Wednesday, May 9, 2018

What I’m Watching: Atlanta

Atlanta: Season 2, Episode 10 “FUBU” (B)

After an episode that dealt explicitly with our characters in the present and drove the story forward in a way that changes the relationship between Earn and Paper Boi, we get an installment set back in the past with a formative experience from middle school. As usual, Earn doesn’t put too much effort into what he’s doing, asking his mom for the jersey and then struggling to maintain its legitimacy when another classmate was wearing a slightly different version in class. There’s an interesting article on HuffPost about the relationship between African-American kids and how they dress, and taken simply for what it is, this episode demonstrated how easily bullying can begin and the devastating consequences it can have, in this case the suicide of one tormented child. That development was glossed over in a big way, with a brief announcement from a principal and a mention that he died from the moms, with bigger stakes than a failed music career almost immediately forgotten, and Earn unlikely to ever wear the second jersey his mom got him. Paper Boi was considerably more social at a young age, running the school by stealing calculators and selling them back to their owners, stepping in at just the right moment to save Earn’s skin and transfer his fate to someone else who took it a lot harder than we imagine that Earn would. I’m curious if this is referenced in any way in the forthcoming season finale, still evident in their present-day relationship.

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