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“Atlanta”: a show we didn’t know we deserved.

The boundary pushing television show “Atlanta” concluded its fourth and final season on Nov. 10, 2022. The final episode ended in a classic “Atlanta” fashion where the audience is left not knowing what actually happened. It felt as if the show had fizzled out towards the end and show creator Donald Glover was just ready for something new to begin. The show had the ability to go on forever, but in the end it was smarter to end the show now then let its quality diminish over time. 

The beauty of “Atlanta” is that it could comment on societal issues in a way that didn’t feel politically correct or shoved down your throat. “Atlanta” mastered the beauty of being subtle in its themes and kept the viewer on their toes until the very end, when there would be no wrap up at all.

To say “Atlanta ” follows a storyline is somewhat accurate. The main premise, or what season one started off with following, was Glover’s character, Earn, finding success with his cousin Alfred’s rap career as well as following the shenanigans of their friend, Darius. All the while Earn is trying to provide for his girlfriend and their daughter. However, as the show progresses, the rap storyline falls to the background as the show finds more opportunities to comment on societal issues such as race and inequality. Season two finds the crew realizing that fame can be dangerous. 

Season three is where the show begins to experiment. The show jumps forward a few years forward, and Alfred is on a European tour but we only see this every other episode as stories of strange individuals, unrelated to the plot, are taking the limelight. In the final season we see the success of Alfred’s rap career flourish with another time jump and the crew beginning to take different paths in their lives. 

Episodes of “Atlanta” are influenced by drugs or periods of time that feel forgotten. The episodes jump from place to place, with episodes beginning with no acknowledgement of the past episodes events but moving on knowing that they happened. It allows for the show to really hone in on the use of satire and absurdity. Satire done well is incredibly rewarding. In one particular episode in season one, Darius talks of some guy’s invisible car, and it isn’t till the very end of the episode that we see the guy driving his invisible car. Two episodes later, the show is mimicking the set up of someone watching TV while Alfred is being interviewed on the show’s fake news station. There are commercials spliced in between the segments of the episode, one in particular is an animated commercial about cereal but comments on police brutality. Once again in season one, in an episode titled “Teddy Perkins,” a well known episode for its horror like premise, we saw Glover play the titular character, Teddy Perkins, in full white face. The credits however, say that Perkins plays himself. All within the first season, the show gets more experimental as the seasons progress. It is a well-accomplished experiment.

It’s these instances of satire, and many more, that make the show incredibly unique. Glover created a show that we did not deserve, but along with stellar performances by Brian Tyree Henry, Zazie Beetz, and LaKeith Stanfield, “Atlanta ” is a show that defined a generation without being boisterous with its definition. The only way the show can be properly explained is by watching it, because describing it does not do it justice. 

The show can be watched on Hulu.


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