Atlanta Season 3, Episode 9 is a mix of disappointment


The show’s interpretation of Blackness is limited in the same way the episode attempts to critique others’ myopic definitions of what it means to be black, and it shows. At the end of the episode, Aaron is “acting black” like he hadn’t been before, and so he states that he has “never been so attracted” to his white ex-girlfriend. That’s exactly what I’m talking about when I say that “Atlanta’s” attempts to say anything truly meaningful about race are undermined by the writers’ inability to really stick the landing or stick to it. engage in forcing uncomfortable and offensive stereotypes about black people, in what looks like an attempt to ensure white audiences aren’t completely alienated. It just doesn’t seem particularly funny or humorous to reinforce a harmful and damaging stereotype that black men are hopelessly obsessed with white women when you consider the horrific origin of it all. All things considered, the episode would have been better off without him. It’s somewhere in the same category as cameos from Chet Hanks and Liam Neeson in “Trini 2 De Bone” and “New Jazz,” respectively. I know there are people who are easily impressed by the shock factor and what they perceive as “boldness”, but let me point out the reality of the situation.

A show created and directed by Donald Glover, a black man who has a documented history of drawing on internalized anti-blackness and racial self-mockery in his stand-up comedy, music and other artistic endeavours, will is bent over backwards to feature two of the white men who have been involved in controversial acts of racism – cultural appropriation and shameless fetishism in Hanks’ case, and wanting to commit hate crimes against any black man he saw on the basis of the actions of a disgusting individual in the case of Liam Neeson. ‘Atlanta’ could have used the ‘stand-alone’ episodes to spotlight up-and-coming black actors and talent in its third season, but opted to focus on white people and put more money in the pockets of privileged white men who have been publicly and notably racist in the process. Are some things shocking? Sure. Does it spark conversation? Obviously. But that’s not smart, and certainly no substitute for good writing and storytelling. I’m not discounting the fact that Neeson might be genuinely sorry, but his sincerity in his apology isn’t the issue here, and a few small jokes about the nature of white privilege don’t really make up for the fact that a show that was Initially beloved for its predominantly black cast and surreal storylines that resonated with black viewers, it’s become something of a disappointing mess for those of us who want to see it or care.

It just doesn’t make sense that, four years after season 2, we’ve barely seen the black characters we love. The show has turned into a half-assed attempt at an anthology about white privilege that doesn’t even have the balls to really to go there because it goes on and dedicated four episodes in a 10-episode season to showcasing white actors and white perspectives. Forgive me if I don’t give a damn anymore because it looks like a convoluted minstrel show at this point, and so the praise it gets for being “deep” is nauseating and laughable. Whatever your feelings on “Atlanta,” there’s only one episode left in Season 3. I’ve seen it before. It also kind of sucks, and I’ll tell you why next week.


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