TV

Review of the third season of the series “Atlanta” – the most surreal comedy on TV

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Atlanta

Atlanta (series, 2016 -…)
Atlanta
4 seasons, drama, comedy, music

Directors:
Hiro Murai, Donald Glover, Amy Seimetz, Janica Bravo, Ibra Oke

Cast:
Donald Glover, Brian Tyree Henry, Lakit Stanfield, Zazi Bitz, Chris Davis

The second season of “Atlanta”, which ended in the distant pre-pandemic year 2018, sent the heroes on a European tour. Here they are from left to right: the popular hip-hop artist Al Bunchilla / Paper Boi (Brian Tyree Henry), his ever-quiet friend Darius (Lakit Stanfield), manager and cousin Ern (Donald Glover), and Van (Zazi Bitz). ex-girlfriend of the last. In the new episodes, the quartet of touring artists gets acquainted with the mysterious European culture, and also tries to organize a concert in Amsterdam and goes to subscribe to billionaires in London.

Zazi Bitz as Wang in the frame of the series “Atlanta”

Zazi Bitz as Wang in the frame of the series

Zazi Bitz as Wang in the frame of the series “Atlanta”

To be honest, it was a little scary for the third and fourth seasons of “Atlanta”. After a four-year hiatus, the series returned to a markedly changed world – a cause for concern for many: from the audacious comedy went under the wing of Disney, not ready for risk, and ending with the fact that during this time there were so many brilliant shows that “Atlanta” simply could lose its experimental exclusivity against the general background. In addition, after 2020, which was remembered, among other things, by protests against institutional racism and police arbitrariness, there were many creative reflections on the lives of the African-American population. The latter has always been the foundation of Atlanta. Again, it seemed that the project could return less witty and topical, simply because there were many more competitors – not least due to the advent of TickTok.

Donald Glover as Ern in the frame of the series “Atlanta”

Donald Glover as Ern in the frame of the series

Donald Glover as Ern in the frame of the series “Atlanta”

The only one who did not doubt the success of the sequel – one of the creators of “Atlanta” Donald Glover: the artist first compared new series with Kanye West’s graduation album (because the episodes will be just as accessible and enjoyable), and later at all called the third and fourth seasons are the greatest in the history of television – with a note that the show will be at the level of “Soprano”. After three new series, we can say that the first comparison seems more appropriate: not yet a masterpiece, but just a model “Atlanta”, which can easily attract new viewers in particular, and the general public in general. It is gratifying that the series has not become stupider or simpler – on the contrary, the third season looks like the spiritual heir to the best and most unusual episode, the horror interlude “Teddy Perkins” about childhood injuries and the price of fame.

Zazi Bitz as Wang in the frame of the series “Atlanta”

Zazi Bitz as Wang in the frame of the series

Zazi Bitz as Wang in the frame of the series “Atlanta”

Familiar “Atlanta” does not return immediately. The first episode is a kind of retreat, dedicated to the odyssey of a black schoolboy, who is taken from home by social services and sent to a family of women, as if collecting foster children. Jokes about woke culture, white feminism and disgusting organic food are quickly replaced by a rethinking of the real tragedy – in 2018, two identical foster mothers committed family suicide, taking six children with him. Again, this is what the exemplary “Atlanta” looks like – the creators are not only not afraid to criticize ambiguous topics, but also choose a radical form of expression. In the next episodes, familiar characters appear in the frame, but the feeling of existential anxiety and anxiety set by the previous episode does not go away, although the authors return to the comedic tone, amusingly ridiculing the blackface and the concept of the white savior. This dissonance is one of the minor but still shortcomings of the new series: surrealism has become more than absurd, and deadpan-comedy almost completely replaced light gags and jokes.

Even if Glover’s comments that a rare masterpiece awaits viewers do not justify themselves, “Atlanta” will still remain in history one of the main series of the XXI century. It is a modern and timely satire that, through ridicule and creative experimentation, does much more to create a progressive society than the endless moralistic articles that have captured the American press. Empathy for the heroes during their absurd clashes with racists and not the most intelligent fighters for justice reveals the country’s social problems much more vividly than another unfounded note about why the United States is bad. The viewer is not a fool: he will come up with an instructive conclusion if he wants to.

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