“Atlanta” is Donald Glover’s dream project.
The show has steadily evolved from surreal comedy to straight-up surreal. I’ve never seen such anxiety-inducing television than I have with the last five episodes. The previous episode “FUBU” showed me that I may have some PTSD leftover from my middle school years.
Anyway, it’s easily the most ambitious show on television right now. I’m happy to see Glover’s vision realized here because so much has culminated to this point in his career.
If you know me, there is no secret that I love Dan Harmon’s “Community.” Early on in the decade I would follow any and everything about the show. Including the unfortunate behind the scenes drama which ultimately led to Harmon’s firing by NBC.
A season after he was re-hired Donald Glover quit the show. Chevy Chase having already left, I thought the show still could have a life without Glover. Unfortunately he was the character the show couldn’t afford to lose.
Harmon and his team did what they could to resurrect what was left of “Community” for the remaining season and a half, but it wasn’t the same.
Around this time I was blasting Childish Gambino wherever I would drive. Friends would make remarks about his unconventional voice and flow, but I loved it because the lyrics were honest. He talked about growing up in Atlanta. He talked about growing up poor. He talked about being a young comedian trying to make his way in show business.
“Camp” was such a great album that received mixed reviews upon release. I still believe it is his most honest album lyrically. Afterward his rap persona became more musically-focused with “Because the Internet” and “Awaken, My Love.”
From the beginning Donald Glover was talented comedically, but he was multi-faceted and never meant to grow within that box. Now a comedian, actor, producer, director, and musician, he is arguably the most popular person in Hollywood.
The cynic in me knows that this may mean there is no where left to go. Can he go up from here?
“Atlanta” embodies fragments of his childhood and shows his Hollywood crowd what the world is really like outside their bubble. From hearing his music early on, this is 100% the story he was always meant to tell and wanted to tell.
Regardless of whether or not he continues this impeccable rise to stardom (maybe next step is Forbes top paid actor?) or he levels out (he announced he will retire Childish Gambino, not that we believe him) I’ll be watching, and it seems the rest of the world will be too.