by Madeline Iva
Hola Chicas! I’m baaaaaaaack! and here today to talk to you about Donald Glover, TV’s most interesting man. Yeah, I didn’t see him coming either.
But you gotta admit, he’s quietly provocative and thoughtful. Put those two qualities together and I’m thinking he’s kinda sexy, you know? It wasn’t until THE MARTIAN when I really noticed him for the first time. Every time he walked on screen the movie became three times more interesting. His intelligence and understated persona plucked him out of the realm of character actors and presented us with something understated, yet compelling. (Also I’m a sucker for interesting genius geek types.)
Did you see SOLO — in which Glover played Lando Calrissian. Did he have the Billy Dee magic? Eh. There’s only one Billy Dee. But who cares? Glover’s got his own something something going on.
He is an actor who’s at his best playing off other excellent actors. His role thrilled me and chilled me when it became clear (to all people over the age of twelve at least) that Lando was having a sexual relationship with his robot, L3-37. She’s not even an android, technically. Yet Lando is *clearly* having great Robot Sex with her. This is a sub-plot worthy of it’s own blog post–I’ll get to it in the weeks ahead.
Then I saw Glover’s video in his alternative rap star persona: Childish Gambino. Should I just assume you’ve all seen this video and found it interesting and kind of looked up stuff on the internet about it like I have? (I always feel so late to the party.) — Anyway, in case you haven’t — here it is:
Okay — so at this point I’m a solid Donald Glover fan. Whatever he’s saying–I want to hear it.
Meanwhile, his TV show ALTANTA is edgy, rumpled, and nonchalantly cool. His character, Earn is a man of different facets. He’s certainly flawed–Earn sometimes lets his frustrations paint him into a corner he can’t get out of. At the same time he’s adroit, loyal, and solution-minded. The show has an edge of humor, and a swirl of racism that forms the backdrop of the world he lives in. I liiiiiiiiike him. I mean, bonus points and gold stars all around for representing a complex, multi-dimensional character and a world I haven’t seen before. The fact that the show was created, written and directed by him has lifted his reputation up by about twelve notches. And the show? I never know really what’s going to happen next, which can offset the wince-y pain of watching the lives of black folk exposed to the pervasive racism in America.
So WHAT THE HECK Emmys? Seriously? Not even best actor this year? At least last year he won for best actor and best director. I was not surprised to see that the casting director was up for an award–for the cast is fabu. Zazie Beetz, btw, plays his love interest on the show. She is also one of the best, most interesting actresses kicking around these days. (You might have also seen her in Deadpool 2.)
ATLANTA is frequently humorous in terms of juxtaposed contexts. The characters walk their own crooked path trying to get somewhere when they see an opportunity. Along the way they make pit-stops to survey the swampy landscape studded with family members stuck in the muck. The show has a so-funny-it’s-awful tone that I slurp up with relish.
I also found the editing from episode to episode interesting across the season. Characters plop down into being, go away, come back. The show raises issues, end unresolved, and then leap onto another pathway in the next episode. One could argue that form follows content–the show jumps in the same way that Glover’s character Earn experiences his fortunes rise and fall as his client and cousin finds bits of success on the path to leave drug dealing for the rap world. Even his name — Earn — short for Earnest, no doubt, has it’s own Dickensian poke in the viewers gut invoking rap myth-making, the music industry, and money.
The best part of the show is how it reveals issues or complex situations for us to chew upon, but never tries to tell us how to think or feel about them. Glover is the anti-Sorkin of TV. Check it out — and check out below the way Glover showed up to the Emmy’s as a creepy character from his show….
You can watch Season One of ATLANTA on:
AMAZON (May be the cheapest price right now)
Redbox is still in beta with streaming TV shows. Be aware that sometimes your viewing can be interrupted.
—-And continue to check out Lady Smut where we will always share with you our edgy obsessions.
Madeline Iva enjoys penning stories about reclusive guys with dark secrets in mouldering castles. If you like your gothic gloom with a fantasy or paranormal twist join her cult following newsletter.