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Marquette Wire

‘Atlanta’ provides novel entertainment
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While some television shows promote social issues, “Atlanta” simultaneously serves as comedic entertainment for Marquette students.

The 10th episode and season finale of “Atlanta,” will air on FX this Tuesday. This final episode will mark the end of a spectacularly successful first season for Donald Glover’s new show. Glover is an actor, writer and musician.

Through the first nine episodes, the show has proven to be exactly the abstract, funny and provocative project many people expected. While it broke records as the most-watched sitcom debut in years and was renewed for a second season after just three episodes, this was never Glover’s intent. According to Vulture, Glover really just wanted the show to be different.

The show is based around Donald Glover’s character Earn, acting as the manager for his cousin’s blossoming rap career. However, this is only the jumping-off point for many of the episodes. Rather than give an inside look into the music business, “Atlanta” would rather dance around to different issues afflicting the black community. There aren’t many season-long story lines in the show, but rather single-episode features.

With an all-black writer’s room and cast, the show does a better job than anything else on television at depicting the realities of black life in America. This casting decision becomes more impressive upon learning that Donald Glover is the only one in the room with formal writing experience. Glover not only writes, but produces and stars in the show as well. He has also directed an episode.

Viewers may recognize Glover from his many other endeavors. The multi-talented writer, producer and actor got his first big break writing for Tina Fey on “30 Rock” straight out of college, before capturing the role of Troy Barnes on NBC’s “Community.” He also has popular stand-up comedy specials on Comedy Central, and maintains a rap identity under the alias Childish Gambino.

“Atlanta” joins Louis C.K.’s “Louie”, Aziz Ansari’s “Masters of None” and more on the list of sitcoms spearheaded by comedians. Like the others, he has embraced the abstract and the absurd. Sometimes it’s just for comedic effect, such as a mock commercial for pre-dumped swishers. Other times it’s to make a point about a certain topic in today’s America, such as when the show featured a black Justin Bieber character.

“Atlanta” aims to provide genuine comedic entertainment. Glover didn’t want to lecture people, or get praise from critics only because he addressed difficult topics. Through the first nine episodes, he has largely succeeded.

While the show gets many laughs, there is no shortage of hard-hitting moments, such as a monologue by Glover’s character about the misunderstood difficulties of being poor. The show knows how to toe the line between the two very effectively, and it’s been evident from the first few episodes.

“(Glover is) very multi-talented,” Nick Malik, a sophomore in the College of Communication, said. “I’m glad (he) has his own platform to create now.”

While Malik recognized Glover’s versatile artistic gifts, other students respect him for the messages he conveys and his ability to be unapologetic.

“I like (Glover) because he’s not afraid to talk about real stuff,” said Colin Eschweiler, a sophomore in the College of Business Administration. “The show isn’t apologetic about anything. I really appreciate that in a person and in this show.”

Anyone considering watching the show only needs to watch the first two episodes to see if they are interested, because the episodes are similar in content and format. Even after a season of the funny moments and thoughtful points, the first hour still stands out as the most hard-hitting. It’s an exciting first episode, with a parking lot shooting in the first couple minutes. In the pilot, viewers meet Glover’s characters. In the second episode, viewers meet Glover’s concept.

Glover’s character is stuck in the county jail, waiting to be processed for the entirety of the second episode. He uses this opportunity to touch on police brutality, homophobia in the black community and the shortcomings of the criminal justice system all in a matter of minutes.

There will be a long break before season two starts, giving viewers who haven’t watched yet a chance to catch up. But for those eagerly awaiting the finale, it will be a satisfying finish to an impressive start.

Glover has worn many hats during his career, hopping from one dream job to another. He specifically followed in the steps of other visionary comedians with “Atlanta.”

Some viewers will likely spend the winter months hoping other shows can imitate Glover’s latest endeavor

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