back to it just yet though. It seems like the church version of Have and Have Nots.

              • brothaskeeper

                Greenleaf is what a TV show about religion could be without the hand of Tyler Perry involved. However, a show like that probably wouldn’t exist without the tracks he laid.

          • brothaskeeper

            I’m feeling Queen Sugar. Rutina was bae when she was on True Blood.

    • Malaika Jabali

      yeah, I think the second ep was my fave mostly bc of that scene. that man was sooo Allana

    • AshAlly08

      That scene in the jail between the gay/I’m not gay dude and, well, everybody, was hilarious. I’m ashamed of myself for laughing.

    • Sterling Dunkley

      That was so funny. And the friend sitting in front of him! LOL

  • Trill Mickelson

    I heard about this show literally like two days ago (I don’t have cable, g) and just randomly decided to watch it (cuz I do have somebody’s cable login doe). There was a whole lot to unpack in those two episodes. But I’m gonna keep it light — I really can’t decide what the funniest moment was:

    – the etymology of manager: “probably, but I’m gonna say no for the purpose of my argument.”
    – “n*gga if you don’t bite this sandwich…”
    – making the white dude tell that story again
    – the dude explaining how he got arrested
    – the lemon pepper wings with the sauce

  • Allen Temple

    I hope Curtis Snow makes a guest appearance

    • Brad G

      Yo I really had to drive to English Ave to see if the Bluff was a real place. One of the first stories I covered was when Curtis Snow had a court appearance. Mind was blown that dude is really real

      • Allen Temple

        Yeah he’s REALLY real, he probably in the Bluff right now. He’s a real savage……21 21 21

  • BrownKitty289

    The dude realizing he dated a transgender.
    THE ENTIRE SCENE including Donald sitting between them was COMIC GOLD!!!

    • Hugh Akston

      I actually saw that happened on Monday (this dude was grinding behind this uhh lady…and then he went to the front…I was on the floor…dead…)

      Dudes reaction will never be forgotten

      • Negro Libre

        Found out he was dancing with Wesley from To Wong Foo?

        • Hugh Akston

          lmao pretty much…he had his hands on his head, in that deep shock…and he kept looking back as he was walking away in disbelief lmao

          at those events… it usually goes like this: guy sees girl gyrating, guy follow suit right behind, and girl go with the flow…and then guy or girl walks away…like nothing happened…but dude wanted more and then he was like:

          http://i.imgur.com/bdcko09.gif

    • Ess Tee

      Now, see. I don’t think homeboy “realized” anything. I have a strong feeling that he knew she was transgender, that he didn’t mind that she was transgender, and only went off because the other side was putting him on blast and clowning him in front of the others.

      • cyanic

        The inmate playing the “straight” guy was simultaneously hilarious and heartbreaking.

      • BrownKitty289

        I can see that too!

      • Yep.

    • Aly

      When dude yelled “n!gga you gay!” I fell the fuck out.

    • Chaud_et_Froid

      Homeboy in the back said, “Yo girl?!”

      I cried.

    • He was like, “You got a problem? SITTING there looking all weird. ”

      I cried!! Lmao

  • Brass Tacks

    I had resolved to not watch if only because I didn’t want this to be just another mockery of Da A. (i.e archaic slang, scrip clubs, and DL/ ghey jokes.)

    But reading the reviews has me feeling hopeful.

    I guess i’ll check it out.

    • Brass it’s SO GOOD. You’d be doing your self a disservice not to watch. Like, I bet you twenty bucks you’ll like it.

      • Brass Tacks

        Panama said some words in his synopsis of the show that felt a little too familiar to my own situation(s).

        I like what i’ve been hearing/ reading about it so far. And as an ATLien by way of Crawford Long Birth records.

        I may have to do it for the culture

        • Crawford Long, Stand Up!

        • SAR

          I’m from Atlanta and live here. It was good. The dude in the jail felt like home. I think you’ll enjoy it.

    • Allen Temple

      I watched it a couple hours ago. It wasn’t as bad as I thought. It’s definitely worth the viewing……it’s gonna be some trappers turning into actors, it’s already started.

      • Brass Tacks

        Well… I mean, it worked for T.I. and Big Boi.

        And I’m for anything that halts former red dogs from adding to rice streets general population.

    • Hugh Akston

      I’ll probably wait until it’s on Netflix or something

      Still haven’t watch breaking bad

      Never saw a single episode of game of thrones…tried walking dead…it’s boring…don’t plan on checking out empire either…essentially Elliot and mr robot are overloading and chaos is about to rain on fsociety lol

      • PDL – Cape Girl Shero

        GAME.OF.THRONES. It will be worth it.

        • Hugh Akston

          Hmmm

      • Negro Libre

        Same here. Never got into Game of Thrones or Breaking Bad.

        • LMNOP

          I watched one episode of Breaking Bad and didn’t like it, and I have a friend who watches Game of Thrones and likes it, but she told me “I don’t think you would like it” and I just took her word for it. I also didn’t like the first episode of Orange is the New Black.

          • Negro Libre

            The only show I watch on cable regularly is Suits.

            On Netflix – The Marvel Shows; House of Cards and Narcos.

            That’s pretty much it. A lot of the other popular shows are on the bench waiting for a chance to get in.

            • Hugh Akston

              I only watch mr robot on the weekends…uhh not on tv…uhh yeah so suits cool show?

              • LMNOP

                Is Mr. Robot good? I am so picky with my TV.

                • Hugh Akston

                  I enjoy it quite well

                  That’s coming from someone that’s part of whitebeard’s crew…

                  So if you like computers..enjoy crazy cliffhangers..like double personality geniuses.. with savy techy women…and a show still keeps you guessing…you’ll enjoy it

              • Kas

                I feel like Suits has really jumped the shark, but I enjoyed the early seasons.

                • Negro Libre

                  Same here…missing the courtroom battles.

                  • Kas

                    I hadn’t watched it in over a year. Flip it on, and young almost a lawyer is in jail. Like, what? My latest fixation is Ray Donovan on Showtime.

                • B-Dot Willz

                  I’m re-watching Suits now because i watched the first season and stopped but I’m back to season 3 and it is still dope. Don’t scare me into thinking it is gonna flop on me.

            • brothaskeeper

              When Luke Cage drops, tho….

              • Episode titles for Luke Cage:

                “Moment of Truth”
                “Code of the Streets”
                “Who’s Gonna Take the Weight?”
                “Step in the Arena”
                “Just to Get a Rep”
                “Suckas Need Bodyguards”
                “Manifest”
                “Blowin’ Up the Spot”
                “DWYCK”
                “Take it Personal”
                “Now You’re Mine”
                “Soliloquy of Chaos”
                “You Know My Steez”

                • miss t-lee

                  Hahahaha. I live!

            • Egnimatic_Foolishness

              I have yet to run into anyone else that watches Suits. I’ve tried to get several people on to it and they love watching it with me but don’t watch it on their own.

      • Leggy

        Read the game of thrones books so never saw the show, started walking dead, got tired, started breaking bad, got bored. Started mr robot, only watched the first episode, the only tv show I’ve really essentially followed is probably grey’s anatomy. That show is shonda’s master piece.

        • Hugh Akston

          I enjoy sci fi but I dislike fantasy…wanted to read game of thrones because I enjoy reading series…but I get turn by fantasy books

          Wait why not mr robot?

          But greys anatomy? Nah can’t do soap operas

          • Leggy

            Grey’s isn’t soap opera. I definitely enjoy it. I watched the first episode and knew exactly what the arc of mr robot would be so what’s the point in watching?
            I really enjoy reading fantasy. It’s probably my favorite genre to read.

        • Brooklyn_Bruin

          That whole list was depressing

    • I’m not an ATLien, but this was like the most authentic Atlanta I’ve seen in a TV show or movie.

      • Allen Temple

        The only thing that was missing were the Future and Migos look-a-likes…

        • Migos are supposed to be making a guest appearance later on in the season.

      • Malaika Jabali

        so are you on “team I lived in OTP so I don’t consider myself an ATLien” or did you not live in the metro area long enough to feel attached and call yourself an ATLien? cuz half the people claiming ATL shouldn’t (including me) if it’s the former.

        • I’m attached but I never really lived in Atlanta Atlanta so I don’t claim if. That and I’ve lived in NY much longer in my life. Virginia too for that matter

    • kid video
      • Nik White

        Watching it now – thanks Kid!

    • mahoganylawlady

      I currently live here and this might be the most realistic version I’ve ever seen on camera. I cackled several times.

    • MsSula

      Please do. It is gold. I absolutely LOVED the acting of “Paper Boi”. So subtle, so real, so good.

      • Brass Tacks

        “I absolutely LOVED the acting of “Paper Boi”. So subtle, so real, so good.”

        Me too. He plays the role well; and we all either know, or are related to a few “Paper Bois'” in real life.

        I’m just happy his character is being written with such nuance. He’s not some one note “thug”. Nor an “ignant country” goon caricature. He (and Darius for that matter) is just as perceptive as Earn. All tuned into the same frequency, just using different radio devices.

        • MsSula

          “All tuned into the same frequency, just using different radio devices”

          PJ, I think we have found our weekly reviewer for Atlanta!!!

          Brass, you need to write for realz.

          • Brass Tacks

            That’s a very dope compliment.

            Thanks.

      • miss t-lee

        He did a good job, reminds me of so many folks I know.

  • HoobaStankyLeg

    What made this show that much more delicious was that there were people on Twitter talking bout they can’t understand what the people are saying. Seriously? Can you really not tell, or are you playing dumb cause this isn’t seasoned to your taste?

    • RuthyHope

      Hi, first time commenting here but I just had to respond to you. I struggled at times to understand what they were saying. I’m not playing dumb and it wasn’t that it wasn’t to my taste. There were moments where I just couldn’t make out what was being said. It was frustrating actually, because I didn’t know if it was because that meant I am middle-aged and therefore uncool or if it meant that I am an ignorant white person after all. For instance, I listened twice to the line Darius said in the car at Earn’s parents’ house and couldn’t make it out. And what’s worse is that now that commenter Yay Radley spelled it out in a different thread, I have no idea what “can I measure your tree” is supposed to mean. Is it just a weird thing he wanted to do or is there some subtext I don’t get?

      Having said all this, I found the show compelling and well-acted. I’m in for the long haul.

      • HoobaStankyLeg

        I am not talking about the people who hail from places where you would never hear the dialect. I’m talking about the people who were on Twitter where when you look at their pages, it’s obvious they run with Black Twitter, listen to black music and yet you don’t understand simple dialect.

        The ‘Can I measure your tree’ was the joke. Because he’s a pot-head. It shouldn’t make sense to anyone at anytime. That’s why it’s funny.

    • miss t-lee

      They do this every time something Southern happens.

      • HoobaStankyLeg

        You ain’t gotta tell me.

        • miss t-lee

          *daps*

    • It’s not seasoned to some folks tastes is what they are too afraid to say plain. Everything can’t be set in NY, LA, Chicago, or DC.

      • HoobaStankyLeg

        Listen. But not for my Grandmother teaching me slave dialect, I wouldn’t know what was going on, being that I am from CO. But my Grandmother made sure I knew what my kin and ancestors were talking about no matter where they hailed from. Since it’s not taught in schools, I’m glad knowing this language pays off in the form of entertainment. I know I’m semi-new here. But I love y’all. Y’all have made the world make sense to me.

  • PDL – Cape Girl Shero

    I watched about 5 minutes of the episode that aired a second time. I can’t say it’s not a good show I didn’t watch enough to give an honest opinion. I will only say it wasn’t calling me. Maybe I’ll try again

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