Subtlety in Atlanta

Discovering great works of art is always deeply inspiring to me. Even if imperfect, Atlanta, is one of those. I just binged the first two seasons and it’s uneven and ragged, but like a lovable shaggy dog, there’s just something about it which I find endearing. Donald Glover, who I’ve just discovered (forgive me, for I’ve been completely out of the loop of American pop culture for well over a decade), has created a compelling cast of characters, and Hiro Murai, the director, has been able to create an atmosphere that I’ll remember long after I forget the disparate plotline and uneven tone of the writing. The cultural critique is sharp, the subtleties of language and code-shifting are very well conveyed in clever ways. Nothing feels in your face or didactic. We need more of this kind of storytelling in our culture. Here we see characters with their flaws, and we empathize with them because of it. The devil never has horns in real life; angels have dirty wings.

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