The highly acclaimed series created by and starring Donald Glover has won audiences over all around the globe. Glover — who is a writer, director, comedian, actor, rapper, and DJ — has garnered various awards for Atlanta. These include two Golden Globe awards for Best Musical or Comedy TV Series and Best Actor for the genre, plus two Emmy awards for Outstanding Actor and Outstanding Directing for Comedy.
The show focuses on two cousins, Earnest “Earn” Marks (Glover) and Alfred “Paper Boi” Miles (Brian Tyree Henry), as they attempt to find success in the Atlanta rap scene. This isn’t the only rap-related endeavor of the multi-hyphenated Glover, as he has also earned great success as a rapper under the stage name Childish Gambino.
Since its premiere, Atlanta has been lauded as a refreshing and creative show that features thoughtful storytelling and eccentric comedy. Here are four moments from the show’s first season that has made viewers fall in love with it.
(Warning: mild spoilers ahead)
1. The introduction of the Marks family (Episode 1)
Being the centerpiece of the show, Earn’s family has gained love from plenty of viewers. They portray a modern set-up that has proved relevant to many of today’s families. From the introduction of Earn’s on-again-off-again girlfriend Vanessa and his infant daughter Lottie, to his parents who refuse to let him back in their house, their introduction in episode one immediately cemented them as characters that represent the truths of real people that audiences can relate to.
2. Jail time (Episode 2)
In the second episode of season one, Earn spends most of his time in jail waiting to be moved to his cell.
Alongside him, audiences get to observe the other people in jail with Earn. These include two old friends arguing because they got arrested for ‘public’ inebriation, a couple that breaks up because one finds out that the other is actually a trans woman, and the brutal treatment of a mentally ill man. The social commentary that the show offers comes via Earn, who reacts and remarks on the on-goings.
“Sexuality is spectrum,” he says to the couple. “Why is he in here every week?” he asks about the mentally ill man, addressing the fact that he needs help instead of the beat up he gets from the police. This moment introduced viewers to how the show portrays the social and cultural realities that many of its characters face and its courage to talk about these topics.
3. Lemon Pepper Wet (Episode 2)
It’s a simple moment, but very representative of the African-American community and the way they show love to each other. In this scene, Paper Boi and his right-hand man Darius are given special off-menu chicken wings from the chef as a way of showing admiration and support. The chicken came “with the sauce”, which is not something they normally do — explaining the name Lemon Pepper Wet. The genuine awe and joy that Paper Boi and Darius receive it with makes the moment a sweet one, showing viewers the heart of Atlanta.
4. Black Justin Bieber (Episode 5)
In a moment that both confused and delighted audiences, Atlanta’s fifth episode featured Justin Bieber portrayed by a young black actor.
One of the most standout examples of the show’s use of magical realism, which is defined as “a primarily realistic view of the real world while also adding or revealing magical elements”, this particular scene imprinted itself strongly on viewers. And while Atlanta has made a name for itself for its eccentric and absurd moments, it’s what these moments represent that affect viewers too. In an interview with Vulture, Donald Glover’s brother and Atlanta writer Stephen Glover remarked:
“There’s a lot of reasons why it’s a good idea because it makes you ask yourself questions about the way you perceive Justin Bieber. Also, no black kid’s ever gonna get the job to portray Justin Bieber. This was a chance for this to happen. You know, no one’s ever gonna be like, ‘We need to do a movie about Howard Hughes. Time to cast Idris Elba!’ [Laughs.] This is something we’re never gonna get to see unless we do it ourselves.”
Stream all of Atlanta season 1, Atlanta Robbin’ Season and other shows all in one place on FOX+!